A New Blog on the Horizon!

Later this month,  Lavalily will be ten years old! It’s hard to believe that I found that much to say, or that people found something in it they thought was worth reading.

I will continue to post here occasionally but I have started a new blog that will document a research project I’m launching as I take a sabbatical this fall semester. If you would like to check it out, please go to  lljonesperennials.com and my first post here.  I will return to my teaching position in the spring semester 2019.

Mahalo for being a reader of “Lavalily” over the years.

A hui hou!

The Mermaid

Today’s post is a bit of my short fiction.
From time to time, I will post something on that order.
This photo of surf and rainbow was taken on Ali`i Drive, Kailua-Kona HI
 

The MermaidGingerly, she steps around the walkway encompassing the hull of the boat. She is deprived of the oxygen tanks’ guardianship this time. Only Spirit protects her. A new alternative reality begins. Capturing one final breath of the salt air, she plunges into the dubious nourishment of the salt water.

She comes to swim with the shark. She comes to be recreated, to become the virgin mermaid. Deeper and still deeper the woman is drawn into his world. Forever on the quest for Life, she carries the light that could guide her way, never knowing what lands will be found in the depths of this foreign territory. She knows, for this is not the first time she has been called to this place, yet time changes all.

Down she spirals, seeing life at every level. Schools of clown fish wiggle through their anemone playground, while angel fish glide quietly in their heavenly realm. Turkey fish compete for space with stone fish. Darts of color flash by as she peers into their temples. Ever watchful for the moray eel, she searches the crevice for friends to surround and join in her transmutation.

Preparation is needed to live in so many worlds: this world of water and wave, that world of sand and dust and danger, a world of tropical splendor, a frozen world. Will she endure? Another test of endurance? Of power and talent?

The passion begins, the body veers into a new form. Lungs expand to absorb the new life force. Arms grow stronger for stroking the tides. Hair flows behind her for stability. Hips broaden into solid encrustation as scales form to enable her survival in this new world. The vulnerable womanhood now hidden, she is granted safe conduct through a hostile outpost. Feet flow into one mass, supple and fluid, feathery.

Now more swiftly she swoops through the kelp, surging past the curious crowds. Her goal draws closer. The shark sleeps below, then wakes as her body generates ripples in the water round about him. He waits for the mermaid, circling … circling … circling as she arrives, but she is bold and fearless. No longer can his threats keep her away from her destiny, no longer overpower her genius, no longer stifle the transformations.

Together they circle and stalk, stalk and circle. Will he never fear? Will he always reign in this channel? Without a quaver, she perseveres in her mission. He cannot thwart her progress. He consumes her, denounces her, abuses her until she will yield to him. The woman will never succumb. She simply desires to swim in his space, beside him. Where is her solution?
~~~
From Feral Fables by Lucy L. Jones. To purchase check out my Author Page on Amazon.com.

The Burghers of Calais

Several years ago I visited the campus of Standord University in California. I was intrigued with these sculptures of Rodin. I have to admit I wasn’t familiar with the entire story behind them. Blogging is so educational!

These six men represent the Burghers of Calais (Les Bourgeois de Calais).

 

In 1885 the town council of the French city of
Calais commissioned Rodin to produce a
sculpture that would pay tribute to the
burghers of Calais, heroes of the Hundred
Years’ War and symbols of French patriotism.
~ ~ ~ ~
Rodin chooses to portray the moment in the
narrative when the men, believing they are
going to die, leave the city. He shows the
burghers as vulnerable and conflicted, yet
heroic in the face of their likely fate.

(Two excerpts from “THE STORY OF THE BURGHERS OF CALAIS”)

Most of the time, these men are portrayed in a cluster. Here on the Stanford campus, they are shown in separate bronze castings (1981). These were not from the original, however. By law, only a small number were made from the original after Rodin’s death. Here is a casting of Rodin’s signature.

 

Calais is an important French port on the English Channel. In 1347, during the Hundred Years’ War, Calais had been under siege for over a year by the English. Due to starvation, King Philip VI of France was not able to hold onto Calais. King Edward III of England said he would “spare the people of the city if any six of its top leaders would surrender themselves to him, presumably to be executed.”

Eustache de Saint-Pierre volunteered to be first. Five others followed.

 

They walked out wearing nothing but their “breeches” (underwear) with nooses around their necks. Jean Froissart (circa 1337-1400) wrote the story in his Chroniques that relate historical events of that era as he saw them.

The figure in the final monument portrays Pierre de Wiessant looking over his shoulder, his hand extended as if in despair. His face shows great anguish, and his intense emotions make him appear withdrawn from the other figures.
http://www.cantorfoundation.org/Rodin/Gallery/rvg34.html

 

As we confront Jean d’Aire, we find ourselves focusing on the self-absorbed quality of the figure and gradually, almost without our awareness, we come to realize that we are confronting the unheroic, complex human being that is ourselves. http://www2.davidson.edu/academics/acad_depts/art/facilities/jeandaire.html

 

Although Froissart does not mention Andrieu d’Andres in his Chroniques, the name of this man was uncovered in 1863. The figure is shown “already clutching his head in despair.” http://nga.gov.au/International/Catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=115165

 

Jacques de Wiessant was Pierre’s brother, and the fourth burgher to volunteer. Rodin gives his “his final gesture, the raised arm.” http://nga.gov.au/International/Catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=115165

 

Rodin assumed Jean de Fiennes to be the youngest of the six burghers. . . . The burgher’s expression is very doubting as if he has not quite accepted his seemingly imminent fate. http://www.cantorfoundation.org/Rodin/Gallery/rvg33.html

 

It was this moment, and this poignant mix of defeat, heroic self-sacrifice, and willingness to face imminent death that Rodin captured in his sculpture, scaled somewhat larger than life. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Burghers_of_Calais

 

Philippa of Hainault, England’s Queen, was expecting a child and she convinced her husband not to execute the men, claiming that “their deaths would be a bad omen for her unborn child.”

A remarkable incident in history – and a stunning set of sculptures for Stanford University, located in Memorial Court at the entrance to the Main Quad and Stanford Memorial Church.

For more of Rodin’s work, you might like to visit the Rodin Sculpture Garden, located off the Palm Drive entrance to Stanford University.

A hui hou!

Lothlorién

 

Two years ago, before I started this current blog, I created another blog that was designed to talk about my life as a sailboat live-aboard. That blog didn’t last long, because it was during those few weeks of its existence that I came up with the idea for “Lava to Lilikoi.”

So from time to time, I thought I would post something about the special time my son and I had for five years of adventurous living on a sailboat.

In the late 1970s, when Flower Power and Free Love were languishing, I flirted with trading the equity in my house for equity in a new 37′ O’Day sloop-rigged sailboat. Within five months, I became a “live-aboard” with fifteen-year-old Erik, my youngest child. We christened our new home Lothlorién, for the sanctuary in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy to which the Elf King and Elf Queen transported Frodo and his friends at a critical point in their adventure.

In Tolkien’s story, it was within the Lothlorién that all their healing and protection took place, while all the dangers and threats were forced to remain outside its borders. Our Lothlorién was that haven for us, our personal sanctuary of peace, safety, and healing. We needed the storms of life to remain outside. We often invited our friends to savor that sanctuary with us for a day sail, a weekend cruise, or sometimes longer. Tolkien’s famous quote was our motto – “…not all those who wander are lost.”

 

Characters who don’t know much about boats always ask, “How many does she sleep?” That’s the wrong question! We sailors usually respond by saying that a sailboat will “drink six, feed four and sleep two.” There may be room enough to sleep an army by spreading people out over decks and into hammocks, but you abandon all carnal comforts in doing so. Naturally, this can depend on just how close you are with the friends you bring along, too. My boat basically was designed to sleep six, but six people really wouldn’t do that if they wanted to remain friends after the cruise was over.

 

One summer, I hadn’t gotten paid for about three months. The insurance company that reimbursed us for most of our clients was undergoing a major change in their computer system. None of us in the clinic where I worked were getting paid on a regular basis. My boys and I were hanging on by a thread.

So what does a girl do when the going gets tough? She spends a week moored at the Isthmus of Catalina Island with a good book, and leaves her troubles behind.

 

We were really living a good life, in spite of having no money. I had a bag of masa, a hunk of cheddar cheese, a few eggs, and stuff like spices. The boys were fishing and diving for abalone. What else do you really need for food? We had lots of homemade tortillas with melted cheddar and scrambled eggs, along with plenty of fresh fish and abalone. That’s when abalone was still plentiful in California.

Someone taught us how to eat raw abalone. Instead of pounding it like you need to if you cook it, you cut the raw meat into pieces like shoestring potatoes. Dip it into a mix of soy sauce, ginger, and anything else your taste buds desired, and munch! It’s a wonderful treat!!

 

Once, when folks from our local sail fleet had a cookout, we showed up with fresh sheepshead, abalone, and hot tortillas. Everyone else was roasting wieners and opening cans of beans. Even though we didn’t have money for hamburgers or wieners, we ate well – and were the envy of everyone else.

When I feel bogged down with Life, I sometimes think about what fun it would be to live on a boat again.

A hui hou!

Hotei – The Laughing God

 

In Japanese mythology, Hotei is one of the Seven Lucky Gods, and believed to be based on an actual person who carried a big bag full of food and goodies for hungry people and especially for children. In the Japanese spelling of “ho tei,” his name literally means “cloth bag.”

Hotei comes out of the Chinese Taoist-Buddhist tradition and is considered the God of contentment, happiness, satisfaction and abundance. He portrays the wisdom of being content and represents magnanimity, one of the seven Japanese virtues.

According to tradition, if you want luck and health, you must rub his statue’s tummy, which is big and always exposed. Occasionally you will see a statue of him with lots of laughing children clustered around and on him.

In the early 60s, my then husband was the physician aboard a troop transport going in and out of Okinawa. He brought home the one pictured above (and next). It is 16 inches tall, made of camphor wood and even almost 50 years later, you can still smell the camphor.

 

That started my collection of Hotei statues. Over the years of moving around, some of them have been lost. One small ivory one was a special one I hated to lose. This small bronze figurine and bell with Hotei as the handle are among the small ones that survived.

 

Many times he is depicted with his hands up in an expression of joy.

 

This one I made out of ceramic and painted with a glaze to look like stone.

 

Often, Hotei is shown in a seated position. He appears to be a very contented guy, with the bag by his side.

 

In my four trips to Japan, I found him in every shop, in all sizes and positions. He is probably one of the most popular of the Seven Gods. Here is one more that occupies a place of honor in my home.

 

As you probably suspect, I rub at least one of these tummies every day. I desire the contentment and wisdom he offers. I suggest you look up more information on the internet. There is so much more to be learned about him.

~ Sayonara ~

An Old Southern Memory

The college I attended right after graduating from high school was Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi. I spent the majority of the decade of the fifties in Jackson, a decade of great turmoil in the South. I don’t need to remind you what that decade was all about.

My young husband and I went in to register to vote and pay our poll tax. Somewhere deep in a box I still have mine. If I can find it before I post this, I’ll include a picture of it. In the meantime, I’ve used a picture of me at that age. (It is a picture that brings tears as well as laughter!)

Allow me to describe the scene when we registered for the first time in our lives to have the privilege of voting. In order to vote, not only did you have to pay the poll tax, you had to answer a political/historical question. The one we were asked, as “just turned 21” white kids, was “Who was the first president of the United States?” – a question even most first-graders could answer.

There was a young African-American man at the counter, also wanting to register to vote. His question was something like “Who was Patrick Henry and what did he have to do with the Federalist Papers?”

When Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to bring more freedom to his people, in all actuality, it was for all people. On January 23, 1964, the 24th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. No longer would anyone have to pay a poll tax or answer silly questions in order to vote.

We will honor his birthday tomorrow, January 16, 2012, even though today is his actual date of his birth, January 15. It is with great admiration that we have this day of celebration.

A hui hou!