Gratuitous Color Shot #18: I took it on the run baby / ’cause that’s the way I want it baby

Hawaiian folklore deems Oahu’s rugged, remote Ka’ena Point as a leina a ka ‘uhane, or jumping off point for souls leaving the earth. Guided by ancestors or deceased friends, a soul leapt from the point’s sacred rock into the ocean before entering po heaven. But apparently not all the dead were as lucky: some say souls judged unworthy were cursed to wander the island in misery and isolation.

As I’m extraordinarily pleased to announce I’ve accepted a position with a new company, the legend’s core concept—being escorted and supported when heading into the unknown—is one that resonates with me greatly right now.

Especially since the drawn-out process of seeking a better professional life had me living in dread that someone would sidle up to me and start singing “Heard it from a friend who / Heard it from a friend who / Heard it from another you been messin’ around [with interviews].”

Fortunately, my efforts to slide out with minimum drama and a bit of grace succeeded. Objectively, I know I’m headed for a better place; subjectively, though, I’ll be in limbo for a while as the whole new-job thing sorts itself out.

Wish me luck with my leaping?

At Oahu’s westernmost spot, a fellow hiker embraces a more upward view of Ka’ena Point Natural Area Reserve

PSA: Read more about efforts to restore the ecosystem at Ka’ena Point


Gratuitous Color Shot #17: Ladybug, ladybug fly away home

History has repeatedly made its for-better-or-worse mark on lovely Long Beach, Washington. The Chinook were displaced by early settlers, the once-remote seascape beset by summer visitors, the abundant clams and salmon over-harvested.

By 1980 the lodgings and amusements created to support tourism from the 1880s on—including warm saltwater swimming pools and sport fishing—weren’t enough to support a town worn down by gas/energy crises and changes in the commercial fishing industry.

[Contributing factors to the decline in for-profit fishing: Pollution, climate shifts, and a controversial legal ruling giving Native tribes the right to half the region’s harvestable fish.]

Since then, a place named for 28 miles of sandy shoreline has added new chapters to its story while keeping oceanfront development minimal.

Today’s Long Beach offers a rehabilitated main street heavy on the classic seaside mix of treats and trinkets. It’s a place where taffy, burgers, and arcade games co-exist with souvenirs of Jake the Alligator Man, bumper cars, and ziploc’d bags of fresh cranberries handed over with a smile.

When warm weather ends, the Long Beach Washington ladybugs lose an antenna but keep their smiles

Kites star in museum exhibits and multiple festivals. A boardwalk winds through decades-old dune grass that both stabilizes and enchants. And down the road a ways, fans of nature and history will find Cape Disappointment anything but.

Compared to other PNW spots, the region hasn’t changed terribly much since the days when rumor (and Coast Country: A History of Southwest Washington) has it a woman dropped a ball of yarn from a train window and “the conductor halted the train, got out, retrieved the wool, and rolled it.”

For those who dream of life beyond a small coastal town, it’s likely the tourists, unhurried pace and relative isolation chafe. Luckily for the community’s economic security, though, making nostalgia the town’s dominant currency seems to be a gamble that’s paying off.

Gratuitous Color Shot #16: Remember when small was the next big thing?

From objects to organizations, small done well is an art; large done badly, an insult.

A 1969 Subaru microvan (seats 4, 50-70 MPG) makes its modern-day rounds

Bonus shots of a 1969 Subaru microvan in modern times: L, a tropical interior; R, a young onlooker provides a sense of scale

Gratuitous Color Shot #15: Split-Personality Fence

More than 125 years ago, a vivid dream set a fictional manifesto in motion. “Though so profound a double-dealer, I was in no sense a hypocrite,” confesses one-half of Robert Louis Stevenson’s permanently linked creations“I was no more myself when I laid aside restraint and plunged in shame, than when I laboured, in the eye of day, at the futherance of knowledge or the relief of sorrow and suffering.” 

Today the novel’s premise that we are “not truly one, but truly two” continues to resonate with readers, artists, investigators, therapists, and untold others.

And no wonder. Since Stevenson penned his tale we may have picked up a few insights into human behavior, but we still know shockingly little about how to excise its many negative expressions.

[And are still divided over where many social/cultural norms fall on the good-to-evil spectrum.]

With that as our context, can duality—and its eternal question of integration versus dichotomy—ever fail to fascinate?

In beachy Carlsbad California, a yin-yang fence both warns and beckons

Gratuitous Color Shot #13 and #14: Mrs Peacock on the lanai with a coconut

I have nothing against pristine views; I just love views where achingly beautiful nature collides with human handiwork a little bit more.

View from Bunker No. 1 on Oahu’s Ka’iwa Ridge Trail: Lanikai Beach with one of Kailua Bay’s Mokulua islands in the distance

View from Bunker No. 2 on Oahu’s Ka’iwa Ridge Trail: Kailua Bay, with Kaneohe in the distance