Poetry: “Morris Graves’ ‘Blind Bird'”

W.S. Merwin’s poem of his friend Morris Graves’ painting. Graves studied Buddhism, as did Merwin.  

Those who do the hurting — are also hurt.

“Blind Bird”


This is the only way we can understand each other now
this is the only way I can listen to you
with our feet tangled in the white yard bushes
known as the world

this is the way the holders of the blinding pins
came to be unable ever to hear
Hardy told me that he had seen an ancestor of yours
long ago when I was in the dark before I was born here

and I learned later that those with the pins
became unable to hear you when you kept singing
to yourself and your clear voice kept rising
out of the chords and great chorus of your ancestors

now as I listen to you I hear in your voice
the forgotten freedom leaping over the rocks
and flying flying again and the rocks are singing
under you out of the unending silence
where the world goes on beginning

— W.S. Merwin, from his book Garden Time (Copper Canyon Press, 2016).  Copyright © 2016 by W. S. Merwin. 

Morris Graves, 1938. Photo by Robert Bruce Inverarity. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution (b. 1910- d. 2001)
W.S. Merwin (b. 1927, d. 2019), American poet, translator, restorer of Maui pineapple plantation land.

Thanks to Linda C. for sending this poem – so pertinent to our time.

Aloha, Renée

Banner: Morris Graves’ painting “Blind Bird” – from MOMA 

Thought for the Day: Democracy

“The truth is that the fate of America hangs in the balance in every presidential election.  That is the genius of the Constitution.  In creating a nation that transfers power every four years, the Framers charged its citizens with the duty of continually redeeming the gift of democracy or risk losing it.  Democracy is not for the faint-hearted. . .

Let’s prove that our generation is worthy of the gift of democracy” (in a email from R.H.)

Happy July 4th, U.S. Independence Day.

Get informed, verify your sources, support excellent candidates, & Vote.

Banner photo by Roven Images on Unsplash – photo from another year.

Fireworks are illegal here on Maui this year – to discourage crowds.  Instead, we are staying home.  Barry is making chili; I’m making potato salad; we have a big watermelon in the fridge getting cold; John is likely to come to dinner.  And Mary, our wonderful neighbor, has invited a few of us this evening to watch Hamilton; we will be safely distant from each other. Barry and I get to Zoom new Servas friends this afternoon.  We are healthy and safe — but we know many are suffering now.  Who we support in November, both locally and nationally, can make a big difference in how we as a country move forward (or not).


I love this image of how our entrenched systems could be.

May you be grateful wherever you are – and may we each work for positive changes. Stay healthy; stay home.

Aloha, Renée

Quarantine Kitchen: Creamy Turmeric Pasta

Aloha:  We are still mainly self-isolating at home although I have gone back to outrigger canoe paddling for now.  While much of the U.S. is accounting for surging  deaths in the world because of the COVID-19 pandemic (1 in 4), we have been relatively safe here although there is very limited testing. Prudently, Hawaii is not allowing visitors without a strict 14-day quarantine.  About 1,000 visitors arrived on Maui in May; in May 2019, we had about 250,000 visitors.  Our unemployment is the highest in the state, but we aren’t getting sick and dying!!  I’m concerned when we open again to tourists on August 1.

Now and maybe into the future, I get to do lots of Zoom meetings from home and look for projects here.  I still haven’t cleaned out my closet, but I am looking for new recipes.  Paddling sister, Joy N. gave me this recipe that we enjoyed.  I hope you do too.

Creamy Turmeric Pasta (recipe by Sue Li in NYT Cooking)

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Li says, “This earthy pasta its cobbled together using ingredients that you almost certainly already have in your kitchen.  Its approach is fairly standard:  Melt some butter, sauté some garlic and shallots, simmer with cream, then add some Parmesan and pasta cooking water to create a silky sauce.  That alone would make a great meal, but what makes this recipe really special is the addition of ground turmeric, which gives this simple dish its vibrant color and sophisticated depth of flavor.  This is meant to be a lazy meal–the kind of dish you throw together, then eat out of a big bowl while sitting on the coach–but if you’re feeling the need for something green, serve the pasta with a simple salad dressed with vinegar and olive oil.


1 pound spaghetti [or less]

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 large shallot, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric [which is good to reduce inflammation]

1 cup half-and-half

2 cups lightly packed freshly grated Parmesan (about 4 ounces), plus more for serving

4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley or chives


Step 1

Cook spaghetti according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup pasta cooking water and drain.

Step 2

Meanwhile, melt butter ion a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add shallot and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add turmeric [here in my quarantine kitchen where I avoid going out to shop, I have fresh turmeric.  I chopped some up very finely, but it wasn’t as fine as the ground purchased kind, so my pasta didn’t turn out the beautiful orange color it would have] [S]tir to toast, about 30 seconds.  Slowly whisk in the half-and-half then bring to a simmer.

Step 3

Whisk in the 2 cups Parmesan, then add the cooked spaghetti and all of the reserved pasta cooking liquid and toss to coat.  Serve with chopped parsley and more Parmesan.

Hope you like this pasta as much as we do.  I’ll make this again — with ground turmeric.  Thank Joy N. for sharing.

There is much to do even during a lockdown. Stay safe.  Eat healthy food.  Enjoy your day.  Take action to help others;  grow in spirit — try new recipes too.

Aloha in light & love,

Banner photo by RR

What White People Can Do For Racial Justice

These are well-researched, practical, up-dated ideas of actions we can take.  Choose something.  Work on something.  You are needed.  We need change and solutions.


Aloha, Renée

Thought for the Day: Listen & See

In a editorial to the Los Angeles Times, basketball Hall of Fame great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played from 1969-1989 for the NBA, wrote,

“Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a home-town sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts.  I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn.  But African-Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer.  Racism in America is like dust in the air.  It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in.  Then you see it’s everywhere.  As long as we keep shining that light, we have a chance of cleaning it wherever it lands.  But we have to stay vigilant, because it’s always still in the air.”


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

From CNN quoting more from Abdul-Jabbar’s editorial:

“The black community is used to the institutional racism inherent in education, the justice system and jobs. And even though we do all the conventional things to raise public and political awareness — write articulate and insightful pieces in the Atlantic, explain the continued devastation on CNN, support candidates who promise change — the needle hardly budges …
“So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether protesters are standing three or six feet apart or whether a few desperate souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive. Or whether being black means sheltering at home for the rest of their lives because the racism virus infecting the country is more deadly than COVID-19,” he wrote.
Pointing to the disproportionate rate at which African Americans are dying from Covid-19compared to whites and President Trump’s recent tweet saying, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” Abdul-Jabbar said that black protesters represent a community “pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe.”
Abdul-Jabbar, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2016, closed his op-ed by saying:
So what you see when you see black protesters depends on whether you’re living in that burning building or watching it on TV with a bowl of corn chips in your lap waiting for ‘NCIS’ to start.
“What I want to see is not a rush to judgment, but a rush to justice.”
And another knowledgable voice –


Simone Manuel

American Olympic gold medal swimmer Simone Manuel says, “It’s not just about death.  It’s about killing our spirits.  It’s about killing your dreams.  It’s about making us feel less than.  It’s about dismissing and ignoring our pain.  It’s about silencing our voice.  It’s about punishing us when we use our voice and labeling us as ‘angry’ or a ‘threat’ rather than acknowledging we’re exercising our ‘freedom of speech.’ It’s about calling the police and using my skin color against me.  It’s about clinching your purse.  It’s about believing we don’t belong.  It’s about failing to acknowledge and understand my very existence, my pain.  It’s about repeating the sins of the past.  It’s about thinking that ones color affords one’s privileges or denies basic human dignity!  It’s about speaking against instead of with our fight for justice.  It’s about remaining silent.  This needs to be everybody’s fight!”

Did you listen?

From: “Column: Shut up and dribble? No Way.  It’s time to listen.” by Paul Newberry.  The Maui News, June 6-7, 2020 p. B3.

and from: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/31/us/kareem-abdul-jabbar-la-times-op-ed-trnd/index.html

Do you see?

The least we can do is support good candidates and VOTE.

What more are you (or will you be) doing to make sure we live in better ways for every one?

Aloha, Renée

Banner photo by Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

Thought for the Day: Pendulums

With the COVID-19 pandemic in the world continuing, people dying every day, millions having lost their jobs, growing chasms  between rich and poor, global warming, Nationalism, children in cages,  obvious racial injustice in the U.S. with the killing of George Floyd, and much, much more — for centuries of injustices, it is easy to despair.

However, Michael A. Singer’s The Untethered Soul: the journey beyond yourself presents profound ways to see and – perhaps to feel hope in change.


In Chapter 18, “The Secret of the Middle Way,” Singer notes, “From science we know that if you pull a pendulum thirty degrees to the right, it will swing back until it’s thirty degrees to the left.  You don’t need Lao-tzu to tell you this.  All the laws are the same –inner laws and outer laws.  The same principles drive everything in this world.  If you pull pendulum out one way, it will swing back just that far the other way.  If you’ve been starving for days, and somebody puts food in front of you, you won’t be polite while you’re eating.  You will shove the food into your mouth . . . [N]either extreme can last.  How long can a pendulum stay at one of its outermost positions?  It can only remain there for a moment. How long can a pendulum stay at rest?  . . . Extremes are good teachers.  When you examine the extremes, it’s easy to see the effects of imbalanced behavior patterns” (167-168).


Participants at the George Floyd Memorial in Wailuku, Maui – June 4, 2020

I’m trying to find hope in that pendulum image.


In this time of “deep pause,” let’s reflect on how the pendulum of injustice, inequity, harm to our Earth, other species, and peoples have resulted in the continuing suffering we have today.


George Floyd Memorial service, June 4, 2020 in Wailuku, Maui. List of those killed recently by U.S. police


thumbnail_Untitled Design

By shining light on where we actually are in this swing that shows disaster in almost every direction, we must work together make changes in our systems and laws.


The raising – for the first time ever – the African-American flag outside the Maui County Building in Wailuku – June 4, 2020

“Where Do We Go From Here?” asked Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


This excerpt from one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. last speeches before he was killed notes:  “What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best, power at its best is love, implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love. (Speak) And this is what we must see as we move on.

Now what has happened is that we’ve had it wrong and mixed up in our country, and this has led Negro Americans in the past to seek their goals through love and moral suasion devoid of power, and white Americans to seek their goals through power devoid of love and conscience. . . . . It is precisely this collision of immoral power with powerless morality which constitutes the major crisis of our times. . . “

from: https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/where-do-we-go-here-address-delivered-eleventh-annual-sclc-convention

Let us shine lights on inequity and  suffering everywhere in the world.  Let’s care for one another and act to live in harmony and balance. May our pendulums, wherever we are, swing in new directions – directed by love and respect and care for all.  Imua! [Forward!]

Aloha, Renée

Other photos by RR.


Quarantine Kitchen: Tuna-less “Tuna”

“Tuna” Salad

Adapted from: <https://rouxbe.com/recipes/4832-tuna-less-tuna-salad>

 [Remember in the Quarantine Kitchen, we need to be creative so we don’t have to venture out to a store]



3 cups cooked chickpeas (1-28oz can) – [Or in my Quarantine Kitchen, I have 2 – 15 oz cans of chickpeas]

• 2 to 3 tbsp red onion, (or to taste) [I had only sweet onion, but that works too– and Barry sautéd it!]

• 2 to 3 celery stalks (approx. 1/2 cup) [Yikes – no celery either, but I used the stocks of bok choy]

• 2 to 3 pickles (approx. 1/4 cup) [No pickles, but I have fresh cucumbers and vinegar.  However, I decided to use 1/4 cup of capers instead.  Either replacement is likely to work]

• 2 tbsp nori seaweed flakes* [I have the Kirkland Organic Roasted Seaweed Sack.  Because I chopped it up, my results weren’t as small as flakes.  I used 8 of the little snack nori sheets – taste to get the best result for you]

• 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise or Cashew Sour Cream [I had a little Primal Kitchen Mayo -with Avocado Oil left in a jar]

• 1 tsp sea salt (or to taste) [I do have sea salt & black pepper.  However, I thought the capers and nori gave enough salt, so I didn’t add salt]

• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper 


For this recipe, you will need one 28-ounce can of chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) or two smaller cans. Alternatively, you can cook your own, which is even better. If using canned, drain and place into a large bowl.

Using a pastry cutter, potato masher or a fork, mash the chickpeas to break them up. [A fast easy way is to pulse the chickpeas in your blender] 

Next, finely dice the onion, celery and pickle [or your replacements] and add them to the chickpeas. Add the nori flakes, salt and pepper and mix to combine.

*NOTE: If you do not have nori flakes, you can grind up one or two sheets of nori (the kind used to make sushi) in a spice grinder. The mineral-rich nori adds a nice “from the sea” flavor and look to the mixture. [I just broke/chopped them up]

Lastly, add the vegan mayonnaise or Cashew Sour Cream [avocado oil mayonnaise]

 Mix to combine and taste for seasoning. Note: If mixture seems a bit dry, add a touch more vegan mayo or cashew sour cream.


Although I needed to replace almost everything listed in the original recipe, I was quite pleased with the results.


Enjoy your tuna-less “tuna” on toast or in a green salad.



Why make tuna-less “tuna” instead of just opening a can of real tuna?  Real tuna may be overfished, lack strong management, or are caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life and/or the environment.  Check out <SeafoodWatch.org> for a full list of sustainable fish recommendations.

Also,  “Large fish, such as tuna, can have mercury concentrations in their bodies that are 10,000 times higher than those of their surrounding habitats!” says MedicalNewsToday on the mercury risks of eating tuna <https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/306246>

Just go tuna-less.  It’s tasty, healthy, and “no animal was harmed” in the preparation of your sandwich — and you don’t need to use everything listed for the recipe.  Be creative.

Stay healthy.  Stay home.  Have fun in your kitchen: be creative; use what you have.

Aloha, Renée

Reblog: “Strange and Wondrous . . .


Here is Courtney’s record and photos of what has been happening on Maui.  No tourists and even returning residents are to quarantine for fourteen days through the end of May, but our Mayor opened some businesses yesterday.  We haven’t had many cases, but only a few qualify for testing —- so Barry and I are still staying home.  Stay healthy.  Stay home – wherever you are.  Enjoy Courtney’s post.  Aloha, Renée


Thought for the Day: Practice . . .

“Life is practice,  I tell my girts this every day.  You are practicing who you are going to be.  Do you want to be dependable?  Then you have to be dependable.  If you want people to trust you, then you have to be trustworthy”

– Michelle Obama

How do you want to be?  Practice!

Aloha, Renée


Michelle, Malia, Barack, and Sasha Obama

Practicing being an artist – Banner Photo by Senjuti Kundu on Unsplash-


Poem: “We Are Not In The Same Boat”

I heard that we are all in the same boat, 

but it’s not like that. 

We are in the same storm, but not in the same boat. 

Your ship could be shipwrecked and mine might not be. 

Or vice versa.

For some, quarantine is optimal. A moment of reflection, of re-connection, easy in flip flops, with a cocktail or coffee. 

For others, this is a desperate financial & family crisis.

For some that live alone they’re facing endless loneliness. 

While for others it is peace, rest & time with their mother, father, sons & daughters.

With the $600 weekly increase in unemployment some are bringing in more money to their households than they were working. 

Others are working more hours for less money due to pay cuts or loss in sales.

Some were concerned about getting a certain candy for Easter while others were concerned if there would be enough bread, milk and eggs for the weekend.

Some want to go back to work because they don’t qualify for unemployment and are running out of money. 

Others want to kill those who break the quarantine.

Some are home spending 2-3 hours/day helping their child with online schooling while others are spending 2-3 hours/day to educate their children on top of a 10-12 hour workday.

Some have experienced the near death of the virus, some have already lost someone from it and some are not sure if their loved ones are going to make it. 

Others don’t believe this is a big deal.

Some have faith in God and expect miracles during this 2020. 

Others say the worst is yet to come.

So, friends, we are not in the same boat. 

We are going through a time when our perceptions and needs are completely different.

Each of us will emerge, in our own way, from this storm. 

It is very important to see beyond what is seen at first glance. 

Not just looking, actually seeing.

We are all on different ships during this storm experiencing a very different journey.


  • Author unknown  [I saw it in a posting by Lexi on “Nextdoor Kihei” – the oldest printing I found was in The Times of India on April 20, 2020]

Wherever you are, this poem likely rings true. 

Let us help those whose boats are not as secure as our own.  

Aloha, Renée

Banner photo by Wai Siew on Unsplash

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