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Time To an Indigenous Woman


Time to an Indigenous woman has to do with efficiency - the close management of time as a precious commodity, like water. I only know this because I was raised by my grandmother, a pure Hawaiian woman who could not keep still. Instead of watching us ride our bikes on the side of the road in Lahaina, Maui, she would pick up a coconut frond that fell down and start sweeping the bike path. When we played in the waves at Sand Box, she would be scouring the beach for shells and beach glass, hardened plastic beach toys that she would gather up and take back with us for her shell garden alongside her house. 

So I see my need to zone out, to just stare at Netflix mindlessly or read a book on my iPad as a waste of time. Is it Western to waste time or just moloā (lazy)? It is now 10:12 p.m. and I belittle myself for wasting the day. There is so much left to do. I have articles to write, a syllabus to complete, reservations to make, research to do. I forget that I graded all of my papers for the semester. I started on that syllabus. I went to two meetings and contributed to both. I got answers from emails. I returned a call and signed up for a new project. I created my Powerpoint for our advisory council meeting tomorrow night. I prepared for my meeting tomorrow morning, cleaned up the syllabus we are using and put it back on Google Drive so we have something new to work with at our morning meeting. I already drafted my article and I found two peer reviewers ready to read as soon as I make edits. I changed one flight home and booked another roundtrip home. I made arrangements with two of my student teachers to sign their final dispositions and made an appointment with another professor to meet before our evening meeting. I got the time and location for my grandson's Christmas concert and assured him that I would come as soon as my evening meeting was done. I listened as he told me about the program. I rubbed Milo's belly (the house puppy). I wrote this. 

Time to an Indigenous woman is about being present in life. So I am thankful for the time I used to get things done, even if everything was not completed. I am thankful for the time I took to attend an unexpected meeting during lunch instead of bowing out and eating alone in my office. From the lunch meeting, I got inspired by all the possibilities for writing that the guest editor offered, even if it was not ideas for me, I could be inspired by my own writing process through her lens. 

I am thankful that I looked up towards the Koʻolau mountains while I was in the parking lot of Starbucks at 5:45 p.m. and thankful that instead of going straight to my Hawaiian language night class from work (even if class was cancelled when I got there), I stopped at Starbucks and looked at the mountains as I got out of the car. My taking that 10 second time to look meant that I saw the most beautiful scene of the purple tinged clouds just hugging the tops of the Koʻolau and I could recognize that I was seeing God for that split second. I didn't try to capture it with my phone. I just tried to sear that time in my memory. That time was well spent. So I guess time to an Indigenous woman is about being present in the time as well as recognizing those things that are both timeless and temporary. 

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