Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Let there be light ... oh, wait!

Today the heavy rains have blown in from the south

The Tall Ones, send pollen clouds thick and golden.
But, heavy 'ua kalani (rain from the heavens) dampen their dust storm temporaily.

The angle of our lucky fish wind sock is pushed from the wind out of the south.
The post 'Enough ... Mauna Kea under seige' and the another raging issue of controversy in Hawaii, got me thinking. People are watching, curious, and perhaps, motivated to see how what happens there affects us here. Henry Curtis, writing on his Ililani Media blog is the bulldog/watch dog of all issues energy in the Hawaiian Islands. Curtis is hot on the okole of the ram-jam buy-out of HECO (Hawaiian Electric Company) by Nextera Energy Hawaii and the President of that company, Eric Gleason.

There are other options for keeping the lights on in Hawaii besides the sale of HECO to Nextera. (If you are curious, live in the Hawaiian Islands, and are invested in exploring and supporting other options, click on that, read the articles Curtis has published). Pushed ever closer to the buy-out by Nextera Energy as a done deal just for the heck of it, let's go back to the top of the mountain, Mauna a Wakea (Mauna Kea) and consider the following essay about the wind wake ... the largest in the world, as a matter of fact, rising from the islands of Hawaii, "barely a speck in the 64 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean."

Back in 2003, a feature article "Little Islands Big Wake" by Laurie J. Smith " appeared on the NASA website Earth Observatory. That article was republished, and included in Na Maka O Ka 'Aina's documentary Mauna Kea: Temple Under Seige. Here's part of what Smith wrote in that article:

"On a map of the world, the Hawaiian Islands are barely a speck in the 64 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. But oceanographers recently discovered that these tiny dots on the map have a surprising effect on ocean currents and circulation patterns over much of the Pacific.
In the Northern Hemisphere, a system of persistent winds blows from northeast to southwest, from North and South America toward Asia, between the equator and 30 degrees north latitude. These northeasterly winds are called trade winds. Typically, the trade winds continue on an uninterrupted course across the Pacific — unless something gets in their way, like an island.
Although many people associate Hawaii with flat, sunny beaches, the elevation of the major Hawaiian Islands generally exceeds 3,200 feet (1,000 meters). Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii (commonly referred to as “the Big Island”) both tower nearly 14,000 feet (about 4,300 meters) above sea level. In addition, Mount Haleakala on the island of Maui stands at over 10,000 feet (3,055 meters) high.
Hawaii’s high mountain landscape presents a substantial obstacle in the path of the trade winds. The elevated topography blocks the airflow, effectively splitting the trade winds in two. This split causes a zone of weak winds, called a “wind wake,” to form on the leeward side (away from the wind) of the islands.
“If there were no mountains on the Hawaiian Islands, then nothing would happen. The trade winds would just blow smoothly across the ocean with no effect,” said Shang-Ping Xie, professor and researcher at the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center and Department of Meteorology.[...]
From the small Quonset Hut that is my writing and eating place, I look out and see the fuschia bells of the salmon berry flowers. Moving toward fruit, I observe the process and the progress of a woman practicing kilo. I am a woman practicing kilo. Simple stuff. Maintain a keen seen of observation. Technology evolves, the eye and head the starting point, the telescope, the satellite, the computerized tracking. More and more, better and better. Or, is it so much better? Raven hollers at me from the branches of the Tall Ones. I hear. I get up and outside. We do a little call and respond. Still, I cannot see where he sits. It does not discount his being there. Back in my place at the keys he continues. The weather and winds described in Smith's 2003 article are the same ones that have evolved in the dozen years. Yesterday's heavy rains were incited by those Hawaii-touched wind wakes. Here. There.

It's that lead paragraph that really gets me in the gut.

There in the middle of the great moana nui a kea, the great open water, significant chain reactions are triggered by the akua (the elemental forces, energies, geographic, oceanographic, and atmospheric dieties). Humans are part of the process because we are present. We are part of the whole process. In the struggle to maintain our place in the process it seems we lose sight of what our part is. First, we are part of, not the whole. The issues and current protests about Mauna Kea are old ones. What is sacred, and why does it matter?
"A species and a culture that treat the natural world with respect and reciprocity will surely pass on genes to ensuing generations with a higher frequency than the people who destroy it. The stories we choose to shape our behaviors have adaptive consequences."- Braiding Sweetgrass ... Robin Wall Kimmerer, 
In the Foreword to the book Ka Honua Ola The Living Earth Taupouri Tangaro, PhD and son-in-law to the author begins with this paragraph, "Ka Honua Ola is about being conscious of the embodied experiences that define the culture of Hawai'i and differentiate it from the culture of the none-Hawaiian world. Does such a pointed statement shock you? Well, take a deep breath, for it is true--the author will not recant. But if this statement seems to hint at cultural imperialism and isolation, read again. Defining and differentiating do not automatically imply disconnection. Hawai'i equates profound connection without limits to earth, sea, sky, and soul" [...] "We, as Native Hawaiians, must continue to unveil the knowledge of our ancestors. Let us interpret for ourselves who our ancestors are, how they thought, and why they made certain decisions. In the process, we treat them with honor, dignity, love, and respect--whether they be akua, ali'i, or kanaka--because they are our 'ohana, our family. - Ka Honua Ola The Living Earth ... Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele

The placard on the wall from the exhibit "Native People, Native Places"

Today the sky is clearing, sun feeds the forest and lights the space inside the Quonset. I take a deep breath, mahalo the forest for feeding me the oxygen that was just moments ago part of their leaves, their needles, their feathery cedar fingers. Before we next reach for that switch to turn the light on, what songs will we sing, what stories will we tell, which stories will take care of us?

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