Soul’s Jumping Off

Spring                                                                                  Recovery Moon

The Beacon Hotel, Broadway, NYC

The Beacon Hotel, Broadway, NYC

BJ returns to the Beacon Hotel and Broadway today. She suggested taking the train to the airport, so I’ll be taking her down to the Federal Center station. It’s very close to Ortho Colorado where I got a new knee and Kate got a new shoulder. We’ll wave to our now spare parts as we pass by.

It’s been a good visit. She and Kate made spritz cookies yesterday. They also sorted through Kate’s stash of yarn. The result is a box I’ll mail to Idaho. Something for BJ to do next summer while she manages renovation of her home there before the Grand Teton Music Festival starts up in August.

We had five inches of snow the night BJ came. It’s gone now from the driveway and roads. Some remains in the shade and on the thicker snow that has been here for a while. As I said yesterday though, we’re not done. Our second snowiest month starts today. Not April Fool’s either.

Not sure exactly what prompts them to do this, but Kepler and Rigel take turns lying down in the narrowest part of our home, the passage between the kitchen and the living room. As a meal is under preparation, they watch. Hope. Then, when it’s ready, they lie there and watch as food gets carried from kitchen counter to dining table, then back. This is beneficial because it promotes good balance as we step between legs and over bodies.

Friend Tom Crane sent a picture from Maui. They’re in, I think, a set of condos just to the right of Whaler’s Village if you’re facing the ocean. He and Roxann were in Lahaina yesterday. Its whaling history had Tom wanting to harpoon something. He said he wouldn’t though because that’s bad juju. Yes. But, maybe he could find a whale of deal in one of Lahaina’s many shops and art galleries. Harpoon that.

Beyond those condos is the Sheraton. It publicizes Pu‘u Keka‘a (Black Rock), a spot where divers sometimes jump into the ocean. Notes from travelers say that such diving is frowned upon. As it well might be, since this rock was, in traditional Hawai’ian lore, the jumping off spot for soul’s to the after life.

halema'uma'u Jules Tavernier

halema’uma’u Jules Tavernier

There is a real and probably unresolvable tension between the booming tourist industry on all the islands and the native population. Many places sacred to the natives, like Pu’u Keka’a, draw tourists. Another such spot is Halemaumau crater on Kilauea. This crater, which has undergone rapid transformation since the most recent eruptions of this active volcano, is the traditional home of Pelé, the Hawai’ian goddess of volcanoes. On any visit in the past there would be offerings scattered around the crater, fern fronds, flowers, bottles of alcohol. Pelé is not an abstract, far-away goddess, but one who upends life on the Big Island often. Even non-native locals give Pelé her due.

Pele

Pele

Though the USA claims to be a non-imperial power, Hawai’ian history proves otherwise. We took it, dethroned the monarchy, and made the islands safe for sugar plantations. Michener’s Hawai’i tells the tale in easily readable prose.

The stories of these islands have a geologic tale of great scientific interest. They have a Polynesian mariners’ tale that unveils the navigational skills of thosw who took to the seas in catamarans, sailing north to populate these islands. They have a long story of their descendants and their battles, their taboos, their human sacrifice.

They have a shorter history of the haoles, non-native Hawai’ians, who came from Asia and the U.S. Some worked the sugar plantations, later the pineapple and coffee fields, mostly from Japan and Korea. Others came with money and power.

Hawai’i has a more than a soft spot in my heart. It’s a second home. Yes, that’s not too strong. We fell in love with the islands long ago and would have lived there if we had enough cash. Yes, in spite of the imperial history and in spite of the tourist industry. They are beautiful, enchanting, mesmerizing. The scent of loamy soil, gardenias, and jasmine are as fresh for me now as when we first went. The combination of lush landscapes, the vast Pacific, and the unimaginable power of the volcanoes that created them, casts a spell, one which we willingly let enchant us.