By Lehua Parker
Once again, I’m lost in Provo.
They said, “Go south one block, then turn east. Entrance faces north.”
Growing up Hawaiian, Utah’s as foreign as Mars. North? East? Only tourists navigate this way.
Here I’m perpetually adrift, wandering the desert like Moses.
Utahns say look at the sun.
But it’s night.
My pioneer ancestors collectively face-palm. Utah’s an ancestral home, but my roots feel too thin.
Suddenly, there’s warm Waikiki sand under my feet. My Hawaiian kupuna, navigators who easily crisscrossed the vast Pacific, raise my chin toward Utah Lake and whisper, “Think makai.” Toward the ocean.
Timpanogos. “Mauka,” they say. Toward the mountains.
Left. “Diamond Head. Payson. South.”
Right. “‘Ewa. Salt Lake. North.”
Aligned to land, not sky, I’m grounded.
And never lost again.
Lehua Parker writes speculative fiction for kids and adults, often set in her native Hawaii. As an author, editor and educator trained in literary criticism and an advocate of indigenous cultural narratives, Lehua is a frequent presenter at conferences, symposiums and schools. Her hands-on workshops and presentations for kids and adults are offered through the Lehua Writing Academy. Connect with her at LehuaParker.com.