Thursday, July 5, 2012

Resilience Amongst the Coral

Today was our Off Day on Kwaj. We did an Interview for the Kwajalein paper. I can't wait to check out the article. Our segment will be 1 of 16 pages. Once again Kwaj wins as far as percentages go. I've had many articles written, but never been 1/16th of an entire publication. 

After the interview I rode around the island for a bit.

Then we had a Happy Hour hang at the Kwajalein Yacht Club before dinner.

We were invited to dinner at Denise Dorn and Mike Nast's house. Denise and Mike own the boat we sailed down from Roi on the other day. Anyway, Denise is a fabulous cook. I realized this when I had her banana coconut muffins and Kona Hazelnut coffee on the boat. Since then I have heard from everyone on the island that Denise is THE BEST cook here. After last night I can see why they say that.

Denise had prepared us a mexican meal that was incredible. She had home made tortillas, shredded beef and all the trimming for making tacos. She had jalapenos which had been hollowed out and filled with cream cheese then wrapped with bacon. She had some incredible salsa. And more and more and more. And every single thing was delicious. 

We had a great evening hanging out on Denise and Mike's back patio. It was a perfect evening.

This morning Bobby and I got up and went to film the sunrise.
As I was sitting out there on the coral mound watching the sun come up on this miraculous piece of the Earth I started thinking about the local vegetation. The vegetation here is obviously different than any place stateside. I just hadn't put too much thought into why. I mean there is obviously different amounts of sunlight, water, and wind here, but I thought of another critical element. This island isn't made out of dirt. The island is almost completely composed of coral (or sand which has been formed by the pieces of coral that have been ground down over years). But coral isn't a very fertile soil type. It isn't a fertile soil type for "normal" vegetation. But the plants out here aren't "normal". These trees and bushes are resilient. They have grown to be tough enough to withstand intense winds and very little nutrients from the soil. Actually they haven't just survived in these less than ideal conditions, they have thrived. The whole island is lush and green due to their being so prolific. 

It is then that I thought back to our dinner party from last night. That dinner party wasn't just a dinner party that was great considering what was available here on the island. That was a great dinner party for anywhere on Earth. Denise and Mike (and the hundreds of other families here) have grown to not just survive on this island, they are thriving. They fed 8-9 people amazing food and entertained us all fully in their lovely home. 

This may seem pretty innocuous but I think it is more profound than that.

The people who live here (as represented by Denise and Mike) haven't simply settled for accepting the best of what's around, they have adapted their life styles to their surroundings and they are flourishing due to it. Much like the palm and pandanus trees these good folks have almost become a part of the island. When the storm comes they use its rain to quench their thirsts and wiggle their toes in between the coral and lean into the wind. 

Just as the palm trees and pandanus add to the beautiful essence of this island, so do the people who call it home. 

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