Archive for March, 2015

THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA
March 26, 2015

It was September, 1952. I was on Oahu. On the way home from a brief shopping trip-we didn’t call them sprees in those days- I sighted and purchased a copy of Life Magazine. Cost me twenty cents. Earnest Hemingway was on the cover. Like everyone in those days, who loved to read, Papa Hemingway was my favorite author. Flipping to page 25 I read this: The Editors of Life Magazine proudly present for the first time and in full a great new book by Earnest Hemingway. The Old Man and the Sea. It sold five million copies in two days.

This work went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1953 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954.I went home to open three cans of Campbell’s soup for dinner- three soup plates-I went without. I read my dinner.

Today, March 26, 2015, I shared my dinner-soup, made by hand, not canned- with another old man and the sea, Robert Redford-a best acting winner for his brilliant performance-in ALL IS LOST. This is a must see. Inspiring. Stunning. As a sailor I sat glued to my seat, holding my breath, totally lost in his perilous adventure. This was a 21st Century update, in Technicolor and sound- almost mute-on steroids. I think Hemingway would have loved it. I imagined my husband sitting beside me loving it, too.

Reviews read: “GRADE A: REDFORD’S PERFORMANCE IS POWERFUL” “DAZZLING: CINEMA AT ITS PUREST. REDFORD IS TRIUMPHANT.”

What struck me, however, was an almost poetic metaphor. Today. Versus yesterday. 2015 versus 1952. A world too rich. A world too poor. Santiago and his skiff and his marlin and his run of bad luck. A 75-year-old man-the character-one character, he’s not given a name-in ALL IS LOST and a Columbia 39. Virginia Jean. The mast is 65 feet tall! The monstrous cargo containers that pass him in broad day light in the shipping lanes and see him not. Bad luck.

This old man’s courage-his strength, his attitude, he never gives up-reminds me of so many of us on Kauai who battle a force as strong as the wind and the weather and the sea. Forces that would destroy our lives-and the beauty and life of this magnificent island paradise- as surely as the laws of nature and bad luck will destroy this man and his yacht. Forces over which we have no control.

I don’t mean to indulge in hyperbola. To be dramatic. I mean to express a real life battle- a seemingly undefeatable battle-so overwhelming, so exhausting- we despair. We lose courage. We lose strength. We need a break but we don’t get one. But we don’t give up.

The forces of nature are that. Natural. Cruel.

The forces we face here on Kauai are unnatural. Insane. They seem to despise nature. Defy nature. Vast land masses turned into dollars. The production of food grown for profit, not nourishment. Beauty turned to concrete. Fresh water defiled. Fresh air vanquished. Like the old men, we weaken.

But we don’t give up.

CHANGE
March 11, 2015

It seems to be a time when everything changes. Fast. Too fast. Some people like change. Some people don’t. Not every change, good or bad, pleases everybody.

I’m recalling a kind of old-time joke-my style-when the crank of the town was asked about change, He replied, “I seen lots and been agin every damn one.”

Don’t think I’ll go that far, I loved movies in living color. I love DVD discs that shoot real movies in Technicolor on a screen. WOW! I can turn my living room- great room a new fangled description-into a theater by pulling down a hidden screen and connecting an EPSON projector. I can watch, with great delight,  thirty hours of Sherlock Homes half hour TV segments in black and white and love every minute. I can remember in the first grade watching Rin Tin Tin on a white sheet in a classroom. It was a treat we got when we were good kids. My father bought me a toy  film projector so I could watch cartoon characters race about on a white wall. No sound and the film had to be rewound on a reel and kept in a safe  place. I could watch the same magic  over and over and over, but I loved Rin Tin Tin  best.

I didn’t like it when we had to drive the car  to San Francisco instead of taking the ferry. I loved cold foggy days and smell good  soup inside.. I loved to walk on the deck in the fog, snuggled warm. I loved fog. Weather. Climate changer. Global warming. Don’t like that much. I accept the fact we are experiencing this change and hope someone figures out a way to slow it down.  This is a change that bodes no one on the planet good. What did we used to say? “It’s an ill wing that bids no one good.” This is one.

I don’t like over population and huge dirty  cities where people live stacked on each others shoulders. A high-rise, to me, is a monstrosity. I must feel the earth beneath my feet. Climb and sit in a tree. Even at eighty-four. Clean stalls, make compost, groom a mudder-that’s a horse who loves to roll in the mud.

That the sound of birds-singing, crowing, tweeting, trilling, raking fallen leaves with clawed feet and munching worms and other creepy crawlies-has been displaced with the sound of motorcycles, revving engines, growling trucks, boom boxes, horns, traffic, drones, helicopters, jets and other annoying what nots, offend my ears.

Ticky tacky dwellings- suburban sprawl-lined hump roof  to  hump roof , eating up space and rich soil saddens  my sense of order. We used to sing, “Don’t fence me in.” Today we sing of paved paradise.

I hope it will never be I who  decide which changes must be made , and hope they who must make them, think of the common good, of the planet, of the living things who abide here and not of cipher  in banks and paper in wallets and pockets. They who put profit first. Living things nowhere.