Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Moonlight Gardening

This is the final night of the La'au Po (the la'au moons).  Pete and I were chatting just before falling to sleep last night. 
"I forgot to water the garden," this was me talking. 
"Yeah, I'm not backing you up on that, sorry," Pete said nearly asleep already.  When he finally goes horizontal it's a short trip to snoreland.
"I better get up and do that (it was dark already). It was hot today."  I hadn't convinced myself and half wanted an excuse to stay put.
"In the morning.  They'll be alright until morning."

We let that conversation thin, closing out the busy day just ending.  A late afternoon phone chat with my family in Waimanalo put me at ease as I heard my brother's voice stronger than it's been for months.  The strain of cancer treatments is harsh journeying, but the support that musters to support him and the rest of us comes in visible and invisible forms.  From this distance our support comes through suggestions for sustaining nourishment he can manage.

"Drinking those 3 things everyday.  The green stuff?" 
"Wheatgrass," I tell my brother. 
"Yeah, wheatgrass.  Coconut water.  Poi." 
"You eat that through your feeding tube?" 
"You have all our prayers, too.  Everyday, all the time."  A silence on his end.
"Thank you."
"You got it, bruddah."

That conversation rewound in my mind and heart as I fell asleep.  Dreams of brothers and family and gardens needing watering swhirled in the dark space of the Gypsy wagon, and then there was sleep.
I woke when Mahina was bright in the sky above us.  Awake and doing my thanks for everything conversation with Akua, I was finally more awake than asleep.  I climbed over Pete, pulled the freshly washed violet cotton robe off its hook and slipped into it.  I took my scarf and hat and pair of socks to keep my f.resh from sleep warmth intact.  Mahina was brilliant in the clear and starry sky.  I greeted her with the childlike glee I have always had for a moonlight time in the garden.  Walking across the gravel pathway the small stones did their crunch, crinkle dance as my boots marked the way to the orchard gate.  JOTS was totally in agreement as to our moonlight walk as she waited for me to fiddle with the latch that is sticking from the summer's comings-and-goings. 

Inside the orchard was a landscape of shadows, big dark unmistakeable shapes of the single sunflower, the tipping stalks of the raspberries, collards leaning on their heartying stems leaves fanned in shades of green so different in moon light.  The hose, stiff from the cool night temperatures needed a bit of coaxing but once untangled the water welcomed release. 

"Hello, beans," I said on my way into the orchard even before the watering began.  The vining Blue Lakes are beautiful day and night, but at night the leaves fill space like roofs over tiny villages of flowers just beginning.  I tell them how beautiful they are, and tell them again as I start to sing a melody of notes unconsciously.  Not a whistle, for that would beckon to the wrong ones, I hum and sing softly as I give the carrots, collards, tomatoes, peas and beans an early morning watering.  Moonlight gardening like this one is a very special time when the darkness of the sky perches on the edge of the sun's eminent rising.  The stars and moon are dominant, but it is the shades and shadows of Earth's permanence -- the energy of la'au ... growing things, water-thirsty trees, blooming flowers and legged creatures that are refreshed and enlivened at this time.  When most of the two-legged creatures are tucked under covers there is a world of heightened potency available.  The La'au Moons are times for gathering the healing medicinals at their height of potency.  To be with my garden in the moonlight is to know that firsthand.  La'au PAU marks the end of the second week (anahulu Ho'o Nui) of the Hawaiian Moon Calendar.  A time of thanksgiving, a celebration of fullness a nice way of looking at being with the garden, and offering life-giving water to the life-givers.  Tomorrow the three 'Ole moons of rest, review, weed and reconnoiter begin.  The anahulu Ho'o Nui is a ten cycle period without 'ole, so these 'ole moons are a needed respite, and I am happy to have had time with moonlight and shadows, and watering the beans.

Do you moonlight garden?


  1. I know I'm very belated but I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed this post SO much. It was wonderful and I felt almost like I was there in the moonlight. I am almost never outside at night now. I miss it. I love being out at night - especially after most humans are sleeping... and most especially when there is moonlight :)

  2. Moonlight gardens are wonderful times. The temps are cooling now that Sept has creeped in, I went to the beans just this morning, saying "Hope there's enough warmth for you." So glad to give you a 'virtual' time with the moon and gardens. Anytime, Libby!



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