Thursday, November 6, 2008

One Year:

Hard to believe that it's been all of one year, and only one year that I stepped off the plane at the Hilo airport with a bag of cordless tools and a machete.

As well it's been a big week with turning the 40 and with the elections coming through. An awful lot of big gears swung through a few degrees of arc. Where that ends everything up is less than clear at the moment, but at least in my little patch of the planet all seems well.

It has been on my mind a good deal lately, as the issues that we face as a world and a society are looming larger by the moment, and if anything over the last year or so I've seemed to observe even a larger degree of deer in the headlights paralysis--even among those who proclaim to care. It's not too surprising. There has been a lot of fetishist semi-snarky talk in "counter-culture" circles for quite a while at how the ecology was going to go to hell and the economic system was going to collapse. Few understood, it seems, that this was more than mere talk. And now, I'm afraid many are caught in the same pants down position that those who paid no attention whatsoever are. I can understand why the debate would tend to remain in the realm of "talk" and not action. It's a pretty damn scary issue. To respond with sensible meaningful actions will require profound changes in attitude and lifestyles. Those of us who "got it" have been doing this for years, and it's not really such a big deal except in an existentialist sense, at least at the moment. For those who didn't pay attention and those who only payed attention as a social dillitante, again, they're simply standing in the middle of the freeway with a panic. Those who paid next to no attention until fully lately, but have money and time on their hands, and have now found religion seem to be compelled to get into politics, with an attempt to fix what they don't understand with laws that would pertain perhaps to a world as it existed 20 years ago. Utterly irrelevant. Our "leaders" are utterly at the back of the pack. At this point their policy is more often a hinderance than an aid.

So I have thought about this sort of thing a great deal and especially yesterday morning over a cup of tea, on the exact day to a year near to an hour in fact, from the first time I saw this little 3 acre patch of land. My concern in the project was great--I wanted a zero impact home--in fact I wanted to do better than that: I wanted to be able to say with postive confidence that this little piece of Hawaii was actually in better shape for my being here. That is a high bar, for sure, but in the context of Hawaiian Bulldozer Building and the new PCDP that is proud as punch that it has something to offer about how the new Burger King and KFC will be located--My God?!? This is cutting edge community vision?!?--in a neighbor hood where local identity seems to be measured in how many wrecked car one has crammed out in the brush over the years. . .not one of my "local" neighbors have ever taken the 8 mile trip up the road to the volcano. Not one. . .in that context, in spite of it all--well, I had some stuff on my mind.

So I was sitting here looking out at the garden and the Uala growing thinking I needed to plant a bit more, wondering if all this was a pretty damn pointless exercise in a manner that a guy who just turned 40 might, and a Hawaiian hawk comes down, lands on this pot, not even 6 feet from where I'm sitting, takes a lazy drink, and after giving me a hard reptilian eyeball flies off back into the jungle. Damn, Hi Hawk, I think.

It's not too often that one gets a personal visitation from the divine aumatua, I guess, and I'm too much of an athiest to get too carried away with the whole deal, but certainly from any analysis this little bit was certainly confirmation in a very real sense that, yes, actually, this does matter. Certainly as a metric if one finds that the place one lives is safe and sane enough that rare endangered creatures are drawn to it as a place of refuge and safety--it's a pretty good indication that you're doing the right thing. It may be more rare than one might think, that a bird can find a safe place to land for a quick sip without threat of cats or dogs, within safe harbor of natural mature trees--it may be that the bar to give life a chance is pretty low, you've just got to back off and give it a fair shake. That is much how I see it, anyhow. If we thought a great deal about what we were doing and did very little of it in general, I expect the world would be a better shape.

So, planting a couple dozen koa trees this morning. The several of the ones I planted a year ago are as tall as I am now, and doing very well. I imagine I'll stick with the same program. . .seems to be working out.


Shawn said...

Congratulations man, confirmation via I`o indeed! You are absolutely doing the right thing to get a visit like that. And welcome to the 40's, by the way.

3brainer said...

Beautiful post. I believe the world mirrors back to us what it gets from us. You certainly are on the right track by some measure. These events are beyond putting words to, but nice job trying!

Allen said...

Good to see another interesting post. I was getting tired of waiting. Fortunately, the word verification is working for me.

Anonymous said...

Time does fly fast on the Big Island.

I can hardly believe I've been in Hawaii for 15-16 years now.

I wish the majority of the time would have been on this Island.

I'm here now... I don't see the need to get on a plane anytime soon.

congrats Jay!

Niele said...

Happy Birthday!

Keep up the good work & words, you're doing good!

A hui hou!

Catherine Dumond said...

JW - here are two websites that I look to for some inspiration when the going gets tough and I just wanna drive to Walmart and buy something! (because our home in Kapoho is a small 1/4 ac lot).