Sunday, November 20, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I wandered around, not so much paying attention to the crumbling structure, for I had already explored it the last time I was there. This time I wandered out into the forest as far as different trails took me—looking for the perimeter of the site. My understanding was that it was built on or near an old heiau site. Instead, what caught my attention this time was rocks.
This rock was definitely put upright by human hands. It was nestled in the fork of a very large tree—and had been there for quite some time. It was off to the side and behind the stone house site. From my readings, I realized that I was looking at a definite “male” image.
This rock may have had a crescent carved on it—or perhaps it was a natural hole in the rock. I couldn’t tell for sure. The crescent shape was one found on the Ali’i’s feathered capes, one of the goddess Hina, the moon. The dark hole beside it was quite deep in the rock, again I couldn’t tell if it was a natural hole in the rock or if it had been gouged out. Interesting….
This rock stared at me as I passed by, and called to me to come back and take its picture. When I looked at it though the camera lens, it seemed to me I saw two eyes looking back at me. The rocks were alive, speaking to me softly, as rocks do.
As I left the site and walked back down to the main path, I came upon a large group of people cutting bamboo. Since this is watershed land, I wanted to question their right to harvest bamboo, which they were obviously doing. But a solitary hiker does not question a group of people, many of whom had very sharp machetes, so I walked quickly through the logging operation, careful to not have bamboo fall upon my head, and got the hell away from them. To ease my mind, I said to myself, ‘It’s bamboo. It’ll grow back.”
Sunday, October 9, 2011
This is one of the Hawaiian poison gods. The story is that a sliver of wood from any of the poison gods, dropped in your food, would bring death. What surprised me about this particular image was the mo'o (lizards) tattooed on his face. Praying someone to death, and helping the process out with sprinkling the food with poison was one way to get rid of your enemy. The poison came from a special grove of trees on the island of Molokai. One of the sacred queens, Kalaniakauiokikilo, who had been taken captive by Kamehameha after the battle of Iao and ridiculed for years, finally took poison rather than live under his reign anymore.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
They did a have a couple of huts built to show how things might have looked in the old days. There is also a “legend” tour, which I may have to go back and take to find out what I really want to know… or at least to say I’ve heard the tour. They had some native plants around the huts: pandanas to make mats (as in this photo), noni for medicine, etc.
The wrangler at Kualoa Ranch put me on Blu, the lead horse—the one who had just come back from a trail ride. I’m sure he was not any too thrilled about having to turn around and go right out again, however he didn’t protest too much. Rather, he stood still as I mounted him (on the “wrong” side—it’s the way they pulled the horses up to the mounting steps) and plodded along very amicably. He had one speed, which was fine because I could relax and look around. The trail master (on the white horse) had to cut a switch for Craig’s horse, who had decided that he’d rather stay home and watch ‘the game’ than go for a trail ride.
It is said that this valley is the final resting place of over 150 generations of ali’i. Kahekili, the ruler of Maui, asked for no other spot when he came to conquer O’ahu than this because he wanted rights to the whale bones that washed ashore here. Kahahana, the ruling chief of O’ahu, was warned by the priest Ka’opulupulu not to give this spot away or else he would be giving all his authority away. As it turned out, Kahekili convinced the king to kill the priest. Then Kahikili attacked and conquered O’ahu without the bothersome priest in the way.
It is the Valley of the Kings as far as the island of O’ahu goes… many bones of the chiefs are stashed in the caves in this valley. This area was once a pu’uhonua (a place of refuge). It was a residence of chiefs and where they trained the young ali’i. It was also the spot of the beginning and end of the Makahiki procession, in which the king and his retinue circled the island visiting all the villages and collecting taxes. The beach area was also a sacred canoe landing spot and even Kamehameha lowered his sails as he passed.
Kamehameha III sold some of the land to the Judd’s in 1850. Queen Kalama moved to Kualoa after her husband died and tried to operate a sugar mill. Besides the fact that this land is not rich enough for sugar, there was an accident and the workers were convinced that such an enterprise should not be run on sacred land. Eventually the Judd’s bought up over 4,000 acres—pennies on the dollar—and opened Kualoa Ranch. The trail master wanted to talk about movie sets. I was more interested in the spirits and asked about caves and bones. She glossed over that… and I figured they were right in protecting the bones, and that most people would rather be “Lost” than know the history. And so it goes….
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Pandanas, lauhala, and screwpine are just a few of the names of this plant, which is found all over the South Pacific. The weavers go through a long process—picking up the fallen leaves, taking off the thorns on the edges, washing the leaves, then boiling them, letting them dry, cutting them into the desired width—all to make a hat or mat, basket or sail for the voyaging canoe. One of my students said that the people of Puna, on the Big Island, have eyelashes like lauhala. I looked in her beautiful eyes and saw the same curve. “I take it you’re from Puna?” She just smiled. Another student did a report on lauhala and told of it’s many uses—would that I remembered more…
Monday, June 13, 2011
‘Cock-a-doodle do?’ I thought to myself. ‘There must be some mistake. ‘ It had, indeed, been one of those peculiar days when the negative ions had been running amok since breakfast and things were more bizarre than usual. I looked around for said fowl, and seeing none, I proceeded to let the door shut behind me. I noted the slots for outgoing mail directly in front of me, turned 90 degrees to my right and spotted a long line of silver mailboxes, turned another 90 degrees and saw a display of packaging material and a tall metal waste basket. Someone had swiped the pen from the chain attached to the counter—again. It looked like I was standing in the middle of the post office all right, but just to make sure, I went back outside and looked at the sign on the side of the building: Airport Branch, United States Postal Service. Thus assured, I opened the door again.
This time the cry came a little fainter--from the back of the chicken coop—I mean, the package handling area. The other people standing in line didn’t seem to be bothered by the rooster chorus, so I shrugged it off. Still, I wasn’t completely convinced that I hadn’t somehow mistakenly opened the door to the back of the barn. I surveyed the postal workers behind the long counter, each at their appointed cubical, carrying on as if there was nothing out of the ordinary—as if it was just another day of selling stamps, and handling packages coming and going…
Through the very door I had just entered came a large crate, “Live animal” lettered on the side of the cardboard box. Two beady eyes peered through the air holes of the crate. Below the crate, an extended paunch, a precarious place for balancing said crate, but utilized to the fullest, nonetheless. Beneath the paunch, two stubby legs ended in a pair of black zori slippers. Junior Boy, obviously an old hand at this maneuver, swung the crate around and hefted it up on the postal scale in one smooth motion.
From my place in line, I could look behind the cashier and see a cart with several crates lined up, and gauging from the racket, all filled with roosters. The bird on the scale pecked at the side of his carton, desperate to escape the dark prison of cardboard, threatening to get at his brethren and tear them to shreds.
“Cock-a-doodle-do—you son of a bitch. If I ever get out of this joint and get my hands on you I’ll….”
“You and who else?” The second bird answered.
From the back room came a muffled, “Who’s your muther?”
Junior Boy made a hasty retreat through the door and left the handling of the bill to an older man. Uncle Junior wore a sleeveless t-shirt with the logo Club Femme Nude on the back. It might as well have said, “Live animal,” the same as the crate, because the logo of a naked lady, her legs curled around a stripper pole, spoke volumes as to the character of the establishment. Birds of a feather, as it were. Uncle Junior expertly handled the monetary end of the transaction, making sure that he rested his hands under the crate at an angle the postal worker couldn’t see and ever so slightly tipping the crate and rooster up in order to subtract a few ounces from the weight of the bird, as if the weighing in of the rooster equated a prize fighter being weighed before a match. For, in truth, that is exactly what was happening—these birds had been bred for one of the island’s national pastimes: cockfighting. Legally, the birds could be shipped for breeding purposes, but honestly, Uncle Junior and Junior Boy didn’t look like they’d seen the sunny side of the law for years—indeed, Junior Boy was learning from an old pro.
Junior Boy brought in yet another crate. Uncle Junior parked his fingers in just the right spot, the postal clerk weighed the bird, and the roosters (none plucked for eating) piled up higher and higher in the back room. I bought my stamps, hoping I could get out before one of the workers (a very long afternoon stretching out in front of them) went postal. What can I say?
It’s just another day in Hilo…..
Thursday, June 9, 2011
This image haunts me because I’ve not seen anything like it anywhere else. It is off by itself, along a pahoehoe tongue. The lava just to the right is rippled, but this one spot made a perfect place to carve.
I drove up to Volcanoes National Park, wondering all the way if I should turn around and bag the day—the weather was sketchy at best, and the weather report said “40% chance of rain and/ or thunderstorms.” I figured that I had a couple of hours midday that I might find some decent weather, so I kept driving through the mist at the 2,000 foot level. Even on the way down the other side of the ridge--on the dry side--I had my doubts. The rain forest, of course, was rainy—and windy, and I thought many times about turning around and eating my sandwich somewhere else, but, something kept pulling me on. Down on the plain near the ocean the weather was cloudy but not raining. I grabbed my camera and a bottle of water and headed out. Photographed as fast as I could, knowing my time out there would be limited. After about an hour I got sprinkled on and I had to stop and beg the gods for just a little more time, please... They relented and stopped the rain…but as I looked over my shoulder into the wind, I knew I had to work fast--I would not be granted much more time because Mother Nature had work to do. This is the path on the way back to the car—the mist was, literally, chasing me. I threw my camera in the car, talked to some tourists who were headed out to the field, then got in the car. Just as I shut the door, the rain pelted the windshield and I thanked my lucky stars.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
My first trip into Waipio Valley—the Valley of the Kings. The travel brochures say it’s 1200 feet down in about a mile. I don’t know which is worse—going down or coming back up. I guess it depends on the state of your knees and lungs. Suffice it to say, I didn’t go down without help. I took a van down and then went on the mule-drawn wagon tour. Two mules pulled the wagon with 10 of us aboard. Bob, the muleskinner, said mules are much stronger than horses—and much smarter. When they get tired, they quit (that would be the smarter part…)
My friend Lani’s father won a little piece of the valley in a poker game. There used to be a small house, but it burned down. Now there is a tree to mark the spot.
Saturday, May 28, 2011
This field—over 15 acres—is covered with the stories of the people of old. It was a very hot day as I made my way down the rocky path, stopping every step or two to take another picture. The sun beat down on me and I was glad I had remembered to slather on sunscreen and to bring water. I had not remembered a hat-- much to my dismay—and later realized my scalp was sunburned. All in a day’s work…
Some of these symbols are similar to Puu’ola petroglyphs down at the bottom of Chain of Craters Road in that there are many circles and crescents with holes in the middle—piko holes--signifying the birth of a boy (circle) or a girl (crescent).
There were several lava tubes where the people hid when the kings were fighting—a place for the general population to get out of the way—women, children and elders headed for these caves. The men were drafted into the king’s army, and either came back victorious or not. The petroglyphs were thick, thick, thick around the entrance to the caves. Not one on top of the other—they seemed respectful of what had already been drawn there—but a whole scramble of images right next to each other.
These simple faces never cease to interest me. I have seen similar faces in the bottom of Canyonlands National Park in Utah, at Bellows Falls, Vermont, and now in Hawaii. Have always wondered about their alien quality and their similarity….
There are parts of the gray lava that seem to have cooled so fast that the color of the heat stayed in them. This petroglyph was red underneath—very striking-- and the one next to it, not. It seemed to be a natural part of the stone and not something man-made.
In this petroglyph field there are many complete bodies—as opposed to the piko holes at Anaeho’omalu field, farther south along the coast. There are many three-toed bodies with long tails at this site—I have been told they symbolize the mo’o. There were also many ‘bird’ symbols—like a bird in flight—simply the wings and the body.
This man seems to be holding a crescent in each hand. The crescent was the sign of the moon goddess, Hina.