There Is No Empty


May 28, 2016, Carson City- The medical emergency which hospitalized an old friend, yesterday, has abated somewhat.  As is usually the case in a responsible medical institution, she has been kept overnight and will be able to leave hospital tomorrow, if her condition holds and tests turn up negative.

So, with my anxiety thus relieved, I headed north from Prescott, at a suitably early hour ( 8 A.M.), stopping for a late breakfast at Westside Lilo’s, my restaurant of choice in Seligman, a fun, touristy town, some 34 miles northwest of Prescott.  Lilo and her husband have had this German-Mexican fusion establishment since 1963.  It, along with several other places in town, do a land-office business, owing to the popularity of the area as a pit stop between Las Vegas and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.   After a lovely chorizo scramble, and some banter with Lilo, I was off again, this time without the transmission issues that clouded last year’s Reno trip.

Being a holiday weekend, traffic through Kingman and Las Vegas was a fraction of what it normally is.  I made it through the metro area in rather short time, choosing to stop at Indian Springs, on the far north side of Clark County, for a refueling.

U.S. 95 was characteristically sparse with traffic, most of it being commercial on this serene Saturday, and much of that was comprised of fuel tankers, of all things.  A spot of rain in and around Tonopah, and again in the area east of Boundary Peak, gave a bit of a shake-up to the droning drive.  Another point of interest is the transition zone between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin.  The Joshua Trees, and other plants native to the Mojave, fade out near Coaldale Junction, about an hour north of Tonopah.  The Basin is largely grassland, at least in this area.  Salt flats are a bit more common than I remember seeing, in previous visits.  Then again, I was pre-occupied with the car last year, and may not have noticed.

Speaking of which, my stop in Hawthorne, just south of Walker Lake, was brief and uneventful this time.  A tankful of gas was all that was needed.  Looking in the restroom mirror, though, I saw a scruffy face, with an uneven shave, looking back at me.  That may have explained the “30-45 minute wait” I was offered at Pizza Factory, near the Shell station.  I moved on, taking a quick look at the lake, before heading to Carson City in greater earnest.

It is still cool here, in the eastern reaches of Sierra Nevada, and it will be a while before Mt. Grant (above, right) sheds its snow cover.

The old friend whom I am visiting these next few days  has,  this very day, moved from Reno to Carson City, closer to her younger daughter and youngest grandchild.  It is partly my purpose to help with the inevitable furniture moving and unpacking of boxes, as her settling in again continues.  After a lovely drive through the scenic Smith Valley, with its towns of Yerington, Wellington, Gardnerville and Minden, punctuated by the gorgeous West Fork of the Walker river, I found it prudent to get a hearty dinner at El Charro Avitia, on Carson City’s south end.  There, I enjoyed the delights of seafood enchilada and shared in the locals’ joy in their favoured Golden State Warriors’ come-from-behind victory.

It took a bit longer to locate my host’s new residence, but here I am, at the end of the day, and in the process helping her to note that her new apartment complex has two distinct sub-complexes.  Out of confusion comes learning.  I am fortunate to have several places where I feel like I’m with family.  Tomorrow, a little angel will explain to me the world of cartoon dragons.


Investing Time


May 27, 2016, Prescott- This was something of a free day.  There was no work, since we got all our end-of-year tasks done yesterday.  I had to take the Nissan back to the shop, to get a tire re-balanced and thus get rid of the Fifty Shimmy (what happens when an unbalanced tire hits 50 MPH).  Whilst this was being done, I had breakfast at a place called Waffles ‘n’ More, which is a rather popular eatery on Prescott’s northwest side.  Enjoying a waffle topped with sliced mangoes, I can understand why.  WnM has lovely Southwestern murals on its adobe walls, which adds to a joyful ambiance. I will go back again, when my car next needs service.

After breakfast, an early Memorial Weekend visit to Prescott’s Pioneer Cemetery allowed me to honour several deceased Baha’i friends, and Prescott’s premier historian:  Sharlot Hall, whose name graces our historical museum.  I will be out of town for several days, starting tomorrow, so this was a welcome opportunity to reflect on all who have gone before us and show appreciation for what each has given.

I was taken aback, later in the afternoon, by the sudden illness of a dear friend.  After several hours of diligent attention and labour by ER staff at our Regional Medical Center, it appears her condition has stabilized.  I felt relieved enough to attend a dinner in honour of disabled veterans and to do a 30-minute workout afterward. Household activities ended the day, in advance of a drive up north, to Carson City and Reno.

So went a “free day”.  Each moment one is given, can be spent or invested.  Sometimes recreation is investment; other times, so are work, acts of service or time socializing with loved ones.  The aim is to continue to build character.

Last Day


May 26, 2016, Prescott-

Standing in line, for a freshly-baked dozen,

I see many ahead, with the same wish.

Treating our charges,

on one last morning of hard work.

Arriving on the scene late in the year,

the farewells of many are muted, fleeting,

but credit is given to those to whom it is due.

A hug for the lady who has done the lion’s share of work,

ends the high school days of many.

My time in this cradle of maturity has resumed.

I will be regular staff,

come August.

How rewarding, to be once again,

the repository of trust.



May 25, 2016, Prescott-

The blue light flashed and took its toll

both within the plane and without,

hearts and minds rolled.

The force of the minute,

brought down the mighty,

and the sky, for a time,

was, alternately, smoky black

and shimmering white.

This was no punishment for Nanking,


or Bataan.

It was, in limit even more blood

on the crowded sands.

In two days’ time,

some 71 years later,

a sublime view of peace

will be offered,

by a target of haters.

No apology,

just resolve.

Be the peace

you want to see.

Civil Wars


May 24, 2016, Prescott-  I have two days remaining, in my present assignment.  Next academic year’s work assignment is now at the paper work stage, where it has stalled for a bit.  Unlike previous such situations, this will not lead to me shooting my mouth off about someone trying to freeze me out of a job.  I have a lot more patience nowadays.

Patience, though, seems to be in short supply, in the world at large.  There is, simply put, either an epidemic of extreme fear or one of rampant narcissism, or maybe a mixture of both.    This feature is, of course, being played to the hilt by the forces of distraction.  Witness the turmoil over who gets to use what bathroom.  Some disclosure:  When I was seventeen, and visiting a public restroom in Boston, I was accosted by a gay man, who followed me out of the building and all the way to a telephone booth, thankfully leaving when I closed the booth’s door.

So, I understand the fears of people, which, by the way, are felt by both gays and straights.  No one enjoys being the object of attention, when trying to do their business.  The idea is to void, wash up and leave.  The issue, therefore, is hardly worth the attention it has garnered on social media.  This is one of the distractions on which those with agendas of control are counting.  Ever wonder why an insipid issue is floated by the media, right about the time that people need to be making serious decisions?

We are facing various kinds of “civil wars”, across the U.S., and in many countries around the world.  Consider:

Help refugees vs. Care for the elderly at home.

Enjoy a diet of processed foods vs. Strictly adhere to a vegan diet.

Innoculate with abandon vs. Abstain from any vaccination.

“Black lives matter” vs. “White people are an endangered species”.

I have friends, family and acquaintances galore, on both sides.  I have my own strong opinions, as to each of these issues, but my views, in the present forum, are irrelevant.  I love all of the above people, because God didn’t create junk.  I will say, to those whose beliefs are based upon fear, that the thing that is best for Mankind as a whole is what will end up happening.  None of us is exempt from suffering or discomfort, at some level.

All the same, none of us is doomed to oblivion, but by our own choice, or series thereof.  Even then, God is still loving, and the suffering will end, sooner or later- when the lessons that are needed, are absorbed.  Civil wars need not occupy our time, especially when they are so very futile.



Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 1, Part 2: Trail’s End


May 22, 2016, Prescott- There are lots of challenges left in the world, for those who think it’s all been done by others.  I know that, no matter where I go, there will be someone who’s already “done” the trip, gone along the trail, gone up the mountain, forded the river, negotiated the canyon.  I’m happy for them, and hope that many will follow after us.  The world is for learning and for appreciating.

In twelve section hikes, I have explored the entire unpaved course of Prescott Circle Trail.  Ten segments, spanning 53 miles, separated only by a 1.8 mile gap of neighbourhood and ranch, offer a variety of terrain and ecosystems:  Pinon juniper forest, manmade lakes, grassland, highway underpasses, scrub oak forest, tall pines and, always, granite or shale badlands and Dells.

I started this effort last autumn, with a  view towards getting a holistic sense of my adopted home base and the condition of its natural environment.  This afternoon, the final section of trail presented itself:  A loop, starting and ending on the side of Granite Basin Road, a bit south of Cayuse Day Use Area, an equine staging area.

Hence, the photos:


Two days of steady rain, this past week, have brought the fireweed into a healthy state of being.  I took a brief walk to an area I explored last week, to see how they were doing.


Once up on the Ho-Kay-Gan Trail, the settled homes of Williamson Valley’s horse lovers come into view.


As is often the case, the stone watchmen are on the job.


A rock that resembled an ancient sage sits with its back to the trail.


I like finding hills that resemble pyramids.  Ho-Kay-Gan is a steep little mountain, and the trail skirts its slope, with a sharp descent into Alfano Gorge.


Here is a view of Alfano Gorge, headed upstream.  This part of Williamson Valley resembles Pioneer Park, not surprising, given that the two are  a scant two miles apart.

Above, is Ho-Kay-Gan Trailhead.

A nice party of three hikers, who had passed me, while completing their own loop hike, graciously took this keepsake.


Ho-Kay-Gan Trailhead

So, my first completion of a long-distance trail system is now complete, at least the unpaved portion.  I will walk the gap, from Katahn Drive to Pioneer Parkway, for the sake of integrity, early next month.  Then, too, completing Black Canyon National Recreation Trail by the end of 2016 is also a goal.

The Big Hug


Lumbee musicians (left) and emcee (right center)

May 21, 2016, Keams Canyon, AZ-  I drove here, from Prescott, this morning, after a brief stop to see if people were posting flags in Prescott Valley, for Armed Forces Day. It was windy, so they were delaying the posting.

I did not have the luxury of delay.  Today’s Interfaith Devotional in Keams Canyon had been planned several weeks ago.  I lived in the area for seven years, and so, I know many people there. A Baha’i couple, doctor and nurse, moved there three months ago, and were hosting the devotional.  I want to support their work, as much as possible, and had this time free.  So, setting out at 10, I arrived at 1:15 P.M.

Keams Canyon is northeast of Flagstaff.  It’s at the eastern end of the Hopi Reservation, past the settled mesas, and is mostly inhabited by medical staff, who work at the Hopi Health Center, which is itself located between First and Second Mesas.  The IHS Hospital used to be located in the canyon itself, but the buildings were decaying and were too small to meet the needs of the population.  So, the facility moved to a newer complex.

The canyon is a very lush setting, and is one part of the Hopi Reservation where I can take photographs.  I will be back there on the afternoon of June 5, so will be able to take photographs then, before going up to a tribal dance, where photography is not allowed.


Hopi ladies, on couch, and nurse, in chair.

We were graced by three Hopi ladies and a teenaged girl, two lad, on couchies from Holbrook and three men from the Lumbee Nation, of North Carolina.  The hosts and two of my friends from Holbrook, who also used to live here, were moderating the program.  It started with the Lumbee men, professional musicians, singing a bluesy version of “Amazing Grace”, before heading out on more engagements.  Those who stayed, prayed- then had a good time eating and socializing, which is what we do very well, at such gatherings.

The meeting ended with a few “Big Hugs”, among those who have known one another for several years, or at least feel comfortable with such. The meeting was, no doubt, blessed from above by Penny and by our long-time friend, Elizabeth, who was the mother of one of the ladies, and great-grandmother to the teen.

These mesas are very special to my heart, though the affairs of life have kept me away from them, until the recent in-gathering that has brought me back, on a few occasions, and will continue in the months to come.



Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 1, Part 1: In Granite Basin


May 19, 2016, Prescott- This is a different sort of Throwback Thursday.  Last Sunday’s hike took place, in between two social gatherings.  It’s important, somehow, that I complete Prescott Circle Trail, before summer starts.  So, May 15’s sumptuous afternoon found me hiking from Iron Springs Road to just above Granite Basin Road, a distance of 3 miles each way.

I began by crossing the first fairly busy roadway, Iron Springs Road, then down a mildly steep path, across Willow Creek’s relatively benign gorge, and along an easy trail to the overlook for Granite Basin, one of the most majestic places in Yavapai County.


South trailhead, Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 1, near Iron Springs Road


Granite Mountain, peaking over the south ridge of Granite Basin

Granite Mountain lords it over this area, as it does, by extension, over the cities of Prescott, to the south, and Chino Valley, to the north.


Thumb Butte, to the south, isn’t about to be ignored.


As always in the Southwest, boulders are a huge presence in Granite Basin.


This resembles an ancient philosopher king, from some city-state in the Mediterranean region.


Granite Mountain comes into clearer focus, at the edge of the Basin.


The Basin itself has been the source of hours of pleasurable exploration for me, in the past few years.


The sweep of Granite Basin, leading to the great mountain.


The summit of Granite Mountain, through the afternoon haze.


An old friend, “Mini Sphinx”, about a mile along Willow Trail, my diversion for the early evening, before hiking back to Iron Springs.

Lastly, here are a couple of  flower-gems, so that the little beings are not overlooked.


Fireweed flowers punctuate the sandy brushland.


Desert Dandelion are found, closer to the Basin rim.

This area has been an old comfort to me, both when I first came here, in April, 2011, and at various points along the Grief Road.  That it is the near ending of a 55-mile circle around my adopted home base seems most appropriate.  In a few days, I will complete Segment One, from Willow Trail to Williamson Valley Road.  Summer looks to be soothing, followed by a return to a secure work environment.

Amen To All That


May 17, 2016, Prescott- Things went better at work today, as I knew they would.  Contrition replaced stridency, and my supervisor announced, at the start of the day, that no one would be allowed to talk politics in class.

My son had a successful laser eye treatment, this morning, and is now at his home, enjoying renewed clarity of vision.  We had a fine conversation, this evening, as usual. He is proactive with his personal affairs, so I feel a firm foundation was set, both with our guidance and with our mistakes, from which he learned.

Preliminary job feelers have come out, regarding next academic year, from my current department.  It’s nice to be again making a good impression.  I would be primarily responsible for helping a young autistic man, with academics and life skills, and, by extension, working with others who need academic assistance.  The process should take not much more than a week.

I have been admonished by some who feel I am too busy.  Well, there is always a lot going on, but here I am with the free time to write, in clear-headed fashion.  There are end-of-year events, this week and next, along with a charity dinner for the family of a woman who died from childbirth complications.  I will need to get my vehicle serviced on Friday, and head to an old stomping ground, Keams Canyon, on Saturday, to support Baha’is who have moved there recently, at a devotional meeting they are having.  Then, once school is done, it’ll be time to help a friend in Reno move to Carson City.

Busy, somewhat, but feeling productive is a good thing, for me.

NEXT:  Another hike along Prescott Circle, this time in Granite Basin.





Not Your Call


May 16, 2016, Prescott- 

(This is in response to people of various ages, who have attempted to harass me, in recent days.)

I am of “mixed race”.

It’s not your call,

whether I work in a particular school.

That I don’t fit your criteria

of Correct Colour,

means nothing.

I am a straight male, who acts his age.

It’s not your call,

whether I work in a particular classroom.

That I don’t like your gay come-ons,

and insults, means nothing-

to me, or to my friends,

whether they themselves are gay or straight.

I am a World Citizen.

It’s not your call,

as to for whom I vote,

who I call friend,

or who I think should be allowed in the United States,

or anywhere else.

Your fear blinds you,

a naturalized citizen.

It does not blind me.

Enemies of mine,

I make and live by my choices.

These are my calls,

supported by my friends,

those of my family who support me,

and my supervisors at work,

who believe in me.