"Kaulana Mahina" by Kalei (Tsuha) Nu'uhiwa over and over again. We had so much to learn, and even more to forget before we could start to remember how to remember. Even as we were new to the practice I shared what I was learning. There were plenty of gaps in my knowledge, but the excitement to share even those first insights were such a precious way for me to feel connected to ancestral roots.
We are still learning to count on the moon, and thanks to our daily and nightly experiences of living in the woods in the same place for going on seven seasons, we become more familiar with what happens here by paying attention. Knowledge, the floating awareness of facts or theories only becomes knowing (a verb) when I live it, notice the stable repetitions and the changes in plants, bird habits and weather and record it to memory, or put it down somewhere to keep track. For the past eight years I've tried to keep track using blogs. The challenge for me is that I have kept more than one blog, and lose track. I'm working with this challenge of how to consolidate (?) all the writing I've done and put it on one website. I'm not done yet.
The photos Terri emailed me tickled a new understanding of my life as makua o'o. From the images I see what my ancestors meant when saying, naming the phases of the moon (or paying attention to what is happening) is a place-specific practice. What I see at midnight is not necessarily what you see at midnight if you are not where I am. To tie things together a little without creating a neat and conclusive bundle, learning to understand the relationship between the Moon's cycles and my own (or the Elemental effects on humans or other living beings) is a long term process of attending. Kalei Nu'uhiwa's kuleana (responsibility as knowledge holder and sharer) grows since her original work began. She talked about that journey in a very informative interview on And Still the Waters Rise entitled "Out of Thin Air." I listened with renewed interest in this Maui-born wahine born to a kanaka beach boy and New Jersey tourist who stayed. This ethnoscientist of Maui who moves me, and many others to become more practiced in paying attention. It was Kalei Nu'uhiwa who co-organized the 2015 'Aimalama Conference of Indigenous Pacific Peoples who use the Hawaiian Moon Calendar in their daily lives. In our practice as Hawaiian Moon Calendar students it was awesome to be able to connect through a live-streaming connection to that 2015 conference on O'ahu making the 2,500 mile separation seem not quite so far. It was our own form of huaka'i.
To live a practice of makua o'o 2, 500 miles from the piko away from Hawaii means we must have enough confidence and focus to see how the practice is done where we are. Applying the knowledge that floats across the cyberspace Internet connection I must be a skillful, and awake knowledge catcher. To say I am a surfer, I must demonstrate my skill in the watah. To say I am a practitioner of kilo (observation) I must observe. So, those photos that begin this post. In them a tug boat captained and navigated by instruments is still operating with merchant sea folk. The tug does not travel on its own, and those merchant mariners must not only know the theory of sailing that ship and that body of ocean they must know the specifics of what that water and what lives under and around the water are like.
In this 2012 video "Kanaloa: Men of the Sea" two Hawaiian water men spoke of their lives on the sea. Leighton Tseu's stories stirred such common roots for me. Though I am far from being a mariner, this man is two years younger than I and went to the same high school I did. He spoke of being mentored by a high school counselor who was one of my favorite high school teachers, one of the few Native Hawaiian faculty in 1965. That was, and is a connection. Ah. The two men who talkedstory with the audience in "Kanaloa: Men of the Sea" rendered the details and mentorships that molded their careers as ocean going merchant marines. Their experiences feed a passion today to recruit young Hawaiian boys and girls into the work of water people who have within them the salt water of the ocean.
In the final minutes of Tseu's story he weaves the spiritual inseparability of being 'in the flow' when he was asked to take Hawaiian practitioners including Aunty Pualani Kanahele and Kalei Nu'uhiwa and others from Hawaii to Mokumanamana for Winter Solstice in 2009. The voyage would necessitate skill on all levels and a focus and attentiveness for every one involved to make that rough water venture possible. The timing for that December 2009 sailing approaches again. It was the anahulu (the 10 days/nights) of calm before the Winter Solstice Leighton Tseu speaks of in "Kanaloa: Men of the Sea". It is that focused and combined energy of intention that perpetuates the seamen and the moon's ageless and specific connectivity. When theory is pulled down into the na'au the gut and memory is applied to specific action, the practice endures. Their story feeds me. I watch it via cyberspace, feel how the Full Moon pulls it in me, awakening my understanding. Ah, application. The imagery incites a riot in my gut.
My life on this island surrounded by the water named "Salish Sea" extends and connects with the deepest ocean. That merchant mariner moves on a tide at full flood, a high tide while I can feel even as I finally sleep in my cozy futon at 300 foot elevation. The Moon, Mahina dressed in her full illumination affects me she awakens my guts and I become the app. I become the living and attentive makua o'o noticing. And then I come to the keys, piece together some story and put it down. Whoa. Mahalo Na Akua. Whew.
And you, what do you notice?