Here we go again...
Roused at midnight by banging, cracking, rumbling thunder, sky sizzling with lightning, pounding rain driven by north winds, even some hail, remarkably, and at the end of the four-hour spectacle, that sickening splintering splitting sound of falling trees, though fortunately not in my yard.
Out at first light with the dogs, clouds flying fast overhead, and occasionally, through a fleeting puka, the round, yellow-white face of Mahina is revealed. The stream is roaring, and I check the rain gauge: 4.75 inches fell in that frenzy. Wow.
Elsewhere, saturated soil slides onto roadways, closing the highway in several spots, including south of Kilauea. Once again the North Shore and Hanalei, where the swollen river has swallowed the road, are shut off from the rest of the island — perhaps because, as a friend recently noted, and not with pleasure, “get choke people here already.”
I was chatting with another friend about the last time — I mean, other than the past two weekends — that torrential rains swamped Hanalei and Wailua. It was Nov. 13, 2009, when Kehau Kekua conducted the `aha hoano, a sacred ceremony of set protocol, with the intent, Kehau said, of “petitioning the natural world, the ancestors, the guardians, the gods, who are still much alive and real. When you recognize that, and make that connection, profound things happen.”
The vigil was motivated by profound dismay over how the sacred Wailua area is being treated and developed, and especially over concerns about disturbances to iwi kupuna, which most recently found Kaiulani Mahuka protesting the installation of a leach field in a burial area. “And Kaiulani just got convicted,” my friend said. “I was thinking, maybe there's some connection.”
She's not the only one looking for symbology. “I think Mama Aina is saying nuff already,” another friend observed. “The North Shore is being destroyed and she's pissed.”
Also pissed is a condo owner at Hanalei Colony Resort, who complained to the newspaper that Haena folks were left out of the disaster response. While I can feel pity for a hapless tourist who gets caught unawares, it's harder to have sympathy for a resident who failed to keep sufficient supplies on hand for emergencies and then bitches because Mediterranean Gourmet charged for meals. Why should it be giving food away for free?
And Hanalei Colony did serve as a defacto shelter. I know one family that went there and was given a place to stay, and the restaurant and bar provided folks with a cozy place to hang out and socialize. As a friend who lives in Wainiha noted, “friends do help each other, share food, clear driveways, access through other peoples land to get home when our own driveways are unusable.. Most of us feel pretty blessed. If you friggin live out here, then you have to be independent.”
So many people get mesmerized by the beauty of Haena and forget that it has traditionally been vulnerable to a whole host of disasters, including landslides and flooding and the associated isolation. If you want access to everything that the other towns have, then move to one of them.
Moving to other issues, the state Attorney General agreed to pick up the horse abuse case after county Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho acknowledged a conflict of interest. I wonder, though, would she have addressed the conflict if Kauai Humane Society hadn't filed a motion for her recusal?
As a result of the prosecutorial change, Lara Butler-Brady's trial, which was set to start next week, has been delayed until May 29.
So she continues to live with stress and rack up charges with the Humane Society, which has now spent about $70,000 caring for the 16 horses it seized upon her arrest. It strikes me as absolutely amazing that an agency can incur substantial debts upon your behalf, giving you absolutely no say in the matter, while you're awaiting a trial that has been oft-delayed by the prosecutor's office. The state can really screw with you if it wants.
Since weather is foremost on our minds, and media coverage of the North Shore has been sparse, I'll leave you with a few photos of Haena taken mid-week, before this morning's drenching. Wonder how the leach field at the Kee bathrooms is holding up, and those illegally enclosed downstairs units in the vacation rentals...