Alone again, after a great weeklong visit with my brother, I felt pulled to take a walk among plant life. I needed their help to remember how to feel rooted on this Earth. I needed their help to remember the diversity of life. I needed their help to remember that life can happen in dry, desolate, and harsh conditions.
Welcome to Koko Crater Botanical Gardens.
In this 100,000-year-old crater or tuff cone – created from an ash eruption, a consequence of cold seawater entering the hot Koolau volcanic vent – a botanical garden was created to feature plants from arid areas of the world. Le’ahi (Diamond Head) is another tuff cone or, as my brother and I decided to call tuff cones, volcanic farts (you heard it here first!).
East Oahu – or any Lee or Kona side of an island – the climate is hot and dry. This made Koko Crater a perfect setting for this type of garden.
Although I am a card-carrying biologist, I think any curiously observant human who paused at the absurdity of life in places where water may come every several years, would be in awe at seeing the diversity of plants.
Diversity in size, shape, color, texture, mechanisms to collect water, flower, fruit, reproduce… The list is long.
They are all different species, different genus, and different families – and that is just looking at the plants from hot, arid climates. These plants over millions of years have figured out how to take root and survive. But why?
To give us humans something to ponder? Or is it something greater?
Can it be the will to survive, that encompasses the ability to adapt and thrive no matter how difficult an environment may be or become?
It is how we got to where we are – and it will be the reason for where we will go…
Sometimes it takes a walk in a garden to remind us of this…