On the big island of Hawaii, if you go past the bubbling glow of Kilauea’s volcano, down the road that winds through deep craters and long lava tubes, on down through old and shockingly new vast fields of lava, keep going down toward the ocean. There you will find a field of petroglyphs created by the those who have lived on this island for many generations. This is a sacred place for these families.  

Some of the images that were carved into the lava are complex, and many hold mysteries whose meaning are only guessed by those who see them now. But among the more complicated glyphs you can find something very simple: holes. They are small. But there are MANY holes. There are 16,000 holes!

These families trekked across this unstable and harsh land and came to this spot to dig a hole. With few tools, they would dig into the nearly impenetrable lava rock.  And in this hole, they would place their baby’s umbilical cord and leave a rock on top. It is a simple act, but full of symbolism, that we are connected to the land, to the world, to the earth, and that we are connected together. 

It is just a cord, a little piece of flesh, often thrown away after it has served its purpose of connecting the baby to the nourishing body of the mother. But its roots are strong, and its connection point on the baby, the whole in each and every belly, remains with us the rest of our lives, reminding us of the connection that once was there.