Monday, October 17, 2016

Racism, Prejudice, and a Challenge

{sigh} I've been hearing a lot about racial prejudice and discrimination. An awful lot of it framed as Us vs. Them, where Us are People of Color, and Them are The Whites. I've even heard people say that as a white, I can't help but be Part of the Problem.


I'm a Baldwin. My relatives have been fighting against racial discrimination and prejudice for at least a century and a half, sometimes risking our reputations, our jobs, and even arrest to make things better as we can. I haven't had the opportunities my ancestors did, but I'm ready for my turn.

I am not part of the problem, but when folks tell me I am... it's tempting to be what they so obviously expect. It's really tempting. {bite lips} Fortunately, this ally is pretty stubborn. In fact, I'm stubborn enough to ask for a way to be part of Us, and not Them, despite being white. That's my challenge to anyone and everyone who's been pushing this dichotomy. Find a way to stop shutting me out.
I'm not an enemy here, and I don't appreciate folks trying to turn me into one. {determined look}
Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Woman in the Moon and Rainbow Falls

The Goddess Hina was very upset. Her husband was so lazy! Not only did he expect her to make him fine kapa to wear, but he expected her to fish, and keep the garden, and even do all the cooking! She loved making kapa, and was very good at it, but cooking was a man’s prerogative, and fishing and gardening were normally shared. Yet her husband demanded she do it all while he napped.

She decided to run away, but how?

One day, she spotted one of the many rainbows the falls by the cave she made her home in were named for. It looked solid, and she was goddess enough to go up to it and start to climb. However, as she climbed, it got hotter and hotter, for she was getting closer to the hot sun. It got so hot, she had to turn around and go back.

Back to her husband, who was as lazy as ever. He still demanded he do his work as well as her own. Running away looked better and better, but she had to make sure she escaped this time.

One night she spotted a moonbow by the falls. With no sun out, it shouldn’t get as hot, she mused. She went over to it, and started to climb.

Her husband came out of the cave, and ran towards her, demanding she come back. He leap ed towards her, and caught her foot before she’d climbed out of reach. She struggled to get away. With a great kick, she pulled free, making him fall back to earth… but wrenched her ankle in the process. She wasted no time, hobbling high out of reach before he could recover and try again.

She climbed right to the moon, and there she stayed. You can see her when you look up at the moon, sitting with her wrenched ankle in front of her as she pounds her kapa. When she spreads it out to dry, it forms white clouds, complete with the original emphasis on her husband’s laziness. (No, that wasn’t my idea. J )

I don’t know many legends by heart, but I know this one well enough to tell it from memory. It’s stuck with me ever since I heard it at a storytelling at Kea’au library when I was a kid. This was one of the stories, illustrated on a felt board.

The Goddess Hina was known as the mother Maui. The Hilo area said she lived in a cave behind Waianuenue, or Rainbow Falls.

So here’s Rainbow Falls courtesy of Google Street view:

And here’s another view from them:

Do you see what I see?

Or rather… do you not see what I don’t see?

I don’t see any cave. Well, unless you count the backwash beach behind the actual falls, but that’s subject to continual spray from the falls. Besides, that kapa she made was a paper-cloth; the fibers were literally pounded together with beaters until it formed a flat, somewhat stiff sheet that people would wrap around themselves. If you got it wet, it went to mush that couldn’t be worn. So a backwash beach home is one you can’t get dressed in, or even keep your clothes in.

Now this is a spot on the Wailuku River. There are enough caves with underwater entrances, a known way to drown is to get caught in one, and not be able to surface for air. Having one with an air pocket would be unusual, but far from impossible… but you’d still have to store your clothes outside to keep them from going to mush.

No, the cave needs a dry entrance for Hina’s kapa.

 It’s a very well hidden entrance indeed, isn’t it? ;)

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A legend of Kahuna Falls

Kahuna Falls is the other large falls in Akaka Falls State Park; the one you also see if you take the entire loop, and don’t just go down to Akaka Falls and back. One of the reasons it was called Kahuna Falls (The Priest’s Falls) is that there’s a pool right at the top of the falls that’s supposed to heal ills if you bathe in it. People were supposed to take their sick family members to it in stretchers and everything so they could bathe in the pool and be healed.

Sounds a lot like a lot of healing springs and pools around the globe, right? There’s just one little difference. They won’t let me embed from Google Maps, so here’s a link to the best picture Google Maps' street view seems to have of it.

If you’re have trouble figuring out the picture, the falls comes from about 5/6ths the way up that cliff, where slightly gentler cliffs up to the top of the ridge from there. I think most healing pools and springs are a little more accessible, especially since you really were supposed to climb up from the bottom of the falls. {pause}

My first impression is that anyone who can climb up there didn’t need much healing, but it’s not that simple. Especially not with stretchers and lots of relatives with good, strong backs to make that climb, and help pull their sick relative up it. Because in Lilo and Stitch, Disney understated the importance of family in Hawaiian culture. If Auntie is sick, they’ll get her there. It may take a lot of amicable bickering while arranging the ropes and the stretcher and all, but they’ll do it for Auntie.

P.S. I’m sorry this one doesn’t have more of a story, but this is what I had time for after making the last chair cover and fighting a suddenly difficult mouse (unsuccessfully so far). {half-smile}

Friday, July 22, 2016

Lili'uokalani Park and Gardens

I just discovered that Google Earth has many of the walking paths of my favorite park in their street view. A friend just taught me how to link there, so here’s a link.

That should take you to the street in front of the park. You can go around the streets of course, but I hope this is pointed at a torii, a sort of doorless gate arch. (If I’d linked to the sidewalk, you’d be too close to admire the torii. {wink, Smile}) If not, turn around you find it. Then head straight towards the torii, then thru it into the park itself. I think you’ll pretty much be stuck to the handicapped accessible walkways, like I am in real life, but do it anyway. This is supposed to be the biggest Japanese-style garden outside of Japan. So you can only see the tide pools, bridges and many of the stone lanterns from a distance. There’s still a lot to see here. {Smile, BIG SMILE}

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Pleasant Encounter

Something nice happened while Dad was picking up dinner at Maui Taco's the other night. (He was alone because my balance was too unsteady for me to go in with him.)

Dad was struggling with trying to carry dinner while walking with the crutch these days, when a boy about ten came up to him, and said he'd like to carry the bag for Dad. Then a woman came up as the boy's grandmother, and repeated that they'd like to help by carrying his bag.

Dad thanked them, and accepted their help. They walked with him out to the car. The boy carried our dinners, and put them in the trunk of our car when Dad opened it up.

As they left, the grandmother said "God bless you."

Dad replied in kind.

Dad says where else would that happen besides Hilo? I don’t know, but it happened here, and it lightened a difficult day when it did. J

Anne Elizabeth Baldwin