Towards A Good Samaritan World

Monday, January 10, 2005

HAWAII

I'm back. *sigh* It is nice to be working, productive, again, and it's nice not to be in financial free fall. But it was sad to leave Maui. Hana, Maui, in the northeastern corner of the island, feels like another country. All the streets have Hawaiian names-- the language with only seven-and-a-half consonants, including the glottal stop-- and many of the people are of Polynesian stock, or Japanese, or Filipino. And the landscape: mountainous rainforest, such as you associate with remote Third World countries or with dreams, but not with America. Haleakala, the dying volcano, starts deep beneath the sea and rises to 10,000 feet. The winds sweep up its slopes from the northeast, full of moisture, and the change in elevation wrings them out like a sponge: 80 to 360 inches of rain fall on its slopes every year. The result: abundant waterfalls, and intense greenery. Warmth, wind and waves. The word "paradise" its littered everywhere on Maui and it gets annoying, and most of Maui feels a bit like California, but the northeast, the country around Hana, feels like a miracle. I remember the sense almost of holiness walking through the undergrwoth, swimming beneath the waterfalls and walking down the streams, with the giant ivy-draped trees all around, like a temple of life.

A girl who sold smoothies on the road was from Virginia. "I'm supposed to go back in April, but... when you come to Maui..." (she said) "sometimes you cancel your return ticket." Yeah. Wish I could have.

The saddest moment of my trip was when I saw a map of Hawaii in the Pacific in Haleakala National Park and saw how small it was. I wish there were more of it.

The music in Hawaii is gentle and cheerful in a way that seems at once quite natural and yet, set against the blues/metal/rock genres that pervade American music with angst and technology and presentism, somehow unearthly.

Save the rainforest. Read blogs.

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