Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Musings: Looking Back

After a night of heavy, steady rain — with such vivid dreams of being in a Tibetan monastery that I began to wonder about astral travel — it kindly let up long enough this dark morning for Koko and me to walk.

Saw farmer Jerry first thing; he’s another person who loves the rain. We talked about when we each lived in houses that had tin roofs and the glorious racket of a rainstorm would drown out the television, make talking on the phone impossible, remind us, as Jerry so wisely noted, who’s really in charge here.

He got to reminiscing a bit about how rural our neighborhood was during the war, with a few whore houses up here in the sticks that were frequented by servicemen delivered in taxis. As a kid, he and his friends used to play in abandoned military installations on Nounou Ridge and along the beaches, and remnants of them still remain.

He said he heard a caller on KKCR yesterday talking about the militarization of Kauai as if it were a new phenomenon. The armed forces have played a big role in Hawaii for a long time, he said, dating way back to the 1893 overthrow.

Speaking of the overthrow, got an email from Nani Rogers and Ka`iulani Huff that tomorrow, Nov. 28, is Ka La Ku`oko`a — Hawaii's official day of Independence — and they’ll be chanting it in before sunrise at Kealia Beach. (oops, that was today, and shoots, I missed it.)

After talking to Jerry and reading Nani’s email, I was reminded again of how much of Hawaii’s history is unknown to newcomers — and probably even some old-timers, too.

I recall after the Kaloko dam break hearing that some fairly recent transplants to the North Shore were angry about the heavy rain — which that region was always known for — because they’d moved here during a dry spell and had no inkling about past weather patterns.

It was also reported to me that some new North Shore residents thought no one had lived in Wainiha and Haena until John Ferry and the other Realtors began selling lots up there. Now that’s not only ignorant, it’s insulting to the folks that have lived in those parts for generations.

And recently, a woman whom I thought really ought to know better, told me there’d been no real activist movement on Kauai until the Superferry issue hit. The struggles at Niumalu, Nukolii, Nohili, and before that, unionizing at the plantation camps — it was all unknown to her.

As a history major, I recognize the value of understanding the past, and yet there’s still a lot I don’t know about Hawaii Nei of even the 20th Century, to say nothing of the centuries before that. Maybe my neighbor Andy, a retired history professor, will offer some crash courses in Kauai history for activists and the merely curious, just to give us all a better perspective about what’s come before.

Finally, I got my first threatening comment — on yesterday’s post — from an apparent Superferry supporter. A few friends had warned me about that possibility, and one person said I shouldn’t allow anonymous comments, although I’ve been reluctant to eliminate that option. Those who know me know I don’t scare easy, and I’ve never been afraid to say what I think. That said, I’m returning that comment — with love — to “Uncle Buck,” the sender.

1 comment:

Navelgazing Midwife said...

As I prepare to move to Kaua'i, I am studying as fast and often as I can to learn about the new place I will be living. It baffles me that anyone would move there and not know where the rain falls, where the roads flood, where the swells occur and when - and even when the State Holidays are! I want to be seen as a part of, not separate from and will do all I can to make that happen. I mean, I am moving *there*, right? Do as the Kaua'ians. :)

It embarrasses me that people can be so flippant about the land on which they live. It shouldn't surprise me, but it does.

I can just keep learning for myself and my family, right?