2013

4

This was definitely the year in which I cast out some serious remaining demons.   I am nothing but grateful, for the following people, places and events:

White Tanks Regional Park & Ford Canyon;

Lake Havasu City & its Balloon Festival;

Roy Purcell and his Cerbat Murals;

The Dolan Springs Joshua Tree Forest;

Oatman, AZ- and everything in it;

Matt Deuitch and his team, for helping close on the Phoenix house;

Kamran Ruintan and dental team, for helping my physical healing;

Lake Pleasant;

Deer Valley Rock Art Center;

Dave & Deb, for Hoover Dam, Red Rock National Recreation Area, the Wyndham “Green Hotel” and just for being family;

Aram, my son, for going about your vital work, being a good host and taking life by the horns;

Janet Waters, Crystal Cove, and steadfast support;

Mission San Luis Rey;

Palm Springs Tram;

“Team Dutchman”- my Superstition Mountains hiking buddies, for a successful trek around Weaver’s Needle;

Leticia Fierro and the Centennial HS troupe- ” A Midsummer Night’s Dream” never felt more alive;

The Payson Women’s Film Festival committee- for standing tall;

Ernest A.Love Post 6, American Legion, for having my back and for choosing me as your Chaplain;

Annick Elziere- for Sabino Canyon and for never losing hope;

Tubac, Tumacacori and Mission San Xavier del W’ak;

Bill Williams Mountain;

Molly Beverly and the Prescott Slow-Food team- This was a spectacular Regional Conference;

Yavapai Red Cross DAT-and all those who came to help us.  Prescott stood tall, in two horrible sets of trials;

USS Wayne E. Meyer crew, for hosting us families on a very enjoyable run;

Phyllis Killian and family, always nice to return to Dinnebito;

Mindy, Wynne and the guys- Birthdays in the Front Range are second to none;

Uncle George, Christina Knapp, Mitchell Silas, Christina Nicole and all my Colorado friends- for being there and for always setting me straight;

El Dorado Springs, Manitou Springs, US Air Force Academy, Seven Falls, Wetherill Mesa;

Derek and Sima Cockshut and Star Valley Chocolates- for reviving my flagging spirits;

Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, Snake River Gorge,Cody, Greybull, Medicine Wheel, Devils Tower, Hulett and Aladdin, WY;

Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, Harney Peak, Deadwood, Custer and Mitchell, SD;

Pipestone, MN;

Jim, Summer Rae, Boston James and the bright lights of the Iowa State Capitol;

Bettendorf’s  riverfront;

Tampico  and Dixon, IL;

The ever-inspiring Baha’i House of Worship, in Wilmette;

Cahokia Mounds;

Nataly Loveless and Bloomington, IL;

John E. Glaze and Enid, OK;

Wes Hardin and the Blue Front Cafe;

Fort Smith, Van Buren and Little Rock, AR;

Beth and Dave Glick, and their lovely family;

Jeff Markowitz and Princeton, NJ;

Glenn and Barbie, for your intrepid nature and for everything good that happened to both Aram and me, during our respective visits;

Gloucester and Rockport, MA;

Jim Condon and Tom Belmonte, forever my friends;

Block Island;

Tom D. Stevens and wife, for being such gracious hosts;

New York City, for standing tall;

High Point, NJ, for honouring us veterans;

Gettysburg, for telling the story straight;

Christina Fullmer, Maliya and all Annapolis;

Rudy’s Barbecue, Springfield, OH;

Dodge City, KS;

Joshua Seyfarth, for your engaging wit and culinary skills;

Brea, CA and Carbon Canyon;

Prescott National Forest, and Sedona;

My dear parents-in-law, for all you have done and will ever do;

My Baha’i community of Prescott- my rock and armour;

Marcia Brehmer, my spiritual mentor, for all your guidance this year;

Melissa Monahan, for being a friend;

My Facebook friends, never judgmental- to me anyway;

Mom, for putting me here and for being the light of so many lives;

It has been a good year of personal growth, and yet-

I will never forget Drew Crotty, Dennis Young, Beverly Mc Millin, John Woodbury, Jamie Cooper,Bob McDonald, Lorraine Stewart, Thomas A. Smith, Janet Mortensen.

2013 is hours away from being history.  May all of us fare better in the year ahead.

Sedona’s Chuckwagon Trail

10

As with all things Sedona, this aptly-named trail, opened a few months ago, is a feast for the eyes.  The “Chuck” is a loop trail, of about 3 miles.  Yesterday, I took the segment that links with Devil’s Bridge Trail, so as to go up to Vultee Arch and get up close to that marvel of nature, also called Devil’s Bridge.

It is a moderate hike, in my estimation, not requiring much effort for most of the way- but asking the hiker to use caution on the final ascent to the Arch, as well as on the descent.  Along the way, much attention was focused on three rock climbers , perched on the south face of Mescal Mountain, across the canyon to the north.

Here are several shots of the Chuck, and of Vultee Arch.  First, is the Dry Creek Road Parking area.

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I took the segment of Chuckwagon that went towards the Bridge.

 

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The route to the Bridge goes east, through the scrub of the southern Great Basin, across Dry Creek (which actually had pockets of water, here and there) and back south a bit, to the Devils Bridge parking area ( a small dirt lot), off the four-wheel drive-only road.

Here, we can see the north section of Capitol Butte, which is home to the arch.

 

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Mescal Mountain and Doe Mountain are visible to the north.

 

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The trail is very easy here.

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True to form, I found not one, but three, heart-shaped rocks along the trail.

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There are riparian pockets along the way.

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One can see the arch from a fair distance, once on the Devils Bridge Trail.  That trail is about a mile long.

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The view from the sandstone bench, southwest of the bridge, is also worth the short climb.

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Here is an interesting sandstone “slice”, near the Devils Bridge Trailhead parking lot.

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Finally, on the bridge itself, is an example of “Boys will be boys”.

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I find myself feeling best, when on the trail, whether surrounded by throngs or in isolation.  Hiking is one of the few things I haven’t messed up.  Besides, it keeps me healthy.

2012

4

Yes, I am still posting these reminiscences that no one has read, or is likely to read.  My blog site is for me, and if anyone else feels like reading it, I’m glad.  If not, have a nice day, Universe.

Anyway, in 2012, these people, places and things were keys to my healing:

John E. Glaze, Enid and Gloss Mountain;

Janet Waters, San Clemente, Laguna Beach, “the Greeter”;

Casa Romantica;

Christina Knapp, Boulder, Marshall Wilderness and Chautauqua Park;

My blessed son, Aram,  and San Diego- the USS Midway, La Jolla, Maritime Historical Museum;

Palo Duro Canyon- and the Sipapu;

Mesa Verde National Park;

Lamar, CO and Chez Duvall’s;

The 50th Anniversary of  The Pine Springs Proclamation (at Native American Baha’i Institute);

Thomas A. and S. Michele Smith, Reno and the Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s visit to North America (San Francisco);

Oakland’s Centenary Walk;

The Winters family and Fort Worth’s Log Cabin Village, plus the Stockyards District;

Muir Woods;

Point Reyes and Tomales Bay;

The Coastal Redwoods;

Cape Mendocino;

The Oregon Coast, from Brookings to Florence;

Khai Devon and Portland, OR;

St. Helens and Astoria;

Hoquiam, WA;

Sassa Gal (Sarah) and the South Puget;

The Olympic Peninsula;

Ted Lew and Seattle;

Wenatchee, even in the midst of its travails;

Columbia Gorge;

Bend, Culver, Newberry Volcano and Crater Lake;

Rogue River Gorge;

Jody Bourne Weah and Ashland;

Lassen Volcanic National Park;

Elko and the Ruby Mountains;

Carol Curtis and Salt Lake City’s Centenary observance;

The Glenwood Springs Centenary observance;

Mindy and David Kosak, and George A. Boivin, III- my reliable Colorado family;

The Mortensons and San Antonio;

Austin, TX

The Pedernales Region;

South Padre Island;

Laredo;

Annick Elziere, Tucson and Sabino Canyon;

My Massachusetts family, Salem, Boston and The Freedom Trail;

The Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Trail and Sand Beach;

Most of all, Prescott, my in-laws and this house, and my community.

I came along way back, in 2012, though not quite far enough.

2011

0

Odyssey Hospice- Wonderful caregivers, rapacious head office staff, blessed grief counselor(Bob).

Letting the love of my life go to the Spirit Realm.

Four months of hiding within myself.

Dismantling our Phoenix household.

Sending Aram off to the Navy.

Refuges- Watering Hole Ranch, my niece’s wedding, Blue Front Cafe, Big Vern’s Steak House, Nick’s Barbecue, the Grant Residence(Catlettsburg, KY),  Scioto Hills State Park, Nashville, Cairo, Illinois and the Confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers, Claytor Lake,  Edinburg, VA, Longmeadow Farm, 16 Winter Street, Glick’s Greenhouse, the Baha’i House of Worship (Wilmette), Chicago Botanic Garden, Great Lakes Naval Training Center, New Salem State Park, the Ali residence(Quincy, IL), Cape Girardeau, Enid, OK, Crystal Cove State Beach, San Diego, Prescott.

Challenges-  Selma, AL, Atlanta,  Blacksburg, Washington, DC, Hannibal, MO, the Texas Welcome Center @ Alanreed.

2010

0

Chapter 7

Trillium Specialty Hospital

My year of substituting dangerously

Painting the house, inside and out

Penny’s last birthday, without candles on the cake

My 60th birthday, sharing pizza with the guys

December 5-6, with my family, at Yard House, at Durant’s and at the Phoenix Light Parade

Xanga

The longest year of my life, signifying dedication, and not much else.

The “Aughts”

0

2000-09

Y2K                                                                                                                                                                                          September 11, 2001

Second Prescott residence                                                   Dobson Ranch

Mother’s 75th

Penny in decline

Mingus Mountain Academy

Sierra Pines Apartments                                                          Ironwood Elementary School

Solar Drive

El Mirage School                                                                            Palo Verde Middle School

Willow Canyon High School                                                                                                                                                  Penny’s third Master’s Degree

 

Pre-School Substitute

Aram’s HS Graduation & 18th Birthday

Ten years of feeling strange

Pain

2

‘There can be no relationships without some pain, for you or for the other person’.  This is a paraphrase of what seems to be conventional wisdom.  To the extent it is true, the pain stems from the disconnect that may exist between the two parties.  A disconnect is almost always, in my opinion, the result of one or both parties failing to maintain clear communication.  This failure could be because the person who isn’t communicating is:  a) socially awkward; b) insanely busy with other concerns; c) disinterested; d) passively-aggressively hostile; or e) one or more of the preceding.

So, when in emotional pain, one may: a) yell and scream; b) stalk the other person; c) engage in character assassination; d) get over it and find something more meaningful to do, so as to break the cycle.

I’ve been on both sides of this.  Good people have been interested in me, but I haven’t been interested in them, in the same way.  Good people have been disinterested in me, and it has taken me a bit longer to pick up on their cues, but in each case, I got past it- including with the most recent such person.  She really has no other choice than to be disinterested, for reasons I’ll not go into, ever.

Each of us goes through a measure of emotional pain, but, as with the physical kind, it’s necessary, if one is to grow and to realize what life is supposed to become. Some respond to emotional pain by staging temper tantrums, or criminal acts.  Others withdraw, avoiding those who stand ready to help them recover and move along nicely.  I’ve had tantrums, as a younger person, and withdrawn at times- most recently for three months, after Penny passed.  I’ve never been into criminal acts, and am past withdrawing, unless one counts hiking solo as a withdrawal, of sorts.

What really concerns me, in this area, is not perpetuating a cycle.  The tendency has been for hurting people to hurt others.  So, I ask those who read this to think- “What has been my response, and the response of the person who hurt me, to emotional pain at any stage of life?”  “Have I, or has that person, done anything to continue the cycle- or has one of us chosen to look beyond the spiral of pain?”

The Nineties

0

Leaving Korea                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Centenary of Baha’u’llah’s  Ascension

 

Santa Monica and Oxnard                                                                              Weekend drives to Flagstaff

First residence in Prescott                                                                                                        Keams Canyon

Jeddito School                                                                                                                                              Louhelen Baha’i School

Hopi ceremonies on weekends                                                                                                      Bosch Baha’i School

Cross-country family road trips                                                                                         New Year’s Eve, 1997,  in Edwardsville, IL

Chilchinbeto                                                                                                                                 Santa Barbara

Murder, She Wrote                                                                                                                Salome, AZ

Penny’s first injury

The Eighties

0

Northern Arizona University                               A townhouse in Flagstaff                                                           Penny

Nieces and nephews

The Baha’i Faith                                                            Tuba City                                                                     Humphreys Peak

Wedding in San Diego                                                  Julian, CA                                                          Pilgrimage to Israel

London and Canterbury                                                                                      Standoff, Alberta

The Wildfire Conference, Greencastle, IN                                         Guyana                                                     Macy, Nebraska

Glenn and Barbie

Pine Ridge Lakota Nation                                                                                                Losing my Dad

Cheju

The Korean Baha’i Community

Visiting Professor of Conversational English

Fatherhood

Taiwan

The Polar Route                                                                          Cementing a marriage

Relationships

6

One of the biggest personal challenges for me, in 2013, was figuring out  just what relationships mean to me.  It wasn’t as much a matter of “being in a relationship”, as determining the nature of relationships, in general.  So, I am at the point where I am thinking about the various ties I have with people.

Some think about “Who is my soul mate?”  A  person may go his/her entire earthly life without really feeling the presence of a soul mate.  Another person may deny to self that there is any such thing.  I feel there is, and I feel her presence daily, though she’s been gone from this physical plane for nearly three years.  I know others, including some of my best friends, who are still waiting to meet theirs, or perhaps to reconcile with one from whom they are estranged.

This brings me to friends.  There are several people with whom I feel a strong spiritual bond.  There are some, among this group, with whom I am almost “joined at the hip”, psychically.  A few people who have known me since childhood look at my friendships and figure that “Since _______ is a woman, you need to be careful.”  That ASSumption is missing the point, though I appreciate their concern.  To me, friends are those who can rely on me, in a pinch, and vice versa.  We have each others’ best interests at heart, and even if we have not met, physically, we know there are few barriers between us.

I am closer to my family, both nuclear and extended, now than at any time I can remember.  Extended family keeps getting bigger, and includes my birth family’s in-laws,  Penny’s family and their in-laws, all the people I have met in my travels and many in the Baha’i community whom I have yet to meet.  So, we’re talking a family of 10,000- plus.  Family is the most beautiful of institutions.  It can be the most messy of institutions, but anyone who has raised toddlers and teenagers knows that messes are part of life’s beauty.  Anyone who has seen an elder, or a disabled person, through their final years knows that messes are inevitable, and character-building.  Anyone who has anxiously watched a child morph into an adult power house knows that all the twists and turns, pushes and pulls are well worth the journey.

As 2013 moves from dusk to dark, I am in a good place.  I have no one who “desperately needs” me, and I’m not sure such desperation would be a good thing for either of us, anyway.  I feel love coming from many, and feel love towards them, as well.  Lust is not in the picture, and that’s a good thing.  Romance?  That happens when it happens, and I am just glad to have people with whom I can relax, and be myself. Besides, a little bit of me goes a very long way.

A wise man recently wrote that the best people in our lives ‘come like stray dogs, move evanescently through our lives, and disappear without a trace.’  I have had some do that, and will have more, I’m certain.  Regardless, each and all have been a pleasure, and I look forward to more such pleasure.