Everyday Heroes of Kaua'i
Reel Life Heroes
My wife and I carefully maneuvered the stairs and then the foyer of the movie theater and headed for the exit, our eyes slowly adjusting to the post-movie transition into the light of the late southeast Washington afternoon.
For the last two and a half hours, we had watched the red-caped Man of Steel figure out who and what he was just in time to save Earth from the villainy of the last remaining people from his world of origin.
The reviews have been harsh. Personally, I liked the movie. Unlike the majority of movie critics, I had not gone into the experience expecting a parallel of the rejuvenated Batman as Dark Knight genre. It is true that the movie attempted to cover too much ground. The action was hyper-extended. What mattered to me the most were the character development scenes--Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) counseling his confused adopted son, Clark; Superman (Henry Cavill) conversing with his Kryptonian father (Russell Crowe); Lois Lane (Amy Adams) interviewing Superman, and other scenes that were void of over the top action.
These were the scenes that hinged on how well the chemistry of the actors and their raw acting talent would help the audience members engage in willing suspension of disbelief for over two hours.
This, of course, is REEL LIFE. There will be the obligatory sequels that will improve upon the weak points. I truly believe that the next Man of Steel installment will focus on the character development scenes. And that's when Superman will really fly!
In REAL LIFE, character development takes place day after day. Heroism isn't as obvious, not until we pan away from the details and adopt a big picture perspective.
The concept of heroes remained a fixture in my mind for several days after watching the movie. What I felt was reminiscent of those moments in my youth upon closing a book and feeling sad that the literary drama had come to an end. It's a yearning to find that proverbial X-factor in real life that I can hang onto, reveling in the joy that the phenomena of happy endings, good triumphing over evil, and heroes need not be relegated to the world of make-believe.
Great Fishing All Along the Island's Perimeter
For More Shoreline Fishing Adventures...
- Childhood Memories of the Hawaiian Spiny Lobster
In Hawai'i today, the only legal way to capture lobsters is by hand. Hawaiian Odysseus fondly recalls a time when net fishing for lobsters was a cultural norm, not a prohibited activity.
- You Can Walk, Crawl, or Glide...But You Can Never Hi...
What does an octopus hunter look for when he goes fishing for the elusive tentacled cephalopod? With a video that takes you to the heart of the action and a relatively short accompanying article, this writer invites you to join in on the answer.
- 'Opihi--The Hawaiian Limpet
The dome-shaped shell of the 'opihi, or limpet, seems appropriate given its propensity for existing among the tumultuous waves and rocky edges of volcano-birthed islands. Let's take a closer look at this favorite seafood of Pacific Islanders.
Real Life Heroes
They love the ocean with a fierce devotion.
They are well-educated from both blood and calabash (related spiritually, not genetically) ancestors in the ways of the ancient Polynesian natives.
They awaken in the pre-dawn hours, their very souls set to the Automatic Pilot Who quietly urges them from their dreams, Who whispers in the trade winds that it's time to get ready, and Who arouses their vigilance with the sound of the multi-colored rooster, the scent of orchid, pikake, and plumeria wafting through the window screen, and the taste of ginger and garlic--and, for some, maybe even beer--in their mouths from last night's late meal.
They prepare their gear, lovingly attentive to each and every detail. Their equipment, most of it having weathered hundreds of dives, are like mistresses to these men. Upon the proper functioning of each mask, each speargun, each spear, each pair of fins, each wetsuit, and all other tools of the diving trade rests their success. They know they will be treated well if they take good care of their diving gear.
If they have families, they quietly kiss their wives and children, careful to take a lingering look just in case the sea decides to keep them for an extended visit today. There is time for a private prayer or moment of meditation asking for grace, for safety, and for a good catch. These men struggle to make a living, and they are very dependent on the ocean to supplement their paycheck to paycheck existence. They vow that they will do everything in their power to ensure a better life for their children.
If they are bachelors, they pat their dog on the head or pet their cat. They silently whisper, "I love you!" to their nuclear as well as extended family members. And, just as they do after their diving, in their own unique spiritual way, they acknowledge the Maker and thank Him for the joy of the simple life they live.
Each heroic diver has his own ritual, but it all amounts to the same thing--a spirit of aloha and mahalo for the natural abundance of the islands.
And like island soldiers marching to a very laid back drummer who pauses to grab a riceball--the kind with the ume (sour pickled red plum) in the middle--they make their move. Slowly. But always with a definite goal in mind.
It's more than just diving, after all. It's about the perpetuation.
UA MAU KE EA O KA AINA I KA PONO.
The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness.
In keeping with this, a universal heroes' mission statement--I EXIST TO MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION--is deeply embedded in the very core of these men.
And for that reason, they are the real unsung heroes of the islands. They do what they do because they are in love with the ocean and with their island paradise.
You can have your mainland and its maze of traffic jams; gigantic skyscrapers; racial, sexual, and class bigotry; and unnatural disdain for all that is natural.
The real heroes of Kauai are content with the eternal sea and her abundance. They study the charts and the tides and the stars and the moon and the island meteorology. They know when the ocean is not to be tampered with. They know when she can be approached. With exquisite timing and patience, they woo her and win her affection. And in response to their attentiveness, she is faithful in her gifting.
She is Everywoman, after all, and it is for good reasons that she is honored and respected. All life sprang from her nutrient-rich soup. Eventually, all life returns to her.
In the beginning, there was only water. In the end, that is all that may be left.
Water. Living water.
So there is wisdom in the ageless sea. Ride her currents, and she will be gracious. Fight her currents, and she will overcome. The goal, then, is to watch and be patient, listening to and learning from the island elders They were able to grow old only because they had the gravest respect and reverence for the sea. They learned how to love and adore her, harness her unyielding energy, and take from her only as she saw fit to give.
The heroes gather together, their conversation growing only as they fully awaken. The familiar aroma of freshly brewed coffee poured from stainless steel thermoses overrides the smell of highway fumes. The conversation grows in direct proportion to each man's biorhythms finally getting into sync with those of his partners.
Heroes. Every one of them.
Put that in your commercially saturated tour guides.
The real heroes are the building blocks of the real Hawaii.
I'll take the real over the plastic every single time!