Allow me to add my voice to the growing number of complaints about the overhead noise in Hilo.
This is a private enterprise enriching itself at the expense of the residents. Tourism is important, but flying tour companies can take slightly longer flights to avoid the unnerving sounds they create when flying over our otherwise peaceful town.
I am a tourist here in Hilo, arriving at the end of March. I am also one of 11 who was arrested at the kanaka garden and charged with illegal camping on public land on April 4, when I had the honor of checking into the comfortable, laid-back Hilo county jail, dutifully obliging the strictly enforced dress code of handcuffs and shackles. Talk about arriving in style! I would like to share my story.
I arrived here with very little understanding of Hawaii, much less its political history. During my short stay, I have seen how the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty can create an impasse where communication breaks down, where people resort to name-calling and finding fault in the so-called other.
I find that extremely dispiriting, because for me the kanaka garden was a sanctuary where understanding, generosity and the spirit of aloha were in abundance. It instantly became my favorite Hilo location because it was a space where I could not only grow food, but also work, learn, play, converse, eat and pray with new friends, as one big family, as ohana, free of judgment, free of barriers, free to grow.
For just one second, if we could suspend judgment for a mere moment and try to see the humanity involved in all sides, and accept the responsibility to truly engage with honesty, patience, humility and kindness, couldn’t we then unleash the true aloha inside of us all?
When does enough truly mean enough to realize that we need to start actively cultivating peace in our lives, to try to live and die in some way that means something? Couldn’t we heal each other through working side-by-side at the farm, growing kalo, blessing the land, and blessing our lives?
Poet Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing/there is a field/I’ll meet you there.”
Are we really stuck at a stage where sticks and stones and angry words are how we communicate, or will we allow ourselves to embody the spirit of aloha, the message of generosity from the earth? I have gained so much from the garden that I did not regret one moment of being jailed for it, and it is my hope that others have the same opportunity to grow without having to be sent to jail.