Did you know there are redwoods on the tropical island of Kauai? Some of us didn't either! Last retreat a few monks and task forcers elevated ourselves 4000 feet to Kokee State Park where a cooler dryer microclimate harbors thousands of redwood trees. We hiked along a somewhat hidden path around this landscape admiring the trees and flowers while enjoying fresh plums and berries from the plants.
For years we have bought black cinder in 20# bags for our tropical propagation efforts. Our high rainfall (up to 122" a year) requires plants to have excellent drainage, lest they drown during weeks of daily rainfall. Black cinder is the ideal medium for this. Light and porous, it allows water to reach the roots but then keep moving down and away from the plant.
Recently a local soil expert offered to ship us 40 yards of black cinder from the Big Island, at a savings of 80% from our old Home Depot source. We said yes, only later discovering this container was meant for his business, and he rerouted it for the monastery and reordered for his own needs. Goodness is still alive and well in the Pacific Islands.
The slideshow explores the world of lava rock.
For quite some time there's been a blank space on the four, flat, bottom faces of the wooden dhvajastambha ("flagpole") in the Nandi Mandapam at Iraivan Temple. Blank no more! The gold-plated copper plates arrived in the recent (and final) container shipment, along with the gold-plated Tiruvasi (brass arch) Which will rise behind the Sphatika Sivalinga.
All the items were installed just days ago and are exquisite, as you'll see in this photo collection. Beautiful miniature yallis (guardian figures) mount on the four corners of the dhvajastambha panels.
In the photos the tiruvasi is still wrapped in plastic, which will be removed a bit later.
In the tropics the sun passes overhead twice during the year. On these two days, at local noon, the sun will be exactly overhead and an upright object such as a flag pole will have no shadow. This phenomenon only occurs in the tropics; the sun is never overhead in any other part of the planet.
The term "La haina" "means cruel sun' in Hawaiian, and while the sun in the islands is never really cruel, it can be pretty intense as it shines directly down from the zenith. This tropical "High noon' is thought to be a time of great mana (spiritual power) in the Hawaiian culture.
We went out at 12:35 today with Akash to test Siva's cosmological watchworks. Taking Akash's picture without a shadow was compelling. But what about the 55-foot-tall falgpole? Yes, it too had NO shadow (Except for the knot of the rope on the side and the cloth flag high above.
It happens May 31 and again on July 11.
Archives are now available through 2001. Light colored days have no posts. 1998-2001 coming later.