Pete and I have been on a crisp, invigorating walk not far from the Mill Town and yet far enough to be a part of the wild. Along the wide-spreading Snohomish River, the asphalt walkway is rising in places, rising like miniature volcanoes where the roots of maples and trees whose names we don't know expand as they do in nature course. Though the sound of traffic from a nearby freeway is a din for company, the whole of the Snohomish Valley command our attention and I feel the wild. It's a wet New Year's Eve here in the Pacific Northwest.
Our plan for the end of 2009 include a pan of homemade blueberry and cornmeal pan bread, pot roasted chicken with carrots and the movie Julie and Julia with Merle(yupps, sorry Meryl) Streep. We love Julia Child and Merle Streep, so dinner with that movie promises a well-fed and entertaining conclusion to a very full year.Tonight is Mahealani Moon, the full moon and a Blue Moon. The tides will be full, the river was at full flood as we walked alongside. It seemed to be in no rush to go any way as we walked a good clip the river was just present. Pete and I shared stories while we walked, and more stories as we sat earlier in our favorite bakery restaurant. The subject of memories of the old men in our lives ... the old men who were old when we were very young. Elsa P wrote a wonderfully rich post with pictures of the old men who came to the bar where she tended bar at 19. I read the post and followed the link to a story of a precious man who in so many ways tended that young Elsa, preparing her well for the life she would live decades later. Elsa's story tapped the memories in me of old men who were part of the small kid times of my Hawaii. My Dad and his drinking buddies, Mr. Pung the neighborhood Fuller Brush Man/Insurance Man/WearEver Cookwear/Cutlery Man/Never-a-silent moment Man, Uncle Bob the first and old black man in the valley/our new door neighbor/Ebony Magazine subscriber, Tata Pacheco fishnet maker, cigar smoking prophet and teller of tales that made my father laugh and cry at the same time. Pete remembers the old men who taught him to keep that shovel moving, never standing still on the job-site, setting standards he has maintained on his way to becoming that old man himself.
We are becoming that old man, that old woman. This year has filled with ventures and adventures neither of us could have imagined and surely they were not the stories we heard when we were surrounded by the old men (and old women). The old man Father Time will wrap up one more year in a few hours. The year has been filled with time noticed and time invisible to us because we were so busy with time.We are grateful for the enduring nature of our journey sometimes such a struggle it has felt like our undoing. And yet, we have walked along the river together and enjoyed the time today noticing, remembering, appreciating just how far we have come.We send you prayers and wishes for a good year ending, and hope the new one is filled with many times of noticing how wild this life really is.
If you're wondering what the Moon is like tonight ...From the The Native Hawaiian Moon Calendar
Mahealani is the second night in which the moon does not set until after sunsrise. It is the last of the four full moons and is also considered the 'calendar' full moon. Mahea means 'hazy, as moonlight' and the plants are prolific and large on this night. This time is good for all kinds of work. Currents run strong at this time but fishing is good.Kulu
On this night the moon's rising is delayed until after darkness sets in. Kulu means 'to flow, as tears'. The banana's sheath drops off on this day, not unlike falling tears, exposing its new bunch. It is a good time for potatoes and melons. This is the time for offering the seasons first fruits to akua. Currents are strong, but it is a good time for fishing.
Hauoli Makahiki Hou Kakou (happy new year to you all)
Mokihana and Pete
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
"There are a multiple of steps that make a human Sensitive’s life less convenient and requires living by the rules of sequential access. A Sensitive lives the prototype transitional human experience…less convenience more consciousness. Like Gypsies throughout the history on The Planet, Sensitives often become Gypsies who choose to be Travellers not just because houses and walled structures create ill-ness. Sensitives like Lokea Bird find that the seed of migration has waited until the spell was broken."
-from Wood Crafting the Tale
Papa Honua (the planet Earth) is an enduring place. She is a gift and gift-giver, mother and nurturer and she is not alone in her place. She is part of Ever and Ever and is affected by the connection to all the cosmic orbs and energy of the space that Kanaka Maoli (first people of the islands known commonly as Hawaii) know as 'aina (that which sustains us; including the ground and dirt, rocks, growing plants, the sea, the waters both salty and fresh, the air, the mists, the foods that grow in the water ...) in essence Papa Honua is connected to all that is. The Kanaka have been occupied by a culture that values 'aina not. The history of the islands and the sustaining culture of the Kanaka Maoli has not only been paved over to build parking lots, hotels, mansions and multiplex every sort of thing. The islands' history and culture has been infused with the same values of commerce and over-arching greed same as much of the industrial world.
My son and I were out for a Thanksgiving Day walk in the Mill Town. He flew to Washington to spent time with me, Pete and in separate visits he spent time with his Dad. The walk we took that Thanksgiving morning included the sort of conversation a mother values as much as a good deep inhalation of fresh air. My son was born not far from this Mill Town and was raised in a community where he and I were the exception to the rule at that time: we were brown and though his father is native Northwest white, there has always been something different about us. Ultimately, that something was the seed of Kanaka Maoli that lay dormant for the first two decades of his life and mine. I made a choice to seek other experiences and these Northwest communities including the Mill Town opened a world unlike the island home I'd known. Now my son has chosen to move from the Pacific Northwest to create a life in the Hawaiian Islands. He has been there more than six years now. As I observe the life he is creating, that seed of culture has sprouted, rooted and born fruits of a new generation of creativity. My son offers me a view of what it's like for the new generation of Hawaiian who has been swirled with the genes and experiences of the continent.
The conversation that Thanksgiving morning bumped into the subject of "the aloha spirit" a phrase that is all too vanilla an expression coined by the occcupying culture of tourism and real estate
My son said something like, "They (the locals, the Hawaiians) don't even know what that means. They don't show it, act it ...I've been struck by how friendly people here are."
I thought about what he said for a few moments and offered this, "The culture has been so long occupied by the values of greed and control, it's really tough if not impossible for them to know what aloha is. Hawaii is an occupied nation, and the thing is so is the rest of the world now ..."
"Hmmm ... yah, like that's the norm now." He said.
Visits with my son are few, and each one more precious than the last. I think we both acknowledge the fragility of physical life because he has seen me go through many many transformations. He is always the first one to visit us where ever on Papa Honua we are. I have committed to keeping no secrets from this boy, this young man, in the hope that the depth and breath of my experiences can serve me as a sturdy yet flexible foundation. I think he will need that to make adjustments during the next two decades. Sensing his place on the Planet I witness how my son expands his roots. I also see that him testing the flexibility of his hybrid culture. I would like to see and smell him using no chemicals and fragrances and hope in time the example of my life with chemical sensitivities will give him reason to make changes.
The planets, the 'aina, the seeds of culture that remembers the truth about humans' role as part of the Earth's destiny, will know that there are seasons when beings estivate or hibernate to survive cycles of hardship. In spite of all odds, the dandelions, the ohi'a lehua, the frogs and Earth's first people carry the seeds of Grace. This piece is as much a prayer ... saying, "I believe" and an affirmation that "Yes, I have woken from the spell." Occupation is real and is a debilitating condition that too many people experience. America the Nation and its systems of "occupation" are in the early stages of spell-breaking. Cosmic cycles do for the whole what the whole seems not to be willing to do without intervention. Tiny Pluto is now occupying space in the celestial arena of the constellation Capricorn. Big intervention will have a role in doses of spell-breaking in big and small places. If you are not sure of your place, a good direction to look is inside and then out ... what seeds within your world are worth nurturing and where will you plant them?
Sunday, December 27, 2009
My native instinct to include variety in my life led to creating a flock of blogs. I might go for days or months without a new post at a blog, and then it's nice to be back. Today I found a blog called the habit of being when I went to my own side-bar to visit the warmth of Aotearoa (it is summer in New Zealand ) with Ahipara Girl. While visiting, I viewed and met beautifully painted pohaku and even more beautifully created young children, one of them just recently celebrated his first year on The Planet. Then, on Ahipara Girl's blogroll the author of the habit of being left a poem written by one of The Planet's elders of consequence, Wendell Berry. The link to that post is here.
The poem from Wendell Berry follows:
when despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
and I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. for a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
thank-you Ahipara girl
Saturday, December 26, 2009
I recently made connection with an astrologer and elder who is inspiring me. Donna Cunningham is new to me, though not at all new to the realm of astrology and teaching astrology. I have been exploring her writings and her articles on her blog Skywriter, and have posted a couple articles on my other blog VardoForTwo sharing my experience with tools for clearing energetic thought forms. In related branches of her work Donna Cunningham shares her love and her broad experiences with writing, and in particular I was struck with the concept of reworking or rewriting pieces to keep them fresh and applicable today. That's what this post is about: reworking or reissuing an article I wrote several years ago in the Hawaii Island Journal. This piece was my last regular column of "Makua O'o" written for that HIJ. The relevance lies in the effectiveness of the visualize that is included in the piece; a wish to be 'like a migrating whale' ... spending some time in the Islands and some times kela (over there). The power of visualization and putting it down on paper is evidenced by a look at the life I now live. I have migrated back and forth between the islands and now I live in a tiny wheeled wagon and write stories and blogs for an even more invisible audience. Seven years later and the experiences of living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities heightening my awareness of life's highs and lows, it's time to review the wish-list, recognize where my journey has led, up-date my thought forms and make new lists of thanks, and create action plans for a Makua who is now sixty-two years old.
Life is a cycle of seasons and try as I might in my fifty-plus seasons to out-run or avoid feeling sad, I think I have learned that I will never out-run feeling sad or any of the full inventory of feelings. When my life has been busy with deadlines and lists there have been fewer moments to feel –sad or anything else. Motion has a ‘feel’ of its own and it must be that characteristic that fills in for the reflective and sensory experience of yearning. There’s a tender and vulnerable sense that pervades me when I feel ‘sad.’ I haven’t died from feeling sad, and yet with age the depth of my feelings increases in direction proportion to the years. Decisions, choices become just a momentary move. Akua brought me back to Hawaii to catch up on my sensory inventory, reminding me how many ways there are to feel; that’s just what one of the things these islands do – give us humans experience with feelings. I arrived nine cycles ago with few boxes but heavy old emotional baggage and a relationship with Faith that was weaker than hot tea seeped from a day-old tea bag. The years of writing this column Makua o`o have been a precious gift given to me by the Muse who has watched me since birth. Aware of the missed opportunities for self-expression, my guardian of the word must have waved the big wand when I began unpacking my bags because I have uncovered and unloaded resentments, short-sighted perceptions and expectations about people, places and relationships in the nine years since my move from the Pacific Northwest. Words and stories have been my magic carpet and thanks to Michael Gibson and the vessel of the Ka`u Landing and then Lane Wick and Karen Valentine who evolved the Hawaii Island Journal, the practice of makua o`o has reached many people. I have no idea how many people have read this column, but maybe the numbers don’t matter. That people have read is it.
This is my last column of Makua o`o. That makes me sad. It’s time to move along with the rest of my life and to tell the truth I know not where the path leads but know it leads some where different. I hope Akua sees me spending time both here in my home of birth and kela … that other place or places yet to be determined. I would like to be a migrating whale spending time here in the winter. So this is a piece filled with “Thank-you”, a phrase simple and powerful. Here goes.
Thank-you, Michael Gibson for making space for my writing in the Ka`u Landing when the teaching of makua o`o was new to me.
Thank-you, Lane Wick and Karen Valentine for creating a newspaper of value. You have invested your talents and your vision into a communication source that has taken information-sharing to a new and inspired level of integrity and heart.
Thank you, Gretchen Kelly for honing my writing with sensitivity to my intent and skill with the craft of word-smithing.
Thank you, Alice Moon for welcoming me to Hilo when I was a first-time published essayist looking to do my first ever book-signing gig. We have become good friends since then, and I am grateful.
Thank you, Tutu Pele and Hi`iaka for the dreams and the inspiration to persist. The energy of volcanoes is raw when you are living on one. Life and death and re-birth are more than metaphoric.
Thank you, Haunani-Kay Trask for being volcanic and Hawaiian. Those who read her stuff and truly listen to her voice accept her anger is hers and if it challenges your place in the world … that’s a good thing. Interviewing Trask was a pivotal piece of work. It was exciting to meet and interview a contemporary revolutionary.
Thank you, Kuli`ou`ou. I knew you at a time past, but understood you so little. I know you better now, and know I have become different because I am a wanderer. That is what makes me saddest of all. It is no fault of yours, and there is nothing I would change about either of us.
Thank you to all who have read Makua o`o. In case you have forgotten, here are those tools of the makua o`o that were shared with me by Aunty Betty Jenkins. Be well, keep practicing and take care.
OBSERVE with a keenness of attention for details
THINK CREATIVELY with a sense of intellectual curiosity, interest and concern
LISTEN CAREFULLY to those words spoken as well as those unspoken
MIME and personify those who exemplify the highest caliber of po`okela (excellence)
QUESTION for clarification and clearness of thought for decision making
PRACTICE patience and endurance
ENGAGE in good health practices
KNOW that wisdom is found in many places
FEEL the heartbeat of culture
BELIEVE in Ke Akua
“Crying a lovely thing, isn’t it? ... It helps you survive. I think the fittest are those who cry.”
- From One Vacant Chair, a brand new novel by Joe Coomer