May 25, Hiroshima
MY TIME ON THE CANOE has come to an end, as Hokule‘a prepares to work its way up to Yokohama on the last few legs of its long voyage, and I prepare to return to my regular life in Honolulu.
But as I get ready to bid a hui hou (until we meet again) to the crew that has been my ‘ohana for the past two weeks, I’m still feeling a lot of turmoil over the experience of the atomic bomb memorial. What good can one small canoe really do, I keep thinking, in the face of our world’s brutality?
But then I go down to the dock one last time, only to find a long line of people waiting in the hot sun for their turn to tour Hoku. On board, children scamper beneath the masts, and silver-haired men in yachting caps knowingly murmur over the elegant lashing. One older woman even wipes away tears as she caresses the steering paddle and listens to tales of the canoe’s exploits and mission of cultural rediscovery.
Suddenly, it all comes back into perspective: Seeing so many people being moved just by touching Hoku made me realize that this in itself is a statement for peace, since, as Nainoa has been saying over and over here, peace must begin in each of our hearts.
Perhaps my bunkmate Keala puts it best as we stand together on the dock checking out the crowd. “Look at all these people with smiles on their faces,” he says when we embrace goodbye. “You no can beat that!” HH