The moon was one night shy of full and lit up the twisting road ahead. Beyond its beauty, it was offering a much needed protection. Not the mystic hogwash protection pagans buy into, but a quite literal protection. Without the lunar light I would have quickly stumbled off the beaten road down into a shadowy jungle valley. I was marching in the night. I was officially angry in paradise.
I had had a pretty dehumanizing afternoon behind the bar in the bowling alley. Immediately after clocking out, I walked straight to the liquor store that doubled as a souvenir shop. I was good. I only got an airplane bottle of Jameson. Hawai’i is pretty big on carding for ID on alcohol purchases, but I had learned some skills. I lost my ID on Maui, and had to sweet talk the TSA to get back to Big Island. Sweet talking an ABC store clerk was nothing.
My tiny bottle of booze and I were officially ready to hit the road. At this point, it was maybe twenty minutes before sunset. I didn’t care. I needed to blow off steam, and hitchhiking was one of my favorite ways to do so on the island. Like most, I only ever hitch during the day, so I wasn’t expecting much. A cute girl in a Jeep scooped me up after while. Apparently she had been looking to pick someone up all day because she never drove and always rode her bike or moped but it was rainy today so I looked all day but there was nobody hitching until you now she spoke in endless run ons. She was sweet though, and took me well past her house just because.
I was feeling inspired and a bit lucky after a pretty, young blonde was ballsy enough to give me a lift in the moonlight. I’m not sure which tenth of the three and a half mile hike up mauka (up the mountain) did away with my lucky feelings. Nor which tenth sold the inspiration down the river, but lucky and inspired I did not feel. That is, until a random lady on a moped offered to carry my bags up to the gas station in the next town. I followed my bags there. The gas station workers couldn’t figure me. I don’t know if I am proud or ashamed to be a “new one” to the employees at an all-night gas station. I thought they had seen everything.
About a quarter-mile onward from the gas station, an SUV skidded to a halt in front of me. I don’t expect rides where there is no shoulder. My faith in catching a ride at night was quickly fading. Nonetheless, there sat a stopped vehicle in front of me. I scooped my jaw up off the asphalt, and clambered into the back seat. Funny how often a hiker and driver take off from the same place. The driver had just gotten off work at a bar near the bowling alley I worked at in Kona. He and his boyfriend were heading home to the next town up. They dropped me off in Honaunau, the “city of refuge.” Cutely ironic.
After exchanging our sure-I’ll-see-you-again-it’s-a-small-towns, they went West, and I continued South. At this point, I had decided that my only real goal of the night was to go as far south on the island as I could before I got tired. I hiked with a vengeance. The fresh remains of a drunken accident lay in a deep ditch off the road. I thanked whatever it is I thanked that the wreckage below hadn’t pinned me to the earth beneath it. I can greatly appreciate when another’s mortality is put in check while my own is left unperturbed. I grew tired and set up camp in a gully a ways down the road. I had to keep telling myself how unlikely two cars flying down into gullies within a couple miles of one another must be. I sang it like a lullaby as I drifted off into mosquito dreams.
The next morning I woke in a cloud of real mosquitoes. I had some local botanical extracts that kept them off my skin, but it was a wild connection between dream and reality. I packed up, got picked up, and was dropped off at the bottom of the road up to my house within an hour of waking. I sat, thumb out, at the bottom of my hill for just another half-hour. Then, she pulled up. In her Subaru she’d named after Mauna Loa, the white mountain, she slowed down and offered me a ride.
She was going right past my house, which is probably where I shoulda gotten out. But I happen to have very little will power or common sense when the sacred word brunch is uttered. On our way up to my house, Flowing Water invited me to the Dusty Ramblers Sunday Brunch on the other side of the island in Honoka’a. My weakness accepted the invitation to brunch for me. Flowing Water went on to tell me there would be a spiritual healing after we ate. I have very sparse and particular spiritual thoughts, but I figure anyone could use a healing of almost any sort.
We stopped off in the town near where I lived, Holualoa, to pick up a couple of the Dusty Ramblers themselves. Flowing Water’s friends were more traditionally Peter and Emily. I feel it necessary to quote Peter on the most considerate thing I’ve heard out of such a stoner to date. “Oh, if you had been opposed, I just wouldn’t have smoked.” Based on the volume of herb burned into my lungs alone, I don’t know if he would have made it all the way to Honoka’a. Along the the way, he decided to add me as a bard/jester in his historical sci/fi novel. I’m honored to be a part of his creation.
We pulled into the house/start-up welness center that was to play host for our brunch. For being a one person, one month operation, I have to applaud what hey had going; a massage room, a colonics machine (if you’re into that), an office, and a full kitchen. I ran into Flowing Water moving room to room with a burning bunch of sage. She asked if I wanted her to smudge me. I took a gamble, and came out smelling like a hippie’s laundry.
Peter and I passed the guitar back and forth. He played Dust in the Wind (dead on for the moment), and I offered Big Ol’ Goofy World by John Prine. We played and sang while Emily cooked up eggs, potatoes, yams and carrots, and seeded some papaya. It might not have been what first pops in my mind when I hear the word brunch, but it was Hawaiian as hell and delicious. Another crew of ramblers rambled in, and we all shared a great meal. Alas, nothing is free in this world, and I was set to learn this lesson one more time.
When I heard the words spiritual healing, I envisioned something of chakras, elements, love, and meditation. I came sorely unprepared. As our plates grew emptier, Flowing Water announced that it was time for the healing. She dug out her texts, got comfy, and let into it. She is a follower of Ra.
Stop right there. It’s not that Ra. Well, it is, but not exactly.
Flowing Water believes that Ra is a group of sixth-dimensional beings that has coalesced into one entity. She believes that entity, Ra, is the Ra the Egyptian God of history, but also, that Ra contacted a group of American paranormal studies student in the sixties. The messages relayed between Ra and these students was recorded in a four book set called The Ra Material. If this all sounds absolutely nuts, just imagine being there. To put it into perspective, catch and episode of Ancient Aliens on the History Chanel.
Flowing Water taught a while, then of course we sang a few Baptist gospels because that’s what Ra worshipers do. They sing Baptist gospel songs. When she had decided this had been a success, we packed up to head back to my side of the island. I left full, entertained, and Peter had given me a sprouted papaya tree to plant at my house. It was a winning adventure, however weird.