There’s definitely “no place like home for the holidays,” as Barry Manilow’s classic song lyrics say — unless (maybe) you’re visiting on Kauai. This statement of opinion beaming out via today’s Green Flash is one my husband Dee and I feel like underlining after a fortnight away.
On our Thanksgiving foray to the Seattle area, we were joined by my daughter and definitely made to feel at home by a dear sister, niece and nephew, and there was no shortage of pumpkin — and berry — pie, plus happy times during several Grand Family Gatherings, including a cousins’ reunion. Prayers of gratitude well within us for the love we experienced along with new experiences and time shared with the fresh, young generation who are the branches and leaves on the family tree, revisiting memories and connections, and celebrating our collective lot in life at this time with our many blessings.
Even in the midst of harvest time plenty and comfort, I couldn’t help thinking of the mothers in other countries of the world at this time who struggle to keep their children safe from bullets and bombs, to feed them in the face of famine and displacement, or even to offer them a cup of untainted water. The news images of weary, footsore immigrants escaping intolerable life conditions stay with me, along with happy memories stemming from this “group hug” from family members and our thanks giving for our current abundance of fresh water and nourishing food.
Thinking this over, I’m equally aware of the dark side of human life as opposed to the light side of human experience as I am about the dark and light sides of the moon. Many of us are working toward more equalization between the “haves” and “have nots” within our ohana and communities via supportive gifts, food banks and soup kitchens and safe houses, holiday gift funds and non-profit donations of money and time spent volunteering.
Part of the discussion within our family circle centered on how do we put into practice a plan, or plans, to equalize similarly on a global basis? How do we birth a new world order where the polarity is not so “tipped” and extreme, where countless numbers of people have next to nothing and starve to death while others are sybaritic in their lifestyles, greedy and wasteful?
Greater minds have and are grappling with these questions. However, this might be a challenge toward the coming of the new year for each of us to consider tackling: that is, finding and setting in motion positive actions that will serve to create harmony and hopefulness instead of to ignite fear and hatred, and hopelessness.
Forgive my climb atop the proverbial soap box, Dear Readers. Know that I challenge myself as well as my readership. Also, please take into account that we approach the darkest time of the year as it’s dealt to us during the spinning of the cosmos in its annual cycle — winter solstice.
So, back to the light …
Note that in our small niche and position on this great, spinning globe, there are actually five days around Dec. 21 when we who live in the tropical latitude of Hawaii may wonder at the experience of watching the sun rise on the eastern horizon in exactly the same place. This will be the southernmost point of Helios’ annual journey between Tropic of Capricorn (southern tropic) and the Tropic of Cancer (northern tropic) and the five days of northernmost sunrise that occurs from our viewpoint around June 21, summer solstice.
This science was known from observation set into oral chant by the Polynesians who became Hawaiians. La, or light, was used instead of the concepts of Helios, or Sol or Sun. Therefore the cosmic rule, Hikina a ka La, or From the East Rises the Sun.
If you hold an interest in mythology and how ancient Greeks and Romans explained such marvels of world order, you might visit the internet’s Encylopedia Mythica site. Back in the days of Homer, bards told that “some chosen heroes were spared by the gods: they did not die but were instead transferred to the Islands of the Blessed, also called the Fortunate Islands. There they lived a life of happiness. The islands were believed to be situated at the end of the world, on the shore of the earth-encircling ocean.”
As a teen who struggled with Latin and Greek derivatives, the mythology part of the learning saved me from the tedium of syntax study, especially learning about such as the Elysium Fields, which were thought to be the actual place referred to as the Blessed and Fortunate Islands.
Returned to Kauai now, we think of our island home in such terms — especially since, after missing a Hawaiian Air flight through a gate error in SeaTac Airport, we learned that many are, indeed, thinking similarly. No trip home was available for three days. Going back to the holiday song, “From Atlantic to Pacific, gee / The traffic is terrific!”
An evening flight on Alaska Airlines saved the day and prevented me from missing an important music rehearsal. I just can’t stop singing, “‘Cause no matter how far away you roam / When you pine for the sunshine of a friendly gaze / For the holidays you can’t beat home, sweet home.”
Dawn Fraser Kawahara, resident author and poet, has focused her supportive interests within the Kauai community since the early 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live in Wailua Homesteads. Their passion for travel flows into the writer’s TGI column, “FarAway Places.” Kawahara’s books are available through Amazon and other outlets. For information, firstname.lastname@example.org.