The Down-Turned Hand
Somewhere between the resilience of communities
that have survived through it all, the seeds and the
people recover, and biodiversity returns despite the
monoculture of colonialism.
WINONA LADUKE, Recovering the Sacred
Wind and waves gather force over thousands of miles of open ocean, then slam into the north side of the island of Kaua'i. Razor-sharp cliffs slice down the sides of the Na Pali coast, carved from above by water falling down the mountainsides and excavated from below by winds careening up from the sea. Gashes of blood-red soil show through the soft green velour covering the land. The churning air and water form heavy clouds that dump over 440 inches of rain on Mount Wai'ale'ale every year, making it the wettest place on earth. These waters stream down the mountainsides in waterfalls and rivers and, before returning to the sea, pulse through the veins of an unbelievable diversity of plants, birds, animals, insects, and fish that live here. Viewed from above, Kaua'i looks like a large flower floating in an immense turquoise sea.
Kaua'i rose out of the Pacific Ocean 6 million years ago as part of a series of volcanic eruptions that formed the Hawaiian archipelago. When Captain Cook accidentally found these islands in