Saturday, October 9, 2010

3am, Cane Smoke, Sulfur and Coffee

Tis the season for windless days and Cane Sugar burning on Maui. I grew up with Cane Burning and never minded it and actually enjoyed watching it. These days with all the controversy over the toxicity of the smoke and all the "extra" stuff in the fields, it's not an easy subject. It's part of a past culture and something that many owe a living to and yet Maui is moving to a different future and trying to retain it's past ands still increase it's population.

I am a fan of Maui's History and love to read about the last 100 years and even my Family had a hand in shaping it to some degree as owners of an old country store that we bought when I was a kid, it's no longer there and later building the first "modern" theater on Maui in many years. I ran the projectors and helped manage it with my late Mother and Father and many friends that had invested in the venture my Father started. So the history and culture of Maui is something I love to study, but as part of an industry that is moving towards a highly sophisticated and technologically advanced future for not only Maui, but the world, I have to realize that holding on to the past is fruitless, while learning from it as you move forward is priceless.

Back to the Sugar Cane Burning, I always lived up-country in Haiku until the last 10 years when I moved to Kahului amid and downwind of the Sugar Cane Burning. I never realized at first why my house smelled of sulfur about 3am during windless mornings. Between Maui Land and Pines power plant a block away, Maui Electrics Steam Powerplant and Cane Burning, on windless mornings as the temperature cooled and the temperature inversion of the cold air trapping the warm air close to the ground, was introduced to the smell of all that filling my house and being strong enough to wake me, as it did this morning.

Maui Pine is gone, Maui Electric has installed many features to clean it's emissions, which leaves the Sugar Burning. So I would have to say much of it comes from the Cane Burning. With the price of housing having dropped radically, a move to another location is out of the question, so what do I do? Hey, just grin and bear it, look for the bright side and get up in the dark and be the first customers in Starbuck's Air-Conditioned store, have my coffee, read the Maui News, Honolulu Star Advertisor, Wall Street Journal and blog about it.
That works for me at the moment.

Now as the sun rises I have to pick up my 7 year old rambunctious grandson and head for the Maui Community Workday sponsor installation of a garden at Haiku School. Having attended Haiku School in 7th and 8th grade, I was one of the last classes to really experience the old farming and gardening practices at schools and enjoy the fruits of our labor in the cafeteria and learn to love Watercress grown below the school closs to the ocean in a hidden stream by a long time Watercress farming family.

So taking my grandson so many years ago to restart a garden at Haiku School is a pleasure. He goes to school in Kahului and has a lot of homework to do, so after lunch when we are done working on the garden we will take a trip maybe to the Pauwela Lighthouse, another of my old stomping grounds and enjoy the view while doing some of his homework.

Incorporating what is, respecting what was and having faith in what will be is about the only way to get by and for now I will enjoy the moment and day with my grandson.

Here are some pictures of my view this morning.

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