Planet Haolewood

A toolbox, a change of underwear, and a surfboard.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Is there something in the water here?

Kauai is fertile ground for the imagination. Like the non-native plants that quickly spread their vines and roots as soon as they arrive here so the minds of humans, who are, after all, just as non-native as the Coqui Tree Frog seem to sprout fantastic branches that would surely grow more modestly in other climates. Just try lying on a Kauaian beach and starring up into the sky with the hypnotic sound of the surging surf singing to you like some kind of primordial and formless mermaid sometime and see where your mind goes. You might be surprised. It’s suddenly seems not so impossible that a magic dragon might frolic on over and invite you to play even if you haven’t been smoking Pakalolo.

We’re a long way from anywhere out here. Even the other Hawaiian Islands are not visible on the horizon. While there is a community college on the island, institutions of higher learning and governmental authorities seem far away. The need to verify facts that normally tethers the mind’s fancies seems to have lost its grip. And of course, all the other inhabitants of this island’s minds have been steeping in the sun for various lengths of time so you can’t count on them to reign in your imagination. Like a rumor at a church luncheon whatever story emerges from the creative Kauai mind is likely to be spread around and even amplified by all the other folks here.

A huge mountain dominates the landscape on Kauai’s North Shore. Most days its top is hidden in clouds but on those days when the mists part its towering peak and the waterfall issuing forth from a cleft just below the summit provide a stunning sight. I’ve asked several people, some of whom have lived here their entire lives, what the name of that mountain is and none of them knew. Would the power of the sight be somehow diminished by people knowing the name? I have no explanation.

But while no one seems to know the name of the enormous mountain in our own backyard, they “know” a lot of other truths that seems to have eluded the knowledgeable just about everywhere else in the world. In my short time here I have heard some interesting home spun theories here. One day I observed some SUVs equipped with radar paraphernalia in a local park. I asked someone about it and was told that when VIPs such as The Clinton Family visit, which has been known to happen, these vehicles were stationed here to monitor possible vessels approaching into Hanalei Bay. That sounded incredible to me but in a time when we are being asked to surrender toothpaste before boarding an aircraft anything seems possible. As I approached one of the vehicles the man inside considerately turned off the radar (which might have knocked off my head had I gotten too close) and invited me inside to get a look at the research he was doing on sea birds for the state of Hawaii. He talked to me for a few minutes and then told me he had to get back to work as a new group of birds had appeared on his screen.

I talked to someone else who told me that he had been watching the ocean and weather conditions for several years and had observed that each year winter arrived a little later and this had been going on for so long that the seasons had now almost completely reversed themselves.

A friend of mine who used to own a business here told me that local some local residents believed that he was using his business as a front so he could sell marijuana. Others thought the business was a cover and that he was actually a CIA agent sent to investigate pot farmers. He assured me there was no truth to either story.

If enough people believe something does that make it true?


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