"The moving waters at their Priestlike task
of pure ablution round Earth's human shores."
The truth is that if not for the poke Brother Thomas would not have dragged me out to sea.
Tuesday last, bright and humid after the morning winter rain. After the heavy iron after 11:30 daily mass after a forced march with the dogs Thomas decided we really must drive over to his house to check on the mail and feed his cat. I am in pain and not happy. Thomas has me on a very short leash right now. His answer for my depression is hard work, exercise, regular meals, salt water and sunshine. We drive down off the Wahiawa plain along the coast to Makaha. Along the way Thomas makes me decline Latin verbs for "mental exercise", I am horrible at this. My hard fought for Latin is gone as is most of my German through disuse. This is a terrible sin to Thomas.
For a surprise Sarah has our daughter Patri over from the mainland for the week. Grand, as Patri at 25 is a wonder of Christmas energy and takes over my shopping chores. A fine lass who makes a wonderful shortbread.
Thomas I and I arrive at his house to find that a neighbor has delivered two pounds of clam and Mahi poke to his fridge. A gift to Thomas for his assistance in feeding his neighbors during the death and mourning of a family elder. Poke (pou'kei) is a Hawaiian dish of raw seafood mixed with seaweed, onions, tomatos, flying fish roe and a variety of spices. A poke recipe is kept secret to a family, though Thomas is determined to crack the code of great poke. Thomas is a grand cook with a wonderful stock pot always at hand and more ability with food then I might tell. As we munch on this fine dish Thomas tells me that he has it figured out, so let's make some poke. First we need some fresh fish, so we load Thomas's two man Sea-Kyak into his truck.
Ka'ena state park is a mile or so north of Thomas's house. It has a fine sandy beach and swimming area, about 200 metres off shore is a great reef, dark and full of fish. It is to the reef we paddle with our masks, snorkels and spears powered by thick rubber bands. Thomas likes fins while I prefer just reef shoes as one can stand above the water on much of this reef.
Along the way we debate the seriousness of Van Morrison's "Moondance" and it's use in wooing the fairer sex. Thomas dismisses the song as commercial pap really unworthy of Van and his craft, while I defend Van and the song as a "one-off" and a "never fail" whenst it comes to wooing. Thomas, ever prepared as my older brother to keep me humble, hits me with, "Really? That's your argument? Your wild sucess with women?" Sarcasm quite cold. Thomas the Cassanova. Rotten bastard. Oh, he's correct but still a bastard. (In my defense "Moondance" did work on Sarah)
Spear fishing is a fine sport except that the blood of each fish tends to signal every local shark in for a meal. Brother Thomas has defeated this by getting a tattoo of the Hawaiian shark God, Aumakua on his calf. Aumakua who saves every Hawaiian from the bite of the shark. I might be relieved except that he had the Tiger shark outlined in black but the rest inked in the plaid colours of our Clan tartan. So much for the Gods.
We reach the reef. As we begin to sort our equipment we suddenly see and hear a destruction of gravity and the sea. A hundred metres out we witness a whale breach the sea and return. As we both stare, dumbstruck, the wave caused by the creature almost upsets the Kyak. Then a "blow", 20-3o feet into the air. Then another. We are shocked, speechless. Another Humpback breaches the pull and gravity of the sea, 30-40-50 tons into the air. The splash and wave is strong and hits us. Then another. We sit transfixed.
We are well past the breakers and we stay. Immobile to the creatures at hand. Thomas points north, "another pod coming fast!" He is right, though "pod" is the wrong term. For these are most likely males chasing a gal with whom they would like to mate. I tell Thomas that the males should whale song "Moondance" to capture a female. He wacks me in the head with his paddle.
We sat there paddling in position over two hours watching these whales. The size is amazing, the power of each breach a thing to bring one to God. That feeling of adrenline and awe and smallness. Strong to make your limbs shake and tremble. The same feeling as I first witnessed Sarah, as each of my children was birthed naked and screaming, a pounding in the chest and a dryness to the mouth, the power of combat and of knowing that every day forward nothing will ever be as it once was. Beautiful.
A thing to remind me that life is always a love without end.
Happy New Year everyone!
"Well it's a marvelous night for a moondance
with the stars up above in your eyes.
A fantabulous night to make romance
'neath the cover of October skies."-Van Morrison