NOVEMBER 12, 2018

Well, the Midterms are almost over. Florida is still recounting ballots so it’s not over till it’s over. Some of the candidates I supported won; some of them lost. That’s the name of the game. I only hope the winners will do what they promised or else it will be just the same old political run-around elections seem to bring out.

And so we carry on. Kaua’i had the highest voter turn-out in the state, and for that I’m proud. We’re a small island, between 65,000 and 70,000total population but we care about what happens in our county, our state and our country. And we’re willing to stand up and be counted. We’re willing to stand on street corners in the pouring rain to make our voices heard. I’ve done it.

Now that the politicking is over, we’re watching the dreadful fires in California and grieving for those who have lost their homes and livelihoods. Watching my neighbor’s house burn down last February and feeling their pain over pets lost and belongings destroyed, I empathize more with the residents than I used to. Every time we drive down the road I see the hole in our neighborhood that used to be a family’s home and I feel a deep sense of loss.

Then the President has the nerve to blame the California fires on poor management at the state level. There are no words. That’s like blaming my neighbors for not taking proper care of their home and causing the fire. NOT! They did everything humanly possible to keep their home safe. The homeowners in California did everything humanly possible to keep their homes safe. Brush around their houses was cleared out, fire alarms checked, propane tanks properly stored. And still the fires happened. The firefighters on Kaua`i came back long after the neighbor’s fire was out to check for hot spots, just like the firefighters in California are doing. Poor management had nothing to do with any of it.

So now that the Midterms are over it’s time to gear up for the 2020 elections. It’s time to fight for our country against those who would bring it down. Those who blame others for what is obviously their fault. It’s time to write, to speak out and let our voices be heard. We can make a difference. It’s time.

Advertisements

OCTOBER 30, 2018

It is so hard to know what to write when you’re living in a world turned upside-down. And that’s what I feel is going on.

I grew up being taught that when you need help, go to a policeman. But now you might be tazed if you try or if your skin is the “wrong” color shot and killed.

I was taught that the government worked in the people’s best interest and since I’m a citizen it’s working in my best interest. But I don’t think it’s in my best interest to take away freedom from those only trying to build new lives in my country, to call media reports “fake news” when they’re writing the truth.

I was taught that we live in a country where we are free to speak without fear of retribution, free to write without fear of dire consequences. Now I feel that the words I write on my computer sitting at my desk are read by those who would imprison me for writing them, that no matter where I may be I’m being watched by hidden cameras.

Paranoid? Yes, but that is what this government is causing us to become.

Fearful? Yes, but that is what’s happening when you fear gathering for worship, a concert, a shopping trip, school.

I know that good people outnumber the bad in our country. I have to believe that. I hear of Muslims taking up a collection to help a small Jewish synagogue that’s lost 11 members of its congregation to an anti-Semitic gunman. I witness people leaving their homes, their jobs, to help others who have lost their homes, their jobs to hurricanes and fires. I see people offering a hand to help others up.

But there are still those days when I think we as the human race are spinning out of control. And on those days I can only shout, “Stop the world! I want to get off!!”

AUGUST 27, 2018

Hurricane LaneThis photo by Schar Freeman shows the outer edge of Hurricane Lane as it approaches Kaua’i.

This is pretty much a rough draft but deals, in a way, with Hurricane Lane which is affecting our island. I thought it made a great title for a poem!

HURRICANE LANE

Hurricane Lane is a long path
And it is a short path.
It runs smooth and straight
It is filled with twists and turns.
It is gentle and calm
Until a gust of wind blows you off-course.
Challenged, you search for the path
Sometimes finding it
Stretching before you smoothly
But sometimed not,
Finding only an ending and nothing more.

You start on this path
Pushed from a dark safe place
You don’t choose which path to follow
It’s chosen for you
even so you follow it to the end
You can do nothing else.
You may trip over a rock or two,
Find the path muddy or spread with gravel
Paved or mushy and rough
But you continue on
until the path comes to its end.

Kaua’i Flooding April 2018

In 1986 my family was evacuated from our home when the hillside across the road collapsed during a particularly bad Seattle storm, bringing down boulders, mud and large trees in its wake. Immediately the neighbors came out of their houses and started shoveling mud, diverting it away from our home and two others and down our driveway into the garage and out into a wooded area.

In response the city delivered empty sandbags to our location, which our husbands started filling with mud; the sand didn’t come until a day later. Bales of hay were placed alongside the road which provided the only access to our homes. We were able to walk on these bales to our homes to do laundry and prepare food but had to be out by dark because city inspectors, fearing the slides would continue (which they did) and we wouldn’t hear them ordered us all out and posted “CONDEMNED” notices to that effect on our doors.

We were the fortunate ones. Two other houses were destroyed and never rebuilt. One afternoon my husband and I stood at the top of the slide area surveying the damage only to see another slide, taking a tree with it, moving down toward our home. Luckily it was diverted down our driveway and into our garage, where it flowed into an open pit area; we’d been visiting friends so still had our car.

We moved into a hotel kindly arranged for, at a much-reduced rate, by a friend who worked there. The Postman agreed to deliver mail for all of us to one mailbox on a neighbor’s front porch while the Seattle school district arranged transportation for our three children to and from school daily. I was taking classes at a local university studying for a degree in Theology and my class that quarter was “Revelations and Apocalyptic Literature,” most appropriate we decided.

When the rains, floods and mudslides hit the North Shore of Kaua’i, we had only a slight inkling of what the residents here are going through. My daughter is the team leader of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Kekaha, my daughter-in-law a member of the Kekaha team, while my husband is a member of CERT Kalaheo. All were called out to volunteer their time and energy to survey the damage and to assist the families so badly affected, distributing food, cleaning supplies and evacuating well over 450 people caught unaware.

While most of us were able to return to our Seattle homes a month later, it won’t be that easy for the North Shore. Well over 49” of rain poured down on Hanalei and the North Shore. Highways were buried beneath mud, boulders and trees. Homes were pulled from their foundations and some washed down rivers. Bison from the nearby farm were also impacted and several lost their lives, though many others were recovered. The taro crop was lost beneath floodwaters. Businesses were covered in mud.

Recovery will take months and unfortunately some areas may never recover. But the people of Kaua’I are strong and resilient. They’ve faced disasters before and undoubtedly will again. They roll up their sleeves and get busy, doing what needs to be done, sharing what they have with others who have lost everything. While there were injuries, no lives were lost and in a spirit of gratitude they survive.

the photo at the top is of a tree on Kaua’i

APRIL 2018

I’m back. I’ve been trying to find something positive to write about for the past few months but the news keeps getting drearier and drearier. So I’ve been avoiding it as much as possible.

I do notice that now there’s a march or walk for something or other nearly every weekend. If it’s not a march/walk for a disease, it’s for an important cause. All of these marches/walks are important and serve good purposes so I cannot choose just one to showcase over the others.

Instead I will write about a beautiful event that happens the weekend after Easter: the Merrie Monarch Festival. The festival showcases hula, both Kahiko (before the illegal overthrow) and Auana (after the illegal overthrow). All of the dancers were spectacular; I’d hate to have to judge. And the halau (hula school) on our island placed this year in Wahine (women) Kahiko, Wahine Auana, Wahine Overall, and Overall Winner! What an exciting three nights!!

That same weekend I took a class lead by my friend and fellow writer Dawn Kawahara on Riddle Chants, of which I knew nothing. A riddle chant asks a primary question in the first stanza and then answers it in the following stanzas. I wrote my very first one and decided to share it with you. As a genealogist, of course it deals with my ancestors:

Where Is The Home Of My People

Of you I ask a question.
Where is the home of my People?
Where should I seek them?

In Eastern forests
Deep, dark, dense
They dwelt among the wild things
Roamed where they would.
The forests are silent now.

Of you I ask a question.
Where is the home of my People?
Where can I find them?

Among the buildings of newcomers
Bustling with activity
The smell of furs heavy in the air
They took up brief residence
But the newcomers are gone now.

So I ask a question.
Where is the home of my People?
Where should I seek them?

At the dividing place
They dwelt in harmony
And separated in peace
Choosing to take three paths
That place is now filled with strangers.

And again I ask
Where is the home of my People?
Where should I seek them?

Beside running waters
Wild birds, deer were plentiful
Marshes offered reeds for building
Roots gave food for growing
That land gives home to new people

And I must ask
Where is the home of my People?
Where should I seek them?

Long trails carried them
Prairies void of trees
Alkaline waters
Confinement, containment
At the mercy of the winds

Where is the home of my People?

 

the image of Turtle Island was posted on facebook by a friend

October 23, 2017

#me too

I hadn’t planned to post anything about this but after reading all the posts from friends I realize it goes so far beyond what I’d imagined. And the question came up, “Does this count?”

My answer: if a man/woman makes you uncomfortable by his/her behavior, comment, message or any form of communication or action then yes, it counts. Check out “Tea and Consent” on Youtube.

I don’t recall my earliest exposure to this behavior but I think it happened in grade school; I’ve completely blocked it but it must have been before I was10. I just remember feeling creepy.

My high school yearbook described me as having “a cute face and a funny smile.” Not quite how I wished to be remembered–I’d have liked to be remembered for my writing skills, my sense of humor. I wondered if they’d describe a guy that way–no, he gets comments on his sports acumen, skills, intelligence. Not how he smiled or what he looked like.

The following year a good neighbor lost his wife to cancer and he told me he wished he were younger as he hugged me. Again that creepy feeling. I told my parents but they didn’t believe me so again I stifled it.

Working at the phone company brought me in contact (yes I meant to say that) with the touchy-feely boss. I reported him to his boss who said I’d be welcome to work for him. I don’t know how it turned out because my new husband wanted me to quit work and I did.

Even in my sixties, after going through cancer and double knee replacement, I still wasn’t immune apparently–the only difference was that I couldn’t run. While terribly upset but with a tad bit of humor, I realized that no woman is immune, no man is immune to this treatment, no matter what their age may be.

If some my friends feel free to post on facebook, I wonder how many others are still too ashamed, embarrassed, angry to speak up. I wonder how many of your friends feel the same way.

I want them to know that they did nothing wrong. They didn’t dress in the “wrong” way, comb their hair and put on makeup in an alluring fashion, walk in a way that would attract a predator. The predator is the one who did wrong. He or she was looking for anyone who came along, using criteria only he or she knew.

I learned to speak out. I wasn’t always believed but I continued to speak out and was believed more often than not. And we need to continue speaking out. Don’t let it stop with one post. Talk to your family, your friends, your employer, his or her employer. We’ve put up with this too long. Silence kept it going. Speaking may help bring about an end.

September 7, 2017

“Morning has broken…” Thus begins one of my favorite hymns, written by Cat Stevens. I was born to a Protestant mother and a Catholic father. After learning my parents had eloped during WWII, Dad’s priest declared them living in sin and me illegitimate, which ended Dad’s years as a Catholic. Thus, after searching for a church they both liked, I was brought up Evangelical United Brethren, a church I still respect above all others.
“Blackbird has spoken…” As a child I wanted so to fit in, to be included, as do most children. At the age of 12 I was baptized with my mother and that Christmas, after all the pageant parts were handed out to the younger children, there was no part for me. I went to the pastor and told him I wanted to be involved and he chose me to read the Christmas story from the New Testament, my first time standing in a pulpit but not my last.
“Sweet the rain’s new fall…” When I was 13 we moved to Seattle and my parents dropped out of church. But I continued, going with neighbors or walking to the local Lutheran church, the closest congregation. I even considered joining but never felt I quite fit. Meanwhile my EUB denomination merged with the Methodists and I became United Methodist.
“Sunlit from heaven…”When my children came along, I dragged my husband to the nearest UM church and there he and the children were baptized, the boys with their father, our daughter as a newborn on Easter Sunday. I was the newsletter editor and was even sent to two series of classes in journalism at the local newspaper. The pastor was helping me fit in and find my niche. And I was again in the pulpit on occasion. After asking too many unanswerable questions the pastor urged me to study theology at a nearby Free Methodist university. I’ve never looked back.
“Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning…” By the end of my studies, the pastor had left and we got one who was just making the motions so when a friend invited me to her American Baptist church I went. There I became the Associate Pastor and was in the pulpit every week. I didn’t know their God, I was losing touch with the Holy Spirit. I didn’t fit in, I didn’t belong. Something was missing: the Wesleyan Quadilateral of Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience, And it was Reason that got in my way and ultimately pulled me away from the church altogether. To me “a fountain filled with blood,” part of a Baptist hymn, wasn’t reasonable, was actually kind of creepy. “All Creatures of our God and King” which I sang as a Methodist spoke of brotherhood with all mankind as well as the creatures of the earth and sky. I studied the Apocrypha, listened to interviews with Joseph Campbell and moved beyond into the “something more” I wasn’t finding in the church.
“Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning…morning has broken…” And now I see the world around us is falling apart. Wars, threats of wars not seen in our lifetime, fires, earthquakes where the earth normally stands still, floods, droughts. I know how Christianity views this, through the eyes of the book of Revelation, written for another people in another time but interpreted, I believe wrongly, for the people of today. If one believes in God, in my opinion a loving God wouldn’t do this to His people. But of course there’s an answer to that–He mourns with them and lifts them up. But isn’t God the God of the Muslim, the Jew, the Zoroastrian, the Buddhist? That’s where the Christians jump in and start talking about Jesus. But I can’t believe god plays favorites like that so there must be something else going on. Maybe, as some believe, the axis HAS tilted, maybe mankind and climate change have brought this all on themselves, which is what I believe. I believe we’re all part of one whole, that when one of us dies all of us die a bit, when one is born all of us are reborn. I believe we created this mess and I believe it’s up to us to fix it. Not to enact laws, which are only as good as the people who make them, but to take action. To help one another. After all who is our neighbor? You are.
“Morning has broken…”