Ka Wai Ola

Robert K. Lindsey, Jr., Trustee, Hawai‘iThere are several places on our Big, Big Island that I like to retreat to: Waipi‘o Valley (ironwood forest along the kahakai), the southwest corner of Spencer Park pavilion (kiawe tree grove), the grounds of Imiola Church (beneath the ancient ‘ōhi‘a and lone magnolia tree) and our homestead farm on Paeli Alanui (where with the help of our sons we have planted well over a thousand trees since 1986). We have ironwood pines and podocarpus for shelterbelts, fruit trees (oranges, lemons, limes, tangerine, fig, grapefruit, nectarine, cherimoya), avocados (sharwil, Kahalu‘u, mālama, Yamagata), Norfolk Island pine, paperbark, eucalyptus, kukui, beefsteak, coffee and a nut tree (macadamia) for home and family use and to share with friends and neighbors. Finally, we have jacaranda, cherry blossom, California pepper, koai‘a, sandalwood and hibiscus for color, shade, beauty, habitat and inspiration.

Of the four places listed, our farm is my most special place to escape to. In the quiet of the day, for respite, I come here to sit and listen to the cardinals singing high up in the ironwood, the grumbles of the ring neck and Indonesian pheasants and the cackles of the erckels in the understory of the trees. Then, between November and April, you hear the soft bleats of the few kolea who migrate to their annual vacation spots on our farm. We watch the manjiro (rice birds) haggling over an overripe banana or nectarine and a flock of turkeys foraging their way down the lane through the farm which I think I’m going to call Pueo Road in honor of the barn owls who spend the day sleeping in the ironwoods. I like to sit and listen to the wind’s soft hum through the trees, the “music of the spheres” is what I like to call it. I come to this special place to think both small and big thoughts, to shake the cobwebs from my aging brain, to retreat from the craziness and busyness of the world, to find inspiration, to regain my center of gravity and to think positive thoughts so that I can then return to the real world a better person, a better kanaka, a better “servant leader” and hopefully…a better Trustee.

What or where is your favorite place? Mine is on the farm, beneath and amongst the trees in my garden.
“In The Garden” by C. Austin Miles is one of my favorite gospel songs.

“I come to the garden alone While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The son of God discloses
And He walks with me And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known
He speaks and the sound of his voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing
And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own.”
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.”