The Sun also Rises



The sun also arises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to its place where it arose.

It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other;

nothing is deprived of its warmth.


I’m not much for reading the Bible but I love the odd aphorism. And lately, Ecclesiastes’ “the sun also rises” and Psalm 19 have been ringing in my head.

So I thought I’d better unpack what it meant to me.

Recently, the Beloved and I sold our rural property.

What? I hear you gasp? After all these years of struggle as owner builders?

Yes, that’s true. After all those years of struggle. Being a niche, green, feminist, left-wing, activist consultant was a difficult balancing act – especially throughout the Global Financial Crisis.

I blogged about that in January 2014:

Work was hard to find and debts mounted as the house was still not finished. All our savings and super went into the building project.


We love it. But professional work did not come as expected.

A loving friend has bought the house and we stay on as renters.

Now we are engaged in another project: renovating the shed as a secondary dwelling. Living on a building site again. Muddy boots in the hall. Again.

Many friends and family were aghast to hear that we’d sold the farm.

But what else could we do? It was either a loving friend or the bank. And we did not want to lose everything we had worked for.


So I say back to my incredulous friends, “The sun also rises.”


What I mean is – through the same trees  – with the same birds singing – the same sun still rises and sets– whether your name is on the title or not.


If you do not own a property and are a renter, the same breeze blows, the same kookaburra arrives for a peek at life around dinner time. His or her same family members laugh in unison from the neighbouring tree. The same rainbow lorikeet dreams in the same bottle brush.



The same joey suckles with his same wallaby mother.

I am not saying that housing security is not important. It’s everything to everyone and a constant worry to anyone who is a renter. It’s everything to us, which is why we bless our generous friend.

I am simply saying that life goes on.

The Earth continues to flourish – offering hope and opportunity in response to our caring (Go, Bentley!).

The same sun rises and sets.

Our human dramas are but a small and ephemeral part of a much larger world.

We come and go and the Earth remains.

Capitalism, finance, banks, mortgages, investments, interest, valuations and property – they are all made up – and they can’t hold a candle to the same sun.

The same sun that also rises.


sunset nimbin





Update 23 July 2015: The sun is still rising over the hills and melting the fog in the valley.   And we have experienced even more love and care with a new friend taking over when the old friend could not continue.


And other generous folk helping out in numerous ways. We have learned more about generosity, caring, home, attachment, territory, resilience and fear than we bargained for.


And a bit about betrayal along the way, as well, just to keep the mix interesting!




Saying Goodbye to a Partner: A Souvenir

29 June 2009 6:06 pm

This week, when the storms came and the rats and python got into the shed, I had to do some quick work to rescue my scrapbooks. I was unprepared for the emotional impact.

But the urgent task became a meditation and yielded a great blessing.

My father’s American Green Card (such a valuable treasure for a Canadian!). His Maui driver’s license with his photograph dated 1973.

Yellowed newspaper obituary clippings about my great-grandfather, the charismatic Armenian preacher, Rev. Harootune Sarkissian, describing what could only be called a “triumphant death”, surrounded by family, singing Armenian hymns.

He was in Connecticut, aged 96. I remember visiting his grave.

Then I discovered the letter from my former partner.

It was only a few lines and printed in pencil. I remembered the circumstances. I was standing at the table sorting papers and had to sit down as sweet memories washed over me.

Mixed race boy studying the planet model in classroom

It was a mutual decision to part after eight years and we were both grieving for what we had lost. We engaged a Sydney therapist for four sessions to say our goodbyes.

This tiny scrap of paper was my partner’s letter to me, written as a child would write to a dear friend who was moving away. Printed in his non-dominant hand. That’s what the therapist instructed us to do.

The letter said we’d soon be parting and he would miss me greatly. He asked me to remember the good times we had and closed with an expression of love. I’d printed a similar letter to him, I recalled, tears now streaming down my cheeks.

Yes, I remember the good times and I missed them — and him.

I bless the friendship we have shared since those painful sessions. I count him as a dear friend. In over twenty years, I doubt we’ve said one harsh word to each other. In fact, the therapy sessions were so powerful and effective that, other than a small altercation about lending the car, we never argued or disagreed. From places deep in our broken hearts, we told each other what was important — what needed to be said.

We sang songs to each other and each gave the other a small gift.

Our therapist showed us great kindness and compassion. He even cried with us, perhaps for his own losses…

I carefully folded and packed away the tiny letter, more cherished than photo albums and other treasures.

A plea from the heart for love to be validated and remembered.

My heart opening a simple — and undeniable — recognition of that reality.

An unexpected blessing in the midst of chaos.

Peggy’s Salon

18 June 2009 4:38 pm

Peggy's Salon at the New Otani Hotel, Kaimana Beach

Peggy’s Salon at the New Otani Hotel, Kaimana Beach


Living in the bush has its limitations, to be certain. We have most things in my village of 350, largely due to our hectic tourist trade: a pharmacy, a hospital, doctors, a post office, a hardware store, a garage, great organic food, fine coffee and an excellent hairdresser.


I’m always comforted to hear from my hairdresser that living in a shed is possible with two small children. So what do I need with a toilet, bathroom, kitchen, shower…?


My last trip to the Nimbin hairdresser got me thinking about Peggy’s Salon in Diamond Head in Honolulu, my Mecca on many recent trips to and from Canada.


I can’t wait to get there for my appointment and even though it’s been months or years since my last visit, Peggy, the owner, remembers me. Her tiny decorated dog with a rhinestone collar greets me. The room is full of laughter. And transformation.


Peggy Thompson’s clientele are not necessarily the women who stay at the three-star New Otani Hotel at Kaimana Beach, where she’s located.

They come from a wider group of older women who moved from Canada and the mainland USA to this tropical paradise. Decades ago, many of them.

Sitting in her salon, waiting for my appointment and catching up on the latest antics of the movie stars, I realise I’m witnessing caring on a grand — and intimate scale.


Every woman is precious to Peggy. Every head of hair, however faded, balding, worn, bedraggled, over permed, poorly cut and ill-coloured — deserves and gets her close attention. Every woman who leaves her friendly haven looks beautiful. Every one distinctively different.

Peggy’s not that much younger than her clientele, me included. She knows how to make us look elegant, bright and snazzy.




Peggy always regales us with stories of her trips to Reno and Las Vegas. Lately she’s been on a winning streak.


For every festive occasion (certainly including Easter, Halloween and St Patrick’s Day), the small salon is festooned with decorations.


Halloween and autumn decorations (a season not very evident in tropical Honolulu!) are featured, with turkeys, autumn leaves and pumpkins everywhere.




Green candy is on offer in March.


Over the Christmas season there is barely enough space for the nail polish bottles on counters covered with artificial snow, icicles, candy canes and snowmen. Santa never fails to visit Peggy’s salon.


With global warming, I wonder sadly how many more trips I can make to Peggy’s salon.

Ethically, I mean. Perhaps I could argue (to Gaia?) that I’m making a close anthropological inspection of the qualities of an ethic of caring in practice. One woman. Hundreds of elderly women.


Over twenty years in the business.


Making all of us beautiful and special. Transforming us. Caring for us with the impeccable attention that only a dedicated hairdresser can give.


Peggy and I have talked about this at length. It’s not accidental. She knows exactly what she’s doing. And she was delighted that I’d spotted it.


In Nimbin, our hairdressers have hippies and careworn bush people to care for.

They do that brilliantly and cheer us when the roof blows off and pythons come into our beds. They listen to our tales of woe and commiserate from a place of deep knowing


But for transformation, there’s nobody like Peggy.



Peggy’s Salon, 2863 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu 96815   Phone: + 1 808 924 0422