by Marya Mann, reprinted by permission from Kalani Honua
On a sun-drenched afternoon, I find myself walking the sacred grounds of Kalani Honua, the original nature, wellness, and Hawaiian cultural eco-village in the heart of Puna’s lush, green southern coast. Richard Koob, dancer, farmer and raconteur who started the center in 1975, guides me past a reclining Buddha sculpture on the way to the aquaculture gardens.
He offers me a plump tomato, fresh from the hydroponic vine. Who can resist? I take a juicy bite. My palette purrs. Delicious! Potent, healthy, natural. Genuine food, energy medicine, an antidote for much that ails modern, industrial society.
“Good, huh?” says Richard. “Ommmmm,”
I moan in culinary ecstasy.
A light turns on. Om? Om. Suddenly, like a shooting star across the heavens, I know the source of Om: yummy foods, central characters in this East-West Garden of Eden, free of guilt and terror. The magical mantra Om, kin to the sweet sound of Aloha, is said to repel fear, instill love, and guide devotees, even nonbelievers, across the stormy seas of existence and into safe harbor.
Thus, Aloha and Om are no ordinary words. Art of Cultivating Delight – A Tomato Worthy of its Name.
Kalani IS safe harbor for thousands of pilgrims and other eco-visitors who reside, study and volunteer at the 120-acre learning center every year.
They all seem to realize one thing: To be worthy of the name “tomato,” a tomato must taste like a tomato. Words, like many of the Styrofoam-tasting vegetables you find in corporate grocery stores, can become stale. Or words can be juicy, fresh, real.
Consider Kalani Honua, words which translate into “harmony of heaven and earth.” Can there be a place worthy of the name? Like the words Aloha, Om and even Enlightenment, Kalani Honua could be disregarded for the many concocted reasons we might choose for ignoring the treasures around us.
Respect, still a fresh word, comes from the Latin respectus, which means “to look again.”
Looking again, travelers and Big Island residents return often to Kalani Honua to live naturally, enjoy ‘ohana, and create dance, music, and visual arts that celebrate Hawaii’s cultures. On-site and on-the-web, more than a quarter of a million people visit the eco-village every year. An anchor for the artistic, economic, and social life of Puna for 35 years, Kalani is also a campus seedbed for the 22nd century, both literally and figuratively. Drawing on the creative energy of Pele’s lava, flowing directly into the sea nearby at Kalapana, nearly 100 residents work, play, heal and create.