Thursday, March 30, 2017

Photographer of dreams

"I want to tell you about YAMA. This is the Warlpiri word for a shadow, or reflection. It’s also a word that we use to describe a meeting or a meeting-place; we gather under a tree that casts a shadow (a reflection of its shape) onto the ground, and we talk in a group - both men and women together, equally - to make decisions and to reflect on ourselves and our lives. But it’s deeper, too. In yapa (Aboriginal) culture, if someone says “you don’t have a shadow”, it means you don’t exist. All the birds, all the small animals, trees - these things all have a shadow; all of your country and everything in it; this is your universe..."The Home Within"YAMA
Emu in the Sky, Milky Way (photo credit: Barnaby Norris )

The metaphor was strong. He heard the message, it smelled of ginger. "A stimulant, the root is meant to be used short-term and doesn't add to the quality of your health in anyway." With hands wrapped in tape like a boxer Alex followed his nose into time that was much more solid than a dream. Something rankled just under his skin. Not an itch exactly, but something. Camilia loves ginger, cooks with the fresh root, steeped it in tea, grew it in pots in their kitchen even in this water-logged Salish world. Contradiction, the metaphor was a contradiction. He felt that sick to his stomach ripple. Alex Santiago pushed himself to keep up.

Dani DeSilva was no stranger to mistakes, of any kind. She risked often and learned quickly. Early on, it was her bounce-back that gave her the edge. Face down in the dirt ring at eight years old, she heard her Papa's voice, "False pride. Goin' get you every time." Pops DeSilva was an amateur boxer, Fly Weight. What he loved about the sport he loved even better when he was teaching kids -- girls especially, how to fight. As she grew his voice stayed the same, his strong deep brown arms ready to pull her up from the fall. The only change came when both he and Dani were eye-to-eye when she bounced back. "Now we learn tricks," his one gold tooth sparkled. She loved it when her grandfather smiled.

Her dark room was her closet of secrets; there was space for her and the muse alone. A faded photograph of a tiny girl with boxing gloves big as Hayden mangoes hung at eye level. The gold tooth of Pops DeSilva the only light. The roll of film contained just the five shots taken in Alex's dream. The old welder kept his distance, and waited on the padded bench outside the dark room door. A stranger's voice came from the other side, Alex guessed it was a radio. Dani was a young woman with old school tastes. Old camera. Flip top cell phone. Radios that plugged into walls with a dial for tuning.

Up until the start of this dream, Alex Santiago lived magic with his eyes wide open. Welding and meddling required a very grounded presence. His approach to life put him in charge of the burn. He respected fire and the rules for manipulation, or enchantment, depending on who was asking, were clear: do no harm, ask permission of place and people, be prepared to to make amends and watch out for anyone without a shadow. That last rule was worrying him. In this dream, he didn't have one.

Now what?

New to Banana Skin and Ginger? The story begins here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The advantage

Alex Santiago was, as you recall in the early bits, worn to paper thin. The harsh winter had pulled the plug on his mojo; he was tired. The experiences with the young Resident Mouse and his former student, Skeena of the Silver-haired Ravens hadn't helped. Not only were his hands missing the pockets of his favorite jeans and long sleeved shirt that fit him so well were now left with incisor signatures -- pairs of two small holes. The metaphor did not escape the former welder, and always magician. He was loosing things left and right. Now he had no idea where his mate was, and that should have been the worst loss. But the odd reality was ... he was happy for them. Twenty years of a particularly sweet partnership was gold. He loved Camilia, and would always treasure their life together. Was it done now? So unexpectedly over?

From wherever he was at the moment the sky was punctuated with star light, planets, constellations. Instinctively Alex looked west and found Makali'i the Pleiades clearly heading for the horizon. "She's hitched herself to them. She's got relatives there. I know she's headed home." Alex's voice was tender and clear. Speaking to no one in particular a milky gauze mottled with faded patches of red, a rose red almost pink swirled from the dark night. "A rose, a rose, only a dollar for a rose." That voice was familiar. With no hands it was impossible to swipe the tears that flowed. Between the two Santiago Brothers there had been a sister, Rose. She did not live long, only ten when she died. Too young and too painfully did she die. Alex never forgave God for that cruel act though never, never to any one did he voice this rage.

"Pent it up all these years?" it was little Rose who asked wrapping the gauze of her memory round and round the magician's limbs where his hands would have been. "A rose, a rose, only a dollar for a rose." The girl's voice was unusually deep for child so young, but, it was definitely the same voice that would tease and issue outrageous requests. "More Cremesicles!" after the ice cream truck was long gone from the neighborhood, or comical dance numbers that required her brothers be fitted with crinolines and pirate hats. That they both acquiesced at the time, and was such a strong emotion now that was the binding. His sister's ghost continued to chant and wind the gauze until Alex Santiago was right and truly cocooned. "Slash," with one upward motion the switch blade severed the faded red gauze leaving two bandaged stumps. The ends fluttered with the scent of something ... "A rose, a rose, only a dollar for a rose." But no it was not the smell of roses or flowers but the scent of melting iron, solder.

"Whose dream is this!" That voice was connected to yet another young girl from a time more recently connective.

"Dani?" Alex recognized his step-daughter's inimitable voice.

"Well, yes. It's me, my grandmother sent me. Said there was an ... "she paused to reckon the condition of her substitute father, the man she had come to love with no reservations. "Tutu said there was a once-in-a-lifetime photo op. But this is even a bit beyond the normal stretch of definitions even for my grandmother." The camera that had been Dani's inseparable accessory swung from her shoulder. She eyed the two pinkish wrapped stumps and wrinkled her sensitive nose to the smell of the solder.

"Any explanation that would make me believe this is not bad t.v.?"

"Nope. Not one word could explain what you see here. If you could just look through that Argus and capture the moment for us, maybe the ending to this story could seem a little more within reach." Alex felt himself reaching for the comfort of leaning into Camilia for reassurance. How odd that he had taken her so for granted.

The Argus tucked into the familiar place over Dani DeSilva's left eye. The two fit like sunrise out of the ocean's depth. "Click. Click. Click." For good measure Dani took a forth and then a fifth shot. If there was an advantage to being a photographer of dreams, these would be interesting images. Hoihoi.

In Hawaiian 'hoihoi' means 'interesting. Click here for more story to interest you.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Good witch or Bad witch

"...Jupiter’s an expansive planet, and Scorpio is all about scrutiny, so those who were born with Jupiter in Scorpio have extra strong spidey sense. You can either be a “good witch” or a “bad witch” with Jupiter in Scorpio. If Jupiter in Libra brought over-optimism with regard to relationships, Uranus has had a say in it and Jupiter in Scorpio (Uranus is exalted in Scorpio) is the final arbitrator..." - Diane O.
"There is a space as large as Dreams that slides unnoticed between the transits of Jupiter through the heavens," Holding the broken Moon Snail in her deeply winkled hands her mother rubbed at the spiral that made the curves of hard shell. "We call the planet, the star Jupiter, Iao, when we spot it in the morning. He dawns on us." The ageless woman laughed and bobbled her large head leaving the kaona of her message the multiple meanings to be inhaled if her daughter was ready for it. If she wasn't ready there is a chance the kaona would feed someone else or ... spiral round again later when Jupiter showed up again.

Camilia looked across the familiar gray Formica topped kitchen table to watch her mother. The hands. The face so comforting and informing. As always they were animated expressions of a woman, family goddess now, who would have been 99 years old this week. The body language reached across time and massaged the tense muscles in her shoulders. The Dream Mother of the De Silva clan was no less vital and probably more powerful for that Camilia was entirely grateful. Uncertain about the limits of her world at the moment Dream expanded in scope. The blue suit and seaweed lashings had become like second skin, and she liked the freedom of a bared crotch with strength binding her legs with limu. The seaweed fed her thyroid the iodine that was missing in her mundane life.

"A powerful grounded soul!" Her mother pointed the camera at her and snapped the button on the Argus C 4 the same Argus C 4 that has been in her daughter's hands for more than thirty years. Ghosts like her mother read minds with ease, and to prove the point the elder confirmed, "My granddaughter is very generous. We have this working agreement about sharing this Argus. We don't steal the soul of those we photograph, and they who we photograph ... don't steal ours." The context of the old ways the culture that went deeply and surely underground in the 1890's Hawaii throbbed out of site but not out of mind. Camilia left that Waianae homeplace in the 60's. Her daughter Dani switched places forty-five years later. "Place holder soul, your daughter, my mo'opuna. It's a good thing, too. Good to keep the smell of you close-by, Honey. In case you decide it's time to come home to yourself."

Here, here.
The Argus. A strange and wonderful thing is happening with the writing of Banana Skin and Ginger. A dropped thread, a forgotten plot has shown up. If you, dear reader, are fascinated by mysteries, and not put off by tangents or tentacles that like the many 'legs' of an octopus can flow in more than one directions (at the same time!) this segment of the story deepens Camilia's second menopause. This segment calls on the child, the Ancient, and the evolving Crone in unexpected ways. I am surprised!