Resurgence

0

October 14, 2019, Arcosanti-

The first sentient being to greet me,

this morning, was my friend Pam.

It was a silent greeting,

each  of us stretching,

across the courtyard,

of the sleeping area,

known as the Vaults.

There were about twenty of us,

some, like Pam and me,

in our own singular spaces,

and responsible for

our own warmth.

Others coupled,

keeping each other warm

against the early morning chill.

Each of us dreamed,

many lucidly.

I resolved an old conflict,

wondering why fault had been

continually found with me,

all those years ago.

The answer came,

in my lucid dream,

and I was absolved,

set free,

with a new understanding

of why a beloved soul

had been so quick to judge,

back then.

It is always pain,

that brings this on.

When the pain is gone,

so is the blame.

The second sentient being to greet me

this morning,

was a peregrine falcon,

whom I will call Percival.

He perched on the rail,

outside the central kitchen,

and took in our shared morning world.

I sat and did the same,

for several minutes.

This, we can learn from animals.

The morning ever brings resurgence.

Twelve Cypresses

0

October 13, 2019, Arcosanti-

The account of last week’s travels has been pre-empted by revelations that came, duirng a meditation session, this afternoon.

Twelve cypress trees grace the outside of the Vaults.

As I lay in meditation,

gazing upward,

towards their midst,

the middle tree was swaying.

Responding to the breeze,

to the intonation

of a meditation master’s

spoken word,

to the positive thoughts

of those in the circle below.

Soon, the trees on either side

of the intrepid conifer

were swaying,

in unison with their peer.

Soon, I was chanting

in unison with the rest of the circle.

We brought the feeling,

the awareness,

to each of our body’s parts.

The trees brought the sense

that a change was taking place.

in the air,

in the sensitivity,

of those gathered

at their feet.

Those who were friendly

last year,

are somewhat less so.

Others have taken their places.

The twelve cypresses

tell those who are listening,

and watching,

that there is power

in proximity,

even while there is strength

in a short distance.

There is power in unified action,

but uniformity

of behaviour

can detract,

from community.

Those who led me to

a positive sense of self

are moving away.

Those  who are with me now,

are the beings

who will be at my side

for a  stage of growth

which I am only beginning

to understand.

The twelve cypresses

make clear,

that the flexible

yet firm

will endure.

 

 

 

 

The Peak of the Canyon: Part III

2

October 6, 2019, Jacob lake-

I came to the highest point of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River, a bit earlier than planned.  My initial goal of hiking the Uncle Jim Trail, in honour of my late uncle, met up with the reality of approaching sunset.  I decided to head for the twin high spots, Point Imperial and Cape Royal, instead.

Point Imperial, the eastern flank of the North Rim, gazes towards the Navajo Nation and the various smaller canyons of the Paria River basin and House Rock Valley.  Such Grand Canyon landmarks as Vishnu Temple and Desert View Tower may be seen from here. The shadows were creeping in,though, so that added to the sense of grandeur.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A soldier is, of course, watching.  This is also the best spot on the North Rim from which to get a clear view of the Colorado River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The striation of the entire canyon wall may still be discerned, layer by layer.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It appears that the various peaks are lined up, almost directly, north to south, across the canyon.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Seeing the shadows lengthening, I headed west, towards Cape Royal. It was this leg of the trip which reminded me that I am living in a society that often knows only “full speed ahead”.  The professional photographer, whom I mentioned a few posts ago, was on my tail, the entire fifteen miles.  We both made our goals, though, so the forty mph zip was an odd footnote.

One side feature, along the Cape Royal trail, is Angel’s Window, an eroded spot in the middle of  a sandstone promontory, on Cape Royal’s east side.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Cape offers a full-on view of the Canyon’s majesty, even towards twilight, as it faces mostly west and south.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Below, is a better view of Angel’s Window.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Sunset was gathering.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There is always majesty in  the gloaming.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The final moments of a sunset confirm that all is well.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

So, I bid farewell to the North Rim, for now.  Uncle Jim Trail still awaits-on June 3, which was his birthday.

NEXT:  The Legacy of Glen Canyon Dam

 

 

The Peak of the Canyon-Part II

4

October 6, 2019, Jacob Lake-

I made a silent promise to my long-departed maternal grandfather, whom I never met in this life, but who has appeared to me, a few times, that I would not give in to a more irrational level of acrophobia.  He has been one of my spirit guides, all these years, exhorting me to face life and overcome obstacles.  He and Grandma imparted that message to my mother and her siblings; an examination of their lives bears out  that exhortation’s fruits.

So, as I readied for visits to three of the overlooks at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, there was no trepidation at engaging the heights of this wondrous place.  The North Rim exists at the highest point of the western Colorado Plateau. Had the canyon never been carved, one would face a 2,000 foot increase in elevation, from Tusayan to  the site of Grand Canyon Lodge.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My first order of business, after looking around the Lodge for a bit, was a walk out to Bright Angel Point.  As today was one of the most gorgeous Sundays in quite a while, there were dozens of people, of all ages, walking about or at least lounging on the Lodge’s patio, which also offers views of the canyon below.

Here are a few of those scenes available to the sedentary.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I then availed myself of a couple of overlooks, close to the Lodge.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bright Angel Point involves a fairly strenuous hike, mainly due to the elevation.  Those with pulmonary issues do best to stick to the Lodge area. An intrepid woman using trekking poles made it half-way, before concluding it would be a mistake to continue.  There were several of us late middle-agers who made the walk, though, along with folks as young as five.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was at the above guard fence that a little girl wanted to climb up, for  “a better view”.  You’d best believe her mother’s hands were firmly on her, for that exercise in bravery!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The various striations in the sandstone clearly show the levels it has taken, to build this most magnificent of geologic records.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

In the next post, Point Imperial and Cape Royal offer a northeastern perspective of the Canyon’s wonders.

 

 

The Peak of the Canyon- Part I

4

October 6, 2019, Jacob Lake, AZ-

Sitting at the counter of the restaurant, in this gateway community to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I enjoyed a sandwich of “Leftover Jalapeno Meatloaf”-(a tongue-in-cheek expression, as the dish was freshly prepared) and bantered a bit with a somewhat surly young man, who definitely wished I wasn’t there.  Once he left, the waitresses seemed to relax and there was a light-hearted rest of my visit.  The food was very good.

 

It had been that kind of day, a blend of dealing with surly people and those who relaxed when the angry ones left.  A screaming woman, berating the disabled manager of the motel where I had stayed in Flagstaff, last night was replaced in my view by his head housekeeper, who helped the poor soul get his bearings.

This evening, just before sunset, I was being tailgated, at ten miles over the speed limit, on the narrow road leading to Cape Royal, where I was heading to take a photo of the sunset.  Turns out, the motorist with a hair-trigger temper was also heading to the Cape, to take a professional photo or two.  Once we got there, and he realized there was still time for his shoot, all was well.

In between, there were genuine moments of peace:  A crew of high school soccer players washed my car, as part of their fundraiser.  Then, it was off towards the North Rim, via a trio of scenic wonders, majestic in their own right.

Here are a few scenes of Marble Canyon, where I walked around Navajo Bridge, a New Deal project which replaced the ferry across the Colorado River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Above, is Navajo Bridge, now a pedestrian walkway between Marble Canyon Lodge and a Navajo Artists’ Market.  Below, is the Colorado River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After a Thor Burger, at Marble Canyon Cafe-and  pleasant conversations with the  mostly Dineh staff, I headed up the road a bit, to Cliff Dwellers, also mainly a place for Navajo jewelry to be sold.  It does have an astonishing series of boulders and rock formations, near what once was a settlement of Fremont people, who were mainly hunter-gatherers.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Vermillion Cliffs came next.  There are an unusually high number of retired people traveling, this time of year.  The warm weather has helped, as has the political tension in the country, which leads people to seek an outlet.  We know that travel is one of the best outlets for relieving tension.  There was certainly a time in my life, when that was so.  Vermillion Cliffs is one of the most popular areas for many seniors to visit.  A Road Scholars bus had just left the area, as I pulled in.

Here are some views of the cliffs and of a canyon that has been cut by the Paria River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This sandstone spire reminded me a bit of Spider Rock-or maybe Darth Vader.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

All of this set the stage for my second-ever visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as an homage to the national park’s centenary.  Having visited the South Rim in April, it was an equal time matter.

The aspens and oaks are turning colour, so the approach to the Rim, itself, was a treat.  The area had been populated mostly with Ponderosa pine, but a fire in 2000 created a swath, into which aspen trees have taken root.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was now time to take a look at the highest points of the Grand Canyon.

 

 

Goosenecks

6

October 8, 2019, Blanding, UT-

Last Saturday, evening, I watched an improvisational dance performance, called “River of Stars”.   The performance, by Human Nature Dance Troupe, of Flagstaff, came to mind again last night, as I chose to sleep under the stars, at Goosenecks State Park, near Mexican Hat, Utah.

Two rivers, one above, the other below,

give me solace.

The San Juan snakes around,

a series of limestone formations,

giving the impression

of goose’s necks.

It is a serene, sacred spot,

and I lie in a sleeping bag,

insulated from the cold,

whilst gazing up into

the river above,

a true River of Stars.

Constellations,

known to me

since my youth,

present themselves

as a constant flow.

The Moon is between us,

and the audible drone

of an occasional airplane

challenges my eyes

to find it,

among the shimmering

islets

in the celestial river.

North Rim

8

October 7, 2019, Kanab-

I will, as usual, post photographic accounts of my current jaunt, once back at Home Base.  In the meantime, here’s a verse on the topic.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Serene, confident teenager

stretched herself out

and took in the view,

of the gaping maw below.

Mother’s watchful gaze notwithstanding,

the girl took pains to keep herself safe,

as a much younger child,

asked her mommy,

“Can I do that, too?”

“Maybe, when you get

to be that big.”

The North Rim,

eight thousand,

three hundred feet

above the Colorado River,

at Bright Angel Point,

is not for those

with acrophobia,

or shortness of breath.

I promised my late

maternal grandfather,

spiritually,

that I would not

entertain the former,

and, as yet,

I do not suffer,

from the latter.

So, down the narrow trail,

I went,

and gazed over the edge,

at Bright Angel Point,

again at Point Imperial,

and, lastly,

at Cape Royal.

where two dozen of us,

watched the sun dip,

below the horizon,

accenting the smoke

from a prescribed burn.

Diahann Carroll

2

October 6, 2019, Flagstaff-

Supremely dignified,

even in a scene of hand-to-hand combat,

she graced the small screen,

and cinema, alike.

She played out her life,

in a television program,

called, simply, “Julia”.

Her presence was magnificent,

throughout.

Diahann never took a backseat,

to anyone,

and the world is the better,

for having seen her like.

Rest in power,

dear queen.

Growing My Vision-Part 1

2

October 5, 2019-

At our Baha’i Unit Convention, this morning, I spotted a sign on the host’s chalkboard, with the message, “Build Vision”.  One of the constant mantras of my childhood was that we each had to see ourselves in five years, ten years, etc.

Most of us have thought of this, to the extent we think of it at all, in terms of education, career, size of family, etc.  I did all that, and now, as my formal career has little more than a year to run, albeit as a part-time substitute teacher, my vision is changing tack.

It’s always been natural, even impulsive, for me to take in the world, in my planning or visualizing.  Often, I have been chastised, for being too global.  I think the point was for me to be more present, in the here and now.  My head has made great strides, in that regard-and my focus is sharper, in the past dozen years, than it was long ago.  A good part of that came with being a caretaker. There is, as is said in such challenging environments as, say, the Alaskan Bush, the fact that “Ignorance, distraction and stupidity are the three Princes of Death”.

There is much that I have left to do, so keeping my broader vision global, whilst maintaining a sharp focus on what’s close at hand, has presented itself, with a welcome intensity.  If I slip, I know there are those among my faithful readers, not to mention, real time friends and family, who won’t hesitate to blow the whistle.

That is the supreme comfort.

Nuance

4

October 4, 2019-

We have all seen and heard- over the past few days, months, years- those among us who shun nuance, skit tact and embrace the bullhorn-far more than the average person.  Granted, most of us drop the tact microphone every now and again. Fatigue, stress, runaway emotions can all factor in and create a thoroughly embarrassing moment-or extended series thereof.

Those who have followed me for several years, know that I’ve had my share of tact-free episodes.  I have to own those times, and if they get thrown in my face, it is best that I ponder the situation and see what remains to be learned.

We have had a few firestorms of nuance taking a vacation, over the past several years, and most recently the back and forth over responsibility for climate change, as well as diplomatic fracases.  The larger truth seems to be that every living thing affects the climate of the planet on which he, she or it lives.  We humans, being the most advanced creatures on Earth, have the greatest capacity for influencing such change, but I digress.

Humans, chimpanzees and ants are the three groups of animals most closely associated with warfare.  Ants use what Nature gave them.  The Primate species use tools, and unlike ants, can effect intentional destruction.  There is scant nuance in war.

Nuance is developed by adopting a mindset that gradual change is best; that things aren’t always, or even often, what they seem; that complexity is inherent in the human condition; that people are not prisoners of their past.  Nuance, like any other feature of civilization, requires an open mind, listening skills and an essential love for humanity, for sentient life.

I look forward to continuing to develop an appreciation for nuance.