Ulu A‘e Studying Heart Government Director Miki‘ala Lidstone made a captivating comparability between the windward and leeward facets of Oahu in an interview with Civil Beat remaining week.
“We don’t have a large number of (Hawaiian) names for our rains as it doesn’t rain that a lot (in Kapolei),” she stated, including that it’s no longer like that during Kailua. “They have got a large number of names for rains — we don’t. However what we do have? We have now a large number of hills.”
This echoed round my head as I used to be in Kailua serving to my oldsters salvage soaked assets of their space after a torrential intruder whose title I have no idea barged in and alerted us to a leak someplace within the roof. The hills of Kapolei are indisputably extra mannered acquaintances.
The times of heavy downpour jogged my memory simply how inextricable rain is from lifestyles in this facet of the island, and the way crucial it’s to its — and our — personality. Rain is available in a menagerie of personalities. It may be a steady patter that is helping you fall right into a deeper sleep, or a deluge that turns your waking lifestyles right into a nightmare. Which made Lidstone’s sentiment all of the extra compelling.
“Our hills line up with celestial occasions,” she stated. “They’re sacred they usually’re particular. They’re no longer the best possible level however they’re no longer the bottom level. They remind us, at the facet the place the solar is most powerful, to stay humble however tall.”
That roughly poetic interpretation isn’t empty flourish. To borrow Lidstone’s phraseology all over again, figuring out “what’s particular about the place we are living that you’ll’t in finding any place else” makes you recognize issues extra, and incites exploration into the issues we differently power previous with out noticing.
It activates us to construct deeper connections with the puts we are living and creates a shared identification that permits other people to take better pleasure of their communities. And for the ones folks who aren’t Hawaiian, it is helping to reconcile trustworthy love for Hawaii with the unpleasant previous that allows that like to exist within the first position.
I grew up in part of Kailua known as Olomana, named for the mountain which is itself named after a mythical warrior from precedent days. Olomana the warrior was once stated to be a large and a feared presence at the island, till Palila, a warrior from Kauai who wielded a battle membership named “revolution,” lower Olomana in part and took keep watch over of Oahu.
There’s so much to unpack in that tale, however there’s a strikingly transparent analogue that resonates lately: the outsider arriving, announcing himself and completely settling the place folks already have been, converting the entirety alongside the best way. What precisely that suggests for lately, on the other hand, is up for interpretation.
As curriculum specialist for the Kawaihuelani Heart for Hawaiian Language on the College of Hawaii Manoa, Maya Saffery wrote, “was once Palila’s victory over Olomana a disruption of pono or just an acceleration of inevitable exchange?”
May it had been each? No matter your resolution is, it’s essential to have interaction in that dialog, particularly within the present context of lifestyles in Hawaii, with non-residents purchasing an increasingly more huge bite of homes within the islands.
Figuring out extra about our communities is how we relate to each other, the crucial human job undergirding society. Making the trouble to higher perceive the place we are living supplies an access level into necessary discussions that have an effect on us all. And those discussions aren’t simply in my view edifying; they’re crucial to tackling better problems in concrete techniques.
Fixing our maximum intractable issues — and, most likely, accepting that some answers might be extra palliative than healing — would require on-the-ground working out, no longer simply chicken’s-eye research.
The affordability and availability of housing is without delay tied to injustices of the previous. Local weather exchange is extra simply understood because the eroding coastline of your favourite youth seaside, or the diminishing availability of your favourite meals. Our utter dependence on exterior provide traces is maximum obviously exemplified by way of extended bathroom paper shortages. The little issues are how we come to grasp the large issues.
The ones are all overwhelming problems, but if we really feel beaten, the reaction must be to start out small — to amplify the small and micrify the nice, to borrow a word from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Development deeper connections with the place we are living — whether or not it’s in the course of the moʻolelo of position names, the historical past of geological formations, or the various kinds of hills and rains — is a small factor we will be able to all do to make lifestyles somewhat higher within the brief time period, and get ready to make giant adjustments down the street.
There are small wonders in all places, any other global inside of this one. The extra attentive we’re to it, the extra obvious it turns into that we’re simply grains of sand suspended in a temporary tide that has been ebbing and flowing lengthy ahead of we have been right here, and can proceed to take action once we’re long gone. There’s unavoidable humility that incorporates that wisdom, but in addition an pressing hope that we would use our one transient second to fix things.