Our independent Maui Humane Society rescue girl, a beautiful, fierce and effective ratter, who never scratched or bit us, died this morning.
Three days ago, Johnny took Sarah to our vet to get antibiotics for her after she came home with a bloody cut on her lip. She seemed to be getting better: eating and drinking a bit and wanting to go outside. However, I could tell early this morning that she didn’t look chipper. But I went off to paddle; the veterinarian’s office would be open by the time I returned. But when I got home, I found Sarah beside our bed – still warm, but dead. 😦
We are shocked and sad. Sarah was independent and strong.
But a puncture wound in a tropical place can be deadly.
As we buried her in our yard where she liked to hang out, John asked us what we had learned from Sarah.
For me, Sarah showed that you don’t need to be big to get your way. She did not want to be an indoor cat. And she was persistent in that demand until she got her way. She did not want our big dogs to boss her around – and they didn’t. She knew what snacks she wanted and would complain until I gave them to her. 🙂
In fact, Sarah liked to hide in the bushes and leap out at Kailani, a pointer mix who weighs about 43 pounds (19.5 kilos) . Sarah weighed about 10 pounds (4.5 kilos). She scared Kailani each time. And we would laugh.
John said that Sarah showed that you need to give affection to get affection. She had been a feral cat. When we got her, she was about 10 months old – and did not like to be held at all. But for the last several months, she’d let us – especially Barry – hold and pet her for about five seconds – and then she wanted to go off to do her Sarah things.
Barry says Sarah showed him what it’s like to have a cat since she is the first one he has had his whole life. He liked that she would go after mice and rats – and get them – but wished she hadn’t brought them in as presents.
Mango, Johnny’s rescue Myna bird that was blown out of a tree during Hurricane Darby this summer, doesn’t know how lucky she is. Johnny nurtured Mango until she could eat and fly on her own.
However, every day, we expected Sarah to eat Mango.
But somehow Sarah knew that Mango is part of our family. So what Mango might have learned is not to expect a being to be its reputation (at least sometimes).
We feel blessed to have had Sarah in our lives.
Life is fragile. Love and cherish the beings around you.
Many blessings to you and yours.
Aloha, Renée, Barry, Johnny, Sigrid, Nalu, Kailani, Mango, & O’Rignar
While some people in the U.S. are celebrating the recent presidential election, many are not. In the most recent edition of Utne magazine, Eric Utne provides good links to a variety of American voices in his article “Now What?”:
Photo by Fotolia/photolink
“Let’s start with Ronnie Bennett timegoesby.net) who puts out a must-read blog on aging called Time Goes By. She writes:
…It is not so long ago that when someone in the family died, people mourned for a long time. Custom dictated that mirrors in the home be covered, social life curtailed and that the mourners wear black (widow’s weeds) for up to a year and even more in certain cases.
Everything is faster now and today that kind of mourning is obsolete, even considered morbid. Not me. Given what has just happened, I do not believe it is unreasonable at all.
Two things for sure. Like some people in the comments on Wednesday’s post told us, I am wearing black. Complete black, even earrings. Maybe not all the time, but a lot of the time to remind me every day what a terrible thing we as a country have done.
My attire will probably lighten up in time but I own a lot of black clothing so I’m giving it all a new kind of symbolism and meaning.
Second, never again will I say or write that man’s name.
Neither of these silly, little protests will change anything. But they will keep what has happened in the forefront of my mind and that will inform choices I make from now on.
Mostly, right now, I want to be quiet and to learn to breathe again. I don’t know when I will be done with that and unlike the go-getters, I think it is a good thing to do – to be quiet and reflect.
The there’s the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine and, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. She writes (naomiklein.org):
They will blame James Comey and the FBI. They will blame voter suppression and racism. They will blame Bernie or bust and misogyny. They will blame third parties and independent candidates. They will blame the corporate media for giving him the platform, social media for being a bullhorn, and WikiLeaks for airing the laundry. But this leaves out the force most responsible for creating the nightmare in which we now find ourselves: neoliberalism, fully embodied by Hillary Clinton and her machine… Trump’s message was: “All is hell.” Clinton answered: “All is well.” But it’s not well – far from it.
Charles Eisenstein, author of The More Beautiful World We Know in Our Hearts is Possible, (newandancientstory.net) writes:
For the last eight years it has been possible for most people (at least in the relatively privileged classes) to believe that the system, though creaky, basically works, and that the progressive deterioration of everything from ecology to economy is a temporary deviation from the evolutionary imperative of progress… The prison-industrial complex, the endless wars, the surveillance state, the pipelines, the nuclear weapons expansion were easier for liberals to swallow when they came with a dose of LGBTQ rights under an African-American President… As we enter a period of intensifying disorder, it is important to introduce a different kind of force… I would call it love if it weren’t for the risk of triggering your New Age bullshit detector… So let’s start with empathy. Politically, empathy is akin to solidarity, born of the understanding that we are all in the uncertainty together…
Rebecca Solnit, (rebeccasolnit.net) writes:
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes—you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others.
Ricken Patel, Avaaz.org) writes:
The darkness of Trumpism could help us build the most inspiring movement for human unity and progress the world has EVER seen, with a new, people-centered, high-integrity, inspiring politics that brings massive improvement to the status quo.
Michael Meade, (mosaicvoices.org) writes:
Solstice means “sun stands still.” At mid-winter it means the sun stopping amidst a darkening world. We stop as the sun stops, the way one’s heart can stop in a crucial moment of fear or beauty; then begins again, but in an altered way… There may be no better time than the dark times we find ourselves in to rekindle the instinct for uniting together and expressing love, care and community.
Bill McKibben (350.org) never fails to inform and inspire. He writes:
I wish I had some magic words to make the gobsmacked feeling go away. But I can tell you from experience that taking action, joining with others to protest, heals some of the sting. And throughout history, movements like ours have been the ones to create lasting change—not a single individual or president. That’s the work we’ll get back to, together.
And then there’s Dougald Hine (Crossed Lines, dougald.nu), co-founder of my favorite collapsarian website, Dark Mountain:
It’s not the apocalypse, of course, but if you thought the shape of history was meant to be an upward curve of progress, then this feels like the apocalypse… It reminds me of the conversations that sometimes happen in the last days of life, or on the evening of a funeral… There’s a chance of getting real… Donald Trump is a shadowy parody of a trickster, a toxic mimic of Loki. We don’t know the shape of the war that could be coming, nor how that war will end, and not only because we cannot see the future, but because it hasn’t happened yet: there is still more than one way all this could play out, though the possibilities likely range from bad to worse. Among the things that might be worth doing is to read some books from Germany in the 1920s and 30s, to get a better understanding of what Nazism looked like, before anyone could say for sure how the story would end… If someone were to ask me what kind of cause is sufficient to live for in dark times, the best answer I could give would be: to take responsibility for the survival of something that matters deeply. Whatever that is, your best action might then be to get it out of harm’s way, or to put yourself in harm’s way on its behalf, or anything else your sense of responsibility tells you. Some of those actions will be loud and public, others quiet, invisible, never to be known. They are beginning already. And though it is not the bravest form of action, and often takes place far from the frontline, I believe the work of sense-making is among the actions that are called for… This is where I intend to put a good part of my energy in the next while, to the question of what it means if the future is not coming back. How do we disentangle our thinking and our hopes from the cultural logic of progress? For that logic does not have enough room for loss, nor for the kind of deep rethinking that is called for when a culture is in crisis… I want to say that this is also history, though it doesn’t get written down so much: the small joys and gentlenesses, the fragments of peace, time spent caring for our children, or our parents, or our neighbours. These tasks alone are not enough to hold off the darkness, but they are one of the starting points, one of the models for what it means to take responsibility for the survival of things that matter deeply…. We’ll get through because we have to, the way we always have, one foot in front of another. Hold those you love tight. Be kind to strangers… There is work to be done.
Each of these thinkers and visionaries has a finger on the pulse of our times. If you’re not reading them, I urge you to do so. You won’t regret it.
Eric Utne is the founder of Utne Reader. He is writing a memoir, to be published by Random House.
Image from – http://www.meaningfulwork.com/books/bio_utne.html
You’ll find interesting readings – and ideas. Aloha, Barry (and Renée)
“Science-fiction writers have been dreaming up alien planets for decades . . . [S]cience had to wait until 1992 for proof that such planets did exist .. . Thanks to a combination of ground-based telescopes and planet-hunting satellites, particularly one called Kepler, which was launched in 2009, more than 3,500 such worlds are known.
Unlike their depiction in fiction, reasonably few are much like Earth . .. And almost all are far, far away . . . .
From 2017, though, that will change. In December a successor to Kepler, called TESS (for Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite), will be launched into orbit. It is designed to survey the entire sky, looking for the sorts of exoplanets that are of most interest to humans – ones that are small (like Earth), rocky (like Earth), and relatively close by . . . . The new satellite should spot about 3,000 planets.
In August 2016, scientists announced the discovery of an Earth-like planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, which, at 4.25 light-years away, is the closest star to the Sun.
Yuri Milner, a Russian billionaire and physicist . . . is already working with Stephen Hawking, a British theoretical physicist, on plans for a tiny, laser-propelled probe that could cover the distance in about 20 years” (139).
From “Planets, planets everywhere” by Tim Cross in The Economist: The World in 2017.
Our fiction and our scientific facts are changing — and all most interesting.
Aloha, Barry (and 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/
“Death is a strange thing. People live their whole lives as if it does not exist, and yet it’s often one of the great motivations for living. Some of us, in time, become so conscious of it that we live harder, more obstinately, with more fury. Some need its constant presence to even be aware of its antithesis. Other become so preoccupied with it that they go into the waiting room long before it has announced its arrival. We fear it, yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone” (325)
From Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove.
“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.
We’ve just celebrated our annual Thanksgiving feast in the U.S.; the Christmas and New Year season with many gatherings and parties is ahead. So we don’t balloon up in size, it’s a time to be particularly conscious of our eating choices. But making conscious choices can be more than just looking at the calories we consume.
At the Bali Vegan Festival in October, in the presentation, “Why Veganism is the Best Choice,” Judit Németh-Pach, the Hungarian Ambassador to Indonesia, provided many compelling facts and reasons to become vegan.
One source she sited was EatingOurFuture.com with its compilation of many convincing articles and scientific studies.
Given our anatomy, what foods are best for humans?
“As a group, vegetarians/vegans live longer than meat-eaters. Furthermore, vegetarians/vegans generally enjoy better health:
- having less of the serious chronic diseases than the meat-eaters suffer;
- with less of the associated disability and pain than the meat-eaters suffer; and
- being less of a financial & social burden on their family and friends than are the meat-eaters with their higher rates of chronic degenerative disease.
Being healthier overall, vegetarians have more potential for the freedom & ability to live life to the full and independently for a longer time.”
What food choices are sustainable?Go to: https://eatingourfuture.wordpress.com/
How do food choices affect greenhouse gas emissions?
Yikes! Nooooooo. Low fat, organic cheese is worse than pork in creating greenhouse gases!! (I love good cheeses)!
What about eating fish and seafood? Aren’t they good protein options?
“1/. The United Nations reports: “According to a Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimate, over 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted. The dramatic increase of destructive fishing techniques worldwide destroys marine mammals and entire ecosystems… oceans are cleared at twice the rate of forests…”
2/. “Global marine populations slashed by half since 1970: WWF… Populations of marine mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have dropped by about half in the past four decades, with fish critical to human food suffering some of the greatest declines… “Overfishing, destruction of marine habitats and climate change have dire consequences for the entire human population… The pace of change in the ocean tells us there’s no time to waste,” Lambertini [head of WWF International] said. “These changes are happening in our lifetime. We can and we must correct course now.”…”
3/. “Seafood hit by climate change, Australian study finds… “There will be a species collapse from the top of the food chain down.”… Around 61 per cent of wild fish stocks are “fully fished” and 29 per cent “over-fished”, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. Just 10 per cent are under-fished, the organization’s 2014 World Fisheries report said…”
4/. “Rich countries pay zombie fishing boats $5 billion a year to plunder the seas…” – http://qz.com/225432/rich-countries-pay-zombie-fishing-boats-5-billion-a-year-to-plunder-the-seas/
And there is more –
The United Nations “urges global move to meat and dairy-free diet.”
So, what can we eat to be healthy — and have sustainable food sources?
If you give up meat, seafood, and dairy to eat french fries, you will not be healthy. Vegans need to be conscious of their choices too.
So what about me? Have I become a vegan? I’ve been vegetarian since 2003 and that isn’t hard. In fact, it is getting easier all the time with almost all restaurants and even gatherings in homes offering tasty vegetarian options. However, giving up eggs and really good cheeses is a challenge for me. Right now, I’m an aspiring vegan – for my own health and for that of our planet.
What about you? What conscious choices about your food are you or could you be making?
Banner image is of a healthy vegan choice at Paradiso – The World’s First Organic Vegan Cinema – and major sponsor of the Bali Vegan Festival. When you go to Ubud, Bali, be sure to go to Paradiso for daily movie screenings, family afternoons, workshops, thematic festivals, live music shows, art exhibitions, private events, and excellent food. http://www.paradisoubud.com/
“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.