It was less than two weeks ago that I, like many people, was stunned to hear on the ten o’clock news that Ka’au McKenney’s body had been recovered near Makapu’u lighthouse. It made no sense but the picture they flashed on the screen was definitely him, blue eyes that made up half of his face, a big smile that made up the rest. 45 years young, still so much left to do.
A friend of mine says you can tell whether someone’s life was successful by how many people attend his or her funeral. An insightful but unnecessary measurement. I already knew I would be only one of the many, many people who attended the service for Ka’au yesterday and the scattering of his ashes this morning. Ka’au was a beautiful person and a genuine waterman, and what set him apart from others who are lucky enough to live their passions was his desire to give back to the community. Because of that he will live on, through through his students, through his contribution to the polynesian voyaging community and even in the stars, and we will all be better for it. Mahalo, Ka’au, for your many gifts. Aloha, a hui hou.