Page 2 - MidWeek Kauai - June 23, 2021
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    Hearing The Songs Of Snails
   “I ka wa¯ ma mua, kani na¯ pu¯pu¯ no ma¯kou, i ke¯ia wa¯ e kani ma¯kou no la¯kou. In the past, the snails sang for us, now let us sing for their sake.”
am a Hawaiian cultural life, these tree snails are near- team didn’t want to simply practitioner and a scien- ing extinction. Thankfully, dump them there. I knew this tist. In ancient Hawaiʻi, heroic efforts are underway was yet another place where
  WNew, Old Terms
the sacred was found in every to rescue them from their the wisdom of one practice
hile we certainly can’t chuckle about the “bad old days” of COVID yet, we can see a light at the end of the prolonged, dark tunnel. So let’s plant our
living thing, in every boulder in a stream, and each cloud in the sky. As such, considering something sacred went hand in hand with knowing it in- timately, like the attention to detail given by scientists.
predators and allow them to grow in special habitats, then release them back into protect- ed sanctuaries.
could join with another.
I began a chant of awak- ening that is offered to the ʻaumākua, our ancestral
that when we pay intimate attention to the living sacred presence, the results can be wonderful indeed.
Sam ‘Ohu Gon is the senior scientist and cultural adviser for The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi. He was designat- ed a Living Treasure of Ha- waiʻi in 2014 for his biocul- tural knowledge, philosophy and approach to conservation.
Chasing The Light is pro- duced by Lynne Johnson and Robin Stephens Rohr.
tongues firmly in cheek, jump ahead a couple of years, and look back at some terms that have morphed in meaning, as it’s never too early to smile:
When a batch of snails was being prepared for return to the wild, the snail conserva- tion team asked me to join them, high in the Koʻolau Mountains, to offer blessings on them, and I jumped at the honor. It was a long hike to the summit of Poamoho where the special snail enclosure had been built. These snails are not active by day, and when we got to the release site, in the cold drizzle of the sacred uplands, they were inert and unmoving. The conservation
E ala, ua ao, ua mālamala-
• Antibodies — They were what we all wanted to help fight off a stealthy invader, but now they simply define people we just don’t want as homies.
At one time the lowly kāhu- li tree snail, sitting quietly under a leaf in the sacred up- land forests, was seen for the unique and special being it is. It was woven into grand epics, in chants, and songs. These kāhuli tree snails were said to sing in a high-pitched voice. Their songs guided lovers to- gether, or marked the location of hidden chiefly persons.
ma, ua hele kānaka aia i luna ... it began. “Arise, it is day, it is growing light, beings are moving about above ...”
• Cluster — A place to avoid in the COVID era. Now it can be seen daily at Leonard’s as malasada-craving tourists have re-appeared.
By the end of the chant, all of the snails had emerged from their shells and were moving about on their leaves, like moving rainbow-hued jewels, which made it so much easier to transfer them to the foliage of their new homes! It seemed a little miracle, But miracle or not, it was a hopeful sign
• Community spread — That was when someone got COVID someplace that couldn’t be easily identified. Now it’s just another AYSO soccer potluck on Saturday.
• Convalescent plasma — An antibody donation made by community heroes who’d beaten the disease. Now it’s that 77- inch, $4,000, 4K, OLED TV you can’t possibly afford, unless you saved your government stimulus check. Yeah, right.
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Alice Inoue
IWe’ve All Got Demons
am in a profession in which people trust me with their deepest, darkest secrets. They tell me about their inner demons, fears and frustrations. They
share opinions about themselves as to where they perceive they are not enough, and where their in- securities lie.
After having spoken to thousands of people over the years, this is what I’ve discovered: We all have inner demons and hidden monsters. And, you know what? The monsters are all very similar. They sim- ply come in different shapes, textures and shades of scary.
The bottom line is that we are all more alike than we think.
  • False positive result — This was when you didn’t have COVID but thought you did. Now it’s what you say when you don’t like a presidential election result, despite facts.
• Herd immunity — What we wanted so badly as a species that we bribed people to get vaccinated. Now it’s just a term for a bunch of mad cow disease-free cattle in Kamuela.
 • Long-hauler — In 2022, this was one of the many millions still suffering COVID aftereffects. Now it’s just Bob, the guy trucking your Tesla to Long Beach for shipping here.
• PPE — The vital equipment that hospital first responders couldn’t get enough of during dire times. Now it’s Twitter shorthand for a renowned North Shore surfing spot.
• mRNA — The single strand, molecular magical mean- derer that helped fight off the dastardly pandemic, courtesy of Pfizer/Moderna vaccines. Now it’s the miracle medical break- through in our fight against cancer, HIV, sickle cell anemia, Ebola, Zika, influenza, etc. No joke here.
• Social distancing — What we did to keep the virus away. Now it just refers to the mandated, awkward rule during slow dances at Junior’s eighth-grade social.
• Super-spreader — Formerly a human to avoid, su- per-spreader. But now, it merely indicates a benign, but wide, butter knife.
• Zoom — A human zoo inside transparent boxes where we all used to congregate to be seen far too often. Now, it’s what we all aspire to see our lives do, post-COVID.
Think about it ...
Sam ‘Ohu Gon

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