Monday, January 22, 2018

Idle No More and the steam gathers

There is less wind on the prairie today. The sun is shining. The traffic roars. Earlier this morning the bird activity was abundant and though there is still gut pain there is something other as well. Slowly I receive responses to the blog post about fire in the belly. The drums cross the cyber winds. 

Whoosss ... Hayah .... Whoosss ...

I listen to the messages from my sister and learn what she is experiencing, "I will not cash the check, but acknowledge and honor the gift." She asks me to cast the writing gifts, the ones that sustain her more than money; the ones she can share with her family. 

Whooss ... Hayah ... Whooss ...

I read the message from my other sister and nod at the similarity in our responses to the belly giving us such screaming vocalizations. I tell her, "Yes, I know. What were we thinking? So many things at once, so many ways life travels at the same time." Knot-makers we. Knots that can be untangled when we slow, slow down, but are idle no more.

I reach across the oceans and ride Na Kai Ewalu leave a message, "I am at the water, watching waves, no ... watching gentle wind on the water on the easy side of the island. It's nice." We talk later, share time and stories on the easy side of the island; he plays his guitar; I listen. The knots untangle. We are idle no more.

A knock at the vardo door finds another sister, here to return things. We chat over the top of the laua'e stenciled French door and speak of things that need a voice. One of the advantages to living out in the open is being open to responding to the knocks.

Whoosss ... Hayah ... Whooss

Most Monday mornings, one of the most powerful and generous woman of mythic tales and teachings shares music from her eclectic bag of medicine. She, Terri Windling, is writer, editor, survivor of trauma and muse to many via her work, and her blog Myth & Moor. Today among her Monday offerings was a video with Native American activist and musician, Pura Fe. I followed the scent and found more music.

The two videos above feature Pura Fe with an ensemble of three other Native American musicians called Ulali. First, a drumming song climaxing in the shattering sound of women vocalizing the call to Be Idle No More; then a lullaby sung acapella. I wish to be rocked to music of their voices. The feel I get from Ulali singing and drumming is like spiders climbing my bones not a subtle sound at all but instead a gathering of steam, a directing of the fire in the belly ... the fire that demands to be idle no more. 

Whoosss ... Hayah .... Whoosss ...
All weekend long in cities, counties and states throughout the United States women have been marching. Women with so much fire and steam in their bellies, breasts, and bones. On the islands of my birth, where I can not be today the 125th Anniversary of the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom was celebrated. Celebrated in sync with the celebration of Queen Lili'uokalani's birthday.

The third and final video above is the mana'o of long-time Moloka'i-born activist Walter Ritte. Ritte's message is one of unity, because as he explained, the event "Onipa'a" means unity. I listen to his message, and hear a different sort of steam coming from him. He encourages patience in the process, ho'omanawanui, long time coming rewards, long time coming mana. It is what the Queen, Lili'uokalani chose when she directed her warriors to stand down from their intent to storm the castle and defend the nation from the wrong-doing. It was her long vision, her desire to see Hawaiians alive, vibrant, speaking the language she spoke with fluency rich in its nuances and implications long after she left her regal body.

The steam is gathering..

Ravens fly above me in the prairie. They watch me dance, encourage my mimicry. They chortle so I can hear their messages. We dance together. I dance with my Rogue leather shoes touching ground. They dance with shining wings spreading into the wind.

Directed, the fire in my belly feeds the story seeding itself in this small tale. The blog seeks flight, like Raven dancing.

Whoosss ... Hayah .... Whoosss ...

Pete and I are gathering steam 
for a Lunar New Moon Celebration 
on the Prairie Front 
for Chinese New Year, Sunday, February 18, 2018, at 1:00 P.M. 

We will tell story, 
give thanks,
share food, 
beat the pans 
and dance the land on this day. 
Stay tuned. Save the date! 
More information to come.

Whoosss ... Hayah .... Whoosss ...

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Dance, a ritual not (just) performance

“Good men and good women have fire in the belly. We are fierce. Don't mess with us if you're looking for someone who will always be 'nice' to you. Nice gets you a C+ in life. We don't always smile, talk in a soft voice, or engage in indiscriminate hugs. In the loving struggle between the sexes we thrust and parry.” - Sam Keen

There are at least three of us, women, experiencing pain in the na'au, the gut, the belly. I received two email messages during the past week from friends telling me their story ... scary test; a diagnosis of inflammation. I have been experiencing a similar condition; and consider all the incoming data to recognize how sorrow and sadness, fear and old worries add to my gut pain. We are managing the experiences differently but what is most vital for me is to know the collective experience of discomfort in the belly.

Early this morning, I watched and listend to the video (above) with 97 year old dancer Anna Halprin. I'd slept for hours, without eating much. To soothe my tender na'au I've been drinking nourishing Comfrey infusions mixed with organic half and half, followed by long sips of warm mushroom broth. So between nourishing infusions and warm mushroom broth I watched and listened to a dancer speak of the healing power of movement.

Living on the prairie is different.
Life along a busy and noisy highway is difficult.
Life is lived in more than one direction at once.

What we kilo (observe) is being noted over time (less than three months), and to adapt to what we find it is always the application of knowledge that leads to learning.

After listening and watching Anna Halprin tell her story of work and dance I felt something missing and added it to my morning ritual of opening the gate.

I danced my way to open the wooden gate, a ritual sort of dance, not so much performance but being present, within my body, with the wind that is gentler this morning than it has been. Weaving and bobbing and letting go of the movement as I flapped my wings downward, like birds.

Thank you gate. Good morning gate. I always greet the gate (as I also greet the kitchen and the land when I get up). Small gratitudes. Simple prayers.

Rather than walk the road back I crossed the grassy spot along side leading to the pea patches and the many dangling pots hanging from the Calyx Garden fence. A pot of sticks lay toppled onto the ground, mostly moldy from being out in the rain. I chose two. And in the spirit of play and rhythm I beat the pots in a very delightful rhythm and felt my gut relax, unfurl, being part of the environment. "The environment is part of who I am," said Anna Halprin in that video or as Susun Weed believes, "engage the energy." And so, I applied that bit of wisdom. The sound was resonant. The drumming sound was louder than the roar of the traffic, at just after 8 a.m. Saturday morning. I the drummer and dancer on her way to the gate, am part of this environment. 

As I beat the pans, I also thought about the $400 bill for a fifteen minute appointment for an eye exam. When asked, the accounts department person said, "Yes we did bill Social Security ... and your co-pay is $200+." Who can pay for these things, in real life on Social Security Checks totaling less than $2,000 a month! There's something to get fired up about. Beat the pan, fire up the belly toward something outrageous, who needs to be paid that much for a service? Is that the pain in the left corner, or the middle region of my belly?

I left the pots, with a grin that was not there when I started and walked to the middle gate between the pea patches. There! in the sky above the Alder and Fir across Thompson Road were the Raven Couple(s) Two pairs. Huge in the sky, I watched as they danced the movements I mimicked moments earlier. They glided low, close, wings powerful and slow as I watched head turned up to see them in their sailing dance over the highway. The second pair remained over the treetops and set off in the other direction.

It was the gift of dance as a ritual. They, and I dance. Ravens know the meaning of movement and have shared their wisdom with me often when I tangle myself with emotions that rewind history or focus on errors in judgment, or guilt, or anger left unexpressed.

For a few moments, the potential and the healing of the pain in my belly received an acknowledgement: yes, I feel you! And, yes, I move with it and maybe something else will come from it. Maybe, something in my family history can be moved forward with the experiences of elders and black birds of the Mystery. Yes, the fire can be directed outward at a source of wrong-doing in my real life,now.

Ravens, thank you for your dance movements and your guiding presence.
Oh Sister Joan, thank you for your eye for collecting story beads...and passing them along.
Mt. Tamalpas, thank you for sheltering a near-100 year old dancer Anna Halprin ... who knows something about healing. 

The environment is part of who I am.

xo Moki and Pete

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tangled up in wild

"The Cartesian belief in the absolute separateness of lives, bodies, and brains maintains a foothold in the traditions of our modern culture. We see it in the ways we are pitted against one another in commerce, in education, and in the small, daily jealousies of our own minds. We see it in the ways that we continue to find it culturally acceptable to diminish animals in agriculture, in entertainment, and in scientific experimentation. And yes, when we are attentive, we find that we are not separate, not alone. We are not isolated little minds wandering on a large, indifferent earth. We are surrounded by our kin, by all of life, beings with whom we are wayfarers together. Instead of walking upon, we walk within, and this within-ness brings our imaginations to life. We are inspired -- literally "breathed upon" -- together." - Lynda Lynn Haupt

Yesterday was a beautiful spring-like day. Pete made hay while that sun was out hauling his bucket of tools to the hedgerow along Thompson Road. There is the reassembling of a tool shed to be done. A Crock Pot filled with turkey wings, chunks of yam, slices of Braeburn apples and Minnesota Wild Rice was readied for supper later in the day. And I had a pair of new leather gloves to break in with a patch of raspberry canes in need of a haircut. Thanks to Linda, our friend and sister of the pea patches, we have half of her large garden to tend now. Half of that half-garden will remain a raspberry batch, the other half we'll plant with plants yet to be determined. If you know anything about Raspberry you know they love to spread! Pete has begun laying down and digging in pavers (the thin stepping stone bricks) to discourage their ever-seeking roots.

The Honeysuckle that bees love

New leather gloves are stiff and these had a rough seam between my pointing finger and middle finger that was rubbing me the wrong way. A little readjustment, a few seconds massage of the two rough edges helped to dissuade me from the irritation. The sun and the wild hairs of raspberry canes kept me to my task blending physical exertion with being out and within the company of others. While out in the gardens a birder friend waved to me across the fence and then stopped to chat; sharing stories of who we saw and when, doing what in their winged-ways. Among the talk were tales of Hawk and Starlings ... their ways and their needs, their flight and their voices.

Neighbors talking about neighbors.

Yesterday was not a writing day. It was instead a day and a phase of the moon when the waning cycle of thirty phases concluded. It was one of the kapu or sacred days where giving thanks to the gods has priority. I needed a break from writing, needed to allow for a filling up of the well before siphoning off a little bit of something. Getting tangled up in the windness of Raspberries was just the thing for yesterday. Noticing while engaging in the physicality of thanksgiving.

We are part of something. We are part of everything. And, sometimes we need a haircut, to encourage new growth and make room for our neighbors.

A tangle of Grapevines

a Raspberry Haircut
The roar of traffic, the presence of wind
Making room for neighbors ... Nettles are coming!
Today is my dad's 102th birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you and miss you! xoxo Titi

Friday, January 12, 2018

Wings, Skins, Masks and Names

"Have you had any adventures?" she asked me as I craddled the foil-wrapped bundles of medicinal herbs against my breasts. I am not a tall woman but as I looked to answer my neighbor I peered down to answer.
"Oh yes, everyday!" A twinkle started behind her glasses, I answered knowing that would spark more conversation. Right there at the meat counter we did indeed continue with a delightfully magic-laden exchange of the everyday-ness of life in my Salish Sea community. Of course, this sort of conversation is the kind (my) Uranus influenced Mars simply delights in. "Uranus" as Elizabeth Rose Campbell wrote, "is in charge of your authenticity. It trembles like thunder in the psyche when it catches you giving rote answers about you are and where you are going." Stimulating and enlivened the tiredness brought on by gravity or precautions bred without sufficient imagination can wait until there's time for a cup of tea and a nap with boots toed off and feet wiggling to free up the clings.

For a few minutes my neighbor and I chatted and exchanged the gifts of reciprocity in the form of stories. Stories told in the commons where we could choose to buy the plastic wrapped orange salmon, or not. Stories shared like these in the aisle of a market, small by many standards, the aisle of the story that it, the space is plenty enough to set spark to the wildness pulsing just between our shoulder blades; that place where our wings are.

"No matter how compliant a swan maiden may appear as a wife, there remains an unspoken anxiety and tension beneath the surface of her marriage. Her husband can never be certain of her affection, for it has been held hostage by her stolen skin. He offers her his cloak, but it is an exchange of unequal goods. Her feathered robe is the sign of her wild nature, of her freedom, and of her power, while his cloak becomes the instrument of her domestication, of her submission in human society. He steals her identity, the very thing that attracted him, and then turns her into his most precious prize, a pale version of the original creature of magic..." - "Swan Maiden's Feathered Robe" by Midori Snyder
Illustrator Jane Ray's cover art of Swan Maiden captured my eye

"The guardian sharks of Pu'uloa were Ka'ahupahau and her brother Kahi'uka. Such guardian sharks, which inhabited the coastlines of all the islands, were benevelont gods who were cared for and worshiped by the people and who aided fishermen, protected the life of the seas, and drove off man-eating sharks. Ka'ahupahau may mean "Well-cared for Feather Cloak" (the feather cloak was a symbol of royalty). Kahi'uka means "Smiting Tail"; his shark tail was used to strike at enemy sharks; he also used his tail to strike fishermen as a warning that unfriendly sharks had entered Pu'uloa. Ka'ahupahau lived in an underwater cave in Honouliuli lagoon (West Loch). Kahi'uka lived in an underwater cave off Moku'ume'ume (Ford Island) near Keanapua'a Point at the entrance of East Loch; he also had the form of an underwater stone. (Sterling and Summers 54, 56).The following story by Pa'ahana Wiggin, published in 1926 (Pukui and Green), tells of Ka'ahupahau's defense of her waters against Mikololou, a man-eating shark from the Big Island:
"Mikololou was a shark from Ka'u district on the island of Hawai'i (a). One day he and his shark friends, Kua, Keli'ikaua o Ka'u, Pakaiea, and Kalani, set out on a visit to O'ahu. On the way they fell in with other sharks all going in the same direction.
Arriving at Pu'uloa ("Long-Hill," Pearl Harbor), they encountered Ka'ahupahau, the female shark who guarded the entrance of Pearl Harbor. She had another body in the form of a net extremely difficult to tear, with which she captured all alien sharks who entered her harbor. Her brother Kahi'uka, "The-smiting-tail," struck at intruders with his tail, one side of which was larger than the other and very sharp (b). These two with their followers were not man-eating sharks and the people on land guarded them well, bringing them food and scraping their backs free of the barnacles that attached themselves there (c).
When the visitors arrived, one of them remarked, "Ah! what delicious-looking crabs you have here!" Now man-eating sharks speak of men as "crabs," and Ka'ahupahau knew at once that some of the strangers were man-eaters. But she could not distinguish between the good and the bad sharks, hence she changed into the form of a great net and hemmed in her visitors while the fishermen who answered her signal came to destroy them (d)
 Keli'ikaua o Ka'u changed himself into a pao'o (a fish capable of leaping from one shoreline pool to another) and leaped out of the net. Kua changed into a lupe, or spotted sting-ray, and, weighing down the net on one side, helped his son Kalani and his nephew Pakaiea, who were half-human, to escape. But before anything more could be done, the fishermen hauled in the nets to shore and poor Mikololou was cast upon the shore with the evil doers, where they were left to die of the intense heat.
All were soon dead but Mikololou; though his body died his head lived on and as the fishermen passed to and from their work, his eyes followed them and tears rolled down his face. At last his tongue fell out. Some children playing nearby found it. They picked it up and cast it into the sea.
Now Mikololou's spirit had passed out of his head into his tongue and as soon as he felt the water again he became a whole shark (e). With a triumphant flop of his tail, he headed for home to join his friends again. When Ka'ahupahau saw him, it was too late to prevent his departure.
"Mikololou lived through his tongue," or, as the Hawaiians say, "I ola o Mikololou i ka alelo." This saying implies that however much trouble one may have, there is always a way of escape.
Ka'ahupahau no longer lives at Pu'uloa, coming and going with her twin sons Kupipi and Kumaninini. But when the United States government built a dry-dock for the navy just over the old home of Ka'ahupahau, the natives regarded the proceedings with superstitious fear. Scarcely was it completed after years of labor when the structure fell with a crash (f). Today a floating dock is employed. Engineers say that there seem to be tremors of the earth at this point which prevent any structure from resting upon the bottom, but Hawaiians believe that "The-smiting-tail" still guards the blue lagoon at Pearl Harbor."
- "Ka'ahupahau," Ancient stories of Ewa, O'ahu 
He mano wahine kela. That is a shark woman. The sentence is written on an index card taped to the wall. Every time I wash my hands I see it. Last winter I began an online Hawaiian language class. The course is called Na Kai Ewalu and in Hawaiian it literally means "the eight seas." The kaona or metaphor refers to the eight seas that connect the eight major islands of the Hawaiian archipelago.  For several months I diligently engaged in self-study of a language that through no fault of my own I (and thousands of others in my generation) were forbidden access to. 

Swimming those seas is not an easy task the learner is advised straight out. Surrounded by the dominant culture of the west, and not having other Hawaiian speakers and thinkers, the practice of writing the small index cards gave me company. The penciled script is personal, I remember where the message has been -- taped to the window of our bath house in the woods, in the Quonset during the first weeks of study -- I was eager to understand the thinking behind the language my mother spoke fluently.

But life distracted me from my resolve: our faithful computer crashed; the mice invaded the Quonset, we had to vacate; my body and our routines were up-ended; the index cards and textbook got stored in a cardboard box. My ocean of connection dried up. No, the tide went out, a long receding tide and my skin began drying up. While the tide moved we began to dream up another possibility: we could move ourselves from here to there. "She had another body in the form of a net extremely difficult to tear, with which she captured all alien sharks who entered her harbor." Could we capture those alien sharks (distractions) and safeguard our selves, our souls?

The plaque describing the statue of Ka'ahupahau on the Ewa plain, O'ahu. 

"...[O]ver time the masks we show the world tend to be only the ones with clean and smiling faces. Without our complex and full rootedness, we lose the power we need for mastery. We need some rooted, shadow dirt to get the job done. We need to get real about what is part of our whole self if we’re going to embody the power we need to succeed fully. We need a realistic tally of this, not that which includes the tools we need for mastery. That means seeing things as they are, not prettied up for a sterile picture...
The right tools for the job include all the genuine parts of you that you may have dismissed as not pretty. Whatever is real about you is what you’re going to need. It’s time to figure that out." - Satori Harris

I am at the keys in the early morning woken from sleep after a brief dream with my brother. We -- my brother, his son and I -- are in a warm place. I know that because we are all dressed in shorts, short-sleeved shirts and I am wearing a broad-brimmed reddish hat. I notice how I look. I almost always notice how I look in dreams. In this one I am middle weight, with chin length hair. What my brother notices is my posture. He tells me (or is that my father he's representing?) to pull my shoulders back. He says it lovingly. I take it personally, and wake with a sense of unsettledness. I am so far away. In the last bit of the dream I see my brother collecting bottles to recycle. He was thrifty: bottles and aluminum cans were worth 5 cents a piece.

My masks don't fit. I'm not sure of my place. There are no Hawaiians in the area to tell me to 'pull my shoulders back.' Isn't it enough to see my own hand-written messages? I need to tally up those this, not thats and consider the names I've answered to and which ones I answer to now.


"Six minutes before midnight, Winston Aidan Murray is born.
Seven minutes after midnight, his sister, Penelope Aislin Murray, follows... They are tiny things, each with a rather surprising amount of bright ed hair. They barely cry, staying awake and alert, with matching pairs of wide blue eyes. They are wrapped in spare bits of silk and satin, white for her and black for him...No one recalls afterward exactly who it was that dubbed them Poppet and one takes credit for it.
But the nicknames stick, as nicknames do." - from The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

"...Ambriana wrote with her left hand in beautifully floppy script. Floppy Script being one of those Dream phrases she heard when Miss McBride so earnestly attempted training Ambriana to use her right hand. "In the long run," Miss McBride coaxed through her pencil-thin lips, "using your right-hand will present less conflict."  The words were fuzzy as she spoke them. Fuzzy like cotton balls pulled ferociously by her cat. The well-meaning teacher's fuzzy words collected at Ambriana's right ear but never found entrance into her brain nor her spacious cave of imagination where the Dreams were already mapping the girl's destiny... from the Introduction of "Black leather lace-ups"

Yesterday, Thursday, was a rainy day. Many Thursdays here at the Tilth are also work party Thursdays. For a few hours mid day a group of people show up to do outside chores like: cutting blackberries, work on the garden shed, stake up trees in the orchard, tending to the compost bins. But yesterday the consensus was to postpone the work. I have begun to make lunch and brew coffee for  break-time on these days. So rather than shop and prepare lunch I set to work on writing this post instead.

Over the top of the screen and through the window in front of me I spotted two people coming around the edge of the pavilion. They were unfamiliar to me, I waved from the keyboard and within seconds I heard a knock on the kitchen door.

"Hi!" I said after opening the door. The young man introduced himself and told me his story. The young couple were new to the neighborhood just bought some land up Thompson Road and were following up on a lead. Was there a building that needed to be moved off the Tilth land, and if so, could they help move it and maybe use it? You know how some stories have bits and snips of truths but aren't exactly the truth? Well, this story seemed to be one of those. I didn't know of any building fitting that description, but maybe there was something I didn't know.

I introduced myself, "I'm Mokihana. My husband and I are winter caretakers here. We live in that Gypsy wagon up there." I walked around the kitchen wall and pointed up the hill. My information was met with comely presence, "Cool," they both replied. I offered to take his name and information and check with other people to see if there was indeed a building that needed to be moved. The young man had a card to give me with his trade described: a fixer of machines. In this engagement with our new neighbors being winter caretakers was a name I was trying on. There were things to share with new comers: the market would start up in late April and we'll have a nettle festival; there's a work party here to do stuff most Thursdays; they were most welcome to come by.

The knock on the door and conversation gave me a break from writing; reality nudged wanting to fold into the mix of this creation. My shoulder blades pulled back as my wings spread out my back. My dried skin plumped even as it sags a bit here and there. The masks worn at other times -- fearful, isolated, environmentally sensitive -- they hang on pins over there. They served. I was once a woodsman, and now ...

Once a woodswoman *

On a prairie now
the change does 
Do me good.
... Wild skies

Out of the deep wood
Did me good
... Then

In the open
Fields and sky
Dose me with
... Wings

The new moon approaches in the morning, January 18, 2018. A good time to tally up and gather the right tools, the better fitting skin and expressions of personal wing-power. 

What do you think? I would love stimulating conversation here, or in email replies.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Field Day in Elsewhere

"... Elsewhere we use our hands for cups and the rivers are clean and drinkable. Elsewhere the words of the politicians are nourishing to the heart. Elsewhere charlatans are known for their wisdom. Elsewhere history has been kind. Elsewhere nobody would ever say the words bring back the death penalty. Elsewhere the graves of the dead are empty and their spirits fly above the cities in instinctual, shapeshifting formations that astound the eye. Elsewhere poems cancel imprisonment. Elsewhere we do time differently. Every time I travel, I head for it. Every time I come home, I look for it." - Public Libraries and Other Stories, Ali Smith 

There were dozens of Robins in the grassy fields here and when they were not in the fields tugging at worms they were perched in the bare-limbed trees replacing summer apples with their winter exuberance as the sun tempted us all ... 

Robins in the Crab Apple Tree

Or, they were bathing in the bath as if springtime. It is near 50 degrees, so yes the birds are thinking 'Spring-like.' Maybe they know a change in weather is coming and make hay while the sun is shining.

Earlier in the week we were visited by a long-time pal, a friend I have known since we were in college at the University of Hawaii in Manoa. It was a time of crossroads, a time when I was being influenced by a gaggle of haoles in the 1960's. My mother was crossing her fingers and toes praying the path I was one would end up well. In our encounters then, and my dreams now, Ma's protective cloak and her talisman of safety pins leave me clues as to her conclusions. In reciprocity, as a sign of respect for her guidance I write stories and toss her pins into the mix to say, "I got 'em." There was no turning back for me I was on the road to Elsewhere -- except for the many back and forth years, and for better or worse the way has been one that is, perhaps, less traveled and very interesting. This friend knew my mother and drank beer with my father. I tell her, "You are among my longest time friends, who still consider me friend. My life hasn't gotten too hard for you to keep showing up." Lucky me. 

Me, Elaine and her friend Janet

Elaine traveled from her California home armed with a cooler of black-eyed peas and ham for New Year what with her Dothan Alabama roots still intact. We shared a bit of this and that's with our guests before we walked the land we call the Prairie Front. My friend brought her friend, and both of these friends brought time and place to us weaving their lives and their times with ours. When Elaine is not in California she is Elsewhere, in a place others call Volcano on the island of Hawaii. She has lived on a beautiful place in the rain forest near the very active eruptions of Tutu Pele for many years; and with the goddesses caring for her path, she will be there near Pele more and more.

We walked and talked about the hybrid-variety in our life paths and it was with this old chum that my heartache crumbled the well-tended boundary, protective veil, that knows I will always want to be on those islands but instead I am on this island. As I concluded my tender revelation, my friend caught my gaze and lifted her arms, "Look," she said. "Look, no high rises ... beautiful." All around us the sky, the Firs, the field under foot. Not many words just the ones that fit the occasion like hands holding water for drinking. This is a friend who is also one of our benefactors, our supporters who contributed financially to our dream to return to Hawaii. She wanted to see the real Vardo for Two and be where the golden wagon and her people were if not on their way back home to Hawaii.

It was no more than a couple hours of time spent on the field on Whidbey Island on a day when by the thermometer's reckoning it was 80 degrees. Just for a few minutes perhaps, but, enough to set the gauge on time and place differently. For those minutes and those two hours we were in Elsewhere.

The Robins, and the company of friends who love the moments of connection are the themes of community that make the difference between bitter and sweet; the shift in creation stories that are as different as knowing and living out Skywoman's story versus Eve's story. On the prairie here on this moku, this island, I hold space for my first born child whose Freeland Washington based great-grandfather on his father's side was probably a logger of first growth Tree People. A week ago during Christmas time we walked South Whidbey State Park where evidence of those Elders told me, "Tell the boy-man that story about his great-grandfather." He, my son, lives on the island where I was born. He learns to hunt with a bow to eat piggies who are eating the farmers' kalo. We have switched places, and crisscrossed stories. I bet that  in and amongst the many descriptions of Elsewhere there is a line that says, "Elsewhere the stories of one are the stories of the other. Like water, it is the same water Ancient and Present. Water is life."

We looked at the weather forecast for the next ten days and saw rain and wind coming from the south east. That is the wind and rain that blows into the porch of the vardo. Pete replaced the curtains that normally hang as walls on the porch. In their place the brick red metal siding we used on our wash house in the woods is screwed in like shutters to prepare for a change in weather, temporary protection.

The stories told in Elsewhere circle, spiral, touch on everyone's story. E ola. Such is life.

What stories do you tell? What stories tell you?

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

As 2017 rides into memory, and the frost of the new year begins here on the prairie we give thanks and don our boots ( red rubbers and big leathers) for the start of 2018. 2017 was such a huge year of higher education.

We opened our hearts to the potential of a journey across the ocean to return to Hawaii and engaged the energy that swelled from that imagined path ... a safe passage.

The way unfolded. We discovered the details and the work involved in moving our golden wagon life from here to there.

In the summer we gathered a community of friends to listen as we told a story. This involved people who could have known us over time and twists in the journey; those who could offer their skill, support, and their unique gifts. We hoped for curiosity and compassion.
We moved our Vardo for Two from the woods for one night on the South Whidbey Tilth land on a full moon in July.
Sharing food, story and the potential to grow an 'aha a woven cord of connection we posed the hinged question of what it would take to take our life with Environmental Illness back home, to Hawaii.

Over the months since July Pete and I realize our safe passage and our place needs to be focused on this:

"Many people shy away from community out of a fear that it may become suffocating, confining, even vicious," Sanders adds; "and of course it may, if it grows rigid or exclusive. A healthy community is dynamic, stirred up the energies of those who already belong, open to new members and fresh influences, kept in motion by the constant bartering of gifts. It is fashionable just now to speak of this open quality as 'tolerance,' but that word sounds too grudging to me -- as though, to avoid strife, we must grit our teeth and ignore whatever is strange to us. The community I desire is not grudging; it is exuberant, joyful, grounded in affection, pleasure, and mutual aid...Taking part in the common life means dwelling in a web of relationships , the many threads tugging at you while also holding you upright." - Scott Russell Sanders
At this point the community we desire is right here on South Whidbey Island. Through the sharing of these posts via e-mail blasts and by living out in the open, on the Prairie Front, we hope our lifestyle becomes more understood; to read about it and see the steps involved.

We are learning all the elements of Scott Russell Sanders' "common life ... dwelling in a web of relationships, the many threads tugging at [us] while also hold [us] upright." 

For the winter we build upon the years of being known and living in this South Whidbey Island community. 

Loving the season of open sky and elemental reality that is making this cycle of life richly optimistic even while accepting that going back to Hawaii is not going to happen ... at least now yet.

Instead, Hawaii came to us this Winter.

And so our focus shifts inward with appreciation for the gift of being caretakers who observe and adapt. "We are a pair of makua o'o (elders in training) who live from a small golden wagon because we also live with Environmental Illness-- we must be mobile like birds. To adapt to the reality of the environment changing, we kilo (notice), record (over time) and make changes (adapt. Living on the "Prairie Front," South Whidbey Tilth, we live in rhythm with the land and resident Wild Ones including the Plant Nation." - from the South Whidbey Tilth Newsletter-- Winter 2017-2018

Our full-hearted aloha and mahalo, love and appreciation, to all our friends and family who have made 2017 one of the most wonderful experiences in creative living. Thank you all for the part you play in this shared experience of community. We embrace the start of 2018 with humility and wonder!

Happy New Year Hauoli Makahiki Hou from our place on the Whidbey prairie to your place you call home,

Mokihana and Pete

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


'Ono. Delicious, tasty, savory
"Laulau is a Native Hawaiian cuisine dish. The traditional preparation consisted of pork wrapped in taro or luau leaf. In old Hawaii laulau was assembled by taking a few luau leaves and placing a few pieces of fish and pork in the center." Wikipedia

Some Hawaiian words find the place inside your na'au your guts and play the chords like tricky music, and memories of past living you continue to love harmonize with glimpses of a potent future. 'Ono is one of those words. Christopher hunts, and he makes laulau ... wrapped his garlic-powerful laulau made with one of his piggy, pieces of fish, luau leaf in ti leaves. The evidence of both talents -- hunting and cooking-- and the word for it? That's what Pete's talk'n about.

IN THE DAYTIME: Walking the .25 mile loop trail at South Whidbey State Park. 'Ono.

IN THE NIGHT-TIME: Playing music, hanging out in the kitchen. 'Ono.
P.S. You gotta remember that leading glottal stop ... the ' ... the 'okina ... or what? Or you would be talking about an ono, a large mackerel type fish, to five or six feet in length. Tricky. Oh so very tricky!!