I also wrote this piece for my Fiction 101 class. The assignment was to describe the most beautiful place we had ever been to.
The first time I saw it I was on vacation with my parents. It took nearly half a day to drive there, though the road to it was filled with many splendors along the way. As a matter of fact, “The Road to Hana” is known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world. The journey is the road, for many, but for me, what I found at the end of the road was the most beautiful.
I stepped out of the sticky leather back seat of the rental car (why would a rental car have leather seats on Maui?), and stretched in the warm, clear sunshine. The parking lot was small, the asphalt dotted with potholes, and painted with uneven white parking lines, which everyone seemed to ignore. At the end of the parking lot was an overlook, and we staggered toward it, our legs rubbery from sitting and our stomachs growling for our picnic lunch that was neatly packed away in an ice chest. But, as we reached the lookout, I looked down upon an earthen paradise; a magical, fragile masterpiece created by the hand of God himself. I had never seen anything as beautiful in my entire life, and I immediately felt a spiritual connection with this beach.
We made our way down the path that led to the beach, and stood in wonder as our feet sank into the billions of small black pebbles that made up the warm bumpy carpet beneath us. The sound as the aqua colored waves crashed onto the pebbles is almost indescribable. It was like the rhythm of a thousand steel drums beating at once, followed by the crashing of a thousand cymbals in unison. With each thrust of water, thousands of pebbles were upturned and shifted, replaced by new pebbles. In the distance, a humpback whale breached.
Later, as we ate our lunch on a picnic table near the parking lot, a small white dog walked out of the jungle to greet us. We shared our lunch with him, snapped his picture, then watched him disappear back into the jungle. It was only after we returned home from this trip did I learn that Pele, the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire, is known to have a small white dog as a companion. It is a good thing we were kind to the mysterious stray white dog!
I returned to this beach a few years later with my husband, and was so excited to share this place with him. The second time I set foot there was even more magical than the first. When we arrived, there was a drizzling rain, so we sat in the car for a bit. Soon, much to our luck, people started leaving. It seemed as soon as the parking lot emptied, the rain stopped, and we had this paradise almost completely to ourselves. The gray clouds hung low and heavy in the sky, and the air smelled of fresh, cleansing ions. The seas were calmer than they had been my first trip, but on this day we were blessed with the presence of sea turtles frolicking happily in the water. We watched them from above; their jeweled shells gleamed in the water and were as large as coffee tables. They waited for each wave, and then dived beneath it, almost as if they were playing a game.
We did not get visited by a stray white dog on that day, but I believe it is because I passed Pele’s test the first time. I would like to think that she blessed me because when we got home I found a black pebble embedded deep in the sole of my shoe. I figure, if I didn’t know I was taking it, it was a gift from her and I will treasure it; a small token to remind me of my moments in paradise, at Wai’anapanapa State Park on Maui.