We Can Make That Work




Have you ever imagined what it must have been like to pack up your most prized possessions and head off to start a new life in a place you’ve only heard or read about? I’m not sure I would have had the nerve to climb into a wagon, turn west and snap the reins, confident that over some distant hill, their version of a new life waited.

old-villageI just returned from a lovely vacation in Hawaii, where I spent some time learning about the history of the islands’ inhabitants and wondering about those who discovered and settled these lush piles of volcanic rock.

Just imagine it – they loaded canoes, tackled thousands of miles on the open ocean, finally found a safe harbor to land, climbed to the highest point and looked out over rolling hills of rich black—lava?

Since the earliest settlers came from the Polynesian Islands to the south, they left their beautiful, lush homeland, rich with all kinds of vegetation, and landed on a serierock-ffitis of rocks that had less than 1000 native plant species. Still, they adapted, survived and flourished.

That ability to adapt is what, in my mind, makes those who settled the Hawaiian Islands much like those who settled the old West. For instance, on Hawaii, the big island, the teenagers have adapted. Because the lava is too rough and porous for spray paint, they use small water-smoothed white rocks to get their message across.

donkey-crossingEven the animals have adapted (behind that sign, for as far as you can see, is lava and salt grass).

Whether in the old West, or the islands, the settlers took what they found in their new location and used it to make a home–a life. This resilience of the human spirit never ceases to amaze and humble me. I guess that’s why I write westerns.

Aloha, y’all.

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14 thoughts on “We Can Make That Work”

  1. Sounds like a lovely vacation, Tracy. I remember reading James Michener’s HAWAII years ago, which includes the saga of the people who made that early journey and adapted to what they found. No, I wouldn’t have the courage to head into the unknown like that. Guessing that there were people who didn’t make it, and we never got to hear their stories.
    My ancestors were western pioneers. I’m amazed at what they went through.
    Thanks for a great blog.

  2. I read James Michner’s Hawaii, a long, long time ago. So interesting how anyone ended up there to begin with. How in heaven’s name did people in canoes, or whatever ancient boats, ever end up in that place.

  3. I too read Hawaii, and also saw the movie. It was fasinating and I have to admire people who went to uncharted lands..
    I felt a bit like a pioneer when I moved away from home 7years ago.. and that was only to move an hour away by car…it was daunting for me, I cannot imagine what these people felt..

  4. Hi Tracy, I know what a great time you must have had! Isn’t the “white rock” graffiti on the Big Island fun to see? I also loved the donkeys, left over from the coffee-transport days.

    Hubby and I haven’t moved in 24 years. We’re nesters, I think. I can’t imagine pulling up and moving today, much going off as pioneers did. And those Polynesians,wow. Can’t even imagine. oxoxoxoxo

  5. Tracy, that’s an interesting point. The human spirit just amazes me. I fail to see the beauty of miles and miles of lava rock, but glad someone else did. They certainly created a tropical paradise there. I’ve love to be able to visit Hawaii someday. But, first I’ll have to win the lottery. LOL

  6. Sorry I’m late! Computer problems. Ugh!

    I’ve not yet read Michener’s Hawaii – I guess I should, now that I’ve seen the islands.

    Melinda, I agree totally. The key to surviving is adjusting.

    Kathleen, I know what you mean. I’ve moved many times and this last one to our current home was it. I told my dh they’re carrying me out feet first, I’m never packing a box again. lol

  7. The lush beauty of the islands is made even more amazing when you find out that 99% of the plants we see today were imported. Hawaii only has 1000 species that were there to begin with – thanks to birds and wind and such. Most of the rest were brought over by the Polynesians in those tiny canoes, or by whaling ships, European visitors and the like.

  8. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but I can imagine how beautiful it is. Interesting, here in CA there are many, many lava beds — when my husband and I go on trips we are often made aware of this fact.

    Lovely post, Tracy.

  9. You just named one of my favorite authors – I have most of his books and Hawaii was a favorite. People don’t really like change but yet it is the key to survival and it seems we can adapt to most anything – good and bad. It’s hard to be a risk taker but without risk no glory.

  10. In the military, each move was an adventure. Admittedly, they weren’t anywhere nearly as difficult as the early settlers packing up everything and moving, but there are similarities. Some people do well, others can’t handle it. My aunt’s husband was transfered to Germany and they spent 2 years there (I think, this was 40+ years ago). She wrote home describing scenes from Heidi and The Sound of Music, and hated every minute of it. It was different from what she was used to and she couldn’t handle it. There were many wives like her when we were in the military. Either you like it and can handle it, or you can’t. There isn’t a wrong or right here. Not everyone is cut out to face change and embrace it. We always looked at each move as an adventure and took advantage of as much as we could in each area. I’m not so sure I could handle it, but I would like to think we would have been among those who headed out to settle new territory.

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