Unexpected

It looks like it is mid-step, but it is not.  It has been standing just like this for more than five minutes.  An unlikely flamingo in the dry gravel lake that is my driveway. 

I have never seen a goose do this.  It is taking a nap standing up – see the tucked head!  That goes with lying down, not standing up!   And this goose wants to nap while standing on one leg.  Monica says she has seen some geese do this at night, sleeping on one leg.  Austin’s theory is that in a cold climate, a goose would sleep one-legged so that the other foot gets to stay warm.  Dangling below the feathers?

I took the photo two weeks ago and have been trying to make sense of it ever since.  Every element reveals a topsy-turvy world.  I finally decided that this little scene just shows me my capacity to be surprised. 

After journeying through the planes of pure contentment, the traveler cometh to THE VALLEY OF WONDERMENT and is tossed in the oceans of grandeur, and at every moment his wonder groweth.

Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 31

***

FARM and community NEWS

Our community’s dear Pandit Varun died unexpectedly last week.  His funeral was yesterday.  He was deeply loved by all because of his constant loving service to everyone.  Isa isa.

Austin’s chickens are more popular than ever.  I have heard him taking so many calls and saying, “Sorry, they are all sold out, but don’t worry.  More will be hatching on Wednesday.”  That hatch, yesterday, is all gone today except for two chicks. “I should have just given away those last two chicks,” he told me. Yep.

Kiki, age eight, is really active wanting to learn and do everything.  He will be launching his own weekly blog soon:  KEITH DOT FUN.   It will be at < keithdotfun.wordpress.com >    and will probably go live on Sunday.

Just today, the lamb guy showed up again with two pair of lambs to trade with Austin for two pair of geese.  Both ewes are pregnant, according to Austin, and both males are “substandard” – and thus to be sold ASAP.  Austin’s hoping for another good male.

It’s getting to be winter and we’ve gotten into the coconut freeze at night again.  Soon we’ll be closing our windows. 

And now for the news everyone has been waiting for:  Monica had her baby on 26 March, a beautiful girl we are calling JoyceLee.

Granddaddy and JoyceLee

***

Today is the first day of the Bahá’í month of Jalál which means “Glory”

The 13th day of Jalál (20 April) is a Holy Day, the first day of the 12-day Ridván Festival, which you can read about at this cute CBC kids page: https://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc2/the-feed/get-ready-for-the-king-of-festivals#:~:text=Ridvan%20celebrates%20the%20beginning%20of,was%20the%20Messenger%20of%20God.

***

See you all in 19 days, I hope. God bless!

***

Changes

I’m back.

This flower at the roadside grabbed me and would not let me go. I had to take its photo and the flower was patient through about a dozen efforts until I finally got its white hairs separated.

Why did THIS flower grab me? Past its prime, gone to seed, colorless and plain, standing with deadheads. Maybe nostalgia? I could have blown its seeds as I used to blow dandelions . But no, that wasn’t really it.

I finally decided this flower represents POTENTIAL. All its life work – seeds – are ready to fly, to take their chances on new soil (if lucky), on rock (if not). Clearly this is a plant in transition, and transitions are important.

But then I asked myself, “When would this plant NOT have had potential?” and my spirit replied, “Never.” At every stage there would be a future.

Some times shine for us, but in reality every moment is important. A birth is life-changing, but how we treat the crying child makes or breaks our relationship for that day, each day accruing into a lifetime of trust or distrust. We may think we need roses or oaks, when our day’s lesson might be hiding in a weed.

O SON OF BOUNTY!

Out of the wastes of nothingness, with the clay of My command I made thee to appear, and have ordained for thy training every atom in existence and the essence of all created things.

– Baha’u’llah (Persian Hidden Words, #29)

***

Today is the first day of the month of Bahá, which means Splendor.

The month of Bahá starts off with Naw Rúz, Bahá’í New Year. It is a holy day, the only one this month. We just finished our month of fasting, and will be celebrating by having a community picnic at Natadola – a great beach. Fun fun.

***

Since I suspended by weekly blog, I will end each month with a brief farm update.

FARM UPDATE: Akka noticed the chickens are healthier and thought it was the rainier weather; Austin thought about it and decided it is the jungcao grass. Monica is about to pop with baby. The pup I called Peewee is getting renamed either Scrappy or Scruffy.

***

Have a happy month. With luck I’ll be back in 19 days.

***

Naw Ruz – New Year

2020-03-21 Naw Ruz rainbow  R.jpg

Yesterday – exact Naw Ruz – I was uninspired.  This morning at dawn Austin looked out the window and yelled for me to look – a beautiful rainbow.  Inspiring!  (Rainbows aren’t a daily event here as in Hawaii.)   Of course I wanted a photo for the blog – the problem was I did not have a clear shot.  So I ran up the hill in my nightgown and got the shot.  The rainbow had faded a little, but it was still there.

Also right there–up the same hill that was too much bother to climb yesterday–was the pavilion.

2020-03-21 Pavilion at Naw Ruz  R.jpg

A very good time for dawn prayers.

I felt as if God had given me a little nudge and a kindly blessing with that rainbow.  After the rainbow and the prayers, He gave us yet another day of non-stop rain.

O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive to become the manifestations of the love of God, the lamps of divine guidance shining amongst the kindreds of the earth with the light of love and concord.

– Abdu’l-Baha

Happy Naw Ruz.

***

Perhaps I will post once a month here (my original plan) – or perhaps I will only post during the Fast (my new normal).  In either case I will not be posting this site for awhile.

If you still want to know what is going on at the farm–without any religious commentary–I should still be posting every week on my main blog:  https://ffwrfromfiji.wordpress.com/

Bye bye for now.

***

Nick of Time

2020-03-18 met on the plane  R.jpg

Yesterday afternoon, I got on the flight from Hawaii in my mask.  Austin got on the plane at Christmas Island in his last minute mask.  We got home and I posted this photo.

This morning, we all learn that Fiji has its first confirmed case of covid19.   We learn it from social media – the same text flying around.   The affected person is a flight attendant.

Austin goes into Full-On Emergency Mode.   I start sharing the sensible guidelines we’ve learned overseas:  Stay at home, maintain 2 meters (6 feet distance), washing hands, etc.   We’ll do what we can, but it is likely that Fiji will either be shut down voluntarily or will be locked out.  Probably very fast.   It feels Austin and I did get home on the last possible flight.

The essence of true safety is to observe silence, to look at the end of things and to renounce the world.

– Baha’u’llah

***

This is the last day of the Fast here, because I crossed the dateline.   I will put up one more post for Naw Ruz, Baha’i New Year.  Obviously we are not going to gather – we’ll have Stay at Home celebrations.   I’ll try to post something cheerful for Naw Ruz.

Love to all.

***

On the Fly

Is there any Remover of difficulties save God?  Say:  Praised be God!  He is God!  All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding.

– the Bab

My favorite prayer.   Lots of times conditions look hopelessly messed up and every change just looks more disastrous.  Looking to the end of things and trusting that God Almighty has it all under control is the only sanity saver.

Christmas Island’s airport is now closed to passengers arriving from any location that has coronavirus – and through good people and a wonderful son-in-law and functioning internet and possibly a miracle or two on top of that – I am flying to Fiji today,

and when the plane stops at Christmas Is. Austin will be boarding.

***

No time for a photo.

Love to all.

***

Curiosity

Upon the inmost reality of each and every created thing He hath shed the light of one of His names, and made it a recipient of the glory of one of His attributes.

– Baha’u’llah

Just this sentence makes me think we should have a healthy curiosity about things we see in creation.  So when Clara, Little Austin and I were at the park a few days ago, and when Clara complained that every windfall’ed mango had just a few bites out of it, I put on my Granddaddy Austin cap.

2020-03-15 mangoes with one bite missing  Cr.jpg

First, I observed.  Clara was right.  Almost every mango on the ground had just a few bites gone.

And then I thought.   Knowing that nature, if undisturbed, fits together and makes sense – what advantage could there be to birds breaking as many mango skins as possible?

And then I came up with a hypothesis.  I think the birds are opening the seeds to the air, and that gives them a better shot at germinating.   If they ate all the fruit off of one, they wouldn’t have the appetite to keep poking at the others.   And maybe the seed uses the fruit for its first food.

So here are some possibilities for the “light of His name” on the created things here:  the seeds – fruitful, the birds – helpful.

***

Still in Hawaii – I read the date on my ticket wrong.  Oops.  I go to Christmas Island tomorrow, God willing.

Blessings to all, and a tentative Farewell, if wifi is inadequate to post from there.

***

when small blessings are Humongous

Eulogizing one of the early believers, Abdu’l-Baha wrote:

[He] would carefully consider every blessing that came his way. “How delicious my tea is today,” he would comment. “What perfume, what color! How lovely this meadow is, and the flowers so bright!” He used to say that everything, even air and water, had its own special fragrance. For him the days passed in indescribable delight.

(from Memorials of the Faithful, p. 25)

The obvious lesson-by-example is that we all should consider every blessing, and I did have that in mind when we went to the park yesterday.

First off, just the name is quite endearing – Moanalua.   We all know Moana from the movie, right?  Well my first-born daughter is named Lua – so this park puts the two of them together.  That a sparks a cheerful image.

Lua in 1988 age 6 CrMoana stock2017-02-14 Lua Cr

And the park is here and dedicated to the “Hitachi” — the beautiful Monkey Pod tree.   These are over 100 years old in spite of the tropical storms.

Look at this photo of Clara and carriage.  Note the branches and the shade.

2020-03-15 Clara and boys under monkeypod tree Cr-from

It was cropped from THIS photo.

2020-03-15 Clara and boys under monkeypod tree R-Cr

Humongous, isn’t it!  And in all directions.   Big and broad and tall and….

2020-03-15 monkeypod tree little Austin R

short.   This was one of my happiest memories of the day.  “Ride-y Horse-y”

***

Breaking News:  I’m leaving for Christmas Island tomorrow!   This may well be my last post of the Fast.

What a whirlwind.   Adventure awaits.

***

 

Joy

… all the sorrow and the grief that exist come from the world of matter — the spiritual world bestows only the joy!

– Abdu’l-Baha

We left the apartment today and went to Moanalua Gardens, a lovely park not far from here.  It was delightful.

First, we saw a couple getting wedding photos.

2020-03-15 wedding photos at Moanalua Gardens  Cr.jpg

Spiritual world:  love, commitment, trust.  Bestowing joy!

And we walked and played a lot.   I will probably milk this outing for several posts, but my topic du jour is “joy,” so I’ll share another very sweet glimpse.

2020-03-15 strangers dancing at Moanalua Gardens  Cr.jpg

A couple of ladies and a couple of kids dancing in the grass.  I like to think it was two sisters and their children.  

Spiritual world: innocence, playfulness, gratitude for the day.   Bestowing joy!

Going to the park was happy anyway, but these two scenes made it even better.

***

Praying that everyone is finding joy each day.   Five days left of this year’s Fast and my daily posts.

***

 

Clashing and the Light of Reason

Yesterday’s post caught some flak and created a bit of dialogue.    One comment was “Totally ineffective.  As a nurse you should know better.”

This is useful!  (Thank you, Debi!)

The shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing opinions.

– Abdu’l-Baha

Earlier in the day I had watched a you-tube on overcoming faulty thinking, so all is good.   The three main causes of cognitive bias, according to the speaker, are these:

  • Believing something is better or true because of constant exposure.
  • Loss aversion – sticking with a bad plan because out of fear of losing out (in economics this is the “sunk cost fallacy”)
  • Tunnel vision – thinking that what you see is all there is

I definitely believe masks to be effective, regardless of studies that poo-poo them, because of constant exposure:   Please look at this short and very entertaining video about Singapore’s aggressive containment of the virus. https://www.facebook.com/nasdaily/videos/2473203559599175/?v=2473203559599175

I definitely have loss aversion:  Would rather go to the trouble of making the masks and wearing them in public and reduce exposure even by a small margin – or to reduce me exposing others if I am already infected but still without symptoms.

** HERE is where the CLASH of differing opinions struck PAYDIRT for me **

I definitely had tunnel vision:  do the good diet, the handwashing, the avoiding crowds and the mask – that’s all there is.  But is it?   Actually – it is NOT.

Rewatching the video opened my eyes to that.   Yes, Singapore had the army packing masks for every single household, but their aggressive cleaning of public spaces may be more responsible for their success in containing the virus than the masks.  Seriously.   Mobilizing ourselves and others to clean our hallways, our elevator buttons, our handrails in this apartment complex might be a far wiser use of our time.  I would not have thought of it, if I had not been challenged.

“Trust in God and keep your environment clean.”

Our cleaning efforts may fail, but God never fails.   Chin up and keep praying. 🙂

stock cleaning elevator buttons

***

Tomorrow – something fun.

***

 

 

Call to Arms: We Can Fight Back!

Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others.

–  Baha’u’llah

The coronavirus has been like a slowly advancing hurricane and now its winds are brushing Hawaii’s shores.   I am glad for what meager preparations we did make, and feel that it wasn’t enough.  A feeling of helplessness washes over me.  I find out that already our first family member has caught it – Tom Hanks.  (Well he feels like a family member, ha ha.)

A retired social worker friend came for Wednesday devotions at Clara’s yesterday evening.  After prayers, we drank tea and talked about at risk residents here.  We realized that there is something Useful that  we can do.   Now that we have a plan, I don’t feel helpless any more.  I am spurred to action.   And I will share this plan with you in case you feel it could be useful in your community.

First off, I watched this podcast earlier in the day:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E3URhJx0NSw&t=9s   The guest is an expert at tracking diseases and his information is top notch.  This is a fellow I really trust.   It is a long podcast, but the high points that stuck with me are these:

  • coronavirus is airborne
  • the best defense is just getting yourself as healthy as possible and avoiding crowds
  • everyday masks offer little protection – only snug fitting masks (like N95s, all out of stock) offer protection
  • a safe and effective vaccine will take years to develop, but if a vaccine were only 50% effective, what a blessing it would be

I put those facts together in my hot little brain to come up with this:  If my face masks were able to become snug fitting, maybe they could be at least 50% effective.  Fifty percent is way better than Zero percent!   I read somewhere that a 4-ply mask is roughly equivalent to an N95 (good) mask.  Just went back to look for it and all I find is discouraging article after discouraging article.   But this article from England describes at least SOME benefit.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/31/our-face-mask-future-do-they-really-help-beat-flu-coronavirus-and-pollution

To wit:  “The virus was found inside all the masks, but they had provided something like a six-fold decrease in the amount of virus exposure.”

Frankly, I think the big bureaucratic discouragement of masks for an airborne illness is (1) a need to have the limited stock of commercial masks available for front line caregivers, and (2) a strong Western cultural aversion to masks in public.   If masks were so useless, why do caregivers need them?  So I’m going with optimism and the mild encouragement from my cherry-picked article  : )

Kim in homemade mask  R.jpg

Here is the post I used for how to make a face mask:   https://www.craftpassion.com/face-mask-sewing-pattern/

This mask has to be improved.  A pocket for a pipe cleaner over the nose–to shape it to the face–has to be added; something to make it snug under the chin (maybe a shoestring or elastic) needs to be incorporated.  I plan to make a few of the improved ones, and then teach everyone who wants to know how.   And that’s where Clara and our other friend and their networking skills kick in.

“Trust in God and tie your face mask.”

And …. if masks fail, God never fails.   Chin up!   We’ll all keep praying.

***

Of all the ironic twists – my dear husband, who has been ready for the sky to fall for forty years, is currently wondering if he will be marooned on Christmas Island where he is doing coral work right now.  The planes are only once a week.    Stay tuned.

***