Wednesday, September 20, 2017

`Aha Update #30 Editing Real-Life ... two days in a life

“The Real-World was a sprawling mess of a book in need of a good editor.” — Jasper Fforde

Monday we took the ferry off the island and headed south for Seattle. Before leaving Whidbey we did a couple errands in town. We had generous cash and check offerings to add to our Elsewhere fund. I did the deposit before Pete finished off with his post office errands. A card from another friend was in the mail. I opened the envelope and found a colorful painting of the Talk Story Bookstore on Kauai, in Hawaii. The card was from one of our magical Margarets, this one lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota. "To celebrate "Lucky 13" ... here is a token of my love, support and gratitude!" A very generous check written to both Pete and myself slid from the card to mark the 13 years of our September wedding. Our old fashion fund raising process continues to work. We are so grateful for all these tokens of faith and financial support dear friends and family.

We were headed for an appointment with my NAET Practitioner, a woman who has helped me since I was first diagnosed with EI/MCS in 2007. It was this woman who also 'muscle-tested' me and worked with each of the materials we researched for building the vardo; some choices were good, some weren't. For a year we worked together to find middle ground through the steep learning curve of adjusting and re-balancing from the affects of ill-fitting choices and chemicals in general. With her help Pete and I built a sacred space where the tao of architecture applies itself in our lives daily/nightly. We were able to sleep restfully without ill effects in Vardo for Two from day one thanks in large part to this practitioner's skill at 'editing.'

We left Whidbey early enough to make two stops before my appointment. First, a Watering Hole stop. For years Pete came to this public artisan well to fill glass bottles of all sizes with water. He has unloaded dozens of empty glass bottles, stood in line for his turn at the spouts of pouring fresh water and then reloaded them into the car. Yesterday we stopped to leave bottles that we can not bring with us. Rather than take the bottles to the recycle center where they would be crushed, a woman in line became the lucky recipient of glass water jugs she can bring to the Watering Hole again and again. The second stop was a pleasure stop to an old favorite bakery in West Seattle where we indulged in a bit of pastry. Yum.
Pete unloading water bottles at the Watering Hole

The presence of ao real clouds on our way to Seattle on I-5
Monday's road trip went well, we felt in the flow with real life: old school channels of abundance working, family of clouds promising change, giving back to the Gods for the no-cost watering hole, giving away the unnecessary water bottles, traffic and freeways, and receiving an energetic 'tune-up' with my NAET practitioner. I hesitated keeping that NAET appointment, giving the excuse that we can't afford it. But, the universe and Pete did not allow hesitation and I couldn't cancel the appointment on the weekend ... no one there to receive my call. I followed through instead and received the treatment and the editing I needed. The treatment provided me this clarity: my brain and spinal cord (the body-brain connection) were way out of whack. 

"It's like your 911 was not working," my practitioner offered.
I said, "It's actually like my 911 was so overloaded my body did not know how to respond!"
She agreed, "You just didn't have enough (energy) left to do anything else." That's what happens to many of us who live with EI/Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. System overload. With her well-honed and good natured talent my NAET practitioner identified fungicides as the chemical creating havoc. Throughout the years of NAET treatment I had been cleared and boosted against pesticides and herbicides but had not been treated for fungicides. Yesterday, we changed that. 

Editing real life is an ongoing sort of activity; two steps forward one step back. Like the hinged question that leads from here to there and then to there yesterday's road trip has led to now. The fungicide clearing frees up my brain and spinal cord freeway that can get congested with the heavy traffic of chemical use. It's likely I will deal with fungicides as well as pesticides and herbicides again but to know there is help ... that is a gift! An old pal loved telling me, "Don't spit in the eye of the Gods! (Love the gifts)"

Last evening (Tuesday, September 19th) we gathered at The Muliwai The Water's Edge aka Sunlight Beach on Whidbey's West-facing side. There at our wahi pana our sacred place three of my favorite people and I ate homemade oatmeal pancakes loaded with freshly picked wild huckleberries and wild blueberries topped with warm Gravenstein applesauce and set our intentions for the new month ahead. That NAET treatment cleared space so I could be present for our new moon ceremony -- homemade, our favorite kind of ceremony. 
Three of my favorite people Angie Hart
(wearing the story teller's coat under her raincoat and over the Humboldt State hoodie),
 Prescott and Pete

The idea for this post of editing real-life is inspired by astrology. 

"...There’s a mask we are hanging onto that precludes the authenticity we need to attain what [are] our dearest desires. It’s outworn its use. It was useful. Now it is holding us back. Sabotaging our growth...
Set the intention to edit, even if you’re not sure what. We will edit for health, for reality. We will be on alert for the blind spot – the one we see in others first. When we find it, we will edit, root out self-sabotage..." - Satori

The Virgo New Moon Ceremony last evening lifted the mask of suffering from me. In its place the rainbow offered us such BRIGHT, PRESENT, COMMUNITY right here with us at the water's edge. Despite the squalls that settled on the island, we set a stage and Lono (whose rainy season approaches) presented himself in the form of a double rainbow. Social interaction -- simple, common, mysterious and ineffable -- editing in real life left us with the essentials. Self-sabotaging falls away on its own, and then last night in my dreams my Ma came. We shared Dream Time, and once again I heard her dear voice. She comforted me with her company, her Pisces self. I had asked for connection with 'community kela, over there' as I faced the southwest while at The Muliwai. The Ancestors came. Mahalo nui, Ma.

Editing Real-Life
Yvonne Mokihana Calizar

The masks hang on pegs.
I practice editing,
Leave them metaphorically.

Rainbows present.
We pass a gift,
Part of the ceremony

A young teller arrives.
The coat is ready,
"Tell a little (more) every time."

Ask permission.
It's expected when telling 'shared' stories,
Be awesome with originals.

In place of a mask a coat and silver button held in place with a safety pin have the right someone to continue the work of common magic. The legacy of the Safety Pin Cafe is in good hands. For that we are joyful. Life is a messy story in need of skillful and good-hearted editors. Mahalo piha na `aumakua Thank you so much our Ancestors,

Mokihana and Pete

Saturday, September 16, 2017

`Aha Update #29 Slow Food for Fast Times

Homemade Blackberry Jam

We picked three quarts of blackberries this summer. The berries sat in the freezer while the wild fires filled the air with smoke. The air today is not the best quality either, but with mask in place it was jam making day. After a bowl of freshly steamed quinoa with a dab of butter and slippery elm honey, I called our friend Anza and asked if we could borrow her water bath for canning jam. "I'm not home but Marc is. I'll ask him to put it on the back porch for you." That worked out. I drove myself to their farm and found a friendly note left on the lid, "Enjoy, Mokihana!" it was signed Marc. Such a neighborly thing: borrow a pot, find a sweet note.

Pete cleared our outdoor kitchen 'counter' and re-assembled electrical cords so I could get our hot plate burners preparing jar lids; after the water bath filled with water came to a boil four pint jars needed to be sterilized for 10 minutes. The blackberries were smashed and to the five cups of fruit I added pectin and sugar, and than more sugar for our son's birthday later this month. Christopher's gramma would have made jams and jellies though I don't remember eating them, but do remember her Christmas cookies. Tins of them (sugar cookies and Russian tea cookies stored in the freezer and eaten with glasses of cold milk). She was a Whidbey Island-born woman of the early 1900's. A true homemaker.

A Border Witch at the Spoon ... *

These three pints (the three quarts of smashed berries did cook down) are my first batch of slow food homemade jam, and fittingly they are Whidbey Island Blackberries. Sugar is not on our everyday eating list, but to make jam I went for sugar.

I used the recipe right off the box of Sure Jell for a less-sugar jam, but did some reading here before hand to get myself primed for a first time experience.

This is not fast food and even with less-sugar the three pints of jam called for 4 cups of sugar. The jam will cool over night and we'll pack them up and ship them off to Hawaii next week. It was a full afternoon of concentrated measuring, preparing, cooking, stirring, timing and infusing the slow food with ­čĺŚ ... worth every moment. We have lots of love to share, and the gratitude I feel for the community here on Whidbey has made all the difference. Slow food for fast times a sweet memory made to remember later.

Mokihana and Pete

* The link attached to the cackling voice in the video will take you to another Whidbey Island inspired Medicine Story, one that braids more magic, grace and humor. (The ingredients that reach places deep like slow food in fast times.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

`Aha Update #28 New Moon in Virgo, Mid-night September 19-20, 2017

September’s new moon takes place at 27 degrees, 27 minutes of Virgo around midnight on September 19th/20th.  Notice that all the personal planets are in Virgo, along with the Sun and the Moon.[link to Elsa to see this visually] This is an unusual situation. A new moon in Virgo, energizes it’s ruling planet, Mercury. In this case, Mercury is conjunct Mars. This adds considerable spark to the scenario..."-Elsa

Tides just before New Moon in Virgo, September 19, 2017

Pete and I have an attachment to Mahina the Moon. Being a Cancerian, Pete is 'ruled' by the Moon astrologically and between us Mahina has played a long-term part in saving us or guiding us at key times. I write about this often and leave this post to remain consistent. The New Moon in Virgo is the third New Moon since we began navigating to Elsewhere. New Moons are a good time to set intentions for the next thirty days (month). Taken in a chunk of time like this, life seems a more manageable, imaginable vista.

Elsa Panizzon has been my astrology mainstay since the first days of building Vardo for Two. I value her stick-to-it-ness and make a point of following her New Moon insights. Elsa suggests setting intentions for this Virgo New Moon for Pete's 1st House and my 9th House. (Click here for suggestions for you. Need help determining where the New Moon falls in your chart? Send me an email with your birth info and I'll try to help.)

  • New Moon in the 1st house –  Initiate something Virgoan. Present yourself, ready to help.
  • New Moon in the 9th house – Communicate with people outside your usual circle. Expand!
I see an opportunity and great timing to followup with people in Hawaii who might be our new community. There is work to be done in the next thirty days to clarify who can help over there.

We will go to the Muliwai (Sunlight Beach Public Access) in the early evening (sometime around 6 PM) of Tuesday, September 19th to do our New Moon ceremony of intentions.  We'll bring something warm to drink and maybe a little snack to bless the cool fall evening and send our intentions out with the tide. Please join us if you wish. 

Ceremony is important, and home-made ceremony is one of the best ways to keep the sacred common in the everyday. Whether you join us or not, we'll be the `aha for you, holding space and holding the rope as we continue our journey. 
"We cross borders without regard, ignorant or arrogant of the protocol native to the transitional spaces that take us from this place to that place. Traditions remembered and practiced would maintain and pass along the right things to do, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind. Have we all become wanderers with passports un-stamped with the memory of teachings from the Ancestors and Nature? There are rituals to remember and common magic to induce respect and reverence for the beings and places that share this planet." - Mission Statement for the Safety Pin Cafe
Happy New Moon coming,

xoxo Mokihana and Pete

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

`Aha Update #27 Investment in Three-Parts: Magic, Grace, Humor

"We’re speaking of love and money here – love, money, and desire. We’re investing now, investing in something that will pay off down the road in the bigger picture. Just keep putting the creativity and generosity to work. Do it gladly. If you can’t do it gladly, it’s not the gift or investment you need to give now. Wait a bit, then try again."
- Weekly Forecast: September 11-15, 2017, Satori

A new book arrived for me at the library the other day. It's been months since I'd reserved a book to read. The business of believing in a dream and juggling the challenges, success and insights has been a full time job. I was sitting in the car in the Star Store parking lot waiting for Pete to get back from his errands: the post office and the library. Above the roofs of parked cars I spotted his long lean self and his GO OUTSIDE cap. With up-raised arms he spotted me spotting him. I saw the cover of my new book in his hand. I was Kid Glad to see them both.

Nightbird written by Alice Hoffman is a story of magic; just the sort of story I needed to sweeten the sometimes quivering sense of uncertainty that leaves me jelly legged. I think of not quite firm Jell-O the kind you can slurp. I count down, or slurp down from 5-4-3-2-1-to Zero (Thanks for this trick, Jude) and the uncertainty takes off at least temporarily like those Yellow Jackets launching with payload of turkey. With a little good distraction, my investment into a day of my choosing equals out. Nightbird is a story about a family; a girl of twelve named Twig (her nickname) and her mother who is a tip top baker. Pies especially. Pink Apple Pie a specialty. The girl Twig and her mother keep a secret and they keep to themselves; they just want to be themselves. The price is isolation, and that's a price this family decides they'll not keep paying.

I finished reading Nightbird late yesterday just before Pete and I sat on the picnic bench with our friends who have shared their land and their lives with us for more than seven years. We have paid a very modest rent we could afford and filled in with care taker tasks, fix-ems and meals handed over at the front gate. We have become family and yesterday we had pie and applesauce with ice cream for dinner. It was a very special occasion; a time to acknowledge investments of give-and-take over time.

When I was diagnosed with Environmental Illness I was told, " "There is no cure for this, there are things that will help. You'll have to avoid everything that makes you sick. It will change your life. This is called MCS Multiple Chemical Sensitivies, or Environmental Illness." We built the golden wagon of a home we call Vardo for Two as a medically-safe bedroom on wheels so if we had to, or wanted to, we could move. The years of 'investment' we have made on Whidbey Island has grown us in unexpected ways, stretching our tolerances and our natal forms of relating. More than anything, our years on Whidbey have stretched our definitions of community and in the process we have become less isolated, with practice. Isolation can be one of the most devastating affects of EI.

Our friends and land owners who shared their lives and land with us have accommodated and responded to the frequent morphing symptoms of Environmental Illness with grace. They have waited to do things, permitted me to prune headed-scented blossoms during the Spring, and agreed to using a No-VOC paint on their home, don't burn wood and never use pesticides. Countless other 'gives' added up over seven years. We live on the edges of the wood and now on the edge of the driveway with an ever present and appreciative parallel universe. We live yards apart, safe in the knowledge that few, if any, ill-resulting choices will cross between the gates. Yesterday over dessert for dinner we gathered in that space of amazing grace that is the stuff of gospels. Indeed, how sweet it was to know that as we process our good-byes there is pono harmony. Thank you both so much. Yes, "Let's call it even." 

One of the most valuable investments we, Pete and I, make as often as possible is to make each other laugh. Pete has Gemini (quirky!) Mars (action) and Mercury (thinking) in his natal make-up; that's astrology-speak for Leprechaun. Pete is Irish. And just for fun, here's a bit of Pete on video recorded when we thought about selling Scout the Subaru. Silly us!


And today after we enjoyed breakfast out. Pete told me about his Magic Penny Mouse Hole. I couldn't let the story go unrecorded. Here you are,  "Magic Penny Mouse Hole" in Two-Parts.



Thank you for investing in us as we invest more in: magic, grace and humor

xoxo Mokihana and Pete

Monday, September 11, 2017

`Aha Update #26 The Rolodex

" A Rolodex is a rotating file device used to store business contact information. Its name is a portmanteau word of rolling and index and desk. The Rolodex holds specially shaped index cards; the user writes or types the contact information for one person or company onto each card. The cards are notched to be able to be snapped in and out of the rotating spindle. Some users tape the contact's business card directly to the Rolodex index card, or a plastic or vinyl sleeve in the shape of a Rolodex card to place the business card within. Some companies produced business cards in the shape of Rolodex cards, as a marketing idea.The Rolodex was invented in 1956, by the Danish engineer Hildaur Neilsen..." - Wikipedia

Yesterday was a day for checking in with people, face-to-face. There was a book and a book mark to pass along to a young woman beginning to make her marks. The book was Braiding Sweetgrass written by Robin Wall Kimmerer. When I gave the book away I knew that I'd remember the many times I read the beautifully woven words of the Annishnaabe-Potawatomi teacher, writer and scientist. The story of Aster and Golden Rod. A couple tears leak just thinking about the lesson of Witch hazel. I relish the connection of White man's foot print to the plant we call Laukahi. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a storyteller on many levels at once: scientist schooled in class rooms and laboratories, indigenous daughter remembering to remember who her people are, poet and writer translating with a broad heart and well-tuned ear, a mother and daughter who loves both those roles, a teacher vibrant in her knowledge and open to keep learning.

The book I left went with a metal book marker. "It's been around," I said. Decades earlier I sent that book marker to my mother when I was a young woman living far from the home place. It is shaped in the design of the ulu or bread fruit. To Hawaiians the ulu is a symbol of growth; and is one of my favorite starchy foods. It's ulu season right now back in Hawaii. I see the many pictures of recipes for dinners on one of my teacher's FB page. I drool at each new dinner, and think "Soon. Maybe soon." My favorite way to eat ulu is to slice it in half or quarters if it's really big and bake on an oiled baking sheet until the flesh is soft and the cut part toasty brown. Delicious with butter eaten alone like kalo taro or potatoes; or made into a recipe like suggested below.

Ulu (click here to read about Cooking with ulu)

Before Pete and I left the Sunday Farmers' Market we stopped to chat with folks and bought fresh vegetables: cauliflower grown by Fred, Kabocha squash grown by Brian, and a big bag of Green Beans grown by Emma. I left with a good feeling, simple connections made face-to-face. While I write Emma's beans are cooking in an inch of water. A pan of chicken drum sticks bake in mushroom broth topped with brown rice and a healthy sprinkle of dried herbs. We will eat well tonight. It's our wedding anniversary today. Lucky 13 by the books, and an even luckier 22 including the practice years.

Emma's beans topping off a colander of our Gravenstein apples

Just before sunset yesterday we made another connection with a double Capricorn pal, fittingly a lover of goats. We could hear the bleating from the pens. We'd brought a bag of over ripe plums for the goats but learned they're too sweet for goats. Instead of overripe plums they ate hay.  Once the goats were fed we humans climbed the slight incline to the house.

We were dropping by to share applesauce freshly made the night before with those Graventsteins hiding under Emma's beans. A small loaf of ground turkey meatloaf plus a delicious plate of sliced cucumbers, a soup of curry made such a wonderful early Fall supper. Our meal was enhanced with the company of a sweet Labrador, a very sassy but friendly kitty and a handful of very hungry Yellow Jackets. In some settings the company of Yellow Jackets would freak people out or bring out the spray can. Neither action happened yesterday. Instead, the Yellow Jackets were fed on separate plates, at the far end of the picnic table. "Cover the meatloaf for a few minutes," our friend said. Distraction tactics. It worked. Over the course of our meal and between the lively and heart-felt exchanges of conversation the Yellow Jackets remained diligent in their love of meat. Turkey. Once engrossed with their bits of meat they did not bother with us. What amazed us was was not only their concentration but their ability to lift at least their weight in turkey and fly off to some unknown destination. Ever seen a Yellow Jacket lift off with turkey? It's something!

In addition to the applesauce and meat loaf we brought a Red Envelope  filled with two very special offerings: a large vintage safety pin, and a business size card imprinted with one of my favorite 'Olelo No'eau Hawaiian Proverbs. The safety pin has been a long time emblem of my connection to my Ma. Helen Mokihana Calizar was our family Safety Pin Queen. She inspired a respect for common magic and the efficacy of the simple tool that held her shorts up, and substituted for a button. (I taken to the habits myself) When I needed medicine that would reach places a prescription couldn't my mother left me a safety pin on the floor of the Langley post office. That pin fueled the first of many Whidbey-influenced medicine stories. The imprinted card reads: ╩╗A╩╗ohe hana nui ke alu ╩╗ia. No task is too big when done together by all. -If everyone contributes to the task, it lightens the load. Our friend has been very generous in her contribution to lighten our load as we navigate the way to Elsewhere. Passing along a favorite book and a cherished memento, sharing time, good conversation, hearty laughter, food and the Red Envelope are old fashion, 'Roledex moments'. Know what I mean?

Just before clearing the table, we heard a familiar sound. Familiar yet so long ago I felt my heart pinge. "Yah, it's the neighbor's cows." Pete remembered how his uncle used to call the cows to be milked. I didn't remember where that sound took me when I heard it until we were driving down Maxwelton Road and took a left at Ewing. "I haven't heard that sound since I was a kid back in Kuli'ou'ou Valley. Costa's Dairy." That memory was sucked so deeply away.

As we walked back to the Subaru we kept telling stories and laughing about the way life unfolds in impossibly unpredictable fashion. Pete was talking about the most recent twist of events involving his truck, Bernadette and his friend and mechanic. Somewhere in the tale his mechanic was hunting for a truck part (old truck parts). This sort of hunt is not done on the Internet; these parts have to be collected by the elite underground of old truck people. When Pete's mechanic showed up at let's say, the Everett parts place, he heard, "Let me check my Rolodex." Like old-fashion Wednesday night Bingo at Rosehill Pete's mechanic knew he'd struck the mother lode.

I'm guessing most of you holding the 'aha have more Rolodex moments. Just for fun, we'd love to hear 'em. Life gets pretty hairy and too serious too often. On our anniversary, how about a few Rolodex moments.

And to the Goat Woman and the Mechanic ... thanks a million!

Mokihana and Pete

Saturday, September 9, 2017

`Aha Update #25 Medicine Stories and Old School Channels

The first rain in three months fell early in the morning; the sound surprised us. How quick we forget the familiar. The rain has washed dust from the Bracken already turned into her Fall dressing gown. The many spokes of Cat's Ears (Dandelion impersonators)  spangle like New Year's sparklers. Between the two images above discovered on the morning of first rain a memory pulled at my right ear. Thoughts of a sweet tale rewound in my head, congested by the leavings of smoke and ash. A medicine story of a grandmother and her grandchildren wanted to be re-read.  The internal hurricane that sloughs through me was in need of tether. Medicine stories my name for fairy tales and myth, to read them or to write them ... they shape us, they shape me.

It is Story that so often anchors me to something bigger than the struggles that seem to separate me from help. Without asking for help, we would not get it; who would know we flail.  Without knowing how to ask we congest with fear and don't see the life jacket flung our way. So this post is a thank you gift, a  mahalo nui loa kakou. Thank you dear friends and family who are holding the 'aha, being our strong rope as Pete and I navigate the uncertain but none the less vital tides of destiny. We make up the next move, or muddle through the difficulties with as much grace as possible and call on the Muse (or she pulls at my ear) for creative expression.

Through "Old School Channels" (checks in the mail and cash in red envelopes) we, you folks and Pete and I are implementing an old-fashion version of Crowd Funding. Rather then launching a GoFundMe campaign, these `Aha Updates and informal gatherings on the vardo's front  porch have become our 'crowd fund' to get us to Elsewhere. We are so very grateful for the financial gifts you have sent us to support our efforts, inspite of the open-ended outcomes with no specific destination (yet). Your comments and email messages fuel our resolve to keep our commitment to be kupuna (the elders) strong, transparent and teachable:) We have never done this version of our story and are so glad you are part of the whole. There is more to come, but for now this is necessary ... "Thank you."

What follows is a medicine story I wrote in 2016 called "A Native Fern." It's an old school kind of story with a few hinges. Real people and real places have inspired the telling and to them I give much gratitude. In particular the place, The Muliwai, is such great source of magic and with a bit of sadness I realize it has changed; characters have passed on since A Native Fern was written. All the more reason to put the story down. A few of you may have read this tale before. The wonderful part about stories is that they can be re-told, re-read, re-lived.

You will be led to the story's place and will grow there, at your pace. Links at the bottom of each segment/post will take you further. An adventure ...

"Sophie Lei Maku'e is a wife and grandmother living life suitable to her family name. If you are new to these medicine stories, they are written in doses/posts, in gentle stanzas influenced by daily life and messages that cross the borders where separation is mutable, and subject to artistic tampering.
This story, like most of the medicine stories, is born from some 'condition' in need of wholiness. How the memory of Ancestral wisdom or an oracle found in the pages of the Hawaiian Dictionary adds to what is already there; and the faith-based flow .. that is a reason to keep writing. Personal gods, guardians, 'Aumakua are always close in the medicine stories, A Nature Fern is no exception. Grandparents and mo'opuna learn together as this story unfurls, and that makes for an enchanted tale."

All our heart-felt aloha to each and every one of you. A Native Fern begins by clicking here.

Hope you enjoy the tale,
xoxo Mokihana and Pete

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

`Aha Update #24 Transparency an awkward truth

At the Witching Hour
By Yvonne Mokihana Calizar
There were bats out
Were their clocks unset?
Too late to find sweet Termites.
There were thoughts
Chasing their tails
I hoped to set bait.
Transparent fingertips
Tapped code
The bats gobbled
the vowels
Left me hard consonants.

Another poem written on the night of Mahealani (Full Moon)

The fantastic illustration "Fake it till you make it" by Rovina Cai (click) to find her website.

Behind the Mask
By Yvonne Mokihana Calizar
The air too thick to be sweet
She wore the green one
Pinned with butterfly
Of metal

The moon wore a color 
Reserved for the sun
Swift clouds filtered
Became her mask

The muse jabbed a rib"Wake. Work. See."
A tank of canned
Air promised breath.

The Ravens passed 
Above in triplicate
Their messages
Now understood.

"Fake it till you make it."

"... I wonder about the ways [loss of place] impacts us as writers and artists. Grief is a powerful thing, and especially so when it rumbles away, unexpressed, in the depth of our souls, the quiet but constant base note of our lives. Grief for landscapes paved over, ways of life that are gone, for whole species that are rapidly vanishing around us. Grief can indeed be a spur to art, leading us to "re-create or transfigure" our cherished lost worlds, or it can do the reverse: deaden and silence and paralyze us."  Terri Windling, "On Loss and Transfiguration."

When Summer ends and Fall begins an instinctual quickening happens for Pete. He is a Mid-western- born working man whose genes know things have got to be done to prepare for winter. It doesn't matter that he has 'retired' his genes don't know that. The quickening is happening and the challenge of this season has been dealing with those broken dreams I wrote about in an earlier update. We dared to allow ourselves to believe it was possible to return to Hawaii. That dream had been cordoned off. We all keep those cordoned areas cleverly penned to manage the mundane but practical be-like-grown-up routines that are the habitual. Something disassembles when one's secret gets out, jumping the fence like farm salmon who get their chance to be wild.

An additional factor has jabbed itself into the quickening of seasonal change, and is a factor no one alive and awake today can deny. Mother Nature, Haumea, Turtle Mother in all her names, she is making necessary adjustments and they are huge. Here in Washington the smoke of 1,000 (can they be counted?) fires fill the air. No one, no beings, are left unaffected.

Early this morning the air inside the vardo even with the air filter working was not clean enough for me to keep breathing.

"Honey," I was calling Pete on the cellphone because he was in the other shelter. "I need to go in the car." He did not hesitate; we have this shorthand for exit strategy. I climbed out of bed, pulled on my knee brace (my hinges are showing their wear) and prepared the oxygen tank and mask. The car, Scout the Intrepid, Scout our original mobile home of safety is equipped with air conditioning and for someone with lung vulnerabilities, AC helps me take the next breath. Dressed in my night shirt and hand-me-down robe (thanks Madir) we headed off for a short ride.

Transparency is sometimes an awkward truth. It gives the observer/reader every detail of the storyteller's contradictions and weakness; every miscue and moment of vulnerability goes splat. Transparency is by definition free of secrets. We have learned that Environmental Illness reflects ... well it reflects the environment. As the climate and the temperature of Earth's environment change the illness (symptoms and adaptability) changes. Winters are getting harsher and the other seasons follow suit. I write with my coconut shell filtration mask in place because forests burn north, south and east of us. Ash settles on the car and into my lungs. This morning, I woke a double mask: one of white ceramic attached to a snake of stainless steel hose connecting an oxygen tank. The ceramic mask was covered with my I Can Breathe coconut shell filtration mask.

We headed for the Tilth, with Mahealani the Full Moon high above. She, the moon, "wore a color reserved for the sun." My friend and brother of myth, Stuart Hill commented on that line from the poem Behind the Mask. He was especially taken with it, and said "Sometimes a single phrase can capture the senses." At a time, like this one, when the moon ought not be the color of the sun I wonder at the awkwardness of making sense using purely human tricks. Oh how grateful I am for access to the masks that filter the ash-thick air and doubly thankful to be so close to bats, termites, ravens, owl and rabbit for they open the mythic, the fantastic stream of the wild. Washing over me with mystery.

We want so much to persist with our original dream. Hawaii or Bust! The shape of decision-making is like Billy's neighborhood treks in the Family Circus comic strip. Our life is a a family circus. Thanks to the gathering of people for Vardo for Two's Front Porch `Aha in July our journey has become transparent. Many of you joined us on our front porch and now read about the journey of a golden wagon and her people. Our wishes and our process spill from a double spouted pitcher. The story grows in the open.


My original drawing holds some magic ... 

We have enough money (thank you generous family and friends) to add solidity to our basic dream if we massage here and there. We can ...
  • ship the vardo to Hawaii from Seattle (We will not drive to Oakland and load the vardo there)
  • ship our car to Hawaii from Seattle (We will not sell the Subaru and will get her checked out to make sure she is travel ready)
  • buy two one-way tickets from Seattle to Hawaii Island
There are many dangling details flying like termites, and just when we are renewed in our commitment to feed our wild old hearts and concentrate our energy to go back to Hawaii the forest fires here slow forward motion. There is also more challenging information from Hawaii Island (where we dream of moving). 10,000 acres of eucalyptus forests winding in and out from Laupahoehoe to Waipio will probably be logged sooner than later even if the protests against chipping and burning those forests is prevented. Could we manage living with that activity when the clear cutting here creates such harsh affects on Whidbey Island?

And then yesterday Ke Akua and Mahina sent us mail. It seems the Moon's People are coming to us. The "Moon's People" refers to the Hui 'Aimalama folks we study with. Two years ago we made connections with this group to figure out how to be a distance location for a conference being held in Honolulu. Networking with generous friends and supportive community here on Whidbey Island, we participated in the first 'Aimalama Conference focused on Utilizing traditional (Pacific Islander) practices to adapt to climate change.  Because of this island to island connection, thanks to the installation of the internet, Pacific Peoples became known to one another. Click here, and here to see what it was like to bring Hawaii to Whidbey in September, 2015.

A few weeks ago, I sent Kalei Nu'uhiwa, 'Aimalama co-founder, a copy of a simple booklet I have written intended to be used as a short story introduction of our search for a place to be with our Vardo for Two, in Hawaii. I was asking about circulating our booklet to the group hoping to make connection with like-hearted community, open-minded folk with a soft spot for people like Pete and me. She didn't find the message until yesterday, and the attachment (with the booklet) didn't make it. I responded and said I'd resend the booklet.

Kalei wrote back: "Got it. Thank you. I╩╗ll have a look and get back to you. Our ╩╗Aimalama team had a meeting and we╩╗re trying to find a way to get over to you folks to do a training. We╩╗re fundraising at the moment.Yah, you folks have made extraordinary efforts to participate and make a difference. We just have to find some funding to make it happen."

SO ... the story is growing in the open, transparent and wild as the best myth or fantasy I could become particularly fond of. A vital part of Hawaii may be on their way here; and we might need to stay put (in a different way). How would you choose a place to breathe fresh air and stay warm in winter? Would the desire to be nearer your family be enough to keep believing a wild dream? Do you believe in fantasy, myth, magic of the wild?

Still with us?

Let us know in the comments or email.

Moki and Pete