Life of the Land
Part 5 of 7
By G.T. Larson
The Pacific Ocean, approximately 1000 A.D. The morning breaks like many others, bright and warm. The day wears on, providing a steady breeze allowing good progress of the voyage. As evening approaches, the cooling breeze seems to be whispering a note of change. The navigator’s diligent gaze travels the arch from the crimson glow of the western setting sun, to the purple afterglow and the inky black of the Earth’s shadow; night fall spreads across the heavens from the east. As he scans the heavens, he finds his newly acquired friend. When the voyage began, this flickering point of light was much lower to the northern horizon. As this journey of exploration has continued on its northerly traverse of the vast blue ocean, the starry night sentinel has risen steadily toward the zenith, directly overhead. This brilliant, slightly red guide will later be named Hoku`lea by these voyaging ancestors.
As the navigator’s experienced gaze takes in the heavenly inventory of the hundreds of stars and their associated constellations, his attention is again drawn to the faint red glow on the horizon. He quickly realizes that this shimmering light is straight off the sailing canoe’s bow to the north, whereas the last fading ember of the tropical sunset is to the west of the seafarers. This red-orange glimmer arrests the attention of all onboard. Faces of weathered age and wisdom, faces aglow with youth and vitality, faces that have endured tropical tempests and equatorial doldrums, all gaze in wonder, concern, and interest. As the glow intensifies it seems to have a movement of its own.
As the travelers continue their approach a small dark point begins to rise. The point becomes a spot and then a mass. On this mass, bright fiery ribbons lace the night sky with golden hues. The largest land mass any of them have ever seen rises from the dark depths, piercing the night sky. For most, if not all, it is the first time they have seen the earth molten. The now brilliant display of glowing red rivers abruptly ends in a spectacular battle of fire, steam and surf; as usual the sea is victorious. As the voyagers stare in amazement, the navigator takes note of the bright celestial friend, it is now directly overhead. Man has discovered Hawaii.
The preceding account is the author’s speculation of how it could have been. There are no written records, only chants, legends, and tales. What we do know is man traveled across a vast watery expanse, the Earth’s largest ocean. How many never made landfall we do not know, but Polynesians finally discovered Hawaii and a period of migration from the Southern Pacific began.
Today, both the ancestors of these early explorers and newly arrived settlers have a responsibility to share in the preservation of this land and the life therein. Be still, consider the wonders around us, lest we forget and are ultimately forgotten ourselves. Aloha Nui Loa.