It’s a unique blessing to be born + raised on the island of Maui. As a child, I had no idea how truly fortunate my family was in owning their own land which they cultivated with fields of kalo (taro), apple-banana, mango, coconut, papaya, breadfruit, starfruit, avocado, liliko’i, pummelo, and various herbs. On weekends, my father and mother took my sisters and me to our Grandparents’ farm to work the aina (land). Covered in wet, warm, sticky mud, we dug and cleared taro patches with aunties and uncles until it was time for hot lunch of spam musubi or sausage soup with okra, an icy Hawaiian Sun, and a swim in the river. My cousin Isaac and I loved climbing the giant trees set against fields of macadamia nuts, when we weren’t trying to catch slippery crawdads in the stream or running from chores, of course. An anchor for me throughout childhood, Isaac (who shares the same birth year as me), was the brother I never had. We loved on going on adventures trekking through the forest at my family’s taro farm. Imagining what our futures would look like, and all the places we longed to someday see. Creativity was never in short supply in that vast wilderness and I now look back with such fondness on my childhood spent harvesting fruits to sell at the farmer’s market. The wild open spaces found along the river at my family’s property even now beckon me to stillness, to reverence. To the simplicity and beauty found in working diligently, growing food to eat and enjoy with one’s family. Ken and I loaded up the kids and I drove to our family’s farm to visit my Dad tonight. It was really sweet seeing my auntie and uncle working in the taro patches, clearing space, and harvesting. Even now, they still care for the land so well. I hope to raise my children to know this place the way I did, the way I still do. With joy and wonder.