Hawaiian Sunset

Summer Solstice, sunset at Ka'ena Point,
named for 'the heat' but cooling into evening now,
this place from which they say souls leave the world
is also, thanks to us, a refuge for the nene, the Hawaiian Goose,
who's lived here half a million years, no thanks to us.

You can't drive to this Point; you must use the form of locomotion that your ancestors were only learning
while the nene confidently flew to these newborn volcanic isles.
To walk here, you must learn anew to walk, in sand, through crashing surf,
and on basaltic rocks both slippery and rough.
No rescue vehicle can drive here either.
Step with care, and don't become a soul leaving the world.

A five dollar serape on the sand amid the scrub,
a two-quart Mai Tai mixed by Bobby at The Shack in Mililani, in a plastic Coleman jug,
fat ham sandwiches that we hold high in a salute to Captain Cook and to his sponsor, Montagu, the Earl.

The sun's about to dive into the ocean, a shimmering reflection of the rainbow sky.
As evening breezes rustle palms and darkness creeps upon us from behind, I hear nene bidding us good night,
and I remember:
even on these most isolated islands of the Earth,
we aren't islands.

Somewhere pelicans are in much graver danger than these geese.
A nene in a refuge can, I've heard, live more than thirty years.
Hatchling pelicans in Gulf shore wetlands might not see as many days before they leave their oily world.

Starry skies and surf, and sighing windswept grasses induce sleep
(aided and abetted by the beverage Bobby brewed);
sleepy thoughts ensue.

Sleeping here one night is one night we're not driving, using a derivative of oil.
Honolulu is an hour away by car the short way – two to three days walking, based on Naismith's Rule.
How many days to row to San Diego in a wa 'a outrigger canoe, the perfect island souvenir?
And then a hike for eighty days or more from there to home;
we'd see many sunsets, passing places where so many pioneering people left the world.

Do we have enough vacation time to take only pictures and leave only footprints free of carbon's karma?

Maybe next time.

Thea Chesley