The air was downright crisp when Koko and I stepped out into a morning washed clean from a night of showers. The sun was a sparkly white ball just cresting a bank of grey clouds, while pink puffballs bumped up against the fluted green ridges of Makaleha.
I was moving kind of slow, but Koko got all revved up and started doing her little spins when we were passed on the road by a hunter, his pick-up truck filled with excited dogs. We saw them later, the men in their orange vests gathered at the end of the road, by the sign recently erected by “Pig Hunters of Kauai” directing tourists and hikers not to pick up or take away dogs from the trail, as their owners would be looking for them.
Heading home, we passed my neighbor Andy, who was heading out, and he noted he hasn’t seen much of me lately, which is true. I’ve been getting up super early and working a lot, so much that I haven’t even had time to blog. I was busy preparing for the blessing of the new Community Center at the low-income rental housing project where I work, an event that is now fortunately and successfully past.
It was an event that was attended by the mayor and most of the Council — people of whom I am often quite critical — yet when I saw them there, and they saw me there (some expressing surprise at my affiliation with that place) it reminded me that although we can have different points of view, belief systems and ideas about how things should be done, there’s no escaping the fact that we’re all part of the same small community. And as I said in my little speech at the blessing, it's all about working together.
While preparing for the event, which required tremendous physical and mental effort, I had no time to do anything expect eat, sleep and work. It reminded me that a lot of people live like that, while also raising kids, and so it’s no wonder that they don’t know what’s going on. Following politics and staying on top of the issues is a luxury afforded by time, which is in shorter supply than cash for many folks.
When it was all done, and I’d expended just about everything I had, I wanted nothing more than to sit in a comfortable seat and be entertained, which is not typical for me, but helped me understand why TV is such a draw. So I went to see “The Return of Nanny McPhee” with a friend and found not only the diversion I sought, but also messages applicable to humans of all ages: no fighting, be kind, work together, be courageous and engage in giant leaps of faith.
And that offers a nice segue to an event that is happening this week. Members of the royal and chiefly families throughout the Polynesian Triangle are coming to Kauai to establish a Union of Pacific Islands. My friend Kaimi, a customary chief with the Kingdom of Atooi, has been working on this for months and now it’s finally coming together. There will be a royal procession and pa`ina at Children of the Land (next to the Kapaa Papaya's) on Wednesday evening, and events at Lucy Wright Park in Waimea Thursday through Saturday.
It’s open to everyone, and is mainly a chance for people to meet and connect and develop ways of strengthening the bonds between Pacific nations, with the idea of building support for an independent Hawaiian nation.
Anyway, if you can help with housing for any of the visitors, contact Andrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Joe at 212-5614. If you’d like to contribute to the event, you can send donations to The Polynesian Cultural Fund, PO Box 919, Kekaha, HI, 96752. And if you’d like to attend the pa`ina, contact Sandy Herndon at 821-1234 or Erika Morningstar at 212-6687.
On a totally unrelated note, I ran into an article I wanted to share about a new study that discounts the argument that marijuana is a “gateway drug:”
Researchers found that other factors, such as ethnicity and stress levels, are more likely to predict whether young adults will use other illegal drugs.
Even unemployment appears to be more closely linked to harder illicit drug use than marijuana use, the study authors noted.
Ethnicity was the best predictor of future illegal drug use, the study findings indicated, with whites the most likely to use the drugs, followed by Hispanics and then blacks.
The article went on to report:
In a study published recently in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, [Dr. Richard D.] Blondell and colleagues at UB [University at Buffalo] reported that new research suggests that many people first get addicted to drugs while using prescription painkillers.
Meanwhile, as a friend texted last week:
Heat rising from the cane fire aka green harvest yesterday and today.
When are we going to stop waging this silly war on a plant?