Hawaiian Hawks

The promised rain hadn’t arrived.

Meteorologists, train a dang mongoose or consult with a seer Lochlan muttered. Their predictions are wrong more often than not.

Yeah, the coin flip doesn’t seem to work so well. Gabe replied.

The boys were crawling through the eight foot guinea grass down in the gulch below the house following a pig trail. Wild boar made tunnels through the  invasive grass and they were on hands and knees making their way through a maze of pathways unseen by the casual observer. They had been warned of the danger, but it was another beautiful day and they loved exploring the area around their home. With no natural predators wild pig roamed freely throughout Hawaii rooting in an endless search for anything they found edible. Macadamia nut, mango, and avocado trees drew them into the yard. They are alert, yet comfortable within the proximity of humans.

This morning Arthur had followed them into the labyrinths. Arthur was a “Poi dog,” a canine catastrophe of uncertain pedigree. He had memorized the popular doggy book “The top 100 bad habits of annoying dogs” after listening to his mom read it three times to her incorrigible litter of playful puppies, and he exhibited all of them impeccably. It could be said he had a mind of his own if one cared to be polite. In truth he was an annoying, self serving, impulsive class A pain and did not give a rip about proper human, canine relationships.

Arthur as a pup.

Lochlan loved him in spite of his complete lack of etiquette and decorum.

Gabriel would have driven a thousand miles and dropped him off at a ‘mad mutts and mongrels’ asylum if he could drive and knew the location of one far enough away. 

Nana is one of those inveterate individuals that pity homely, ill mannered mutts. As a sentiment it seems of late to have acquired a rather large following. I have heard there are stadium’s filled with people who consider ugly, the new beautiful. They have contests awarding thousands of dollars to the most visually unappealing four legged felon. 

People are strange. It’s a bi-product of boredom. Good entertainment commands a premium and when it is in short supply humans have a startling capacity for twisting and warping truth into fantasy. They become lost within themselves as they invent grander illusions morphing into characters they themselves can’t recognize. In a consumer driven economy I suppose it’s beneficial for Shrinks, drug companies and ancillary businesses. 

Standing, staring at a enormous banyan tree growing along the bank of the stream at the bottom of the gulch after exiting the undergrowth the boys heard the grunting of several pigs. Arthur barks and runs off to investigate. He isn’t a particularly brave mutt, but he is curious. Arthur! Arthur! the boys call know the danger an encounter could present to the impulsive puppy to no avail.

Fortune smiled on Gabriel once again, she was never far from him and felt a kinship with the young lad. Gabriel had shot off after the puppy instinctively and came upon four pigs which Arthur was harassing. At the sight of him with Lochlan close behind the swine scattered. Three ran away with Arthur in pursuit of the closest, then the forth, confused by the melee ran straight at the boys. Gabriel caught off guard freezes, then is pushed aside by an invisible hand as the feral hog brushes by. Wild pigs had been brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Polynesians around 700 A.D. and were not generally aggressive unless cornered or in defense of offspring. This one wanted out and it was after all, his trail.

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Nice move, Lochlan complements Gabriel as he brushes mud off himself. Gabriel seems distracted. He gazes in recognition at Fortune standing, smiling unseen by Lochlan to his left.

She was a beauty by any standard. A magnificent apparition which appears different to various individuals. Maternal, evoking an instinctive affinity and peace in those fortunate enough to catch a glimpse of her. She is ancient life and wears it with grace and understated elegance not only surviving the ages but thriving in every experience. Why she concerns herself with humans baffles me, but I am grateful she does. She seems especially found of both boys.

Confident Arthur will find his way home eventually the boys turn back to the banyan tree. It was a very large ficus that as it grows chokes and kills the host tree sending down roots of its own. It was also one of their favorite to climb and explore.

Half way up the Giant banyan the boys sat and viewed their surroundings. Here the sides of the Halawa gulch rise at a steep angle in the direction of the house where they had come from. It then levels out across the stream where the boys were sitting in the tree.  As they watch, a Hawaiian Hawk lands high on a coconut tree about 50 feet from them briefly, then rises again with a small mynah bird in one talon. As it gains altitude two mynah birds dive at it in attempts to drive the predator away to no avail. Three more times the Hawk returns and steals small mynah’s from the nest as the parents attempt fruitlessly to dissuade him. The boys are silent as they watch. It was saddening yet incredible at once. Nature in it’s harsh and responsible parenting cycle. Both sets of parents feeding their young and the death of one becoming life for the other.

The boys discuss what they have just witnessed quietly as they climb down the banyan having decided not to go any higher. They cross back across the stream and begin the climb out of the gulch to the house when the faint sound of drums echos from somewhere behind them in the darker sections of Halawa.

What are ‘Night Marchers’ doing out at this time of day laughs Lochlan?

Shut up, replies Gabriel. Neither of them are overly superstitious, yet this experience has them both a little unsettled.