Lizabeth Kashinsky
Honolulu, Hawaii
2021

Story Info

Story & Experience

I was supposed to be camping off the grid in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park this past weekend, and had intended to hold the Earth Exchange there. However, I was so depleted from an incredibly demanding and stressful few weeks at work that I canceled my travel plans. 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 had 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 the growth of the plant. About 3 weeks ago, I was devastated to discover that someone had either deliberately or accidentally hacked the plant to the point that the only thing left was a standing trunk, and 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 am not sure if my landlord instructed them to destroy it, or whether she did, or if it 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 have noticed a tiny leaf budding out from the trunk. Late yesterday 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 I bought 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 across hundreds of miles in a canoe with likely very little shelter, and wondered if that was one of the reasons the plant was so precious to the first early Hawaiians, because of its ability to survive, aside from its medicinal qualities.
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 the 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 a lot of 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 this plant 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.

Why this Place?

Honolulu, Hawaii

It was chosen because I was heartbroken when a medicinal plant called noni in Hawaiian that is in my yard, was hacked and mutilated by someone, leaving only the trunk of the plant, all the branches with fruit and leaves were hacked off, and I have no idea why. If it was intentional, why would someone do that?

Act of Beauty

Say more about your actions and activity

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 contineu to grow and hopefully survive the violent attack.

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