Three weeks ago my 13-year-old nephew was caught in an avalanche while skiing. He hit a tree and died immediately. So while I am usually an upbeat “all things are possible” kind of chick, grief weighs heavy on my being.
As I ponder motherhood and creativity, death and loss cast their shadow and I can’t help but think of Pele, The Fire Goddess who creates the Big Island of Hawaii. She is the spirit of the volcano and all locals revere her power.
Regular tourists know to never take her babies- the beautiful black lava rocks that are abundantly found on the island. Boxes of rocks are returned to the island each year from tourists who have dared to snatch a small souvenir, only to encounter severe strokes of bad luck once back home.
Four years ago, I visited the Big Island with my hubby, baby girl and mother. After going for a hike on the beach, my mom returned with an assortment of shells and … black rocks. “Look at these beautiful black rocks,” she beamed. I immediately told her of Pele’s legend and told her to put them back. “I am not superstitious” she scoffed. “I love the earth and the earth loves me. Pele is happy I have her rocks.”
A few days later we met up with more family and traveled to the actual site of the volcano. One evening I stayed at the hotel with my little one and the rest of the family went to hike the volcano at night, when the land is abundant with the orange glow of lava. A few hours later, I heard cars pull up and in walked my mom … her arm in a cast. She tripped and fell on the lava rock and broke her first bone ever.
Two days later, on our way to the airport, we planned to stop at our original hotel so my mom could return the rocks. Feeling pressed for time, my husband (half jokingly) said to my mom, “Hey Victoria, I’ll slow down and you just throw them out the window.” My mom replied back, “You will stop this car. I will not put them back unceremoniously.” We pulled over, and with a humble apology to Pele she returned the rocks.
Our feminine ability to create life turns us into suicidal killers. We would kill for our baby’s safety and if they cross over before we do, we would want to go with them (though my sister-in-law says she never had that thought … I am not that reasonable.)
Something is always dying so something else can be born. When we become mothers, our youthful freedom dies. When we create new ideas, we kill off outdated ones. When we decide to create, all distractions and deterrents must die. Creativity kills. Death creates. Always.