"The tiny kolea, known to the world outside Hawaii as the Pacific golden plover, are among the world’s mightiest long-distance flyers. They arrive in Hawaii in the early fall and stay through the end of April, during which time you can find them hanging around almost any large open space...When birds flying from western Alaska to Hawaii finally reach our shores, they will have continuously beat their wings twice per second for about fifty hours over some 2,500 miles of open ocean—one of the most grueling non-stop migrations in the avian world. Dr. Oscar "Wally" Johnson, an ornithologist at Montana State University who studies kolea, puts it in perspective: "Imagine that flight you made from L.A. to Honolulu—only without the plane."-"Flight of the Navigators", Michael Shapiro in Hana Hou Magazine
Tonight the instinct to fly is strong, ancient, persistent. I long for the Hawaiian space and recognize the limits of my present reality. For many years, the path of the kolea has been mine returning from the North American continent in November I was home to winter in the warmth of Hawaii-nei. Today was a difficult day, a day of tears and homesickness. Consciously unaware I went about the day feeling the sadness. There was no story to soothe the pain. I longed for home even as I sewed the canvas ropes we will use to hold up the insulate in our Quonset Hut, warming against the winter cold. When finally it was dark, still early by the clock, I climbed into bed and curled up. Softened, the ground of my being felt what my mind was so clever to conceal. The bones that know said my name and I remembered me...within. That is the story from which I live my everyday. Kolea, when I am bird.
"The velocity of wings creates the whisper to awaken….
I want to feel both the beauty and the pain of the age we are living in. I want to survive my life without becoming numb. I want to speak and comprehend words of wounding without having these words become the landscape where I dwell. I want to possess a light touch that can elevate darkness to the realm of stars.”
― Terry Tempest Williams, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice
|Nani Kolea on O'ahu, HI|