Tag Archives: atoll

Realities

I just returned from an incredible vacation, one I’d planned for over a year. It was a cruise from Los Angeles to Tahiti, via Hawaii and numerous islands of French Polynesia. If you ever have a chance to do something like that, take it. I can’t come up with superlatives strong enough to describe it.

I did have some access to news, but not enough to ruin the experience. On 20 January 2017, when the abomination was being inaugurated, I was on the beautiful island of Fakarava, where the water, even on a cloudy day, looks like this:

lagoon

Fakarava is an atoll, a very old volcanic island in which the original volcano part has sunk, and the land that is left is on the reef that once surrounded it, which means Fakarava is essentially a big lagoon protected by a reef with some land on it where people live.

On the lagoon side, the inside of the circle, the water is calm and perfectly clear. It is incredibly quiet, and the water just laps gently against the beach, like this:

calm

On the ocean side, though, just a short walk away, the wind blows like this:

wind

And waves crash against the edge of the reef, like this:

waves

It’s so loud you have to shout to be heard. It seems like a completely different island.

I’m back home in L.A. now, readjusting, and everything seems pretty much the way I left it, but a little bit surreal. It struck me today that I’m metaphorically still on Fakarava. The circumstances of my life keep me fairly well protected, on the lagoon side. Nothing the new administration has done has affected me personally yet, except in terms of the empathy I have for others and the fear I have of what’s to come. Just a short distance away, though, wind is blowing and waves are crashing and it feels like a big storm is already approaching.

I’m so glad to see all the protesting and resistance of various kinds, and I’m going to join in however I can. I’m also going to keep the image of Fakarava in mind. If you have access to a protected lagoon, it’s easy to underestimate the size of the storm that’s coming, and I don’t want to let that happen to me. This is a hell of a storm. It could destroy the whole island. It will take all of us, especially those of us who aren’t facing the brunt of the wind, to keep that from happening, and there’s no time to lose.

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