May Beetles, June Bugs

7

May 31, 2017, Prescott- 

This has been a grueling, yet vital, month.  In retrospect, though, the transition that has arisen as one of the options I must consider, over the summer, has been bubbling up from the magma flow, for quite some time.

I am likely to hang on to this apartment, for at least the rest of 2017, although rents in this area tend to command 60-70% of the fixed portion of one’s income, thus making it essential to be able to earn one’s keep, above and beyond government checks.  This is as true of “senior” apartments, as it is of the general housing stock.  The other factor is that the chief of our department will need some time to sort out who should work in what capacity.  Although this is hardly an employer’s job market, when it comes to the well-being of children, standards need to be maintained.  This, I understand and support, while being one who poses no threat to any child.

All the while, as I mentioned to an online friend, in a comment, this morning, I am continuously building a network of solid contacts, across the continent, and abroad, so that, even if I am relegated to staying in legitimate campgrounds, in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to hold my head up, engage in acts of service, and earn my way.  I had hoped that this would wait until I reached age seventy, but the Universe moves as it will, and we have to maintain some flexibility.

So, May ends, with me being halfway done with the task of clearing our overgrown back yard, and having been able to serve my Lord, in a few small ways.  June beckons, starting with taking care of an important errand in Phoenix, combined with a small act of service.  I will then complete the yard work; downsize my possessions; go to  Hopi land, for a weekend visit; go to southern California the weekend after, on another errand of service; and toward month’s end, take part in a Baha’i Summer School, at Bellemont, west of Flagstaff.

May slogged along, though not for naught.  June will blaze on out, and I hope to have some sense of accomplishment, when heading to Ventura, Santa Barbara, Carson City and cross country, after Bellemont.

 

Single- Track Through Paradise

10

May 28, 2017, Cave Creek-

I have now gone from one point of angels to another, meaning from Superior to Cave Creek, via Globe and the Apache Trail.  This road (AZ Highway 88) is mostly single track, offering enough room for vehicles heading one way to pass, whilst those going in the opposite direction wait their turn.  It’s good for people to do this, at least a few times in their lives.  I last drove the AT, in 1983, with Penny in tow.  She was petrified and made me promise never to bring her there again. Today, she and my other spirit-minders made sure I paid close attention.  With scenes like the one below, it might not have been so easy, had my main focus not been on the well-being of everyone on the road, including yours truly.  Fortunately, there were also plenty of turn-outs.

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There are two lakes along the Apache trail, between Roosevelt Dam and Goldfield. Here is a view of Apache Lake.  When I taught at Villa-Oasis School, in the late 1970’s, this was one of the places groups of kids were sent for camping weekends.

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Imagine how the Salt River must have flowed, before these reclamation projects took root.

At Fish Creek Hill, I drove up a 10% grade, made doable by the dryness of the road, and the cautious courtesy of all comers.  One is rewarded at the top, by  amazing views of the Superstition Wilderness.

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Fish Creek Canyon looks like a fun place to hike and camp- in November.

I drove on, and found the pavement had resumed, about 1 1/2 miles west of the overlook.  So did one young man behind me, who chose to pass, on a double yellow line, in a 15-MPH curve zone.  The look on the face of the driver who had to stop and wait for him was classic.  I would not want to be on approaching driver’s bad side. Itchy Foot was the only one who broke courtesy, on the 44-mile drive.

I stopped at Tortilla Flat, a small tourist haven, close to Lost Dutchman State Park, in the heart of the Superstition Wilderness.  Siphon  Draw and Boulder Canyon are two popular hiking trails, accessible from Tortilla Flat.  Again, late Fall and early Spring are the best times for this area.  Tortilla Flat does offer a wide variety of cool treats, and I thoroughly enjoyed a sarsaparilla float.

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Back in  1900’s Arizona,, sidewalks, and even some roads, were made of planks.

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Having had a nice relaxing break, I headed on towards Apache Junction, then up through the Valley, to pay my Memorial Day respects to Penny.

There is one more attraction on the Apache Trail, before one gets to Goldfield (another, slightly more upgraded “ghost town”),  This is Canyon Lake.

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Each of the lakes and vista points along the Apache Trail is worth a day or two, in comfortable weather.  People, nonetheless, go there, even in the heat of summer, at least where there is water.  Looking back, I spent most of my summer days in and around water, as a child and young adult, so the appeal is a no-brainer.  It beats being inside.

I stopped at the Cemetery, anchored Penny’s flag, and one other, and thought of how fortunate I’ve been, with her presence, since 1980, and since 2011.

As I pulled up to Local Jonny’s, a lovely young woman, who seemed to be an advanced medical or law student, given her heavy briefcase, was securing her dog’s leash to the gatepost.  There weren’t many inside, so  Alicia was  glad I stopped in, and in ten minutes, I had the last of her pitcher of iced tea and a cilantro chicken salad was placed in front of me.  Jonny’s salads are good for two meals, so I have Monday’s lunch in my cooler, as the drive back to Prescott begins.

Having angels surrounding me, in all directions, including above, is a comforting state of affairs.  Oh, and an e-mail from the chief of department leaves the door to my staying in Prescott ajar, at least.

 

 

 

 

Tonto National Monument and Roosevelt Lake

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May 28, 2017, Roosevelt, AZ-  The day started with a wait to check out of  Copper Mountain Motel, Superior.  It was uncertain whether Ms. Amy would be up and at ’em, as stuff was going around, and had stopped at her doorstep, yesterday.  Well, she was over it, by 8:15.  I checked out of my superb room, with its reminder of what we are, as a nation.

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Globe, and breakfast, were next.  I spent about an hour with John and the dogs, watching as a hapless, and hopeless, individual ran over John’s flush hose, while trying to park at the RV clean-out station.  Some folks are worse off than I am, it seems.  We found the Copper Hen to be closed, so it was off to Judy’s Cook House, on the west end of town.  A few billowing clouds showed that the Pinal Fire was still a threat to the area, but was yet far from structures.  I heard nothing from the Red Cross, all day, so the fire is apparently being kept away, on this end.  Judy’s gave us a satisfying breakfast, and after solving a few of the world’s, or at least Globe’s, problems, John had to go straight back to customer service, at the Batting Cage, and I was on to Tonto National Monument, and Roosevelt Lake.

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The Batting Cage and RV Park are across the tracks from Globe Station.  Trains aren’t very frequent, these days.

Roosevelt Lake was named for Teddy, who of course had much to do with the reclamation of the West, as well as establishing places like Tonto National Monument.  It is visible from several points along the trail to the Lower Tonto Ruins, as well as offering four different recreation points.  The northernmost of these has a Visitor’s Center, which is closed for the holiday weekend.  The second photo below shows the marina near the Visitor’s Center.

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Now, more about Tonto National Monument.  Here is a glimpse of the Upper Ruins, which are closed until November, due to the heat factor.  It takes 3-4 hours, roundtrip, for the guided tour.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Lower Ruins trail is open year round, so I enjoyed that area, as well as the indoor exhibits.  As I said earlier, views of Roosevelt Lake are plentiful from the trail.  The Huhugam, and the Salado people who replaced them, made good use of the then-free flowing Salt River, whose waters comprise Roosevelt, Apache and Canyon Lakes.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here are some views of Lower Tonto Ruins.  Much of the wooden beams and braces are the original mesquite and ash used by the Salado people, in their construction.

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Caliche, a calcium-based clay, is sticky when wet and hard as concrete, once dry.  It was the prime building material for the Salado people.

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The docent told us that these beams are original Salado work, dating from 1150, or thereabouts!

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Nooks and crannies abound, in the Lower Ruins.

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There certainly seems more room in this complex, than in the Huhugam dwellings at Tuzigoot and Pueblo Grande.

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Below, is a kitchen cave.  Note that mano and metate are both caliche.

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Amaranth was one of the Salado people’s staple foods.  It is the bright red plant shown below, and was also used in dyes.

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Having had a brief, but brisk, hike up to the ruins and back, I headed towards Roosevelt Bridge and Dam, two miles further north. The Dam was dedicated by its namesake, Theodore Roosevelt, in March, 1911.

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The Bridge was completed, and opened, in October, 1990, after eighty years of vehicles being driven atop the dam.  Penny and I did so in 1983, and after we continued on to Apache Junction, via AZ Route 88, she made me promise never to do that again, with her in the car.  You will learn why, in the next post.

 

 

Sixty Six for Sixty-Six,Part XXXVII: Three Couples and A Lone Wolf

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May 27, 2017, Superior-   I adore strong couples.  I was surrounded, in childhood, by husbands and wives whom none of us could imagine being without one another.  Of course, there were the ones who just could not get along, and who went their separate ways; they were three, out of thirty six, or so.

I spent the afternoon at SunFlour Market, with two dear women friends, whose combined spirit could brighten the gloomiest of days.  Both are happily married, and in fact, I met the husband of SunFlour’s owner, and saw that he is very much involved with his wife’s success.  The younger couple could be my own children, and in fact, I feel like I’ve known the wife forever.  A musician was also present, playing a truncated guitar, produced by Go Guitars, of California.  His wife later came in, having just enjoyed a special health-related treat.

Four of us got onto the subject of keeping oneself healthy, in the face of aging.  Three of us are in our sixties and my young friend is forty-something, looking mid-thirty-ish.  We agreed that it is the blitheness of one’s spirit that keeps us going, as well as using the purest of foods and personal cleansing products.   I fully intend to keep on with that, for decades to come.  I want the same for everyone else, as long as their quality of life is intact.  No one should suffer, years on end.

I want to see married couples enjoy one another, also for decades to come, and to grow ever closer, not apart.  Someone dear to my heart will marry next year.  Someone else dear to me has found a person with whom to build a relationship.  As I write this, I see the face of my departed love, smiling brightly.  I may be a lone wolf, right now, but I know the full joy of being in a strong bond.

Dreams Deferred

8

May 26, 2017, Prescott-

In the interests of preventing further problems, for me and others, the chief of department has several questions, which she will raise next Wednesday.  A lot of decisions with regard to children are made, based on second-or third hand information.  There are specific program issues, personality clashes between adults (which do NOT take the children’s interests into account), and matters of style.

Memorial Day weekend has often been a time of deferring action, as there are many year end transitions that have to be accomplished, but people need respite.  I once lived out of my car for the weekend, while a prospective landlord took time off.  He, of course, blew me off on the following Tuesday, but I found a far better place in which to live.

This year brings a similar situation.  The possibility of returning to working with a high school age population is still quite real, but will need to defer to the principle of rest, and to further discussions.  My plan B is to be full-on with the Red Cross, though that will bring $0.  Then, too, there is the option of moving into a less expensive community, and starting over.  As I said, yesterday, quick, not dead.

Quick, Not Dead

8

May 25, 2017, Prescott-

The verdict came, this afternoon.

As I expected, the complex position,

with multiple  and conflicting levels of supervision,

was judged not a good fit for me.

I will most likely work with teens, next academic year.

Adolescents have indeed been a better fit for me, over the years,

whenever discipline was part of the job.

Reason is important to me,

and I see childhood as not a time

for confusion or conflicting expectations.

Teens can reason with the unreasonable;

so can I, when they are unreasonable, themselves.

We will come upon a time,

when the children we call “indigo”

will have more on their plates,

decision-wise,

than their still forming minds

can handle.

For now, though,

whoever takes my place,

with the little ones,

will need to temper

the skill set of external control,

with a truly loving heart.

As for me, I am among the quickened.

No one in the head office wants me

professionally dead.

I will go on working.

Giant Steps, Baby Steps

11

May 24, 2017, Prescott-

We are nearly done with the academic year,

and spent a good part of the morning

recapping.

Three of our students won awards,

having made great strides,

both academically and character-wise.

Another went slightly backwards,

misreading the cues,

after the assembly had finished.

The group as a whole had transition issues,

as the afternoon ensued.

It’ll be over,

for a few months, though,

by noon tomorrow.

I trust team changes,

and student transfers,

will allow for a more even start,

come August.

I will know my own assignment level,

in a week or two.

At least, I will continue to work,

somewhere.

We make adjustments,

and see progress,

in our lives.

Some are entirely

of our own volition.

Others are thrust upon us,

and duty calls-

or opportunity knocks.

Several said they hated today,

and were glad it was over.

I don’t see myself

as having that luxury.

Every day given me,

in good health,

is one more than

Penny was given.

I seldom heard her complain.

Most  of what I do

involves increments.

Baby steps,

some of them backwards,

are needed,

if one is to maintain focus.

Giant steps,

most of them forwards,

are what give me confidence.

Time was,

when I could not imagine myself,

doing half of what

the spirits have guided me to do.

Time will be,

when I look back

on things large and small,

and thank God for my feet.

 

 

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXXVI: So Fleeting, It Is

17

May 23, 2017, Prescott-

I have felt a lot, welling in my heart, today. Sitting on the floor, after hours, keeping a little boy out of harm’s way, whilst waiting for his guardian to arrive and take him home, two of us encountered his simplistic view of things:  If he were only allowed to, he would run after the bus, in stocking feet.  Somehow, he knew the bus would be late, and it was; but guardian was already en route.

This is our clairvoyant child, who warned me not to think of a new friend of mine in a romantic way.  I would not have done so, anyway, but he had no way of knowing my heart- or maybe he did see a hidden danger lurking.

It has been a tempestuous month:  Two deaths of friends, one expected; the other, a bombshell.  Both brought communities together.  An aged mentor, to many of us in my Faith community, went back to God, last Wednesday.    Then, this week, a colleague in the Red Cross passed on, after a serious illness.

Now comes Manchester.  A young lady of considerable, as yet unrealized, talent, sought to bring the joy of her dance hall style of music to another generation of youth.  A crazed and puritanical misfit set out to destroy her efforts.  The resulting carnage will live in my heart, for a long time.

Some in my circle have taken to responding to me, of late, with curt, businesslike replies.  Others, are acting as if we’ve never met, in the first place.  Life is fleeting, so why not friendship and connection?

It’s often said, that if you love something, set it free, and if it comes back, it is yours.  If not, it never was.  So, my friends and family are always free to come and go.  The spot they have in my heart will still be there, should they come back.  This is life, and it goes on.

Manchester

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May 22, 2017, Prescott-

So many youths,

glad for an evening

of music that made them

dance,

on the floor

and in their hearts.

Nineteen are gone,

fifty hanging on,

because of one

with a detonator.

A light-hearted young woman,

seeking to make her fans’ lives

a bit more carefree,

sits crestfallen,

broken-hearted,

in a hotel room,

in Manchester.

Home

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May 21, 2017, Kelowna,BC-via Prescott

“Wherever you have friends, that’s your country. Wherever you receive love, that’s your home.” Tibetan proverb quoted by the Dalai Lama in The Book of Joy (I highly recommend this book!) This quote brilliantly summarizes my experience of life with and as an exchange student. Half your heart has moved to a new location.

via quote- home — Shawn L. Bird