When I was in Hawaii recently, we went to Mo'Omomi Beach and Kaehu Point to watch the sunrise. Mo-Omomi Beach is part of the Nature Conservancy's land. To get there, you have to drive down this really long dirt road with big ruts that is frequently not passable, even for big trucks with high clearance and four wheel drive. This is not an area where you encounter tourists. To be present on this point at sunrise is absolutely magical.
This particular morning was very stormy and between the salt spray from the waves and the rain, many of my images had a lot of drops on the lens despite how frequently I wiped it. This was one of those occasions when I was glad I made more images rather than less of similar scenes. Although I would have been happy standing there just experiencing the elements and miracle of being on this incredible spot on the earth taking it all in, I was happy that I made a few images that expressed how I felt watching the sky catch on fire as the sun rose higher in the sky behind the clouds. Now I can return there more easily in my imagination when I want to be inspired to feel the sublime beauty of existence that is present even during challenging times. It remindes me we just go out there and let ourselves experience life full on, with its storm clouds and jagged edges. And even if the light is hidden, it is always there on the verge of breaking through just as the highest aspect of our being is always with us calling from beyond the obstacles we encounter.
It is not just flaming skies or huge crashing waves that are sublime. Sometimes I find my connection with the elements watching the nooks and crannies or rocky coastlines absorb and shelter the waves and turbulence, taking in the energy of impact and releasing it as the ephemeral, fluid spirit of water that is ever-changing but part of a continuum that mirrors how I experience my own being. I sat here for quite sometime mesmerized by the intersection of land and sea feeling my pulse beat and knowing that there was nothing more I needed to do than experience being right there in that moment.
Then I walked around the corner and saw this beautiful crescent beach littered with trash brought here by the ocean currents not tourists. It was heartbreaking to see and I could have turned away, but I chose to walk down to the beach and see exactly what had washed up.
When I got down to the beach, I discovered it looked even worse close-up. I have read articles and posts about all the plastic islands in our oceans but never have I seen evidence of them close up. Our disposable society is not so disposable after all. Though some clearly think nothing about allowing all this waste to make it into our oceans and waterways, much of what I saw here will never decompose. I suspected volunteers had been here picking up the debris, since there were large bags up on the grass beyond the shoreline. Where would it be taken next, I wondered. It made me take a vow to reduce or eliminate plastic in my life as much as possible. Wondering what will happen next to all of this is not like wondering what will happen to giant tree branch that fell in the front of my property. That hit the ground less than six months ago and already the fungi is establishing colonies that are breaking down the wood and providing nutrients for other life forms. If creatures come and dine on Mo'Omomi beach, it would likely kill them. If despoiling beauty is not a concern, perhaps the thought of choking birds and their punctured intestines will make people pause and according to a story in National Geographic nearly every seabird on earth is eating plastic.