Blog | Michi Wong: Sennit of LIfe, Apa of Love
I am filled with awe of dazzling atolls, the vast expanse of deep blue, the navigator silhouette against the heavens, the spirit of dance and hā, strength, perseverance, courage, bumps, bruises, blood and sweat, muscles aching, hearts yearning.
Pago Pago, American Samoa – Apia, Western Samoa – [Tokelau] – Swains/Olehenga – Pago Pago, American Samoa, August 25, 2014 to September 30, 2014.
To the crew of Hōkūle`a and Hikianalia, Samoa Leg: Timi, Rex, Kawai, Eric, Ceci, Sam, Daniel, Nainoa, Jenna, Lehua, Marcel, Keli, Nikki, Kula, Mary Anna, Maui, Seniu, Brad, Ryan, Mel, Saki, Linda, Bob, Adam.
9/26/2014, 06:00 a.m., I sit in the lobby of Sadie’s Inn—sleepless in the dark of predawn, rolling in gentle but mixed waves of reflection. Our Samoa to Samoa leg has been fraught with pauses of uncertainty, awaiting word as to when, whether, where we would set sail to Apia, to Swains, to Tokelau. Winds and weather, unprecedented storm patterns, swells and currents were hindrances. More than once there were questions as to whether we could return if we were to set sail for our destinations. Doubt and fear, error and disappointment punctuated unforeseen moments and crept in uninvited. Still, trust in our captains and navigator and faith in our journey held us focused and unyielding.
Images, stories, sensations, emotions arise swirling in magical richness of colors and connections. I am filled with awe of dazzling atolls, the vast expanse of deep blue, the navigator silhouette against the heavens, the spirit of dance and hā, strength, perseverance, courage, bumps, bruises, blood and sweat, muscles aching, hearts yearning. We were blessed with glimpses of Fa‘a Samoa, bitter awa and wisdom of Tau’a, the ancestors, shared in the fale of the high chiefs, in the embrace of the children of Aunu’u, in the thrill of Tosua, in the beauty and presence of the people, their families, culture and heritage, land and sense of place. We were set adrift in the struggles and darkness of the tides of time, and then cast into the grace and brilliance of His Highness, the Head of State. His words, a gift of light and hope, “we are all children of God,” he said more than once, urging us to set sail, to wayfind by the swells and navigate by the stars, to set forth in faith, true to the values within. His was a moral compass a gift of knowing. If we listened well, we would set out to rediscover our relationship to nature and to others, and to actualize the meaning of aloha, hope and healing, Mālama Honua.
“Why do you sail?” many asked. We sail for the ancestors, for our children, for those who will inherit this Island Earth, we sail because to not go is to pretend we do not see. And we sail for each other. The crew has been leaving in waves. I cannot deny my tears. Sadness runs in upwellings and undercurrents that we are nearing our journey’s end and approaching new crossroads and beginnings. Joyful tears celebrate the bonds and indescribable allure of the `Ohana Wa`a, the family born of life on the canoe, the glances of assurance, tribulations and triumphs, labors of love, basking in each others’ imperfections, our own, the selflessness, humility, earnest pride, hard-earned scars, laughter, music, teasing, snippets of time knowing “nothing fer shur,” except that what we have together is forever. Echoes of our Hakipu‘u elders waft in, “our blood is your blood, our bones are your bones, our stories are interwined.” This is the sennit of life, the sennit of love. Precious are these connections. Like the dot on the horizon, the wa`a arrives, the destination unfolds, the hope binds us and the island emerges again.
Mahalo for an incredible journey, Pui Pui Le Lalongi, Mālama Honua. Me ke aloha, Michi