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.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Who is that pig? We call her "Hammy", to remember that she's likely destined to become the main attraction of a luau one day. (Kalua pork is a traditional favorite of the locals; the meat is slow roasted in a pit in the sand, the cooking fire fueled by keawe (mesquite) wood.) We try to not get too attached to Hammy, nor to allow her to become too tame, because of that likelihood. No, we have no plans to eat her ourselves; there's just a large probability that the pig hunters will find her some day. Probably the only thing that would insure her safety would be to pen her up; we're not willing to do that. Her freedom is already limited on the quickly developing Big Island. She lives in constant danger. I've seen her run with terror when hunters are about. I say we try to remain unattached, but the truth of the matter is, I've become fond of her.

According to the history, the first settlers of these islands brought the pigs with them. Today, environmentalists bemoan the destruction the beasts cause to the flora and fauna and look for ways to eradicate them. It's true, the pigs uproot and trample plants and trees; in great numbers they are a nuisance. Like everything in nature, there need be a balance. The wild pigs have few advocates, though.

It's hard for me to describe the pig's nature, but I have been surprised by the gentleness and intelligence of this creature. One day a youthful boar, with a full set of sharp tusks wandered into the yard. A boar is typically more aggressive than the female. If startled a female will likely dash off, while the male may charge, instead. As there was no safe retreat for me, I sat quietly and observed nervously while the boar approached Hammy. She placed her body between me and the boar as he approached, sniffed around, and then traveled on. I'm not sure whether she was actually defending me or defending him, but she was definitely demonstrating a herding capability. I felt protected. (Remember Babe?) I've also been surprised that she does not carry an unpleasant odor. The stench of pig pens must be due to the fact of the animals' confinement. It seems they have more hygienic habits when allowed room to roam.

I wonder about the Moslem and Jewish religious prohibition of eating pork. I wonder if the meat of this animal is "unclean" or whether there may be some other reason; maybe something to do with man's relationship with the animal? I don't know, I just know that after getting to know this particular animal, I've lost whatever taste for pork I may have ever had.


Added note: Kapu - a Hawaiian word with two meanings - 1) forbidden and 2) sacred

Certain sacred places ,such as a "temple" known as a "heiau" will be marked with a sign stating the place is "kapu". Many people mistakenly use this word to translate simply as "no trespassing" and will place it on the boundary of their private property. The more correct usage attaches the meaning of "sacred" to "no trespassing" (certain sacred places are not to be entered except by those with proper training and understanding, so as not to be defiled or disrespected)

The system of "kapu" was used by the alii (chiefs) to protect limited resources and also as a means to protect "mana" - the spiritual power of a plant, creature, or person

and yes, I have heard the term applied to a person "this child is kapu" - meaning the child is sacred, not that the child is "forbidden"

I'm a newcomer to the Hawaiian language, and may have some misunderstandings - the above is a reflection of my limited understanding. It may have some relevance to the understanding of certain other religious traditions, though.

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