The Quietest Place on Earth

About This Episode

The Hawaiian Islands are the most remote major island group on earth. On the second-largest island of Maui, the Haleakala volcano rises 10,000 feet — nearly two miles — into the sky. And the massive crater located at its summit carries the unique distinction of "The Quietest Place on Earth." For some, the exquisite stillness of this stark volcanic landscape can mimic a religious experience, while for others, it simply inspires a deeper awareness of humans' place in nature.

The Quietest Place on Earth explores Maui's geological and spiritual birthplace. This poetic documentary looks at the majestic landscape through the eyes of Hawaiian cultural practitioners, artists, scientists, doctors, authors, musicians, paniolo (cowboys) and spiritual leaders, many of whom live on Haleakala's slopes. The film's subjects — ranging from spiritual author Ram Dass to 73-year-old rodeo champion Wilfred Souza — each speak to the transformative power of Haleakala's silence. Cultural specialist Clifford Nae'ole and musical artist Keola Beamer introduce Haleakala's preeminent place in Hawaiian mythology and in the day-to-day lives of Hawaiians throughout history. Poet W.S. Merwin, musician Paul Horn and his wife, musician-author-actress Ann Mortifee, also explore the place and power of silence in the creative process.