The Road to 65, Mile 122: The Lifeboat Exercise


March 30, 2015, Prescott-   My job today involved guiding five classes of Eighth Graders through choosing seven people, out of a possible twelve, to hole up in a bomb shelter, following a hypothetical nuclear holocaust.  This is the culmination of their study of the Cold War Era.

It is, as many will have guessed, a variation on the Lifeboat activity, which many of us have done, in Psychology 101 or as an icebreaker at a business convention.  One gets to play God, or at least presume to advise the Supreme Being.

The students took this responsibility very seriously, and with the re-population of Planet Earth in the balance, being young and highly intelligent worked to the hypothetical survivors’ advantage.   The lone hexagenarian was left out in the Nuclear Winter.  Then again, a nineteen-year-old, of average intelligence, was also culled from the sack.

Each of us does the lifeboat exercise on a regular basis.  We let some people get close to us, and others, try as they might, are kept at arm’s length.  It is human nature, though thankfully such selectivity does not result in harm or death on a regular basis.  Most people who are cut out of one situation find that, as that door closes, another opens.

When I was growing up, and throughout my twenties, I learned to stay flexible and to circulate widely, so as not to depend to excess on any one person or group.  Thus, my love of travel became more than just a means to joie de vivre.  It was a path to survival.  After nearly thirty years of marriage, I learned calmness and patience, in place.  In widowhood, life is more of a mix.  While I will not let myself be either cast out of the lifeboat or shackled within it, the safe haven is a fine place to have close by.

The Road to 65, Mile 121: Getting In Tune


March 29, 2015, Jerome- After a difficult morning, largely due to my dealing with a few internal conflicts, I headed to this mountainside former mining town-turned-tourist mecca.  Jerome, as a whole, and my chosen lunch spot, Haunted Hamburger ( a bar and grill), are not the sorts of places one goes for emotional support.  Those who live here are a tough breed, so the affirmation I got from the wait staff was- “Yep, tough it out” .  I chose that route, anyway, so I found the meal enjoyable and left right after eating, as the place was way full of tourists- another reason the locals tend to be short, in the listening department.

Driving back up Mingus Mountain, I decided to explore the north peak of the mountain a bit.  A four-mile round trip hike along Woodchute Trail was what really restored my equilibrium.


A restoration project, Powerline Meadow, is found at the beginning of the trail,just east of the road that makes up the first half-mile of the route.  Livestock and vehicular traffic are banned.



About a half-mile further, I met a couple and their two children, with an eight-week-old puppy, who had walked with them to the nearby ridge, from which there are exquisite views of Sycamore Canyon, to the northeast.



I wonder how much the little dog saw.  Nature seems to like togetherness, at any rate.


I know what I always enjoy seeing, besides the greenery.


I also find, when my chemical imbalance gets in my way, as it did once yesterday and a bit this morning, is taking a few drops of a soothing essential oil, and rub it on my neck or forehead.  The return to equilibrium is almost immediate.  It is a blend of frankincense, patchouli, Roman chamomile, sandalwood and lime oils.  I find that, the more severe the zoning-out or disconnect, the faster the blend works to bring me back to where I need to be.  I don’t mind sharing this here, as anyone else who is autistic, or someone who has OCD, panic attacks, or even mild schizophrenia, can benefit from applying this oil blend. As with our other products, there are no side effects and it does not counteract medication.

Now that day is done, I feel like, between “Haunted Hamburger’s” get-with-the-program tough love, my walk in the woods and the doses of this blend, I am ready for a busy and successful week.

The Road to 65, Mile 120: Waterplay


March 28, 2015, Glendale, AZ-  I decided today was a day for relaxation, and there was a housewarming party in this western suburb of Phoenix, so southward, it was.

An online friend, from Xanga and Facebook, had invited me about a month ago.  The themes were the TV show,”Supernatural”, to which I have been drawn in the past, and relaxing in the (unheated) swimming pool.  There was a jacuzzi, which was heated, so I went in the cool pool, waist-deep and in the hot pool, up to my shoulders.  Four children, siblings, kept us watchful and engaged with their waterborne antics.SAM_4661

The hosts have been married since October, and look pretty solid a unit, to me.


There were about thirty-five people, in a medium-sized apartment.  Those who didn’t go poolside, stayed in for some sort of card game.  I stayed poolside.


The broad range of magic and science fiction was in evidence.  I’m used to these, as my son is a Dragon Child, and his circle of friends in high school was much immersed in both genres.


All this, and the barbecue, made for a day in which I was quite exhilarated, and exhausted, at the end.  I was planning to attend an evening function, elsewhere in the Phoenix area, but in the prep for my drive, I left out dress socks.  Bbbbaaad!

The Road to 65, Mile 119: Sunshine In A Box


March 27, 2015, Prescott-  I had a fascinating interview today, with the director of a Waldorf School.  He asked me to choose between committing to a full-time position, immediately and continuing to substitute, while filling in for a three-week period, during the month of May.

I chose the latter, mostly because I want to immerse myself in the Waldorf Method, which does look fascinating, to a holistic educator, before jumping into a shallow pool head first, as it were.  I have a lot to offer this school and others.  There will be several meetings between this gentleman and I, over breakfasts and lunches, as he wants to hear more about the Baha’i Faith and to exchange views on historical processes.  Yet, I want to be prepared, in terms of methodology.

My presentations in May will be on Mohammad, of Whom I have read a fair amount and on Jeanne d’Arc, whose historical sites in Rouen are proximate to those of my paternal lineage.  There are a wealth of interests and areas which I believe I can contribute, besides.

A woman at our evening devotional, in Chino Valley, remarked that both those we like and those we dislike will be attracted to the light we emit.  This explains a lot that has happened to me, especially recently.  One does not get to pick and choose who is encountered in this life; only what one does with the encounters.  I came very close, today, to severing my ties with the laundry I have been using for the past year, over the owner’s reaction to the hard line I am taking with my former client.  On reflection, though, he’s right:  No one can tell another person how, or where, to live.  We can only choose to support the decision, or to cut the individual loose.  Regardless, one’s sunshine, or one’s venom, cannot be contained in a box, in perpetuity.

Now that those two rather variant topics are off my chest, I will rest well tonight.

The Road to 65, Mile 118: Consistency


March 26, 2015, Prescott-  My client walked out of his shelter, this evening, because he dislikes the rules.  He may want to revert to leaning on me for support.  This time, though, he has made a stark choice.  It’s no longer freezing at night, so guilt is not a tool to be used.  This time, from my perspective, he will be moving on.

Life is full of choices, and my choices are to maintain my independence, focus on the needs of my biological family, and on the legitimate needs of those who are actually suffering.  There is an organization in town, called “Angels of Prescott”.  They, and the Red Cross, will get the bulk of my time and energy, outside of work.  The kids will get my full attention, otherwise.

It is necessary, in life, to be consistent.  There are just too many vagaries and changes in the world around us, for a person to bounce from one goal or set of behavior to another, and still expect a successful outcome, or a sympathetic human climate.  Steadiness of purpose and unconditional love are not mutually exclusive, though, and in fact. real caring, empathy for others depends on a person being reliable in behavior, and in response to challenges.

Those who expect others to tend their rose gardens, without fail, are doomed to not smell the sweetness.

The Road to 65, Mile 117: Group Therapy


March 25, 2015, Chino Valley- Last night, a family of three lost their trailer home, in an unincorporated town, about eight miles north of here.   The oldest child attends the school, where I am working for three days this week. He, his mother and toddler sister lost everything they owned, except the clothes that were on their backs, at the time of the blaze.  They lost their pets.  That home was in an area which lies outside any fire district, meaning that residents have to pay for fire fighting service.  The family had not paid for the service, so the home was a lost cause.  Of course, mobile homes are not likely to last long, in a fire, anyway.  A crew would have to arrive within three minutes of a blaze starting, in order for it to have any chance of success in extinguishing the blaze.

I watched again this evening, as reports of deadly tornadoes came out of Oklahoma:  Oklahoma City and Moore, again, and Tulsa, its suburbs of Sand Springs and Okmulgee, also in the wind’s cross-hairs.  This is March, so God, alone, knows how this tornado season, April to June, will play out in full.  Everything seems on hyperdrive, weatherwise, this year, though, so perhaps the season will spend itself early, as well.

A pilot on a crowded commercial flight in western Europe was locked out of his own cockpit, and the plane crashed, killing all on board.  The cause is left to the realm of speculation- always a sauce for further mayhem and disaster.

Terror, both natural and man-made, abounds, at any given time.  Heartbreak, both local and international, is rife, most days.  The only solution, as I see it, is unity of response and of relief.  Some of us can offer money.  Others, like me, can offer only time and energy. My point is solely that each of us can contribute to a group effort, at some level.  Only by working together, consistently, can we foster healing.  This has not come easily to me, over time, having been a loner until the age of 30, and more or less a steadfast, but somewhat quiet, spouse, until age 60.  Penny got me out of my shell, and circumstances since she left this life have kept me out of it.

My only question:  Where on the involvement spectrum are you?

The Road to 65, Mile 116: Chains of Roses, Chains of Thorns


March 24, 2015, Prescott- I became further acquainted with two families today. One, whom I’ve known in cursory fashion, for nearly thirty-four years, is saying goodbye to their matriarch.  The other, of whom I only know what is told me by one member, is comprised of about seven remnants, each living fiercely separate lives, until very recently.

A.  was strong, opinionated, but deeply loving woman, who guided her children, without being overbearing.  She prized her independence, in that way resembling my own mother.  Only gradually did she give in to the inevitable and let one of her children take her in, for the rite of passage to a more equitable realm.  The scent of this veritable chain of roses will waft gently into that good night, though A. did her share of raging, during the dying of the light.  Now she knows there is a much brighter light, lying beyond.

The Y’s, (not their real first initial), were raised by an overbearing woman, angry at having been dumped by her restless, knockabout of a husband and left with the three kids. The lives of all assumed a rootlessness that scarred each and every person in the family unit, in two cases fatally. That husband and father, never knowing the meaning of either word, has been in and out of his children’s lives ever since, thus far to no good end.  He is reaching the end of his days, and may yet reconcile with his two remaining sons.  The process of such a mending, though, will be lengthy and most likely incomplete.  The tale told me this evening, by one of those sons, is a story straight out of Edward Albee, or Tennessee Williams, a chain of thorns, whose roses have long since wilted and fallen to the ground.

I was one of the lucky ones.  My parents were devoted to each of the five of us, in the right measure, according to what they could see of our needs.  Mother is still with us, and still of acute mind.  My only wish for her is to remain so, for as long as she can maintain her own chain of roses.  Our family has a bond that will endure, whether across the miles or across the street.  It’s what we do.

The Road to 65, Mile 115: Habitat


March 23, 2015, Williams- Today, I helped a friend haul stuff out of her old double-wide trailer, in a remote area about ten miles north of this tourist center, along Route 66.  It had been her regrouping home, whilst she was decompressing from other life events.  She returned to a community-based living situation, about two years ago, and is donating the trailer to Habitat for Humanity.

We had long conversations, on the way to and from the place, and I got a  lot of affirmation of my life plans, as far as they go right now.  This friend is another person who serves as an older sister or cousin, so this support is well-taken.

I have had a checkered relationship with Habitat for Humanity.  In the ’90’s, I gave a fair amount to the charity, and its mortgage arm.  Around 2005, much came to light about Habitat foreclosing on several mortgages, and evicting people.  While I am now sure that some of this was fair business practice, it left a sour taste in my mouth and I no longer contributed to the charity, after 2006.  My contributions resumed, briefly, last year, when my in-laws’ house here was sold, and some of the furniture went to Habitat.

I have definite criteria for my charitable contributions:  The bulk of the money must go to its intended clientele, not to administration, and the charity must not do harm to that clientele, especially in the name of revenue generation.  I rely on Charity Navigator, my available funds and my gut feelings, when making a contribution.  So, it shall continue.

The Road to 65, Mile 114: V Bar V


March 22, 2015, Montezuma Well-  Today would have been my father’s 88th birthday.  He’s been gone from us for 29 years now, but the wisdom of the man resonates still.  A lot of that wisdom, I am convinced, was passed down through the faded, but still perceptible, knowledge of our Penobscot ancestors.  I am ever drawn to Native American perspectives on matters, perhaps because of this.  Having lived among the Navajo and Hopi people for several years, I have internalized many of these perceptions.  I visited some long-time Baha’i friends this afternoon, in this quiet community, north of Camp Verde and along the tributary of the Verde River that is known as Wet Beaver Creek.  My friends, a Navajo man and his wife who is of European descent, and their elder daughter, greeted me at their home just west of  Montezuma Well National Monument.


After a light lunch, three of us went over to V Bar V Ranch Historical Site, which is maintained by the U. S. Forest Service.  Today was the second Archaeology Discovery Day, at this site.  There were several booths, as well as the permanent ruins of the ranch, from the 1880’s and several petroglyphs, which appear to be of the Beaver Creek Style, dating from the 12th and 13th Centuries, A.D., and associated with the people known commonly as Sinagua or, to their Hopi descendants, Hisatsinom.  In this style, animals and people are often depicted together- either as prey/predator or as observed and observer.

On the way in, we encountered the ruin of a chimney and fireplace, virtually all that is left of the ranch that that once dominated this area.  There is a former ranch house, now used as rangers’ offices, at the north end of the site and next to it, a Visitor Center.



We were first pleasantly greeted by a lilac bush.


The importance of agriculture, then and now, was highlighted by a table which featured traditional plants and seeds of the area, including white and blue corn, and various beans and squash.  Brown native cotton was also on display.  We were each given several packs of heirloom seeds.SAM_4620

Each sherd of pottery found in the area is kept in a dignified manner.  Each piece is treated as representing the energy of the person who fashioned it, many centuries ago.  It was explained to us that many modern Native American officials a re now more interested in oil and mineral royalties, and the pursuit of corporate wealth, than in maintaining traditional languages and cultures.  The preservation of archaeological sites, then, is, ironically, entrusted to the Federal government.


The petroglyphs themselves, and the way the sun hit an area near a crack in the rock face, drew the largest crowds..









Globemallow were in full bloom.SAM_4646

There was a spear throwing contest, using an atlatl.  None of us were immediately adept at it.  I would need several hours of practice, in order to properly use the instrument.SAM_4648

Many other wilderness survival tools were on display, including several fishing implements and hunting snares and traps.SAM_4652

As ever, my outing got an affirmation from the spirit realm.  There were several heart-shaped rocks along the trail.


I was well-impressed by the site and the various displays, which offered a wealth of explanations to young and old alike. This was a fine way to offer an homage to my father.

site, which is now used as a ranger station, by the Forest Service.

The Road to 65, Mile 113: Naw-Ruz


March 21, 2015, Prescott-  We had a lively Naw-Ruz observance in Goodyear, last night.  The food was, likewise, delectable and varied.  Today, our Prescott area communities had a joint celebration, a bit more restrained, but no less fervent.   I did the devotional, and offered up some contemplative, and some lively, music.   The food was equally as good.  We are in a solemn mood as a group, right now, because of the precarious health of a couple members of our immediate, and extended, Baha’i families.  God will guide us all through this, though.

Naw-Ruz, as I have mentioned earlier, is a Baha’i New Year, and has ancient roots, stemming from Persian culture, which itself goes back 2,600 years.  The notion is fertility and prosperity, thus it coincides with  the beginning of th enorthern Spring.  All Iranians, and their neighbours, such as the Afghans, Kurds, Turkmen and Tajiks, revel in this festival.  Baha’is, being unencumbered by nationality, have brought the Festival of Naw-Ruz to the world stage.  Indeed, when I posted greetings on another social medium, return greetings came back from all parts of the world, even in places where I have never met anyone, previously.

May peace and prosperity dig their roots in deeper, even in areas seemingly consumed by chaos.  It is known that as fire, or lava, cover a surface and destroy all in their paths, underneath, the seeds of new growth are opened by the heat.  So, too, is a new civilization, based on unity in diversity and love for all peoples, going to be built on the ashes of iniquity.

Let me close by switching gears, with a couple of affirmations I left out of my last post.  1. I will read at least ten pages a day, in each of at least two books.  2.  I will work to set up a visiting team, from Angels of Prescott, to the Arizona Pioneer Home, whose residents seem to be sorely ignored by the community at large.

Next:  A visit with some old friends, near Montezuma Well.