I thought it a kind of playing magic. Time was running. A hurricane was coming on my way. Who would make it first to Miami, the hurricane or me. In this game ignorance is a premise. If you knew your future probably you would not take the Past you carry as yours. There are decisions written on the wall. No choice is left. Those mellow brain thinking about free will? holy ghosts rewriting their past; their present was a dark hole, and they were going in circles. What else? When dark is around the best thing is to sit and wait for your train. If I ever lived a real hurricane? “Pas du tout!”. It was like to meet the God of the Winds and accept him the challenge. All right, if you are faster than me I am fucked; if I make it I would be laying in Miami Beach facing Star Island. So what? I could head to New Orleans, let the God pass me by and then hit Highway Ten. But how many times in my life would I have the chance to ride a hurricane? Europe is so boring! None of those crazy tornadoes making happy one and miserable many. Nothing happens in Europe; ever since the Germans have been castrated Europe is as quite as a graveyard. It snows nicely; it rains softly; the sun shines lovely, the Moon kiss my ass. Men, give me an earthquake, a volcano, a hurricane. I got the news in Houston.
“The hurricane season is here”.
“You mean real hurricanes?”
“I’m gonna ride that hurricane”
“It’s suicidal, bro”.
“I love hanging on a cross”.
“My joke. Don't worry”
I had the night to think it over. The morning wind felt chilly.
“Still you going for it?”
They said the hurricane would hit Florida in less than 24 hours. I had nearly 2000 kms ahead. The front winds where already sweeping Houston City when I set my foot in Highway Ten. New Orleans was on my way, if ever I wanted to abort the ride I had but to take right and let the gods of the winds pass me by. I wouldn’t. And anyway, I was in the South and I wasn’t going to pay a visit to Miami? Americans are a valiant people, they give you a ride even at the time of the night wolves. I left behind Baton Rouge and New Orleans, at the height of Mobile the chilly winds became stormy clouds leading a flock of frozen air. I had to hurry. A pick-up pulled off, they had no place free in the front, but if I didn’t mind the cold I could load myself on the back. I took the bid. Man, that was a few hundred miles to remember all my life. It was fun. It was terrific. It was cold to hell. I got out my sleeping bag, pull me in and began to speak with the winds. “Am gonna die here man”. So what? At the height of Tallahassee the stormy winds were ravaging the sugar beaches of Pensa-Cola. I could see the damages of the past season on the roofs of the wooden houses. That was one thing that amazed me. Every winter the hurricanes hit the southern coast and still they keep building wooden houses. Bricks are very rare, probably very expensive, and mostly they have no people able to make brick houses. I found this to be very truth in Wyoming. As I hit the road from Seattle to Nashville a guy who was building a straw-house in the heart of the high plateau, he said it was best isolation method, incredible as it sounds, he asked me if a knew how to mix the cement with the sand and the water. Nobody around there knew how. People there build houses using carved stone blocks or wood. Only in the North the European Culture made way. However, he paid me good and I have the honor to be a part of a House of Straw Story. People driving by used to pull off, come up and shoot us a photo. I mean, if the hurricane comes every year why you keep building in wooden? Americans! Full night got me in Tampa. I was few hours away from Miami and the gods of the winds still were about Orlando. It was risky to show the finger in the middle of the night, on the middle of the road, God only knew where I was. Even so, at dawn I was in Miami downtown. There was, Star island. And then it happened. The hurricane made it to Miami too. But too late, the wind was crazy and cold, but no rain came down. “So, this is a hurricane”, said to myself. A couple of hours and it was gone. When sunshine came back, it was as nothing had ever happened, the news said the west northern coasts of Florida had been beaten badly. No wonder.
Beyond that Miami did not make any vast impression on me. I hit the Keys, they told me that the Keys of Florida was something to see. And it was. I could smell Cuba as much as I can see Morocco from Gibraltar.
“You want to go to Hawaii, man, no one wants to go to Cuba” said the guy who gave me the ride: “too much misery”.
“I know what you mean” said I, “I came to USA running from Mexico’s pain. It hurts the more you understand their language. I could bear no more their frustration, their selling their bodies for a dollar”.
“You like poetry?”, he asked me.
“OK. Take it with you”.
It was a little book. HAWAI FAIR. And the poet’s son goes like this:
Hawaii Fair and other tunes
Philip Henry Dodge
To the gentle race which has given, and to all who have learned to love the word ALOHA
TUNE, HAWAII PONOI.
Land of the summer sea,
Full may your blessings be,
This is our prayer.
Isles of the ocean crest,
Rainbow and cloud caressed.
Peace in your dwellings rest,
Land of the lava's flow,
Lit by the crater-glow.
Steeps where the waters blow,
Misty in air;
Crags of the starry height.
Plains in their golden light,
These are your visions bright,
Land of the cane and palm.
Breathe to mankind a balm,
Make life a joyful psalm.
All men may share.
Rich in your fruit and vine,
Crowned with love divine,
Bright may your mercies shine,
Land of the trustful heart,
Heir to all good you are,
Choose you the noble part.
Life's riches rare.
To your full joys awake.
Let the glad anthem break,
Through all the ages make
Sleep Sweetly, Hawaii
On the heaving of the ocean,
Like a loving mother's breast,
Lie the islands of Hawaii,
As an infant in its rest.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, so fearless and free,
Fair daughter of ocean, the child of the sea.
Fond the mother's arms are clasping,
With caresses soft and light,
In the foaming of the surf-beat
On the shores by day and night.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, each silvery tide
But draws your fond mother more close to your side .
Where the light cascades are falling
To the ocean from the steep,
These are gentle baby fingers
Which within the mother's creep.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, so tenderly blest;
As lovingly brooded as bird in its nest.
Soft the baby eyes are hidden,
In the sunshine and the calm,
'Mid the radiance of the mountains.
Fringed with fragrant fern and palm.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, the stars in the sky
Are joined in the tune of your kind lullaby.
Robes of verdure, closely clinging
Round your form in tender grace,
Weave the beauty of your garments,
Cloth of gold and leafy lace.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, each cloud as it flies
But brings thee a message of love from the skies.
Hushed amid the tender silence,
Still your heart is beating low.
In the fiery, livid pulsing
Of the lurid crater's glow.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, the murmur of waves
Is echo of music from coral formed caves.
Calmly rest, with sunbeams smiling
O'er the dimples of your face,
Clasped amid the loving waters
Of your mother's fond embrace.
Sleep sweetly, Hawaii, so trustful and strong;
All nature is singing thy glad cradle song.
The First Aloha
When Hawaii lay an infant
In its ocean mother's care,
All the family of nature
Longed that mother-love to share.
With those sea foam arms around it
And the rainbow eyes above,
Lay the ocean born Hawaii,
Nursed in tenderness and love.
Kindly nature watched and waited.
At the night fall, through the day,
As it sought a first faint whisper,
Or some word the child might say.
Hark! the mother caught its murmur,
Wrapped it in her sweet sea tone,
Passed "Aloha" to the breezes,
Echoed it from zone to zone.
Never shone the sun more brightly.
Ne'er more sweet the fall of rain
As the sounds of glad creation
Blended in one word again.
Come ye to Hawaii's cradle,
Learning there the meaning sweet;
Hear the kind Aloha whispered, —
With it one another greet.
Still those echoes brood above it,
O'er the mountain top and palm,
As they yield to ev'ry nation
Thoughts of joy, and peace and calm.
How it stirs the heart in home-land.
How it draws from distant scenes!
All the blessing one can wish thee.
That is what Aloha means.
What Aloha Means
You ask me to say what Aloha may mean,
The word that sounds sweet and so strange to your ear?
Then hark while I tell of a quaint little scene;
Find love as its meaning, the tale as you hear.
At first of the war when the transports went through,
All to be kind to the soldiers were vying;
There sat in a tram car two Boys of the Blue:
An aged Hawaiian their features kept eying.
All wrapt in attention, some impulse not fickle
Was moving the heart of the woman so true;
She felt in her pocket and each one a nickel
She passed to the strangers, the two boys in blue.
The soldier lads yielded with mild protestation.
And one to the woman was heard to aver
That ne'er should he spend that kindly donation.
But treasure, for dear Honolulu and her.
Promptings of sympathy one for another
Enkindled the phrasings kind thoughts to convey;
Chiefly among them the dear name of mother;
And will she e'er hear of it, so far away!
How sweet was the smile that lovingly lingered
And shone in the eyes and the features so brown?
Again were the folds of her holoku fingered
Till found was the pocket, and from it far down
A silver half dollar. The soldiers indulgent
Their thanks at the gift were repeating therefor, —
While over it all seemed a halo effulgent:
This peaceful Hawaiian, — these sons of the war!