Venus was glowing, looking twice her usual size in the moist air of a dew-drenched dawn, when Koko and I went walking this morning. Both Waialeale and Makaleha were totally clear, allowing me to gaze upon all the many bumps and knobs and notches that characterize their summits, as a meadowlark, hidden in a pasture, joyfully repeated its bright metallic song.
The sun rose through a bed of pink swirls and then was suddenly freed, its light bright, yet diffused into a rosy haze by all the moisture in the air.
It was decidedly cool, offering yet more proof of our descent into fall. I pointed out other signs to my former neighbor Andy when we went walking on the mountain trail last Sunday: a fallen red leaf, Christmas berries turning from pink to dark red. And I noticed today that the plumeria trees are losing their flowers.
I also noticed how the very old man that I see each day, frail, yet walking miles, always with a warm smile and a bright “good morning” for me, had rigged up a little set of steps, replete with a pole for balance, to allow him to get over the high guardrail so he can access the Kawaihau Road walking path from his back yard. It was so ingenious, and an example of how he had taken charge of a situation, determined not to let any obstacle stand in his way.
It made me think of the story about the Maui woman, as reported in The Maui News, who survived the tsunami on Samoa because she’d had the sense to escape to high ground after she was knocked down by a severe earthquake. The first wave came just eight minutes later:
As she fled in a van, Cristiane "Kiki" Martins said she and others screamed at villagers to escape to higher ground. But the Paia resident said she saw some families stay behind in their homes, waiting for a warning or evacuation order that wouldn't come in time.
Two days later, I was talking with our own Civil Defense administrator, Mark Marshall. He mentioned that people tend to think government will save them, and that it has warehouses filled with blankets and cots. “We don’t,” he said. Even at the shelters, all that’s guaranteed is 10 square feet of space. And maybe a working toilet and drinking water — or maybe not.
So if we’re essentially on our own in a situation as dramatic as an earthquake or hurricane or tsunami, why do we keep looking to government to save us or guide us or even do right by us in all the other situations that affect our lives, like climate change and health care and Afghanistan and the economy?
As one person noted in a comment left yesterday on Saturday’s post:
The joke is.......people running our government don;t have a clue