At this time of great uncertainty, fear, and profound gravity, I send everyone Aloha pumehana - warm aloha and affection.
Aloha, the common greeting of Hello! and Goodbye! in Hawai'i, as defined in the Hawaiian Dictionary, means love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, kindness, grace, charity. Aloha 'aina is a love of the land or of one's country, patriotism. Both couldn't be more timely definitions as we see the best of humanity across the world in the worst of times.
My husband and I have been back in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes region since February 1st after a month in French Polynesia and three months on Kaua'i. By the time we left Kaua'i, we inherently knew Covid-19 would spread to the United States and began to prepare for eventual isolation.
We stocked up on necessities beginning in mid-February, had a quick overnight visit about an hour away with my brother-in-law, Steve, and sister-in law, Chris, and a final gathering with six close friends in early March. We've been adhering to social distancing/isolation since March 8, beginning our personal 'retreat' a few weeks before New York State ordered a statewide ‘pause’ on everything.
The pandemic is spreading across the country. The New York City region is in a crisis situation. And our small upstate county, population about 25,000, posted its first confirmed case on March 29, although under most circumstances, cases worldwide are likely much higher, but unconfirmed by testing.
We are settled comfortably in our rural home. We are reading, cooking, watching movies, planning work in the gardens, including what to put in the vegetable and herb garden. Jim has been able to do some fishing, has crafted a new fishing rod, and tying flies. We have nearly two acres and a quiet country road to enjoy some fresh air. I am currently writing book three in the Emma Prince series, Beneath Still Waters, which is coming along with about two hundred pages drafted thus far. And I'm getting back to my website, especially some journal posts to share some of the inspiration I've discovered from the research I've done for my books.
We are so very fortunate and acknowledge that every single day.
But, truth be told, in many ways we are neither here nor there…we are caught between watching what takes place daily in New York State and the Finger Lakes Region, as well as what is also happening on our beloved Kaua'i.
We talk to our children almost daily. Daughter Katie and fiancé, John, are 5,000 miles away where they’ve lived on the north shore of Kaua'i for ten years. Both are well. Our son, James, lives about an hour away. He is one of the heroes working in a profession which places him on the front lines. We had a visit with him here in mid-march and sadly have even now distanced from him (as he has also done from us). He is also well. James, along with sister-in-law, Chris, and John on Kaua'i who both also work on the front lines, are in our thoughts every day, as are all of the other heroes working globally on the front lines.
In A Telling of Ancestors, I referenced an old Hawaiian boast. It has also become one of my frequent mantras:
He ‘a‘ali‘i ku makani mai au; ‘a‘ohe makani nana e kula‘i
I am a wind resisting a‘ali‘i, no gale can push me over.
The ‘a‘ali‘i bush symbolizes endurance. It is able to stand against the worst gales, twisting and bending, but seldom breaking off or falling over.
As events continue to take a more dangerous turn everywhere, draw on the strength of the ‘a‘ali‘i.
You will not be knocked down. You will be able to stand your ground and hold your own in the face of adversity.
I embrace you all with aloha, sending love, affection, compassion, mercy, sympathy, kindness, grace, charity, and so much more your way, whether your are here or there.