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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Grotto

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 3/5/2021
Occurred: 1/2/2021
Topics/Keywords: #Coronavirus #Maui Page Views: 140
Hidden beauty in rural Maui.

Since we didn't go anywhere yesterday, we were kind of having cabin fever even though we can explore our 28 acres at will) so decided to take a ride on the "back road" past Hana, toward Kipahulu or even farther. Luckily, the two of us taking a rural road trip is perfectly safe with regard to COVID-19. But along the way, in addition to the waterfalls we knew we'd pass, we stumbled upon a little shrine to the Blessed Mother that was so beautiful and perfect that not even my personal trauma from the Catholic Church could spoil it for me.

(No, I was never physically abused by a priest, if that's what you're thinking. As a gay kid growing up, though, we were told in no uncertain terms I was a sinner and would spend eternity in Hell for what I secretly was, inside. That is now understood to be emotional abuse.)

So, when we drove past the grotto, I was moved at how beautiful it was, and noted the spot so when we drove back home I could get a photo of it.

We weren't the only tourists out today. And, some of them weren't masked when they got out of their cars to gawk at the waterfalls. In order to catch my "30 Seconds of Zen" videos, I had to be careful to keep my distance from them.

"Zen" doesn't actually mean what most Americans seem to think it means. It does not mean "Something peaceful to look at." Rather, it refers to seeing things for what they are, whether pleasant or unpleasant, and being okay with that, with finding peace in it. For personal calm, it's a good exercise, whether it's a waterfall or vultures eating a carcass. It should not imply that bad things we can change, should not be changed (like racism, poverty, ignorance). It is merely training to not take those things personally.

Still, it's hard to imagine anyone not finding a waterfall peaceful, whether doing Zen or not.

Anyway, we came back to the grotto and stopped, and I got this photo.

I'm guessing the child in the grotto is St. Bernadette, and that the whole thing represents Our Lady of Lourdes, an apparition that occurred in 1858.

Or, perhaps I was attracted to the grotto because of a scene in my own novel, The Lady From Heaven, in which a beautiful apparition appears to a young South American boy. (Not in a grotto but a forest clearing; not actually Mary, but he thinks she is.)

In Maui, these grottos, usually empty, are formed from bubbles in the lava when Haleakala was still oozing, some millions of years ago. Some were exposed when the way was being blasted for the roads; some have merely become exposed from so many millennia of erosion.