Diamond Head (Le ‘ Ahi)

 

A walk-up, with the summit only 761 feet, Diamond Head, the most recognized landmark in Hawai ‘ i, had a profound effect upon me — the panoramic overview from the top pulling all of Hawai ‘ i’s magical elements into mystical focus. Started out the day, surfing in Waikiki Bay on the heels of a blazing purple and pink sunrise — riding the glide of evenly pulsing waves stained the sunrise colors, and hearing the call of the mountain looming like an animate force over the bay. Riding a wave all the way to the beach, stepped off the board and then hiked out 3 miles to the base of the mountain and scampered up the 0.8 mile trail over uneven and steep terrain traversing deeply eroded ridges. Diamond Head was formed 300,000 years ago during a single, brief volcanic eruption. The broad crater covers 350 acres with its width greater than its height. The mountain’s Hawai ‘ ian name is Le ‘ ahi, meaning “fire headland,” referring to the navigational fires that were lit at the summit to assist the ocean-going canoes seeking land. Standing on the summit, drinking in the views from Koko Head to Wai ‘ anae, I vibrated so high that I disappeared, dissolving into the turquoise sea, shimmering tropical greenery, the forge-like aroma of sun-heated volcanic rock from the fire goddess Pele. Extending the transcendent moment, a poem from the Japanese nomad and wandering scholar, Nanao Sakaki, channeled forth:

“Why climb a mountain?
Look! A mountain there.
I don’t climb mountain.
Mountain climbs me.
Mountain is myself.
I climb on myself.
There is no mountain
Nor myself
Something
Moves up and down
In the air.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: