Arrival of black snow unwelcome at festive event

Recently, I paddled in a Hawaiian outrigger canoe from Sugar Beach to Kamaole II, doing what we at Kihei Canoe Club traditionally do each year – escorting Santa by canoe to waiting keiki and their parents. It is a festive holiday event, enjoyed by all.

Soon after we launched from Sugar Beach at about 7 a.m., we encountered a liberal dusting of Maui black snow. As we looked toward Haleakala and chanted “e ala e” to greet the sunrise, we saw a huge mushroom cloud of smoke where cane was being burned.

One of our crew led us in singing “Let it snow, let it snow” as we tried to make light of it. I, for one, was coughing from the tainted air and displeased by the ironic, unwelcome black soot falling upon our otherwise pristine red-and-yellow canoe.

Later, surrounded by happy families at the event, we sang “Mele Kalikimaka” – including the words, “Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright.”

But, really, is toxic black snow the kind of snow job we wish to offer visitors and, even worse, our residents?

I envision a future Maui in which industrial hemp has replaced sugar cane. That would be a healthy step forward, as well as an economic boon.

Barry Sultanoff