A fat, more-than-half moon was directly overhead and the eastern sky was streaked with red when Koko, Paele and I went out walking this morning. Before us, Waialeale stood as an imposing blue hulk, her flat top visible as white puffy clouds billowed up from the lowlands.
It's decidedly fall, heading toward winter — the time when even folks who like to sleep late can see the sun rise, and the Laysan albatrosses return to Kauai. It struck me, as I drove through Kealia the other day, that this is the first year in 24 that I haven't encountered a dead Newell's on the road. I'd like to think it's because the factors that contribute to the fall out have been controlled, but I believe it's more likely due to the fact that their numbers have dropped so dramatically that there are far fewer left to be killed.
Though I really don't mind getting older, it's sobering to think I've been around long enough to see species disappear, both on this little island and in the rest of the world. But then, at the rate we're going, with humans causing the greatest mass extinction since the demise of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, that's no longer such an anamoly.
I visited a 95-year-old friend of mine yesterday, and she showed me a photograph taken from a Japanese Zero that was preparing to drop bombs on Pearl Harbor. I was struck by how barren the landscape was around the harbor in those days, the massing of truly sitting-duck ships. She had been sent the picture as part of a fundraising appeal from the aviation museum there, in advance of the 70-year-anniversary of the attack.
Wow, 70 years already. I remarked on how World War II had still seemed fresh when I was taking history classes in college during the late '70s and early '80s, and she replied that it was still fresh to her, because she had been in it.
We talked of the recent Veterans Day events, and she reminded me that it had begun as Armistice Day, marking the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when fighting ceased between the Germans and the Allies in the first World War — the “war to end all wars.”
“And there have been so many armistices since then,” she remarked.
It's obvious there will be no war that ends all wars, unless it's a nuclear holocaust that ends us, too. But still, we act as if militarism is the ultimate answer; it's the threat so frequently levied when leaders casually remark that everything — as in killing, maiming, destroying, extinguishing — is still on the table.
I thought about all this as I saw the Star-Advertiser headline reporting news that Ian Lind had broken the day before, about how the Marine Corps plans to dramatically increase airfield use at Kaneohe Bay. It's yet another indication of the ramp-up that reflects Hawaii's ongoing, and increasing, military importance in the Pacific.
Meanwhile, Obama has forged a new security agreement with Australia, even as he claims we're not afraid of China.
Well, then, what — aside from medical marijuana, just about everybody in Pakistan and all those people still occupying public places — are we afraid of?
How do we move past that fear?
And I recalled the words of shamanic healer and teacher Sandra Ingerman: “It is not what we do that changes the world, but who we become.”