Life rhythms, Hawaiian-style
Can one with an orientation toward fullness ever become acclimated to sparse? How might we go gently into winter, ineluctable as night rolling over onto the prostrate body of day?
Far beyond my gaze stretch fields parched by drying winds and unrelenting sun. And although we have reveled in unusually abundant rainfall all the summer long, a quiet parenthesis of fallow creeps into the air. Grasses rasp and angle toward one another, their fragile stalks rooted in baked soil like long head hairs of very old creatures.
This is how to determine the change of season here in Hawaii, though a better indicator lies further out on the sub-horizon of indigo – Mother Ocean. Ancient Polynesians knew to study this blue road, the most traveled avenue linking north to south, island to island. Pile a crew of seven-foot tall men accustomed to shaping mountains of rock into giant heiaus into an outrigger canoe, and distances shrivel.
All a person required lay in the ahupua’a, slices of varied terrain stretching mauka to makai, mountain to seashore like fingers to the ocean’s hand. These primitive counties were conceived by wise kings to assure their subjects lived in plenty. From forest elevation lumber to fish from the channels and drinking water captured in gourds from abundant springs bubbling from the ocean floor; from wild boar with abundant fodder patchworked against rich taro fields and tree bark purposed as tapa for clothing – the ancients lived, multiplied, warred, died.
And though we live in modern times, it is foolhardy to ignore stifled tradewinds, silent flocks of mynah birds, fewer doves on the wing. Enter silty surf at your peril; rather wait upon the goddess of volcanoes and the waxing of the moon to know it won’t be long until once again we may marvel at the variegated hues in the skin and scales of reef fish and float, transfixed – underwater ears trained upon the haunting cries of humpback whales in the surge of winter currents.