Kamakani ‘O Kohala

overhead cables on the wet side of Waimea


Wind in and of itself makes no sound. It passes like a wraith in weakness and in strength. What creates noise are the obstacles that impede its path: overhead cables vibrating and thrashing with an eerie whining whistle; grasses hissing and sighing as the backs of tall stalks bend in crushing gusts. Gales zing through perilous knotted strands of barbed wire – cheap fencing meant to hold in cattle, but too often scar horses instead, spooked by voices carried along cross-currents of atmospheric jumble.


view of Hawaii Island's west shore from the Kohala Mountain Road


Wind here in north Hawaii can sock window screens full of red dirt in milliseconds. It launches airborne volcano residue hundreds of miles across vast oceanic channels. Then without warning it will blow the stuff back from whence it came, purifying the mixture of oxygen we inspire. Breezes waft gently, then gather force into fits of frenzy lasting hours or days on end. Visitors often find this unnerving, but for those of us living on these shores, a lack of wind generates greater concern. Earthquakes erupt in stillness. A windless Kona front will wet grasses without precipitation, driving stiffness into joints. In the way that winds disorient tourists, a lack thereof vexes the minds of those accustomed to its propensity for metaphorically clearing out the cobwebs.


looking out my office window onto a Kona front-kind of day


Ironman athletes are known to curse these forceful currents, but for those of us practiced at cycling into stiff headwinds, a quiet strength takes root in our hearts and limbs. Let them obsess in their girded designer polyester, for I’ve not passed many on these roads who seem to radiate any great love for the process; rather they are competitively consumed, jaws set and bodies wound tight as springs. I’ll take eclectic clothing and our laid back little collection of street folk any day – striders, cyclers, skateboarders, the old and the young – who smile, nod, and wish one another a heartfelt good day. Perhaps it is our shared joy of living in the midst of verdant fields in striking view of the Pacific ocean and sister island of Maui. And then there is our nemesis and ally, the Kamakani ‘O Kohala – blessed winds of the north shore of Hawaii island.


cattle grazing on some of the island's best real estate - Kohala Mountain Road

2 thoughts on “Kamakani ‘O Kohala

  1. OH YEAH! I feel the wind blowing on your raised face in this one. I love it when you talk about your home, how you love it so!.. Such a view from up there of the sea. Doesn’t the pacific have a special scent, it Smells Warm. I love the smell of the pacific off the sea.. take me out on your bike as often as you like Bela, i love it! c

    1. Celia, it’s funny – all the years I’ve written and people do seem to like my ‘nature work’ best 😉 Or at least they comment on it most frequently. Same when I was writing poetry.

      The Pacific has its own smell, its own BLUE color spectrum and yes, WARMTH as you say! The Atlantic where I lived for 32 years is GREEN hued and COLD. I love them both for their own unique characteristics. I love both coasts equally, for each possesses extraordinary beauty.

      Though I would say I prefer warm winds to cold! Good lord, those Maine winter winds could knock a frozen ear clean off your head! Whereas these winds seem to invite play. Though sometimes after a few days of especially intense damp winter wind, my head begins ringing and I have to close the windows for a night. Rare but true.

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