The Thunder and The Hula

hula... not jims photo











This week is an unusually wet week in Hawaii. Here on the Big Island, especially in Kailua-Kona the rains have barely taken a break for days. Moving here from the arid desert of Las Vegas, we are loving the rain for a change. Our skin is no longer dry and cracking, requiring gallons of moisturizer applied liberally and often.

We have been in rain storms before and I have experienced rain in Hawaii before, but this is different. I remember being in the southwest, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Phoenix, and listening to the thunder roll off the hills during a storm. If you were close enough to the lightening strike, you would first hear the crackle of electricity charging the air with power.  You see the lightening bolt clearly, distinctly with it’s jagged edges.  Then you feel and hear the tremendous thunder boom and listen as the thunder rolls away from the epicenter where the lightening bolt released the power of mother nature. You feel the hairs on your arms slowly go back down to a resting position. You listen and hear the thunder lightly roll across the hills and valleys, dancing merrily and powerfully, dissipating it’s energy as it moves.

Here in Kona, for the first time I saw lightening in the clouds. I was commenting to Leise, I think this is the first time I recall ever seeing lightening in Hawaii. Always dark gray rain clouds with the storms, but never have I seen lightening. Then I heard the thunder I finally understood the hula. When the thunder rolls in, it’s like the deep throated drums the musicians beat when they accompany a hula. It is the type of deep sound you get if you beat on a big old hollowed out tree. Upon hearing the Hawaiian thunder roll down the mountain, my mind’s eye saw the grass skirts the hula dancers wear as I saw the grass and palm trees swaying in the trade wind breeze. I felt the drums rumble in my chest and I understood so much more about the hula.

I will never be able to watch hula dancers again without having this deeper connection to the islands.  In an instant, I saw the history of the Hawaiian people. When we moved here we had just missed the Merry Monarch Festival, this is the largest Hula Festival in the islands. We now wait with great anticipation for the festival to start again in April. This is a week long celebration of Hawaiian culture, arts, crafts, and food ending with a three day hula competition which is the definitive word in hula. If you love experiences, like the Mariachi Festival in Guadalajara, MX each September, you will have to attend this must see event.

Aloha from the Beautiful Island of Hawai‘i,

James Christopher

One Comment on “The Thunder and The Hula

  1. Moving from Las Vegas to Kona? That’s such change when it comes to rain. We have enjoyed every rainy day since we’ve to go back to Phoenix soon

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