Celebrating our nation’s independence from the British Empire while residing in a state of the Union that still has an active sovereignty movement causes one to pause and reflect on the nature of freedom and self governance, and not quite in the same way that our founding fathers did on the 4th day of the months of July past. Indeed, there are many an able bodied person of indigenous extraction on this island who would rather secede from the American Empire, and there are plenty a folk here who have run from that same entity to reinvent themselves on this dot in the ocean…far from the eye of Sauron.
Irrespective of one’s views on sovereignty, liberation, and independence, let’s just agree to remember July 4 for the day of great loss that it represented in 1826, when natural causes took from us two men who were pillars in the foundation of the great experiment of democracy that is our country. Yes, on the 50th commemorative day of our independence–a freedom that they both helped achieve–Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Adams gave up the ghost in mid-written-correspondence with one another; Jefferson at his home, Monticello, in the environs of my alma mater in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Adams at his home in Quincy, Massachusetts. At the age of 90, Mr. Adam’s last words were, “Thomas Jefferson survives” (he was unaware that Mr. Jefferson had passed only 5 hours prior at the age of 82).
To kick off the day of commemoration in our new and tropical locale, our youngest selected and prepared for us a breakfast of granola filled papaya topped with apple banana (only one of 20 varieties of banana that we have so far found here).
We closed out the day with a traditional performance by a local ukulele trio and a hula group and, of course, fireworks over the bay.
Day of the Car
Like a poorly named Alfred Hitchcock film or a cheap B movie, Monday was “Day of the Car,” an event that will go down in the annals of our family history. We woke with a single vehicle parked in our drive–our local rental–and, when we put our heads to pillow that eve, there were four cars parked outside–the rental, our newly arrived vehicles from the mainland (you will recall our trusty Kermit and Serenity), and a newly acquired land vessel, our long-sought-after work vehicle, a used Jeep Wrangler.
Aside from the Lucile-Ball-like antics that accompanied a day defined by two drivers feverishly shuttling multiple automobiles between the local port, a car cleaning facility, a rental car agency, and our rental home, we discovered our future work vehicle only the night before (on the internet) and had to pick it up….on the other side of the island. That’s right, another 2-hour road trip, and we arrived at the dealership only 30-minutes before closing to secure what we have come to view as the perfect buy (it had every single feature we were looking for and, after a little negotiation, was just at our exact price). Oh…and further marking this day’s namesake as “Day of the Car,”…I received a call mid-day, during the hectic shuttling of vehicles, informing me that–after extensive background checks and drug testing–I had, at last, secured the part-time, totally flexible driving job that I had been waiting on as our first income stream. Day of the Car, indeed!
Let the Education Proceed!
As part of the schooling efforts, we attended a lecture by a local volcanologist on how to best get along with our fiery neighbor. Comments about the need for everyone to have on hand a prepared “go bag” for when the scientists call the approach of a significant event (when the volcano is clearly awakening and it is time to move to other grounds) reminded me of that famous quote from J.R.R. Tolkien:
““It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.”
And the youngest secured her supplies for this year’s course on Marine Biolgy:
Herpatology studies proceeded apace, though it is hard to determine with any measure of certainty who is learning more about whom:
As for the big kids, I began attending a local writer’s group to advance my other paltry income stream as a freelancer, I signed up for a 12-week long course on local permaculture practices, and I am eyeing a course a that would convey upon me the title of state-certified tour guide for Hawaii. Meanwhile, the bride balanced out her heavy focus on school curriculum by signing up for a 21-session course on business plan development for farmers.
The Homestead Advances
Meetings with drafters and builders put some final touches on our desires for the floor plan of the yurt.
Meanwhile, the clearing crew continued to open up our property (we now have a highway-sized tail all the way to the the far back border) and flatten out the liveable areas. We were able to explore our plot for the first time without hiking boots, courtesy of our new 4WD vessel:
The Fat Lady Sings
So…that just about captures the latest week in our saga. A 24-hour bug did knock a few of us out of commission for a day, but the ship has since righted, and we had an electric rust prevention device installed on the Jeep (vehicle rust out is only one of several special considerations for living in this high-humidty, salt-water environment). We also reached a critical point in the financial side of our endeavor–trying to juggle the timing of savings withdrawals and building payments in a way that minimizes Uncle Sam’s claim to our money–but I’ll save the frustrating details of that issue for another time. Adieu.