|Love & Light and everything bright...|
14 Nov 2011
Updated May 14, adds Disappointing Concert, Beautiful Coffee Blossom, Annex's 33rd Birthday
Rain, Rain... Welcome Back!
Parched Rainbow Shower plants and flowers get a good soaking from the heavens
FROM HAIKU, MAUI (HAWAII)
(Sunset dinner in Kihei, Apr 2)
Heavenly welcome back home!
Rain, Rain... Welcome Back!
Rain showers answer May prayers
HAIKU, Maui, May 4 - You know the old saying, "April showers bring May flowers?" Well, "rain showers answer May prayers" would be a fitting one today. You saw last night how quickly the heavens responded to my prayers for rain (see "Heavenly Welcome Home"). Since then, it has been raining on and off all night and most of the morning so far. And what a welcome rain it is. This is supposed to be the rainiest season for us. Yet we have not had any rain to speak of since early March.
Check out the photos and the video...
What's really amusing is to see all this rain when the official weather forecast called for "mostly sunny" weather with only 20% chance of rain... :-)
And that's all she wrote so far in the month of May.
HAIKU, Maui, May 3 - I got back home in late afternoon today after spending about nine hours in the air, and two hours in airport terminals. Considering the distance - 4,500 miles from Corpus to Maui via Dallas - the trip was longer than most trips from the East Coast to Europe. Yet it did not seem as tiring. The flights were comfortable and on time. Little did I know that a heavenly welcome home awaited me at the Rainbow Shower.
After walking around the property including the gulch, the ground was parched and the grass turning brown. Everything looked extremely dry, like the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. Even up around the house, the hydrangea had dried up and died. And the mums flowers are looking rather sad, too.
So when I was at the Apucheta, I asked the Creator and Pachamama for some rain. Believe it or not, even before I completed my Royal Palm Trail loop, I felt a few drops of rain on my head.
"Thank you for your blessings," I said. "Every drop counts. But we would really appreciate some sustained rain."
About 10 minutes later, a dark cloud appeared from the northeast. And then it started to rain. It was a real rain shower, not just a few drops like before. So I thanked the Creator and Pachamama and asked them to keep it coming. Every little bit helps, even this "welcome home"-rain shower that lasted only about 15 minutes but did soak the ground.
The rain showers continued on and off during the evening. The rain has just stopped now (11PM), as I am writing these lines. And the resumed...
It was a heavenly welcome home. And most welcome... by the plants and animals around here. Well, the people, too. Except maybe the surfers. :-)
HAIKU, Maui, May 6 - Life here at the Rainbow Shower is full of wonders. Here's just the latest example...
Today is St. George's Day according to the Orthodox Christian calendar. And what a start to the day it has been! The Namaka Creek is running again for the first time in four months!
To refresh your memory (see Heavenly Welcome Home from Texas, May 3), this is supposed to be a rainy season for us. Yet we have not had any rain to speak of for about two months. When I returned on Tuesday from a trip to Texas, I found the ground parched, and the grass turning brown. Signs of serious drought were everywhere (see the two photos - right and left). So I went down to my Huaca/Apucheta (shaman’s sacred ground and altar that I built down in the gulch), and asked the Creator and the spirits to bring us some rain.
Within minutes, literally, I felt some sprinkles on my face. "Thank you," I said. "I take it that this is your blessing and acknowledgment of my prayers. But what I mean was 'sustained rain,' not just a few drops."
I also prayed to Goddess Pele (who guided me here - the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire) to let her sister Goddess Namaka (goddess of water) return to the Rainbow Shower. I promised that I would do a special fire ceremony for her if she did so (the two sisters always fought like cats and dogs, according to Hawaiian mythology).
Lo and behold, by the time I climbed back up to the house, a few sprinkles have turned into the first shower we’d had since early March. The rain showers have continued on and off for the last two and a half days. And this morning, for the first time in more than four months, we have a running creek again here at the Rainbow Shower. I named it Namaka Creek when it first appeared on St. Patrick’s Day 2010.
Want to know something else that’s rather interesting and proves that this was truly a divine intervention? Take a look at the official National Weather Forecast issued two days ago on May 4 (above right). Zero percent chance of rain. Ha! Plants and flowers and birds and bees, not to mention the two-legged creatures over here, are all delighted that science was wrong this time. :-)
See what I mean when I say that life here is full of wonders, especially for a shaman?
Hope this doesn’t come across as boastful. I certainly did not intend it as such. What I shared with you are not debatable opinions. They are just the facts. And I am merely overjoyed and deeply grateful for the miracles that are unfolding around here at the Rainbow Shower every day. And yes, it is still raining on and off as I write this, around noon local time on Friday, May 6.
By now, you may be wondering... "what does that have to do with Mozart?" Well, here's what... check out this quick video I also made this morning:
To be continued... when I get around to making a movie about what I saw this morning in the gulch.
And here it is... a complete full video about the above experience (added May 7).
HAIKU, Maui, May 6 - The 175-year old Keawalai Church on the Makena shores in southeast Maui was a perfect venue for the final concert of the 2011 Maui Classical Music Festival. And it was a jubilee of sorts - the 30th anniversary of this outstanding musical event.
I took the leftmost shot just as I entered the church grounds a few minutes before the 7PM concert starting time. There was still enough light to walk around and take some pictures of this beautiful spot before the concert began. Alas, that first shot was the only HD quality picture. I messed up some settings on my new camera after I took it, so you'll have to put up with grainier pictures in the rest of the story.
The church was packed notwithstanding its remoteness from most major Maui towns. And with good reason. The musicians were outstanding. They got several standing ovations at the end of a 2.5-hour concert which included the works of Bach, Roussel, Rossini and Dvorak. During the intermission, the church hosts served cookies, cakes and drinks. It was a very homey atmosphere, unlike some more formal concert venues, such as the Castle Theater.
Seabury Hall Fair: Taiko Drummers Excel
HAIKU, Maui, May 7 - The annual Seabury Hall Fair, one of the best attended country events every year on the island of Maui, looked like it might be a washout after four days of rain. I felt partially responsible and guilty when I looked out the window on Saturday morning. Rain showers kept rolling in from the northeast as they have been ever since I returned from Texas on Tuesday evening (see Mozart in the Gulch: Namaka Creek Returns to Rainbow Shower, May 6).
There was a break in the rain in early afternoon, so I decided to drive up to Makawao and see how the Seabury Far was going. When I got there, I realized I should not have fretted. Thousands of people were happily milling around. Some friends who worked at the Fair told me there was some rain this morning, but the weather had been fine ever since. Another example of micro climates here on the island. So it looks like it was mostly the Rainbow Shower and the immediate vicinity around it that were getting soaked. And thank God for that!
I stayed at the Fair for about an hour. Came home with two large coconuts. Paid just $3 for both. As I was walking around the fair carrying a coconut in each hand, the left one with a straw from which I was sipping coconut juice (right shot), people kept smiling and asking me where I got them. After a while, I went back to the farmer who sold them to me and told him I should charge him commission.
"I have been your walking billboard," I said. "Now I see why you charged me only $3 for two coconuts."
We both laughed.
On my way out, I bumped into a bunch of young kids (12-14 years of age), mostly Japanese-looking. They performed several ritual Taiko drumming gigs, as is traditional in the Buddhist rites. I made an audio recording of one of them. You can listen to it here...
Seabury Hall Fair 2011 - Taiko Drummers (audio only, recorded May 7, 2011)
Over the next few days, I plan to record my own music to go with these Taiko drums. I already started the creative process today. Meanwhile, here's a video of some other drummers performing at the Seabury Fair two years ago (2009), the first time Elizabeth and I had gone to this popular event.
You can also watch this Amazing Taiko Performance which took place at about the same time as the above video - on May 10, 2009 at the Matsuri in Phoenix, Arizona.
All I can say is that the young Seabury drummers were no less "amazing" than these Japanese "pros" in Arizona. It's just that I did not have my video camera with me. Which is why you are having to put up with just an audio recording from the 2011 Fair.
And now, take a closer look at the coconuts I brought home...
As I was about to turn into our driveway, I realized how beautiful the tree tunnel looked now in front of it (right). This Eucalyptus tree grove, which we named the "Enchanted Forest No. 2," has recently had a major "hair cut," administered by the Maui County road maintenance people. Now that you can see right up to the top of these huge trees, one has a feeling as if one is entering a natural cathedral... a green Westminster Abbey at the Rainbow Shower. :-)
Taiko Drums, Tibetan Bowls, Inca Rattles and Piano
HAIKU, Maui, May 9 - After watching and hearing the young Seabury Hall Taiko drummers perform on Saturday during the annual fair at that private school, I vowed to make a video. Little did I know at the time that it would be about music connecting the East and the West, and bridging cultural, religious and physical differences between the people.
Since I did not have my "good" camera with me during the Seabury Fair, I "borrowed" the above pictures from a public web site to go with my audio recording of these amazing drummers. I then also added my own piano, Tibetan bowls and Inca rattle music to it. And I filmed it using three different cameras - for the first time ever. Check it out...
Disappointing Concert, Beautiful Coffee Blossoms, Annex's 33rd Birthday
HAIKU, Maui, May 14 - As I was approaching the Will Call window at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center last night to pick up my tickets for the Awakening Kindness concert, a woman smiled at me and asked, "do you have an extra ticket?"
Then seeing the puzzled look on my face, she added, "the concert has been sold out, you know."
"Really?" I said. "Isn't that something?! I have never seen the McCoy Theater sold out before."
"Well?" she asked again, looking hopeful.
"Oh, yeah, the extra ticket," I said. "Actually, I do have one."
Elizabeth is still out of town. And we ordered these tickets before she left for Texas. I was just so startled that somebody wanted to buy an extra ticket that I did not even know the prices. "How much are they?" I muttered,
"Twenty five," the lady said, reaching for her wallet.
"That's okay," I said, after she handed me a $20.
"Thank you SO MUCH," she said, evidently overjoyed that she got a ticket on a sold-out night.
I walked into the theater still shaking my head. I did not have particularly great expectations for this particular concert. A Peter Kater, a pianist, and Nawang Khechog, a Tibetan flutist. But the Maui crowd evidently did.
"Hm...," I muttered to myself. "This ought to be interesting."
Not being much reading the programs before an event, I never even noticed that there was a different name on the screen shown as the flutist - Carlos Nakai, joining Kater, the pianist (above left). It wasn't until the show's producer announced that the originally scheduled Tibetan flutist had to undergo a six-hour brain surgery immediately upon arrival in Maui to remove a tumor. He said the surgery was successful and Khechog is now recovering.
"What a way to start a Hawaiian tour," I thought. "With a six-hour brain surgery!" But it's still probably better than if it had happened in India, where the artist lives, I also thought. Having been once to an Indian hospital's emergency ward in Mumbai (Bombay), it's not exactly a place I would recommend to my loved ones for a brain surgery. Anyway, back to the concert.
Next came a Buddhist prayer, or a chant, more accurately. It was performed by a dear shaved-head Tibetan monk (above right). I could feel his warm aura by just looking at him. Here's a clip from his chant...
That was the best part. The one-minute chant. The concert itself was a disappointment. Both artists are actually very accomplished individuals. Each has received numerous Grammy nominations. Carlos Nakai is said to be perhaps the best Native American musician in the country. And Kater has written scores of scores for various TV shows. (Maybe that's why the event was sold out? Crowd attracted to the glitz of fame?).
But the two of them just did not work together. They had no prepared program. They did not even bother to rehearse. The entire gig was a jamming session, an improvisation, with uninteresting banter in between the numbers. Or was it the other way around? Idle banter with uninteresting music. That may have been okay in a bar. But it fell flat in a concert hall. I felt it was unprofessional and disrespectful of a musically-educated audience. So l left early.
To be fair, I did love the sound of various flutes that Nakai was playing. Having struggled on my own to learn to play a small Peruvian flute I brought home in 2008, I appreciated the artistry that it took to produce such beautiful sounds, like the bass flute, for example. I could have listened to that alone all evening. And used the sound for some of my own compositions. The piano was only a distraction, an unwelcome interference. I caught myself several times motioning with my hands downward, hoping the pianist would tone it down. Obviously, it was in vain.
So as soon as I got home, even though it was fairly late, I had to sit down a my piano and play at least a couple of tunes, like washing a bad taste out of your mouth with a sorbet or something.
When I did my rounds in the gulch of the Rainbow Shower this morning, I noticed that many of the coffee trees are now in bloom. And their white flowers are deliciously fragrant, like those of Jasmine. And they look pretty, like snow flakes on the coffee tree branches. Who says it never snows in Hawaii? :-)
By the way, tomorrow, Sunday, May 15, is the 33rd birthday of Annex, the company I founded after I left IBM in 1978. And "33" being a Masters number. like "11," has another special significance for me personally. Plus I was 33 at the time I broke the Big Blue yoke. Well, almost... So it's a double-"33" event. :-)
The image on the left with a red brochure is a short story about how the company was named (after my elder daughter Anne, who was two at the time). And it adds how I had formed another company named Emmy Enterprises Inc,. which produced my theatrical effort in 1992 ("The Professional" (a play) - San Francisco, London, New York). Thus all was fair and balanced in the family. :-) The middle left image was a 1978 shot of Annex's booth, promoting the Annex Newsletter, at the company's first trade show in Toronto, Canada. Yours truly is talking on the phone (profile). No, it was NOT a cell phone. It was 1978, remember? :-) But that 1983 column (middle right) actually did predict the PC and Internet revolutions that actually occurred about a decade later (see "Go West Young Man"). In fact, it was broadcast via an online network in partnership with a company called Newsnet, based in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. It was a precursor to the Internet.
Anyway, guess I'd better buy myself a piece of cake tomorrow, preferably with red and white and gold icing (the original company colors). :-)
And that's all she wrote so far for the month of May.