Sunday, December 20, 2009

Skirts, sails and spirits

On this shortest (and, to me, last) day of the solar year, I want to revisit some of the cool things I’ve learned lately:

The ti plant was introduced in Hawaii by the Polynesians, who were the first human settlers of the islands 2300 years ago. The starchy rhizomes can be eaten as food or medicine, or fermented and distilled into a liquor called okolehao; the leaves can be used to make clothing – including hula skirts – or roofs or to store food. The leaves have such great spiritual power that in the old days, only high priests and chiefs could wear them around their necks during certain rituals. 

And the DNA of this ti plant on Kauai exactly matches one at a famous sacred site on Moorea.

Paleolithic paintings and sculpture in deep caves, like the famous Lascaux and Chauvet caves in France, were probably intended as connections between the physical, surface, world and the deeper spiritual world.

The main mast on a schooner-rigged ship is aft, the foremast is shorter, and the sails run fore and aft rather than from side to side, although on a topsail schooner the topsail can go athwart.

Multi-tasking is counterproductive.

I love that the world is full of people who know this stuff – and share it with me!

What did you learn this year? 

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