Up a creek without a paddle

I hail from California and Bea still lives there, so I’ve been paying attention to the atmospheric rivers that have been happening. Some excerpts from the National Oceanic Service, “Atmospheric rivers are narrow regions in the atmosphere that transport much of the moisture from the tropics to northern latitudes. … A well-known example of a strong atmospheric river is called the “Pineapple Express” because moisture builds up in the tropical Pacific around Hawaii and can wallop the U.S. and Canada’s West Coasts with heavy rainfall and snow.”

Weather … from us to you folks out there on the west coast. Take appropriate precautions and stay safe. Bea shared that she’s digging a ditch again (again??!!) to direct any potentially flooding backyard water away from the living room. This lady in her 80’s is digging a ditch!

This reminds me to share this amazing story (in the February newsletter from Daifukuji) of two centenarian friends who shared a friendship over 90 years and recently passed away just one day apart. Daifukuji is a participating organization in the Blue Zones Project. This article, “Hawai’i Has the Longest Life Expectancy in the Nation, But Not for Everyone” touches on some of the nuances to Hawaiian life expectancy.

Changing subjects, many months ago a friend sent an odd request via email. A friend of his was looking for other countries’ and cultures’ ways of expressing “Up a creek without a paddle.” The meaning is “someone is in a difficult situation, with no way of getting out of it.” He was interested if Hawaiians or Norwegians had similar expressions.

Idiomatic expressions can be very amusing. A transplanted French-speaking Swiss friend on the East Coast once told me about the little animal, the log, in the back of his wooded backyard. I was so confused. Eventually we discovered the confusion came from “sleep like a log” and the French idiom, “dormir comme un loir.” A loir is apparently a large European dormouse, a rodent. log ≠ loir.

And then there’s “take the bull by the horns,” meaning to deal with a difficult situation in a direct and confident manner. Hubby says the Norwegian equivalent, translated, is “grab the lion by its tail and swing it.” Hmmm… now this is interesting. After I failed to find anything to confirm this, and I just double-checked with him, NOW he said, “You’re looking for an official Norwegian saying, right? Not just mine.” He’s still researching and hasn’t yet answered. All these many years I thought it WAS an “official” idiom.

I’m not native Hawaiian, but I love the proverbs. The Hawaiian proverbs tend to be encouraging, inspirational, motivating, and community-based. I couldn’t find any with the sentiment “up a creek without a paddle,” which is basically just a resigned observation. The Hawaiians tell you how to be prepared, brave, persist, etc., so you won’t have to end up expressing such a paddle-less creek sentiment.

I then had a fun exchange with a Hawaiian friend, and she kept sharing by text all kinds of great proverbs from an out-of-print book she has. But none quite matched. In the end she made her own, “When we no have paddle, gotta use da hands or swim um.” So even she was just trying to solve the problem, encourage and persist, not just remark, “uh oh. I’m in a tough situation.”

To the theme of optimism, I’ll close by sharing two articles. This is an excellent article I read from the Hawai’i Seed Growers Network, “Hawaii’s Home Gardeners Can Adapt to a Changing Climate by Increasing Resiliency.” And this article talks about sustainable coffee in agroforestry.

I’m sure some of you realize that I left you hanging about the Hubby bull/lion idiom. He did finally get back to me. “I can’t find it. Maybe it’s just an expression that I use.” 😵

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