I bought this print by Hawaiian artist Dietrich Varez in Kauai in December. It portrays two fisherman who are lost at sea between Maui and the Big Island and paddling an outrigger canoe. The clouds were so thick they became disoriented, unable to tell whether they were in sea or sky. There, they came upon an island Kanehunamoku, on which they found a breadfruit tree, returning to Hawai’i with it. The kaona (or double meaning) of this story is that whenever you come upon fog and confusion, you will also come upon ulu – which is also the verb to grow.
Todd had some troubles with the now. Like so many of us, he lived with a lot of attraction to the future, making plans, living from plan to plan, spending days on these plans and often not actually fulfilling them due to changes in schedule. The plans tethered him to the earth when he wasn’t sure what was holding him in the present. He also lived in the past. With Todd there were many regrets and these plagued him. Thoughts would return again and again to perceived missed opportunities, but also to the glory days of the past and there were great stories to relive. The only real struggle was with the present. Just what to do with it?
For the last few years he had plenty of time and a fairly stable pain situation, but it was tough for him to get back on his feet. How to start over, what to do with his time, what to create — these were the struggles of the last years. Lost between the fog of the future and the watery depths of the past, searching for something to tether him to the land. And sometimes coming upon ulu, the verb to grow and the noun for breadfruit.