water

Fire In The Land

Rain

Last night I was standing on my lanai hearing massive amounts of water falling from the sky and landing on the roof, the kukui and rubber trees, and the hard lava earth. A sound we call R A I N. That word RAIN doesn’t really cover the experience. It’s too easy to tell a quick story about RAIN, like “the rain was so loud I had to get off the phone. Our stories about rain reduce it to an inconvenience– “too loud,” “making me wet” “too much for my wimpy windshield wipers”. Or sometimes it’s framed as a resource we need– desperate for rain for our gardens.

What would it be like to just be with rain? Water hitting floppy kukui leaves makes a different sound than water hitting the round stiff leaves of the rubber tree. I noticed that there was something else I was hearing under the landing of water– a steady high-pitched tone. Probably one of those crickety-type of insects that makes amazing noises just by rubbing their rough legs together, which when I think about it, is no more or less amazing than humans making noises by generating sound from thoughts in our brains and movement in our hearts that moves to a specific place in our necks and is amplified out through our mouths.

Sound is a new awareness in my life. I’m so visual. Humans are so visual, generally. I recently came across this quote: “Vision eviscerates all of our other senses”. I often move on a well-traveled highway between my eyes and my brain, and from this short fast trip I construct simple stories about what life is bringing to me. I loved that moment last night when the RAIN became more than a flat story; suddenly I was perceiving multi-layered sound and imagining insects and leaves receiving and shedding wetness. I want more moments like this!

Mom Baby Goats

Goats

I often hike the Keauhou coastline, traversing my way through Kiawe thickets and making my way down to the red and black high-fired expanse of undulating pahoehoe formations along the ocean. One day I meandered along lost in my daydreams. Out of thin air a herd of goats bolted, flying in a swirl of delicate hooves, horns pointing skyward, grace set in motion skimming across lava, against the deep blue sky and ocean spewing white spray. I was stunned. I’d have never guessed that goats could embody the essence of beauty with such presence and power.

I thought I knew what goats were about. Not much about goats interested me – until that day. How can an animal whose hooves are no larger than the circumference of a tea cup race at that speed across tumbled and twisted lava? I experienced goats for the first time in my life. I now imagine that goats have senses and ways of perceiving that I cannot fathom. Is it too fantastic to propose that maybe they even may have sensors, like eyes, in their hooves that guide them across any terrain they care to traverse? And at any speed they care to traverse it. And with glorious confidence!

In my little box, when I thought “goat” knee-jerk images arose: barnyards, whiny bleating, rank smell, their reputation for eating anything that doesn’t move. Now the thought “goat” brings me a surge of happiness, blue sky and ocean, delicate, purposeful, power, and grace.

Art is a sure way out of the box. My opening step in creating art is usually a wisp of an idea that comes to me and seems to invite me to explore. So I step forward and I hear, I touch, I feel curiosity – wondering what will come. And then more comes. I see color I never saw before. I discern. I notice. And then usually at some point the image comes full force or trickles in through dreams or insights. This process calls me to pay attention and receive life in its infinite forms. It is this openness to life that gives me my deepest joy. Thank you my dear goat friends, for showing me how to be alive!

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