2.15.17 by Bryna Storch
gathers wood while the daylight lingers just a bit longer to finish the days work, when the sun is rounding the corner going home for dinner, when the air is cooler, the wood is driest and the stinging bugs who live under the fallen branches are resting. He places it in a tidy pile, and wisely covers it with an old sheet of toetung, just the right size to protect it from the passing mist that likes to come visit with the darkness. He sweeps the faces of the pohaku, in their eternal circle, his rough hands cleaning them of fallen leaves and scattered ashes. He places a smaller toetung over the circle to keep the Kaiaulu breeze who dances and swirls around the valley, from playfully tossing the ashes. He picks up stray branches, rakes kukui leaves into a mulch pile that feeds his green rose and his awa. Stretches as he looks over the scene, as he smiles the grass softens.
After dinner in the cookhouse, after dishes are washed in the sink whose water feeds the bananas, after a cold beer, the blankets are bundled and a dessert is pocketed and he heads out into the open night sky. I love to race ahead of him, unwrapping the toetung to find the perfectly prepared pile of firewood and clean circle of stones, by far better than any gift one can buy. As he approaches, I step back to grab the blanket and smooth it on the grass, which seems ever softer every time. He kneels and is serious, his face aged into lifelines. He takes each stick and looks at it, placing it just so. Kindling wrapped under a stone so it wont fly away, is pulled out and tucked into its home, just so. The lighter in his breast pocket, just so. He glances up, remembering he is not alone. Sighs deep and smiles, then lights the threads of coconuts or twists of newspaper that weave into the wood and sits back. He knows it will spread, but he watches with concern. And because he is humble in all things, he leans forward and blows softly to be sure, protective of its small flame, caring to make its growth easier….
How many full moons and how many new moons, I don’t even know. But these fires cleaned us of stagnation, cleaned us of doubt, cleaned us of sadness. These fires heated our politics. These fires ignited deep belly laughs. These fires keep us simple, keep us true, keep us together. These fires were my schooling, as he told stories of the many ideas that came up the mountain and rolled back down. Ideas don’t take root, only digging deep will root. Staying and watering, will root. Clearing weeds, so the roots can grow seeds and will root. And harvesting those seeds to feed and strengthen us so that we can continue to dig deep and root into the mountain, not ever wanting to roll back down.
Many of the dear uncles and aunties who circled those fires and took root upon that mountain now live eternal in its hidden caves, their ashes suspended in its secret waters. Their epic songs, their one-liners that say it all, echo eternal in the stream they freed and every fire brings crackling footsteps from the forest as they invisibly approach. He looks up and smiles at them, then turns back to stare at the fire as tears stream down, drying in the warmth before they drop.
Now my child’s face also warms in the circle. He calls her Kuʻunanihoku, and opens his hands in the glowing light to show her what the mountain may hold.
We live far from him now, on another mountain with its own playful winds and talkative waters, but glowing within every fire, shining from every moon, he is here.
2.22.17 by Bryna Storch
💕Please to welcome Zeila MacNut to this wide world, our 1st born on Lanipo Farm!💕
Daughter of Zinnia & Macnut, of Clun Forest lineage w a drop of Katahdin, by way of the kind folks at Sunbonnet Farm, Paauilo, HI.
Our hearts are bursting with joy! Zinnia is as sweet a mama as she is a sheep, she’s my favorite- she smiles when she sees us and is the first to come near. She made me less nervous about sheep tending, she’s a fluffy gentle sweetheart and little Zeila is, too.
10.20.16 by Bryna Storch
Ola ka Honua.
This photographed moment. This moment that is The Moment we’ve always dreamed. There is no succinct explanation worth stumbling over to describe the long story of these huli, our endless hana aloha, this big picture…
But, I do need to describe the real life moment that happened right after this photo. When this little 2 year-old-still-yet a baby, after doing her part in making our first taro patch at our ohana farm, asked me to sit down in the pathway.
She took my face in her hands and whispered soft stories while peering kindly and directly into my eyes. Then she stopped speaking and lightly touched my eyes to close as she took deep breaths, placing her hand on my chest to follow her in breathing together. .
Then she smoothed the earth and told me to lay down, to rest my head and, she pointed, to look at the sky.
As I lay there in the dirt pathway in the middle of the open field under the wide sunset sky watching only the resting clouds watching me, she walked around me touching my body lightly, saying softly and so very earnestly,
“All better. All better. Shhhh. All better.”
2.25.15 by Bryna Storch
Voggy-ass sticky day we all wake with a head cold to get hustlin’ to harvest for market day. Today, when the chickens decided to lay 1,000 extra eggs that i gotta clean while Baby is absolutely certain she doesnt want to play in her play-ship, or stroller, or play pen, she only wants my lap and all the toys and inappropriate objects she can reach, too. To distract her from the torture of the newest tooth she just had to cut, today. The ergo baby carrier and all its baby-fixative power is AWOL, today. And the green beans hiding in the weeds are refusing to pick themselves.
Amongst all this i get a call from my mom that she got a call from the landlord’s office that they got a call from the neighboring school that they are about to call Humane Society because a large black mule is grazing on their soccer field. So we hightail it over to find Lanipo all cool and cornered in their new native plant garden. So busy with grass she didn’t notice the koa saplings. Thank god. The school’s secretary (the only staff member with large animal experience from her family’s cattle ranch) is happily mule-sitting while kids faces are plastered against the windows to watch, likely disrupting their peaceful private school classrooms into farm-like chaos. 6 carrots and our last bucket of feed later, we get her harness on while the secretary babysits the baby, who is all smiles for the 1st (and potentially only) time all day. As we wondered out loud how and why this normally very shy mule got out of her harness, through the woods, over the ditch, down the road, wandered into the school’s driveway, and crossed the campus, the secretary simply smiled, “Maybe the mule wanted to go to school.”
Come back to find there is no scraps for the chickens and we’re out of pellets. And the green beans still haven’t picked themselves. A k-zillion eggs still await cleaning and boxing and market time looms closer. I tend to the eggs while this insatiable baby moans a repetitive “mmmmgggrrrgh” growling pissy sound, threatening to scream and drop tears if i move more than 1inch from her play-ship while she gnaws on my knee. Finally my mom shows up in time to hold baby while i pick the elusive green beans.
Harvest finally off to market, i settle down for an intensive focused nap time with angry baby. Her eyelids eventually flutter shut just when i get a call from the other neighbor that the mule is cruising by their quonset hut, next to the parking lot. This time the rope had break. We’re down to our last 4 carrots. And a bag of crackers.
Get mule back into her pen just to find that, as seen in the photograph, Guinness the goat has jumped a 7ft. fence into the chicken pen and has all the girls in an uproar of sheer terror, (plus they’re crazy hungry after laying a billion eggs). How he did it is as much a mystery as Lanipo going to school. He then tried to stab this guy but used his stubby short horn (Not the long pointy one. Again, thank god.) So the guy then wrangled him out of the pen by dragging him by both horns. Which is Guinness’ absolute favorite game to play. He was all leaps and bleats after that.
So since we were up and baby was now ultra-awake, we went to the feed store and got treats for all these jerks to keep them happy in their proper homes and in the process found the ergo and now im walking the entire face of the earth getting baby to sleep while i type this.
And since we forgot to get beer, may just have to take a crack at that sweet Dickel whiskey our kind friends so fortuitously left behind. And although i am smeared with sticky baby slobber and the smell of manure surrounds me wherever i go (is it on my shoe? i cant see over the ergo.) and havent peed alone in 48 hours, that makes me quite happy.
….Just in case anyone wondered, how’s things going?