It’d been several years since I was home to visit family in Hawaii. With my mother in-law’s passing, my husband, daughter and I made the trip to Honolulu with a mixture of sadness and joy.
We were fortunate to rent a condo near the hub of tourist activities, Waikiki Beach, without being in the midst of all the traffic…pedestrian and automotive.
To say I felt rejuvenated as the days unfolded, is an understatement. The sheer pleasure of walking out the front door, hand-in-hand with my hubby, and having the warm, tropical breezes softly brush both cheeks was simply…heaven on earth.
Our walks rarely varied. We’d stop to breakfast at a small cafe in a nearby hotel, before leisurely strolling along the beach.
Thinking healthy, we’d order scrambled egg whites, oatmeal, and island must-haves…a few pieces of Portuguese sausage and a couple of macadamia nut pancakes. To the surprise of the young waitress, hubby and I would share our bountiful meal. Explaining our desire to live long, happy lives…she’d smile, nodding her approval.
Sitting among planters brimming with colorful varieties of orchids, and gentle trees whose limbs directed our eyes toward the sand and sea…we felt at peace with our surroundings…and life in general.
This was the Hawaii of my childhood, only better. Carefree…bellies full…dreams realized.
Wandering the length of the beach, we were amazed at the expanded shore line. It literally took my breath away.
The last time I saw this section of Waikiki Beach, much of the ocean was walled off by a long, winding stonewall. What water was free of obstruction was literally lapping at my feet.
I liked what I was seeing this go round.
Sand as far as my eyes could see. The beach front of my childhood. Nothing between me and the Pacific, blue waters…but glistening, white sand.
One day when my daughter and I sought to spend several hours basking in the sun, we made our way down to the beach. I opted for laying our towels in the immediate vicinity of a manmade lagoon which sat between a hotel and the ocean.
Dropping myself onto the towel, my bottom literally went…kerplunk! The sand felt as hard as a wood floor. Wasn’t it suppose to be cushiony?
My daughter laughed, her eyes twinkling in the sunlight.
She reminded me that my brother-in-law, her uncle, had told us the beach front had been a creation of man’s ingenuity.
All of the sand we beheld had been brought there, tons and tons of it. The shoreline had literally been swallowed up by the ocean. As a result, the city and affected businesses had to pay for its reconstruction. Otherwise, where would the tourists go? Elsewhere, obviously.
I remember an older sister telling me long ago, that the beaches were disappearing inch by inch.
A teen, too young to care, I didn’t put much stock in what she said. But after thinking about this situation recently, I can remember how surprised I was when I visited Kihei on the island of Maui over 20 years ago. My favorite beach bore no resemblance to the one I loved, growing up.
Kalama Beach Park was a regular weekend destination for my family. As soon as my mom pulled into the parking lot and stopped the car, my brother, sister and I flung open the doors and raced one another to the beach.
Digging our toes into the hot sand, we’d plop our bodies down…reveling in the openness and the breathtaking beauty that surrounded us.
Never could I have imagined that sweet memories of childhood days frolicking on the wide open beaches of my birthplace…would be all that remained.
When I hear and see, as I did last night when watching the PBS FRONTLINE documentary, of the effects of global warming, I’m saddened to know what has happened in Hawaii has occurred elsewhere, and is continuing to take place…now…in areas of our country such as North Carolina.
I believe we have tampered with Mother Nature.
Anyone who contemplates all the changes that have occurred within recent decades to the weather and to the earth itself, cannot explain away our impact upon these events.
We are not invisible.
We have used all available natural resources to indulge ourselves. Meanwhile, we have put very little effort into ensuring that these resources will be available long term…for our children, grand-children, great-grand-children…and their children, grand-children, great-grand-children.
I have my memories. You probably have yours. What kind of memories will our loved ones have?
Unless we invest in our environment, our beaches…may altogether…disappear. …and so it begins………hugmamma.