Monday, July 8, 2013

A hand stitch, language of birds, a safety pin: common magic, complex nature

"Common" ... western definitions
1. belonging equally to, or shared alike by, two or more or all in question: common property; common interests.
2. pertaining or belonging equally to an entire community, nation, or culture; public: a common language or history; a common water-supply system.
3. joint; united: a common defense.
4. widespread; general; ordinary: common knowledge.
5. of frequent occurrence; usual; familiar: a common event; a common mistake.

"Common" ... Hawaiian definitions
1. hana mau
2. ma'amau,
3. laha, laakea

1. Maka'ainana
2. noa
3. 'ino
4. hua
5. noa'noa

“I have heard the Amish will place a small mistake or imperfection in a quilt or other handmade item. Why is this done?”
“We’ve heard that many years ago sometimes a scrap of fabric that didn’t quite match was used inconspicuously in a patchwork quilt to give it “identity.” We question whether this is true. We don’t know of any quilters who would do that today. Amish quilts are all band quilted; stitches are very small and uniform. But, no matter how hard one tries, the stitches are not all identical and perfect. A quilt may have an imperfection, but it wasn’t on purpose.” - The Amish People
The door to The Safety Pin Cafe has been open for a week, and oh how thrilled we are to have had so many visitors.  Less costly than investing in the creation of the boards and batten of a store-front and eatery, the cost as a writer and translator of words and history is instead kuleana ... personal responsibility. I am a happy woman sharing the story, the characters and the journey of culture for it is precisely, and imperfectly, that journey of culture evolving that fills the cup of those who walk through the cafe door.

In many ways, the question above and the answer lays the foundation for The Safety Pin Cafe. The Amish, and the Mennonites, The Plain People, choose a sovereign life that is common to them; though uncommon to those they name The English. The question posed above is so much like questions asked of me, and others about my culture. A bit of information and an assumption. Without really knowing the bit becomes an adulterated history.

 “Whether you’re changing with the world or not can determine whether your practice lives or dies,” Kekuhi says. “We choose to live, and we choose to evolve, based on the principles and philosophies of our grandparents and their grandparents.” But even when the kumu are being at their most innovative, she says, “the style and the discipline and the ritual that goes into the preparation is the same. We don’t compromise those things, ever. The chants from long ago, Kekuhi says, are the “treasure chest of information” that the current generation of kumu refer back to. “But my grandmother forced us to make sure that we also make some contribution to that treasure chest,” she adds, “so it doesn’t remain only a pile of old chants, but is a continuing practice.” - Kekuhi Kanahele-Frias
Stitching and pinning together stories like The Safety Pin Cafe is an innovation and a contribution to the treasure of my history. The familiarity of a cafe with wonderful red awnings welcomes the thirsty and hungry. "Yes, this looks like a place that I'd like." Yes, silliness from ducks add to the welcome; innocence is recognizable in us all. There in the cafe, while comforting tastes and smells soothe you, the language of the Raven and Fairy make things unpredictable. Evolution. Metamorphosis. Please read on ...

"To indigenous, oral cultures, the ceaseless flux that we call "time" is overwhelmingly cyclical in character. The senses of an oral people are still attuned to the land around them, still conversant with the expressive speech of the winds and the forest birds, still participant with with the sensuous cosmos. Time, in such a world, is not separable from the circular life of the sun and the moon, from the cycling of the seasons, the death and rebirth of the animals--from the eternal return of the greening earth." - David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

This excerpt from the medicine story The Safety Pin Cafe weaves words, and allowances from the oral tradition of my ancestors. The wind, is a player and Pale acknowledges it "without being stunned." The name of the Border Witch Pale-wawae is taken from the dictionary; nothing fancy, a common weed. If you read with an open heart and love of what David Abram's book describes as 'the spell of the sensuous' you will feel the multiple meaning, and taste the complexity.

Pale-wawae. The joy weed. Alternanthera amoena. A small herb from Brazil, used as a low border for paths and flower beds. It has red, branching stems and variegated red, green and yellow, small oval leaves. - Hawaiian Dictionary, Pukui and Elbert
"The taste of peppermint lingered. Neither cinnamon nor toast remained. A silky breeze teased at my hair, "Is that you Pale the border weed?" It was the rascal wind for very few knew me by that name. I was not so stunned to be fooled into giving up my identity without banter. The fact I was prone in a bed lined in stones was my clue; I evaded."
 "We, as Native Hawaiians, must continue to unveil the knowledge of our ancestors. Let us interpret for ourselves who our ancestors are, how they thought, and why they made certain decisions. In the process, we treat them with honor, dignity, love, and respect--whethery they be akua, ali'i, or kanaka--because they are our 'ohana, our family.-Pualanai Kanahele Ka Honua Ola
So with one beautiful week of being open to those who are drawn to the borders between the cracks; who enjoy the joy of eating a platter of heavenly shaped cinnamon toast (on a plate only slightly chipped); and suck on the bones of each doses of homeopractical magic ... we welcome you.

Soon we will be showing up in places, sweet and comfortable spots where our red awning can be pitched and cups folded for those who wish to listen to a tale, and pin their stories to ours. In the meantime do continue to sniff around, get to know us, read the story, leave a message about your experience with Pale;The silver-haired Raven; and whatever magic has begun to tickle your fancy.

Many malohas to Drew of the B+ Wave for the flow on which we love to ride.

A hui hou,

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your positive words are welcome here.