Saturday, July 4, 2009

Ka'u culture

Ka'u is a kind of island within an island. Hawaii is, so I've read, the most isolated islands in the world, and Ka'u is one of the most remote spots in these islands. We have our own world here, our own culture, and much of that culture is entirely invisible initially. We don't have colorful traditions or costumes. We don't speak a different language.

What there is - a feeling for each other that comes from shared lineages. Sometimes these are lineages of blood or marriage. Sometimes they are lineages of memory - stories and adventures that were shared however long ago. Most of all there are lineages of service to each other - kindnesses (kokua) that are never forgotten and pass on to the next generation as legacies of goodwill. That is why family names are so important.

We go on and on, weaving these stories together against the magnificence of our landscape, the sweep of the land from Mauna Kea to the brilliant dark ocean. This is the art form that we love, where the landscape, the winds, the shining grasses, the ocean, and the people are all mixed up together, so we hardly know what is what. We keep on making it and loving it, despite everything.

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