Monday, September 29, 2014

Prayer for the Trees

Pule ‘Aina
adapted from Hawaiian Antiquities by David Malo

E ke akua, he pule ia e holoi ana i ka po’ino o ka ‘aina
a me ke pale a’e i pau ko ka ‘aina haumia
He pule ia e ho’opau ana i na hewa o ka ‘aina apau
Oh God.
This is a prayer to wash away all iniquity from the land,
to ward off and end the contamination of the land.
This is a prayer to end the mistakes done to all the land
I pau ke a’e, me ke kawau
I pau ke kulopia, a me ka peluluka
I pau a hulialana
A laila niho peku, ho ‘emu, huikala, malapakai,
Kamauli hou i ke akua.
So that the bitterness may be over.
The ground will be covered with greenery, leaves and vines,
and we may offer again our prayers of thanks to you for abundance.

The trees that grow
The trees that grew
Just across the driveway
The trees that grow
The trees that grew
Just across the driveway

In the night Na Pueo
Screamed at us
In the night Two Owls
Screamed at us
Blood-curdling voices
In the night Na Pueo

The trees that grow
The trees that grew
Just across the driveway
The trees where Na Pueo lived
The trees where Na Pueo will no longer live

The trees are being cut
Today the men with a permit to cut
Today the men with a degree and saw
Cut the trees because he says they have root rot

They didn't ask
They didn't ask the trees
They didn't ask the women
They didn't ask to have the sacred space created ... before

A prayer for the land, and the trees is made so the land can know they are not dying without respect.

Pule 'Aina
Pule 'Aina
Pule 'Aina

A prayer for the land, the trees
Pikai the 'aina
Pikai the 'aina
Pikai the 'aina

Set the brake!

It was, of course, the most improbable choice. Four cities. Four short tellings. Home again. But. That was my plan, not theirs. "Did your wagon change itself on the way to Oakland? And your driver did he lose himself forcing you to climb behind the wheel of the old coupe destined for this most improbable choice?" Victoria rambled on with questions. I tried to ignore her. The hardest bit of the journey was remembering to set the handbrake before opening the door. But. This was an automobile built with heavy gauge steel. It was the swizzle of siding fashioned into a car port for which I feared. A shame to litter the artistry because a visiting witch in a Plymouth forgot to set the brakes.

Regular readers to Makua O'o may not be surprised to find an occasional sometimes sudden left-turn taken on the page. This is one of those just down the road and turn left sorts of days. By the Kaulana Mahina (Hawaiian Moon Calendar) it is the first of the 'Ole Po ... the 'Ole Moon Days when no new plantings or fishing will be productive. The sap is low in land plants, the tides unstable so fish at your own risk. No new projects my elders would say. Clean and weed. This post is not so much a new venture as a writer but a respite. A pleasure seeking left-turn to MAGPIE TALES. It is a first visit to this "blog dedicated to the enjoyment of poets and writers, for the purpose of honing their craft, sharing it with like-minded bloggers, and keeping their muses alive and well" and a metaphoric 'set of the brake' from my usual ramblings. A bit of fun. A non-serious dash of words stirred by a painting that tickles every magical bone in me.
"Does it connect to anything? Is it the next story in the trilogy?"
Two two many questions Victoria. Not now. Not today.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Makahiki Hawaiian Season of Peace, Pleiades Rises, Next New Moon the Signal

One of my favorite Wahine Toa (Woman Warrior) Kalei Nuuhiwa continues to spread her mana'o about ethno-science and the inseparable nature of the elementals from that of our kino our bodies. Yesterday as I allow for the period of process that comes after birth, the new stuff percolated and Kalei's name came. What is she up to? The voice queried. I went searching and was rewarded!
Kalei has a new (seems to be new, and working) website "created for those looking for those seeking information and curricula for Hawaiian science, philosophies, art and interpretive research."  On her sidebar some wonderfully informative and affirming bits to satisfy my curiosity." Especially satisfying to me were these observations and hooks:

  • "Kolea (the Golden Plover) have arrived on the Islands, and according to her observations and probably the observations of others in her researching teams, Kolea arrived two months early. (I am always so happy to know the Long Flyers have made it safely from Alaska, for we were at one time, part of those returnees.)
  • Let's also begin looking for Makali'i (The Pleiades) rising in the east." (The Season of Makahiki, when the dry season turns to wet when traditional practices went from War-Time to Peace-Time begins once the kahuna, or kilo practitioner(s) see Makali'i rise in the east. The first New Moon after Makali'i rises signals the start of the season of Makahiki.)

Nuuhiwa a kilo practitioner a stargazer, reader of omens, seer, astrologer was the wahine toa who introduced me and my husband Pete to the layers of knowledge contained in the Hawaiian Moon Calendar Kaulana Mahina. (Unfortunately, that original video presentation is no longer accessible. The old posts on this blog will not get you there. 'Aue.) But. The original seed ideas have spread, and the kilo practitioner has grown in her responsibilities as well. When I arrived at Kalei Nuuhiwa's website yesterday I had put out the call E HO MAI E HO MAI E HO MAI. Once again I needed to know what could be done next, now. As I rest from the birth of the wonderful sharing and receiving of blessings through chant and storytelling, the ancestors are glad. "Ah, well, yes, she is the one. She is the one who brings the good, true and beautiful forward." I laugh and giggle to myself, and them, and reply, "Wow, if not at 66, then when?!"

As a Hawaiian woman living across the Pacific from the original piko the challenge to maintain connection replicates the journey(s) of Hi'iaka as she went through her initiation into her kuleana her life's path. Who is Hi'iaka? Hi'iaka is the younger sister of Pelehonuamea, Pele maker of land through fire. Kauluwela na moku. Both sisters, Pele and Hi'iaka I embrace as guardians: one the fire-maker and the younger the first on the scene when the scorched earth cools. The rewards I received by arriving at Kalei's site were multiple, and for each of them I mahalo my ancestors. They truly rock! What navigators, what skillful paddlers with keen sight. What I needed was to sit in my little Quonset Hut in the woods of Whidbey Island and click. The presentation given at Aha Na Wahine (The Gathering of Women) 2012 was a conference I had hoped to be at. I asked for the potential to climb aboard a plane, find safe housing, and be there. But. The answer was 'not yet.' Instead, Kalei was there and she shared HAUMEA: Establishing Sacred SpaceIn that 45 minute Oiwi Production I found the next chants, the next processes, and the next steps to take as my kuleana as Makua O'o unfolds. The journey is at once chaotic and magically plotted, as I continue to be initiated and practice what I learn; knowledge transforms a stagnant phase, practice leads to more knowing. Wisdom comes.

We, my husband Pete and I, are watching for the rise of Makali'i over our Whidbey Island home. It is more difficult to see those Seven Sisters as the weather shifts from clear skies to rain-rich clouds. But, they will be coming. We look forward to seeing her in the night sky and Akua willing just about that time Pete and I will pitch The Safety Pin Café tents for a Makali'i Season Sunday of Story. This time, the weather may, or may not be a sunflower sort. It may be a Sunday only a duck could love. We will pray and look for the signs and ask permission. I have chants to study, and at least one re-freshed story to prepare before the October 19th performance.

A little at a time, we move forward. We age and black strands turn to gray. Aches collect at the joints. Like hipu'u in a net, the points of connection are points of potentiality reminds Kalei Nuuhiwa. We age, collecting and observing the potential for something to come. Too bad, too sad, no can go back in 2012 for the gathering of women warriors. Too bad, too sad. And yet, in the knots of the hei my network connects bits and pieces of precious dew drops.

I sequentially grow my net and care for my aging kino (body) with love and appreciation for the making knots that have become unexpected constellations. With the approach of the new season of peace I see the kolea freshly arrived, early this year. Time is not something I can control. But the knots? The knots I can learn to appreciate, malama, and know I am caring for everyone who came before me, and everyone yet to come.
That is big, string theory. E Nuuhiwa, you are the one! Mahalo nui loa.


Monday, September 22, 2014

We pitched a tent and they came

The chant was chanted, the stories told.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Still Walking *

The only way to live is to accept each minute as
an unrepeatable miracle.
-Margaret Storm Jameson

"Still Walking" is the name of a beautifully rendered film by Kore-Eda Hirokazu. This is a film that speaks softly and carries a very big stick. The story is deceptively miraculous, and beautifully paced. The story, and title inspired me to consider miracles.

It's raining. The dry summer and fall
has many of the webbed footed humans
praising the passing cell of rain dropping steadily on our island on this Island Earth.
But yesterday did you see them? Single drops. Drops as big as polka-dots.
It's a miracle.

It's a miracle. Which miracle?
Last night I chopped up a onion, smashed garlic and minced it.
Into the heated olive oil I tossed the alliums.
The smell, the sizzle.
It's a miracle.

It's a miracle. Which miracle?
The still bright blue pot.
The pot that has traveled with us.
The pot that has survived experimental concoctions,
a burner left too hot.
It's a miracle.

It's a miracle. Which miracle?
Potlucks with neighbors.
Neighbors who live just down the road a bit.
A bit of allium, three thighs of chicken,
half a red-orange skinned squash, a crook neck and zucchini, too.
A freshly fallen Gravenstein only slightly bruised.
A palm-full of herbs.
Topped off with water.
It's a miracle.

It's a miracle. Which miracle?
Still walking down the road
Down the road to a neighborhood party
A party, potluck, conversation
storytelling and shoot'n the breeze
It's a miracle.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Na 'Aumakua

"Sometimes musical instruments are used in connection with the ancestor spirits. The clicking of sticks or bones is another way to ask for ancestral help: each clicking sound represents our commitment to break harmful family patterns or harmful cultural patterns." - The Four-Fold Way "The Way of the Teacher", Angeles Arrien
"In the Hawaiian culture Na 'Aumakua are our ancestors who have died, passed from the physical body into the realm of spirit. These ancestors, our family, are those recently passed as well as those we have known through the telling of their legacies ... their antics, their heroics, their mishaps

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Chocarines ... a Borderland Treat

"Almost every person has something secret he likes to eat. He is downright furtive about it usually, or mentions it only in a kind of conscious self-amusement, as one who admits too quickly, "It is rather strange, yes--and I'll laugh with you."

Do you remember how Claudine used to crouch by the fire, turn a hairpin just fast enough to keep the toasting nubbin of chocolate from dripping off? Sometimes she did it on a hairpin over a candle. But candles have a fat taste that would taint the burnt chocolate, so clean and blunt and hot...

Hard bitter chocolate is best, in a lump not bigger than a big raisin. It matters very little about the shape, for if you're nimble enough you'll keep it rolling hot on the pin, as shapely as an opium bead.

When it is round and bubbling and giving out a dark blue smell, it is done. Then, without some blowing all about, you'll burn your tongue. But it is delicious.

However, it is not my secret delight. Mine seems to me less decadent than Claudine's, somehow. Perhaps I am mistaken. I remember that Al looked at me very strangely when he first saw the little sections lying on the radiator...

It was then that I discovered how to eat little dried sections of tangerine. My pleasure in them is subtle and voluptuous and quite inexplicable. I can only write how they are prepared.

In the morning, in the softy sultry chamber, sit in the window peeling tangerines, three or four. Peel them gently; do not bruise them...Separate each lump little pregnant crescent. If you find the Kiss, the secret section, save it for Al.

Take yesterday's paper ... and spread it on top of the radiator...After you have put the pieces of tangerine on the paper on the hot radiator, it is best to forget about them...

On the radiator the sections of tangerines have grown even plumper, hot and full. You carry them to the window, put I open, and leave them for a few minutes on the packed snow of the sill. They are ready...

The sections of tangerine are gone, and I cannot tell you why they are so magical. Perhaps it is that little shell, thin as one layer of enamel on a Chinese bowl, that crackles so tinily, so ultimately under your teeth. Or the rush of cold pulp just after it. Or the perfume. I cannot tell.

There must be some one, though, who knows what I mean. Probably everyone does, because of his own secret eatings."

M.F.K. Fischer, an abridged version of her essay "Borderlandfrom The Art of Eating
While summer was still young, and beginning to heat itself into the long and beautiful dry spell I found a volume of M.F.K. Fischer's The Art of Eating sitting on our local library FOR SALE shelves. I've always wanted to read her work, but until that day had only scanned excerpts of the famous food writers essays. The thick paperback was faded, not very used as some cookbooks can be that are well-read and used as a practical accounting of recipes in addition to the unique tongue in which a food writer uses to scent a book. Nevermind. The book was marked $1.50 and I had coins to cover it. I paid the friendly librarian and took my book home.
It sat on my own shelf for months, as life and death came during the late spring and other things kept my attention. Perhaps it was grief that veiled the gold of M.F.K. Fischer's stories. Perhaps it was just not time. A week ago The Art of Eating lay in the back of my car along with my walking stick, boots and collection of driftwood soon to be used as Clacking Sticks in a storytelling event to come. I meant to take the book to the thrift store. One day late last week, as I reached for boots to go for a lovely walk along the Salish Sea I noticed the book had curled into a wave of its own. You know how old paper does that ... beautiful, though it may appear to disrespect the book bindery elves who worked the machinery in the tower of Publishing World. But other elves or faery were at work on The Art of Eating. While I changed from sandal to boot I look closely at the title blinking at me from the wave of pages. Borderland, it read. Borderland! I have a passion for the borders and many of my stories weave in and across borders. I took this as an oracle, a sign. This book was not yet done with me.
The abridged version of the essay Borderland which opens this post braceleted my imagination and my whimsy. A writer described peeling crescents of tangerines to dry on old newspaper over a hot radiator. The words tantalized all the tiny hairs of my nostils (metaphoric and literal) and I was enchanted. As life and death have braided themselves in my experience this summer, old patterns of comfort-habits took me on a well-worn trail: eating my way through grief, I came to the place where my body, and soul said, "Enough now. Let go for now. Find your way back." So for a month now, I have been doing just that. Eating differently using (another book found at my library) The Abascal Way to Quiet Inflammation I am training myself to care differently for me. It seems to be working. I feel better, calmer and ... less inflamed. (Please link to the book for details about the eating approach).

What is wonderful and magical about being open to treats is how the wave of curling pages on a paperback destined for the thrift shop stirred me to a description that I could hybridize in the way I love. M.F.K. Fisher described tangerines (I love the color orange, tangerine; the perfume is one of the 'perfumes' that I tolerate and CAN love!). Crescents of the orange fruit drying on paper over a hot radiator was something I could modify. (I could use a paper bag to lay the fruit. We do have radiators in our tiny wash house we use to dry our clothes.) Tangerines. There I would need to go to my local grocer, my produce guy.

"Do you ever get tangerines?" I asked. The tall be-speckled produce guy who always wears a baseball hat said, "We do, but not lately. I know we get the Satsumas at Christmas."

"I wonder if it's just not the season yet?" I contributed. "But it would seem to be the time for them."

"Would you like me to check, and leave a message for the person who orders?"

"I would!" I was excited.

"What is your name?" the man with the baseball hat asked.

"Mokihana." I said.

"Bjorn." The man said extending his hand.

"Should I call you the whole name?" he gestured as if opening an accordion.

"Yes, Mokihana would be good." I smiled and appreciated he would ask rather than assume a nickname or shorten version would work just as well. But then Bjorn is a name some would not be able to spell, or say correctly the first time. We went on to have a pleasant chat about Hawaii, and names. Bjorn would let a note and ask about tangerines.

My produce guy was good to his word. Within two days tangerines, well organic Minneola Tangelos, a close cousin, were stacked in a small heap in the window of my local grocer. The photos I've included are pictures of the Mineola Tangelos and the hybridized treat inspired by the essay from the paperback with curling pages. The process for peeling and drying tangerines? I did just that with the Tangelos, using a small brown paper bag rather than old newspaper. Combining the two 'something secret he likes to eat' from M.F.K. Fisher's Borderland  I found unsweetened baker's chocolate (One can eat cacao on my inflammation quieting eating plan in unlimited amounts if you know you can eat chocolate) on sale at my local grocer that also sells Minneola Tangelos. While the sweet crescents heated and plumped on paper over my hot radiator (the paper did not burn nor scorch) I heated 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate in a stainless measuring cup resting in boiling water. When the chocolate was melted I took the plump crescents gently by one end and dipped them into the melted chocolate at a slight angle, shook the liquid gold chocolate a bit and put them onto a tray lined with parchment paper. The tricky bit was how to keep them in place. I let the treats chill in a very cold freezer for 5-10 minutes. I call 'em Chocarines! Truly a Borderland treat.

They aren't hard to make. And are in fact, a delight to make. It helps if you have a Bjorn the Produce Guy and a hot radiator. Bon Appetit!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Beat the drum, shake the rattle, lather the tales

The moon has me stirred up with the watery Pisces energy approaching full on Monday. Rather than sleep here I am at the keys drawing from the inner well "that has been nurtured in private." This summer of grieving blossomed with emotions deep and overflowing with sorrow and loss. The sadness wears many names and lifts from hiding the old grief that for whatever reason is left until something shakes it loose. A girlfriend and I were talking the other day. We share the experience of losing our only brothers. "How's it going now?" She asked. I said, "The feelings move." Her response was "You're through that part of it, ha." The cycle moves just as she said. I still miss my phone conversations with my brother, and miss hearing his laughter. I miss how he made my belly laugh. And yet, nearly four months later the sadness lessens ... a little. I beat the drum to clear my heart, shake my rattles and call on my true nature and prepare to tell some stories that hold life together.

On Sunday, September 21st Pete and I will raise our storytelling tent and I will share some stories. Last Fall I shared stories in a face-to-face performance venue for the first time in many years. Healing and recovering confidence enough to be in a public setting takes time. For me, it's been seven years. The path to healing is one that tests my agility with valuing The Borders. Through my art, the writing and the telling of medicine stories I craft a way to cross those borders re-enter society at large and sense my personal safety with more clarity. My favorite astrologer posted a provocative piece yesterday on PTSD. I commented on her post. Some of what I experience living with MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities) include the affects of PTSD. Other aspects of MCS are treated differently, I learn to trust my instincts and use art -- the medicine of stories-- to create safe pathways. When the first of three stories began in a winter 'only a duck could love' the character of Pale Wawae (Hawaiian for Joy Weed) fed me the life of a border witch. There was somewhere to safely navigate the everyday normal and discover the common magic that simply needs the efficient application of tools. The safety pin. Over the past two years, that safety pin has grown into a world of myth and magic efficient and embracing. I write to express the inner world that feeds me where the public one cannot. I find the border and the words help me cross. There. There. Over there. "Just down the road a little bit, and turn left" (Angles Arrien)

To learn more about my Story Story Sunday "Telling stories that hold life together" September 21st storytelling event link here.

Soon my latest medicine story, tentatively called Water Something will open up, and you can read along as the story writes through my fingers. Carlos Castaneda said, "to be young and vital is nothing. To be old and vital is sorcery." (The Wheel of Time) He's right it takes a heart of magic to be vital in the second-half of life. But, if it weren't for the young's vitality who would cheer me across the monkey bars saying "You can do it Aunty!"


Friday, September 5, 2014

Shine on, Harvest Moon

Monday, September 8, 2014 we will be basking in the Harvest Moon, the Full Moon closest to the Autumnal Equinox, and in the astrological sign of watery Pisces. It feels like harvest time here on Whidbey Island. The farmers and home gardeners have grown abundant crops this year. We are rich with dark rich greens, turnips and carrots, peaches, plums, onions, garlic. We are fortunate to be part of a community committed to dirt!

The summer has been hot, emotional, topsy-turvy in many ways yet the harvest of another year brings the dark times into balance and I am thankful. The cycles of grief move slowly through as our losses are embraced and felt. I think it helps me to be old enough and willing now to look death more honestly in the eye. That challenge was just what I took on a couple months ago when I started the process of studying The Second-Half of Life. What began as a two month commitment is now what I(and my husband) do day to day, and sometimes unconsciously everyday. The chapters (8 of them) can be read through as quickly as you're able to read anything. But, the folding in of the rituals and the mystery? That's a medium to slow process. It fits me at this stage, I feel like that Harvest Moon I suppose. When I was a girl I loved that song "Shine on Harvest Moon." Without knowing at 10 what a 'harvest' looked like, the melody and the rhythm was something that set me smiling. And, for me, the serious Scorpio, that song and the sense of ok-ness that came from listening, singing and whistling that melody should have been a clue to my well-being over time.

I still love the song, love the memory from small kid times, and embrace the harvest now that I know what harvests involve. Here's a link to The Old Farmer's Almanac about the Harvest Moon. There's always more to learn from different angles, and I love that there are options to getting what you want or need.

Shine on and enjoy Count Bassie on the piano (my Ma could play that piano!!) playing to that Harvest Moon!