Haiku mornings resound with silence…

morning’s arrival

For a few months of his stay on Maui, he traded landscaping & other odd jobs for the privilege of sleeping on a folding mattress in an illegal yoga studio that jutted out over a Haiku ravine.


This is one of my favorite flower photos – a hibiscus flower (I think) on my property in Haiku.

He didn’t sleep there every night, so the landlord often rented out his bed for $5 a night to anybody passing through who needed a place to crash. More than once he found a stranger peacefully asleep on his mattress when he’d finally make his way down the dark, slippery jungle trail to rest…

And he finally moved out of the yoga studio and into his beaten but freely acquired car after flickering orange light woke him – taunting him from just outside the only exit – the only other way out 20 feet off the ground (and already badly charred from a previous fire). He stamped out the fire quickly, and over the next hour moved everything he owned into his car, laid the passenger seat back, and began sleeping there.

But tonight he’s not thinking about unexpected bedmates or burning yoga studios. He’s remembering a ritual that began every morning around 3:30, before even a hint of daylight crept across the island.

Haiku mornings resound with silence – in the winter the jungle palms talk with the voice of wind and rain, but during the rest of the year, they whisper respectfully to each other until dawn’s arrival. And then, just as the first star to the east winks out, a rooster over in Hana announces that morning is coming.

Another just west of him hears the rusty call of day and repeats the message to its fellows further east, and so on, and so on.

So in this depth of dark morning, he wakes to the first faint crowing that reaches his ears – miles off – and another, a little closer, and another, dozens one after another proclaiming that ‘morning is on its way!’ as if following a line zipping right past his yoga studio bedroom. And then they do, and the crowing and excitement fades off into the distance to his west, and down the hill into Maui’s central valley…

For a while – and then like a wave bouncing back and forth between two walls the announcement comes back from the west – cock-a-doodle-doo! – over and over, louder, closer, more often – until it swings past him again and fades off to the east.

And the roosters chant like this, swaying between the two coasts of Maui like a pendulum, until dawn arrives, stepping her sandaled feet on the shores of Hana, along past Ho’okipa, Paia, visiting the top of the volcanoes, and finally stands astride the island shining her light. Finally they fall silent and go on with their other duties.

Eventually he felt lucky for his unintended alarm clock. It gave him time to swim in the darkness, the quiet, the solace of night — before day brought its schedules and duties and responsibility.

Mila (Jacob Stetser)

Mila is a writer, photographer, poet & technologist.

He shares here his thoughts on Buddhism, living compassionately, social media, building community,
& anything else that interests him.

  1. Learn more...

recommended for you

recent activity


  1. blog comments powered by Disqus
  1. comments via Facebook ()
  1. Legacy comments ()