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October 28, 2010

My dream now is to go spear fishing.  Snorkeling isn't enough, I need to do it at night, with like, a harpoon gun or something.  I'm not sure how I'm going to work this out, I guess I just need to find someone who goes spear fishing and who doesn't mind taking out some chick who will probably get chomped on by a barracuda.  I mean, I've only been snorkeling once in my life, but how much harder could this be?  Frankly, there's nothing you're going to see with a set of fins and goggles that you can't see better in High Definition, with digitally enhanced sound and color.  So I intend to skip all that and go straight for the hard core.  Should be fine, really.


Here is a picture from when the field caught on fire.  I recently went back there and observed that most of the grass had grown back, but, curiously, grew back dead.  I would have taken a picture so you could behold this wonder, but frankly, dead grass that's not on fire isn't that interesting.  Instead, here is a tractor.


As you can see, this picture contains two of my favorite things: power lines and heavy machinery.  There's a lot of both in this area and luckily, because no one want to do any work, the latter is rarely in use and always has a certain look of abandonment to it.  Again, the grass is very dry and prime for a fire.  Those ominous clouds you see there will bypass my town completely and unload just off the coast, into the ocean.  I'm really looking forward to the day it actually rains here.  In New Jersey you get a good sample of all the weathers right in your own backyard, but here, if you want rain, you have to go where the rain's at – it doesn't deliver.

Here is a sentimental picture of the tractor overlooking the West Maui Mountains.  You can see the wistfulness with which he regards those distant peaks, but, as he has been commissioned to build a high school, he will most likely toil the rest of his days in these parched fields.  That is, if anyone remembers about the high school they had decided to build.  When the economy got too bad over here, the local government shut down school.  That to me was a very telling maneuver.  Of course, I exagerate; they only shortened the school week by Fridays, but still.  The reason the economy is suffering here in particular is ostensibly because the job market tends to plateau at minimum wage.  I guess if your only opportunities are in the service industry, it doesn't much matter if your education takes a dive.  For a while, the libraries were also closed that day, so even if you wanted to augment your crippled education with independent studies, you faced the catch that the library was only open while you were at school.

Anyway, my dad used to have a tractor.  Not a backhoe like this bad boy, just a small red one he used for mowing.  Back then we lived in a tiny house on a huge piece of property, and it seemed my father derived his sole joy from maintaining that property, and maintaining the tractor.  It's not like we could really all fit in the house at the same time – in fact, my mother's personality was of such proportions that it could rarely accomodate anyone else within a radius of 20 meters – so my dad, when he was home,  spent a lot of time out in the barn, tinkering with the tractor.  When I was ten, my parents bought a house on a half acre of land about 15 miles away, and after we moved there the tractor sat unused under an apple tree in the yard.  A log splitter usurped it's place in my father's heart, or so he would have had us believe:  to me the tractor was irrevocably associated with his happiness.  We finally had to give it to my aunt and uncle in New Hampshire, and as the two of us made the eight hour trip, I couldn't help feeling we were making a terrible mistake.

In elementary school music class we learned a song from You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, which summed up happiness in such mundane terms as finding a pencil, or learning to tie your shoes.  I always hated this song, because I thought happiness should be a little more fantastic than that, a little more spectactular.  At seven, I expected great things out of my life, and five different crayons just weren't gonna cut it.  For my dad, though, happiness was as simple as mowing the lawn, and in a way, I never forgave him for selling out, for trading the yard for house of his own that could actually fit six people.  Up until that time my younger sister still slept on the couch.  I don't even know where my little brother was sleeping, an oversight that in fact carried over right into the new house, when my older brother decided he didn't want to share a room any more and got rid of the second bed.  My dad weighed his options carefully, and made the right choice for his family, but it's been more than ten years since he and I made that drive, and he's hardly ever at home now, if he can help it.  Given the choice, he spends most of his time in New Hampshire, with his tractor.

This is a water tank.  It doesn't have a sentimental story to go along with it.  There had been a large pile of gravel I wanted to get a shot of, but it seems they're making a little better progress on the high school than I had given them credit for.  Luckily, in place of a bunch of rocks, I found this water tank.  In Maui, it doesn't really matter what you take a picture of, because the colors are great.  The problems arise when you are too poor to have a car, and too lazy to ride your bike beyond two miles of your own home.  Also, some things will just look better in early morning light, but damn if I'm getting out of bed to catch it. 


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