Monday, June 29, 2009

Kani-a-ka-pupu: "The Singing of the Land Shells"

Finding an archeological site can be a challenge. Very often there are hastily given directions as the person is waving goodbye. Their last words are to the effect: “good luck.” So I drove to Old Pali Highway and headed up the road, remembering my first afternoon on Oahu and my sister-in-law taking me up to a pond at that turn off and telling me about the Menehunes. Little did I know how close I was to the summer palace of King Kamehameha III and his second wife, Kalama, in the cool Nu’uanu forest.
The directions were to go .3 miles past the turn-off. It was then I looked down at the odometer on the car I was borrowing and realized that there was no way to read .3 miles--that I would just have to guess my way up the road to the appropriate spot. “Of course,” I said to myself. “Why would I expect it to be any other way? I’ll just have to rely on celestial navigation…” and said a prayer to the spirits that guard the place to understand that my intentions were pure and to help me find the palace. So I drove up the road, and thought I saw the side of a building in the dense bamboo. “Piece of cake,” said to myself as I pulled off the side of the road. I walked back a few hundred yards and saw nothing. “Teasing me, are you?” I said to the spirits and got back in the car. I drove up the road and looked for my next landmark--the water district building. I drove slowly--not having any idea, really, how far three tenths of a mile is. Suffice it to say that I drove back and forth several times, stopping at a couple of different places, getting out, locking up the car, and heading into the brush before feeling the signal from the spirits to turn around. I could sense that I was getting close, but I wasn’t finding just exactly the spot I’d been told about. I just laughed--that’s the part about searching I’ve grown to understand and appreciate. As I get closer to sites, the spirits test things to see how serious I am about finding the spot. I try to keep my sense of humor as I stumble and bumble, knowing that the stumbling and bumbling is part of the trip.

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