Wearing the “wet fish” look on campus usually meant that one of three things had happened at the lily pond: you had lost your balance walking across its long-lost rocky path, slipped in while trying to catch a crayfish, or were the subject of a jolly “Punahou swing” into its depths. (Although these students found different ways to enjoy the lily pond waters.) One thing was for sure, what happened wasn’t because of a sponsored school event. So it was great amusement that I read that one of the available reunion service projects was for a lily pond clean up. At last! A chance to explore the lily pond itself … and with Punahou’s blessing to boot!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014 was a day of service to Punahou. Alumni had the choice of working in the taro patch at Kualoa Ranch, Rocky Hill, and the lily pond. As the spiritual heart of the campus I jumped at the chance to offer time to service the lily pond.
As luck would have it, four other Punahou74 classmates shared my desire to assist Punahou in this capacity. In fact, we would form five of the seven person crew that was there to work under the direction of Rocky Higgins ’68.
The gang was divided into two groups: one would clean a drain that led to the pond; one that would wade into the water to remove invasive plants that grew on a pond-side wall.
Yuriko and Ralph (and two of his children) went to work in the chapel courtyard. Lifting up the grates, they found muck that had run off and accumulated in the drain. Left in place, it would flow into and add choking silt to the pond.
There were also plenty of monkeypod tree flowers ready to join the goo. Sweeping them aside and scooping up the drain contents, red buckets were quickly filled with the refuse and saved for later deposit in a compost pile.
Meanwhile … back in the pond …
Lynne, Mike, and Robert were wading (thank goodness for the fishing tabis that I had purchased for the Kahoolawe trip) in the warm spring water. We were setting a bullseye on aggressive plants that were growing alongside the water below the Luke Center window.
Many of these plants were the hydrophilic papyrus that, in some places, were growing in a mat out into the water. Robert found that there was no way to remove those dense mats that with a hand scythe! Mike joked of suffering from THS (tall haole syndrome) as he reached for plants high on the rocks. With Mike on the top side, the area was quickly cleared and the work finished in due course. Time for apples, granola bars, and cool water!
While Rocky Higgins skimmed floating debris from the surface, he remarked, “I feel cool water.” He had found the spring itself. What a wonderful apostrophe for the day.
For more photos of “Service at the Lily Pond” click here.