Stairway to Heaven – the most magical place on Earth
CHAPTER 1 – OCTOBER 2017
We arrived in front of the main gate.
Closed! Bolts and padlocks. Peremptory prohibition messages: ‘Private property. Government property. Don’t cross. Violators will be punished according to the law.’
Disappointed, we couldn’t understand.
A gentleman in his seventies was watching us from afar. He parked slowly as if he wanted to slow down the time. He got out and approached with a stentorian step disguising his previous, apparent, clumsiness. He asked us what we were doing there.
The story of the Haiku Stairs began at that moment.
He didn’t know the real reason for the prohibitions. He only knew that it’s impossible to go through that gate. Nobody could go any further! Someone ignored the prohibitions and went on anyway. Someone else desisted. He couldn’t tell us if there was another way to overcome the ban. It was vague but, in our opinion, he knew it.
We walked back to the gate.
‘What do we do?’ The temptation was strong. After all, it’s only a trek. Why not to get past the gate? Someone does it. ‘
The temptation was strong, the temptation was very strong.
It was three o’clock in the afternoon and, all in all, we were still on time.
If it had taken two hours to reach the summit, we would have been at the top for sunset. The sky was clear and the light fantastic. No clouds in the Sky.
The sunset was surely beautiful up there.
Sometimes, a myth born by chance, without having looked for it.
That first time, we went back to the hotel in silence, dazed. What was previously a stage of the journey, a tourist attraction, had now suddenly become the meaning of the whole journey.
The Haiku Stairs was the archetype of existence. Perhaps, in the world, there were other places that meant the same thing, the archetype of existence, to other people.
CHAPTER 4 – MAY 2018
“When I go, I am respectful and full of peace, completely immersed in the experience, perhaps because you are in it for 3922 times. The activity confuses the senses and opens the spirit. We rise from civilization to magic. At the top you can savor hot food and you can calmly reflect, letting all this become part of the memories before civilization erases the traces of this lived magic and makes us plunge back into the harsh reality. People think they go there for the epic view but, along the way, they recognize themselves reflected into Nature. They share a majestic energetic imprint with the Earth and appreciate it through their soul. They discover that they have climbed a mountain to discover themselves in a new light and the new dawn becomes the best part of their day. They always say ‘I didn’t think it was so beautiful’, sometimes smiling, other times in tears. Every time I walk along it I lose myself in him “
We thought these words were perfect.
We met Matt one morning in early May. At that moment we didn’t know anything about him, but his words about Haiku Stairs, recorded in a travel blog, reflected our most intimate feelings. His description was vivid and full of color and sounds.
Again, a shock seemed to paralyze our bodies. There was someone in the world who had managed to climb the stairs.
We wrote him and, a few days later, we were friends. Being able to share our emotions made everything more real. Haiku really existed and Matt knew it well. It would help us make our dream come true.
CHAPTER 5 – AUGUST 2018
We skirt the road, ready to flee into the woods if Matt would have told us to do. Then, as we begin to climb up, Matt tells us to go into the forest and go up from there.
The ground is wet and slippery, we help ourselves with the bamboo and with the roots of the damp and viscous plants. Above us, the cars whiz by on the H3.
A few moments later we go around the fence.
Nature has ingenious methods for finding our weak spots when it forces us to live in the center of our magical Universe.
Suddenly it is as if we were naked and with the heart of a child walking the path of our life. We are happy.
The climb begins on the first of the 3922 steps that we will not count.
Matt understood that we feel what he himself has tried for more than two hundred and eighty times, so many times he has climbed. And he knows that we can no longer live without the stairs, like him.
Shortly after, going up, we have emerged from the impalpable haze of the clouds and now we can see everything around us. It’s like getting rid of a burden and the show, even from here, is magnificent. Fatigue gives way to vigor.
At times the sky is leaden, at times is blue disappearing into the sea. You can hear the cackles of some birds and the Amakihi of Hawaii, and then nothing else except of us gasping with increasing fatigue when, again, the mountain rests.
When we are about to reach the top, we slow down. A few more meters and we will see the radio station which, in a few minutes, was shrouded in clouds, perhaps to move us away one last time, perhaps as a last, extreme attempt for protection.
We are close. We slow down again, in our hearts we would not want our climb to end so quickly. Without realizing it, the legs tremble, for the pain and for the fear of finding out what awaits us up there, the eyes turn and, closing, sigh. The neck’s muscles, tense, screech like ropes when the wind hits them. The chest also contracts just after inhaling, exhaling with the restlessness of repeated frictions the breathlessness loaded with fatigue. The light is now palpable and at times, however, rarefied.
Four hours are too few and at the same time interminable to finish everything.
We are on the verge of unreasonableness, so high up.
We are at the horizontal walkway that precedes the radio station, here the iron boards are well positioned and well preserved by the nature of the mountain that has made them his own, as a part of himself that it can no longer do without. Here, we feel the strong call of God, free from everything. We see neither Kaneohe nor the horizon. We perceive with our senses every truth that surrounds us. The gods of Hawaii are everywhere.
Mana, the vital energy.
The stairs no longer belong to man, but, now, they are the mountain’s son.
For a moment, the Haiku Stairs is there only for us. Now, I understand why 300 days ago, in October, we went back to the hotel and desperately threw the backpack on the carpet. I understand everything now, and my eyesight is sharper than ever. Now, memories can finally merge and find peace. I will never be able to go home, ever again.
Mana, the life energy is everywhere and makes the heart explode with joy.