It's been a windy summer, hasn't it? Not entirely welcome.
The windsurfers have loved it, I'm sure, but think of our visitors blown off the beaches they came so far to see. "Is it always this windy?" they ask.
The kitchen herbs on my back porch were uprooted in their pots and the grass in the backyard is fried to a crisp. The wind hid my rubber slippers from Longs for days.
These drying winds blowing into a drought come at a time when a water meter could potentially cost $30,000. (How much of that should the taxpayers be expected to kick in? How do you protect kama'aina who want to subdivide for their kids without making it too easy on developers? I don't know.)
I looked up '' 'Olelo No'eau," Mary Kawena Pukui and Samuel Elbert's classic compendium of Hawaiian proverbs, to see what the old Hawaiians had to say about the wind.
Quite a few refer to Maui in ways we can relate: Ka makani ha'iha'i lau hau o Olowalu, "The hau-leaf tearing wind of Olowalu," a gusty wind. Ka makani kokololio o Waikapu. "The swift, gusty wind of Waikapu." Ka makani hapala lepo o Pa'ia, the "dust-smearing wind of Paia." Ka Ma'a'a wehe lau niu o Lele. "The Ma'a'a wind that lifts the coco leaves of Lele," a historic name for Lahaina.
Some names of Maui winds are more rooted in the past.
* 'A' ohe umu mo'a i ka makani. "No umu can be made to cook anything by the wind." This refers to Olowalu, where it was very windy and hard to light a stone oven, an imu, also called umu.
* Ho'okohu Kaua'ula, ka makani o 'Ulupa'u. "The Kaua'ula wind of 'Ulupa'u claims honors that do not belong to it." This line from an ancient chant speaks derisively of one who claims illustrious relatives, or steals, then boasts of possessions that are not rightly his. The Kaua'ula wind periodically sweeps down from the funnel-shaped valley behind Lahaina, wreaking destruction.
* Ka makani ka 'Aha'aha la'i o Niua. "The peaceful 'Aha'aha breeze of Niua that drives in the 'aha'aha fish." Fishermen launched their canoes on a calm sea when this gentle breeze blew. It begins as the Kili'o'opu in Waihe'e before reaching Niua Point in Waiehu.
* Ka makani ka'ili aloha o Kipahulu. "The love-snatching wind of Kipahulu." A man in Kipahulu grieved for his wife who left him and their children for a man on O'ahu. A kahuna skilled in the sorcery of "hana aloha" told him to speak his love into a container with a lid. The kahuna uttered an incantation into the container, closed it and threw it into the sea. The wife found it one morning when she was fishing at Kalia on Oahu and opened it. A great longing possessed her to go home and she quickly found a canoe to take her to Maui.
Some wind 'olelo refer to angry people. Lu ka makani, mokaki ka lau la'au. "When the wind shakes the trees, the leaves are scattered," said of a wrathful person who causes everyone to flee.
Some refer to big talkers. He puhi makani. "Just wind blowing," one who makes promises or threats and never delivers.
Or the irresolute. He 'ulu 'a'ai 'ole; he ha'ule wale i ka makani. "It is a breadfruit that does not hold to the tree; it falls easily with the wind," said of a person whose loyalty is doubtful.
Others extol the virtues of the noble and good-looking. Pohai ka neki lewa i ka makani, "Surrounded by the reeds that sway in the breeze," handsome and graceful.
Nani ka 'oiwi o ka la'au i ka luaiele 'ia e ka makani. "Beautiful is the body of the tree, even when swayed this way and that by the wind." Some people remain handsome despite dissipation and adversity.
Ku paku ka pali o Nihoa i ka makani. "The cliff of Nihoa stands as a resistance against the wind." Nihoa is the highest of the Northwestern (leeward) Hawaiian Islands, a quarter of a square mile in area with a maximum elevation of 910 feet. This kind of person bravely stands up to misfortune.
Clouds are "Na maka o ka makani," the "eyes of the wind," showing its direction.
Me, I'm glad the little zephyrs are back. Ola i ke ahe lau makani. "There is life in a gentle breath of wind."
* Laurel Murphy is a former staff writer for The Maui News whose "Keiki o ka 'Aina" column appears each Tuesday. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.