Day 58 – Botanical Diversity

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Grounding. Solace.

Alone again, after a great weeklong visit with my brother, I felt pulled to take a walk among plant life. I needed their help to remember how to feel rooted on this Earth. I needed their help to remember the diversity of life. I needed their help to remember that life can happen in dry, desolate, and harsh conditions.

Welcome to Koko Crater Botanical Gardens.

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In this 100,000-year-old crater or tuff cone – created from an ash eruption, a consequence of cold seawater entering the hot Koolau volcanic vent – a botanical garden was created to feature plants from arid areas of the world. Le’ahi (Diamond Head) is another tuff cone or, as my brother and I decided to call tuff cones, volcanic farts (you heard it here first!).

East Oahu – or any Lee or Kona side of an island – the climate is hot and dry. This made Koko Crater a perfect setting for this type of garden.

Although I am a card-carrying biologist, I think any curiously observant human who paused at the absurdity of life in places where water may come every several years, would be in awe at seeing the diversity of plants.

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Diversity in size, shape, color, texture, mechanisms to collect water, flower, fruit, reproduce…  The list is long.

They are all different species, different genus, and different families – and that is just looking at the plants from hot, arid climates. These plants over millions of years have figured out how to take root and survive. But why?

To give us humans something to ponder? Or is it something greater?

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Can it be the will to survive, that encompasses the ability to adapt and thrive no matter how difficult an environment may be or become?

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It is how we got to where we are – and it will be the reason for where we will go…

Sometimes it takes a walk in a garden to remind us of this…

Aloha!

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Day 18 -Diamond Head

 

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A brown, from drought conditions, Diamond Head, March 2016.

 

One of the most iconic geologic features in the world is Diamond Head aka Le’ahi.

It is a volcanic crater about 300,000 years old and was formed in one explosive eruption about 2.3M years after O’ahu was created by the Ko’olau volcano.

 

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Diamond Head from the plane – March 2016.

 

Le’ahi is Hawaiian for “browridge promontory” or Le and for the shape of the ridge which looks like the dorsal fin of Ahi tuna. To me it is familiar.

I have visited O’ahu three times prior to living here. The first time I was in awe, the second time I hiked up to the ridge, and the third time we stayed in a hotel with a direct view of Diamond Head.

 

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Selfie gone awry – me and Le’ahi – March 2016.

 

I heart Diamond Head.

So it isn’t a surprise that the first weekend after I arrived, I searched for the familiar.

I took The Bus, from the windward side of the island to Honolulu, went to a parade, then walked down Waikiki towards Diamond Head.

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With each step along Waikiki, I remembered my last visits. With each step, I saw more familiar places – Hilton Hawaiian Village, Hale Koa and…

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the sunset “booze” cruise catamaran – all places I have visited with my honey.

With each step, I saw the familiar, and it almost felt like home.

Aloha!