Weekend Warrior (Mine was a Wiliwili tree)

How are you doing (or did you do”) with your Reach into the Weekend?

Yesterday morning I indulged in an Artist Date, the exercise Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way recommends”

“Now to the second tool, the sticky one. [The first tool is her morning pages.] The second primary tool of a creative recovery involves play. Oh this tool is hard to master. Dubbed an ‘Artist Date,’ this second, essential tool involves a once-weekly, solitary, festive expedition targeted at enticing our inner artist into exploring new realms.”

My chosen “realm” to explore yesterday was my passion for, and fascination with, the endangered Hawaiian Wiliwili tree. This view is of a tree I have driven by for the past eighteen years, but had to hike into the scrub to see — and to appreciate up close.

12. Warrior’s Canopy View 2

We are surrounded by dryland ‘lava land scrub’ where we live on the west side of the Big Island, on the slopes of the saddle between Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, two of the five shield volcanoes the Big Island is made of.  One visitor to my Flickr photostream had commented, “it looks so remote” and it is and isn’t” it could more accurately be described as in adolescence with land development that may unfortunately be inevitable.

6. Warrior’s Outpost View 1

Meanwhile, it is an easy thing for me to set off on foot, and be within wilderness (that truthfully, someone somewhere may consider to be trespassing) within two walking miles. It would also be very easy to get hopelessly lost in the scrub, and you must be careful that you keep the roadway in some relative direction by sight or sound as you hike; the terrain takes you on 180’s in shift constantly, and the rolling hilliness obstructs your view with every few steps (and you do venture in because these old 4-wheel roads are not where it is most interesting):


Yesterday’s morning hike was more ambitious than usual, for it took me a good four hours (very sunny, hot hours) but it was so rewarding. My goal was to populate my Flickr photo set for the endangered Hawaiian Wiliwili tree, and there was one in particular I think of as the Warrior Sentinel. It grows in its natural habitat and is one which has been pruned of its lower branches by the land developer, but has never been transplanted, in fact, the road was rerouted to be built around it.

One look at the trunk near its base, and you can understand why transplanting it would be a monumental endeavor”

10. Anchored

Plus the wiliwili is now considered an endangered tree, so it may be that the developer had little choice” law or no law, it is likely that messing with this one would have created an uproar. I wasn’t here at the time the road was built, but if they ever try to mess with it now, I’ll be one of those making the most noise.

If you would like to learn more about the Hawaiian Wiliwili you can start with my Flickr photo set, now 62 photos full as of this writing, and then do some Google searches.

The wiliwili is starting to be a more frequent illustration for me now that I have a digital camera, and I have had a few people ask me (and I paraphrase to sum them all up succinctly) “Rosa, what is it with you and this tree?” for to many it is interesting yes, but it is gnarled and less than totally beautiful when compared to some others; in the late summer and early fall it loses its leaves completely, and the older ones I most reverently take my photos of barely leaf at all when they do.

‘Imi ola

The answer is that the Hawaiian Wiliwili represents significant kaona (hidden storied meaning) for me, so much so that if I ever had to pick one image for all of Managing with Aloha it would not be my book jacket; it would be one of the wiliwili. I will tell the full story one day soon (there is some of it within the Flickr photo set descriptions). For now, I hope you enjoy more pictures.

24. Blossom Macro Filament/Anther View

One of my rewards yesterday was to find another tree with yellow blossoms I had not seen before. Its blooming was farther along than the Warrior Sentinel, and so I could get photos of the wiliwili seed pods:

41. Yellow’s Blossom and Seed Pods

42. Fallen Seed and Pod (Yellow)

So tell me, how did you Reach into your weekend?

What are your current triggers with what is interesting to you?
My timing for this particular Artist Date had to do with a couple of different things, like having my camera now, and learning to love Flickr photo-journaling, but mostly because the Warrior Sentinel is in full summer bloom right now (there are other ‘before’ pictures from May in the same set). The wiliwili blooming was my reason for a hike into the scrub versus taking another kind of Artist Date, and there are a bunch of other things you can do that are not solo propositions.

17. Warrior’s Blossom View 1

I am interested in your stories: There is nothing like the weekend for talking story where we all get to know each other better. Especially for humans, but trees can count too… then there is the very worthwhile goal of learning to be interesting too.

Did you get rewarded with any surprises, as I did with the yellow wiliwili tree I found?


  1. says

    Hi Rosa,
    I read The Artist’s Way a few years ago and I highly recommend that everyone read it – whether or not you think you’re an artist (although I do believe that we are all artists!).
    I always look forward to my “dates”. One of my favorite places to go is Balboa Park here in San Diego with all the art museums.
    I absolutely love your photos. I feel as if I’ve been transported to Hawaii…even if just for a brief moment ;)

  2. says

    I’m with you Maria in believing that we are all artists in some way, some have simply tapped into it more than others have. JC’s Artist Way is a great resource isn’t it?
    Balboa Park is a fabulous place to have an Artist Date, I can see why it would be a choice for you. Another place I love to visit on foot just outside San Diego proper is Coronado Island. I was last at the Hotel Del back in 2002 (so I am due for another visit!) and in the morning I loved to take my run just among the streets nearby, for the mix of architecture is fabulous, and very interesting.

  3. says

    I am very much enjoying your pics – either here or at flickr. It’s a wonderful way of getting to know you and the country you’re living in. I think you’re doing very well with your camera – congratulations!

  4. says

    Hi Rosa, this sounds like a fabulous way to spend your weekend.
    I was off down in the far south west of Scotland, staying at a wee fishing harbour – which proved great for a few shots of nets, crates and boats – then up for a walk in the moorland.
    It looks bleak from a distance but rich with vegetation when you get out and explore. The moorland flowers are tiny but exquisite – made me want to learn so much more about their names and how to take better photos of them!

  5. Rosa Say says

    Aloha Ulla,
    Flickr is proving to be so great for the sharing and learning about each other you have mentioned. I am enjoying seeing Germany through your appreciative eyes as well: I think we Americans (and Hawaiians :) who have never been there have historical blinders of Berlin in particular.
    Aloha Joanna,
    You are one who truly inspires me to get outside and enjoy my own home more too, for I have long admired your sense of adventure and exploration, learning from you about it within your writing for months now before we both started hobbying in Flickr.
    As I shared here, this particular jaunt was a somewhat pathetic 18 years in the making for me— it was about time! Yet I don’t think I am alone: Many of us save up for travel and vacations when so much can be done in the span of a day off or weekend right in our own back yards.

  6. says

    Rosa, thank you for sharing your Artist Date with us, I feel as if I walked with you in your celebration of the Wiliwili tree!
    Like you, I have been inspired by Joanna to look closer at the place I live, to see it with fresh eyes and to delight in it. And I love seeing where people live in their flickr images, it’s a wonderful way to get to know people.

  7. says

    Learn about Luana this Weekend: I know you have it in you!

    Luana (loo ah na) is a short, easy to pronounce Hawaiian word good to know for any day of the week, and in particular, it can be a fantastic weekend mantra: luana. vi. To be at leisure, enjoy pleasant surroundings

  8. says

    I just came across your post from 2008 (thank goodness for the internet). I have been fascinated by this tree for some time now. Every visit to Kona I make my husband go with me in search of the wili wili trees. I keep talking about this tree to friends and family and showing pictures. I’m not certain they “get it” like you and I (and a handle of others) do. Mahalo for this post!


  1. Cry baby? Not me!…

    The Cock’s Spur Coral is cultivated here, i.e. non-native, decidious and thorny, an Argentine/Brazilian relative of our endemic wiliwili, and I’ve heard it called the “cry baby coral tree.” However this past weekend it only brought me joy, helping me f…