A full moon at Waihe’e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge is magical. Maybe it’s because the spirit world becomes seamless with the temporal world. Maybe it is always special because of everything that has happened there. Or maybe it’s just me and the times I’ve been there. The moonlight is bright, so everything seems more alive, more real. Scott Fisher of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is an extraordinary storyteller. On a recent visit there with my family he told “chicken skin” stories about the spirits that are attached to this place. My nephew really felt the stories.
I’ve been to this place a few times, once as a volunteer with Scott when he was doing a walk with ecology students from the University of Hawaii, once for a Kupu dinner and again for this Full Moon Hike.
The early Hawaiians believed that during a full moon the membrane between the spirit world and ours was thinned or more permeable. Movement from world to world was easier, so spirits could pass into our world. Night marchers with lights in the distance were seen more frequently on nights with a full moon. This site has many Heiau, sacred sites or places for worship. The Ali’i or royalty lived here and the people produced food in managed fish ponds and kalo or taro fields. This place was full of life and apparently is still full of spirits.
I have spent a lot of my life protecting places like this on the mainland with nonprofits and local governments. Our hike in Waihe’e refuge reminds me why.
I am grateful for organizations like the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust for protecting lands like this so that we can get out in nature, get close to historic and sacred sites to feel that connection that sustains us. The connections that fill our hearts.