September has reigned upon the island with some serious storm warnings, sharply slanted sunshine, billowing clouds trailing delicate veils and bird wing patterns troweled across powder blue skies on fair days. Many people I’ve met when out and about on sunny days–some of them friends, some, complete strangers–have said, Isn’t it a beautiful day? Could it be more perfect? The only answer is in the affirmative, along with an exchange of smiles. . .
Last week while stretching to exercise in a wellness therapy clinic I’m attending, a young stranger asked, Did you see the sunrise today? He went on to remark how awesome it was. Now “awesome” is an overused word today, being commonly applied to the most everyday events and achievements of young and old, alike, which has become a pet peeve for me. However, I took this use of “awe-some” in the full context of what this young man was moved to describe of the reverential wonder and magnificence with which his sighting of the rising sun had gifted him.
It was the week of the autumn equinox, when for three days in Hawai`i, the sun may be viewed as if it is rising in the same exact spot on the eastern horizon. This brings to mind the Hawaiian cultural heiau, or sacred space at the south side of Wailua bay marking Hikina a ka La (to the East rises the Sun).
There is an oli, a chant by Pualani Kanaka`ole Kanahele,* that was composed to greet the dawning of the day. In a prayerful and poetic way, this oli written in the old style contains the science gained by observational practices and the cultural awe and reverence that the first settlers of this island felt and practiced. The ancestors left us the valuable “book” in remaining archaeological treasures of stones that delineate sacred space and the careful naming of such places in a metaphoric language.
Now, to moon talk. . .
*Oli (Chant) to the Rising of the Sun “E ala e!” by Pualani Kanaka`ole Kanahele, in use by hula practitioners, may be found online at mauna‑a‑wakea.info › maunakea › I2_traditional chants, along with a great deal of information about Dr. Pualani Kanahele, including links to her TED Talks.
Autumnal Equinox skies and sea, Photo by Dawn F. Kawahara
Anita Jepson-Gilbert is the author of Maria and the Stars of Nazca, nazcaresources.com . A published poet, she serves as President of the Columbine Poets of Colorado, a member of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her review reads,
" This memoir and travel tale, told intermittently through the voice of young Dawnie Fraser and the adult voice of Dawn Kawahara, pieces together the history of a family tangled in a world war that left a mother and two young daughters with more questions than answers about what happened to the husband and father they all loved. Follow this family story from India to Burma to Australia, to America, where the author finally settled in Hawaii with her husband, Dee Kawahara, who is by her side as they retrace her journey back in time to find out where and how her father vanished after WW II.
There is so much to learn from this book in terms of history, geography, and Asian culture, but the author wraps it all gently in a very human story told first by a child and later by an adult woman, still haunted by the disappearance of her father, William James Fraser. "
Wailua, Kauai–Kauai author/poet and columnist Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author of the compelling book “Jackals’ Wedding, A Memoir of a Childhood in British India,” now brings to her readers its sequel, her second memoir, “Burma Banyan, A Daughter’s Odyssey,” once again under the AuthorHouse/TropicBird Press imprint. The vivid and bittersweet second memoir and travel tale by Kawahara arrives just in time for holiday gift-giving.
Kawahara will be on hand at the Kauai Society of Artists (KSA) Gallery in Kukui Grove Shopping Center on Fri., Nov. 29 “Black Friday” from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for a booksigning. Following the standard release mode from Kawahara’s TropicBird Press, the book is a Kauai product in that it was conceived, written, edited and prepared on island for printing and binding. Kauai and comparisons with Burma also come into this storyline.
At 7 p.m. in this “small work” within the KSA newly-hung Small Works Show, the author will present a program free to the public to briefly explain the background of the book and will read an excerpt from her second memoir followed by a question-&-answer session. This will be followed by the prize drawing. Ticket holders must be present to win.
A former photo journalist and freelancer, Kawahara worked as Poet-in-the-Schools (Kauai), and from her studies of ancient hula in Ka `Imi Institute produced “Behold Kaua`i, Modern Days ~ Ancient Ways,” a collection of original poetry and Hawaiian cultural information, as a love chant to her adopted home island. As a long-time Board Member of Ka `Imi Institute, she is the current president. Kawahara is a recipient of the James Vaughan Poetry Prize; and a long-standing member of and prize-winning poet in the National Federation of Poetry Societies. She has led writing workshops and been a contest judge for the Columbine Poets of Colorado and was the creator/curator of the Garden Island Arts Council’s “April as National Poetry Month-Kauai Poetry Fests” for over a decade.
She currently hosts and guides the monthly meetings of the Kauai Live Poets’ Society sponsored by the Lihue Branch of the Hawai`i State Library System, and contributes the “Green Flash”and “FarAway Places” editorial and travel columns published in The Garden Island newspaper. The author has focused her supportive interests within the Kaua`i community since the early 1980s. Kawahara was honored as an “Outstanding Older American–2019” by the Mayor and Council of the County of Kaua`i and the Governor and State Legislature of Hawaii.
She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, are blessed with six grown children and five grandchildren. They share a passion for books and travel. Kawahara’s books are available through Amazon and other outlets.
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