I awoke hot and stuffy, which made it clear that the place to begin the day was in the shimmer of the eastside sea. And so Koko and I headed down the hill, away from the mauka clouds to the sunshine of our favorite beach.
The tide had pulled way out, exposing the treasures of the reef, where a lone man with a sack and a stick was hunting tako, and pockets of water, where I wanted to be, that were calm and bottle green.
The sandy beach was broad as it ever gets, smooth and unsullied, until Koko, running wild laps and circles to burn off her bounteous energy, left her small tracks along most of it.
After my swim, which left me cool and refreshed, heart calm and head clear, I recalled standing on this beach about a week ago with a friend, who commented on the sweetness of the water I’d brought from my house.
We figured its source was Makaleha, and in my mind’s eye I saw those jagged peaks and that lush, narrow valley, with its beautiful clean stream where I have numerous times recovered my laughter and joy beneath its cold, rushing torrent.
And then I felt a deep sadness in the place between my heart and solar plexus. I not only could see Makaleha, but feel it, and I knew the stream was gravely diminished.
“It’s starving,” I told my friend, and not just because its water is diverted and the rains have failed to return and replenish, but because we no longer know it, tend it, malama it.
“We just keep taking and taking, giving nothing back, not even our acknowledgement of its existence or appreciation of its gifts,” I told my friend, who agreed.
And it struck me then, and again this morning, that therein lies the failings of our modern material world. We have become so fixated on the results — the goods — that we almost wholly neglect the source of all that is.