#NaPhoPoMo Day 13: Grace

As in nature, as in art, so in grace; it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their luster.
— Thomas Guthrie

Three perfect flowers revealed themselves in the last few days and when I brought the plant inside, I noticed three more buds. This orchid has sat outside for a few years, with no special care from me and this is what I get in return. Such grace.

May grace also blossom in the wake of today's events in Paris. 


During the month of November, as part of NaPhoPoMo, I intend to post at least one photo a day here. Sometimes with a little story, sometimes with only a caption, always in the hope of resisting the urge for it all to be perfect.

Photo: Leica V-Lux-20.

Watched: CURFEW, an Oscar Winning Short Film

I watched the 2013 Academy Award presentations and recall being happy that Jennifer Lawrence won the Best Actress award. I also remember that I was surprised when Argo won an Oscar for Best Picture, although I can't think of the movie I had in mind to win. So I'm not surprised that I have no recollection of the Best Live Action Short Film that year, Curfew.  I watched the 20 minute film for the first time, on my iPhone, during my last flight to Los Angeles through United's entertainment app and declared live action short films my next obsession.

 In order to be considered for an Oscar, a short film has to have a running time of 40 minutes or less, including credits. While there are other guidelines, I think the time constraint is what makes it so enticing for me to watch as it begs for attention and focus. I have a few favorite animated shorts, such as Head Over Heels, but somehow expect them to have an even shorter running time, like all of the cartoons I watched as a kid.  

During the next week, I'm giving myself the job (ha!) of tracking down and watching the 2015 Oscar winner, as well as the other nominees in the Short Film, Live Action category. I'm curious about this sudden compulsion. If you'd care to watch Curfew, it's here on Vimeo (free) with sub-titles in Korean (I believe) or via iTunes for $2.99 and no sub-titles (I hope). 

 I'll be back here in a week with the results of my search.

Do you have any short film favorites to recommend?

 

Reflecting Hurricanes

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It was exactly a week ago today when I began waking up with my brain in its default position. According to modern psychologists, worry is a survival mechanism that's hard-wired in the human brain and there were two hurricanes, Iselle and Julio, aimed for the Big Island of Hawaii. I have never been through a hurricane and had no idea what to expect. So, I filled my bath tub with water. Just in case the county's system failed, I'd have enough to flush toilets and filter for drinking.

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I ordered a solar cell phone charger, stat. Paid for expedited shipping and had it charging by Wednesday,  just in case I lost power for a few days. I don't own a land line and this time, I was sitting out the storm alone. I bought some non-perishable food, which I rarely eat these days: the canned, the packaged and preserved. If my gas grill failed, I also had a 50 ounce container of protein powder to go with my tub of water.

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Early Thursday morning, there was a 4.5 magnitude earthquake centered about forty miles away. It rattled the water in my tub and the glass window above it, not me. There were other things to worry about. I brought my outdoor table, chairs and barbecue grill off the lanai and into the living room. The garden sheds and wooden gate locks were all tied securely. That was all I could think of doing, and I felt ready. I kept the local tv news channel on all day, as well as a Twitter stream searching for anything about Iselle.

That night, the district of Puna received what the rest of us feared, heavy winds took down trees and utility poles, stranding people in remote areas. Meteorologists kept up their warnings, folks Tweeted that trees were snapping around them, and I got tired of waiting. When I went to bed at 11 p.m., the nearly full moon was shining and a few stars glittered through the clouds. At the same time the east side of the island was being pelted by rain, in some places over fourteen inches of it.  I thought I would take a short nap before the wind and rain got to us on the west side. That never happened. I slept in silence until 5:30 a.m., when the early birds began chirping outside my window. A few days later, Julio passed us by.

 

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Late in the afternoon on Sunday, bright orange light was streaming through one of my windows. When I went outside there was a rainbow to the southeast and dark clouds pouring rain into the ocean to the southwest.  The contrast was clear. I could see joy and wonder on one hand and the gloom of the approaching unknown on the other. I thought we were done with bad weather.

In a few minutes the rainbow faded, the sun disappeared completely and I was in the middle of rain, wind and several lightning bolts. Then within the hour, the rain stopped and the clouds blew away; the perfect opening act for the Supermoon show. What a production!

Today, there is no immediate threat of a hurricane, wildfires, Ebola virus or the atrocities of war. My brain is back to its usual positive, optimistic self. I'm feeling a deep sense of gratitude and appreciation for everything in my life, this island and the resiliency of its people. I'm also thankful for my brain's default position; if danger draws close, it takes over my usual "all is calm, all is bright" side and turns full frontal. In the end, I am so thankful that Nature's default position is one of regrowth and renewal. Today, all is calm, all is bright.

 

Images: All taken with an iPhone5s, fully charged.