Kona Diaries Excerpts
Moke relearning the old ways:
Crouched at the bow of the weather worn hull, the younger man absently scanning the distance seemed anything but damaged by his years of study in California. His broad shoulders and athletic poise spoke of a childhood playing daily in the warm Pacific surf, and four years of lonely and desperate college swim team triumphs. His gaze was direct, matter-of-fact American, but with an unmistakable Hawaiian sweetness too. In his eyes, a subtle hint of that amused expectation of pleasure that sometimes marks the children of the Kona coast — the adult fruit of a long-ago Hawaiian birth blessing; a prophesy sealed with a wreath of sweet scented flowers.
The young man’s name is Moke Kealoha. Barefoot, wearing only shorts, his lean smooth confident presence would remind old Hawaiians of his grandfather, the famous fishing Kealoha. And today, he wears a loose cord around his neck from which hang two large ‘calling-stones’ that once belonged to his grandfather, and had been passed down to his uncle. Each stone had been carved and polished long ago, shaped to fit perfectly in the palm of a hand.
Moke stands in the narrow boat, balancing expertly. In the distance, just discernable above the rolling blue, a splash of spray…
What I Must Do
Moke Kealoha – two syllables, not one. It rhymes with Smokey. I have been blessed so many ways. I was born in Hookena Village, which is on the ocean in south Kona. My mother and father, unfortunately, passed away when I was a youngster, but not before I got to listen to my father recite the long Kealoha oli (oral genealogy history memorialized and recited as a chant). Papa told me that I should authenticate the part of the oli that talked about a split petroglyph (stone carving) half of which he had and would occasionally bring out in a small koa bowl. Papa was adamant in his instructions that this treasure should remain in the Kealoha ohana. If anything should happen to him it was to be cared for by an uncle until I could take possession of it as a grown man.
The doctors say it is miracle:
I am awake.
The Doctors say it’s a miracle. The fact that I survived. That I’m alive.
Only the thing is I’m not. I didn’t. Not exactly. Something has happened to me. A lot of things. The worst thing is I have almost no sense of time anymore. It feels like I’ve lain in this place for years.
At first being awake hurt so much I couldn’t stand it. I was crazy with pain. Noisy crazy. The doctors refused to sedate me in case I went down into a coma again. Instead they moved me to another hospital – a long-term hospital. One specialist believes I have sustained permanent injuries to my brain as a result of massive hemorrhaging. He wants to operate. Another says I am a textbook example of inconsolable emotional trauma. He wants to operate too.
I’ve been here three weeks. Everything still hurts.