Category Archives: Death

Sadhvi Asks: What Would You Miss the Most?

SadhviTime Magazine is just about the only magazine I read.  And while it does look more and more like a comic book these days since there aren’t many long articles and there are a lot of short factoids and cartoons, I’m not complaining since that is about all I have time for.

This week though, I read the entire cover story: A WORLD WITHOUT BEES: THE PRICE WE’LL PAY IF WE DON’T FIGURE OUT WHAT’S KILLING THE HONEYBEE, written by a young man named Bryan Walsh.

It’s not only disturbing, it’s alarming really, because many of my favorite foods are going to be disappearing if there are no bees to pollinate those plants.

“There were just barely enough viable honeybees in the U.S. to service this spring’s vital almond pollination in California, putting a product worth nearly $4 billion at risk.  Almonds are a big deal – they’re the Golden State’s most valuable agricultural export, worth more than twice as much as its iconic wine grapes.  And almonds, totally dependent on honeybees, are a bellwether of the larger problem.  For fruits and vegetables as diverse as cantaloupes, cranberries and cucumbers, pollination can be a farmer’s only chance to increase maximum yield.  Eliminate the honeybee and agriculture would be permanently diminished.  “The take-home message is that we are very close to the edge,” says Jeff Pettis, the research leader at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bee Research Laboratory. “It’s a roll of the dice now.”

Everyone wants to know why they are dying, but no on has even mentioned cell phone towers.  There seems to be a connection since the bees have been dying off only in last ten years or so, about the time when cell phone towers began to spring up all over the world.  Hmmm…I have to wonder if those towers have disrupted the honey bee’s instinctual sense of direction that makes them not go back to their hives?  Maybe the connection will never be investigated because god forbid we have to give up our smartphones!  There are other things that making them die, like mites and parasites, and chemicals.  It’s probably all of the above.

Or could it be the aluminum that is being sprayed from planes?  I wonder what happens when those chem-trails eventually dissipate and land on things, like flowers and places that bees land on, and maybe ingest?  Wait a minute, what about us?  Oh oh!  I better stop right now, because if the bees are getting affected by something, then maybe, so are we!

It might be that it is something that won’t be taken very seriously until it’s too late.

Let me just ask you, which food or crop will you miss the most?

With almonds being 100% dependent on pollination, apples, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, blueberries and onions are 90% dependent.  Cherries, cucumbers, and celery are 80%.  Plums/prunes and watermelon are 65% dependent on bee pollination, with tangerine, lemon, and the cotton industry also being affected.

I can tell you that I will miss almonds the most: I love them!  I especially like the almond butter from Living Tree in Berkeley, California.  I also like to make a Tuscan Biscotti that really won’t be the same without almonds.

I noticed that in an interview with the author of the Time article, Bryan Walsh (see below), it seemed like the young news reporter’s didn’t quite take the whole issue too seriously.

Hey, maybe future generations won’t even know that there were things to eat called almonds!

Ok, now that I’m sounding old and sentimental, I will end this post this week by saying that I hope you are enjoying this beautiful life and not taking it all for granted.

xxx

Sadhvi

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Sadhvi Shares: In Memoriam from my friend Sarvananda

SARVANANDA & HIS FATHER

In Memoriam: Lieutenant-Colonel Nathan B. Bluestone, M.D.

On August 26, 1948, Nathan B. Bluestone, M.D. ended his suffering that began four years earlier on the fields of France. My father was a country doctor. His love was medicine and he tended to the ill and wounded. It was his calling. In the small upstate New York town where he practiced he delivered babies in the office house where we lived. He drove out to remote farms to give the five daughters of a farmer their vaccinations. He healed broken bones and cut foreheads. But nothing prepared him for the slaughter that he encountered after he landed with the fourth wave at Normandy in June 1944.

My experience of the war was my father’s absence. He would send my mother and me funny little letters that would have sections blacked out. This was V-mail. I always thought it was strange that other people would read my father’s letters to me. But the censors did read them and blocked out areas that they felt were sensitive to national security or something.

He wrote me a continuing story about a friendly amoeba. There even were illustrations. In later years, when I visited India, I found it strange that people feared amoebas as much as they did.

 

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To my mother and aunts and grandparents he sent letters and watercolors. He was an artist as well as a physician and would, in those rare moments when he had a minute or two, paint a watercolor of where he was. We cherished those postcard size pictures painted with love, for they were not only beautiful but they represented a part of the artist that could not be expressed in words.

Then, for what seemed to be an eternity, we heard nothing. No letters came. No pictures came. Nothing came. And with each day my mother became more and more distraught.

This was the time when the Germans made a desperate attempt to counterattack the American forces. The German forces under the command of Field Marshall Gerd von Runstedt had encircled the American forces centered at Ardennes, France. This was the Battle of the Bulge. And for over a month, during the bitter winter, American and German soldiers slaughtered each other. Nineteen thousand American soldiers died. Six armies locked in battle in the coldest winter on record. Over a million men fought in what was to be recorded as the worst battle of World War II.

Torn, ripped, cut and blown apart, young men passed through the field hospital that my father headed. It was X-ray after X-ray after X-ray. It was an assembly line of death and dying. There was no time for the physicians to protect themselves from the deadly radiation. And it was this radiation that caused the skin cancer that later was to take my father’s life.

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When he returned from that war I was six years old. My father rarely spoke to me about that war, only once, that I remember, to joke that he had a rifle in the back of his jeep and that’s where it stayed. He was a healer, not a killer. He even received a Bronze Star for bravery and never told me what he did. It was half a century later, when my brother and I were cleaning out my mother’s house that I found the citation from the Major General to my father and the reasons. My father received the Bronze Star for his service tending to the wounded from France through Belgium and Germany, often on the front lines under enemy fire. He was a lieutenant-colonel. He was chief of surgery. And he went to the front lines, not as a hero, but as a healer. He knew that, for a wounded soldier, the journey from the front lines to the field hospital could mean the difference between life and death. He was just doing his job.

My memories of Dr. Nathan Bluestone are fragmentary and impressionistic. Mostly I remember how we would sing together in the car, my father and I. “I’ve Got Sixpence”, “Someone’s in the Kitchen with Dinah” and rounds and rounds.

Much later a psychic told me that my father had been deeply wounded by his inability to heal in the face of such overwhelming carnage. His soul, as much as his body, had been gravely affected. That rings true.

MY FRIEND, SARVANANDA

We moved back into the office house and my father continued the practice that he had left four years earlier. But the cancer, first on his finger, spread and slowly, he began to die. Bit by bit the doctors cut away my father. First they took his finger. Then they took his right breast. And then he died.

It has been almost sixty-five years since my father died. I have grown far from that nine year old boy who couldn’t understand why such a thing was possible. And yet, after all this time, I still cry at the loss.
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On this day each year we are called upon to remember those who have died in the service of their country. Politicians give speeches, flags are unfurled and hot dogs are consumed.

What we tend to forget is what General William Tecumseh Sherman once reminded a group of young men. “War is hell.” And the hell is for the living, for those who survive the deaths of their beloveds as much as it is for those who die on the fields of battle or in the hospitals.

What we tend to forget is that war leaves lots of fatherless sons and daughters. Today, for example, thousands of American and Iraqi and Afghani sons and daughters will grow up without their fathers and mothers. And for what?

What we tend to forget are the children who are left behind. We forget that fifty years from now there will be adults who still grieve for the loss of a father or a mother–who still cry at the remembrance. Let us truly remember.