Peace with the Elements
March 21, 2014

Peace is a word that always attracts my attention. It’s one syllable and has a sweet feminine sound. In fact in Spanish, paz, has a feminine gender. It’s a girl’s name. Paz.

Elements? Well we think of rain and wind and snow and sun and —eeek—hurricanes and tornados and tsunamis and earthquakes and volcanoes. How in the world are we to be at peace with that?

What choice do we have? We’re human. We live on an incredibly beautiful planet, on a superfluously  beautiful island in the middle of a vast ocean which  often kicks up its heels in a fashion long to be remembered if we’re  caught in a little boat in the middle of one of its tantrums. Did you know the Hawaiian channel, Alenuihaha–‘Ale as in jolly, nui as in phooey, ha-ha as in crutch’ as some modern-day sailor’s dubbed it– means,  in Hawaiian,  ‘very large trough like waves’.

Those of us who’ve sailed these channels know what that’s like. It’s rarely a peaceful experience. Anything but. But we hunker down. Fight our way through. What’s interesting is the Greeks had a god of the sea, Poseidon–I mean wouldn’t it be a god?–who also reigned over earthquakes and horses. How did horses got in the act?

Hawaiians have a god of the sea, too, Kanaloa, who ‘is symbolized by the squid and the octopus’. Figures.

But the Hawaiians also have a goddess of the sea–whew, at last–her name is Namaka and she’s the daughter of Pele. She has a guardian dog named Moela and is chiefess of the Menehune people. I like it that the Hawaiian guys have goddesses. They make it balance.

Pele, of course, was goddess of fire, lightening, wind and volcanoes. She’s passionate and capricious and volatile and some say she finally settled down and made her home in Kiluea. She also has a little white dog who sends messages to her people.  She fought with her sister, Namaka.

Round and round and round we go and where it stops nobody knows.

I love the stories–they should be told over and over– but they’re a long long way from the way us mere mortals have to deal with the elements. Like rain. It comes.  It goes. It comes.  It stays. It keeps our garden green. But the best us modern guys  have is  Mother Nature. And  whose side is she on, boys? The earth’s side, of course. The planet’s side. Our home.

Well, Mother Nature is life-giving and nourishing. She has a close relationship with fertility, abundance and Gaia who also lives in Kilauea. Wonder if she’s listed in the phone book? Found it. I’ll give her a buzz. “Gaia,” I speak with great respect, “will you make it stop? I’m drenched. My grown up puppy’s drenched.  My horse is drenched. My Macaw is ruffle drenched. My roof is leaking.”

“Sweetie,” she replied  sweetly, “have a bowl of soup. Better yet, write a book. Be at peace with the elements.”

Guess that’ll have to do.