Two beautiful white trumpeter swans glided over the Hay River as we were packing up to leave Prairie Farm in northwestern Wisconsin. It was a glorious farewell after a week of being in the quiet of Nature.
Our first day there, a cute chipmunk came to fiddle with some bits of wood on the porch of our comfortable A-frame AirBNB set in the woods. I think that was his way of saying hello and Liz, who owns the Airbnb, told us his name was Chuck.
My husband got good at making a fire in the wood stove that warmed our house as it sat in the last of the winter snow. We dutifully replenished the wood supply for our house from the wood pile - a little ways away - covered by canvas to keep it dry. Slipping and sliding on the ice to and from the woodpile was about the only exercise we got.
I cooked on a cute little stove, and we ate at a small round table that overlooked the river. There were a couple of geese who swam up and down and docked for many days in the section of the river we could see. One goose always was on watch while the other fished for meals.
We saw a gorgeous wood duck and a flock of mergansers - hooded and common. The river flowed gently and sometimes fast as the dam further up north released water. The ducks and geese looked calm and collected gliding above the water. I thought of their little feet that must have been paddling away fiercely at the same time.
I think about how much I’m doing while not appearing as calm as those ducks. In fact this week has been a whirlwind of activity - but I know that if I have any equanimity at all, itʻs because of my regular meditation. I walk downstairs to sit in the meditation hall with others at our three public opportunities each week day. Sometimes there are one or two - other times itʻs up to 9 or 10 people who have found meditation important to their well-being. Iʻm glad they sit with me.
Yesterday I also taught three and a half hours of hula classes after not dancing much for 2 weeks. Hula looks deceptively simple, and yet it uses all the muscles and joints of your body. I managed to get through one ancient dance of the drum trilogy - and loved each moment of it - but had to stop at the end because my body had not been conditioned through regular practice.
Later as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed that my right ankle and knees were aching. “Is this what old feels like?” I asked myself. I gently massaged my knees and ankles with healing arnica oil before I went to sleep. The oil was my tried and true remedy, for there was no pain in the morning.
We as hula practitioners have a unique gift of sharing the poetry of the past and our current lives’ narratives through our dance. Through hula our hearts open allowing our heartʻs natural qualities of love, kindness, compassion and humility to shine forth. This is healing for ourselves and others.
Malama pono (take good care of body, mind and heart),
June Kaililani Ryushin Tanoue
Kumu Hula and Sensei