Category Archives: SOCIAL ISSUES

HAPPY 4th OF JULY!!!

SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
click here for larger image
SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS

 

. . . from the redwood forest . . .

 

I posted this two years ago, and it is still the way I feel about our country! Enjoy this RE-post and Happy Fourth of July, 2011!

Who among us doesn’t remember singing along and feeling proud of our countryside? It was an era of protesting the educational system, the government, the war, the “establishment” in general, and anything else we could protest, but we loved our land – the unique geography that makes up these United States.

In fact, there is a movement to change our National Anthem to something more sing-able. I cast my vote for “This Land Is Your Land.”

During the past few weeks while I was in California, I re-visited the coastal range where I’d spent so much time during the 70s and 80s. Some of those years were spent in the San Francisco Bay Area and some were along the Central Coast of San Luis Obispo County, but it’s all fairly similar.

Winding through the streets from Palo Alto toward the Pacific Ocean, I felt the same sense of freedom that I had so many decades ago. Much has changed, but the terrain will remain the same forever, I think.

Because I was at the wheel, I couldn’t take as many pictures as I wanted to, so mostly they exist only in my mind’s eye. I was able to stop and get a few shots, however.

One of the stopping points along the crest was the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. This sign warns visitors what to do in case they encounter a mountain lion.

WINDY HILL OPEN SPACE PRESERVE
click here for larger image
WINDY HILL OPEN SPACE PRESERVE

 

Beyond the sign, a path led into the preserve area. The sky was just as beautiful as I remember it. We used to call the hills “golden,” even though they were basically just “brown.” I still love those golden rolling slopes.

ON THE TRAIL
click here for larger image
ON THE TRAIL

 

This preserve of 1,312 acres includes 12.2 miles of trail. Please check this link to read more about it.

MAP OF THE PRESERVE
click here for larger image
MAP OF THE PRESERVE

 

If you carefully cross the road from the parking area, you get a spectacular view of the Peninsula.

VIEWS ACROSS THE PENINSULA
click here for larger image
VIEWS ACROSS THE PENINSULA

 

Another stop along the drive was by a restaurant that was closed for the day. It was explained to me about the “second-growth” redwoods. As you can see here, there is a cluster of trees around a bare piece of ground. The original old redwood was either logged out over 150 years ago or could have been hit by lightning. These new “baby trees” sprouted up around where the mother tree had been.

MORE SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
click here for larger image
MORE SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS

 

The opening photo gives another perspective on a grove of second-growth trees. These magnificent trees may be relatively young, but they still take my breath away – and make me proud that they are a part of my country.

VIEW THROUGH THE REDWOODS
click here for larger image
VIEW THROUGH THE REDWOODS

 

The tops of the trees just seem to reach toward the sky for an eternity!

REACHING FOR THE SKY
REACHING FOR THE SKY

 

When I stopped for gas at a crossroads, I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a shot of Alice’s Restaurant! This is not the restaurant that inspired Arlo Guthrie’s song of protest against war. In fact, it is the other way around – this restaurant took its name from the song. The original “Alice’s Restaurant” was in Massachusetts. It seemed appropriate somehow, to include this bit of nostalgia here.

ALICE'S RESTAURANT
click here for larger image
ALICE’S RESTAURANT

 

We had lunch at Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero – a busy spot where some of the very finest food can be found. I started with a bowl of Cream of Green Chili Soup, a dish I’m going to experiment with making at home. It was heavenly, but there was no way they were going to give me the recipe! I followed the soup with a fried oyster roll. It’s hard to say which was better! A dessert of warm Ollieberry pie with ice cream was shared with my friend.

Even though I live in “Paradise,” there is a lot about California I miss. What I do not miss is the traffic, which has gotten worse since I left. I’ve become too accustomed to a more casual lifestyle. Still, I intend to keep visiting whenever I get the chance.

Today, we could write more verses to add to our song that would include our island state of Hawai`i, or our northernmost state of Alaska. All fifty states are worth going to see! If you have never been to California, it’s worth braving the crowds and traffic to see a special part of our incredible country. “This land was made for you and me.”

You might enjoy watching a video of a this modern-day song that reminds us of what our country is and what it stands for on this Fourth of July Weekend.

 

A hui hou!

 

Season of Light

During the month of December, there are many celebrations from various cultures, faiths, and events to remember.

Many of these are linked to the winter solstice, which has been celebrated throughout history as the “rebirth of the sun.” The natural rotation of the earth was not known in earlier times, so the shortest day of the year (December 21) and the gradual lengthening of days afterward took on a meaning that has largely been forgotten.

We don’t know the exact date of the birth of Jesus, but over time, his birth was also associated with this “birth of the sun,” or many say “birth of the Son.” Early Christian celebrations were generally observed on days that were already holy days, such as the solstice, to help make the transition to Christianity.

…Shab-e yalda, the rebirth of the sun, was an ancient Iranian ceremony that reflected the basics of goodness and light against evil and darkness. (from Suite 101 – see link)

There are many other interesting days of celebration listed on that last link, including The Festival of the Wild Women!

Because I spent many years in Arizona, and Tucson in particular, one of my favorite December traditions is Las Posadas. This procession is a reenactment of the trip Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem. A group dressed as angels, shepherds, and the holy couple go from house to house seeking shelter. The word posadas means “lodging” in Spanish. At each home, these “pilgrims” are served various foods, including tamales.

There are many other dates to honor during December, but three stand out for me as a special way of honoring this season of lights. They are World AIDS Day on December 1, Pearl Harbor Day on December 7, and Human Rights Day on December 10.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Seven-Link Challenge

One of the blogs about blogging I read is ProBlogger. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? This week, there was a challenge to respond to seven categories. I decided to take part, mostly because it requires some thinking about my posts in the past and where I’d like to go in the future. Here are the seven categories:

1) My first post.
I started this blog as a record for myself only. I was trying to make soil from compost and other materials in order to get something to grow on this acre of rocky lava we call a`a.

2) The post I enjoyed writing the most.
The reason I enjoyed this post is that it is about a special family event I wasn’t able to attend. My first granddaughter got married in October on the mainland and I couldn’t get away from teaching to fly over. Also, I didn’t take the pictures, but it showed several of my children and grandchildren. Needless to say, I shed a few happy tears as I put it together in a post.

3) A post which had a great discussion
I’ve written about lilikoi (Passion fruit) several times and each post brings more discussion than anything else I write about. Mainland readers probably don’t have a clue what lilikoi is, so it’s mostly Hawaii residents who get into great discussions about this fruit with an unusual flavor.

4) A post on someone else’s blog I wish I’d written.
My brother writes a blog that is way more popular than mine, and he tells of great things to do in and around the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area. Like me, he writes about his travels. He and I had just been to England, and we both loved London. I absolutely love this post he did all in black and white photography. It gave me an entirely new perspective to London.

5) My most helpful post.
This post was about a little book that has guided my life and the lives of others over and over. If you are looking for a way to set goals and objectives for the next year, this is the book that will help you.

6) A post with a title I am proud of.
I think the reason I’m most proud of this title is because it represents several decades of waiting to have my book of the same name published. It is about a book I used in my psychology practice and with students. It can also be a self-help book by exploring some hidden meanings in your life.

7) A post that I wish more people had read.
This was posted to honor AIDS Day, and invites us to look at our lives and how we respond to unexpected events in our lives. AIDS awareness is growing, but still not enough.

It took me a while to decide on each of these categories. There are so many posts that would fit into each category. After looking at these seven posts, I get a good sense of where my pleasures reside in writing this blog. My topics have evolved quite a bit over the past two years, and on an unconscious level, I think I have been going in the direction that most suits me best.

I hope you are finding these rambling posts helpful when you garden or cook or travel or reflect on life.

A hui hou!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

Our Little Battles

 

July 4 is our day to party. We grill out, drink and eat too much, then look for the best place to watch the excitement in the sky. Even our National Anthem glorifies the “rockets’ red glare.”

Our view of war is that of Major Battles, usually taking place “out there.” Yet we have battles “in here” as well. Those Little Battles consume most of our time and energy.

How do we handle differences, diversity and conflicts? We can say we are for peace, but not live in it! When my daily actions are made up of anger, or when I view my life in terms of winning or losing, as a victor or a victim, I will have war.

What Little Battles do you and I overcome?

Mahalo!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Thank you!

Rollright Stones

 

Stones – or rocks – have an interesting background. Many myths talk about the petra genetrix, or the Motherstone, that births heroes and saviors. The stony deserts of the Middle East have been called the “Gardens of Allah.”

On a recent trip through the Cotswold region of England, I was impressed with the mythology (and longevity) of the Rollright Stones. The picture above shows a circle of knights with their king. Read more about them here. They were built by late Stone Age people over 4000 years ago.

One of the Knights close-up
One of the Knights close-up

 

Stones often represent obstacles or a certain barren quality. Yet those same “stones” can be viewed as a source of our strength and stability. I am reminded of scripture that talks about the stone the builders rejected becoming the cornerstone of something greater. Throughout ancient manuscripts we find that much of what we consider worthless, is actually valuable.

My home in Hawai`i is on an acre of a particular type of lava rock known as a’a, a lumpy, rocky substance that blew out of the depths of our volcano. I have no problem calling my “pile of rocks” (in which very little grows) a “garden.” But there are many nutrients in the seemingly useless lava that somehow nourishes my plants.

Rollright King
Rollright King

 

One weighty scripture says that if we are kept quiet, if we are not allowed to speak, even the stones will cry out! It is time for us to cry out for basic human rights.

The rocks in my garden were tossed out by Madam Pele, our Volcano Goddess. I like to think she was demonstrating outrage.

When we feel the least valuable, when we feel our voice is not heard, when others cannot speak for themselves, we must become transformed, reclaim our strengths, and cry out!

A hui hou!

“This land is our land . . .”

SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
click here for larger image
SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS

 

. . . from the redwood forest . . .

 

Who among us doesn’t remember singing along and feeling proud of our countryside? It was an era of protesting the educational system, the government, the war, the “establishment” in general, and anything else we could protest, but we loved our land – the unique geography that makes up these United States.

In fact, there is a movement to change our National Anthem to something more sing-able. I cast my vote for “This Land Is Your Land.”

During the past few weeks while I was in California, I re-visited the coastal range where I’d spent so much time during the 70s and 80s. Some of those years were spent in the San Francisco Bay Area and some were along the Central Coast of San Luis Obispo County, but it’s all fairly similar.

Winding through the streets from Palo Alto toward the Pacific Ocean, I felt the same sense of freedom that I had so many decades ago. Much has changed, but the terrain will remain the same forever, I think.

Because I was at the wheel, I couldn’t take as many pictures as I wanted to, so mostly they exist only in my mind’s eye. I was able to stop and get a few shots, however.

One of the stopping points along the crest was the Windy Hill Open Space Preserve. This sign warns visitors what to do in case they encounter a mountain lion.

WINDY HILL OPEN SPACE PRESERVE
click here for larger image
WINDY HILL OPEN SPACE PRESERVE

 

Beyond the sign, a path led into the preserve area. The sky was just as beautiful as I remember it. We used to call the hills “golden,” even though they were basically just “brown.” I still love those golden rolling slopes.

ON THE TRAIL
click here for larger image
ON THE TRAIL

 

This preserve of 1,312 acres includes 12.2 miles of trail. Please check this link to read more about it.

MAP OF THE PRESERVE
click here for larger image
MAP OF THE PRESERVE

 

If you carefully cross the road from the parking area, you get a spectacular view of the Peninsula.

VIEWS ACROSS THE PENINSULA
click here for larger image
VIEWS ACROSS THE PENINSULA

 

Another stop along the drive was by a restaurant that was closed for the day. It was explained to me about the “second-growth” redwoods. As you can see here, there is a cluster of trees around a bare piece of ground. The original old redwood was either logged out over 150 years ago or could have been hit by lightning. These new “baby trees” sprouted up around where the mother tree had been.

MORE SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS
click here for larger image
MORE SECOND GROWTH REDWOODS

 

The opening photo gives another perspective on a grove of second-growth trees. These magnificent trees may be relatively young, but they still take my breath away – and make me proud that they are a part of my country.

VIEW THROUGH THE REDWOODS
click here for larger image
VIEW THROUGH THE REDWOODS

 

The tops of the trees just seem to reach toward the sky for an eternity!

REACHING FOR THE SKY
REACHING FOR THE SKY

 

When I stopped for gas at a crossroads, I couldn’t pass up the chance to take a shot of Alice’s Restaurant! This is not the restaurant that inspired Arlo Guthrie’s song of protest against war. In fact, it is the other way around – this restaurant took its name from the song. The original “Alice’s Restaurant” was in Massachusetts. It seemed appropriate somehow, to include this bit of nostalgia here.

ALICE'S RESTAURANT
click here for larger image
ALICE’S RESTAURANT

 

We had lunch at Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero – a busy spot where some of the very finest food can be found. I started with a bowl of Cream of Green Chili Soup, a dish I’m going to experiment with making at home. It was heavenly, but there was no way they were going to give me the recipe! I followed the soup with a fried oyster roll. It’s hard to say which was better! A dessert of warm Ollieberry pie with ice cream was shared with my friend.

Even though I live in “Paradise,” there is a lot about California I miss. What I do not miss is the traffic, which has gotten worse since I left. I’ve become too accustomed to a more casual lifestyle. Still, I intend to keep visiting whenever I get the chance.

Today, we could write more verses to add to our song that would include our island state of Hawai`i, or our northernmost state of Alaska. All fifty states are worth going to see! If you have never been to California, it’s worth braving the crowds and traffic to see a special part of our incredible country. “This land was made for you and me.”

You might enjoy watching a video of a this modern-day song that reminds us of what our country is and what it stands for on this Fourth of July Weekend.

 

A hui hou!

 

How Do You Dance Your Life?

Some of you may know that not only am I a gardener and a college psychology instructor, but I am a retired United Methodist minister. When I served a church in Tucson AZ, many of the funerals I conducted were victims of AIDS.

Because of my close connection with this population in my church, I have a special place in my heart for those who suffer from this disease. It is in honor of those who have the disease, as well as in memory of those I have buried, that I write this blog.

There is a special dance from the early church community called the TRIPUDIUM. I learned about it nearly twenty-five years ago when I took a workshop from Doug Adams, who was a professor of religion and the arts at the Pacific School of Religion.

I had no idea that Doug had left this earth until I looked him up on Google. I’d like to give you two other websites that will give you a sense of who he was. According to these articles, the memorial celebrations outdid Doug in creativity.

The following information on liturgical dance is something I learned from Doug that will stay with me always.

TRIPUDIUM actually means “three step” or “jubilate” in Latin. Later, dance in church was suppressed as being too sinful, and thus it came to mean “the Jubilation.”

It was a style of processing to church, symbolizing the progress of not only the individual, but of the whole church and community.

It is a process of three steps forward and one back – three forward and one back. Often someone could call out three signs of HOPE on the forward three steps, then call out one sign of SETBACK on the backward step.

In other words, the SETBACK becomes part of the dance. It isn’t outside the rhythm.

HOPE – HOPE – HOPE – SETBACK

HOPE – HOPE – HOPE – SETBACK…

We don’t want to include the back step in the dance. But it’s all part of the dance! It gives us a more optimistic spirit, helps us see setbacks in the context of life, of ongoing progress.

Another interesting fact is that this dance was not done in single file, but in processions with many abreast with arms linked, row after row. It is done in community – not alone. It is a deliberate moving forward.

The people would move through the streets and into the church and around in it during the songs of the service and back out through the streets as a recessional. The dance was a communal act of worship and celebration.

The Greeks believed in afterlife, so they danced a ring dance to make safe passage for the deceased. The Greeks appreciated dance as an aesthetic experience. Everything was a dance for them – victory processions, weapon dances, displays of power, ball games, wedding processions, and funeral processions!

The early Christians drew on this custom. They circled the grave with lively funeral dances to celebrate the person’s birth into everlasting life. Rose petals were dropped on the open grave, as they sang, “Ring Around the Rosie…Ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

When life and mortality seem difficult, I invite you to put on some music and dance the Tripudium, shouting out three signs of hope for every setback.

This particular version of Lee Ann Womack’s song “I Hope Your Dance” seems appropriate today.