Fiery volcano collages & doodles

8 12 2018





The gift of lau hala knowledge

1 12 2018

The gift

For our ʻŌlelo, Hawaiian language, class today Keoua Nelsen, our kumu (teacher, or source), decided his Christmas gift to his haumana (students) would be making lau hala bracelets. Besides teaching Hawaiian, he is a lau hala weaver. Most of us had not woven lau hala before. He introduced us to weaving with an oli, or chant, tracing the origins of the pandanus from its growth to its usefulness.

Kumu provided kits of the materials, having already done the hard part for us—gathering, cleaning, cutting off the thorns, stripping, and softening the lau hala. The kit included 1) a backing that we wound around all five knuckles that our bracelet would have to pass over,  2) a dark-colored warp already stripped into seven quarter-inch widths (see photo) starting about one inch from one end, and 3) a whitish-colored weft.

From top to bottom: backing, warp, weft

The start. The rolled-up backing and the end of the warp are clipped together. The light-colored weft is inserted behind the warp as pictured, and the long end will be folded around and into the inside, to begin the weave from the LEFT.

Chart indicates design steps. You can do the design plan on graph paper.

As it happened, I didn’t follow the design plan exactly. Oops! I unknowingly wove a happy result. It’s called “Nene,” the name of the goose that is the Hawai‘i State bird, because the design resembles the wings!

I repeat my Nene design all around the bracelet. With my fingernail I’ll push the weft strands closer to minimize gaps. Lightly misting with water keeps the work pliable.

Kumu Nelsen shows how to finish the bracelet by hiding and trimming the left-over ends.

Kumu reminds us that learning the Hawaiian language is a gift that you give to yourself. The same can be said of learning how to weave lau hala.

Copyright 2018 Rebekah Luke





Holoholo to Volcano

1 11 2018

Kīlauea Caldera with Mauna Loa beyond

A fast overnight trip from Oʻahu to Hawaiʻi island this week reminded me of how easy it is to get away from it all. I accompanied my friend and high school classmate Martha Noyes to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park where she gave an interesting talk on cultural astronomy.

At the Kīlauea Visitor Center we met dedicated park rangers who provided us with maps and the lay of the land before we checked in to our cabin at Kīlauea Military Camp, five minutes away in our rental car.

This was my first time staying at KMC. One can rent very reasonably priced accommodations here, even 3-bedroom cabins, with sponsorship from a military veteran. I thought, hmm, maybe for the next family reunion?

The cabins are rustic yet clean and furnished with enough creature comforts for your stay, including flashlights! A cafeteria, bar/lounge, and bowling alley are nearby.

Row of one-bedroom cabins at Kīlauea Military Camp. Cabin window below.

Exploring is what one would normally do at a national park. Hawai’i Volcanoes is now reopened since the volcano eruption subsided. This year is the 100th anniversary of the Park. But Martha and I preferred to sleep in late and catch up with conversation while drinking coffee.

Nēnē geese, the Hawaiʻi state bird, outside our cabin

ʻŌhia lehua leaves. We wondered if the black stuff was a symptom of rapid ʻōhiʻa death.

Sulfur steam vent

Top: ʻōhiʻa lehua.
Bottom, l to r: laukahi, hinahina moss, orange-colored trunk, uluhe fern.

Panorama view of Halemaʻumaʻu Crater from Volcano House. Click for a larger view.

To get there: Turn left when you exit Hilo Airport onto Highway 11 and continue until you reach the park entrance about 28 miles away (40 minutes).

Martha Noyes, author

Martha Noyes’s next talk is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., December 7, 2018, in the Kanaina Building on the Iolani Palace grounds in Honolulu.





October cactus flower

2 10 2018

Cactus flowers

Are you enjoying our wela (hot) and ikiiki (humid) weather in Hawaii? It seems these plants in my garden do! The cactus that my friend Yo gave me is thriving, and so are the red ti plants put in the garden by Hailama. There are two seasons in our Islands—kau wela (dry season) and hoʻoilo (wet season).

Red ti blossoms

Copyright 2018 Rebekah Luke





Mid-summer abundance

22 07 2018

The large yellow/orange globe is a papaya from my garden. The birds planted the tree!

Taking time to marvel at the variety of fruit that I see in my kitchen—gifts from friends, strangers, a bird, and from the market. I am inspired to assemble a still life. Ever grateful for the abundance. Mahalo e Ke Akua.





Revisiting ʻIolekaʻa for an anniversary

2 07 2018

Iconic view of ʻIolekaʻa

Yesterday, after 20 years, I walked back in to ʻIolekaʻa valley in Windward Oahu for the 20th anniversary of the celebration of life of my late friend Anita. She, her faithful dog Ei Nei, and the ʻāina (land) are memorialized in 13 landscape oil paintings I made in 1994. It was an honor and a privilege to have been invited by Anita to see her home, then and now.

A dozen friends and relatives began arriving at 9 a.m. calling “Ūi!” (Halloo) and answered by “Eō!” (Iʻm here). Long pants, long sleeves, boots, rain gear, hat, gloves, and defenses from mosquitos made up our garb. The plan was to hike through the bamboo forest to clean the heiau (stone platform) area and to rebuild the ahu (altar) with pōhaku, and then farther to the foot of the mountain, that is the water source for ʻIolekaʻa stream, where Anita’s ashes had been spread from a helicopter.

Cultivated anthuriums

Ginger and tree ferns by the stream, just steps from the house

Tracey and Donna blow the conch to acknowledge visitors

Cut anthuriums for Mom

Daughter Donna began with a prayer, and when she mentioned Anita’s name, a soft sweet wind breezed by, acknowledgement enough! Mahalo e Anita! Mahalo e ke Akua!

Oh, the memories. Not much has changed, except that I saw less kalo (taro) growing in the gardens. In fact, everything looks a little tidier. The current generation has recently returned to the land, acknowledging and accepting it is their kuleana to care for it.

Clearing the trail

Along the stream

Ancient Hawaiian rock terraces overgrown with bamboo

Every now and then a waterfall

Looking up

The ahu — before

Before photo. Waiting for the others.

The dog Ei Nei’s marker. R.I.P.

Corner wall of the heiau

Donna and Wally carefully rearrange the rocks for the ahu, flat side out.

More waterfalls

The ahu — after

Anita’s family and friends. pc: Didi Akana

After we pau hana we sat down to talk story and shared a bottle of wine and rolls with butter and jelly (Anita’s favorite snack). Sort of like holy communion, I thought! To me, the anniversary celebration for Anita fulfilled its purpose when the younger ones, her now-adult grandchildren, stepped up and announced it was their turn to continue the work.

We emerged from the forest at 3:30, muddy, damp and happy, and glad a pot of corn chowder and other goodies were waiting for our potluck “lunch.” By the time I walked out to modern civilization it was 5 p.m. What a full and wonderful day! Aloha e!

White ginger

 

Tahitian gardenia

~ Rebekah Luke

 





Observing the moon phases

24 06 2018

Matching moon phases with calendar dates and making a journal entry

In my Hawaiian language class we are learning the names of the moon phases — a different name for each 24 hours as well as the hand signs. Kumu Keoua Nelsen challenged us to go outdoors and look at the moon. Last night in Kaaawa I observed its shape as gibbous or 3/4 full. I think it is Huna today. As I wrote in my journal, it is a “warm and windless morning. Light rain shower. 7” avocados on tree. Plenty papaya still green…”

Avocado fruit measures about 7” in diameter now. I anticipate it will be humongous by the usual harvest time in August.

 

Plenty papaya

~ Rebekah Luke








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