Power to the Women

August 16, 2016 - Leave a Response

The idea of powerful women is almost oxymoronic. Most of us don’t see ourselves in that mix. Few think of us as the weaker sex–that went out with chattel and corsets–but they don’t think of us as power mongers, either.
We can be as brilliant, successful and famous as any man alive. In many cases more brilliant, more successful, more famous. In most professions we have to be ten times better than men and many can do that with one leg in a cast.
Forget for a moment the professional stuff. Truth –on a basic human level– we’re more beautiful than any man alive. Disagree and we’ll have words at twenty paces. Lots of guys are handsome, but they don’t have curves or sass, so–move over peacock–even if you have a three-story closet with a champagne floor and a wardrobe vast as the Duchess Kate’s, you’d rate about six on the fashionista Richter. And do we love to flash it. Gander at the carpet, gawk at the beach, Paparazzi are looking for us, guys, not you.
Jocularity aside, when our country was founded there were only two famous American women. Pocahontas and Mary Dyer. If you’re like I was, you’ll hunt to find who Mary was. Hint: she was a Quaker. There’s a statue of her in Boston. The first of a kind, she gave her life defying male pushers and shovers. One paid a high price for civil disobedience in 1660.
Pushers and shovers? Just one of a bunch of arm pit bad- smell male flaws.
Men push and shove. Few women are inclined, it’s not our style. We tend to be generous, gracious and kind. Most important, without us, there could be no future. High tech– high as it goes–will probably not produce men who’ll end up pregnant. Could it be that’s why so many men today–and far back in history–are bullies? Thugs?
(You can’t give birth to a baby or make milk to feed it. You’re jealous, that’s why.)
Further, thug and bully are not words generally used to describe women and–I could make a case–violence is another unfortunate male preoccupation. Way too many prefer greed and war and killing machines and these preferences are a dark force in America.
But lo! A bright flame flickers. Politics. It’s a recent American female endeavor.
The first Hawaiian female politician, Patsy Mink, was elected to the Territory of Hawaii Senate in 1958. That’s practically yesterday.
Today, we have more than our share of beautiful, brilliant, far- thinking, women in office. . You know who they are and they make all of us proud.
At the national level, we have the best and the brightest, Hillary Clinton. She wrote of herself, in her book Living History–find it and read– “I’m not as good or as bad as many people think.”
Only a woman would make such a statement. May the force be with her.

PEACE AND LOVE

July 14, 2016 - Leave a Response

Nikki Giovanni said , “We love because it is the only true adventure.”
I think that’s true and the more true adventures we have in life the more love. Ot, the other way around, the more love we have in life, the more adventure.
Life is an adventure and I think we’d all do better if we loved every minute.
Think of all the things there are to love. The scroll is endless. We could start with a love of our home in the solar system, the Milky Way, the universe. If we only took a few tiny bits of this vastness and studied it, and learned from it, and loved it, the wonder of our time here would be beyond the ability to fathom.
Think of the of the night sky. Peppered with the silver ink of immensity. Billions and billions of other galaxies, salted with solar systems and stars and planets and moons and comets and rings of rocks tossed in the pot of eternity like chicken and vegetables in a consecrated soup. We could taste its richness, savor its flavor and risk the secret scary stuff that might carry us off with the first bite.
Come closer to home. Our sun. Its brilliance. Its comforting or scorching heat. Out little planet. Our home that tilts and the days grow longer. Tilts and the days grow short.
Draw closer still. Our rivers and streams and lakes and oceans and seas and bays. Life there that breathes water like we breath air Waters so deep. So unexplored. For a kid to learn about creating and tending– and loving– a small aquarium full of fish could make of her life such an adventure all the love in that little kid’s heart would bubble up and drown in glee. Toss in a baby squid and find out what a loving, interesting, interested little creature she’d meet and know and love. Who- maybe, even- loved her back. I swear I had one once who always tried to climb out of its bubbling warmth when it sensed my presence. Honest.
Think of the plants. Zillions of them. Trees, grass, flowers, shrubs, weeds, green stuff growing that keeps the air we breath fit to breathe. The scent of the rose. The stink of the weed The scratch and bite of poison ivy, poison oak. One could spend a life time counting all these glorious living sprites. Waving in a soft wind. Blowing in a gale. Plunking themselves down to grow new roots in another part of the jungle.
And animals! You could spend forever learning about the horse. Or the guinea pig. Or the elk. Or the yak. Or the wildebeast. Kauai’s very own Robert Lewis Stevenson said, “The world is so full of a number of things I’m sure we should all be as happy as Kings.”
I think, to bring peace and love to the family of man, we should raise every kid with a pet or a plant to know, love and nourish.

LOVE

July 13, 2016 - Leave a Response

Nikki Giovanni said , “We love because it is the only true adventure.”
I think that’s true and the more true adventures we have in life the more love. Ot, the other way around, the more love we have in life, the more adventure.
Life is an adventure and I think we’d all do better if we loved every minute.
Think of all the things there are to love. The scroll is endless. We could start with a love of our home in the solar system, the Milky Way, the universe. If we only took a dozen or so pieces of this vastness and studied it, and learned from it, and loved it, the wonder of our time here would be beyond the ability to fathom.
Think of the of the night sky. Peppered with the silver ink of immensity, billions and billions of other galaxies, salted with solar systems and stars and planets and moons and comets and rings of rocks tossed in the pot of eternity like vegetables in a soup. We could taste its richness, savor its flavor and risk the secret scary stuff that might carry us off with the first bite.
Come closer to home. Our sun. It’s brilliance, it’s comforting or scorching heat. Out little planet–our home that spins– and the sun sets. And spins, and the sun rises.
Draw closer still. Our rivers and streams and lakes and oceans and seas and bays. Life there that breathes water like we breath air Waters so deep. So unexplored. For a kid to learn about creating and tending– and loving– a small aquarium full of fish could make of her life such an adventure all the love in that little kid’s
heart would bubble up and drown in glee. Toss in a baby squid and find out what a loving, interesting, interested little creature you met and knew and recognized. Who- maybe even- loved you back. I swear I had one once who always tried to climb out of the bubbling warmth of its tank when it sensed my presence. Honest.
Think of the plants, a zillion of them, trees, grass, flowers, shrubs, weeds, green stuff growing that keeps the air we breath fit to breathe. The scent of the rose, the stink of the stink weed The scratch and itch of poison ivy, poison oak. One could spend a life time just counting all these glorious living, breathing sprites, waving in a soft wind. Blowing away in a gale. Only to plunk itself down in another part of the landscape.
And animals! You could spend every living moment learning about the horse. Or the guinea pig, or the fox, or the lion or the bear. Kauai’s very own Robert Lewis Stevenson said, “The world is so full of a number of things I’m sure we should all be as happy as Kings.”
I think, to bring peace and love to the family of man, we should raise every kid with a living thing to know and love and care for.

LOVE 2

July 13, 2016 - Leave a Response

Nikki Giovanni said , “We love because it is the only true adventure.”
I think that’s true and the more true adventures we have in life the more love. Ot, the other way around, the more love we have in life, the more adventure.
Life is an adventure and I think we’d all do better if we loved every minute.
Think of all the things there are to love. The scroll is endless. We could start with a love of our home in the solar system, the Milky Way, the universe. If we only took a dozen or so pieces of this vastness and studied it, and learned from it, and loved it, the wonder of our time here would be beyond the ability to fathom.
Think of the immensity of the night sky. Peppered with the silver ink of immensity, billions and billions of other galaxies, salted with solar systems and stars and planets and moons and comets and rings of rocks tossed in the pot of eternity like vegetables in a soup. We could taste its richness, savor its flavor and risk the secret scary stuff that might carry us off with the first bite.
Come closer to home. Our sun. It’s brilliance, it’s comforting or scorching heat. Out little planet–our home that spins– and the sun sets. And spins, and the sun rises.
Draw closer still. . Our rivers and streams and lakes and oceans and seas and bays. Life there that breathes water like we breath air Waters so deep. So unexplored. For a kid to learn about creating and tending– and loving– a small aquarium full of fish could make of her life such an adventure all the love in that little kids heart would bubble up and drown in glee. Toss in a baby squid and find out what a loving, interesting, interested little creature you met and knew and recognized. Who maybe even, loved you back. I swear I had one once who always tried to climb out of the bubbling warm of its tank when it sensed my presence. Honest.
Think of the plants, a zillion of them, trees, grass, flowers, shrubs, weeds, green stuff growing that keeps the air we breath fit to breathe. The scent of the rose, the stink of the stink weed The scratch and itch of poison ivy, poison oak. One could spend a life time just counting all these glorious living, breathing, waving in a soft wind. Blowing away in a gale. Only to plunk itself down in another part of the landscape.
And animals! You could spend every living moment learning about the horse. Or the guinea pig, or the fox, or the lion or the bear. Kauai’s very own Robert Lewis Stevenson said, “The world is so full of a number of things I’m sure we should all be as happy as Kings.”
I think, to bring peace and love to the family of man, we should raise every kid with a living thing to know and love and care for.

HI, PEASANT

June 24, 2016 - Leave a Response

Henry David Thoreau–remember him?–said, I paraphrase, “A man is as rich as the things he doesn’t need.”
Isn’t that kind’a un-American?
I mean, isn’t it true the more stuff you have the richer you are? What I’ve found is: the opposite. The more stuff I have, the more stuff I have to dust, move, arrange, rearrange, walk around or stumble over. Do you ever feel that way?
What does it mean to be rich, anyhow? In my heavy dusty American Heritage Dictionary the first definition is “Possessing great material wealth”. Which would mean–would it not?– you’d have to be rich enough to hire guys to dust, move , arrange, rearrange, walk around or stumble over your stuff.
If you have enough long green to buy a Trump jet, you’d have to buy guys to fly it, fix it, clean it, park it and do other stuff you need to do when you own a flying white elephant. Wouldn’t it be better to have a plain old-fashioned elephant? You could take it for a swim, a walk, or feed it and sing it to sleep when it needs a nap.
I’ll admit I am a collector. I collect books and animals. I’d be lost without them. Books are my oldest friends. I enjoy the silence of their company and they’re always there when I feed them. .
The animals are my family. I’m happiest with a bunch of kitty/doggy/parrot snacks in my hand to feed them
But, like you, I love the malls. I love the herd when it’s feeding or shopping. Sometimes I think it’s where they’re most content.
Are rich people more comtent than us? Do rich people go to malls?
I see few Roll Royces in the parking lots. Maybe they drive cranky old clunkers when they go to Lihue? Then, with ragged baseball caps slung backward on their handsome heads, raggedy canvas shoes on their famous feet, and what goes on between the two raggedy, too, do they look like us? Would they be collecting stuff? Carting it around in shopping bags? How about munching a red hot dog in a fast food joint?
I probably wouldn’t recognize one if I saw one. Would you?
If they weren’t dressed up to walk the red carpet or had a string of serving men– and women– to protect them and carry all the stuff they bought , would they be visible to the naked eye?
We seem to be obsessed with money and guys who have it. We love celebrities who flash around like peacocks on parade. I’m told some who visit Kauai, love it here ’cause we don’t bug them. Maybe all the ogling gets a bit tiresome?
Maybe, for just a moment, they’d rather be a peasant. Kauai is full of peasants.
Me? I love to stroll through the mall and come out the other end package free. If a guy is as rich as the things he doesn’t need, I’m the richest peasant of all.

REBA REBA GREEN CAT

May 16, 2016 - Leave a Response

Reba Reba green cat

You sit by the garden wall

And watch the going’s on out there like a fur ball thin and tall.

You’re just a grown up kitten

With a mom you never knew

To teach you how to hunt and stalk and slither through the dew.

Morning dew refreshes

Evening dew depletes

But another morning follows and another day repeats.

You scamper up a tree trunk and leap from branch to branch

You’re like a ballerina preparing for a dance.

You mingle with the green leaves

You tingle with delight

You sparkle with the sunlight

Your eyes are green and bright.

You really are a real cat

You dare defy the law

You’ll never be a house cat

So what do you think of that?

 

 

 

THE ATTACK

May 7, 2016 - Leave a Response

Some stories must be told. Though some people would rather not hear them.

There’s a school of thought:  if you don’t talk about ‘bad stuff’ it’ll  vanish. Trust me, it won’t. A time comes when one must face the truth. Particularly when it smacks you in the eye with a sharp stick.

True stories, like this one, aren’t meant to vilify. Nor  endorse fear. They’re  a means  to understand.  The rage, the violence, the hate that brews inside the flesh, the mind, the  core of man,  can erupt  any time.  And, until it happens to you, you haven’t a clue  the trauma it can create.

Yesterday was a lovely day. Sunny.   Pleasant to the senses.  Birds sang, A  perfumed breeze blew, it caressed my check. Traffic on my narrow two lane road was serene. My little gray Yuris was happy as a saddle horse on a morning ride  through Central Park. I dropped  mail off at a neighbors box, crossed the one lane bridge, and braked at the  sign at the top of the  hill. I  signaled to turn right.

Suddenly, from the left, a four door gray sedan whipped’round  a sharp corner and stopped within inches,  as far as I could tell, from my driver’s side door. Had it hit me, my little car would have flipped. To my left I was looking through the front window of the car. I  gasped, tried to grin–stuff happens– and  gestured  the driver, a blank countenance behind the windshield a few feet away and opened my palm to  gesture  he back so I could safely traverse a right  and continue on my way.

Thus began  an incident so surreal, I’m still shaken thinking about it.

The driver shook his head, so I gestured again. The  head shook ‘no’ and a woman–she spoke–jumped out  her side  and shouted, “It’s  your fault. You’re over the double line.”  She  crawled back inside. The driver, obviously a man, had  nearly collided with me. I wasn’t able to judge the distance between the cars so when the driver rolled down his window I asked, politely, “Back up, please.”

With that he jumped out of his car, loomed large outside my window breathing down on me.  Then,  thrusting his fist through my open window, grabbed the steering wheel.

What saved me was a car with three passengers–I think I counted– one tall young man came immediately to my aid, “Are you okay?” I shook my head.

Another young man spoke to the driver, suggesting he  back. This one  came to my window and  stood between me and the driver. He helped me navigate the corner. “Have a good day,” the tall one  said. “You, too, ” I replied. Behind us the driver, in the middle of the road,  was screaming obscenities.

I want to thank the young men.  Hope their day was good.

My  bad trip was balanced with three good ones. That’s Kauai.

But I don’t know what to make of it. Do you?

 

 

 

ER

May 2, 2016 - One Response

“…and then I went to church.”

“That’ll be the day.”

” What I did was even worse.”

“Worse than going to church?”

I nodded.

“Okay,” my guest sipped his beer and stretched his legs. “This is gonna be  a long one.”

“Well, I have this book…”

“This book? You can’t sit down around here without landing on one.”

“It’s a cocktail table book. Most people don’t sit on cocktail tables,” I sniffed. “It’s called Luxury Equestrian Design and I keep it around to remind me what a peasant I am.”

“You can say that again.”

“It’s so classy the pages aren’t even numbered.  But on page 34–I counted–there’s a picture of Seattle Slew’s grave.”

“Triple Crown. Earned $1,207,726.”

“All you think about is money. He was a People’s Horse. And he’s buried whole, just like Ari, at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Kentucky.”

“So?”

“,,,so his grave is so enormous and so blazingly alive with blossoms and color and grace and style it takes your breathe away. He was a year younger than Ari and, like him, died in his sleep. He’s buried in his favorite green blanket with a little bag of peppermints he loved. Ari didn’t wear a blanket but he’s off to the Happy Hunting Ground with a whole bottle of  Cornflake Butter Crunch Cookies. Maybe when they meet, which I’m sure they will, they’ll share.”

My friend slurped. “And?”

“And,” I replied, “if Seattle Slew can be so honored and beloved, I mean if it’s  good enough for him, it’s good enough for Ari. So I set out to make his grave as rich and gorgeous. I bought plants, I bought gloves, I bought doohickey  gardening tools  from a garden center–I even bought new gardening shoes–and raced off on a new path.”

“And?”

“…and the shoes put a blister on my foot and it rained and my shoes got wet and my foot got infected and at one o’clock in the morning I set off for Wilcox. I think I was in shock. The wound was open and red and sore and swollen and feverish and a little red line was running up my leg.”

“Skip the gory details, but whatever happened to the little old miss self- healer- squealer?”

“Healer- squealer shuffle dealer,  I  don’t play around with tetanus and blood poisoning. No way. But know what?”

“What?”

“Turned into such a pleasant surprise. I  couldn’t’ve met a nicer bunch of people. The lady who signed me in. The darling male nurse with the pony tail who listened patiently to my tale of woe. The doctor, a neighbor, who had much compassion. The lady nurse who gave me two of the most painless shots I’ve ever had. I went home happy.  With a prescription  I won’t fill. Met a  pharmacist  who talked me out of filling it. I’m in the process of healing myself. So hahaha…

…but let me tell you something, if you’re ever in trouble and need an ER go to Wilcox.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RABID JACKELS

April 21, 2016 - Leave a Response

 

There are millions of   Americans–the majority of us–who recognize a great man when they see one. The guy with  pick and shovel,  The cashier behind the counter.

The farmer planting seed.   Young men and women dying in these senseless wars. But when greatness resides in the White House, in the most powerful office in the world, our chests swell.

He’s brilliant. No one needs a dummy.

His words are elegant.  A pleasure to the ears. He has manners  befitting royalty  hosting  guests at a courtly table. If he’s tall and slender and handsome with a family of equal  beauty  we’re even more proud. Please, at this moment, watch a FRONTLINE document: Inside OBAMA’S Presidency.

This young man made one grave mistake: He thought he could reason with his adversaries. He tried his best. He gave it all. But one cannot reason with rabid jackals. The best thing one can do with a rabid jackal is run.  He didn’t run. He held his ground.  He’d the courage  of a madman. Madman?  It goes beyond bravery to confront such a  dangerous animal.

Frothing with greed. For money. For power. Indulging in beliefs so ridiculous they’re an insult to human intelligence.  Rancor, vulgarity, and deceit are its nature. And this den of disease spawned the greatest frother of them all.

I beg you–all of you– don’t descend to his level. May that brilliant maligned woman and that elegant elder join forces. Together they can–we can–heal.

 

 

Sacred Dog

April 20, 2016 - One Response

American Indians called the horse  ‘sacred dog’ and acquired him  in the mid-1500s when De Soto and Coronado brought it to our shores. The Indians took to the animal like brilliance takes to  rainbows. The horsemen of the plains were considered by many in the American cavalry,”The finest light horse cavalry in the world.” They were never defeated in combat.

The Horse Culture on the plains  lived with their animals, and like the riders in the Spanish School in Vienna today,  came to call them ‘friends’. They lived with their horses. They knew them with their heart.

Lives of the nomadic Plains tribe, especially the Comanches,  were revolutionized by the horse and they became  skilled thieves perfecting the art of  rustling.  They were the best of horsemen and we treated them badly. In 1874 thousands of animals, considered by the southern Commanche to be their best, were senselessly slaughtered.  Ari often reminded me. Horses have a different sense of history and time. All of them recall what earth was like when the world was young and no grunting four-spinning upstarts jammed the roads and fouled the air.

I ‘d tell Ari stories like a silly human–dates and names and stuff like that–and he’d look me in the eye the way a good horse does–and  snort,  reminding me his roots on our home planet went back 40 to 60 million years. His earliest  ancestor, little eohippus, the Dawn Horse showed up a lot earlier in the game than we did. “How long you been around skinny two legs?”

He had me there.

He loved  me to tell him stories.

An incurable romantic,  he loved  fiction best.   Hidalgo, the mustang,  and Frank Hopkins who raced him’cross the Ocean of Fire were his favorites. When Ari was recovering from  surgery,  I constructed a paddock at my end of the barn and rigged  a projector and white sheet sharing the Disney movie with him. He watched it over and over.  For a horse who’d been free as a  feral hen, to be corralled in a 20×20 foot  area for three months–the recovery was long–was an ordeal. I  had to relieve his boredom. Mine, too.

I mean, how many organic carrots can we munch?   He  loved  dearly cornflake butter crunch cookies.

For over forty years I’ve lived with  a horse like the Indian lived with his.  He was a friend.  My best.  He slept in the bedroom next to mine.  I couldn’t ask for a sweeter neighbor. I met him first on Oahu in 1993. We looked each other in the eye and immediately bonded.  Born on Kauai in  1987, he was 29 years old.

The night he died, peacefully in his sleep, he said, “What you skinny two legs need  is another Seabiscuit.” He loved that film best.

His death left a hole in my heart the size of Diamond Head Crater, and a chunk out of my life the magnitude of Mount Kalihi.

But this he gave me: the joy of having known him.