June Gloom not!

While living in Los Angeles for many years, there was what folks called “June gloom”. That hazy, somewhat out of place cloudiness over the otherwise sunny skies of the Sunshine State. Here in Maui, as I write this piece, we have our own version called “Vog”, also known as volcanic fog.

With the recent outburst of Pele, the Goddess known and revered in Hawaii for her mighty, powerful leashes of lava, we are “vogged out” (for lack of a better term, I coined this one). The spews from the Big Island, our neighbor blanket us and obscure the sun from most of the isle.

Not to be repulsed, the nonplussed native Hawaiians go about their business as their forebears had in generations past. Last night was a full moon, mesmerizing as it reflected upon the waters shimmering in its splendid light. The palm trees were silhouetted amidst the profile of Haleakala, swaying in the light evening breeze. Today, I watched as fisher folks rounded the shoreline, casting their lines. They carefully avoid the resident turtles who slovenly feast on the seaweed by the rocks close to shore. This morning, a rather odd sight greeted me. A solitary figure waded into the shallow tide and patiently rocked his shovel into the sand, sifting through it and sieved some into a screen mesh of sorts he had floating beside him. I took a shot from behind as I sat watching from the lounge chair on the lawn hoping to catch his attention. Not perturbed and obviously oblivious to my presence behind him, he kept at it as if on a mission. I took a brief break to check back later only to find he had gone as quietly as he had come into the picture. Curious, I shall pursue this and find out what he was doing. This brings to mind one facet of the local, native culture. That of respect for the “Aina”, the environment. Their innate ability to forage without harming the food sources, both from the Makai (ocean) and Mauka (mountain) and all that is between. There is a local radio station which even gives tips on when it is most ideal to plant, harvest and even fish specific species of native plants and marine edibles. Above all, what I admire is their ability to sustain what is supposed to be blessings to be shared among everybody. They harvest only what they need, and if for some reason, gather more than they do, it is shared with others. In the Philippines, this cooperative trait is called “Bayanihan” and perhaps, our affinity to the Pacific and other Pacific Islanders has its roots in the communal way of life.

Turning the page, we are in the new world order, ordered by the Android Revolution. Gone are the days when folks would leisurely chat and shoot the breeze, talking face to face, eye to eye. Most are stooped over some device or another, whether it be this computer I am writing on or the cell phone I am constantly monitoring for “pings” from Messenger, we are all caught up in this age of separation. The story I share about the way of life that I still am blessed to witness here on the island is slowly fading into oblivion, a poignant tale for the future to look back into the past, it is an image I shall tap into when I am trapped in the whirl of cyberspace. Poignant as it may sound, the haste and pace of modern life is not something a lot of people thrive in, myself included. Although inclined to stay in the loop of things, many have come to the conclusion that the American Dream is evolving into an American Nightmare. The population explosion being a given, resources is depleting at a rapid rate, competition is fierce for most everything and there seems no relief in sight. That is why, there is the Minimalist Movement, spreading globally, silently but surely. It may not be the panacea to the wanton Consumerism, that has fed into our collective consciousness but it may make a dent. Not to return to what is now history, we have the onus of responsibility, in our generation to at least leave some piece of what humanity was about, Hawaiian story as above included.

Therefore, the environmentally responsible among our world’s populations have come to an unspoken understanding… that of conservation and preservation. There is this parallel movement along with the Minimalists who are crusading for not just for reuse and recycle but also to refuse. The “Last Straw” is an initiative which was jumpstarted to refuse the use of plastic straws which have caused the countless depletion of marine life. Reusable straws are the trend, not in a temporary fashion, it is going to be the first step in our new revolution to save what is left of planet Earth. June is the month to check in on this and begin to refuse the use of plastic straws. Not a gloomy prospect this June. Till next, do your part, every bit has a cumulative effect upon the whole.

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