Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mature and ripen and use the digging stick

"don't use a shovel when a digging stick will do."- Teachings of grass 
"I grow again" - An affirmation 

The wind was strong yesterday, no blue sky at noon. A crock pot wrapped in foil cooked plump turkey thighs in a soup with chunks of celery, sweet potato and onions. Standing outside earlier in the morning while Lono and Kane gathered the weather for the day, I collected the whole canoe shaped root, the long stalks of green celery, and the round onion wrapped in its own beautiful brown-skins. The sweet potato and celery needed to be washed and drained. The onion, unwrapped, was clean as it unfolded. With everything prepared I swiped my favorite knife over the stone to sharpen it. Within a few minutes all the vegetables were ready for the pot. The turkey who had given up his or her life for us I unwrapped from its sterile casement. From the glass jar I hope the dried cooking herbs (bulk Italian Seasoning) came a generous sprinkling. Ginger root, the final gift, was grated. Making sure there was plenty of water to stew the meal I set the pot with its lid, and had Pete wrap the whole thing in heavy aluminum fold. Turned to HIGH, in a few hours the wrapped pot, secured with string against the whipping winds provided hot food to eat. 

The moon's cycle through April has given us many clear sights as the moon plumps into her fullness, The Full Flower Moon ripens just before 9 PM PDT on Sunday, May 3, 2015. She will be in the sky in the sign of Scorpio. My astrologer explains it this way, "There’s going to be tension here – a lot of tension. However, there is potential for a big win as well." I left a comment on ElsaElsa,

"That full moon will tightly conjunct Chiron (in 10th House) which aspects a reciprocal stellium square. That means, the Full Moon will intensify my Scorpio stellium square with Saturn-Mars-Pluto in Leo with Jupiter transiting that trio (7th and 8th Houses).I have begun building a new school focused on Indigenous Practices. The protocol and ground rules are important (8th House legacy). My public reputation (10th House) and the deep wounds of Chiron (The Who am I to do this work?) are lit up. I’m old, challenged by health issues, determined to do the right thing(s).  Jupiter could be the “luck” to build on solid ground. Thanks for the foresight, Elsa. Always a blessing to know how deep’s the water especially being a Scorpio."
Hemlock Nurse log

We have many things going on here in addition to the building of the new 'school' HO'OMOKU; somethings repeat, others grow organically like new growth from a cedar stump or hemlock log, others show up inexplicably:
A mysterious feral cat is the unwelcome marauder. (he comes and goes, eats JOTS' food, leaves his spray, interrupts, we can't explain it and can't stop him)
Pollens rage, I retreat like a bear hibernating (Season in, season out)
We celebrate the beginning of our 6th Anniversary in these woods (organic)
My tiny garden space becomes a bathroom (organic, but unexpected)
The Safety Pin Cafe grows into a coral reef (organic)
Makua O'o, this blog,continues (the first entry Jan. 2009, organic

Today the skies are clear. Hummingbird has been at her breakfast gathering for hours; I watched her through the window when the sun had barely brightened. The rain overnight has soaked the forest with its blessed wet, we will not need to carry water out to the new fir recently transplanted. 

The crock pot of turkey and vegetable soup is feeding us: an early supper, a bit more before dark, and then breakfast today. The investment of time, and energy and maintaining an old appliance = food for a time. I'm sorting through the lessons and new starts that present themselves, as gifts and challenges, this spring. The language and cultural lessons that Lushootseed offers me tests my willingness to be open to be taught. My comfort with the different ways of using my mouth, and throat to make their sounds challenge my boundaries. Living with fewer teeth now I recognize how facility with words change for more than one reason. 

We age, organically for the most part. This lifestyle if it is accurate to describe it that way is mostly organic for a contemporary human. We shelter ourselves in tiny enclosures made from manufactured materials. Thanks to the accumulated knowledge and applied skills of a working man with fifty years of know-how, solutions and adaptations are unique to us. Turning my small garden space into a bathroom will be a creative enterprise, most of our shelters are. 

Being led, and heeding the guidance to inch our wheeled sleeping house into the woods six years ago has the organic continuation of life beginning again. The simple, and powerful three-word affirmation that leads this post comes from Robert Moss, he-who-teaches-how-to-dream. I needed that prayer this morning. Sometimes I will tangle myself in the complexity of believing I must have all answers at once. But that is a childish desire, selfish only because I had little experience with the long time. When I forget that the raging pollens are not personally assaulting me, I rage against Nature. And that? That is the fuel on the economy of consumption. The belief I could, and Must, be in control.

Having this space on the pages of the blog, makua o'o ... maturing adult, is also the woman who hears when familiar words (o'o) are used in different context. The pronunciation is different, the extended meaning (kaona) wishes to feed me differently. While researching (searching again) I listened to the botanist, teacher, writer Robin Kimmerer. She speaks of the lessons of rice, and remembers for us, the steps of The Honorable Harvest.

"When you get to the woods,[...] we are taught never take the first plant that you see, and that means you'll never take the last. And then if we encounter another plant we ask permission ... If you are going to take a life, you have to be personally accountable for it...It's just good manners...It's a two-way conversation though. If you're going to ask, you're going to have to listen for the answer...If the answer is 'NO' you go home. And taking without permission is also known as stealing. " 

At 16:21 (the time on the YouTube presentation) Kimmerer speaks the protocol of taking from Nature in a way that will do the least harm or benefit the plant, "Don't use a shovel when a digging stick will do." Put into the pot of my daily researching, openness to my life unfolding new, I heard that protocol to mean something for me as a maturing woman, ripening even as I hibernate in my space while the Scotch Broom (invasive species!) blossoms rage in pollination. I hear that the two sides of a makua o'o include the maturing one, who also, carries an o'o (pronounced with hard o's or accentuation on both vowels). Turing the maturing one into one who carries a digging stick.

There is the lesson of a multi-faceted and organic life. Human, searcher, re-searcher, old and maturing, composting like a cedar stump making a place for new growth. Old hemlock, old cedar and old woman can and do grow again. The lessons of rice from the Potawatomi are the same as my kupuna teach. We are taught to malama (care for) 'aina (the Earth), and in so doing, she will care for us. Indigenous wisdom have roots that touch. I am grateful for my life that is willing to reach out, ask permission, listen, give thanks and use the o'o

Saturday, April 25, 2015

And your names?

"Mauna Kea is often translated literally as "white mountain" because of the snow that covers its summit. But Mauna Kea is a short version of Mauna a Wakea, a name that connects it to the sky father, Wakea.: : :This is Mauna a Wakea. The mountain belongs to Wakea. It doesn't belong to you. It doesn't belong to me. It belongs to Wakea.You and what you want to do with it doesn't matter. Me and what I want to do with it doesn't matter. The mountain is sacred. It is Wakea. It is not Mount Joe. It is not Mount Kilroy. It is Mauna a Wakea.[...]Pualani KanaheleKumu Hula, Educatortestimony at public meeting on Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master PlanMay 1999 - Mauna Kea-Temple Under Seige
Mauna a Wakea

"[...]The most conclusive writing on the matter can be found in Allan Richardson and Brent Galloway’s book, Nooksack Place Names, where accurate pronunciations and precise etymological meanings of several names for parts of Mount Baker can be found. Here we learn that according to George Swanaset (1871-1961), a fluent speaker of the Nooksack Language,Kulshan is actually pronounced Kwelshán in the Nooksack language, and is the name for the high open slopes on Mount Baker (not the peak itself). Richardson and Galloway noted thatKoma Kulshan may be derived from the Nooksack kwó-mæ kwǝlšǽ·n which means “go up high” or “way back in the mountains shooting place,” which they determined was probably a phrase rather than a proper name (Richardson and Galloway 2011, pg 148). The authors also provided the proper pronunciation for the Lummi cognate Kwǝšέn and the Halkomelem (language of the people Indigenous to the Lower Fraser River) cognate Kwǝ́lǝ́xy. The Nooksack name for the actual peak of Mount Baker is Kweq’ Smánit, which translates to “white mountain.” Lastly, Richardson and Galloway provided the Skagit name for Mount Baker:Teqwúbe7 or Te-kómeh, which translates as “any snow-capped mountain.” This Skagit name is vaguely similar to that provided by Coleman above, and more similar to the name provided by Joseph Hillaire. Majors gave Puk’h’kowitz as the Clallam name for Mount Baker, and translated the term to mean “white mountain” (Majors 1978, pg 17). A variation of the Clallam term, P-kowitz, is recorded with the same literal translation in the Washington Place Name Databaseand can be traced back to a letter from James G. Swan to James Wickersham on February 3, 1892 (Wickersham 1893, pgs 4-50[...]- "Koma Kulshan"

Tomorrow will be the start of our sixth year here on this island. We are grateful. Alternately, we are amazed at the process and the journey. Just when I think the plot and the breadth of life is pretty much in its place, more is revealed and definitions, names, change.

What's happening this season as the forest around us grows, and being makua o'o takes on meaning as my ancestors say, " Lawe i ka ma'alea a ku'ono'ono. Take wisdom and make it deep?" Spring is the time when the farmers start setting up their stalls; they bring their hard work and crops of new bounty to their hungry names. Green houses and hoop houses have multiplied like Langley Bunnies here on the island. Nearly every farmer worth her salt or kale crop has one, and most are expanding their covered and weather-tempered growing spaces to start and tend seedlings. Growing food is what humans can do. Cultivating is a human activity.

Pete is out and about after a morning of washing his laundry (by hand) while he and I chatted about mending and extending the life of his clothes. I've done the mending of favorite bits of his ware, and have a good start on a patch to the knee of a very hardworking pair of jeans. While he is out, he is bound to assist at least one farmer with whatever is challenging him/her. His talent for assessing need and applying solutions is a practiced skill. People seek him out for that. And, its a reciprocal thing. Pete loves being the mender-meddler.

Back 'at the compound' here in the Quonset, I make a little space to "Let your mind air out a little." That's a phrase I've just learned as I read a new novel (her first) by Natalie Baszile. Queen Sugar is about a young woman whose inherited hundreds of acres of sugar plantation. Plantation that hasn't been tended or kept up. From L.A. to LA, Los Angeles to Louisiana the main character Charley is up to her cowlick with challenges. Queen Sugar and Charley's rites of passage in Louisiana sugar country is my bit of space to air out.

I'm in the middle of creating, or maybe, it's continuing to nurture my responsibility to dig up and air the names of things. The deep and the covered up names, the names assumed as correct, the names that have become common place or 'common law' like wedlock in some societies. Thing is, I have begun to make island and in the process the organic nature of doing so presents me with unexpected details. Another kupuna wisdom (ancestral glue) nails things in place: E kuhikuhi pono i na au iki a me na an nui o ka ike. Instruct well in the little and the large currents of knowledge. In teaching, do it well; the small details are as important as the large ones. 

HO'OMOKU - A place for Hawaiian Practices is a venture newly begun. I have the site: our partnership with the South Whidbey Tilth is in place. Now: the building blocks. Just the other day I received email, and then a phone call from the Tulalip Lushootseed Language Department. Nine days ago I had written to ask for help with the 'proper pronunciation' of a Luschootseed word for Whidbey Island. I have searched for (what I thought was) that name for five years. When I found it, I had no idea how to pronounce it.

I put my practice into action. What I found was more than I anticipated, and, exactly what I needed. In a nutshell, I have much more to learn before I can teach. In the process of growing a place for HO'OMOKU, my ancestors, and the ancestors of this place are giving me the tangles and knots that need to be addressed. Naming practices weave history and events that are not visible to the contemporary eye. The two examples of names that start this post are mountainous examples in every angle of meaning.

A long scrap of notepaper has penciled letters I wrote to describe two place names on this island where I live. My email request was scrutinized for motive and intent. Many such requests would not be responded to because they are made out of curiosity, but, with no honor or respect. Waiting is important. Names are important. Names bear legacy and geographic memory. The letters I have written are in the Lushootseed alphabet. I am unfamiliar with the alphabet, and the sounds. A very well crafted and interactive website allows me to learn. I must practice to get the sounds. Early in the morning I woke from a disturbing dream. To wash the direction of the dream, I crossed the forest, turned on the black box, and went here ...

I pressed the > key and listened to the Lushootseed word for: SUN, MOON. They both start the same, but end differently. I press the > key again, and turn my good ear to the speakers to hear the word more clearly. I love the sound of the words. I'm at it for another many minutes. I hear my husband come out from the sleeping place, walk out, and then back. Later, when we were together in the washing house, he said, "I heard you. I heard you practicing." His face and his heart were soft. I was surprised he was out there listening.

We are old people, adjusting, adapting, and practicing the ways we know work. Mostly, we respectfully find our place and ask for the names that are true for things. Sometimes we make mistakes. Sometimes we get things right. While the pollen of that Scotch Broom reigns supreme on the island, I mostly stay here in the place "where gooseberry bushes grow." I stay here, and let my mind air out as I write, mend worn jeans, and hear birdsong over the hum of the refrigerator cooling last night's chicken and squash soup.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This is some kinda moon!

See the Crescent just out from the longest finger of the Great Fir? (click on the image for a larger view)
 Spring has come, and with it many clear and beautifully lit skies have allowed us access to the many shapes of Mahina, the Moon. The other evening, at twilight, I was out with my camera.
"There's Moki clicking at any empty sky!" my neighbor said as she walked toward me through the orchard.
"No," I promised. "She's up there. Near twelve o'clock, just up from the tip of that tree." I was navigating her to the barely visible crescent in a not quite dark enough sky.
"Oh," she was surprised to see it. "Now which direction is the moon moving?"
"West," I said, "she's setting into the trees."
Two hours later, in a dark sky ... Hina nearly set in our horizon of Tall Ones.
A miraculous thing is happening here in the woods. Time and grit are wearing at us, and our roots are settling into the glacial silt (not much natural top soil on this island) with a lot of help from the First Beings. All around us and with us day and night we are learning so much from Tree Beings who grow to a hundred and fifty feet with roots that depend not so much on deep soil, but on reaching out to each other creating a network of confidence as their root systems flow like blood. In the limbs of those Tree Beings, Feathered Beings make their nests, lay their eggs, hunker down against the blow of winds of all variety. Songs from those Feathered Beings make such music, the tones and the signatures comforting, messaging, filling space with just the right amount of emptiness for potential.

We happy up when the Sun sends those rays alaula into our eyeballs, even as we squint against its power. During the weeks when the Moon is in the sky during the sunlight hours there is a very different point of balance. A subtle weighing is happening though most of us wouldn't notice.

Satori writes, "Thursday morning the Moon in Cancer, its own sign, sextiles the Sun in Taurus. Both quincnunx retrograde Saturn in Sagittarius. The lights line up in water and earth creating a protective exchange with each other in order to get the most from that long term, far-reaching fire. Burn off your obligations, you’re protected.[...]
After these many decades of living, this spring seems to be wearing me with new appreciation. We are reciprocal in our dance this year. I know for sure that it matters what I think, and Nature in all her manifestations responds to my thinking. The Woods, the Birds, the Wind they are getting to know us. Raven in particular loves that big turquoise truck. When we inched our way into this spot five seasons ago we were being led by forces greater than ourselves. We had begun to count on the moon for help with navigation, but my astrologer said something about that controversial planet/dwarf plant/not planet Pluto ... 'you can feel Pluto's effect long before it aspects your natal chart. But you never know how deep you'll go.'

So up in the sky the planets, stars, and moon set up a network for honing and homing in on our potential, if you believe in the wonder of all that is. It is some kinda moon, planet and symphony of energy being exchanged now, and all the time. What a life. What potential. What a moon. Notice it today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015


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.

Every day is Earth Day. We have twenty-four hours seven days a week; ekolu malama (three months by the Hawaiian Moon Calendar) to treat our home with love, aloha, malama (love, love, and care).

Here are just a few ideas, to juice-up that love of 'aina, moana nui a kea, ea. wai ... all that is  our Papa Hanau Moku (Earth, Ocean, Air, Fresh water). Click on the links to learn a little more.

Join LAMA's Kahea (call) to its Network ... "What's your 'ohana up to where you live, remember Papa our Earth Mother?"

Plant trees!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Planting on a Hoaka Moon

Yesterday was HOAKA po  (the crescent moon). Our family went into the woods and planted a special tree to remember my Brother David. CLICK to see how we spent a Hoaka afternoon.
HOVER with your mouse to read the 'oli Pule Ho'ulu'ulu

Saturday, April 18, 2015

KILO GANG ... moon watch practitioners

The new malama (month) of WELO begins with this new moon phase. We have begun to HO'OMOKU ... make island, and prepare to open the door to our new PLACE FOR HAWAIIAN PRACTICES. Classes begin in July, but, in the meantime we are organizing our KILO (Observers) of Lunar Activity.

If you live in the Salish Sea area and love the moon, we'd love to include you in our Kilo, gang, and pass the pin (mahalo to Barbara Mundell for making the beautiful tiny Hoaka pins).

KILO -Stargazer, reader of omens, seer, astrologer; kind of looking glass; to watch closely, spy, examine. -Hawaiian Dictionary, Pukui & Elbert

We're making island!
He puko 'a kani 'aina.
A coral reef that grows into an island.
A person beginning in a small way gains steadily until he/she becomes firmly established. 

Click here to read more about it.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Red Eye of the Bull

"Reddish Aldebaran – the fiery eye of the Bull in the constellation Taurus – is an aging star and a huge star! The computed diameter is between 35 and 40 solar diameters. If Aldebaran were placed where the sun is now, its surface would extend almost to the orbit of Mercury.[...]" -The constellation Taurus,

The evening sky, around sunset and into the late night, has been wonderfully clear and filled with the company of lights. Prominent among the lights o-ka-lani of the heavens is a big, bright red one. Curious to know more I woke from a Scotch Broom pollen daze, filled my cup with hot water, had a little chat with Pete and went searching. Ah, the internet the library ever-open. The Earthsky article on Aldebaran continues, "History and mythology of Aldebaran. Aldebaran is often depicted as the fiery eye of Taurus the Bull. Because it is bright and prominent, Aldebaran was honored as one of the Four Royal Stars in ancient Persia, the other three Royal Stars being Regulus, Antares and Fomalhaut.
The name Aldebaran is from the Arabic for “The Follower,” presumably as a hunter following prey, which here likely was the star cluster we call the Pleiades. The latter was often viewed as a flock of birds, perhaps doves. According to Richard Hinckley Allen in his classic book Star Names, the name Aldebaran once was applied to the entire Hyades star cluster, a large loose collection of faint stars[...]
Astronomer Jack Eddy has suggested a connection with the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, an ancient circle of stones atop a mountain in Wyoming. Eddy wrote that the ancient Americans may have used this site as a sort of observatory to view the rising of Aldebaran just before the sun in June to predict the June solstice." The Hawaiian name for Aldebaran is Kapuahi.
"Do we know any Taurus," Pete asked. 

"Sure, there's Joan, and, Leslie." I said.

"Oh yeah, of course. Is Taurus now?" 

"Not the sun position, but other planets are there now." I answered.

To see Aldebaran in the sky click here.

Last night we met with our friends of the South Whidbey Tilth. I have been navigating the skies, and pulling down the wisdom of timing folding in predictive information with the Earthly grit of hard work. Over time and with practice, I have become familiar with how astronomy (observations made and repeated again and again) fits with the myth and interpretation of the lights (planets, stars, moon and sun) I see from my place on Earth.

My ancestors were skilled at these observation and interpretive practices. Fortunately for us, this wisdom was stored in the words of chants ('oli) and most particularly in the Kumulipo (the Hawaiian Creation Chant). 'Oli preserved the word, the spiritual essence of both 'the thing' and its myriad of meaning. The kupuna, our elders, who lived prior to the arrival of sailing ships from the West with men and cultures with vastly different world-view were expert at noticing, and because they lived with this expertise their DNA, their genetic memory lives in us. 

We have the genetics to notice.

Back to the meeting with our friends. Pete and I met with the Board who makes business decisions for the the South Whidbey Tilth. We were proposing, asking, for permission to have a place on the Tilth land to teach and share Hawaiian Practices. HO'OMOKU ... A Place for Hawaiian Practices is an idea becoming firm. Twenty years ago I met and began my apprenticeship as Makua o'o with Kumu Aunty Betty Kawohiokalani Jenkins, that was 1995. The tools for practice as Makua o'o begin with "Keep a keen sense of observation" in Hawaiian, kilo, is the practice. 

So for twenty years I have been learning, and practicing observation. Here or there, on the islands of Hawaii, not on the islands of Hawaii. Robust and fiery, dampened and weak, season in, season out I jump into the water and swim. When I was a young writer for a corporate retailer out of Seattle in the early 1980's one of the bosses within the department was considering whether to allow me to do management training sessions. She put me through a sort of 'test' to hear and watch my style and comfort with the prescribed methodology. I wasn't very good, or comfortable with it. I tended to divert and make things up. 

She asked me, "How do you problem-solve?" It was a question I'd never been asked before. 

Naively I said, "I just tend to jump in and figure it out while I'm at it." She was not impressed. I did not get to do the training. I kept writing, and writing, and observed the flow inside the workings of an institution that would be struck with lightning ... a tsunami. The '80's was the decade that saw the shift from retail rung up with a cash register (by punching numbers on a price ticket) to the design and manufacturing of the UPC symbol (that set of black and white bars) and the layer scanner.

While that corporation, and that manager who tested me keep training in the usual way, I wrote myself into a place where my writing and DNA for observational skills helped to design the first UPC labels for all those lipstick tubes, and other drug store consumables. I made up lessons plans to move a generation of old school retailers into their future. In board rooms with men in suits I told them stories about making laulau (Hawaiian bundles of meat and fish wrapped in leaves and steamed). Through that allegory where they had no idea what Hawaiian food had to do with investing big dollars into something called a computerized cash register those people road the wake of change. No one else would jump in and swim with the unfamiliar tide. The rest as they say ... is history.

Funny how things unfold. 

That corporate experience would feed my family for thirteen years, provide a(nother) jumping off point when I divorced and returned to Hawaii. I would meet my kumu Aunty Betty within a few months, and the next level of kilo practice began. My ancestors and the land had lessons far greater to test me with. I have been at it ever since, season in, season out.
Aunty Betty Kawohiokalani Ellis Jenkins

The meeting with our friends from the South Whidbey Tilth went smoothly and graciously. I was prepared, used all those years as a corporate writer to craft a simple and clear proposal. The meeting was held inside a building. That presents challenges for me. I came with my oxygen tank and mask, and made the point. One of the main reason for creating HO'OMOKU using the small open-air site is it is fragrance-free and chemical free. There are few places I can be, let alone teach a small group. As I made our proposal I spoke with and without the mask. People were receptive, had questions, and suggestions. Within thirty minutes HO'OMOKU was accepted and welcomed. The first sessions for this new venture, built upon the work of The Safety Pin Cafe's storytelling events, begins July 10, 2015 ... this summer. 

How does this all relate to the Red Eye of the Bull? That eye is the bright red star in the constellation Taurus. It is a spring star, and one that can be used to predict the June Solstice. Mid-point season. Timing from another angle, yesterday when we made our presentation was LONO Po (Lono Moon) according to Kaulana Mahina (the Hawaiian Moon Calendar). "No fishing. Plant ipu and melon." I was not fishing last night, but I was 'making island.' That's what ho'omoku means in Hawaiian. With that one investment with the South Whidbey Tilth a coral reef began to grow. The wisdom of my Hawaiian kupuna tells me, "He puko 'a kani 'aina. A coral reef that grows into an island. A person beginning in a small way gains steadily until she becomes firmly established." Pete and I were planting the coral polyp (ipu) for future fish to feed upon.

That Taurus connection with Aldebaran's red eye? My North Node is in Taurus. I am searching for that place of comfort with the sacred and meaningful in the everyday. That's what this old woman, this makua o'o longs for. 

Do you know Taurus? Interested in learning more about HO'OMOKU ... A Place for Hawaiian Practices? Click here, please.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Let there be light ... oh, wait!

Today the heavy rains have blown in from the south

The Tall Ones, send pollen clouds thick and golden.
But, heavy 'ua kalani (rain from the heavens) dampen their dust storm temporaily.

The angle of our lucky fish wind sock is pushed from the wind out of the south.
The post 'Enough ... Mauna Kea under seige' and the another raging issue of controversy in Hawaii, got me thinking. People are watching, curious, and perhaps, motivated to see how what happens there affects us here. Henry Curtis, writing on his Ililani Media blog is the bulldog/watch dog of all issues energy in the Hawaiian Islands. Curtis is hot on the okole of the ram-jam buy-out of HECO (Hawaiian Electric Company) by Nextera Energy Hawaii and the President of that company, Eric Gleason.

There are other options for keeping the lights on in Hawaii besides the sale of HECO to Nextera. (If you are curious, live in the Hawaiian Islands, and are invested in exploring and supporting other options, click on that, read the articles Curtis has published). Pushed ever closer to the buy-out by Nextera Energy as a done deal just for the heck of it, let's go back to the top of the mountain, Mauna a Wakea (Mauna Kea) and consider the following essay about the wind wake ... the largest in the world, as a matter of fact, rising from the islands of Hawaii, "barely a speck in the 64 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean."

Back in 2003, a feature article "Little Islands Big Wake" by Laurie J. Smith " appeared on the NASA website Earth Observatory. That article was republished, and included in Na Maka O Ka 'Aina's documentary Mauna Kea: Temple Under Seige. Here's part of what Smith wrote in that article:

"On a map of the world, the Hawaiian Islands are barely a speck in the 64 million square miles of the Pacific Ocean. But oceanographers recently discovered that these tiny dots on the map have a surprising effect on ocean currents and circulation patterns over much of the Pacific.
In the Northern Hemisphere, a system of persistent winds blows from northeast to southwest, from North and South America toward Asia, between the equator and 30 degrees north latitude. These northeasterly winds are called trade winds. Typically, the trade winds continue on an uninterrupted course across the Pacific — unless something gets in their way, like an island.
Although many people associate Hawaii with flat, sunny beaches, the elevation of the major Hawaiian Islands generally exceeds 3,200 feet (1,000 meters). Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii (commonly referred to as “the Big Island”) both tower nearly 14,000 feet (about 4,300 meters) above sea level. In addition, Mount Haleakala on the island of Maui stands at over 10,000 feet (3,055 meters) high.
Hawaii’s high mountain landscape presents a substantial obstacle in the path of the trade winds. The elevated topography blocks the airflow, effectively splitting the trade winds in two. This split causes a zone of weak winds, called a “wind wake,” to form on the leeward side (away from the wind) of the islands.
“If there were no mountains on the Hawaiian Islands, then nothing would happen. The trade winds would just blow smoothly across the ocean with no effect,” said Shang-Ping Xie, professor and researcher at the University of Hawaii’s International Pacific Research Center and Department of Meteorology.[...]
From the small Quonset Hut that is my writing and eating place, I look out and see the fuschia bells of the salmon berry flowers. Moving toward fruit, I observe the process and the progress of a woman practicing kilo. I am a woman practicing kilo. Simple stuff. Maintain a keen seen of observation. Technology evolves, the eye and head the starting point, the telescope, the satellite, the computerized tracking. More and more, better and better. Or, is it so much better? Raven hollers at me from the branches of the Tall Ones. I hear. I get up and outside. We do a little call and respond. Still, I cannot see where he sits. It does not discount his being there. Back in my place at the keys he continues. The weather and winds described in Smith's 2003 article are the same ones that have evolved in the dozen years. Yesterday's heavy rains were incited by those Hawaii-touched wind wakes. Here. There.

It's that lead paragraph that really gets me in the gut.

There in the middle of the great moana nui a kea, the great open water, significant chain reactions are triggered by the akua (the elemental forces, energies, geographic, oceanographic, and atmospheric dieties). Humans are part of the process because we are present. We are part of the whole process. In the struggle to maintain our place in the process it seems we lose sight of what our part is. First, we are part of, not the whole. The issues and current protests about Mauna Kea are old ones. What is sacred, and why does it matter?
"A species and a culture that treat the natural world with respect and reciprocity will surely pass on genes to ensuing generations with a higher frequency than the people who destroy it. The stories we choose to shape our behaviors have adaptive consequences."- Braiding Sweetgrass ... Robin Wall Kimmerer, 
In the Foreword to the book Ka Honua Ola The Living Earth Taupouri Tangaro, PhD and son-in-law to the author begins with this paragraph, "Ka Honua Ola is about being conscious of the embodied experiences that define the culture of Hawai'i and differentiate it from the culture of the none-Hawaiian world. Does such a pointed statement shock you? Well, take a deep breath, for it is true--the author will not recant. But if this statement seems to hint at cultural imperialism and isolation, read again. Defining and differentiating do not automatically imply disconnection. Hawai'i equates profound connection without limits to earth, sea, sky, and soul" [...] "We, as Native Hawaiians, must continue to unveil the knowledge of our ancestors. Let us interpret for ourselves who our ancestors are, how they thought, and why they made certain decisions. In the process, we treat them with honor, dignity, love, and respect--whether they be akua, ali'i, or kanaka--because they are our 'ohana, our family. - Ka Honua Ola The Living Earth ... Pualani Kanaka'ole Kanahele

The placard on the wall from the exhibit "Native People, Native Places"

Today the sky is clearing, sun feeds the forest and lights the space inside the Quonset. I take a deep breath, mahalo the forest for feeding me the oxygen that was just moments ago part of their leaves, their needles, their feathery cedar fingers. Before we next reach for that switch to turn the light on, what songs will we sing, what stories will we tell, which stories will take care of us?

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Live the questions

The most uncomfortable but essential part of finding your bliss, Campbell argues, is the element of uncertainty — the willingness to, in the timeless words of Rilke, “live the questions” rather than reaching for the ready-made answers:
The adventure is its own reward — but it’s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control. We are following our own way, not our daddy’s or our mother’s way… Life can dry up because you’re not off on your own adventure.
There’s something inside you that knows when you’re in the center, that knows when you’re on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don’t get any money, you still have your bliss. - Brain Pickings, Maria Popova
Mahina rises just ahead of the Sun on an 'Ole Pau morning. On my way between the toaster oven plugged into the tract outside the metal-sided hale au'au  (wash house) I spied her in the space between the long lean bodies of the Tall Ones. Excited to see her and wishing to 'capture' her shape I scrambled up the porch and into the dark vardo. Pete was still asleep, but, not for long as I rattled the wire basket dangling from the ribs of the sleeping room. Sorry Pete. "Honey, can I turn on the light for a minute?" My honey rarely says no to me ... Thanking him I finally found the camera but by that time the clouds were loving the moon more than I and there was no capturing the moon. 'Aue, oh well.

The thing that is happening to me that is a consequence, and reward, as I see it now: I am forgetting more often. Reward? That is something to be grateful for? Let's play through for a minute or two. The thing I'm forgetting more often is what day it is. For awhile now, that has been true. "What day is it?" I'd ask Pete, or he'd ask me. If there was a cell-phone close by one or the other of us would flip the lid on our antique cellphones and read the answer on the tiny screen. Lately though I forget what Roman or Gregorian name captures the day. I know it's 'Ole Pau, but I don't know first off that it's Saturday.

Slow to medium the branches of wisdom, the alaula permeate the distractions of schedules and appointments; or the pressure to be doing (ain't that a kick in the central nervous system) something productive. Or as my son emailed me not long ago, "I had a big comprehension jump in the last week so that's exciting. Mostly language maybe other things." Christopher is living in France, and learning the culture and language. It's been five years since he first arrived in Paris (while still living on O'ahu) to teach lomilomi. It was there he met his wife-to-be, Laurence. The journey of coming together crossing cultural and visa-determined prescriptions has meant juggling the weighty and unexpected demands of both the outside world and the one we function with on auto-pilot. 

Something like that has happened, is happening, with me as I forget the prescribed daily names, and integrate the value of kilo and observe myself as part of the nature of Kaulana Mahina the Hawaiian Moon Calendar. 'Olelo Hawaiian vocabulary replaces English/Roman/Gregorian. Mahina is 'half-half' in shape just before the sun rises. I saw her myself on the way back from the hale au'au. Did anyone else see her? Probably. But, the deal is in the woods this morning Pete was asleep under the covers. JOTS out somewhere hunting, trying to stay out of the drizzles. The Tall Ones watched it all, as they do. And I with my camera shot into the dark. Finally, I learn the name some of The First Peoples' of these Salish lands and sea gave this island. Not just Whidbey Island, she is Tscha-kole-chy. Some day I will find someone to pronounce it accurately for me so I can speak it, integrate it.

Yesterday was 'Ole Kukaki. Today must be 'Ole Pau. "Are you sure?" "Sure enough", said the Cheshire Cat as she lived the question.

A shot in the dark. The Tall One saw it all.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

'Ole Kukahi

At home, in the woods, the sky had cleared to the bright-eyes of blue. A time to give thanks for all, on the first po of 'ole. Relaxing and soaking in life as I find it now, here on Tscha-kole-chy (Whidbey Island). Ka La the sun radiant. Blessing the sacred place. The gift of soft and companionable breezes teased the tips of the Tall Ones, and the wind chimes dangling from the edge of the vardo.

Mahalo nui loa e na aumakua!

And while we weren't paying attention ... Rygel has been busy! Beautiful, Rygel.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Enough ... the seige upon Mauna Kea

Kū ha’aheo e ku’u Hawai’i
Stand tall my Hawai’i
Mamaka kaua o ku’u ‘āina
Band of warriors of my land
‘O ke ehu kakahiaka o nā ‘ōiwi o Hawai’i nei
The new dawn for our people of Hawai’i is upon us

No ku’u lahui e hā’awi pau a i ola mau
For my nation I give my all so that our legacy lives on

Composed by Kumu Hina, this is the chant being offered into the piko (Mauna Kea) by the peaceful protesters at the summit of Hawaii Island. Hawaiian communities here in Washington state are gathering to show support. Mahalo to the winds of the Internet and Facebook for the message. We will add our voice of support from our place on Whidbey Moku, in the Salish Sea.

What is the story? 

The recent protests and arrests during the last few days are the lastest, but not the first declarations of protest on the part of Kanaka. The issue is an old one, and as one of our respected kupuna predicted,"Years ago at a hearing, professor and cultural expert Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele wondered aloud if the Mauna Kea fight would eventually become "another Kahoolawe."
A new 30-meter telescope (read the background and the rationale)

What is the long-time issue?

 Mauna Kea is under seige. In 2006 Na Maka O Ka 'Aina created the documentary "Mauna Kea -- Temple Under Seige"

The synopsis of the film reads, "Although the mountain volcano Mauna Kea last erupted around 4000 years ago, it is still hot today, the center of a burning controversy over whether its summit should be used for astronomical observatories or preserved as a cultural landscape sacred to the Hawaiian people.
For five years the documentary production team Na Maka o ka ‘Aina ("the eyes of the land") captured on video the seasonal moods of Mauna Kea's unique 14,000-foot summit environment, the richly varied ecosystems that extend from sea level to alpine zone, the legends and stories that reveal the mountain's geologic and cultural history, and the political turbulence surrounding the efforts to protect the most significant temple in the islands, the mountain itself.
Mauna Kea — Temple Under Siege paints a portrait of a mountain that has become a symbol of the Hawaiian struggle for physical, cultural and political survival. The program explores conflicting forces as they play themselves out in a contemporary island society where cultures collide daily." 

What we need to learn about Mauna Kea is not only the top of the mountain, because Mauna Kea is inclusive of all, down to the base.

I think what Mauna Kea has given us is the many
different levels of life.
—Pualani Kanahele, Kumu Hula (hula master)

To read more about Mauna a Wakea and the efforts that have persisted over time to safeguard this wahi kapu (sacred place), go to this site.

Dr. Lilikala Kameelehiwa offers the historic perspective.

READ the comments. I will post updates to the current issues as they happen.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hula, vocalization, legacy, mahu, permeability: Kekuhi and Kaumakaiwa Kanahele

Kekuhi and Kaumakaiwa Kanahele. Watch them in a video interview-performance.
Hover over the image for a quote from that video about 'Permeability' 

On Valentine's Day Eve and Valentine's Day, 2015, Pete and I packed ourselves up, made sure I had a full tank of oxygen, caught a ferry, drove into Seattle prepared and excited to be in the Seattle Town Hall audience with mother and daughter Kekuhi Kanahele and Kaumakaiwa Kanahele. We were headed for two experiences with Kekuhi and Kaumakaiwa. One was a small(er) teaching talkstory event entitled HULA: our world consciousness. The second night, Valentine's Day, was the larger musical venue of dance and music.

We had hoped the audio record of the small talkstory event would be available to share. 'Aue, oh no, there were technical problems and that recording disappeared. We mourned the loss of that recording because its content was uncommon and powerful. That desire to repeat and re-hear the messages called. 'O kiha i ka lani. 'Owe i ka lani. Nunulu i ka lani. The effects of that night have woven into us, integrating in the na'au the gut the messages work on me, live with me, win me over. Two malama (months) have passed, and I have truly eaten the moons.*

Mahealani on Saturday night
While studying and researching, on the Mahealani Moon with the energy of the Lunar Eclipse vibing through me, I was rewarded with the discovery of this YouTube from Seattle's KEXP FM. An interview and recording with dj Darek Mazzone and Kekuhi and Kaumakaiwa fielding questions, folding exquisite, broadly poetic and cogent replies. Woven between the call and response of the interview were the vocalizations of primal, ancient and contemporary music. That interview and recording was from Friday, February 13, 2015. The mother daughter duo were in the KEXP studio not long before coming to the stage for their Seattle Town Hall presentation of HULA: our world consciousness. My kupuna were listening to my petition to hear the 'ohana for Keaukaha again. I mahalo you, my ancestors. And share the discovery below.

I have listened and watched this video four times over the weekend. It is early morning, Monday, and Hina is still bright in the northwestern sky, a Kulu moon. Hiding behind the tall bodies of the tree 'ohana in the sky of Scorpio's domain. Jupiter is already in the west, still in his retrograde motion the planet of luck will go direct on Wednesday. My astrologer says to be ready to jump forward with exuberance and positivity. Mining that with the spirit of  kilo practitioner I dig through the notes I have made as I listened and studied the mana'o of Kekuhi and Kaumakaiwa.

After their opening 'oli Ke Welina Mai Kei Kekini Lalo and incantation to Kane, Mazzone said, "Tell me everything. Tell me everything about what you guys are doing ... I wanna start with your grandmother. I guess the parallel would be she would be like the Cesar Chavez of Hawaiian Culture." That brought a roar of laughter from the Kanakaoles. Kekuhi begins to reply and describe her grandmother Edith Kanakaole. But a question pure and direct opens the way for the brilliant and esoteric program unfolding. "What is hula ... exactly?"

Kekuhi starts, "Hula is alignment of movement and vocalization. It's an environmental dance."
Kaumakaiwa builds, "It's the synchronistic form of man and nature in communion. Sometimes it parallels and sometimes it intersects. But what you can always see with hula is that awakening of the subconscious through the dance the voice through activating, the exertion of the physical body ... and the experience of transcendence."

The thirty-four minute interview is an education, a full meal deal of an offering and I will listen and dig, awakening more of me each time. It is why I love the dance that is my Hawaiian culture. So many levels and issues of hula, humanity and nature, and the power of the word, and music are encapsulated.  Kaumakaiwa blossoms with "Encapsulating [that] hum into a word ... You invoke the word. You become the word. You become the thing." Her mother punctuates, "And THAT is what our practice is all about. Kaumakaiwa concludes, "That's the basis for all our music."

Enjoy. Make room for a feast. Mahalo e na 'ohana Kanaka'ole o Kanahele.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Remember the Chinese Finger Trap Game?

This weekend of Passover, Easter, Spring Rituals and egg hunts is also the weekend of Full Moons and a Lunar Eclipse. The astrology and the astronomy of the weekend is priceless information, and especially so for us as we deal with the reality of resistance.

I've spread my ramblings here at The Safety Pin Cafe.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Curious collectors

The walls of our Quonset are bare bones except for a line of clothespins collecting curious things

... 'word crumbs everywhere'
Wild ain't easy. But who planted easy in there with the nature of things anyway? All around me I see the ruckus evidence of life coming on. From the compost or the unruly jumble of ferns and leaf lace that die upon themselves in no order or arrangement, the wild unfolds. 
My friend, the one I have called Gypsy Woman, who calls herself 'crow woman, soft and tender, curious collector of stories, words crumbs everywhere ...' she mourns the loss of a storyteller on the anniversary of her death. The storyteller stirred the wild patience within her. She was not alone the inspiratrix, Adrienne Rich, did so for thousands. 
Wild ain't easy just ask the dandelion as it pushes against the asphalt or breathes in spite of that Roundup applicator just doing his job. Or say something into the mic about the panic in the free-ranging hen when the sky turns black from the wings of a hungry hawk.
Bracken ferns send themselves snake-like through the slots of the vardo decking
We live such short lives when we live the straight line time story. Once we did this, and then we lived here. We made a bunch of money doing this, and lost the keys to paradise when we did this. Then we died. There's food for thought at Myth and Moor today as Terri Windling collects stories for the wild time giving us grist for the wildness within us if only we recognized there is more than one kind of time. 
My kupuna, my ancestors put that message about time into our stories, the chants, the mele 'ike knowledge or floating knowing which might plant itself in you and become mana'o 'i'o or integrated knowing -- you don't just talk about how beautiful is the flower; you become the flower. As the word roots in your gut meaning cracks the hard pan of your being. 'Eli'eli kau mau Dig deep, and what you find, is yours.
If by some Jupiter-inspired stroke of luck we dreamed up a journey where wild patience made it possible to breath like dandelions or remain curious about sparkly things; or maybe it's the memory of that kind hand who leaves French fries at the boat dock. Maybe then being a curious collector would be a genetic and applied knowing that we breath deeply into through our noses. We are wild time things. There is time to breath slowly and deeply.
I don't know for sure but maybe wild is what I am when I pop a rib reaching for something just out of reach. Damn, impatient at first. But when that doesn't work, patiently I wait (again) till I heal and the rib moves where it can do me some good. And then ... I reach (again) and it was worth it. Damn. Yes. It was worth it.