Sunday, November 30, 2008

So I'm back. The winter months are more conducive to "civilized," indoor activities, what with the encroaching darkness and all. So here's the grass in our pasture. It's been a good year, as far as grass goes, despite the vog. Some plants really don't seem to be affected. Others just up and die. The eucalyptus plantings seem to be fairly sensitive. One particular species that was planted on the edge of a coffee farm in Moa'ula succumbed instantly. Also the extremely noxious (but quite pretty) Madagascar fireweed seems to be sensitive. It's been a year of living with vog. The last time I wrote for this blog, the problem didn't even exist yet. It kind of crept up on us. Officially it started in March, but it wasn't until late April that it became clear that it was going to be a Problem. There was a week in late April when we all walked around with ash falling on us all day long. Some of the children had respiratory problems and they all had blood-shot eyes. I couldn't wear my contacts for a couple of weeks. We wondered if it would get worse, and what life would be like if Ka'u became uninhabitable. It's one thing to choose to leave your home, another to be forced to leave.

It's a strange thought to have to entertain seriously- the thought of being forced to leave your home behind. One is usually so caught up in the mechanics of maintaining, creating, or fixing the world that you live in, that you don't hardly realize how absurdly beautiful it is, how it is a great work of art; like a piece of music that one just keeps working on, whether it is symphonic or a simple melody. Just the thought of being an exile puts a completely different perspective on what it that we live and do, and the totality that we make out of the living in doing. Most of the time we're far too immersed in it all, in keeping the music playing, to enjoy what we've made.

But so far the vog is really just a nuisance rather than an apocalypse.
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