Back On The Trail

11

November 12, 2018, Prescott-

I gave my knees a mild reality check, this afternoon, going to  the Centennial Trail, on the northwest side of town and hiking a small section that I had not previously explored. It was light, by my usual standards, but gave me the workout I needed, to confirm that I can handle more intensive fare.

Here are some scenes of that sector-and of the other end of the trail, now undergoing sewer pipe replacements, for the homes which abut the trail.

I would have gone up the usual north side of the trail, had it not been for the work being done.

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The road I had to use was Westridge, a street about 1.5 miles west southwest of this access point.  It was fine, as the trailhead led to the one area of Centennial that I had never hiked.   The 1.5 mile loop that I ended up taking was good, both time-wise and in terms of workout.  I now know my knees are back to normal, and can gradually build up to that which I am accustomed.

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The trail sticks to the side of Westridge, for about 500 yards, before veering off into the Boulder Preserve.

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We have a penchant for naming things after what they replace. My hope, having seen well-planned homes place in the wilderness, is that this will not be a mindless, chock-a-block  intrusion on a special place.

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Here, I rejoined more familiar parts of the Centennial, and continued on through the public section of the Preserve, for another .75 mile.

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I look forward to returning to the north side of the trail, once the sewer pipes are completed, sometime in the Spring.

Veterans, Donuts and Honouring Commitments

2

November 12, 2018, Prescott-

Today is an extension of Veterans Day, being the Monday after a Sunday holiday.  It is also the birthday of a friend, so there will be a small luncheon in her honour, just before Noon.  Before that, though, there is a donuts for vets event, at our local Veterans Center.

These two events will find me showing up, yet there is also the matter of tying up loose ends, by delivering the remaining items I had stored for the individual I mentioned yesterday.  That will begin the afternoon.  Then, I have several hours of “me-time”, and can enjoy the coolness of a crisp Fall day.  For the first time in a while, I will take my camera with me, and just walk-somewhere.

Commitments are huge, and one of the things I have had to work on-under my own terms, is presence.  I am making progress, despite occasional setbacks, and no amount of screaming and yelling on anyone’s part is going to deter me from meeting that goal.  My honour is intact.

I have found, once again, that the vast majority of people in the world are fine folks.  I am in a good place, in this community, and have been treated well on the road, also.  There was a brief period, last month, when I did not feel safe.  That came from giving too much power and importance to someone else-and that is behind me.  One must never hand control over to another, no matter how loud and manipulative that other person is.

Things are returning to good, once again.  Happy Veteran’s Day, Part II, to all who have served our nation.

 

Unconditional

9

November 11, 2018, Prescott-

Happy Veterans Day to all who served, in “times of peace” and in open conflict.  I regret one thing about 11:11:11/18- I was resolving a conflict over material possessions (someone else’s) at the time, so I missed the reflection which that time merits.

Basically, I have been storing items for a benighted and angry individual.  I had temporarily forgotten where they were stored, and was thus subjected to yet another tirade about how stupid and worthless I was.  Fortunately, this was all electronic, a “hit and run”, so to speak. Even more fortunately, I found the items, they will be transported to a third party, tomorrow and I will be free to ban the above-mentioned person from ever contacting me again.

I have had it with detractors and naysayers-as opposed to sincere, earnest critics, who point out errors, out of love.  The latter will always have my attention.

It has taken a  long, long time for me to value myself and to know that those who lambaste me  are not worth my time.  That time has arrived and I know, both in heart and mind, that I deserve the best that life has to offer.  Actually, we all deserve the best. The fact that some have been raised to regard themselves as worthless, is precisely why there is so much conflict-whether over THINGS,  or over ideas, or over social norms.

If each of us recognized our worth, material possessions would not be the cause of strife, money would not be the source of grief, attention to detail would not be the cause of condemnation.  We would know that all would be alright, if not immediately, then over time.

If each of us really understood the Universe, the nature of Creation, the eternity of being, then there would be no conflict of egos.  There would have been no Lucifer’s rebellion; no smug disregard, by our distant ancestors, of spiritual instruction; no ongoing conflict, often perpetrated by those who cast themselves as “enlightened”, but whose egos only project utter darkness.

I can’t claim to understand it all, but I do understand these:  There is only a place for Light in this world, in this Universe.  There is only a future for those whose hearts are open, whose goals are based on unconditional love.  All else will fail, and will fall away, in confusion and disappointment. More’s the pity.

Giving All

13

November 10, 2018, Prescott-

I woke up from a longer nap than usual, this afternoon.

Getting up this morning,

at my customary workday time of 4:30,

and going through my customary

workday morning routine,

I got going and made it

to Flagstaff,

in time to help a small crew

of firefighters and Red Cross workers,

in checking on homes,

for smoke detectors

and coaching residents

on fire safety and escape plans.

The proactivity in all this,

is not lost on the citizens

of that forested community.

We all watch our neighbour to the west,

and have friends or family,

in some cases in both north and south.

We see Paradise lost,  Malibu mangled

and the San Fernando , smoldering.

People are doing

what is necessary

to get out of harm’s way.

Teachers piled students

into their own vehicles,

and damning the torpedoes,

got their precious cargo

to safety.

This is what it looks like

to give all.

We watch, from Arizona,

and elsewhere,

and we remember.

North Carolina remembers,

the storm surge,

the rivers rising,

and people tending to one another.

Ohio, Maryland, Massachusetts remember,

much the same,

and people tending to one another.

Florida remembers,

priceless communities leveled,

and people tending to one another.

We remember, here in Yavapai County,

the gaping maws,

of one fire after another,

consuming subdivisions

and forest dream houses,

and threatening to devour

the centers of thriving towns.

This has been the lot,

of man up against nature,

worldwide,

and from time immemorial.

Now, we see it in Real Time,

in places some of us have been,

and in places we can only see in our minds.

I recall visiting Malibu,

a few years back,

and standing on a ridge,

with a troubled young woman,

sobbing and smoking a cigarette,

nearby.

She put out that cigarette,

when she no longer needed solitude,

and walked, with the extinguished butt,

back to her car,

her emotional state somewhat calmed,

by a few minutes in silence,

looking out over the glorious expanse,

called Mulholland.

She barely noticed me,

but I recognized her immediately,

a public figure,

whose privacy was  honoured that day.

I hope she, and her neighbours and friends,

escaped harm, as this most recent

burst of wrath scours the land.

I visited the Martin Theater,

in Panama City, Florida,

nearly four years ago.

I see that it did not make it

through Hurricane Michael,

just as much of the community

that greeted me so warmly,

did not make it through

the Monster, unscathed.

The Martin will return, though,

and Panama City will rise again.

on more solid footing.

Malibu will rise again,

and the Mulholland wilderness

will remain a refuge

for the disconsolate and the world-weary.

Paradise will be regained.

We who love,

will give our all,

again and again,

for as long as it takes.

Today started out

as an homage to my late mother-in-law,

whose memorial service,

I was unable to attend.

It turned into a statement,

that we will stand

with our family,

with our neighbours

and with all of our children,

to keep this divine trust

called humanity,

in a sacred place,

called home.

 

 

 

 

 

Glimmering

10

November 9, 2018, Prescott-

I woke in  darkness,

both physical and emotional,

wondering what to do,

with a feeling of isolation.

“Well, self”, I have to say,

“you made the choice to live

far from birth family

and remain far from

family- by- marriage.”

As the daylight glimmers,

and my prayers have been said,

I feel my heart is with

family in Florida,

in Korea,

and those clustered

in Massachusetts,

in Pennsylvania

and in Georgia.

We are scattered to the winds,

yet there is still not  a day,

without some sort of connection.

You are always in my heart.

Janus Speaks

6

November 8, 2018, Prescott-

Transitions, both for better and for worse, often seem to take place, just before or after my birthday, which falls towards the end of this month.  They have been big changes, and small ones.

On my 25th birthday, in 1975, I made the drive from my parents’ house, back to Northampton, MA, only to have my then-boss gleefully tell me I had been fired, from a part-time job.  I later found this move was made because a co-worker’s son needed a job.  An acquaintance put things in perspective that night, telling me her divorce had been finalized, earlier that day.  I went on, without the chump change.

In November, 1980, I began to get a very strong message that it was time for me to get involved with a woman again.  A week after my 30th birthday, I met Penny, in Zuni, NM.

In November, 2000, personnel changes took place at the school where I was working, in the aftermath of the untimely deaths of the school’s founders. I had been hired by the wife, whose replacement was not exactly fond of how I was running the school.  My tenure at the school would end, under questionable circumstances, a few months later.

In November, 2010, Penny was released from the rehabilitative hospital, in which she had been treated for seven months, due to insurance policy requirements. She would live only three more months, mostly in hospice treatment.

Late last month, Penny’s mother, the last surviving of her own parents’ children, met the end of her physical suffering.  She will see the civil marriage of her only grandson, from the other side of the Veil.  My beloved son will be wed, on American soil, in Guam, next week.  I will be there in the fullest of spirit, with the promise of attending a spiritual wedding ceremony, next March.

So, once again, autumn brings transition into my life.  There will be other changes, I’m sure, and the net will be for the better.

 

Certitude

9

November 7, 2018, Prescott-

For the first time, in a good many years,

I’m in a state some would call “broke”.

I have what I need, though,

and things will take an upturn,

soon enough.

For the first time, in a good long while,

people came at me,

claiming to represent a friend,

saying they had the solution

to all that ails me.

I reported them to the authorities,

and let the real friend know,

what was happening,

in her name.

Things will take an upturn,

soon enough.

There is no such thing,

as a quick fix,

or a free lunch.

Yet, as Baha’u’llah wrote,

“The fowls of the air,

and the beasts of the field,

receive their meat each day from Thee.”

This morning,

as some cheer,

and others mourn, last night’s election,

I feel certitude,

that things will be made aright,

soon enough.

Cocoon

16

November 5, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday was another one of those days which found me out and about, helping others in their noble efforts.  Not long ago, someone challenged me, with regard to my involvement in the community. The point that this person made was that all these activities constituted a sort of cocoon, guarding me against connecting with my inner conflicts. I was then advised to drop all activities and sequester myself, as soon as possible.

Little does that individual know, but my real cocoon, if you will, is indeed being here, in this small apartment, away from anyone.  The reality is, and has been, that part of me is terrified of being around people who don’t really want me there.  I spent yesterday afternoon seated with strangers, two of whom were openly hostile to my presence at their table.  They were quiet about it, as the effusive person seated next to me was gracious and made sure I felt welcome.   I am quite intuitive, though, and pick up on both positive and negative feelings.

Being involved with community groups is hardly a cocoon, though it can feel quite dark at times.  I do these activities because in the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, it is written: “Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.”  We Baha’is are to be good in groups, not cloistered in virtue or hiding “our light under a bushel”, as it were.  I have always been one who has had to struggle, mightily, to be among people. Penny helped pull me out of the shell, to the extent that, to outward seeming, I am something of a social butterfly, with lots of friends.  I do feel the warmth of many, both online and in real time, especially among my Baha’i friends.  I also feel the grudging tolerance of several people, and take that for what is worth.

My point here is that being involved with the good of the community is not a  source of comfort, nor is it a protection against any inner turmoil.  That protection comes when I commune with the Creator, in the early hour before dawn, at midday and in the evening.  Then, alone, do I summon the energy to face the world, and the ravages that go along with the joys.

The Light of Abiding Love

9

November 4, 2018, Prescott-

Friday night, I headed down to Phoenix, and spent time with several old friends, at the Baha’i Center.  The occasion was a Launch Party Tour finale for  the latest album by a talented young artist, named Colby Jeffers, a rapper with a strong spiritual message.

One of the themes he raised was the importance, the abiding bond, with his wife, M.  They have been present for one another, for several years now, and the love is only getting deeper.

I saw several examples of the light of abiding love, that night, and over the weekend.  Another young couple showed both the firmness of their bond, by holding one another, at moments when Colby’s words hit just the right tone of everlasting love, then having the strength to go about their individual tasks of the evening, knowing that each would be there for the other, when needed.

Penny and I were like that, so my heart is always warmed by a man who takes good care of his beautiful wife-and vice versa.  I feel much the same towards couples who are not quite married, but who are committed to one another.  Having so many friends who are at one point on the commitment continuum, or another, their ties generate light in the world, and I feel reassured.

This was further cemented today, when I attended an honorarium, at a lovely equestrian ranch northwest of here, and saw a couple being honoured, for their service to the Prescott community.  They have suffered unimaginable losses, these past two years, and while I am not her favourite person, by any stretch, I feel very much appreciative of both all they have done and for the depth of their suffering.  Their light shines, intensely, through all the shadows.

Marriage is an affirmation of light, when it is real.

Back to Light

22

November 3, 2018, Prescott-

It’s no secret that there was a fair amount of darkness in my life, a few weeks ago.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but I had to go through having my ego tested, to see whether I deserved to have the goodness that has been increasing, over the past four months, to continue.

The dark consisted of a number of anomalous situations, involving limited communication means and quickly changing circumstances.  This is how darkness works: Obfuscate, confuse and deflect.  Gaslighting is the name of its game.

Darkness, though, is the absence of light.   Once sunshine re-enters, the confusion gets dispersed, Hopefulness, never completely gone, reclaims its share of the heart.  The commonalities, between seemingly disparate anomalous situations, appear-even to my mind, that can be so slow on the uptake.

So, now, my left knee is functioning just fine again.  A serious impediment to my finishing this academic year has been removed.  A person, who had abruptly left my circle of friends, sent me a conciliatory note and I was reassured, by a mutual friend, that a small but important matter, involving said soul, had indeed been resolved.

My schedule can still be maddening, at times, and I realize I am the one who ultimately drives that bus.  Compromises and occasionally saying “No” are arising, as things get more intense, during this holiday season.  I have also figured out how to more effectively use the time I do have available.

There are only two non-negotiables, in that respect.  I will attend my mother-in-law’s interment, sometime in the next few months, and my son’s nuptials, in the early Spring.  Everything else is a matter of timing and of urgency.  There are good reasons for synchronicity in the Universe, and we do well to not be afraid to prioritize.

There is another aspect to Light, which I am glad to be seeing more often these days:  The importance of marriage and the family.  I will discuss that further, in the next post.