Gnosis and Gnus


September 28, 2016, Prescott-

I work with whimsical people,

including a child who thinks

playing tag in a church would be a trip.

Another, believes the Universe

is seeking his destruction.

I am trying to impart self-knowledge

as a goal, to my students,

so that, when they reach their teen years,

they will be less likely to self-medicate-

or otherwise engage in self-harm.

Animals in the wild

engage in self-preservation.

Why should we humans

be any less  vigilant?

Isn’t it odd,

that someone capable of gnosis,

should be less self-preserving,

than a praying mantis, electric eel

or gnu?

Charlie Brown’s Teacher


September 27, 2016, Prescott- I was handed an ad hoc lesson, on Newton’s First 3 Laws of Physics, and told to teach it, just after lunch today.  We watched two videos on the topic, one a simple cartoon and the other, a more detailed, but still well-illustrated, presentation.

Afterward, the discussion portion revealed that the students had grasped the basic points, but had not internalized the sequence of the Laws.  We arrived at the order in which the Laws are considered, by considering Cause and Effect.

Another aspect which was noted was the way that people are resistant to change, the same way that living things tend to seek familiarity and conservation of energy.  In other words,  Sir Isaac Newton viewed us as essentially lazy.

I am waiting for the first kid to cite Newton’s First Law of Physics as a reason for his/her laziness.  My answer, of course, would be that the resulting grades would be subject to the Law of Gravity.

I was struck by the way, though, that the students paid closer attention to my presentation than they often do to the lead teacher, who has herself raised the whole “WAA, WAA. WAA”, heard by the kids in the “Peanuts” series of feature-length cartoons.

It occurs to me that people rise to expectations- something Newton never addressed, but Charles Schulz did.

Two for the Ages


September 26, 2016, Prescott- Sunday took two bookends from our midst: Arnold Palmer, with his “army” of fans from Fort Gordon, GA, near his beloved Augusta National Country Club, and his popularizing golf as a sport for Everyman; Jose Fernandez, an exemplary pitcher, at the top of his game and on the verge of winning 30 games in a regular Major League Baseball season.

Arnold was an elder, had lived a full, astonishingly varied life.  He lived it for his beloved first wife, and threw his reputation and his well-gotten wealth into a hospital, named for her and dedicated to the well-being of women and infants.  He lived it for his two daughters, letting them realize their own dreams and never abandoning them to a de facto celebrity orphanhood.  He lived it for his children’s children and for their offspring, and saw one of his grandsons excel at their shared beloved sport.  Most importantly, he lived it for the city, state and nation that he loved so much.  Pittsburgh returned the favour, during “The King of the Fairways’ ” last few days, taking loving care of him, as he prepared to take his final tee-off.

Jose was up-and-coming, in Major League Baseball.  He threw himself, with Little League style abandon, into every game he pitched for the Miami Marlins.This was a good thing,and he became the toast of the town. Here was a man on the verge of winning 30 regular season games, a feat not seen in the big leagues since Denny McLain won 31 games, in 1968.  The other 13 men who won 30 or more regular season games, all did so between 1900-1934.  Jose was due to pitch on Sunday.  He was, instead, moved back a day, in the pitching rotation.  He went boating, off Miami Beach, as a way of relaxing on his off-day.  The boat was speeding, due to circumstances still being investigated, and hit the dock at Miami Beach.  Jose died instantly, in the crash.

Although far from proficient in either sport, I feel both losses.  Many of my relatives are golfers.  My brother, living in Georgia, has attended the Masters PGA Tournament, several times and has often been on the links, in courses across the country- and around the globe. The passing of Arnold Palmer brings to the forefront all the triumphs and troubles which the Masters, and Augusta National, have endured, over the past five decades.

The death of Jose Fernandez brings to mind the tragic loss, albeit over several years of suffering, of another great young player, Tony Conigliaro, hit in the head by a pitch and never able to resume his march to destiny.  “Conig” was a hero, to my above-mentioned brother, and to me, as he and the great Carl Yastrzemski led the Boston Red Sox into the 1967 World Series.  Jose’s Marlins are a long-shot to reach that lofty height, this year.  With him, they might have surprised everyone. and done so.  In his honour, they may yet be inspired to do so, anyway.

Life has a rough way of marching on, regardless of who, young or old, drops off its awesome and beautiful chain.  It is, though, hard to imagine two more wondrous links in that line.  Rest in peace, Arnie and Jose, and look through the veil at us, with messages of hope and strength.


Love is Clarity


September 25, 2016, Phoenix-

It’s cool here, today,

meaning it’s under 100 F.

There is a lot of love at the meeting

I am attending.

We are onto the notion

that love means communicating clearly.

Without hidden agendas,

such a thing is easy.

I have been, and am,

what I say I am,

feel what I claim to feel,

and no more.

Love is transparent.

Someday, When You Understand Me Better


September 23, 2016, Prescott- 

My Christian friends,

who are convinced that my belief that all Faiths emanate from One God,

makes me an idolator, a Luciferian:

Someday, when you understand me better,

you will know the love I have for you,

for Jesus the Christ,

and for all who bring God’s Holy Word.

My fellow educators,

content in your small circles:

Someday, when you understand me better,

you will know the regard with which I look upon your work.

School administrators:

Someday, when you understand me better,

you will know that I AM dedicated to the well-being of children,

and recognize that I am not the enemy.

Word Press readers:

Someday, when you understand me better,

you will no longer disdain my spiritual writings,

and will realize that I am not out to “convert” anyone,

to my point of view.

The precious children,

who understand me better than do most adults,

already know these things.

They just know.




September 22, 2016, Prescott- 

The Moon keeps us on our toes.

Calendar dates change,

based on its phases,

year to year,

for equinoxes and solstices;

for Baha’i Holy Days;

for Ramadan and Eid;

for Lent and Easter;

for the Jewish High Holy Days

and Passover.

The hearts who celebrate

do not change,

with the phases of the Moon,

or even with the climate’s fickleness.

We remain connected,

even across thousands of miles

and hectares of fenced-in fields.

We remain unified,

soul to soul,

in the face of contrived divisions,

of walls which no one really wants.

Walls and fences,

that delude us.

The only real safety

lies in connection.

Blessed be Charlotte,

Tulsa, Milwaukee,

St. Louis, Manhattan,

Elizabeth, Seaside Park.

God, be watchful,

over Pakistan, Syria,

Afghanistan, Iraq,

Yemen, South Sudan.

Stay the hands of the dividers,

wherever they may be.







September 20, 2016, Prescott-

The world is rife with givers and takers.

Most of us fall somewhere in between.

Where I was raised,

children are expected to need.

Adults are expected to stand tall

and provide.

There was a time, not long ago,

when my little family and I

were sorely in need.

Temporary help came,

and was repaid, in due time;

not quickly enough to suit some of my readers,

but fast enough for the creditor.

I have made a life’s work,

of providing for children and teens

in need of comfort and reassurance.

This continues,

and my little ones are secure,

in knowing they will not be left behind.

There are those who react to need,

with rage, coarse insults and threats

to life and limb.

Their way will not be ascendant,

for long,

if at all.

Love survives.



Ginger Rising


September 19, 2016, Prescott-

The child had had enough.

He stood and told off a surreptitious bully,

who of course denied having said,

what I heard him say,

under his breath,

from across the room.

The intended target of abuse

does not have to suffer,

for the colour of his hair.

I think red, to be a fine hue

for a coiffure.

All colours of hair are good.

A certain public figure

voiced the opinion

that some, who hold views

contrary to hers,

are deplorable.

Have we not had enough

of tossing human beings

into one scrap heap,

or another.

Outmoded or disreputable viewpoints

can be deplorable.

People are not;

regardless of their opinions,

or their physical attributes,

or their life experiences.

People are worthy of being treated

with dignity,

even when they don’t carry themselves so.

Children are always worthy of dignity,

because they are still works in progress.



Charades and Illusions


September 18, 2016, Prescott- Fall is coming.  Phoenix anticipates the last of its triple-digit days, for the year, will be this coming Wednesday.  That may, or may not, prove to be true.  We in Prescott have already had night temperatures below 40.

Fall was the season of my birth.  It is, thus, the main time of year that I take stock of who I am, as a human being, and what remains to be addressed, as I move further along, in the earthly classroom of living.

My parents were very much the voice of reason, and prepared each of us well, for the challenges they knew were going to throw themselves our way.  I was the one who had just a smidgen of faith in Deus ex maxina, supernatural rescuers and unicorns that one could ride to glory.  None of these ever got me anywhere. The rolled up sleeves, and willingness to watch, learn and work at least have enabled me to survive, to have had a loving marriage and to have raised a solid young man.

I did two things today, to give myself a push forward, in the reality department.  First, I moderated a faith meeting, helping to set short-term goals for our community.  Second, I called my satellite television provider, of 20 years, cancelled the service and boxed up the receiver and its accouterments. This last is an acknowledgement that a new television, right now, would be an extravagance, at a time when there are other priorities- such as exercise, service activities and my son’s preparation for a change of duty station.

Last night, I finished reading “One Hundred Years of Solitude”,  Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s tale of a family which wallowed in self-imposed isolation, incestuous relationships and delusions of grandeur.  It is  one of the most intense novels of the 20th Century, presenting a northeast Colombian town (fictional, of course), from the time of the country’s independence to the early twentieth century, in all its political acrimony and struggles to reconcile spiritual mythology and paranormal occurrences with the encroachment of international economics and trade.  No member of La Familia Buendia was ever really happy.

I thought of the illusions into which I bought, in my own life, and how much sweeter the ups and downs of reality have been for me, all through my married life and (for the most part) in the years since, than any of the flights of fancy that characterized my earlier years, or the brief periods, in 2011 and 2013, when I dealt with relapses into personal chaos.

So, on I will go, honouring my family, being present for those around me and building new friendships, both in real time and online.  Happy Autumn, one and all.


Nearly a year ago, north of Watson Lake, Prescott






September 16, 2016, Prescott- 

One child, jealous of another getting the attention

that he, himself, had been getting,

just two minutes before,

took off his shoe and tossed it,

in an arc, towards an empty space,

in the back of the room.

He then flung his food bag,

towards yet another child.

The student who was the focus of teacher’s attention

deflected the bag, away from student # 3,

and no harm was done.

Child doing the throwing

now faces a weekend

of confinement to his room.

There is no daylight,

home and school are tight.