Out Like Simba


March 31, 2017, Prescott-

The following haiku addresses the vagaries of weather.

Snow came to call,

traipsing, this afternoon,

across desert skies.

March, this year, came in like a bleating lamb

and left, with the spirit of the popular animated lion.

Maybe, it was just an early April Fool’s joke.



March 30, 2017, Prescott-

Some brief observations,

after a long day.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

Humans seek to fill a void,

any void,

with whoever, or whatever,

is nearby.

If a child leaves a classroom,

program administrators cast about,

for another child to fill the slot.

No vessel can hold more than capacity.

If a human psyche is filled to rage,

it explodes, at the nearest target.

A system seeks to perpetuate itself,

even if it is unwieldy, inefficient,

and uncaring.

People are dismissed,

others enter, stay a while,

and are themselves dismissed.

I’ve seen this, each time I have been let go.

My successors have fared no better.

The present situation is not a crash and burn,


We have a few miles to go, on the treadmill.

Year’s end will tell a lot, about everyone involved.

To Account


March 29, 2017, Prescott-

(“Bring thyself to account each day, ere thou art summoned to a reckoning…”

Baha’u’llah gives His followers this instruction, not as any sort of threat,

but as sage advice to keep our social and spiritual affairs in order,

as one does with financial affairs.)

I have completed today’s self-accounting.

There were three instances, in which I feel I could have done much better.

There will be a chance to do so, tomorrow and in days to come,

as the same people will present themselves, over the next two months.

Am I still worthy of some new friendships?

So far, yes, and my personal growth needs to continue, in that regard.

Did I ignore the one detractor who insulted me, this noon?

Yes, because she was speaking more out of her own pain,

than anything to do with me, whom she had never met until today.

Good things continue to happen.

Our study circle covered some intense spiritual ground.

One of my boys, who lacked self-control, is making a very strong effort

at maintaining it, these past two days.

His struggle is real.

I met another sweet, loving person, this evening.

Such friends make any trials seem like trifles.

A long absent cousin contacted me,

with a plea for me to go back East, in July.

Will see where the guidance takes me,

on that matter, but I have had a little voice

say “Head east, not northwest”, not long ago.

So, the ledger is balanced.



Constant Solace


March 28, 2017, Prescott Valley- This afternoon, whilst shuttling between meetings.   I listened to a discussion, on NPR, about emotional support animals.  It set me to thinking about the matters: Of people who feel invisible and untended; of false equivalency between those who are truly disabled, those who are mildly inconvenienced, and how does one accurately distinguish between the two; of those who are simply gaming the system.

When I was a child, there were Seeing Eye Dogs and police dogs, with specific missions, who were not to be bothered, in the course of their duties.  In the late 1970’s, came Hearing Dogs, which was almost a no-brainer.  After the closing of mental hospitals, and with the onset of more research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Therapy Dogs and Equestrian Therapy started to become commonplace, especially in the American West.  These animals all still serve a wide variety of people in pain.

In the 1990’s, and continuing through the present time, we have seen a more personalized extension of the therapy animal:  The Emotional Support Animal (ESA).  Dogs, cats, budgerigars, pythons, lizards, ferrets, hamsters, even llamas and burros, have been presented, in one or more social situations and public spaces, as essential companions to humans.

For those making these new demands upon the rest of society, the traditional concept of pets has gone out the window.  I know many who treasure their various pets, sometimes as members of the family.  Most of my pet-owning friends keep their furry friends at home, or make humane arrangements for them, when out of town.  To the people who regard their animals as essential to their own well-being, however, the idea of being away from them, even for a night on the town, becomes nerve-wracking, traumatic, and completely unacceptable.

I can understand a lot of this.  Other than the unconditional love of a significant other, there are few things more appealing than the comfort of one’s favourite animal, especially after a stressful day.  A warm dog or cat is also a comfort for many who live, and sleep, alone.

Enter the Golden Rule.  I am just posing these questions- without judgment:

Are the feelings of one’s fellow diners, and of eatery staffs, being considered, when one brings an ESA into a restaurant or outdoor cafe?

Is it safe, or even comfortable, to bring a stock animal onto a train?  What about the comfort of the animal?

Can the likes of  a dog, cat, gerbil or python really be suitable for riding in the coach of an airplane?  What about the animal’s safety, in the event its human needs to evacuate said aircraft?

What about the management of a conflict between, say, a dog and cat, or two animals in heat?

These are all, to my mind, fair questions.  I will read any reasonable, well- considered responses with a great deal of interest.

It Is, and Isn’t


March 27, 2017, Prescott-

What is in my heart, of late,

is a set of intense feelings.

It is being intrigued by, interested in,

someone who was immensely kind

and loving, the week before last.

It isn’t a return to the temporary insanity

of four years ago.

It is a recognition that there is a friendship,

added to all the other wonderful friendships,

that I have in this world.

It isn’t a matter of my ego, gone haywire.

I know that, as life has presented me

with those to whom I have been attracted,

and who were not the least bit attracted to me,

so, too, has been the converse.

It is a joyful thing,

this reaching out,

to new places, new friends,

new silver.

It isn’t a matter of discarding the gold.

Tiny Seed


March 26, 2017, Prescott-

I am starting, just starting, to emerge

from a heavy coat,

after several false springs.

My last flowering,

which itself went to seed,

six years ago,

was followed by

pollen-blowing winds.

Tests came,

and the sacred dust settled,

across the middle

and to the south

of this continent,

in the west of Europe,

to our northwest

and Alaska.

I have felt a warm sun,

and plentiful water,

in each place, where my pollen dust has landed.

The seedling is poking through, yet again,

in a new spring.

Much of the pollen,

has stuck, right here,

yet there is a rich amount

that is settling in a place,

one hundred fifty miles or so,

to our southeast.

Friendly gardeners are tending me,

everywhere I feel.

There is wonderment, though,

as to where I will take root,

in this new spring.


Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XIX: Two Kinds of Heaven


March 14, 2017, Superior-  I was invigorated, despite it being an afternoon during the Fast, once the High Trail came into view.  This fairly easy trail first led down into Queen Creek Canyon, and past an old, abandoned Pump House.



The energetic and happy family ahead of me were already planning to bounce along the bridge that crossed Queen Creek and take on the ridge, which gives High Trail its name.  I was more than glad to follow suit.  As they bounced up and down, in unison, I lingered behind, to take in the fragrance of some Texas Scarlet, and view upwards, at the rhyolite which Queen Creek seems to have thrust upwards.



Then, it was time to do a bit of jumping of my own.


Queen Creek was still, on this gorgeous afternoon.


The views eastward, however, were an extra delight- the rugged edges of a particular heaven.




I was able to get one more, long-distance view of Picket Post House, before heading back down into the canyon.


Obsidian accompanies rhyolite, as one heads towards the Australian exhibit.


After one last look at the rhyolite “castles”, for today, I headed back towards the Arboretum.


There are two greenhouses, on the western edge of the park.  These house plants that are still delicate, primarily from the “cone” of South America and from southern and eastern Africa.

Mammilaria are the main feature of Green House 1.


Euphorbia, and aloe, dominate Green House 2.  The first shows plants from Madagascar, which, like the U.S. has a rugged desert Southwest.


These plants are from the equally rugged southwest of the Arabian Peninsula.


With that, I exited Boyce Thompson Arboretum.  My return,  in the first days of April, will be in no small part due to  a special soul, working in this little bit of heaven.  SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES


Nature and friendship are what keep me going, as many in Prescott, and elsewhere, know.

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XVIII: Queen Creek, as A Moat


March 14, 2017, Superior- After an intensive review of the desert plants, with which I have become so well familiar, thanks to both Boyce Thompson Arboretum and its sister institution, Desert Botanical Garden, I headed up along the High Trail, to have a look at Picket Post House’s exterior (the house doesn’t re-open for visits, until either next year or 2019), and  Ayer Lake, a small reservoir that was drawn from Queen Creek, for the purpose of attracting water fowl and aquatic reptiles.

High Trail goes between  Ayer Lake and Picket Post House, then loops around to the west and south, along the eastern base of Picket Post Mountain.  The first twenty minutes of my hike, on this relatively easy trail, found me in a wealth of company- it being Spring Break for Arizona schools.  There were birders galore, at  Ayer Lake, teen girls with selfie sticks, on the rocks above the reservoir and adventurous boys, who followed me in exploring a couple of ledges, overlooking a western spur of Queen Creek Gorge.  The parents of the kids were close by, enjoying the relative comfort of the thatched-roof ramada.

Here are further scenes of this very full visit.   Ayer Lake, rather still on this mild day, has at least one resident turtle, and several Black Phoebes, enjoying the cold water.


I saw a couple Red-tailed hawks circling around, as well.  They are said to nest in the rhyolite boulders, which abound in this park that was built from nature, not imposed on it.



This overlook was most popular with the girls.


Of course, it had the best view of the reservoir.




Speckled and striated rhyolite, between lake and mansion, testify to the presence of both copper and iron, in the area.



Picket Post House itself looms just above these boulders, and almost seems protected by the creek and canyon, which loop around its northern and western flanks.


The boys and I saw this hint of the coming spring, from the canyon’s edge.


Here was a sight that caused the boys to turn back from the overlook.


Picket Post House, seen from a southwestern vantage point, shows its retaining wall.


I look forward to seeing the place, in its full magnificence, once it becomes part of the park’s exhibits, a year or two hence.

Next up:  The High Trail’s western course.



March 22, 2017, Prescott-

My heart was aflutter, somehow, this morning.

I felt an intense, gentle warmth, coming from an unknown source.

My thoughts went to a barely-known friend,

some distance to the southeast of here.

I felt her energy and encouragement.

Then, they went to Dad.

He’d have celebrated his ninetieth birthday, today,

had his heart not failed him,

on that warm June morning, thirty-one years ago.

Dad always wanted us to think of the sunny parts of life,

to get us through the challenges.

He never wanted any of us to give up,

and that’s largely why I’m still here.

Love is always the secret.


Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XVII: The Amazing Fruits of Sand



SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESMarch 14, 2017, Superior- No doubt about it, this area has me hooked.  Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park, a combination of Desert Botanical Garden and the Prescott Circle Trail, is the centerpiece of an intensely spiritual region.  Queen Creek, which runs through the park, on the south side, has carved Arizona’s best-kept secret, in its network of canyons.  Picket Post Mountain, to the west, watches over the Arboretum, like a strong big brother.  The people I met, from a gentle wanderer who is exploring all the National Forests west of the Mississippi, to a  vibrant,passionately caring barista, exuded the sort of spirituality that comes from tapping into the extant energy field that is found in places that stay close to their natural origins.

I will present Boyce Thompson Arboretum in three segments:  This first post looks at the various desert plants, from all corners of the world, with an emphasis on the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, which are closest to the central Arizona highlands, in which the park exists.

The next post will feature Lake Ayer and the terrain around Picket Post House (Boyce Thompson’s residence)  The last  will take in the High Trail and the west end of Queen Creek Canyon.

Here are four scenes of the Sonoran Trail, which offers the flora of Arizona, Sonora (MX) and Baja California.

This is a Fire Barrel Cactus, found in both the Sonoran and lower Mojave Deserts.


Maguey de Pulque is the source of a medicinal fermented beverage, popular first with the indigenous people of northwest and central Mexico.  It was originally used to relieve intestinal discomfort.


Palm trees, of various types, are found throughout the deserts of Mexico.  This San Jose Hester Palm is found only in Baja California.


Here is a testament to the full botanic splendour of the Sonoran Desert, holding its own with the exhibits of Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix) and Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum(Tucson).  The flowering has not reached its peak, but anticipated rains, next week, may change that.  I may even catch some of the colours, when I am here next, on April 1-2.


The Curandero Trail, named for the traditional healers of Mexico, focuses on medicinal plants, both of the Sonoran and of the Chihuahuan Deserts.

Desert lavender has a calming effect, similar to that of its cousin, in the temperate climates to the north.  Here it is, in a dry tributary of Queen Creek.


Snakeweed, seen behind the informational sign, had a wide variety of uses, from treating snakebite to serving as a laxative for horses.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESBoyce Thompson Arboretum has an extensive catalog of course offerings, on the uses of desert plants.  I am likely to make good use of those courses, in the intermediate future.

Finally, here are a few South American and Australian desert scenes.

This is a Toothpick Cactus, from Argentina’s Gran Chaco.


The Chaco, like the Sonoran Desert, gets quite verdant, with winter rains (July).


The interior of Australia  is, as is widely known, a place for only the hardiest of man and beast.  This water tower is indicative of what might be found in a swagman’s camp.  Swagmen herded livestock, in oases of the Outback.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are  eucalyptus trees, found in the eastern part of the Outback.



This gum tree does not supply chicle, as its Mesoamerican and African cousins do, but did give swagmen a supply of resin, for their workaday adhesive needs.


This is, of course, a minute sampling of what is in store for the visitor to Boyce Thompson.  Two greenhouses, just shy of the park exit, offer sensitive African and Arabian desert flora.  These will have their own segments of the park, in the near future, as will Central Asian and Mediterranean plant life.

Next up:  Geology’s Turn to Dazzle