Memory Keepers

Tonight in Hilo, Hawaii, the music of hula can be heard.  Carried on the evening breeze, melodic voices raised in chant and song, the percussive rhythms of shark skinned drums and hollowed out gourds, the vibrating strings of ukulele and guitars. This week marks the 53rd Annual Merrie Monarch Festival with a week-long celebration that includes parades, arts and crafts, exhibits and fairs, and of course hula, performed in traditional and modern styles.

While every day unfolds pathways for creative journeys, events like this can offer inspiration at every turn and from so many different sources such as the melody of a song, the words of a chant, the strong and graceful movements of a dancer, or the sweet fragrance of blossoms and ferns woven into a lei.

Honoring our ancestors and our elders, being thankful for the traditions handed down while being firmly in the present and looking forward to the future, this is definitely a time for celebration and inspiration.

 

The Memory Keeper

The Memory Keeper

Stories old and new

Keepers of memory dance

Weaving lei with song

 

(Painting is watercolor and acrylic on Arches #140 cold pressed)

Flowers and Birdsong

Flowers and Birdsong

Just another pen and ink sketchbook doodle (in between projects), while thinking about friends, International Women’s Day and the monthly draw a bird day started by Laura at Create art everyday, and of course done while listening to birdsong.

Smiles of true friends lift

Hearts like flowers and birdsong

Clouds tickle the toes

Song of Joy

A cardinal sings

I remember being introduced to the Red Cardinal as a child while visiting my grandmother on her farm in the eastern United States. She loved birds and made sure to have food for them spread on the ground and attached to the ancient pear trees that stood outside of the parlor windows. It was a perfect viewing spot especially during the winter months and the flash of scarlet against the white background was stunning. “Isn’t he a handsome fellow!” my grandmother would exclaim at the sight of a male cardinal visiting her offerings of seed and suet. “Isn’t she a pretty thing, “ my grandmother would say in a softer voice at the sight of a female cardinal joining the feathered party.

Regardless of the season, when a cardinal’s familiar song and trill could be heard, my grandmother would pause in whatever she was doing and listen intently, as if the song were for her. Sometimes she would whistle in return, a conversation only the two of them could understand.

Both my grandmother and mother would often comment while listening to a cardinal’s serenade, on how happy their song was and how wondrous that a scarlet fluff of feathers could be so filled with a contagious joy that one could not help but feel lifted in spirit from just hearing its voice.

The Red Cardinal was introduced to the Hawaiian Islands in 1929 and became well established here. To this day when I hear the familiar piping, trills and song, I take a moment from my activities and enjoy the melody. It is like hearing a familiar voice, of a dear friend, who brings with them fond memories of childhood days and can lift the soul with song.

Lehua Rain

Playing with watercolors in a new sketchbook (Stillman & Birn Zeta series), working through ideas for a new painting…and, well… one thing led to another.

Lehua Rain

In a world of gray

Thoughts of love grow like ‘ōhi’a

‘I’iwi sing in lehua rain

A native tree in the Hawaiian islands, the ʻōhiʻa lehua is the first plant to grow on new areas of lava flow. The ‘I’iwi is a scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper, a native bird with a unique bill shaped for drinking nectar.  The term “lehua rain” refers to the legend of the ‘ōhi’a tree where plucking a flower causes the heavens to weep at the separation of two lovers, ‘Ōhi’a and Lehua.