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My sister and I hiked through sacred flowers and eucalyptus to Awa'awapuhi, the valley of the eel. Many years ago, the great eel Kuna crawled into Na Pali in search of a new home, carving out the valley below us. But Kaua'i has changed since the time of gods and spirits. The land is shaped by industry, by plantations and people entangled as the pothos vines. The island holds the history of indigenous communities, the enchantment of new residents, and the reverence and cruelty of tourists. Look in the leaves and the dying trees, look in the plasticine reefs and neglected ruins. My sister and I did, but we also saw forgotten cemeteries rediscovered and restored by one kind woman, we saw native planting and conservation, and we saw shared humanity and love carved into the leaves of an autograph tree. 

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