Most days when I’m driving in and out of Manoa Valley, I see this guy walking, sometimes jogging alongside the road. He looks like a local guy, flattop haircut, smart moustache, always wearing the same outfit: black shorts, black shirt and a long-sleeved white-shirt under the black; white socks, black shoes. Most of the time he’s stretching his arms out, like he’s keeping them prepped, warm, ready for action.
And he always has this stern look on his face; and he seems very alert, conscious of everything that’s going on. He seems like the kind of guy you wouldn’t mess with.
I first started running again on July 4th. I wondered if I would run into this guy and what I would do…
Turns out he and I did cross paths; we nodded somberly at each other and instantly I felt this connection, this sense of well-being.
This is the guardian of Manoa.
Now, I’m sure he’s just a man trying to make his way from day-to-day like everyone else. But just seeing him out most days, on patrol, eyes always looking around, I can’t help but imagine that if any danger or threat were to come to this valley, he’d be there.
In Hawaiian mythology, there are guardian spirits – Aumakua – that appear in forms of animal, nature, or man. Whoever the walking man is, I believe he is Manoa’s Aumakua.