Janus Blinks


January 31, 2017, Prescott-


New Year’s Day, and a San Diego rain

More rain, as the nation remembered

Martin Luther King.

Chills in the air,

and chillblains,

in the lungs of many friends.

Two good workouts,

with snow to be removed.

Winter can’t help

but be fast about its business.

So, as the Sun gets higher,

in the northern sky,

boreal winds begin to fly.

Snowmen and frosty flakes

get nudged, ever so slightly,

by crocuses, roses and chocolate.

Sea of Trees


January 30, 2017, Prescott-

Saturday evening, after my hike, I headed for a friend’s house, in Phoenix, where I spent the night.  I had experienced a fair amount of spiritual resonance, whilst on the trail, particularly in the alluvial stone deposits, just north of the New River. As I’m reading “The Standing Stones Speak”, which some of my more jaded friends regard as New Age hokum, I found a bit of a connection, through my meditation, between the book and the spiritual climate.

It was not a coincidence, in my view, that “The Sea of Trees”, a 2015 film that was slammed by hipster critics, was my friend’s Netflix choice for viewing, that evening.  Like the central character in the film, I was caretaker for a deathly-ill spouse.  The wife in the film was not ill for very long, though, and ended up being killed by a distracted driver, while riding in an ambulance (the one plot twist I had a hard time accepting, as I have never seen anyone T-bone an emergency vehicle, especially at a high rate of speed).

The protagonist and his wife struggled, at times, just as many couples do, when differences of life energy become personalized.  Penny and I worked through our issues, and ended strong.

When the protagonist chose to travel to a forest, east of Japan’s Mount Fuji, with the intent of committing suicide, he encountered another suicidal man, who was struggling to get out of the forest, as he had changed his mind.  Through trying to help the other man, he realizes his own suicidal impulses were not all that deep.  It turns out that his late wife’s spirit was working, through the presence of the other man, to help the protagonist work through his grief.

Again, this was no coincidence that we viewed this particular film.  I reflected that there have been so many times, in which Penny’s spirit has helped me, through one difficulty or another. This, it is apparent, is what loving spirits do for those they leave behind, here in the physical realm. Indeed, are there really any coincidences, at all?

Black Canyon National Recreation Trail: Some Other Beginning’s End


January 28, 2017, Phoenix-  I completed my section-by-section exploration of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, this evening.  Biscuit Flat segment’s north trailhead lies across New River Road from Emery Henderson Day Use Area, so I parked there.

As the name indicates, the terrain here is FLAT!


Thanks to recent rains, though, there was greenery aplenty and, as you will see, a river to be crossed.


A ranch once occupied Biscuit Flat, just above the New River. Its remnants are still on view, in the forms of a wooden trough and some piles of stones, apparently set aside as building material.




Sizable “rivers of stone”, on the north bank of the New River, indicate that the often-dry  river has had its moments of torrent.  I spent several minutes, contemplating these rather extensive, and deep, piles of debris.  I’ve read that rocks and minerals impart energy.  I certainly felt that, here.


New River itself was the second sweet surprise.  It, too, was running and gave me a chance to get my feet wet.



The river bed is 1/4 mile wide, so there were two or three areas that needed fording.


About 1/2 mile south of the river, there is a Federal prison to the left of the trail.


A tributary of the New River left a small puddle, just past the prison view.



As I reached Bob Bently Trailhead, a rather nondescript gate with weathered signage, my 88 miles of Black Canyon trail were reduced to the return hike to Emery Henderson.  The sounds of nearby Ben Avery State Shooting Range (where my son was trained to properly handle firearms) were heard, over a formidable earthen berm.

Lest anyone get the idea that Bob Bently was the end of the line, though, the invitation to another extensive trail system appeared, to my right. Several segments of Maricopa Trail, (http://mctpf.org/the-trail/), a 315-mile loop, circling Maricopa County, will be in view, on these pages, over the next four years.  There seems no end to surprises coming my way.


She Did and They Will


January 26, 2017, Prescott-

When I turned on the TV, of a Saturday night, when I was in my pre-teens and early teens, my adolescent eyes were glued to the screen, whenever Laura Petrie appeared.  As a few years went by, and Mary Tyler Moore assumed a more unfettered TV persona, I learned the value of seeing a woman or girl as far more than a pretty face, as any man with a pulse is bound to do-some, after a considerable fashion.  Mary Richards didn’t need a man to complete her, in any way.  Then, there was her real life struggle, mirrored in the character she played in “Ordinary People”, when my sympathies fell with the forlorn husband, played by Donald Sutherland, even while I wished she hadn’t been so vicious towards herself, as well as him and their tortured son, played by Timothy Hutton.

Mary Tyler Moore took up where Lucille Ball left off, becoming an entertainment production powerhouse.  She did so, in spite of family tragedies, failed marriages and debilitating disease.  When she did find a soulmate, and a measure of peace, she was to shine as both actress and television executive.  The example she set should not be lost, on any young woman starting out.

We are at something of a crossroads, with respect to the advancement of women.  Too many disempowered men feel as if giving strength to women means that they will be further at a loss.  In truth, when my wife prospered and felt validated, so did I.  We were never in competition.  I have never been emasculated.

I have, recently, been excoriated for  supporting the Womens’ March.  The alternate view is that all is well, that women are lucky to have it so good in this country and anyone voicing concerns, about the treatment of women and girls, is raising an issue out of whole cloth.

We have made progress, as a society.  Many jobs have been rated and graded, with regard to pay and benefits, particularly in the trades.  It could even be argued that this is a First World issue, that while upper management is still largely a male province, the punching of a time clock is done in an air of equity.  Biology still rears its head, though, in many offices and plants, and there is too high a rate of occurrence of sexual harassment.

We could, despite the argument that those who can’t afford day care should remain childless (a vicious sentiment that reflects some bitterness, of those who scrimped and saved), act more as a community, in ensuring the well-being of infants and toddlers, whose parents don’t have the luxury of market-driven child care.

Women will, most likely, over the coming decades, present more like Mary Richards, or Laura Petrie, than like June Cleaver (“Leave It to Beaver”).  Millennials and Post- Millennials, male and female alike, have very clear minds of their own and are not hesitant to voice informed opinions.  They will have the burden of cleaning up a fair number of messes and moving communities forward, much as the “GI Generation” had to, upon returning from the morass of World War II.

Mary Tyler Moore did move her needle, and the rising generations, of both women and men, will do the same.


Two-Hour Delay


January 24, 2017, Prescott-

School started at 10,

instead of 8.

Ice clogged the streets,

many pick-up drivers feared being late.

So, as I drove carefully along,

there were several who swung around me.

Arriving safely at work,

I was glad to, rid of traffic, be.

Shortened schedules bother our students,

a lack of mid-morning breakfast,

also an unwelcome surprise-

how imprudent.

We made it safely through, with no bumps and bruises.

A fair amount of learning,

even a short day infuses.




January 23, 2017, Prescott-

Today was another day of us plowing through tough weather, and getting much of our teaching done, working around heightened levels of excitement, as the snow began to fall, once again, in mid-day, after a morning of rain.  Once back at home base, I returned to matters of the spirit.

Baha’u’llah tells us that it is the duty of the individual to investigate truth, and not to overly depend on other humans to impart enlightenment.  He writes that the great Spiritual Masters, Whom we call Manifestations of God, guide us to all truth, through Their Writings, but also through Their lives.  An examination of each of these lives shows, in essence, and in consideration of the times in which each Master lived,  a remarkable consistency. Each lived according to the Golden Rule (Mean), in all its implications.

Now, more than ever, it falls to us to develop a full awareness, and appreciation, of the Golden Rule, and to educate ourselves in all its aspects.  This is my understanding of independent investigation of Truth.

Seeking Light


January 22, 2017, Prescott-

I spent much of today in spiritual study, first attending a Baha’i group, which is focusing on our Supreme Administrative Body, the Universal House of Justice.  Afterwards, I continued a simultaneous reading of “Apocalypse:  A Spiritual Guide To The Second Coming”, by Dr. Jim Richards and “The Standing Stones Speak”, by Natasha Hoffman and Hamilton Hill.

Many of us are on a spiritual quest, of one sort or another.  My purpose, in reading the two, rather divergent books, is to find the common cord, which Baha’u’llah says exists in any faith that is based on Divine Revelation.  Dr. Richards cautions the reader against taking everything, in conventional religion, at face value.  He offers a good compendium of religious trappings that appeal to one’s ego, or are drawn from darker practices of the past.  Ms. Hoffman and Mr. Hill advise the reader to open spiritual channels and meditate, deeply, on the positive and pure  elements that reveal themselves to the discerning, while being wary of negative forces.

In other words, both the conservative Christian and the spiritualists are warning us away from negative forces, and pointing us towards the forces of light.  This is what I’ve seen, so far, and verifies my learnings from Baha’i Scripture.  It’s important, to me at least, to not be too attached to names and titles, but to look, carefully, at the lives of the Great Spiritual Teachers and to sift out any indication of self-aggrandizement, on the part of the writers.

All I have read, thus far, encourages more comparative study- including a simultaneous study of the New Testament and the Quran, later this Spring, Summer and Autumn.  Baha’u’llah teaches that each individual is to learn spiritual truth for her/himself.

Marching On


January 21, 2017, Prescott- I was delighted by the snow that fell, this morning.  It was just enough to make everything lovely and to give me two hours of exercise.  Whilst shoveling, I noted that it was close to time for the Women’s March to take place, downtown.  I finished clearing the walk, for the sake of my neighbour, a disabled woman, who is wheelchair-bound and needs a clear path, at least three times a week.  I then took a rest, and thought very happy thoughts about the sky having cleared, for the marchers and for those with other business.  If someone chose to march today, God bless her.  If someone made other uses of their time, as long as (s)he hurt no one- God bless her, too.

Women and girls have lighted my world, from as far back as I can remember.  The most powerful woman I have ever known, has never marched or staged a public protest a day in her life.  She raised five of us, with two special needs children (my youngest brother and me) as bookends of her parenting.  She is a ferocious liberal, who loved her conservative husband with all her heart, and loves/ abides  three moderately conservative children (my beloved siblings), and me-the gadfly.  Her motherhood took the lion’s share of her life’s work, but does not define her.

The most beloved woman in my life, now departed, would have gladly taken part in today’s march, but would never have turned her back on basic values of respect and validation for those with opposing points of view.  She loved her ultraconservative father, even when his social comments broke her heart.  She and I would have heated conversations, but not once did they impact our commitment to one another.  She loved being a mother and wife, every bit as much as being a teacher, and a scholar.

I know, and love, thousands of women and girls, of all political/ideological viewpoints, and of no such viewpoints.  Their rights are the same as mine.  Their dreams and aspirations are every bit as valid as those of any man. Their strengths and abilities can only do the world good.  The woman who chooses to be a homemaker, teaches, nurses the sick or cares for others’ children is as valuable, to society, as she who practices law, runs a corporation, repairs motor vehicles or serves in the Armed Forces.  The conservative, who prefers a “traditional” lifestyle, and the progressive, who is in the vanguard of social change, are vital to one another, and would that they see this.  Each is certainly vital, in my world.

It is the nurturing presence, the capacity for bonding and the devotion to others, basic to a human female and expressed in so many ways, that makes standing up, for the well-being of women and girls, so essential.  In whatever way one marches- in serried ranks, two-by-two or singly and alone; publicly, or at home, in one’s own mind; by speaking out  before a crowd or by raising strong people, you, dear one, are making a difference.

March on.

And Now…..


January 20, 2017, Prescott-

The snow came, in the afternoon.  Then, it turned to rain, for a while, this evening.  Now,snow is back, is falling lightly, here, and heavier, in higher parts of Prescott.  The snow discombobulates our students, but we were able to get everyone in an orderly line and to the bus, without incident.  I hope they get a lot of activity and enjoyment of the snow, this weekend, just as I did as a child.

The bluster was tame, in Washington, this morning. I caught the new President’s Inaugural Address, on my laptop, when I got off work, this evening.  It was neither among the best, nor was it the worst, speech I’ve heard, from a sitting President.  Mr. Trump gave us, basically, what he felt necessary to say.  I do want to see a better shake for the nation’s long left-behind towns and cities, of the Midwest and Northeast- the Eries, Dubuques, Zanesvilles, Wheelings and Tauntons of our collective back-burner memory.  I also do NOT want to see a back-slide, with regard to the rights and well-treatment of people of colour, of gender transversal or of either gender.  I don’t see any need for a dichotomy between the two; no cause for an either-or mentality.

So, there has been a changing of the guard.  It’s not how I would have wanted things, but as the now-former President said, on Wednesday, this is our system and we each need to do what we can, to make it work.  I will be very vigilant, watching closely so that no one in power misleads the blue-collar people, with whom I grew up, and that no one mistreats the people on the margins, whose safety and well-being have been close to my heart, for at least the past fifty years.  My prayer is that we all hold our leaders accountable and guard those we love.