Sunday, July 25, 2010

New House, Day 1

Well, we've moved in. Kind of.

When they unloaded the truck, there was no space to walk in the front room. It was packed nearly to the ceiling. Sheesh.

Fortunately most of it was books and the majority of them went into storage. For now.

Oh, except the Baha'i books. They're sitting in the hall awaiting their place on the bookshelves, which I hope to get to today.

After filling the storage unit, and thereby emptying a part of the house, we let Shoghi in. I'm not going to talk about the unpackers, or the myriad adventures in off-loading the truck. Too many more important things to mention.

For example, here is my obligatory Baha'i reference. Do you remember way back in October 2009 when I wrote an article about the Most Difficult Law? Well, the paragraph before that one in the Kitab-i-Aqdas is as follows:
Ye have been enjoined to renew the furnishings of your homes after the passing of each nineteen years; thus hath it been ordained by One Who is Omniscient and All-Perceiving. He, verily, is desirous of refinement, both for you yourselves and for all that ye possess; lay not aside the fear of God and be not of the negligent. Whoso findeth that his means are insufficient to this purpose hath been excused by God, the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Bounteous.
Why do I mention this passage? Thanks for asking, dear Reader. For some odd reason, it came to mind recently. When discussing "odd" passages in the Writings, this is one that seems to come up fairly often. Many people have asked me why this is a law and we have spent hours trying to unravel its significance.

Some have mistakenly interpreted it as "replace all your furiture every 19 years", but agree, when it is pointed out, that this is not what it says. It asks us to "renew" our furniture. So, in general answer to all those who have asked, I believe that, yes, it is ok to have antique furniture, as long as it is taken care of. We had a beautiful sofa in our old home, but it needed re-upholstering. That, to me, would constitute renewing it.

Let's face it, any piece of furniture will need renewing at least once a decade. Either cloth needs to be re-upholstered, or wood needs to be stripped and re-stained. It seems to to me that Baha'u'llah is asking us to take care of the appearance of our home and not let it look neglected.

Of course, as the return of Christ, He may just be drumming up business for carpenters.

When I look at the rest of the paragraph, one title for God that stands out is "the All-Perceiving". This seems to me to be a reminder that while God perceives all, we humans perceive some. And most of us quickly judge others based on first appearances. So when that ardent seeker comes by for your fireside, be sure that not only have you dusted and swept the floors, but that your very furnishings are looking good, too. And don't forget, God knows about those dust bunnies.

And then there is the point that God desires us to be refined, or elegant, in our taste, manners, feelings, language and attitude. As He says here, He also desires this for our possessions.

When I think of the two sofas we left behind, this comes clearly to mind. One was very dated from the late 60s, and just looked wrong. It did not, to my eye, signify taste. The other one was very elegant and could have been in style any time between the mid-1800s and today. It was of a classical style, one that never goes out, and was tastefully upholstered in a very nice dark green fabric.

Today, we have an old futon frame that I will be touching up before I re-assemble, with a very nice beige futon, complete with an abstract rectangle motif. Although it is not the height of fashion or elegance, it is quite nice on its own, and will fit in most rooms.

This wholoe question of style is now becoming more important to me, simply because of this one paragraph.

Then there is also the question of mercy. If you can't afford to do this, God forgives you from it.

Following this, of course, is the "mother paragraph", the one that says "Wash you feet".

Baha'i content finished, so now back to the story.

Yesterday, as I made the notes from which this article is taken, I noticed that my waiter had a wristwatch tatooed on his wrist. Instead of the traditional hands, though, which would only be correct twice a day, it had a smiley face. I liked it. It's always happy time.

So, where was I? Oh yes. We in to our new home a couple of nights ago. The cats were so happy. So were the deer.

It was kind of funny to watch the deer and the cats meet. Kismet didn't know what to make of them, and they sure weren't afraid of her, sweetie that she is. (Unless you're a vet. Then she is this hissing snarling claw-laden monster designated dangerous on her file.)

When I was truly sick and tired of shifting boxes around (the practical side of all those years doing sliding tile puzzles), we finally went down to the beach, that lagoon mentioned in an earlier comment by Isabelle.

Thank God for good neighbours. Geraldine, the woman behind us with the 4-year old boy (Shoghi's new playmate), walked us down there. We certainlywould have been lost without her.
By the way, I think I'll throw another aside in here: Years ago, I went to San Diego to visit one of my dearest friends, Ed. He was serving in the US Navy, and had been serving for many years, so he knew his way around a ship. One afternoon, during my visit, we all piled in his truck, and he began to drive. At the time, there was a major sinkhole that had swallowed a huge part of the highway that he would normally have taken, so he took an alternate route. We drove and drove and drove and drove, and he turned right here, and took a left turn there. Another left, followed by another right, and then another. And still we drove on. I thought he lived closer to the water than that, so I finally asked, "How much further?"

He said he didn't know. He couldn't find the ocean. In San Diego.

"And you've been in the Navy how many years?"

I'll never forget his expression when I said that.

Well, this beach, here in Belmont Park, is incredible. When you walk down, on the left is the ocean. On the right is the lagoon. In the distance are the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. I've only walked the first bit of it, and haven't gotten to the end of the road, so I don't know what's at the far end, but I will definitely be exploring it soon.

Oh, and at this point in my notes, I wrote the following: "I'm sitting here in Langford, eating at a restaurant called the Noodle Box. Remember how I said that I rarely recommend restaurants in my blog? This one is awesome. It started as a small stand in China town, and is now a 3 or 4 store franchise. The medium-hot Cambodian Jungle Curry is so, SO flavourful, but very spicy. They cautioned me to only get the medium and I now understand why. I wouldn't change it, but it definitely too hot for most people. I'll let you know about the banana spring rolls when I get to them."

Down at the water I saw the mandatory crabs, fish and various mussels on the ocean side. I walked back up to the road dividing the park, crossed over and went down to the lagoon side and saw geese, ducks, swans, bald eagles, a harbour seal pup and a family of otters. The seal seemed to be in trouble, and there was a guy on a cell phone calling for information about what to do. He had been watching the pup for nearly an hour, when someone at the BC Conservancy finally seemed to know what they were talking about. "Can you see the outline of the hipbone? No? Then he's alright." And when the seal heard that, he looked up, flipped into the water, and swam far and fast.

All this less than a 10 minute walk from home. I am sure that I will find inspiration at this beach for a very long time.

It is my hope to get a swim mask and explore the sea bottom there in the next week or so. Hopefully the water will be a bit warmer than it was when I was there.

For now, I need to go back home and continue unboxing. But before that, I want to thank you all, dear Readers, for making me feel so welcome in my  new home. The e-mails from those of you who have lived here, who do live here, and who wish to live here really make me feel welcome. It is, incidentally, the first place in my life where I feel safe leaving my front door unlocked.

Oh, and the banana spring rolls? They were incredible, too. I think they were a standard spring roll stuffed with banana puree and shredded sweetened coconut, deep fried and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

I think I'll find inspiration in those, too.

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