The rain came in the night, several times, and drummed on the roof and poured from the eaves, but it was gone — although promising to return — by the time Koko and I went out walking in the light of early dawn.
It was cool enough for a sweatshirt, and a brisk wind came from the north, hard-driving a herd of gray clouds that turned pink as they passed over Makaleha and Waialeale, softening the green slopes.
A thin moon cupped the sky in the east where the sun was struggling to rise, and while I never did see it, I knew it was there from the fiery white light that blazed through a puka in the cloudbank and sent shafts of silver plunging down into the sea.
I was at the sea the last couple days, although not the place I usually go. Yesterday it was Larsen’s Beach, where I went to take some photographs and refresh my mind on the trails before writing another story about the access issue today.
The presence of nude sunbathers is a recurring complaint about that beach, and while I don’t mind if people swim or sun in the buff, there seems to be a fine line between naturism and exhibitionism. I’m thinking in particular of one old tourist, his face smeared with zinc oxide, who was dressed in an unbuttoned short-sleeved shirt, socks and shoes, but no pants.
Come on, buddy. Who are you trying to kid?
I guess what it comes down to is I don’t care if guys want to lie around with their dicks out, but it’s a different story when they seem intent on showing their members to me, which so often seems to be the case at clothing optional beaches.
There’s a different sort of exhibitionism under way up along the coastline of Wainiha and Haena, where folks are intent on displaying their wealth not only to beachgoers, but each other.
Standing on the deck of the house next door to Joe Brescia’s place, and seeing how it was hemmed in by other giant homes that had maxed out their lots, destroying the ocean views of their neighbors in the process, I couldn’t help but think they’d created a high-priced slum.
Brescia’s house is progressing rapidly, yet the Kauai-Niihau Island Burial Council won’t be taking up the issue of his Burial Treatment Plan at its November meeting, either. It’s very curious, this continuing delay.
Meanwhile, looking into his lot, it seemed so bizarre that people will one day be living in a house where they will gaze down onto numerous burials in the yard, which you can see surrounded by orange fencing on the mauka side of the private property sign. It becomes pretty clear, when viewed from the perspective of those who will be occupying the house, that it’s located smack in the middle of a graveyard.
That fact hasn’t been forgotten by Hawaians and others, who came by last weekend and said their pule and left offerings and refreshed the ahu that was built when Kaiulani was camping there on a triangle of public beach that the state is allowing Brescia to claim for his own.
We’re talking about that good-sized chunk of land that lies between the orange fence and Brescia’s black dust fence, and it’s indicative of a situation happening all along the coast, where landowners start treating their shoreline certification line as their property line and plant the vegetation that allows them to encroach and eventually claim it.
Because who is going to rip it out and risk arrest? And once it’s thickly covered with vegetation, it's no longer available for public use.
Shifting gears, it was a little sad to read in The Garden Island of the last sugar ship sailing into the sunset, and to realize yes, it’s pau now, and all we’ve got to replace it is GMO crops.
Veteran’s Day is always a little sad for me, because it makes me think of all the lives that have been screwed up and ruined by war, and for what? The ongoing exhibitionism of America's military might.
The other day I was talking to my friend Kaimi about a friend of his, a Kauai boy, who had enlisted in the Marines and gone to Iraq and come home angry and unsettled and troubled and guilt-ridden, because he’d killed kids, but not before they’d tossed an explosive into a truck that killed and maimed some of his comrades in arms, which he felt he’d allowed to happen because he hadn’t opened fire on them earlier, which he hadn't done because he didn’t want to kill kids.
Now who, really, can recover from something like that?
A lot of soldiers don’t, which is why we're seeing such high rates of PTSD and, as The Wall Street Journal reported, suicides:
Sixteen American soldiers killed themselves in October in the U.S. and on duty overseas, an unusually high monthly toll that is fueling concerns about the mental health of the nation's military personnel after more than eight years of continuous warfare.
The October suicide figures mean that at least 134 active-duty soldiers have taken their own lives so far this year, putting the Army on pace to break last year's record of 140 active-duty suicides. The number of Army suicides has risen 37% since 2006, and last year, the suicide rate surpassed that of the U.S. population for the first time.
And as Democracy Now! reports today, using the sad case of Chance Keesling, who was placed on suicide watch during his first tour of Iraq, then called back to duty again, ultimately taking his own life:
A longstanding US policy denies presidential condolence letters to the families of soldiers who have committed suicide.
Wow. Doesn’t that strike you as just a little bit cold?