This is really magical. For a 42-year-old former wrestler growing up in a landlocked state and now producing a public radio program (sitting in a cube in front of a screen most days), I admire how he’s been able to meld his family life with his professional life — and do it outdoors. And that he talks about how it grounds him is refreshing.
What an amazing way to raise a family. Can you imagine?
Ritual of Floating Lantern Offerings Honors Lost Loved Ones on Memorial Day (video)
by Nancy Rosenbaum, producer
"Ritual is something we use that moves us gently from one thing, one feeling, one experience, one mindset into another feeling, or experience, or mindset." ~Rabbi Pearl Barlev
On this Memorial Day, an estimated 40,000 people will gather along the shores of Ala Moana Beach Park on the Hawaiian island of Oahu to participate in a Toro Nagashi, a "lantern offerings on the water" ceremony. It’s a way for the living to honor and remember lost loved ones.
Toro Nagashi is a Japanese ritual developed by the Shinnyo-en Buddhist order in 1952. The Memorial Day ceremony made its way to Hawaii in the late 1990s. Participants adorn floating paper lanterns with hand-written messages. And, at dusk, the lanterns are released into the water.
Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike take part in the Hawaiian ceremony, which is now in its 13th year. Where the Water Meets the Sky, the half-hour documentary featured above, offers a window into the lives of people who are drawn to participate.
The Toro Nagashi ceremony provides a way for individuals to publicly grieve a personal loss together with strangers, and to commemorate the links binding past, present, and future generations.
"The ancestors belong to a world beyond which we can imagine," says UC Berkeley Japanese Studies professor Duncan Williams, who appears in the film. “And you use the lanterns to communicate to those who are in the other world.”
(photo: Alex Porras/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)
About the image (top): A young girl holds a glowing lantern inscribed with messages to a mother. (photo: Ryan Ozawa/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
White Mountain Milky Way
Trent Gilliss, online editor
This one-minute time lapse film taken in Mauna Kea, Hawai’i made me ache for the magic dome of my home state of North Dakota — the thickness of the galaxy in plain site. The canvas overhead will surely spark your sense of wonder for the weekend. Enjoy heartily.
Doris Duke’s Shangri La
Mitch Hanley, Senior Producer
I recently attended a retreat put on by the Social Science Research Council titled “Islam and Muslims in World Contexts.” Though the title may seem a little dry, Tom Asher at the SSRC pulled together a great group of about 20 professors, researchers, journalists, and grant-makers to discuss how coverage of Islam is changing in an ever-changing media landscape. The retreat spanned two days with much discussion. But I’ll bet you’re wondering what this has to do with Shangri La.
In 1925, twelve-year-old Doris Duke was the sole heiress to a sizable chunk of her father’s, James Buchanan Duke, estate. In 1935, Ms. Duke was married and while on honeymoon throughout the Islamic world acquired a large collection of Islamic art. Two years later she built her private retreat on the island of Oahu, just east of Diamond Head.
Doris Duke would continue to collect artifacts throughout her life before she died in 1993. Shangri La now houses the collection and is open to the public. So what a fantastic setting to hold our retreat!