Saturday, April 9, 2016


Haiku is located on the "wet side" of Maui

People in Haiku are known to have a high tolerance for rain. We keep an extra snorkel in the house if it rains, in case it rains inside. Our feet and hands are webbed. We don’t have wrinkles, we have erosion ruts. Don’t ask about the green stuff growing in our armpits and in places where the sun doesn’t shine. You don’t want to know. 

A living plant sign spelling out Haiku at the Haiku Hoolaulea aka Haiku Flower Festival.

Yet the last few years have been unexpectedly dry. I’ve even had to water my plants daily, an almost unheard of occurrence years ago.

And, this is a true anecdote: We were at a yard sale in Haiku one day. A woman announced, “Today it’s been raining in Makawao, Kula, Pukalani and Paia (all nearby places that are usually dry and sunny). But it’s not raining in Haiku.”

Oh my, she was right. Haiku was sunny. It was a day of weather blasphemy.

Haiku is known for narrow roads, choked with green vegetation and trees that grow into the overhead power lines, hand-painted “Slow Down” signs, people who stop their cars in the middle of the street to talk to a neighbor, backyard pot (marijuana) patches, irrigation ditches that look like streams, deep gulches, wild chickens, scruffy hippies, small 2-acre farms, hidden nooks and crannies with hidden houses and jungalows and tents, and surfers who want to be close to the north shore. It’s like Hana, without the drive.
There are no stop lights in Haiku.

People from civilized Maui, places like Kihei, think of Haiku as the boonies. It’s beyond bucolic.

It’s not completely the boonies. There are three small grocery stores, two hardware stores, a post office, several food trucks, two massage and acupuncture clinics + several home-based practitioners, a kombucha cafĂ©, a handful of  restaurants, a laundromat, churches, public schools, a holistic doctor, a park named after the marines stationed here during WWII, a tiny gas station called Toma’s Garage, a fitness center, and yes, a Death Store. Do they have specials? Don't ask.

And, there’s Jaws aka Peahi in Hawaiian, the legendary surfing spot with the monster waves. Only 5 miles from my house.  Surfers, tourists, photographers, and local residents swarm to Jaws when there’s a “high north shore swell.”

Haiku’s history includes agriculture during the plantation era and the US military stationed here during WWII.  Even a Japanese internment camp during the war.

Haiku, especially an area called “Five Corners,” is the inspiration for short stories and essays by Paul Wood. Former US Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin lives in Haiku.

Speaking of poetry, the town of Haiku is not named after a style of Japanese poetry, but intriguingly, all our phone numbers begin with 575. Haiku is a Hawaiian word. One meaning of Haiku from the HAPI website is “The True Self Standing Upright in Spirit.” That is a deep metaphysical mouthful. 

Some images of Haiku. Note to English majors: we often don't spell very well.

But maybe Haiku is still the boonies. DH and I talked with a guy from Lahaina and he was just ecstatic over the phone. Note: Keep in mind that Lahaina is the polar opposite of Haiku with commerce exploding everywhere: expensive art galleries, fancy restaurants, whale watch tours, souvenir t-shirts, and nightlife.

He gushed about Haiku: “Most people who visit Maui don’t see Haiku. So much fruit, all those farms, the greenness. So much green.” I know all about green, I just have to look under my arms. 

If you are participating in the A to Z Challenge, please use either Disqus or Facebook to comment below. Please include your link so that I can visit you back, but it might be as late as May! (I'm still not sure I'm fully committed to this because of ahem, the "chicken terracing project," so if I can get through the first week... we'll see.)

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