An Offering

An Offering at Keck
A plumeria lei left outside Keck Observatory
A common sight atop Mauna Kea… An offering to the gods or spirits believed to reside on the summit of this incomparable mountain. A lei of flowers or a package wrapped in ti leaves, often placed on one of the ahu that are to be found in the summit region. We leave these offerings alone out of respect for those who continue to worship on Mauna Kea.

Early this week we were surprised to find a set of plumeria lei on one of the pillars in front of our building. Bright white and yellow, the scent of the flowers hanging heavy around the loading dock door. Quite a contrast in a world of dark red cinder and cold, a bit of the tropics that lie far below the summit.

Why would someone leave the lei at our door? A thank-you for what we do? A gentle protest at our presence on the mountain? I wonder as we drive down, lost in thought.