Ho'oponopono - 'I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, I thank you'.
Time and time again I question why I am where I am. Just a couple years ago I was flying between Antarctica and the Arctic cheffing at field camps. Now this. The Kauai life. Yesterday I went out into the backwoods and gathered fallen guava tree limbs for a barbeque. Rosa and I set fire to our hibachi grill and roasted local sweet potato and sweet corn, The grass fed island beef steaks from the Medeiros farm we did up on cast iron stove top under the monkey pod tree. From a traveling nomadic life full of adventures into the big white polar ice desserts with no life except humans and a kitchen full of canned and frozen decade-old goods, to a homestead lifestyle nested in a beach-side rain forest full of fresh produce, fish and meats... harvested and gathered daily, by us, the 70,000 some residents of Kauai.
The meals we share between us are what ground us to this island. They give us good health and appreciation for what is. During the Hanai dinners it's common to witness the territorial boundaries around dining tables evaporate and the folks engaging in sacred conservation amongst each other about how good it feels to be eating this. Last Saturday night we had enough leftovers after our midnight family meal that we boxed em up and gave em to the homeless that keep their beats on the coastal path in downtown Kapa'a. Without the pure natural beauty around us we would not have our priceless pantry and menu, and our beds and the Earth's blanket.
I do not have the time to consume the news of the outside of the world, or have the energy or money to consume much of what is brought in by plane and vessel to the island. Yes, I have a gas powered truck, but if I could ride a horse and buggy, or train to south shore to the farm then I would. So, where's it at?
Busy bees we are providing fruits and vegetables for family and friends with rusty tools from a kanaka haole kapuna and an acre of soft Kauai soil. My skin is becoming dark, like a native. I farm several days during the week and volunteer my time there to harvest extra greens and fruits for the community back home. Come the weekend I help with Hanai Kauai and get to furthermore exemplify how miraculous this land, sun, air and water taste and how important it is to support the caretakers of the island. There is so much to do and so much to learn, and it's all fun and exciting. I am asked to be of a good role model for the keiki. On one hand it feels like I'm doing something totally radical and new age, but on the other hand I'm doing nothing different than what my great grandparents did to sustain themselves. My grandmother pickles her peppers, and we pickle our peppers. She shares a big garden to bring fresh veggies to table in the summer and pickle the rest to savor throughout the winter.
Here on Kauai we share land like the olden days and work it allowing us to bring home bushels of fresh greens and fruits. I am just starting to tap into the world of preservation and fermentation to create long lasting treats. The guys at Hanai are one step ahead and I'm learning from them, like last weekend when they prepped a carboy of starfruit juice to be turned into a local fruit wine for aperitif. It feels good to reconnect with our ancestors and conjure old wisdom. It feels good and is healthy to feed the dormant soul that's shrouded with technology and pursuit of material. Once I had nothing much material here in Kauai I started to learn about the trees, and what their seasons are and when their fruits are at their best. I started watching the net casters at the beach in more detail and look at what they're bringing in. I asked to be taught how to take a wild chicken, and found a way to make it taste tender. I am learning how to cook meats in banana leaf stuffed inside a heaping pile of lively compost.
Our taste buds must be full of memories. Each taste is a story that goes all the back to when Kauai was young and molten under the sea. Now she's a tall jagged land with valleys of dark, rich soil where plants from all across Pacific rim have come to grow together. The weather is perfect for this gathering. Locals stop along the highway and just start picking the bushes for fruits. Driving back from work and can stop on the way home and harvest a piece of dinner or something to share with the neighbors? Nice. Reminds me of all the berry picking and roadside moose hunting in Alaska.
I do not forget the hundreds of thousands of children each day that do not have access to fresh water, or the communities involved in war or oppression. All I can offer is an example of peace and respect, and my intentions to unify this web of life into a path of acceptance. What is given to you is given to you, and you must make the best of it in a way that supports you and the world around you. To give everything that has been given to me seems to be my path right now. To seek more than is what is needed is insanity, because it only takes a few simple elements to feed the soul; be it kindness, appreciation, simplicity and love. We all end up in the same place; earth. I am sorry that there is hunger in the world and that I cannot provide, for that I ask for your forgiveness. I love all creatures under the sun and beyond and I thank you for sharing this time and place with me. Mahalo nui loa.
Check out the most recent Hanai Kauai photos at http://www.hanaikauai.com/gallery/ and if you are on island be sure to book your table for Valentine's day. Doesn't matter if you a cat or rooster, we got your plate.