Karl, a King, and my return.

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Dear Sunaina,

I’ve been procrastinating writing because so much is up in the air as far as moving to Maui permanently, but I’ve been in the clouds and every time I open the door it seems to be raining, so it’s time to get started writing! It’s been a pretty nice couple of weeks here, had a guest, inadvertently helped a Pueo have a successful hunting trip, garden beds are flowering, all kinds of stuff is going on! And, I’ll be returning to the mainland on Sept 3rd.

This past weekend I had a new friend stay in the cottage, it was great! She’s 25 and a 3rd Dan in Taekwondo, also practices Brazilian Jui Jitsu a bit as well. It’s so great to see females in martial arts, more and more with time. The best thing I did for my own confidence was to start training in Thai and American Boxing when I was 23, wish I’d started somewhere around birth! Criminals look for weak targets, timid or unaware usually, so simply having the confidence of being able to defend one’s self gives that person the edge in most cases. Anyway, we cooked, watched operas and listened to some B.B. King, since he passed away, and watched the stars. It was fun, missed hangout sessions like those. Foolishly, though, I let her leave without putting her to work. She’s a Baker, as in a professional trained in culinary school, and I didn’t have her bake a treat for me! Ah well, she was on vacation.

B.B. King’s death wasn’t unexpected but it’s always sad to see cultural icons pass, especially when the culture they are a part of is healthy and benign. Mr. King inspired many people to become musicians, singers, and poets, to open blues bars and juke joints, and to rock music venues around the world. I’ve never been a musician but having roots in Louisiana exposed me to a lot of his music and his influence.

Luckily, I had a number of positive male role models to battle the peer influences from school. One passed away too young, at 27 I think, and I wrote about him yesterday. I don’t know if I ever told you about Karl Stewart, but you can probably appreciate my experience with him:

“I’ve always been too much for most people to handle. It makes me very thankful for the people that have embraced my personality over the years. When I was a kid, in middle school, I had a really hard time. I was a “victim” of extreme bullying, and very few people enjoyed my company. It was a time when my mind was wild, my body wilder, and the drugs I was taking for ADHD were destroying the very fiber of my self and were keeping me from learning about myself, and how to handle myself in society. My best friend was the janitor of my school. For countless afternoons, after school, we talked about the world and laughed with each other as we beatboxed in the empty halls. We made so much music, and I still remember the deep bass that he was a master of. It’s something I still aspire to achieve, and endlessly fail at. He was a gospel singer on weekends and a custodian during the week, an amazing human being that helped me to understand that I was OK and I was worthy of love from others (something I still struggle with). He died during Christmas break of my 8th grade year, was run off the road by police in pursuit of someone, his car rolled over, he was ejected and died. He never wore his seatbelt, it drove me crazy, and the last thing I said to him was “wear your seatbelt, Karl, see you after break!” That day he put his seatbelt on, to entertain me and settle my mind. That man, who spent his time with the wildest kid in the school…a kid that spent more time in the office than he did in the classroom, changed my life forever. He had no clue what his friendship meant to me. At times we impact people’s lives in ways that we cannot even perceive. A person never knows what they are doing for someone when they just take the time to let someone in. There is not a day in my life that goes by that I don’t think of that tall black man with a his long Jheri-Curled hair, my best friend, one my heroes. I’m so thankful to have somehow found so many beautiful people in life, people like him. I want to be a man like that, the one I knew and loved, someone that inspired and encouraged a crazy little boy to be himself in the face of all that sought to stifle and destroy him. Of the things and people that I am grateful for, there are many, he is one.”
When I was on the way to pick up my guest the horses were on the mountainside in front of me, it was beautiful…and I actually took a picture! The day I brought her back down the mountain I ended up coming home after dark. When I reached the top of “Killer Hill”, and turned on to the trail to the homestead, a Pueo, or Barn Owl, started using my headlights to help it hunt. I wasn’t sure that’s what it was doing until I saw the owl flying towards a ridge as I dipped into a bump, and when my lights came back up and hit it, it had a small animal in its talons and it was rapidly flying out of view. A Pueo is an owl that’s native to Hawaii, but there are also Barn owls here. It’s hard to tell the difference between the two, different colored eyes are the main feature difference. It was awesome to see. The grass is so thick here that they often have trouble catching rats and such outside of pasture areas.

Today is “Rednose Day”, and as much as I hate to rain on an awareness campaigns parade, a pack of seeds is going to do a lot more for poor kids than a plastic nose will. I wish these high dollar awareness campaigns would be more thoughtful and deep about their approaches. I’m going to look into what it would take to do some kind of fund raising campaign where people are given something useful, like seeds, instead of a piece of plastic that will end up in the ocean. What were they thinking with that one? I think they get people with no real-world-average-Joe experience to come up with some of these gimmicks.

When I first came up with the idea to make “Yarden of Eden” a school I wanted to go to poverty stricken communities around the world to help them setup Aquaponics systems and work towards re-greening food deserts. It would still be great to do that, but in the efforts based in the US I want to help people in Urban/Suburban settings to be more self-sufficient and to grow foods and harvest rain and greywater. Most people in the US live in those settings, and they are the ones most affected when disaster strikes. Making the urban/suburban populations more stable makes the entire national community more stable. There are a million disaster movies that take place in settings like that and the common denominator for pretty much all of them is that food and water become central points of conflict and concern. No matter how “Hollywood” those movies are, that aspect is real and it’s not being addressed by anyone in media or government. I want to live on a homestead out in the woods, but a neighborhood lot, even a corner in an apartment bedroom, is enough to produce a significant amount of food. People just need to learn that they can, and the concepts, to be exposed to the possibility, and the curiosity after that is contagious for many.
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The little garden bed I made is totally loaded, no plants have died yet, the flowers are blooming and soon they’ll start to fruit. They are all stunted, growth wise, because I either kept them in pots too long or I didn’t make enough ground access for roots in the bed that I made. There is cardboard between the soil I made and the ground, though I perforated it before planting. Anyway, my midget garden is coming along, cant wait to see it fruit. The Sunflowers are about 4.5-5ft tall, they should be something like 9-10ft! Whoops, live, learn, and grow!

I’m going to a Chiropractor for the first time ever. The injuries from my 2006 car accidents are causing me some trouble, and I’ve never treated myself to an adjustment, so I’m going to give it a shot. Hopefully I’ll feel some relief, been a long time and I’m getting tired. Have a lovely second half of the week! I hope the weather is warm and the breeze cool.

Aloha nui loa,


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