My daughter is a poet at heart, and my life is partly some of the darkness she writes of.
I think as a parent, I am blessed, not by chance but by selection. Someone more than me chose a child so wonderful, I think only of a light shining through the leaves of autumn when I watch her, spending her life truly and elegantly.
But the full glorious moon which holds the one I lost, she also beckons me to stay on watching her shiny glow upon the sea and in the night sky. I am not one to argue when beautiful things come by me. No, I like to float in the mesmerizing love of the earth and all the pretty things that surround me.
You can say I live in a bubble, because even my close friends say so, but the solitude of a person is sacred and must be taken care of. Our solitude is all we take with us when we are gone from this fleeting life, you know.
So you can also say that these soft words make up for the loss of privacy I have, living in a busy world, making a busy but simple life and loving it all the while, mistakes included. Have you read Shakespeare and wondered what world he lived in? Me, too, dear reader, but I love to live in his chaotic, tragic filled world too. It is indeed mystifying.
Here in the village of Lalomanu where I write from, the soul heals like a green cucumber. It is fresh and also delicious looking. When you bite a green cucumber, you feel refreshed and healthy, well gradually.
That is why I believe, the village healing is wonderful, because it is useful for others, so that the cucumber of the human soul is not idle. By idle, I mean, it occupies itself with the rot of life, the things that do not really matter but get taken along for the ride anyway. The village life hones you into what is most vital, and sparingly shares your sense of humor with the rest of this small life.
So when I watch the village women working or not, laughing or crying, or simply gossiping about each other’s simple lives, I feel at ease because I know that the village life is only a step up to heaven. Equation wise, zero is also a number in the older men, yes, the masculinity of the village. But I digress, because the softer population of the village needs the lime light.
So when I see the boys, mostly fit young youth, playing rugby, I realize that they are part of the scheme of giving back to sports in a home front and nationalistic sort of way; in the way of hope to get to the top and to find some rugby money to build a better brick foundation for the fales they own already with their parents, in their own family lands. I also think of the youth who gather up the courage to fly over to NZ, to pick apples for 7 long months, and to bring back some small dollar to buy a taxi or build half a brick house till the next trip is due to finish it. Each of these ventures pays the youth well, if they are persistent, and also depletes their creativity once they are older.
The other activity for the youth is in beach fale service, slash employment, slash relief because it is close to their homes. Beach fales, if done right, are creators of employment for the youth, the women, the men and the children even. The men and women help build the fales literally, so that last week while a tourist is checking in, one says to me quietly,
“ I have never seen a house being built from the bush at a place I stay in.” He paused to breathe in the refreshing simplicity of the village that I know so well, then he said to me, with eyes wide open, “I love it!”
I found in his pleasant discovery the white and black pearls the village holds for all travelers from afar. So I told him about the way the women had spent the whole of last week, weaving the leaves that are being hammered onto the roof of the fale. We continued to talk about the coconut husk and the usefulness of the coconut. We talked about the sennit and how it holds up everything, and how come the art of navigating is one of the most faded ones we need to revive. I was like a book, becoming read unedited, and I found that the most pleasing thing for me as one of the hosts of the village to tourists, was seeing the smile in his mind. Isn’t it wonderful, when our simple lives mean more to others?
I find the generosity of the sea is in there, definitely.
My most favorite things in the village are children. More than the sun and moon, they always fill me up with kisses and flowery scented thoughts. Children, I believe, are like the sea. They dance in the rain, and follow us when we walk, watching our every step and clumsiness too. They appreciate who we are and forgive whom we are not. The children of the village are no different from any child anywhere. They look up to those who look after them regardless of faults. If I could thank every child in the village for being so wonderful, I would send it to them in double rainbows and turquoise sea colored words.
May I now end this short rag by telling you that a poet who visited us recently wrote a poem entitled, “This place is owned by the sea.” In his moving poem he writes about the terror of the sea, and how it gives us faith and hope and a sense of belonging,
“Ocean of terror
Storm waves and winds threatening
Warm sea cyclones building
And the impossible tsunami, obliterating…”
And now with these words I note with graceful acceptance and in my deep set thoughts, that the sea and the children are always watching us.