Driving home in the waning light of Friday, past Wailua Bay all muddy with the waters of swollen Wailua River and Opaekaa Falls a tumbling torrent, skirting deep ponds, overflowing ditches, and still the rain came down, replenishing everything, filling me with a giddy joy at witnessing all that wet beauty, and just as I was thinking, I hope this continues, I heard the DJ on the radio say that drier conditions were in the forecast and all this should be behind us by tomorrow, he hoped.
It wasn’t, and I happily greeted a dawn muted by the heavy gray of clouds, dashed out with Koko in a raincoat I too seldom have the need to wear, listened to a delightful symphony of patters and drips, sighs, swooshes, splatters as every now and then the trees shook their leaves.
Mid-morning I headed down the hill to collect my mail and I came prepared, just in case it was dry along the coastline, as it so often is, and it was, so I jumped in the water in a place where it stays clean, even after big rain, and a tourist lady who was watching me approached and asked, do you live here? And when I said I do, she said she’d thought so, as it seemed that people who live here have a special light in their eyes, sparkle to their lips.
I told her it came from getting in the water and she asked if it was safe for her to swim; she’d been told two people drowned there. I said I would keep an eye on her if she wanted to go out and when she emerged from the water, beaming, I asked where she was from. Sweden, she replied, and when I made some murmuring small talk about how she must be glad for the warmth of Kauai she said no, she didn’t mind the cold, but she didn’t like the rain. She was hoping for some sun, and did I think we’d get some?
I didn’t want to tell her my own hope was for more rain, so I just smiled and shrugged and headed back up the hill, where a little Niagra had formed on a section of stream exposed by clearing last year and I had to turn on my windshield wipers well before I reached home.
Later, I called a friend who lives in Wainiha and she was saying she had never seen her yard quite so flooded, and her driveway for a time had been impassable, but still, she was hoping for more rain, because she loves it, and it helped to solve so many problems, by which she meant the entrenchment of vacation rentals owned by people hoping for a large return on their investments if the houses are regularly inhabited by tourists hoping for sun.
And as I reflected on these encounters, while listening to the rain that continues today, it struck me that the world is disharmonious because we have such different hopes. Or perhaps it's simply because we have our hopes, and that puts us in a state of wanting to cling to what is, of wanting something different than what is.
I’ve heard it said that deep down, we all hope for the same things: a roof over our head, enough to eat, a better life for our children, love. Yet I’ve seen people with a perfectly good roof hoping for a larger one, or two, and folks who once hoped only for a healthy child hoping the estranged spouse would take it for the entire weekend or that it would, having grown to adulthood, move out of the house, and people with plenty to eat hoping they wouldn't be tempted because they already felt themselves too fat, and people with someone to love hoping to be free.
And surely, those who make weapons, and those who hold stock in the defense industry, aren’t hoping, in their heart of hearts, for peace.