Yesterday we took a two car hike from the mountain side downhill through a narrow Hawaiian valley ending at the ocean. Hawaii is lush, of course. Things grow amazingly fast. The valley provided a living demonstration of how nature will take over and obscure what man has made in a world without us. A book by that title, A World Without Us, illustrates how nature would come back strong if humans weren’t here to muck it up.
In the valley, we walked downhill on an old road that once lead to agricultural areas high in the valley. Occasionally, we would cross concrete pipes that probably brought water down from high in the watershed. There was little sign of man save for the places where the road crossed the stream bed.
At these fords (I think there were seven of them) an amazing amount of work had been done paving the ford with stepping stone pieces of lava rock and cementing them in. But the human activity was no more. Mountain orchids grew alongside the trail.
The WOOFERS who were hiking with us feasted on lilikoi (passion fruit) they found on the ground. There were both red and yellow varieties. Noni fruit was frequent though not yet ripe.
Giant mango trees grew alongside the trail. There was an occasional banana tree which may have been a clue to what had been cultivated in the past. Another clue was the coffee bushes, tall, leggy things that featured ripe red fruit that we picked and ate, seed and all.
Clearly, there had been a wide road and fords and plumbing. But it was all gone, the road to the valley cut off and posted, hemmed in by a botanical garden on the ocean side and the Army’s Striker Road at the top. It was jungle again as it had been before humans had gone up the valley to do their thing. Tall trees, big leafy plants, vines and mosquitos. A world almost without us.
Lummi Island would take a little longer than Hawaii to send snowberries up through driveways, before the black berries and salmon berries wrapped around houses, sheds and barns and started to pull them down. But it would happen. Fields that aren’t mowed will be nearly taken over in one season.
This is kind of a hopeful thing. As much damage as we do, if we were all raptured away or sunk in a sunnami or covered with volcanic ash or wiped out by the Egyptian flu stuff would still grow, push through and cover up the mess we made of it.