Missing Their Water

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There was an old country song that went “You don’t miss your water ’til your well runs dry.”  This was a reference to the end of a love affair, but it is now being experienced in a literal sense.

I learned, while having breakfast at Eagle Guest Ranch, Datil, NM, last Tuesday morning, that the village of Magdalena, twenty miles or so further east, had indeed used the last of the water in its well.  Emergency rations were being trucked in from Socorro, by the New Mexico National Guard.

This will threaten the old village’s very existence, so I went there to have a look at Magdalena, and say prayers for the resolution of this matter.  Magdalena is the harbinger of what could become a widespread phenomenon, throughout the arid West, and Plains region.

Here are some scenes of the small town itself.  On the left, is the old train depot and on the right is the Ilfeld General Store, now used as residential and office space.

SAM_5016    SAM_5017These, and some thriving motels and restaurants, will be the immediate victims of the impending dry-out.  The schools and medical clinic will be next, impacting both Magdalena and the Alamo Navajo Community, twenty miles north.

All New Mexico is embracing this small community, and no where is the action more intense, though quiet, than at New Mexico Mining and Technical Institute, in nearby Socorro.  The biggest issue, immediately, is to find a drill which can penetrate the unique rock of the Magdalena area.  It is apparently just the right mix of igneous and sedimentary rock that has defied conventional well-drilling equipment, up to now.  The greater issue, long-term, is a water replenishment plan that will require drastic rethinking of settlement patterns and conservation strategies.  The main center for this research, then, is here:

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Magdalena, then, is Ground Zero for the Quiet Crisis that faces us all in the arid regions, the world over. (Think the Middle East is unsettled now?  Wait until the battle for the Euphrates and Tigris heats up.)

Here is the latest on the situation in Magdalena.  Stay tuned.

“APD collects water for dry Magdalena, NM

Water shortage in small town has prompted drive

Updated: Friday, 21 Jun 2013, 7:59 AM MDT
Published : Friday, 21 Jun 2013, 7:59 AM MDT

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Operation Hope, the water collection drive headed up by the Albuquerque Police Department has collected six moving trucks worth of water which will be shipped to Magdalena, New Mexico.

Water in the town of Magdalena started running dry in the wells a few weeks ago. Since then, tanker trucks have been bringing in water from nearby towns.

As a result of the water shortage, the town has also had to resort to using port-a-potty’s in some places as an alternative to toilets.

APD says they will continue to collect bottled water to take to Magdalena in the coming weeks.”- Courtesy of KOAT-TV,Albuquerque, June 21, 2013.

The Land of Elfego Baca

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Those of us who grew up in the ’60’s and watched The Wonderful World of Walt Disney will remember Elfego Baca, a legend in New Mexico history, who resisted the outlaws and cattle rustlers of the late 19th Century.  He was equal parts famous and infamous, though the latter has come to be in question.

In 1885, what is now Reserve, NM, the seat of Catron County, was the scene of a massive gunbattle.  Over 4,000 shots were fired by a posse that had been sent by John Slaughter to arrest Elfego for allegedly killing “Texas John’s” ranch foreman.  Elfego was taken into custody, then acquitted when the door which shielded him from the posse’s bullets was presented as evidence, and there was nothing tying Elfego to the death of the foreman.

His fame came from serving as sheriff of Socorro County, NM, about 60 miles northeast of Reserve.  When I stopped for a while in Socorro, last Tuesday, while en route to Palo Duro Canyon, TX, these pleasant sites caught my eye.  My first stop on a walking tour was San Miguel Catholic Church, the main parish in Socorro.

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Elfego Baca is honoured by Socorrenos at this Heritage Park, on the north end of the Central Plaza.

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Across from Baca Park is one of Socorro’s largest remaining structures from the land-grant period:  Juan Nepomucero Garcia House, now a real estate office.

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South of Baca Park lies another small public space, L.W. Kittrel Park, named for a civic leader who worked to establish it, in the early 20th Century.  It  also serves today as a Memorial to those from Socorro County who served in our nation’s Armed Forces.

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Socorro County Courthouse is the city’s largest building, of soothing creme-colored adobe.

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West of the Central Plaza, and a bit to the south, lies El Torreon, a home built, in the style of the Spanish torreon fortresses, around 1816.  A  Navajo man, who lives in the area, happened by as I was taking the photo, chuckled to himself and remarked that maybe I wasn’t busy enough, taking photos of old shacks.  It’s universal how we often overlook what is right in front of us.  No problem, shi ki’is (Navajo for “my friend”).

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Lastly, my self-guided walk went past Jesus Maria Torres House (1914), built with an amalgam of materials.

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Socorro is a business hub for west-central New Mexico, drawing its life from the Rio Grande.  In my next post, we look at the case of Socorro’s neighbour to the west:  Magdalena, and how closely-tied are the fates of these two communities.

I Hear You, Do You Hear Me?

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One of the things I mentioned on these pages, the other day was that “I harbor no secrets”.  This sort of thing has boomeranged on me at times- cost me a job, cost me money.  Now, it seems, it may have cost me several friends.

I hear, through the ether, that having been honest about having had feelings for a certain person was not good, that it was proof I was inappropriate towards her and thus no longer welcome in certain circles.  Another long-time friend, bothered by something else I said, two nights ago, has similarly pulled up stakes from my circle.

I haven’t heard any complaints from the woman in the first instance, nor from her significant other, so I will regard the swirling tales as conjecture, which they probably are.  The man, as I recall him, is not one to hold his tongue, when he feels wronged.  Besides, I had next to no contact with either of them, save being in the same room as she at a recent gathering, anda few blog posts in which I said nothing but good about her.

Nonetheless, I tend to listen, when even the most egregious people speak, at least long enough to get the gist of what they are saying.  One of the reasons for adversity in this life, as I understand it, is that we need challenges in order to build our spiritual qualities. Otherwise, in the next life, we will be rehashing the same conflicts, over and over.

Now, here’s the deal.  I lost the love of my life, two years ago.  I have heard some women find me attractive, which is sweet, flattering, very nice.  My needs at this point, however, preclude being involved with any but the strongest and most self-assured of women.  The person to whom I felt attracted was such a lady.  She is also in a relationship- so the discussion has ended.  I pray for their continued happiness and growth, as a unit.

So, to those who are offended, some of whom may read this post- know that I am not a renegade, a snob, a rake, or a lost soul in need of pity.  I am just a person making his way in the world, with honest intentions, preferences in different aspects of life and an earnest desire to serve others.

If you cut yourself out of my life, or me out of yours, I will miss you, but I will not pander to anyone.  My feelings and thoughts are my own.  I hear you, do you hear me?

 

Catron County, NM

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For the past several years, the area between the Arizona/New Mexico state line and the small, struggling village of Magdalena, NM has seen me and mine pass through about four times.  Catron County is one of the Land of Enchantment’s sparsely populated areas, at least in terms of humans.  I seem to encounter more mule deer, elk, raccoons and coyotes here than anywhere else I’ve been in New Mexico.  Then again, most of my journeys there have been in Navajo country, Albuquerque or eastward along I-40 or I-10.

Catron is known for its embrace of the Sagebrush Rebellion, not so many years back, but I’ve yet to meet an ignorant, unmannerly or hot-tempered soul here.  I can camp at Jackson Park, in Pie Town, sleep in at Largo Motel, and get a wholesome meal either at the Largo Cafe, both in Quemado, or at Eagle Guest Ranch, about twenty miles further east, in Datil.

The Eagle is shown above.  For equity’s sake, let’s look at the Largo and at Jackson Park.

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Excuse the small cameos of Largo, I extrapolated them from flickr, which does not lend itself to exporting photos very well, to other media .

One other vignette about Catron folks.  On my way back down to Arizona, coming as I was to help with the Prescott Red Cross Evacuation Shelter, I needed gas, and badly.  With only loose change and trusted plastic in my pocket, it was rather disconcerting to find all electronic services were out of commission, county-wide, due to some problem or another with an accident in Red Hill, Catron’s westernmost town along US 60.

After several attempts at jump-starting her computer, the lady at Rico of Quemado let me gas up, in return for which I was to mail her a check from Prescott.  Of course, the sheriffs of Catron and Yavapai would have seen to it that I kept my word, but it wasn’t necessary.  That’s not who I am, and the check went out two days later.

The point is, one doesn’t come across a more civilized place than the next door neighbour to our White Mountain region, itself quite a neighbourly area.  I will always feel there are friends in Catron.

Releasing the Kraken

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In the remake of “Clash of the Titans”, Zeus (Liam Neeson) bellows, “Release the Kraken”, in his fit of rage against those who would dare challenge his authority.

Over the past week, Mother Nature has released her Krakens, taking a spark of yet undetermined origin and sending raging fire across Prescott’s iconic Granite Mountain.  Due north of here, folks in Calgary are facing a flowing monster- the rampant, overflowing Bow River, swamping a fine city’s downtown.  East, northeast, people in Magdalena, NM face a non-Kraken- dust, where water once was, in the village wells.

Nature is not the only force unleashing a monster, or two.  Bloodshed continues apace, daily, in places like Syria, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq.  People beat each other senseless in cities and towns, across the globe- domestic violence is a world-wide plague, and is relatively under-reported.  The horrors of human trafficking, poaching of animals (both wild and domesticated), and the sullen, wanton disenfranchising of individuals, by people on whom they ought to be able to depend, go on each day.

I live a fairly fortunate life.  Being alone, it’s easy to drive into the garage, lower the door, come inside and shut the world out.  Like Eddy Arnold, I can “Make the world go away, and get it off my shoulder”, with relative ease.

This does not stop any of the above from finding its way into my conscience, and prompting action.  I do get out, do make an effort to better the lives of those around me- as most of us do.  Yesterday, though, seemed to be a day of rage building around my quiet existence.  In the span of ten hours:

  • A Red Cross supervisor, from Phoenix, glared at me, while I was going about setting out lunch for the crew, helping to break down the soon-to-be-closed shelter and ending my shift- with a stare that all but said “What are YOU doing here?”
  • Upon driving into my HOA compound, and stopping to get the mail, I was approached aggressively by a man whom I had not seen before, throwing his arms in the air in an “It’s on” gesture.  I said nothing and ignored him.  I was far too tired; just wanted to get my mail and go home.
  • At an otherwise pleasant gathering last night, a long-time friend got up and left in a huff, because I was a good deal less than sympathetic, regarding a man who had abandoned his  Faith in an apparent fit of pique, a few years ago.

So it goes.  I will continue to exercise my privilege of volunteering my services, to the Red Cross, and other organizations, whether the paid staff of those organizations like it or not.  I break no rules and hurt no people or animals.  I will enter and exit my own neighborhood, as I see fit, with or without the permission of self-appointed authority figures.  Only the police, in times of emergency, will alter that.  I will continue to speak my mind on matters of Faith, or anything else, without first checking to see if “it’s alright with ________”.  Since they may do the same, I see no problem with it.

There is a quiet, eerie calm, this morning,  Later today, I will get on my socks and shoes, and go downtown for the rest of Prescott Bluegrass Festival.  Most likely, the crowd will be happy and congenial.   I will attend a Nineteen-Day Spiritual Feast at another Baha’i’s home, this evening.  Most likely, the people in attendance will be glad to see one another, will share prayers and Scriptural readings, and ideas about issues facing our Faith community, and socialize for a while at the end.  I will, during the course of the day, check this and other sites, to see if any correspondence has accrued.

In light of the tumult of which I have written recently, I sense a building of anger at me, a low growling in the background, that may appear as comments, here, in G-mail and on Facebook.  My small, loyal group of friends from Xanga will offer their support, though, and that will sustain me until this black cloud, if there is one, dissipates.

Life will go on, as I keep saying of late, and the various Krakens will be brought back to tether.

Greetings, Earthlings

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As of today, this site is my website.  I have transferred a few things over from Google, as you can see below.  I harbor no secrets, even if the truth redounds to my embarrassment.  I find it better, in the long run, especially on social media, where secrecy gives birth to rumour.

Besides, most of you know me well enough to know that I mean no harm.

Henceforth, I will be on here most every day, letting my faithful friends and family in on the goings on in beautiful Prescott, or in whatever spot I happen to find myself.  The works of the Red Cross, Slow Food USA, the American Legion, the public schools of Prescott and Chino Valley, and, most importantly, the Baha’i Faith, will be prominent on the pages of the beloved home front.  Southern California, Colorado,  Wyoming, the northern Plains, the Upper Great Lakes, Chicagoland, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico- and of course, other areas of Arizona will somehow squeeze my time during the month of July.  It’s all good, and all here.  Stay tuned. 🙂

My Achilles Heal

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  • First off, I apologize to my faithful friends on Xanga, Facebook and WordPress, as what I wrote in my last post was the result of serious misconstruances and misperceptions on my part.  I will not be in the sort of relationship I had thought, with the exciting, creative and highly intelligent woman I last mentioned.  She is very well attended, in that department, and that is all I will say.

    I met the gentleman in her life, some years ago.  I did not connect the two of them until tonight, but they are very much together, albeit laid-back and comfortable with one another’s independent leisure pursuits.  She did not come on to me, or in any way act unfaithfully to him, during our recent introduction.  The lady is just that awesome and just that full of so many wonderful qualities, including being gentle, vivacious and affirming of others, that I found myself totally smitten.  Thankfully, I never let her know just how much so.

    Women, and before them, girls, have always been my Achilles tendon.  This is just a wake-up call for me to be in touch with my own longing and vulnerability.  The upsides are that I am fine, that there is no heartbreak involved, no hurt feelings and no victim.  I still have a friend, in fact probably two.  He’s a nice guy with excellent taste.  I am around, to love another day.  You just won’t see me braying about being in love again, quite so quickly, no matter how awesome the woman is.  That’s a promise, and I fulfill my promises.

    Life goes on, and tomorrow, a very bright sun will shine.  I am still full-on, and all in- with life itself.happy

Full-On, and All-In

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I left home on Monday evening, fully intending to visit friends in Oklahoma and Texas, over the next few weeks.  Late Monday night,   I got as far as Pie Town, NM, before fatigue ran its course, and I slept under the stars at Jackson Park- a community camping area.

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Pie Town actually does have a restaurant, which opens around 9 AM.

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It also honors its Native American neighbours- the Navajo and Zuni.

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I ended up having breakfast in Datil, several miles further east, at Eagle Guest Ranch Cafe,  Penny and I had had dinner there, on our last cross-country journey together      SAM_5014               SAM_5015

Tuesday was spent driving across New Mexico. I stopped for several minutes in Magdalena, a town suffering from TOTAL lapse in its  water supply.  There, I said several prayers.

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I next took several photos of Socorro’s historic district, and spent time in the library of new Mexico Mining and Technological Institute, before moving along through the middle of LOE.  The library is named for the late Congressman, Joseph Skeen, who worked hard to advance Socorro’s educational resources.

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Here is San Miguel Catholic Church, at the north end of Socorro’s downtown.

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The plaza and several adobe buildings add a  pleasant air to the place.

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I  later passed a closed Fort Sumner National Historic Site,  drove up through Texas’ Feedlot Alley and across to Palo Duro Canyon, where I put up my tent. Just before making camp, though, I got a call from Prescott Red Cross.  A fire had broken out and a shelter was being opened.  I told the team of my whereabouts and promised to keep close watch, via the Internet.  

At 3:45 AM, I awoke to the tent crumbling down around me.  The rest of the slumber fest was spent in my car, and I organized the mess in the light of day.  Nothing is broken or ripped, so it will be just put up more sturdily, next time.  The skies over Palo Duro looked a bit threatening, so I focused on checking the Web for news of the fire.  Needless to say, I did not hike to the Lighthouse yesterday.

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In my head, I could hear the slightly annoyed voice of a treasured new friend from one of the organizations with which I volunteer:  “It’s YOUR community that’s in trouble!  Are you sure you want to keep on your merry way?”  I knew the answer to that- even without her prompting:  I was determined to head back, and after breakfast at Blue Corner Cafe, my standard stop in Amarillo, I did just that.  After driving for eleven hours, I was back in my house.  Today, I went in and helped at the Red Cross shelter, and will later go and visit some other friends in Chino Valley, which is the area most affected by the smoke.

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I am just ready, for whatever and whoever, comes into my life, full-on and all-in.

Journeys

0

This the second of three posts extracted from my Google website, in hopes others can view and comment, if they wish.

As I mentioned earlier, wander lust has been in my heart, since I learned to walk, and maybe before.  I probably went to every part of my little town of Saugus, by the time I was ten.  Going to nearby Lynn, either on foot via the abandoned rail bed (even before Rails to Trails) or by bus, was also a fairly frequent occurrence.  Some of my paternal cousins lived there, there was a cinema that showed horror movies and I would occasionally do a bus run to “downtown” (central Lynn) to pick up hairdressing supplies for my hairdresser mother.

Dad and I went up Mt. Chocorua, NH a few times, and he took me to the Freedom Trail, in Boston, when I finished eighth grade.  He didn’t especially share my love of history, but he did enjoy nature, and we were always doing things, as a family, outside.
Our journeys in summer were fairly regular: A week or so in one part, or another, of the White Mountain region of New Hampshire; a weekend in Mashpee, on Cape Cod, where an uncle and aunt had a lovely cabin, on Johns Pond; and a lakeside gathering of various relatives and neighbours, at different state parks in northeast Massachusetts or southern New Hampshire.  My mind went on a few journeys of its own, when one of the families (which shall remain nameless here) showed up with three beautiful daughters.
I only gradually branched beyond the comfort zone. I remember one time I helped Dad on a paperhanging job in Bristol, RI and another time we visited relatives in Stamford, CT, but those were the only forays outside Massachusetts and New Hampshire, until I was 18.
My first airplane ride brought me to Columbia, SC, via Newark, for Army Basic Training.  That whole growing-up experience introduced me to discipline, lively communities that were mostly Black folks ( sections of Washington,DC,Columbia and Atlanta), a huge strand beach (Myrtle Beach)streets run by pimps (Midtown Manhattan), the Indianapolis Speedway, the public monuments and buildings of our nation’s capital, the glitz of Tokyo, the chaos and struggles of Saigon (today’s Ho Chi Minh City) and Manila, and the mix of relaxedness and formality that was Sydney, AU in 1971. I was sojourning on two planes, and made it through on both levels, more or less intact.
In summer, 1972, I shucked it all, for about three weeks, loaded a back pack and sleeping bag (but no tent) and headed to Montreal, by bus, then across to Edmonton and the Rockies, by thumb.  It was a beautiful blitz, but I often wonder what I gained from the time, with the return trip, except for three days in Baltimore with my Army buddy and his family, being a waste.
A spiritual journey began just outside Baltimore, though, as I was introduced to the Baha’i Faith by a gentle old man in a pick-up truck.  That journey of baby-step investigation took nine years, ending when I met Penny and began to pick up the pace.  The spiritual quest since then has had the power of Divine Assistance, and I will treasure this spiritual path, for all eternity.
I’ve been to a lot of places since then, by all manner of transport, and sense there is a lot more to come. Whether I go alone, or with a friend or three, I know my angel is on my shoulder and my maternal grandfather, whom I never met, physically, is always looking out for his wandering grandson.

Love

0

This is one of several posts I wrote for my Google website, on which Google refuses to allow others to post comments.  I am therefore bringing the posts to Xanga, WordPress and Facebook, so that my friends CAN read and comment, if THEY wish.

There are basically four elements that have defined my life, up to now:  Curiosity, Intuition, Introspection and Love.  As Jesus the Christ and Baha’u’llah have each said:  “The strongest of these is love.”

There are basically for kinds of love- ‘Abdu’l-Baha explains that these are the Love of God for man, the love of man for God; the Love of God for Self (reflected in Creation) and the love of man for man.  This last kind of love, ideally, reflects the others.
The more time I spend on this plane, the more I reflect back that the only things of consequence I have ever done have been those stemming from love.  Anything done from avarice, hurt, ignorance or anger has ended in naught.
In childhood, I wanted to protect my mother from anyone that might have hurt or upset her, especially when Dad was at work.  It didn’t matter how big the person was, I was not going to let her suffer.  It was the same with my siblings, but meekness on my part didn’t really bring that out so much, once we were in school.  I saw the best in even the roughest character, among my school mates.  Yet, as I recall, my sister and brothers did not get picked on very much.
Junior High was what it was- little good, for anyone, but most of us made it out okay, except for a kid named George who burned down a few schools, when we were in eighth grade.  He went into treatment.  For my part, I started to really make the connection between love and pleasure, as soon as I hit Grade 7.  Girls were no longer just cute;  they were nothing short of amazing.  I was just shy of twelve, when that connection was made.
In high school,and through early adulthood, love showed several forms.  I started to pray more fervently.  I saw my female classmates as complete human beings.  I felt loyalty to my neighborhood.  I saw my parents more as allies than as overseers.  Alcohol clouded things, alot, from ages 15-26, but more on that another time.  In my thoughtful moments, I had concerns for my youngest brother, for my sister in a time of pain and for those around me- especially for my fellow veterans, after we came back from the war in the jungle.
I never did, in all that time,find one who was close enough to me that the name soul mate applied.  The girls I dated were nice enough people, but the chemistry needed to bring out the love that had started to bury itself, only came when Penny entered my life.  I knew something was up when, a few weeks before we met, I had this thought that I was ready for a relationship.  The person with whom I was talking at the time was not the one of whom I was thinking.
She appeared in the middle of a stormy night, at the Shalako (a house-blessing ceremony) of Zuni, New Mexico.  I was there as part of an anthropology course; she, out of personal curiosity and a thirst for knowledge.  That last quality, and a gentle concern for the well-being of children, defined the love of my life.  We were together for thirty years, three months- twenty-nine of those as husband and wife; twenty-three, as parents; all of them as best friends.
Penny taught me unconditional love- not a day went by that we didn’t affirm it at least twice.  Not a night came that we hadn’t resolved any differences in the name of love, before going to bed.
The love of man for woman- an outgrowth, among many, of Mankind’s love for his fellow humans- kept me at her side through all the aches and pains, and declines, of her last eight years on this plane.  There is something more, though- the love of spirit for spirit.  She has been with me constantly, since March, 2011.  Whether appearing in dreams, wafting a light current of air or gentle feeling on my skin, or giving me a sense of where to go or how to go about a given task- the love remains, constant and unconditional.
Recently, I have met many new friends. I take each person as he or she needs to be taken.  Penny has seen to it that I don’t follow any sort of false lust, or give in to momentary urges.  Those have nothing to do with love, anyway.
I have felt another tug at my heartstrings, over the past few weeks.  I don’t know for sure who this is about, but my angel tells me it’s okay and that she and I will have plenty of time for each other in the Great Beyond, and that whoever this new woman is will be well-cared for also.  See, Penny knows who I am moving towards.  She will only say it’s someone I don’t know very well yet.
I will stay tuned-in.