There was a discussion in a writer’s group I belong to that asked a seemingly simple question about ‘How do you define beauty?’ I have thought about that question as I write and then as I have taken some time to explore the beauty in not only the everyday events of the day but nature’s gifts.
Yesterday, I came across a Giant Green Sea Turtle sunning himself or herself on the Black Sand Beach. I stared at nature’s gift as the waves gently rolled into the lava rock that was the shoreline. A few steps further along the beach another larger turtle fed peacefully as the water cascaded over his back occasionally exposing his long neck allowing you to see that he just wasn’t another rock in the water. Later in the day I walked through Volcano National Park and saw the beauty of the steam rising from the crater from the bubbling magma below. I walked over the lava fields of many former eruptions including one as recently as ten years ago that ran over the road which man had created. A sign encrusted in the thick, dark lava read ‘Road Closed’. Ancient Villages along the Na Pali Coast marked where humans shared and respected earth’s beauty and gifts. Three Thousand foot cliffs towering over the crystal greenish blue Pacific waters indicated to all on our small craft we were now sharing the beauty nature gives us. Small little caves and beaches offered us a place to stop and share this largely uninhabited part of the earth. People spearfishing, kayaking, sailing or like us on a small zodiac enjoying this piece of heaven.
There is a drive on Maui called the ‘Road to Hana’. It is a long and winding road with many one lane bridges that has been built respecting nature rather than taking over this island paradise. Past Hana into the National Park you will discover a journey to a 400 ft Waterfall that leads you through a wonderous Bamboo Forest. Along the trail you will move from the heat of the sun, to the dampness and coolness of the rainforest. The man-made path takes you through some beautiful scenery that makes you feel a part of nature rather than invading nature. On your return you can cool off in the fresh water of what has been incorrectly names the ‘Seven Pools’ for there are many more. Small waterfalls mark the larger pools. Many people sit and enjoy the beauty and the fresh water pools as the waves of the ocean crash into the shoreline below. A truly beautiful sight to be enjoyed by all our senses. The serenity of the pools is disrupted by others jumping off the cliffs into the pools below somehow believing it is them that is more powerful or beautiful than nature.
There is a small river on Kauai where you can Kayak and hike to a wonderful waterfall in the forest. As you hike the trail you cross streams and see the beauty of nature’s trees. There is Noni along the trail as well. The kayak along the stream creates the illusion that we are one with nature. Our guide Renee who moved to Kauai from a larger mainland American city taught all of us to respect and enjoy all nature has created for us to share. She speaks of life in peaceful terms and running a small coconut farm with her husband and two kids. The peacefulness of the day is interrupted by some high-speed boats pulling skiers and tubers disrupting the tranquil waters.
I guess as I think of beauty it makes me wonder in terms of artificial beauty versus genuine and natural beauty. Our desire to live with nature or conquer nature. Our need to thrill seek versus finding comfort from within. Do we create our cities and homes to be one with nature or to conquer nature? Has our fast-paced world of glitz and glamour made us lose touch with those parts of us that really matter?