Makiki trotted out in front. At the car she stopped and endearingly turned only her head in our direction, tail wagging as she waited to be let in, showing an eagerness she hadn’t exhibited as to my old four wheel drive.
As if in days gone by, our driver opened the passenger door and closed it softly behind me as I settled in. Once in the car he said the first words he had spoken since offering me a ride. “Let’s go!” Seat belts of a semi rigid nature lifted and fastened themselves over us and the car purred to life in the most feline way, not with a noise as much as a light vibration.
I asked where we were going and he said that is what we all want to know. “Those who speak with authority on the subject are seldom correct,” he added.
So it was going to be a philosophical journey. “For now let’s head down the Red Road. Is that OK?” he asked. “It seemed like you needed to clear your head.”
We continued on in silence just as we had walked to the car. When I tried opening conversation he shook his head and said “not now, not yet.” I wondered if there was any purpose to our drive, and he reiterated that it seemed I needed to clear my head.
And yes as we drove along the ocean, under trees and past misty vistas where the waves shot high as they crashed against the black lava, the stupor that had descended at the bar began to dissipate.
When I asked why he had stopped for us, he told me it was on account of the dog. In response, Makiki licked his ear, and he patted her head. “I come to this place for its changelessness,” he began. “As new as this land is, all people can do to it is cut some trails and roads, and put up random simple houses our Pele may eat for lunch any day. The land a hundred years ago looked this way, and a hundred years from now the shape may have changed, but it will be in feeling just as it is today. The fresh winds blow through, the storms tear away the old vegetation, and the song of the ocean is pure.”
There was a turn out and he stopped. The doors opened themselves, and we all spilled out under some palms, where an ironwood had deposited a thick carpet of its soft pine-needle like brown minuscule branches. There was a faint hint of limu in the air. A very large spiny Hawaiian lobster crawled onto a wet rock in front of us. Makiki bounded over and warily sniffed at its antennae.
“Dinner seems to be offering itself to us,” my nameless escort remarked. “See that breadfruit hanging down over there? You want to get that?”
He came back from the car with a cauldron and a three gallon container of water. When I went for the breadfruit, I also found some edible ginger and turmeric, a couple of ripe papayas plus I picked a fat green papaya just in case. The driver now chef had put together a fire pit of lava rock and already had flames going in wood pieces he had gathered. I have no idea where the grill came from he set over the fire, nor how we had been blessed with not just one but two lobsters. 18 months ago