Saturday, August 8, 2009

Being Part of It

There are important things that are really hard to put into words.

Tracy and I were playmates in kindergarten and first grade. After second grade my family moved away from Ka'u. Eventually, when I was in my twenties we moved back and started a ranch. Tracy also helps run her family's cattle ranch in Ka'u. We share fencelines and see each other almost daily on the backroads of Ka'u.

There are a lot of differences. I have one small child; she has a large family and a small grandchild. She's being here; I've been away for roughly half my life. She knows this community inside and out in a way that I never will. She knows who dated who in high school, what their parents thought about it, how many children they have and with whom. She knows all the high school kids by name. I barely know that they exist. She has that deep, multi-generational knowledge of the community that I don't have. I don't have a knack for it, and I made different choices with my life - I know what early morning looks like in Paris and Taipei. Now I like to stay here in Ka'u and learn the intricacies of this big country and little community bit by bit, although I'm still not any good at keeping track of all the strands of family history.

I wish I could be somewhere distant and exotic sometimes but I know that you can't have it both ways. There's a story that we are all making together. You're either part of it or not.

But this story, which is the internal story of a real community, and the value of it can't be counted, measured, "monetized." It's the opposite of money. It is more like literature, but it isn't written down, published, made into somebody else's experience. It's in the little things. You can destroy it just by looking at it with greedy eyes, just like any other intimacy. This is the intimacy of people, land, and sea. It is unbearably important and incredibly evasive.

3 comments:

richard said...

You have a wonderful blog. Can I link to it?
Richard Ha

mgalimba said...

Hi Richard,

Sure!

Haole Wolf said...

I just read this again -- what a wise and moving piece of writing! The last paragraph is so spare and yet condense -- and in its holding back a perfect sharing. You are living literature there in Ka'u...