The longer I stayed on Maui, the more I learned about the lucky ones who live in the tropical rainforest of Haiku. This Hawaiian word is not pronounced like the three-line Japanese poem but in three separate syllables of ha-i-ku. Despite this, I have never heard anyone pronounce it correctly. Here is a story from my forthcoming novel.
“Come to my haven in Haiku,” he says, his deep blue eyes piercing into her brown ones like Cupid’s arrow seeking a path. “I’ll cook for you.”
“Where is it?” Having just arrived from the mainland, she prefers to stay in the “valley” where shopping is convenient.
“You can take Hana Highway east, past Paia, past Ho’okipa Beach. Just keep going. It may take you thirty minutes, depending on the traffic.”
“Is there another way? I need to go upcountry this weekend.”
It’s spring but you can’t tell, for it’s an endless summer in the tropics. The newcomer steers her beat-up two-door car to a choir rehearsal in Olinda. She loves exploring Maui but only if there is a destination or an event. Her “Maui cruiser” protests at the uphill journey towards Haleakala. The choir director welcomes her to her cottage.
Two hours later, she backs out of the choir director’s driveway and heads in the direction of Makawao. She makes a mental note to return and check out the interesting shops and yoga classes. For now, she is hungry and curious.
Hairpin turns. She knows the word hairpin as her mother uses them to curl her hair but she has never experienced making a hairpin turn. She shifts to neutral as her wheels glide downhill into what she thinks is Haiku, making 180 degree turns at the end of the hairpin.
Next to the main road, she spots unmanned tables filled with green apple bananas, yellow passion fruit, pineapple and mango. She wants to stop and enquire but she is already running late. Soon she moves along at a snail’s pace, for the road narrows and bends, blocking view of oncoming traffic. But her caution is unnecessary, for there is no sign of human life. Every house is hidden behind thick, green foliage.
Far from the madding crowd of Kahului and Makawao, she suddenly understands why anyone would want to hide in Haiku. It may be a ways from the malls, the airport and the kind of swimmable beach she is used to. There is an elusive, almost surreal atmosphere to being alone and feeling one’s aloneness in the real tropical rainforest, unlike the man-made one in Wailea. It is quiet, save the chirping birds and whispering branches.
At the last intersection, she turns onto a bumpy driveway and stops abruptly. The gate magically opens. A dog barks as it runs towards her.
- Ukulele chords in A major and lyrics (PDF) for “Our House”
- Ukulele chords in G major and lyrics (PDF) for “Our House”