Every rock and ditch we ride over makes me nauseous. Will this drive ever end? My cell phone has no reception, and I feel disconnected from the technology-driven society I am familiar with. As I arrive at my destination, relief replaces my unease. Gray clouds drift out to sea, and unexpectedly, they take my dependency on technology along with them. I am now in the Valley of Kings: Waipi’o Valley on the Big Island of Hawaii.
As I go further into the valley, there is less and less civilization. Just an arm’s length away, wild horses graze in the dew-topped grass. The aromas of sea-salty air and fresh rain fill my nose and lungs and tickle my skin. I hop out of the truck to find my bare toes hugging the fine black sand like friends who haven’t seen each other in years.
Near the river, I close my eyes, listening to the water rushing to meet the ocean. I hear every rustling leaf of the ni’oi trees and the crash of waves rushing over the sand. Salt dries on my skin as the trade winds blow. All the natural elements of the valley collaborate to create this wonderful symphony. I meditate on its beauty; this tranquil environment provides an escape from a world of chaos and materialism. The serenity I feel at Waipi’o cannot be found on the little screen of my cell phone or my laptop.
The peaceful views of cliffs and waterfalls in the distance – and the feel of goosebump-cold, brackish water on my body – allow me to reboot. I am so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. I wonder how anyone would want to cause any harm to nature. Cities and towns cannot compare to the peaceful environment the earth provides.
In the Valley of Kings, the tall cliffs are the skyscrapers I am accustomed to seeing daily. The indigenous birds that fly overhead are like the huge planes I hear and see all the time. The fresh air here replaces the burdensome smog I experience in the city.
After my visit, I take this experience and sense of place with me wherever I go. It has helped me to realize how precious and beautiful nature is. Waipi’o Valley does not live off of a battery; it lives off of love and its natural resources.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.