“Alexander Pushkin,” Keanea Peninsula, Maui, HI


Alexander Pushkin is in the eye of the beholder. That is all I can conclude from a trip my wife and I recently took to the Keanea Peninsula on the famous road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii. Oksana refused to see Pushkin either in the lava rock formation or in my pictures of it. “Where?! Where is he?!” she kept asking me as the waves came crashing over the rocks. “I don’t see him! He’s not there!” She said the same thing again when we got home and I pointed out all the fine points I had captured in a series of photos. “You’re making that all up!” she said.
I turned to my mother for support, forgetting that Mom wouldn’t know Pushkin from Presley. My mother knows a hell of a lot, much more than I ever will. It’s a truism in our family: If you don’t know something, just ask Mom. She knows everything. Almost everything, anyway. Everything except Russian literature and rock ‘n’ roll…

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But my mom – let’s leave her alone. Oksana, my wife, now, is another thing. She’s Russian. And like any Russian she can stand on one leg and recite Pushkin’s poetry until every foreigner in the room drops from exhaustion. How could she let me down? How could she not share this great discovery with me?
Maybe I’m thinking of a cross between the famous photos of his death mask and some of the famous portraits by Orest Kiprensky or Vasily Tropinin, but he’s right there, isn’t he? The sideburns, the curly hair… Okay, I’ll admit he’s got Dostoevsky’s beard. But you know what I find remarkable? The fact that Dostoevsky’s beard actually suits Pushkin really well. Why shouldn’t it if Dostoevsky admitted that all Russian literature emerged from Nikolai Gogol’s “The Overcoat” and Nikolai Gogol, as we all know, purportedly wrote his famous play The Inspector General based on an idea Pushkin tossed him… Hence…
Logic not sound enough? Well, I’ve never been a great fan of hard logic, but when I see Alexander Pushkin in a chunk of Hawaiian lava, I know what I see.

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