Lizabeth Kashinsky writes:
Several weeks ago, I was delighted to have discovered a noni plant growing in a back corner of my yard. Noni is a very important medicinal plant for Hawaiian healers and is also considered a canoe plant, one of the 25 or so plants that the first peoples of Hawaii brought with them when they first arrived in the islands hundreds of years ago. After the plant was revealed to me, I would often go and visit briefly in the late afternoon/early evening to make sure it was thriving and to watch its growth.
About three weeks ago, I was devastated to discover that someone had hacked the plant to the point that the only thing left was a standing trunk. All the branches, leaves, and fruit were gone. The plant was attacked shortly after the yard service had done work in the yard, so I’m not sure if my landlord instructed them to destroy it, or whether she did it, or if the plant was accidentally attacked by a falling branch. After I discovered this had happened, I went back to visit it from time to time, but it hurt a lot to witness the damage.
About a week ago, I was delighted to notice a tiny leaf budding out from the trunk. Late Saturday afternoon, I did the Global Earth Exchange with the plant. It was very simple. I brought a cup of noni juice that I had gotten from a bottle at the store, and I sipped the juice as I sat with the plant. I admired the resilience of this plant, and thought about how resilient its ancestors were, to have traveled hundreds of miles in a canoe with likely very little shelter. I wondered if this ability to survive, besides its medicinal qualities, was one of the reasons the plant was so precious to the early Hawaiians.
I also felt a kinship with this plant, as a few years ago, I underwent an earth-shattering experience and felt very similar to how this plant appeared to me when I first saw the damage that had been done. I thought I too might be damaged beyond repair. I thought about my own resilience and the green buds that are also showing up in my own life. I also felt grief at how the Hawaiians likely had and still do hold much reverence for this plant and the healing that it offers, and how disconnected we are from that sacredness that people just buy it in a bottle, only taking the healing from the plant but not having the proper reverence and gratitude towards it that it deserves.
I walked around the yard a little to seek items to use to make a gift, which I hoped to place some flowers around the trunk, but I did not have the heart to take from any of the plants around me. Instead, I decided to pour the remaining noni juice that was in the cup as an offering of healing and medicine to help this plant continue to grow and hopefully survive the violent attack.