At sunset, thunder was rumbling over Kalepa, while the sky behind Waialeale, which itself was clear, save for some white clouds flowing like waterfalls over the summit, had that “God stay here” look of round billowing clouds laced with gold and orange and shooting out silver shafts of light.
Darkness fell and the thunder rumbled closer and by midnight was exploding in great cracks right outside the house while lightning created a strobe effect in my bedroom and the rain drummed down in torrents as Koko, panting, paced, her anxiety eased by a few doses of Rescue Remedy.
And then the storm moved on, allowing us to sleep, and when we went outside in the 5 a.m. darkness, it was all chilly and still, with bright stars, Venus, a perfect half moon, and no trace of the earlier sound and fury.
In much the same way, Hawaii yesterday became the seventh state to legalize civil unions when the governor signed a bill that the Legislature had passed without all the drama that effectively prevented a similar measure from becoming law last year — and with none of the bitterly ugly divisiveness that marked the 1998 marriage rights ballot measure.
Despite fundamentalist Christian contentions to the contrary, the new law does not allow same-sex couples to get married. But it does give them — as well as heterosexual couples who don’t want to enter into the baggage-laden institution of marriage — the rights, responsibilities, benefits and protections that Hawaii law provides to married couples.
Another battle — the one over boating in Hanalei — that was waged long, hard and furious, in both the courts and community, is also coming to a peaceful close, with a hearing tonight on proposed changes to state rules.
Among some of the proposed changes:
No commercial vehicles can load or unload passengers in the water or adjacent lands without a state permit and county approval, and passengers can access the loading area only through designated areas;
The state may issue up to five commercial use permits, with priority given to those who held such permits in November 2000. Through attrition, the maximum number of permits will be reduced to three. Vessels can carry a maximum of 25 passengers, with each permit holder allowed to transport no more than 30 passengers daily;
The state may issue up to two permits for guided kayak tours using the Hanalei launch ramp, with no more than eight passenger per trip and a maximum of 30 passengers per day. Again, priority will be given to operators who held permits in November 2000; and
State permits and county approval are required for commercial water sports instruction and tours, including surfing, canoe rides and stand-up paddle boarding, with a total of eight permits issued and no more than four students per instructor at any one time.
While the proposed rule changes promise to finally resolve the longstanding dispute that tore apart the community and ultimately led to the creation of a tour boat industry at Port Allen, they are also noteworthy because they were achieved by a group of citizens and government officials working together.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources was not initially receptive to such an approach, but Kauai member Ron Agor volunteered to meet with the community to hammer things out.
And, miracle of miracles, the group reached a consensus.
As one participant described it, “Holy shit, this has never happened before.”
The participant went on to say that Ron should be given credit for pulling the meeting together.
So in deference to a commenter who regularly raps me for failing to heartily applaud good efforts by our government officials — believing, apparently, that they can be trained, like dogs, to do the right thing through praise — let me just say, in all sincerity, “Atta boy, Ron. You’re a good, good boy.”
I only hope he’s not alarmed when, upon next seeing him, I pat his head and rub his ears.
And a big mahalo to the reader who suggested in comments that I try Rescue Remedy for Koko's thunder trauma. It's been a huge help.