“There are no coincidences,” I’ve been told by more than one person.
On Alaloa Street in Kaneohe, Hawaii there is a remarkable cemetery, but you would probably just drive by. You won’t notice the inconspicuous headstones upon a hilltop because you’ll be looking for the back entrance to the Windward Mall, which is the next right.
Parking spots are hard to come by, but behind the mall, there is additional second level parking with plenty of spaces. That’s a secret I don’t share with just anyone:) Park on the cemetery side. It’s so picturesque looking down at the old cemetery, with a tall, white fence border, (plenty of plots available). There is a middle-aged man standing on the car ramp, tearing off small pieces of bread, tossing into the cemetery. This is a no-no in Hawaii. There are signs all over; Don’t feed the birds, any bird. A rooster and a few chickens with 4 or 5 little chicks appear from a few broken boards in the fence.
Hawaii has many wild chickens roaming the streets, the parks, free rein over the neighborhoods, it’s just amazing where you may find some of our tastier fine, feathered friends. And I’m not talking KFC stuff, either. Road kill is either a feral cat or the chicken that didn’t make it across the road. I wonder…with so many stray chickens, what happens to all the eggs? Is that a city girl question? Remember what roosters do? They crow. It has already begun tonight at 1:51 am, guess this is a new day. Maybe if I closed the curtains, the roosters wouldn’t think my office light is the sunrise. These roosters love to crow, but no worries, after a few weeks they won’t wake you up every five minutes.
If there are no coincidences, why did I hear the cemetery call to me. “Oh, Donna, oh, Donna, I had a girl, Donna was her name….” That was bad, but I just couldn’t help myself.
You do have to walk the entire length of the cemetery, as the only entrance is from Alaloa St., so if you plan on doing this you could save yourself a few steps by parking closer to the road; its hidden entrance, instead of going to the balcony.
These sacred grounds hold the ancestors of Hawaiians. The rectangle plot of land doesn’t have much road frontage, but it’s long and lean, snuggling fairly close to the Windward Mall’s back door, with parking areas running the length of each side of the cemetery. It’s placement is unusual, certainly most malls can’t boast about a cemetery in the middle of their parking lot, but its the contours of the land, the rolling greenery in contrast to the flat, black abutting parking lots that makes this so special:)
Taking photographs here is easy with so many angles and backdrops and options available, I love options. What are my options? I study each ‘forthcoming’ photograph from all different perspectives before I decide which angle, which lens, the lighting, the composition, the shutter speed, the aperture. It is created before it is taken, well, at least that’s my intent. I have no objection to a little computer aid, especially since no one is perfect every single time.
As the sun sets behind the Ko’olau Mountains a soft, golden glow warms the sky.
If you allow yourself to sit down, relax for just a couple of minutes, appreciate this small plot of paradise and say thank you. Say thank you to the heavens. Thank you to the mothers and fathers, so many children and babies that are buried beneath this soil. Appreciate this moment; the calmness and peacefulness. Accept your blessings with gratitude and if you’re so inclined, pick up your camera.
You will feel like a little kid in a candy store. So many options (did I mention I love options?), where to start, decisions to make… the passion is full steam ahead. I don’t hear the cars in the parking lot or driving on streets anymore. There is no noise here. My thoughts are connected to my camera. Inside my body there is some magical force going on sending electrical currents buzzing up and down in every cell from toe to tip. There becomes a tipping point from when I am in control of my camera to when something (or someone) is telling me exactly what to do. You will feel, too. Charged and powered by an energy that doesn’t want to ever stop creating. This is when you can become the most creative, trust your instincts. Your gut feelings. Listen to your inner self. Let your spirit free to create. Feel the current in the air. And count your blessings. I am thankful to be blessed as a photographer! Amen:)
Considering we’ve just had an amazing photo session we deserve to pull over to the corner of the mall parking lot at the intersection of Haiku Road and Kamehameha Hwy. Leonard’s Jr.’s red and white striped van is tempting us with the best malasadas on the island. If you’re a mainlander, you may need explanation about malasadas. It is a round, soft doughnut stuffed to bursting point with the most sinfully delicious fillings (most popular are the original or custard, my favorite). If that isn’t good enough by itself, it is served warm and lightly sprinkled with sugar. I bought one to refresh my memory of its satisfying ways. Delicious, you have to lick your fingers and thumbs a few times while you’re eating and you’ll likely get that ungodly glob of custard oozing out between your lips. It’s impossible to eat this daintily.
So no could see eat so piggishly, I sat in my dark car devouring it happily until my last thought… as a photographer I should have thought to take a picture of this delightful pastry to share with you before it vanished. Ahh, well. I knew it was in your best interest to buy another so I did. As the sweet girl handed me the bag, it felt plumper in the palm of my hand, than the last one. I did the little bouncy thing you do with objects when you trying to gauge the weight. I looked at the girl. Two? Yes, apparently you get two. Last time I made the mistake of asking for just one, but they come in a pair, accept the malasada love, share or double your pleasure. Triple is off-limits.
I didn’t realize that the energy I felt at the cemetery was captured in some of my images until I downloaded them.
When will I ever stop doubting there are no coincidences?
Thank you for spending some time here.
…I was just going to the mall to buy some light bulbs.