Only kindness

Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

It is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.

It couldn’t be done

By Edgar Albert Guest

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
      But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
      Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
      On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
      At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
      And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
      Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
      That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.


			

Children

“Making the decision to have a child – it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ”

Elizabeth Stone

I made a conscious decision to have kids but I didn’t fathom how deeply I’d connect with them. It’s scary and awesome at that same time.

As with some things in life it’s best not to know everything before you commit or you might never do it.

Compounding Community Interest

It is amazing how community and being in a place for a long time creates layers of memories and support networks. The process starts from scratch every time you emigrate or move cities. Moving away from your birth town means you leave behind your child support base. Aunties, cousins and grandparents make for trusted babysitters and are a treasure chest of knowledge and advice.

Multi-generational families who all went to the same school, and have nurtured friendships and business connections over five generations have a head start on newbies. 

The hard journey and the easy journey

Grinding it out and running a stubborn, slow growth business with all the goodies like antiquated technology, high employee turnover and price sensitive customers is the school of hard knocks. You come out tougher and smarter with an appreciation for true grit.

A tour of duty in a “tough” business makes you appreciate and seek out the ‘easier’ businesses.

Most business are a shit show beneath the hood, but some business models are just plain easier than others. You realize over time that there are easy ways to make money and hard ways to make money.

People who’ve worked in a big corporate all their lives don’t get this difference. Work with people like immigrants, founders, small business owners and grinders who appreciate the difference between easy and hard.

On the Grasshopper and Cricket

The Poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper’s—he takes the lead
In summer luxury,—he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket’s song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper’s among some grassy hills.

By John Keats

Flowers and lockdowns

I was at the florist yesterday and asked her if she was busy during lockdowns. I was expecting her to say that things had slowed down. Her answer was quite the opposite. She told me that business picks up during lockdowns because people send flowers when celebrations like weddings and birthdays get cancelled. Foot traffic also increases because people are working from home and pop in for some flowers.

Confident and incompetent

“Frequently wrong but never in doubt.”

“Confident and wrong.”

“To seem more competent, be more confident.”

“Fake it until you make it.”

We all conflate competence and confidence. Covid was a good bullshit test. The countries that ignored Covid initially ended up with tragic results either because of over-confidence or incompetence.

Life gets easier when you spot the bullshitters. The good news is that with remote work, it’s getting hard to fake it. Remote working is about delivery. Those who never delivered at work hate WFH.

Where are you going?

Legacy incumbent companies focus on provenance and pedigree. They are about maintaining the status quo and are on the decline. “Hiring managers” seek out markers like education, brand names, and network connections.

Companies that focus on people’s output, quality of work, and energy are where you want to work. They are open to hiring rough diamonds. They aren’t scared away by quirky work experience and a history of grit and persistence. They take chances on people and bet on them.

Founder-led businesses and owner-managed places like restaurants are your best bet. It takes one to know one, and it’ll take one to hire one. 

Ameraucana Chickens, Araucana Chickens and Easter Eggers

I thought the eggs at the farmer’s market were different colours because of the chicken’s diet. I was wrong.

There are many chickens that lay coloured eggs. Enjoy

Ameraucana Chickens, Araucana Chickens, Easter Eggers are all different types of hens.