22 Oct

Anyone else reading the title of this blog post and wondering, “what in the world does ‘antediluvian’ mean?” Yeah. Me too. I only just learned it myself, hence my enthusiasm to use it in a blog post as if I’m this grand Bible buff (I’m not). Allow me to share the definition:




     of or belonging to the time before the biblical Flood.

I’ll admit, I’m mostly attempting to sound smart using this word, but as my very astute and learned missionary friend pointed out, I probably should’ve guessed it had something to do with a before time period involving rain since the Spanish words for “before” and “rain” are “antes” and “lluvia.” Oh well. Vocab was never a strong suit of mine on any standardized test.

Alright. Enough introduction. Here are the goings on in the last few months and why I’ve decided to label this post with such a big boy smarty pants word. I explained at one point my recent interest in gardening, and there are many a bed around our house that need a little loving every so often. That’s where I come in. I clean the beds, remove fallen leaves, weed, prune where necessary, realign the beds with stray stones, the works. The part that I still can’t seem to get into the habit of is watering the shrubberies consistently, which, if we’re being honest, is practically the most basic of basics for being a gardener. I understand this shouldn’t be such a difficult task, but you try schlepping a half-gallon sized ice cream tub full of water to ever single foliage growing under your thumb. On average, I’d say it takes me 45 minutes to complete, and to top it off, the kids and tías tell me I have to do it twice a day if I want them to be at peak health! …That’s a joke, right? I mean, that’s a bit of a head scratcher, don’t you think? Isn’t that why God created the rain? What were these plants doing before humans decided they were going to quench the sudden and ever so abundant herbage thirst? Miss Flora is super high maintenance in the worst way. I have considered the possibility of investing in a watering hose, but the real gardener of the Finca (i.e. my favorite kid) told me I should just fill up our super soakers and shoot the plants with water instead (genius). I must admit, even with a hose, it would have very little impact on my motivation to water the plants every morning and evening.

The Honduran government is notorious for cutting the power in certain areas of the country at random times in the day whenever they so choose, sometimes announced but often times not. About 3 weeks ago around 7:30pm was one of those times. It was a Sunday, and I know this because we had recently unearthed a book of crossword puzzles in the house. I thought it might be fun to pretend we were receiving the Sunday crossword in the New York Times or something, and so, the tradition was born. Coffee, Danish (Ha! No, I wish), weekly crossword, and my blue pen (never pencil). Of course, I had started the puzzle in the morning and had a lovely start-and-stop thing going on throughout the day up until the power had gone out. To the common man this may signal the end to any further puzzle solving, but I am no common man, Mr. Wartz (the creator of this particular crossword). No sir! Thought you could thwart my efforts, but alas! You failed to realize my full arsenal of candles at the ready! And matches, too! I’m tempted to say my solving abilities actually increased with the flicker of the candle’s fiery glow, and that’s only true because Adam and Melissa we’re kind enough to assist with sharp minds and candlesticks in hand. Once the puzzle solving became a team effort, it was a cinch, avoiding any further danger of hand cramps and neck cricks customary for an ancient scribe working by candlelight (like myself).

It seemed likely that this particular outage was going to be a long one, but that was no reason to fret. In fact, I decided to seize the opportunity and get a good look at the night sky out on the campo [field]. It didn’t disappoint. It was a most strikingly beautiful and dazzling sight I can hardly think how to put it to words, but I will certainly try. There was no light anywhere except the glow of the half moon. A half moon, and yet, I swear the brilliance of that glow was brighter than any full moon I’ve ever seen back in Maryland. I mean, the way the moon beams just bloomed wherever it rested. I couldn’t help but think of the contrast between the sun and moon, between the glow that warms and burns the skin compared to the other that washes over and cools. And the moon shadows! Have you ever seen them? Probably, but did you maybe not realize it? I looked down for a moment to murder a most pesky mosquito on my leg, and there was my shadow laid out on the ground. It’s strange how this thought process comes to be, but for whatever reason, I never imagined moonlight creating shadows. Weird, don’t you think? Staring at my shadow, I felt just like Peter Pan and quickly moved my fists to my hips to solidify the thought.

The color of the sky caught my attention next. It had a velvety rich blue color. It was dark, but not black dark. No, a calm, ink stained blue. It is a most inviting sky I wish I could have been swimming in it. The clouds were the perfect compliment. They’re more captivating and pillow-like in the moonlight. There’s a greater dullness about them at night, the brilliant whiteness dulled yet illumined. The few stars I could see were all the more special that evening. They made me think what strength their light needs to have to penetrate the looming presence of the moon. They’re the shining ones, the most dazzling of their star companions (or they’re actually a planet which always appear bright). Even though I intended to star gaze that night, it turned out I was simply enamored with Lady Luna instead. In those moments, I can’t help but think how beautiful, simply beautiful creation presents itself. I was surrounded by a most peaceful silence, and to think, this sort of night makes its way into my life way more often than I realize because I am not so inclined to stop for a moment and just gaze, see how the world is moving around me. I believe that’s the best I can do in an attempt to paint the picture of my very own (not so) Starry Night. Unfortunately, I’d have to say this was one of those “you had to be there” moments.

We’re all gearing up for rainy season to come into full swing in a month or so, but we had a little taste of the future torrential downpours in the beginning of October. We scrounged together a motley crew of missionaries and teenage girls, and it was our plan to rake and tidy up the peace garden which has been needing a bit of TLC lately. Try as we may, we were no match for this incoming storm. The whole day was threatening and gloomy, but we were determined to finish the job before any serious weather hit. We may as well have done nothing. All the leaves we raked were quickly displaced by newly fallen ones due to the heavy winds and we weren’t quick enough to collect all the piles before they, too, were blown back into the mix. Then came the rain, great globs of it. We took shelter for 5 minutes or so before giving up all hope that it would “blow over quickly.” There was only one logical thing left to do. Go home? Heck no! We quickly acquired a soccer ball and bolted for the campo to go slip-slidin’ away! Pouring rain may not be the most ideal soccer weather, but I would argue it’s the most enjoyable. By the end of it, we were a muddy mess of mutts with grass blades glued to our legs, arms, and face. Suffice it to say, the peace garden didn’t end up clean and neither did we (huzzah!).

A little over a year in the books and our rat death tally has now reached seven. I’d say that’s pretty good considering I’ve maybe seen a total of 7 mice in my entire life. They’ve met their fatal end in a number of ways: mouse traps, search and destroy stakeouts late at night, entrapment in the trashcan. The most popular method, however, involves poisoning the furry fiends with venom disguised as a donut, bread morsel, or a tortilla if that’s all we have for leftover food and willing to give up for the cause. I can’t be too sure why this has ended up being the most popular method. The thing about poisoning the mice is that you first have to make sure that they eat what you leave out for them, which isn’t a large expectation in the least, but I have to say, I’m always surprised to see the remnants of nibbling the night before. It’s perplexing, really. Don’t the mice find it a bit suspicious, this random food plated in the middle of the kitchen floor when all other food they have ever needed to scrounge for was hidden and protected by plastic drawers and cabinet doors? This skepticism of mine spreads to fish as well. Come on now, the food is floating in the middle of the ocean on a hook for goodness sake! I digress.

There are some drawbacks when eliminating mice using poison, mainly, they don’t die immediately like the other methods mentioned above. This is a problem because they live in the roof and walls of the house, and if they manage to find their way back into those areas, well, it usually ends up being their final resting place. The first few days or so after baiting the vermin is full of anticipation, then a week and change goes by and you forget you even tried to kill a mouse with venom, but soon the chosen room begins to make itself known and you remember. “Something smells weird in the Radio Room.” Truthfully, there are a myriad of weird smells at any moment of the day, so this one wasn’t given any special attention. The following day, “The Radio Room still smells weird.” Probably some left over food in the fridge that’s just a little extra stinky or something. Nothing to worry about. The next day, “Hey, I think something died in here. It really reeks.” At that point, it did smell atrocious, and soon everyone was of one mind, recalling the poison deployed only weeks ago. The solution, however, was not to organize a search party but to instead shut the door to the radio room, contain the stench, and maybe deal with the issue another time. That time ended up being the next day since we obviously couldn’t go long without accessing the refrigerator housed in this room, and behold, a rotting dead mouse lay tucked away in the corner of the room. The ol’ sniffer triumphs again, impeded ever so slightly by lethargy!

Time goes on, kids get older, and Adam’s and my hair continues to grow and grow. We had been discussing for weeks needing to find a new “barber” since all the boys in the Finca who were skilled at cutting hairs had aged out. One smaller boy has been honing his skills and preparing to fill the role, but he was still just a barber in training, a youngling, a pup, a little sprout, a hair care apprentice. We were not quite ready to give him a try. Un día menos hoy [One day, but not today]. So, what did the solution end up being to tame the hairy beasts atop our heads? We had already deduced that the training 12-year-old was lacking experience, so why not just cut each other’s hair, two adult bozos who have never cut a streak of hair in their life and whose current jobs working with children prevent them from handling anything more high-quality than safety scissors. Well, we acquired the clippers, the set of 8 clipper heads, and cautiously tread the intricacies of each other’s hallowed head. Adam went first cutting only the sides as I have been liking the luscious flow amassing atop my cranium. Then it was my turn, and I felt so awkward holding the shuddering machine and poking his head back and forth as I tried to locate the best angle of attack. At one point, I even incorporated the use of a styling comb since even the largest clipper head was threatening to cut too much off. Even with a mountain of hesitation and inexperience and fuzz balls littering the floor, when all was said and done, the end result was two decently okay looking gentlemen. In fact, the Hondurans really seemed to like Adam’s new due, so much so that our psychologist suggested I take up barberry for a future career…I’m afraid I laughed in her face, but afterward was appreciative.

So there you have it. We kicked it back to our roots a bit these past weeks and found gratitude in all things big and small. I have gathered, after living life in this mission over a year, that Simplicity goes beyond the casual observance as a foundational pillar for the Finca. It’s rather unavoidable in missionary life, especially in rural Honduras, but I can’t say that I particularly mind at all. It has given greater meaning to my time here and fostered growth and ingenuity in a variety of ways.

As always, my sincere gratitude for your traversing the maze of hullabaloo I manage to smear across these pages. I pray this post finds you safe and healthy and that your vocabulary forever continues to expand and strengthen.

Until next time


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