An Eccentric Perfection

The Arabic term “Kamal” means something like perfection. Last night, I found myself among the endearingly odd and tiny Bahá’í community of – hmm, to tell the truth, I don’t even know where I was, though we had a gorgeous view of Baptiste Lake, wherever that is. We had joined them for their Feast of Kamal, a community gathering that combines prayer and study, community consultation and, in this case, gobs of ice cream and fresh fruit. There was sweetness on so many levels.

We four city-dwelling vacationers had wandered, not quite aimlessly, down country roads, through near-villages, past lovely lakes and the key turn. We were finally guided by cellphone along ever-smaller lanes to the Feast, whose size we nearly doubled, and were charmed by the beauty of the scene and the homey welcome of the host friends. Our program of writings, treating on the perfections of creation and the potential perfections in human beings, had been hand-printed and photocopied. No clergy, of course, in a Baha’i gathering, but I was touched, amused and impressed by the great care our hosts took in distributing the readings. We read aloud to the accompaniment of sunset sparkling on the lake, wind in the poplars, the occasional burst of laughter from the neighbouring patio or their kids squealing at the waterfront, and the tail-wagging, bumping visits of Max, the golden Lab next door.

It was too hot to be inside, and too beautiful to pay much heed to distraction. I’m sure we were something of a distraction to this elderly, close-knit band ourselves. But they never let us feel that way. Everyone was sweet to my seven-year-old Sam, the only person under 40 present. It was sweet to hear the words of Bahá’u’lláh in the sunlight and the wind. The raspberries and blueberries were bursting with sweetness. And the ice cream was, well, it was ice cream. Perfection, indeed, thanks to Slim and Mary Lou.

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