ophe's promise

something akin to a sketch pad

moon phases
Location: Hawaii, United States

one of my favorite quotes: Be Humble for you are made of earth; Be Noble for you are made of stars.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Sure on this Shining Night

Set by Samuel Barber to poetry by James Agee (1909-1955), "Description of Elysium," from Permit Me Voyage

Sure on this shining night
Of starmade shadows round,
Kindness must watch for me
This side the ground.
The late year lies down the north.
All is healed, all is health.
High summer holds the earth.
Hearts all whole.
Sure on this shining night
I weep for wonder
wandering far alone
Of shadows on the stars.



The Night Rainbow

My daughter, Michelle, is a high school senior and lives with her father on the mainland for most of the year. After her father and I divorced, and while I still lived nearby, she spent many years shuttling back and forth on a weekly basis from the two separate homes. When I moved to Hawaii a few years ago to make a new home and life, Michelle made her wishes known that she didn't want to join me and attend school here, but wanted to remain with her friends in her high school and to live with her dad during the school months. I have accepted her wishes and not made an issue of it. She knows she is welcome to change the arrangement any time she should choose to. (at least welcome by me, her father would be less accomodating, I suspect) My absence in her daily life is a cause for grief, though.

One consolation is that she is flourishing in her achievements and in the development of her character. Another consolation is that her summers with me are especially enjoyable. Our relationship isn't typical of many mother/teenage daughter relationships. She knows she has my trust and love, there is no need to rebel - it's a mature relationship, in my view. We both try to make the most of the time we do have together. We tour the wonderful sights of the Big Island, we go camping, we hike, we swim and snorkel, and we sing and talk and laugh a lot.

One of the rare offerings the Big Island of Hawaii holds is its active volcanic flow into the Pacific Ocean. The Volcano is a popular stop for the tourists and also a sacred and revered place for the indigenous as well as transplanted natives of this island. If one wants to really get the most of the experience, the best time to see it is just after sundown. The waning daylight assists in the early part of the hike; the night sky allows the glow of molten lava to be visible. It's a very long walk over rough, jagged lava and sometimes there are so many cars parked along the route that even the walk to the lava area can take as much as an hour. Michelle and I have made a point of visiting the volcano each year; this past summer was no exception. We started the long march while the sun was still shining, by the time we arrived at the closest vantage point allowed, the sky was dark and by the time we'd returned to the car, the full moon was rising over the Pacific Ocean. The flow wasn't as spectacular a sight as some previous times, but we'd had a marvelous time, singing "99 bottles of beer on the wall", playing with our flashlights, giggling at some of the others making the trek, enjoying the sights and smells and sounds. A wonderful time of camaraderie, in fact.

The drive back to our campsite was a long winding one up the slopes of Kilauea. A misty drizzling rain began. And suddenly, something mysteriously wonderful appeared in the sky before us ........ A silver arc of light..... The light of the full moon, refracted by the rain drops, had formed a silver rainbow. An ethereal shimmering silver bow, seeming to be a special gift just for Michelle and me.

I never knew that such a thing existed before, but it turns out that it is a part of Hawaiian lore. They call it the Night Rainbow. There is even a book named after the phenomenon: "Tales from the Night Rainbow" by Koko Willis and Pali Jae Lee.

"There are many kinds of rainbows. The night too has rainbows. One, the encircling ring around the moon, is only a weather sign. The other night rainbow, Na Po Mokole, is seen only by a few. It is the Spirit Rainbow. The rainbow that holds our ancestors. When it is seen it is a great blessing from all our family who have gone out of flesh. Many healings take place at this time, for our spirit family knows our needs and tries to help us. They give us knowledge and rekindle the light when it is weak. It is a time of unity, a time for family - a reawakening or renewal for those in body. There is no greater blessing on earth than the blessing of the Night Rainbow."

When Michelle is feeling lonely, I hope she will recall our blessing of the night rainbow, and consider the thought that family can be near, even when far.

And when I consider that we are ALL RELATIONS, yes ALL of us, I hold that evening's silver rainbow as a sign of hope for the entire family of man.

"Amama, Ua Noa, Lele Wale"
The Kapu is Finished, the Words Fly Free

Free Hit Counters
Web Site Counter