“The light falls only on the stranger,” an ancient Arabic proverb declares. This saying can mean that individuals are often not celebrated in their own countries – nor in their own families. While familiarity may not mean contempt, it certainly lends itself to disregard. However, one of the joys of traveling allows us to be the stranger – and to see others as strangers.
During these last two months, Barry and I drove from St. Louis, Missouri to as far south as Key West, Florida and as far north as Eau Claire, Wisconsin – visiting family, friends, meeting new people, and having new experiences. We felt the special attention showered upon wanderers. And we were eager to see others.
The proverb points to another way travelers benefit in their wandering. “The light falls only on the stranger” can also mean that the one who sees most clearly – what is special – is often by those who are seeing something for the first time.
It’s a challenge for us all – those at home and those on the road – to see the light that is in each person and the light that surrounds us everywhere. What can you see when you look carefully?
“Compassion isn’t weakness. Compassion is strength,” says John Lewis, M.B.A. CEO and founder of Bad Ass Vegan
From: Thrive Vegan Magazine: Plant-Based Culture, Food, Lifestyle, Athletes, Health, Issue 7, p. 46-47.
During a podcast with Rich Roll, John Lewis also said,
“No one is responsible for your well being . . . take control of your own health,” says John Lewis.
Rich Roll notes,
“John Lewis wasn’t always the exemplary model of health and advocacy he is today. Tipping the scales at 315 pounds by his freshman year in high school, things could have easily gone sideways for this young man growing up in Ferguson, Missouri.
But instead of drugs and gangs, he turned to sports, finding solace and refuge in basketball and football. Honing his skills in both high school and college helped him ditch his fat kid image and triggered his life-long love for healthy living.
Nonetheless, John began experiencing some serious, negative health issues despite maintaining an athletic nature post-college. He sought medical advice and was informed that excessive animal protein consumption just might be the culprit. That advice, combined with his mother’s colon cancer diagnosis, catalyzed an experiment with vegetarianism. Little did he know, that experiment would change his life.
In short shrift, ditching meat resolved his health issues. More importantly, the lifestyle aligned with his values. So it wasn’t long before John jettisoned all animal products from his plate and went entirely vegan.
Needless to say, this was an unlikely move for a football loving gym rat. His friends were not amused.
But John never felt better. The lights went on, opening him to an entirely new way of living and being that brought his life path into focus.”
Be compassionate. Be healthy. Aloha, Renée
“Humanity as a species and our planet can not and will not survive without love, kindness, and compassion,”
- says Jona Weinhoffe, Metalcore Vegan Rocker in Thrive: Plant-based: Culture. Food. Lifestyle. Issue #7, p. 24
Let’s radiate love, kindness, and compassion to all sentient beings. Aloha, Renée
“When someone is honestly 55% right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60% right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God. But what’s to be said about 75% right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100% right? Whoever says he’s 100% right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.”
Attributed to “An Old Jew of Glaicia” in the epigraph of The Captive Mind: An urgent message to the West on the Communist mentality and the tragic moral and intellectual condition of the men and women who live under Stalinism by Czeslaw Milosz.
Poet, novelist, essayist, translator, and winner of the 1980 Nobel Prize for Literature, Milosz was born in Šeteniai (Polish: Szetejnie), present-day Lithuania, on June 30, 1911 and died on August 14, 2004 in Kraków.
Milosz image & biography information from http://culture.pl/en/artist/czeslaw-milosz
How right are you? How right are those you follow?
“Memory collapses time, novelty unfolds it.
You can exercise daily and eat healthy, and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next – and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches our psychological time, and lengthens our perceptions of our lives” (77).
from Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art & Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
In a summary of the book, Amazon notes, “On average, people squander forty days annually compensating for things they’ve forgotten. Joshua Foer used to be one of those people. But after a year of memory training, he found himself in the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. Even more important, Foer found a vital truth we too often forget: In every way that matters, we are the sum of our memories.”
So do something beyond your routine: read a book – maybe this one, hike a new path, talk to someone outside your circle . . . Make today – and tomorrow – memorable.
P.S. Thanks for recommending this book, Esther.
“Tip #142: There are billions of aluminum cans in use today, and it’s important that we recycle every single one. Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours.”
Thanks to Bob & H – From: PositivelyGreenCards.com
Let’s get all those aluminum cans in the recycle bins. Aloha, Renée
If you think you are too small to make a difference,
try sleeping with a mosquito,” says the
Do what you can do to make the world better.
Mosquito image from: https://pixabay.com/en/tiger-mosquito-mosquito-49141/
“The biggest room is —
the room for improvement.”
We all have work to do.
- quotation from The Bali Advertiser, 14-28, Sept. 2016, p. 35.
“Our world is falling apart quietly. Human civilization has reduced the plant, a four-hundred-million-year-old life form, into three things: food, medicine, and wood. In our relentless and ever-intensifying obsession with obtaining a higher volume, potency, and variety of these three things, we have devastated plant ecology to an extent that millions of years of natural disaster could not. Roads have grown like a manic fungus, and the endless miles of ditches that bracket these roads serve as hasty graves for perhaps millions of plant species extinguished in the name of progress,” says American geochemist and geobiologist award winner Hope Jahren in her memoir Lab Girl. . .
“Planet Earth is nearly a Dr. Seuss book made real: every year since 1990 we have created more than eight billion new stumps. . . [O]n my good days, I feel like I can do something about this.
Every single year, at least one tree is cut down in your name. Here’s my personal request to you: If you own any private land at all, plant one tree on it this year. If you are renting a place with a yard, plant a tree in it and see if your landlord notices. If he does, insist to him that it was always there. Throw in a bit about how exceptional he is for caring enough about the environment to have put it there. If he takes the bait, go plant another one. Baffle some chicken wire at its base and string a cheesy birdhouse around its tiny trunk to make it look permanent, then move out and hope for the best.
There are more than one thousand successful tree species for you choose from, and that’s just for North America. You will be tempted to choose a fruit tree because they grow quickly and make beautiful flowers, but these species will break under moderate wind, even as adults. Unscrupulous tree planting services will pressure you to buy a Bradford pear or two because they establish and flourish in one year; you’ll be happy with the result long enough for them to cash your check. Unfortunately, these trees are also notoriously weak in the crotch and will crack in half during the first big storm. You must choose with a clear head and open eyes. You are marrying this tree: choose a partner, not an ornament. . .
Jahren continues, “Once your baby tree is in the ground, check it daily, because the first three years are critical. Remember that you are your tree’s only friend in a hostile world. If you do own the land that it is planted on, create a savings account and put five dollars in it every month, so that when your tree gets sick between ages twenty and thirty (and it will), you can have a tree doctor over to cure it, instead of just cutting it down. Each time you blow the account on tree surgery, put your head down and start over, knowing that your tree is doing the same. The first ten years will be the most dynamic of your tree’s life; what kind of overlap will it make with your own? . . .
Feature image: oak tree – http://hollywoodpark-tx.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/loan-oak-tree.jpg
Read a book. Plant a tree – and take care of it. You’ll have a great day.
P.S. Update 11/29/2016
After reading this post, my friend Gail from here on Maui wrote, “Agreed with everything but planting on property that doesn’t belong to you. One of our biggest problems here and on the mainland with rentals is that long-term tenants start to see the property as belonging to them; which includes the planting of trees. We had to remove two weed trees that were ruining the foundation, and maintenance of palm trees has become exorbitant. Fruit trees for sustainability is a more rational approach and should be encouraged.”
Probably Hope Jahren is not a landlord, so Gail’s advice seems reasonable: Check with your landlord first before you plant a tree. Check with your local botanical garden, farmer’s union, municipal government . . . to see where and what trees can be planted. You could become a part of a community group that plants and cares for trees in your town.
When I searched for “planting trees on Maui,” the first on the list was http://plantawish.org/
“A few years ago, Sara and Joe (founders of Plant a Wish) crowd-funded a journey to hold native tree planting events with communities in all 50 states.” Now they are still planting trees – and raising funds to make a documentary about their experiences.
Wherever you are, you are likely to find tree planting groups in your area. Join others to plant trees. Have fun while doing good work.
And to walk my talk, I’ve planted two trees, little saplings with long taper roots, that were generously given to me on Thanksgiving Day by Courtney, an Up-Country Maui friend. One sapling is a moringa.
Image from: http://miracletrees.org/
From “Eat the Weeds and other things too” at <http://www.eattheweeds.com/moringa-oleifera-monster-almost-2/>
From Deane Green, I’ve learned, “If you have a warm back yard, think twice before you plant a Moringa tree.
Is it edible? Yes, most of it. Is it nutritious? Amazingly so, flowers, seeds and leaves. Does it have medical applications? Absolutely, saving lives on a daily basis. Can it rescue millions from starvation? Yes, many times yes. So, what’s the down side? They don’t tell you that under good conditions it grows incredibly fast and large, overwhelming what ever space you allot to it. It can grow to monster proportions in one season.” Green says the tree grows more than 10 feet each year. “[E]very year I cut off 15- to 20-foot branches. It requires constant attention. Despite its impressive growth pattern, it’s an extremely brittle tree. A man can easily break off a branch four inches through,…. It’s nice to feel like Hercules now and then.”
So it is likely to do really well in the warm and sunny all year climate of Kihei. I do know now that if I can keep my little sapling alive for the first three years, I will likely need to cut it down to a three-foot stump as Green does every year.
Courtney also gave me a sapote sapling.
The sapote taste is sweet and delicious, with no acidity, much like a custard dessert with a hint of banana or peach.
Images from http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/138.htm
I don’t know which kind of sapote my sapling is, but I’ve read that some can grow to be 100 ft. (over 30 meters) tall, so I will need to be careful when I place my sapote in my yard. They fruit within eight years. I look forward to picking my own sapote and gathering the moringa leaves and pods from trees in my yard in the years ahead.
Good luck with your planting too. Aloha, Renée
Since President Abraham Lincoln declared it a national holiday in 1863, those of us in the United States have been celebrating Thanksgiving Day on the final Thursday in November. We give thanks and count our many blessings – and usually eat too much with family and friends.
One important blessing is our many farmers who provide the food we eat.
A way to become more conscious and make more informed choices about the food we have offered is to get to know our local farmers and their concerns.
If you live in Hawaii, a great way to do that is to join the Hawaii Farmers Union United, a vital community group. Whether you are a family farmer, an avid backyard gardener, or just like to know where you can get good local produce, HFUU offers wonderful workshops, informative meetings, and works on important agricultural concerns.
For more information and to join, go to: https://hfuuhi.org/
Current President of Maui Farmers Union United and Vice President of Hawaii State Farmers Union United, Vincent Mina says about the challenges of farming (and everything else),
“If you do anything substantive, it will be hard. Just get on with it.”
Wherever you are in the world, check out what your farmers are doing. “Get on with it.”
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family — and all who provide for you.