In heavy training for spring season at Hui Nalu Canoe Club. As someone said the other night, we’re probably the only club in which the Senior Master Women (50 and over) train with the Open Crews (20’s and up). We have an excellent coach and it’s probably the first time I’ve had real and sustained coaching training. Because the senior master crew has several members who have paddled together for many years, and this is my first training year with Hui Nalu (last year I paddled off-season, which I miss) I often get put in other boats. Last night I was in an awesome canoe of Junior Master women. We flew. The key in all of this is rhythm, moving together, and most of all, being WITH the boat, being WITH the water. And when it’s together, as in a good band being together; you make music. Last night the music spoke of muscle, sweat, mana, grace and struggle. It’s usually dark by the time we return to the shore. Then we carry the canoes up, one-by-one. They’re heavy and require several people to carry, together. Struggle is part of it all. Working together is absolutely necessary.
Sometimes I think that the U.S. population has been hypnotized by television, Disney and other American filmmakers that each life is supposed to unfold be with little struggle, and whatever happens will all turn out with the perfect ending: the protagonist wins the race, the girl, the man, the country, the fight and is feted for the accomplishment and everyone lives happily ever after. Depression sets in because life doesn’t work this way. Hence, the proliferation of happy drugs to fix the sadness or depression (and if you read the small and getting smaller print, or listen to the fast auctioneer read of the side effects: “…liver disfunction, paralysis and death…” The whole country appears to be depressed. Seems that most of the country suffers from attention deficit disorder. Too many movies, too much tv…
The stories in each canoe, in each stroke of the canoe carry divorce, histories of cocaine, alcohol or meth addictions, rape, deaths, molestations, self-doubt, and just about any other social and spiritual problem you can find in any community. Politics in the boat can be as lethal and consuming as politics in a university, tribe or other entitiy.
Each stroke with intent, focused rhythm, connection with the spirit of water is an affirmation of what is called pono, a coming together, a fusion of compassion, hope and inner power.
And finally from News of the Weird, collected from the mainstream press by Chuck Sheperd, P.O.Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679 and found in one of my favorite periodicals, The Funny Times, two insights from studies featured in current issues of Current Biology that prove boys will be boys, no matter the species. (Human beings aren’t the only human beings):
“…researchers studying the dance fly and the rhesus macaque monkey concluded that males will be males. The male dance fly was found by a team from the University of Western Australia to sometimes present a female with worthless tokens for the opportunity to mate with her, but by the time she discovered their worth, he had already hit and run. A team from Duke University found that the male monkey will forgo his own rewards (juice) in exchange for being permitted to view pictures of female monkey’s bottoms.”
(Maybe I’d better go back to school…)