Kilauea Eruption May 2018

Posting another link for those of you who have trouble viewing the video posted above:

Aloha dear readers:

The video and photo attached will help you understand what is happening on our little slice of Paradise here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

  • We live in Kohala, as far away from current volcanic activity as one can get and still be on this island. It’s roughly a 3-1/2 hour drive from our home. So we are well out of harm’s way, though we did experience two earthquakes two days ago. Still, compared to 2006 when our town was actually the epicenter for a major quake that did significant damage in our community, these quakes were minor.
  • All of Hawaii is made up of volcanoes, not only Hawaii Island. O’ahu, Niihau, Kauai (which recently has suffered extreme flooding that has altered the entire north shore), Lana’i, Moloka’i and Maui are all comprised of volcanoes in various stages of dormancy or viability.
  • The Puna district, marked Kilauea on the map, has seen volcanic activity now for many years. I’ve also included (below) some photos taken when my husband and I hiked the seven miles in from Kalapana to view lava flowing to the sea. The photo of the rocks we walked over to get to the shoreline demonstrate how volatile the surface was in that area.
  • People who bought property in the currently affected area knew they were in the path of a live volcano. Some grew up there and this was the only home they knew. To the other extreme, mainlanders flooded in, looking for cheap land to build a home in which to retire or provide them with vacation rental income. The views were stunning, though insurance was extremely expensive if it could be gotten at all.
  • The above map of the island is, in another form, divided into lava zones. Any property owner knows his or her lava zone, as insurance rates (if even available) are based upon what lava zone one resides in. The Kilauea or Puna district is within zones 1 and 2. Kohala, where we live, is in Lava Zone 9, 1 being the most volatile, 9 being the least.

Eruptions of Kilauea have continued for decades. When we first moved to the island, we remember driving down Chain of Craters Road in  Volcanoes National Park at night to view lava streaming down the mountainside. It was jaw-dropping. The current eruption in Leilani Estates signifies a dramatic shift in activity, and is a reminder to never take the power of Mother Nature or in this particular case the power of Madame Pele for granted. Humans have long ignored the earth they so depend upon and lost the reverence and awe of their earliest ancestors. Sometimes I wonder what it’s going to take to re-awaken humans to their proper place in the scheme of this magnificent planetary ecosystem.

Shhh …

We can only hold what we can bear.

Silence brooks wisdom, and if one attends
to the whooshing din of atoms, secrets
of the universe unfurl themselves,
invisible flags scaling stanchions of awareness,
defining human drama and its opposite, quietude,
in the infinitesimal smallness
of the infinitely possible;

Last night (or should I say in the wee hours
of daybreak), I heard them gnashing; ears aching
with the largesse of incomprehensible awareness
and I understood collective fear as never before,
quake of existence, dread of comings and goings,
insanity of metal tubes slicing through air
and across borders as if thrown
from the well muscled hand of Zeus;

Even deeper did I apprehend the shuffling gait
of the ancient plantation laborer, content now
in self captivity on an island in the middle
of nowhere, simplicity of routine, old dented truck
and loose dentures, eyes creased
with cataracted wisdom that this and no more
is what can be managed and must;
one is meant to live, after all.

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Boundless

What is this voluminous vibration jarring me
from deep slumber; scratch the veneer
and raw terror is unleashed unnameable,
reminding me of self imposed limitations
in a universe hardly vast enough to contain
what is termed consciousness,
Is there a plan, save for cracking open whirling holographic
Pandora’s boxes in a galaxy conceived of peripheries,
and to what purpose?

Call it what you will, mathematicians grasping, grasping
in the dusky corners of dawn, awakening minds amassing
formulae in a futile attempt to order what is glimpsed behind
the looking glass, smaller, larger, fractional, incalculable,
squinting at the shards of infinitude tapping tired neurons
on fringes of an exhausted awareness, quicksilver concepts
that vanish with indomitable proximity;

Beyond the confines of socially imposed self recrimination
and edifices of faith meant to ensure order if not perpetuation
of gods we humans can conceive of, lies, like the infant saint
in his cradle, the awakening of a species rolled
onto the playing field to face down mammoth or persona
with or without props in moments geared to cope
with overwhelming ideosynchracies or a plethora of possibilities;

Are we weak, are we brave, stick figures measuring up or staring down
a jabberwocky of cobbled illusion, mindless distraction
of one hundred years of limitation, detritus heaping up
around our ears and why, why exist at all with this yoke
around our jugular, believing it is a lifeline or a weight belt dragging us
under the waters of a cognizance meant to contravene itself
through daily rituals comprising the bulk of this blink in eternity, ensuring
not too much slack in our own short leashes,
hounds of hell or angels, in turn;

There is more, go beyond, walk out at daybreak to dwell
on the horizon! Beyond this day and tomorrow lies infinity,
itself conceptual, yet enough invitation to open like the sky
when all else in a world whose orbit is proscribed
by gravity weighs us down.

 

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CRUMBLE

Pieces of an intricate puzzle
are how I assemble life,
not pausing to consider position on the template
nor noting how many fragments remain
heaped on the fringes,
awaiting destiny’s promptings.

Days arrive on tradewinds
blowing me this way and that,
shuffling the mix until, exhausted,
I surrender once more to the grand Equalizer,
plans pulling up even with spontaneity.

To tie it together, attempting to make sense
through conclusions and deductions
might prove the downfall of science
in an overreach to flex grey matter
beyond its intended orbit.

Who can tell in the final analysis
what remains of the ruminating centuries;
heaps of equations and algorithms
scattered amidst the remnants
of yet another forgotten,
if magnificent, civilization?

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Living Loving (Drop the Maid)

Who would have thought that looking up one’s age as a number on the periodic table of elements would result in another amazing revelation? Yet here I am, just turned sixty, googling my element like a child on a scavenger hunt. Here’s what I discover:

Neodymium is the 60th element discovered by Carl F. Auer von Welsbach at 1885 in Austria. The origin of the element’s name is from the Greek words “neos didymos” meaning “new twin.”

The irony strikes me twice. Being born in June, my Western astrological sign is Gemini, or The Twins. The other synchronicity is that this year, my sixtieth, marks a once-in-a-lifetime Chinese Water Snake return to cosmic influences present when I was born. As this snake sheds her skin, the “new twin” emerges.

If you’ve been following this blog, you’ve doubtlessly realized I’m coming to grips with cutting away the dross; reframing relationships to others and thus, to the world at large. A different paradigm is in the offing; one that is a vast improvement over the sacrificing people pleaser I was raised to embody. While my basic nature remains intact, I am leaning further into balance, tuning into reciprocity. We women can tend to give to the degree that we end up casualties of our own lives. Just because we can multitask the pants off of men, for example, doesn’t mean that we should. Also our collective breasts seem under attack these days; cancer has taken too many sisters down. The do-it-all mentality is not healthy for me, any more than for those I come in contact with.

This theme brings to mind instructions given on every flight I’ve ever taken: should a mother and child be present during a cabin pressure failure, the mother is to take in oxygen first from the drop-down mask, then place the mask over the face of her child. That way, she is actually prepared to be of assistance. Or as Brewer and Shipley sang the year I graduated high school, We’ve got to fill the cup with love, and keep working on the well.

Better late than never.

For the entire Oliver Sacks article that prompted this post, click here.

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Oh, and just in case it needs clarification, I realize some of you might miss the thrust of the title, “Living Loving (Drop the Maid).” This refers to an old Led Zeppelin song “Living Loving Maid.” Should you desire, you could google the lyrics.

The Age of Aquarius?

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In 1969, I was a high school freshman. Middle school had bussed me from a known quantity – a neighborhood in which I thrived with friends I’d known since kindergarten – into flights of stairs and home rooms and tennis courts and football fields and oh, so many students! That original grammar school group was split into three and cast to the winds of destiny. And though high school brought me closer to the mountain foothills where I spent my childhood, once again school chums were cleaved into three groups; three different high schools.

Each time I changed academic institutions, the pond got bigger and bigger. A grammar school class of less than one hundred multiplied by ten in middle school; my middle school class exploded into a high school graduating class of twelve hundred. These were frightening changes to a sensitive kid, but I put on a brave face and kept moving forward. What else could I do? Being bookish, I embraced new arenas of learning. Being an observer of people, I was highly entertained.

Those high school days brought self expression to the fore: the drama cliques, the jocks and cheerleaders, the intellectual/nerds, the joiners/social climbers, the band and drill team groupies, the hippies, the Black Panther wannabes and more. Tumultuous times indeed, they were not without colorful expression and the passion befitting adolescents about to launch themselves into a frightening world replete with social and political unrest.

One of my fondest memories of that time emerges from the center of the school’s interior. Being in a year-round climate meant the quad’s lawn was always abuzz with activity. The hippie kids brought along guitars and beaded headbands; armpit hair, sandals, poetry and song. The Fifth Dimension’s Aquarius hit the top of the charts and my very corpuscles thrilled at its message: When the moon is in the seventh house; And Jupiter aligns with Mars; Then peace will guide the planets; And love will steer the stars …

It seemed all things were possible – that no act of civil disobedience would be executed without merit – we were headed into a new world where our generation would finally have the chance to impact the kinds of positive change we doubtlessly came to earth to embody.

Fast-forward forty years, and the giant clock hands ker-chunk into prayer hands position. Moving into the long-awaited New Age, we discover, to our great consternation, that instead of peaceful euphoria, we are faced with unparalleled atrocities (if only due to our burgeoning numbers, here on Planet Earth). Global warming and random acts of senseless violence pierce the airwaves like Morse code gone berserk. How could this possibly be the same Age foretold in those not-so-long-ago lyrics: Harmony and understanding, sympathy and trust abounding; No more falsehoods or derisions, golden living dreams of visions; Mystic crystal revelations, and the mind’s true liberations … Aquarius! A-quar-i-us?

In fact, Aquarius governs electricity, democracy, technology, computers, the Internet, flight, freedom, idealists, religion and innovative systems such as astrology. Aquarius itself is ruled by the planet Uranus; considered by most astrologers to be the planet of surprise and change. As with any condition on planet Earth, one observes a fair dose of polarity. For all the positive changes that have certainly been implemented in my lifetime, certain incomprehensible acts might seem to negate them. But it is not so simple, for the birthing of a child, of a solar system, of new ideas and concepts and awareness all require tremendous contraction and expansion before settling into the rhythm of existence.

Of course I’d like to believe that events in the recent past, no matter how horrific, will yet result in further awakening humanity; that the chaos perpetrated by a confused minority will result in a collective expansion of noble hearts; of kindness and compassion. I’m hoping that the threat of a planet rife with bizarre weather patterns and melting polar ice, not to mention the extinction of far too many species of flora and fauna, will embolden us to insist special interest groups step aside and let creative innovators help rebalance our planet to the extent that it is still possible. I expect that science coupled with humanitarianism holds the key – that golden key that finally ushers in the long-awaited gifts of the Aquarian Age.

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

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I wish more of us sought to understand what we fear, instead of seeking to eliminate the causes of our distress. I’ve lived long enough to know that if we remove our triggers, new ones will invariably appear. It’s like those little pop-up figures in a shooting gallery: as we knock them down, they simply return, again and again, to bedevil us. Pema Chodron is a great teacher of sitting with discomfort rather than fleeing from it; certainly rather than attempting to do harm to what we find repellent.

Though I find it irrational, many are terrorized by things that creep and crawl and especially slither. And though my eldest sister used to place butterflies and big juicy green grasshoppers atop my frightened head as a child, I overcame that initial repulsion and grew up in wonderment at all of earth’s creatures.

Recently West Hawaii Today ran an AP story detailing the aerial release of thousands of poisoned mice proposed to eliminate snakes that seem to be overrunning Guam. Heaven forbid these reptiles might wriggle into a tight cargo space on a plane headed for Hawaii – we can only imagine what might befall our population of already-endangered birds; indeed, a valid concern. Recent history embarrasses, however, with the profusion of mongoose, originally brought in to eliminate rats escaped from the ships of early explorers. (Feel free to conjure up images of a host of lean and shivering European rodents, fleeing Captain Cook’s ship, kissing the fertile island ground strewn with the carcasses of rotting fruit wherever they went!) These weasel-cunning critters were quite out of luck on that intended score, however, as rats are nocturnal and mongoose – well – let’s just say they sleep peacefully at night so that they might awaken anew to decimate any bird, egg or smallish hapless creature in their path. (So much for human ingenuity and intervention.) Few snakes would stand a chance in their presence.

I don’t know where the answers lie anymore. I used to think I understood a few, but now realize I must have been delusional. Now I question everything: the wisdom in sacrificing thousands of innocent rodents intended to kill further numbers of essentially nonvenemous snakes; the assertion that we are more highly evolved than most other species; the endless blood for oil shed ‘round the world; the miraculous human mind. Considering what it requires to silence my own at will, I often wonder if it’s a greater adversary than ally. Though I might well be mistaken.

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