Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"Hilo 'ia a pa'a" Braiding a tight cord of knowledge

"We hope you enjoy the journal to record the beauty, growth and cycles of Whidbey." - Love, Kaliko and 'ohana
My husband Pete and I are trackers of the moon, Mahina, in the Hawaiian culture. During the late spring and summer we gathered at moon watching places on the south end of Whidbey Island to watch Mahina rise from behind the peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range.  A pair of friends who also love the moon dubbed us 'The Lunatics' and we so do love to count of the moon. So, we giggle and point at one another when we bump into each other in the daily rounds of errands. Like the other morning when it was cold and required wrapping up with wooly hats and scarfs to the point of disguise. With one of us holding a stalk of rainbow chard grown and sent from somewhere far away (California?) and another reaching and squeezing lemons I looked at the neighboring shopper and said, "Lunatic?" And indeed it was my moon-watching friend Judy. We met at the organic produce section of one of the two larger grocers on the south end of Whidbey. With nothing green and growing in the local gardens in late December we depend upon the grocers to buy and sell the nourishing food Judy and my husband Pete plant, tend and harvest during the rest of the year. Seasonal changes are real, natural and in response we humans make adjustments. In this case, we shop.

The name of the post today "Hilo 'ia a pa'a" is a phrase used to entitle a small paper journal used to record observations of the moon  phases of your place. My niece Kaliko sent the hand-size journal-recorder to us with the note that starts this post above. Her note was a serendipitous connection, like meeting my pal Judy in the organic produce. She may or may not already know that we attune to the moon. We count on the moon to ground our emotions (fleeting as they are) recognizing the effect of the rising tides (internal as well as the oceans and ground water) when the dreams are especially potent or the dark nights rimmed with old cautions verging on fear. When the moon, the Goddess Mahina is potent and visible during the daylight hours as she is now, the balance of dark and light shifts. During the 'Ole Moon Phases we reflect on our choices, and our progress with life and wait until those phases have passed before making new choices or starting a new project. Those sorts of observations and awarenesses can wind into that tight cord of knowledge alluded to in the play on words "hilo 'ia 'a pa'a."

The journal's inside page begins with this:

"The title of this journal is a play on Hilo, the name of the crescent moon and the first night of a new malama (Hawaiian month). This is a time of great potential and new beginnings, as the energy of the mahina (moon/month) increases from Hilo till Mahealani. Hilo also means to twist or braid. As you begin the practice of recording observations for each lunar phase, you will start braiding a cord of knowledge about your 'aina that will eventually become pa'a ana'au, or fixed within your consciousness..."

The Moon Phase Project is an online forum designed to share with users everywhere. will get you there. In the coming months I will be sharing and encouraging others on Whidbey Island to learn and observe the phases of the Hawaiian moon calendar. We are plotting and planning a Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year) Celebration in February, 2015 to welcome the "Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram." It will be the next step in growing The Safety Pin Cafe's purpose for being a place where story(ies) and storytelling is valued, encouraged and based on the inseparable nature of all life. The Gregorian Calendar is the one most of us use to schedule and track time and our goings-on. January 1st begins 2015. Well and good. And, in addition to that solar generated time keeper, Mahina, the moon allows us to notice and record a different cord of knowledge "How can it help to guide our contemporary lifestyles?" Through first-hand observation of how Nature appears where you (we/I) live we connect with what grows when; how it grows; what the water/wind/birds-fish etc. are doing. We make note, and over time we braid life from personal experiences.

The findings will be unique for each of us. As 2015 unfolds, The Year of the Goat/Sheep/Ram will serve as my braiding year where I step into the community as Storyteller-in-Residence. The Safety Pin Cafe's medicine of story will pin together ancient stories with my personal journeys, observing and recording the potential of other stories ripe for telling. Stay tuned here, for how you can be involved, and where I will be sharing The Moon Phase Project Whidbey and The Safety Pin Cafe's Storyteller-in Residence as well.

Are you a lunatic? Would you be interested in joining a small group on Whidbey Island to learn and observe the Hawaiian moon phases? Please leave a comment, or email us if you are.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weathering Weather on Whidbey

Justin Burnett, Editor of the South Whidbey Record wrote, "The December wind storm of 2014 won’t be forgotten anytime soon, not on South Whidbey anyway.
Beginning at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday (December 11, 2014) evening, the South End was slammed by winds that downed hundreds of trees, resulting in scores of power outages, an unknown number of blocked roads and driveways, and damaging private property from Clinton to Greenbank..." - Read the entire article here.
December 2014 Storm Damage
Photo Credit: Justin Burnett South Whidbey Record
Everybody has a storm story to tell as we, and our neighbors on the South End of Whidbey Island recoup from the intensity of winds that came with power. We listened to the snap and crash of tree limbs on and around us in the woods, grateful in the morning when the winds had passed to know no serious damage was done to our tiny homes nor that of our closest neighbors. Our landladies and we ran gasoline powered generators for hours to keep us warm, and allow me to cook. The loud sound of the engines and the petroleum emission the price we paid to be warm. It's a trade-off to the environment, something I chock up to accepting that can't be changed. We don't burn wood for heat. We need to stay warm. We wish to endure. We do what we can. Pete was out and about the neighborhood helping clean downed trees and checked on neighbors. There's an after shock that we all experience, and that's what's happened around here and at The Safety Pin Café. A slowing down and a psychic and physical release. WHEWW in capitals.
To help me with weathering winter I turn to the world of words and the medicine of story. You may want to read my latest Medicine Story that came from that storm. Pinned together as all my stories are, the real marries the myth and the partnership is a commitment to see life as a fiesta, a moveable feast, a fairy tale with or without fairy. The new story MoltenMadam sees Pale the Border Witch and heroine of The Safety Pin Café alive and well as she ages into her Wild Hare self "never too old for the mischief and the mystery."

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Snow and ice report

Snow arrived Thursday night, and then the temperature dropped turning things colder and icy. I don't travel about in the snow and ice, and neither did our water that froze itself in pipes somewhere. So the dishes piled high, and only now have we got them washed and ready to cook up warm food and dirty up those pots, pans, bowls and spoons.

The snow bombs are falling as the sun warms the heavy blobs from the fir and pine up high.