It was not surprising to return home after a fortnight away that bracketed the beginning of the New Year of the Fire Rooster to so much doodle-doo-ing. Wasn’t it enough to put up with the shenanigans that punctuated The Year of the Monkey?
Catching up on island news, this Year of the Cock crowing (tweeting?) is off to a strutting start here as well as worldwide. For a start, all our counties may be taxed to fund O‘ahu’s rail; the proposed Maha‘ulepu dairy EIS is here, a tome; their Fire Chicken representative doodledy-doo-ed about how great a “pasture dairy” of 699 about-to-be-mama dairy cows will be for Kaua‘i; a large work, health and county cost expenditure looms with relation to possible replacement of the War Memorial’s tile suspected of containing asbestos; and some quiet land-gobbling plans — lawful and justified, naturally — are in process to absorb (swallow?) a reported dozen or so Hawaiian kuleana (small pieces of property) on the estate of the Facebook emperor, while at the same time, people who wish to use the cliff access trail for fishing, gathering or recreation on and near this same property have been threatened by land owners who seem unaware of the Hawaiian concept of stewardship of the land, not ownership. Yeowee!
And that’s just a smattering… It seems that fountains of lava jet forth from Hawai‘i Island following the collapse of a lava delta causing giant waves. More Pacific islanders contemplate evacuation as the sea level rises. And the British watch for the collapse of an Arctic ice peninsula, expecting a flood that might warrant a modern Noah’s Ark.
We might yearn to run the film backward and do a quick cut and splice, as in celluloid days. All of us, I’m certain, dear readers, would like to tap into some positive predictions for coming days to help us gain courage, hold the faith to speak up for what we believe in and continue to trust in the idea of good prevailing while developing resilience to call upon, if necessary.
We missed the fireworks here while visiting family on the opposite side of the U.S. near enough to witness, by chance, the St. Petersburg, Florida, protest involving more than 20,000 marchers and sign wavers. With a week to go until the new moon sliced the sky, I couldn’t help wondering if somehow, embedded in the Year of the Fire Rooster/Chicken according to ancient wisdom of China, lay a helpful clue about how to traverse this new year starting off like a bad bully youth whose energy might be harnessed and redirected.
The Chinese New Year 2017 (Jan. 28 in China, and Jan. 27 at 2:07 p.m. in Honolulu) started on the second new moon after the winter solstice. Having been born in India (also by chance), I absorbed early on that many people rely on horoscopes to make important decisions about their lives. In my teens, in my new country of the USA, I absorbed while researching a unit on world religions the surprising, if not reliable, source information that the “We Three Kings” of the Bible were known to be leading astrologers who followed in their travels a cosmic prediction to the Star of the East. Plus, as a writer trained in journalism of the old school, I swallowed the directive to roll up the shutters of the mind and remain open, but carefully weighing and testing, while questing.
My curiosity about Chinese calendric reckoning was piqued on my first visit to Kaua‘i, as fireworks were to happen to accompany the cultural tradition carried to Hawai‘i from China. This fueled an original poem, “Thoughts on the Eve of the Year of the Rat.” Reading about Chinese fireworks and the development of gunpowder fired further reading that described the quandary faced by a Chinese admiral of the Mandarin (intelligentsia) class, who sank a fleet of ships that were fueled by an advanced method of energy because he foresaw that the launching of these vessels and the misuse of their power would lead to social downfall. It was a natural to compare this with our nation’s leaders’ duality about the Manhattan Project as it applied to The Bombs, and come up short.
My late sister-in-law sent me the gift of a small, red-cloth-bound book that laid out all the 12-year sequencing and explained who might be compatible with whom according to the Chinese system. It was fun to find out where our grown children and other family members and friends might fall within this system, and see if the positive — and negative — character traits seemed to fit. The results were indeed surprisingly close to the bulls-eye (sorry, Rooster!) target.
The Chinese calendar combines lunar and solar reckoning, and stem-branch reckoning accomplished 5,000 years ago. This was put in place around 2700 B.C. by the whiz-bang Da Rao Shi, said to have “explored the rule of changes between sky and earth, as well as that of the four seasons.” According to www.travelchinaguide.com information, “Earthly Branches” count time of years, months and hours and correspond with the 12 Chinese zodiac signs. Math and symbol is what this boils down to. Regardless, we wish you, dear readers, “Gong Hee Fat Choy” once again, and the gumption to embrace opportunities and navigate challenges in 2017.
Dawn Fraser Kawahara, author and poet, made her home on Kauai in the 1980s. She and her husband, a retired biology teacher, live with books, music and birds in Wailua Homesteads. Shared passions are travel and golf. The writer’s books may be found in local outlets and on Amazon. For further information, www.kauaiweddingsandbooks.com.