Hula Dance, A Language With No Words

 Hula Dance, A Language With No Words

 Hula Dance, A Language With No Words

When I feel stressed and overworked on the mainland there are a few thoughts and images that bring me immediate relaxation. I conjure those memories for the joy of remembering all of the outstanding people and places that I have encountered in my life’s journey.

I find peace with the vision of Hayward, Wisconsin and the lakes surrounded by tall pine trees and black bears wandering the back roads. On our last trip to Hayward, we were pleased to see two small cubs wandering on the side of the road and the mother bear serenely sitting close by eating bits of food from her paw. She didn’t even glance up as we passed in our car, to her we were just another tourist making our way to the lodge up the road. She was okay with that.

I am equally as satisfied with the cacophony of sound and sights in New York City.


The theatre marquees around Time Square, the smell of pizza from the never-ending shops of mozzarella, yeast dough, garlic and tomato sauce, and the sound of taxis and Lyft drivers honking endlessly at the car in front of them on the streets lined with trucks and workers lifting logs of fabric in the garment district. I disappear in Manhattan into myself and I am the mother bear sitting motionless as the world travels around me.

But, there is nothing like a beautiful breeze blowing off the Pacific Ocean rustling the sea grapes on the coast of Maui. It is a soothing sound. The white sand between your toes, warming your entire soul with the culture of this magnificent island. To the east is Paia and the wind surfers and throngs of Hana-istas driving the road we all know with the home baked banana bread at friendly make shift stands and the yellow guava sprinkled like candy on the road.


To the southwest is Kihei and Wailea, beach after beach of baking boys and girls tossing Frisbees and diving into blue waters. And in that direction is Haleakala, the stoic burst of lava and lavender and bikers riding effortlessly into sun rise. Lahaina and Ka’anapali to the northwest is settled on the sea of hotels that afford weary travelers beds of cushioned comfort. The resorts there hug the sea and extend their expanse into flowing man made pools of lazy rivers and umbrellas casting shade on skin so ready for a tan. You are offered a Mai Tai to slip evenly into the warm arms of Maui as you shrink from the nine to five of phone calls and social media.

This is the place where I turn my phone off and rely on Aloha to connect me with myself.

Ma’alea Bay and the Pali Coastline are right in the middle of the Hawaiian Islands.


Maui is shaped like the face of a person facing the rest of the world looking quietly for friends to share its grace and majesty. When I close my eyes and rest on the heat of the sand, I hear the many different voices. The sound of mainlanders counting off the days ahead and the squeals of kids stepping back from the surf as a wave demolishes a well-built sand castle. Everyone on the sand is equal. Everyone is stripped down to as little clothing as possible with golden skin glistening from an even layer of suntan oil and perspiration. It’s hot here in the middle of Maui but it sings songs of short naps with dreams of coconut water and cool pineapple.

The last time I went to Maui, I arrived early at the airport and rented a car. I took off and stopped at Krispy Kreme for an Old Fashioned doughnut and a jolt of sugary coffee.


I head out of Kahului and made my way to the face of Maui past my favorite restaurant at the Maui Ocean Center, Seascape overlooking Ma’alea Bay. I turn a sharp right lifting my soul toward the Pali Highway and the vast view of Molokai and Lani in the distance.

I pack light for my trips to Maui and I always include on the top layer of my carry-on luggage a swimsuit and a beach towel. My destination: the local beaches on the Pali Coastline beneath coconut trees and native silly shaped bushes. I see a really big pickup truck with tires the size of Rhode Island parked haphazardly on the beach side. Blinker on and I stop and park even more haphazardly than Rhode Island and race to open my luggage, secretly changing jeans for a bathing suit and that trusty beach towel. I walk through the green canopy, stepping on tiny stickers until I am alone with the ocean and a local family.

Local families love the beach in Hawaii and they use it well. Tents pitched for an afternoon of sun and sand and smiles.

I place a toe into the waves and sigh, “Heal me Maui.” And the process begins.

Little by little I make my way into the ocean, waves reaching up and embracing me. “Come a little deeper” and I look for things in the ocean like sharks and turtles. I see neither, but I do notice little silver fish darting in and out between my legs playing hide and seek with my stress.

The drive from OGG washes away along with the flight from the mainland and then the angst of the Wednesday I left behind and the rushed trip to the airport on the freeway and “don’t forget your mask” remarks from my husband (and “wash your hands… don’t touch your face!”)  A text that said “Wear your mask in the airport” was his final word of dire warning.


And now I am socially distanced from society, bobbing up and down in the ocean and finally sinking down to the bottom where I rest totally enveloped by warm Hawaiian water. I am free at this moment.

I swim back up, move to the left toward Lahaina and I step on coral. A scream! And the local family with the big truck look up from their big BBQ grill and open cooler. They all look at me. Attention paid. I smile and wave “I am okay.” Shaka in return. “Hm”, sign language. The cooler is closed and a POG is popped.

I make my way out of the waves and onto the sand and throw my beach towel out like a blanket and I rest. Slowly I ease into beach sleep. It’s quiet here. Then little conversations from the local family start to seep in.


It’s laughter and words like “da kine” and “brah” used frequently without a breath. What is this language? Pidgin. It’s pidgin. I am hearing pidgin and I don’t understand a word but it is okay because I know from the tone that it is all good. Music. An ukulele. He drives a big truck and plays a little ukulele with a delicate touch. Soft singing and I open my eyes. The wife is gracefully dancing hula looking to the world just like the face of Maui. She extends her arms full to the front and then lifts her right arm to the sun, gently pulling the rays around herself. She is telling a story and she is speaking without saying a word.

The language of hula pulls life toward her. She reaches out and brings the world to her face, smiling and swaying – feeling the life around her without touch and words.


It is a lullaby of such grace that I cannot stop looking and so I am pulled in. “Come” she motions, “come to this place in my heart that I hold for you.” She reaches up plucking love from the air and holding it like life’s precious breath. I inhale as she hands me her aloha.

I watch her and understand that I know this song. This language with no sound. She touches her lips and then quickly gives the breath of her life to the world out there. I am eager to look out and see what she is seeing and I do. With the lilt of the ukulele as a sound track, I study the ocean and know that out there is everyone who wants to be free of life’s trouble. I don’t have to stumble and fall today, I can share, that’s it, I can share my aloha.


I look back and she is reaching up with both hands surrendering to the sun and the amakua her spirit of kindness and relaxation.

When she stops, she pauses for a moment and then the music ends. The BBQ sizzles and the waves lick the sand. This is what it feels like to be thankful and today, I am thankful to be here listening to a language with no words that says more than all the words I say in a day.

My phone rings, it is my husband. “How was your flight?” “Did you wear your mask on the plane?” “Where are you?”

I cannot answer him because the answer is so simple. Where am I? I am here with myself and I am happy. 
Click Here To Book Tickets to Huakai Luau- and learn Hawaiian Hula

Huaka’i Luau at Maalaea Harbor Maui at Maui Ocean CenterMaui’s Best New Luau192 Maalaea Rd, Wailuku, HI 96793 https://huakailuau.com/ 808-374-5616

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