Aki didn’t make this trip to Oahu, which is just as well. Her thick curly coat would make her uncomfortable in Hawaii’s hot weather. Making an early morning start we ride bikes to the Ewa Beach Zippy’s for coffee and banana andagi (Okinawan style donuts). Next door a pioneer’s cemetery occupies some rolling ground along the busy Fort Weaver Road. Car and truck robs the dead of the quiet they deserve. Seed pods, roughly shaped like fava beans lay on parched ground between the grave markers. Only the acacia trees that dropped them offer any shade.
This desert of severe beauty would provide little solace to the families left behind, so I pray for them and the souls of those buried beneath. Most died more than 80 years ago but some grave stones show signs of recent visitation—a weathered stuffed animal by the grave of a 9 year old who died in 1923, mason jars for holding flowers and water a few grave markers away. A field of drunken crosses spread across the Christian section of the graveyard. Native stone, lightly inscribed on a flat side with kanji, mark the Japanese graves, as if in recognition of how little impact one life can have on the hard rocky ground of Oahu’s dry leeward side.