Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hau'oli O Ka Eha O Iulai!

Tomorrow is the last day.  I guess there will be a bell ringing ceremony.  I finally saw one, they don't last long.  Everybody in the room clapped and cheered for the guy, there were hugs.  I hugged the female therapist I adore so much and whose name escapes me, yesterday, told them they were all wonderful, and they are.  Its a temple of healing.  They give people back their lives.  They ARE wonderful.  So it is a happy 4th.  I will treat BC to dinner tomorrow night, if she's up for it, as thanks for her kindness and love and support.

And now one of my favorite passages anywhere, from the book "Hawaii" which S. Gavin said I would love and which I have, she was oh so right.  The opening paragraphs, majestic poetry honoring the ocean we love so much...

     Millions upon millions of years ago, when the continents were already formed and the principal features of the earth had been decided, there existed, then as now, one aspect of the world that dwarfwed all others.  It was a mighty ocean, resting uneasily to the east of the largest continent, a restless ever-changing, gigantic body of water that would later be described as pacific.

     Over its brooding surface immense winds swept back and forth, whipping the waters into towering waves that crashed down on the world's seacoasts, tearing away rocks and eroding the land.  In its dark bosom, strange life was beginning to form, minute at first, then gradually of a structure now lost even to memory.  Upon its farthest reaches birds with enormous wings came to rest, and then flew on.

     Agitated by a moon stronger then then now, immense tides ripped across this tremendous ocean, keeping it in a state of torment.  Since no great amounts of sand had yet been built, the waters where they reached the shore were universally dark, black as night and fearful.

     Scores of millions of years before man had risen from the shores of the ocean to perceive its grandeur and to venture forth upon its turbulent waves, this eternal sea existed, larger than any other of the earth's features, vaster than the sister oceans combined, wild, terrifying in its immensity and imperative in its universal role.

     How utterly vast it was!  How its surges modified the very balance of the earth!  How completely lonely it was, hidden in the darkness of night or burning in the dazzling power of a younger sun than ours.

     At recurring intervals the ocean grew cold.  Ice piled up along its extremities, and so pulled vast amounts of water from the sea, so that the wandering shoreline of the continents sometimes jutted miles farther out than before.  Then, for a hundred thousand years, the ceaseless ocean would tear at the exposed shelf of the continents, grinding rocks into sand and incubating new life.

     Later, the fantastic accumulations of ice would melt, setting cold waters free to join the heaving ocean, and the coasts of the continents would lie submerged.  Now the restless energy of the sea deposited upon the ocean bed layers of silt and skeletons and salt.  For a million years the ocean would build soil, and then the ice would return; the waters would draw away; the land would lie exposed.  Winds from the north and south would howl across the empty seas and lash stupendous waves upon the shattering shore.  Thus the ocean continued its alternate building and tearing down.

     master of life, guardian of the shorelines, regulator of temperatures and heaving sculptor of mountains, the great ocean existed.

Do you see why I love that book so much?  Its beautiful, powerful poetry, the words flow like a stream, the topic is majestic and the words that describe it are, too.  It is a beautiful book.  I bet I have read "Hawaii" seven times, maybe more.  The characters are so real, so beautiful; Marama and Tereoro, Malama, Keoki, Kelolo, Abner, Jerusha, Rafer, and Dr. Whipple.  Nyuk Tsin and Kee Mun Ki, all the Kee hui, Kamajiro Sakagawa, and Hoxworth.  Michener was a true scholar to discover the human history of Hawai'i and an ingenious story teller to tell the tales so well.  The human struggles are epic, from the first canoes to reach Hawai'i, to the missionary boats, the struggles of the Chinese and of the Japanese immigrants, it is just a vast tale spanning centuries.

From time to time I have translated a paragraph here and there into Hawaiian to the best of my ability.  I love the Hawaiian language.  Who wouldn't?  How could you not?  I am glad to be doing my very small part to keep it alive, to further it, to preserve it for future generations, the world would be much poorer without this beautiful language and it is the backbone of a worthy and noble culture.

Now that the great horror over the disease may be abating, for tomorrow the last check mark goes on the chart, I may have it in my head to return to blogging in Hawaiian.  Nobody lives forever.  I am 66.  Even if the disease comes back I might live to 70 and if it doesn't...well who knows?  Who the hell knows?  Any minute could be one's last.  A friend I made at the "lounge" is Bill, 85, a retired Methodist minister.  You would never believe he could be so old, his mind is sharp as a whip, his attitude is positive and calm with a gentle humor.  Its a convivial bunch up there.  I will close for now, aloha.

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