These Are What Matter

2

October 27, 2020-

A “new poll” chirpily predicted a “surprise Republican blowout”, next Tuesday.

I don’t care.

What matters is what happens afterward. Regardless of whether this poll is genuine, or just a fabrication, designed to “make the liberals cry again”, the fact remains that, on Wednesday, November 4, on December 9 and again on January 21, we are each going to be essentially the same people we were, before the voting took place.

The thing that matters most is that no one loses heart. There are universal truths, with which it seems all people of good will ought be comfortable:

All life is sacred;

Everyone bleeds the same;

Calling another person a derogatory name, does not make it so;

Everyone is worthy of being treated with respect;

No one person, or group, is entitled to lord themselves over others;

Children are worthy of being loved and nurtured by everyone in their community;

Elders are worthy of being treasured and safeguarded by everyone in their community;

Our planet, and its life forces, deserve good stewardship, not ravaging for the sake of making more money than the maker knows how to handle;

All knowledge comes from the same Source-and it is not a human one.

One Storm Has Passed

2

October 26, 2020-

It was forecast, last week, that we would have some rain and/or snow today. This being Prescott, in a La Nina year, that didn’t happen. Up country did get some snow, and for those of us downriver, that is a secondary comfort.

That storm has gone on towards the Plains. There will be several others, in mid-November and afterward. Meanwhile, the storm of COVID continues, with more people getting infected, nationwide-and around Arizona. I maintain my protocol and keep my immune system strong.

There will be a series of storms over how Justice-designate Amy Barrett will vote on any number of issues, well before any vote is taken by the Supreme Court. I repeat my own appeal: What sort of world do you wish to leave to your children, Madame Justice? A world in which conceived children are protected, even if they, like me, have additional needs, is a fine one-AND it should be a world in which all mothers and all abortion survivors, are envelped in love and recovery.

Health care is a human right. Pre-existing conditions should never be a pretext for denying care, because of money. If that had never been the case, Penny might still be here, As it is, a dear friend, in Texas, is seeing the love of her life suffer, because his physician will not treat his illness; nor will a laboratory allow him to enter their facility, to test his blood. Ethics has taken a holiday, it seems.

Voting is a right, for ALL adult citizens, including those of colour; including those who espouse a philosophy that disagrees with that of the sitting president. I hope the Supreme Court will remember that, when they are again asked to curb voting in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, later this week. Certainly, the converse is also true-anyone is as free to vote for the sitting president, as they are to vote for either one of his principal opponents.

Everyone who is created is a child of God. That a person may not fit the mould set by an exlusive, exclusionary group of human beings, does nothing to cancel out his/her humanity. We have had this back-and-forth, for as long as humans have been on this planet. Other intelligent beings-such as dolphins and elephants, practice exclusion and are given to bullying. We, humans, are a cut above, and it’s high time we act like it. I have had to set a few people outside my circle, for reasons of self-preservation. It would not take all that much, for them to be welcomed back in-and in any case, I will never seek to deny them their basic rights.

I say this, to those I love dearly, but who are making the case for punishing people whose sexual orientations are not the same as theirs, or mine. It does not fall to any of us, to act as arbiters of private behaviour. We can, and should, protect the innocent from the nefarious-but beyond that, adults engaged in private behaviour that harms no one else, should be left alone.

These storms will continue to rage, and I stand firm until they pass.

Saving Grace

2

October 25, 2020-

“An ant has no quarrel with a boot.”- Tom Hiddleston, as Loki, in “The Avengers”.

A fair number of first-time voters, across the country, who are weighing social issues, are finding themselves wanting to “stay the course”. There was a time, when I thought that such an approach was prudent, as the incumbent surely knew what was best for the nation, and the nation already knew the incumbent.

It’s been several years since I have taken that view, but no matter. Every generation has to find their own voice. All the same, it is crucial to weigh the chances of pursuing dreams, both individually and collectively, given one outcome, as opposed to the other.

The rub comes when one takes the measure of his/her relative worth and power, in comparison to those of the State. There are the David/Goliath model and “We are the State, and the State is us” point of view. In the first, as can be surmised, a fearless individual, or small group, takes on a power that either practices division or arranges affairs in such a way that the strength of individuals is seemingly eroded. In the second, so well-practiced by Fascists and Communists, alike, during the mid-Twentieth Century, and still de rigeur in China, North Korea and a few other countries, there is an oddly-skewed sense of patriotism, which goes beyond flying a nation’s flag and supporting a just government, in a healthy way.

Our country’s saving grace is its Constitution, which has pulled us back from ruin, on three separate occasions: The War of 1812, the Civil War and the Watergate Crisis. My fervent hope is that the Constitution will do so again, regardless of who wins next week’s election, and regardless of how loudly the opposing sides may continue to react to one another. Our Constitution has inculcated, in the American character, a definite sense that the dignity of the individual is paramount and that equality is a clearly-established, if ever-evolving, tenet of this nation’s fabric.

Tempests

2

October 24, 2020-

Thoughts on a day well-spent, and the memories conjured:

The young man reflected on times recently endured,

as we rode to and from his former home.

The tempest has calmed,

everywhere but in his memory.

Progress, though, is an insistent taskmaster,

and will chase his storms away.

A long ago student of mine

played story-songs,

to a transient audience,

coming and going in the evening coolness.

He learned more,

outside of the school where we shared

frustration and challenge,

dealing with the antiquated system

and its remnants.

The tempests of racism and false superiority

still cause pain in his heart.

So long ago, yet still irksome

in my heart, as well.

I recall the storms which tossed

the lives of innocent children,

just by reason of their indigenous heritage,

seen as a threat,

to the self-styled dominant culture.

Live music brings to mind,

all you could have achieved,

little one.

You would have been thirty, this year,

perhaps with a legacy

of having walked barefoot as a teenager,

having gone to the college of your choice,

and having given full vent to all your musical passions.

Maybe you would have been guided down the aisle,

leaving the first loving man in your life,

for another, forever love.

You would have made a soulful, loving Mommy.

Most importantly, you would have been a powerful force,

in whatever filed your adult self chose to pursue.

The tempest in another person’s life

led to all those dreams, being snuffed out,

when you were only six.

Tempests raged, in my own true love’s life,

as other storms raged in mine.

We traded storms, and came through a few,

as onlookers clucked and tut-tutted,

with no true understanding,

of the love that guided us,

to a measure of calm and certitude.

Let the tempest that rages now,

in the life of a sorely-tried nation,

find its way to being settled.

Peace shall come to the people.

Greetings and Salutations

2

October 23, 2020-

I finished up at Liberty Traditional School,this afternoon, taking care of odds and ends, once the testing was done. There were no lost children today, so I was out the door on time.

A phenomenon that I first encountered some years ago, in Colorado, seems to be increasing in frequency, around here lately: People saying hello to one another, or asking how I’m doing, five minutes after they said hello, or asked the last time.

I am curious about this. It is an extension of common courtesy, yet it seems a bit of overkill. Are our memories shorter? Is someone anxious, that maybe we won’t see each other again, after less than an hour? Are we just not paying attention to whom we are speaking? This doesn’t just happen at work. I noticed it this evening, at the gym.

Another phenomenon that has seemingly increased is the practice of daily, almost mandatory, greetings online. This is not particularly troublesome, either, but it does have an undertone of anxiety-that unless I greet each person, every single day, it will seem to them as if I’ve forgotten them.

There are people with whom I haven’t spoken in months, who I will never forget and for whom I pray daily. Time to relax, my friends.

Most Essential

0

October 22,2020-

This year was supposed to be one in which I spent a goodly amount of time wending my way around the Pacific Northwest, Canada and the northern tier of states, from Maine to Montana.

Instead, COVID, hurricanes and just a general sense of being present here at Home Base came to the fore. I am grateful for all the experiences, from close to home ( in some local schools and as an online host for Baha’i events) and in Hurricane Alley (Red Cross disaster responses in Louisiana and Texas).

Nowhere do I feel more useful, though, than when making sure that little ones are guided to the right, safe place-especially at the end of the day, when it’s bus or parent pick-up time, That has happened twice in three days, just because it’s all new to our five-year-olds. It breaks my heart that they should feel ashamed for needing help with learning this routine.

The most essential thing is for human beings to feel safe, especially in what, for them, are novel experiences.

Dutiful

2

October 21, 2020-

I was approached, this morning, to help with cafeteria monitoring during lunch- a decent request, given that I would otherwise have nearly an hour with no official responsibilities. I chose to help with Kindergartners, as little ones can always use help in table manners and in being re-assured that everything will be just fine-even if their parents are not present, momentarily.

Monitoring students who are waiting in the hall, to take their diagnostic test, is a fairly simple task. Most are occupied with their own work or are reading other material. I just have to keep the flow going smoothly.

The buses, at dismissal time, are another key area, at which to monitor student safety. Most drivers here are easy-mannered with the students, being themselves either parents or grandparents. There was an issue with a rather officious individual, which was resolved at a low level, with the understanding that we could up the ante, if student safety were put at risk, for the sake of adhering to policy.

Policy, by definition, does not seek to place anyone’s safety at risk. Governing Boards and school district administrators do not operate in a vacuum, by and large. The rub comes when an individual, at a lower level level, interprets a policy either in an untimely manner or without regard to common sense. This kind of reminds me of politics and other bureaucracies, but I digress.

I have two days remaining, in this position, and will give it my best, as always. The gentleman for whom I have been covering will be here next week, and my own adventure will continue, somewhere else.

Indigo People

0

October 20, 2020-

In observing the children who have passed before me, yesterday and today, I note their problem-solving abilities, interactions with one another and with the adults who will help make or break their current school year.

This community runs the gamut, from upper middle class to barely scraping by. There is, though, more of a sense of agency, among the emerging generation of children (either late Gen Z, or born since 2010 [who some call Generation Alpha]. Perhaps because of the uncertainty of the past ten years, and the total upheaval of this year, children are more apt to take certain matters into their own hands. I see a great deal of the style of Indigo People, who instinctively know why they were born and what their mission is. They are of the sort who have, in essence, chosen their parents, and though there is little evidence to suggest that souls exist in some sort of Pre-Life, there does seem to be a life force that is actively directing people, at least from the moment of their conception-even more so, than in previous generations.

There is a semblance of the Indigo, in my own life. I look back on my first sixty- three years or so, and, while I recall always having a sense that I was to go in a certain direction, and accomplish specific things in my time on Earth, there were always uncertainties and baggage that needed to be unloaded. I think that 2014 was really the first year of my life that was lived in a truly unfettered manner. Even the few setbacks that I have faced since then have not been shattering or deflecting, as so much that transpired before then.

Maybe, the energy that is being infused into the world, in the past ten years, has a part in my own experience. It certainly seems to be affecting an increasing number of younger people. I feel that this is, primarily, for the betterment of the world. What I can do to encourage them, in a positive direction, is to be done in a far less prescriptive manner than seemed necessary, in times past. Maybe it’s more a matter of my having jettisoned my own immaturity; yet I feel that less authoritative behaviour is necessary, on my part.

Every Bit Counts

4

October 19, 2020-

Today saw the celebration of the Birth of Baha’u’llah. I put in a full day of work, as it was also the first day of in-person instruction in our county’s public schools. I’ve been asked to work this week, with a team of Title I Reading specialists, at Liberty Traditional School, Prescott Valley. Today and tomorrow, we are giving a diagnostic test to several students. The team also is helping kindergartners get used to locating their buses and communicating with their drivers, as to where they need to get off. I was dismayed to see that those children who didn’t know where their stop was, also had no address or phone number inside their backpacks. That was a given, when I was subbing in the Phoenix area, as well as in Prescott, in the 2000’s. Teachers and parents regularly made sure there was contact information in each child’s backpack or pinned to the inside of their sleeve.

After work, I picked up a delicious meal of Persian chicken and rice, prepared by some gracious friends, in honour of Baha’u’llah’s birthday. Persian rice, seasoned with saffron, and fortified with one or another type of beans, is a light and refreshing staple. I also had hosting duties for our community’s Zoom-base celebration, so we got together for devotional readings, a slide show of Baha’u’llah’s life, which I narrated and watched a video of Persian folk dancing-performed by a troupe of women, for an audience in India.

Every little bit counts.

Her eis that video, for your viewing and dancing pleasure!

Add One, Subtract the Other

6

October 18, 2020-

Today and tomorrow are the Twin Anniversaries, the celebrations of the births of al-Bab and Baha’u’llah. We are fairly relegated to Zoom for these celebrations, this year, but the observances are no less heartfelt.

As to the title of this post, a friend who has largely recaptured the vitality and stamina of her youth, through a certain product line’s offerings, has reminded me just how well the natural supplements work, in extending one’s well-being on this Earth.

I have made a lot of progress against some nagging health concerns that are left over from my caretaking duties and the long hours spent in less than sanitary conditions. I no longer am the drone that some hipsters in my former places of employment saw fit to disparage. I can see their point now, but I came by that low energy level honestly-and got rid of it just as legitimately.

Certified Pure, Therapeutic Grade essential oil supplements have largely done the trick for me. When my financial house is just a bit more righted, I will add my friend’s product line to this regimen. Then there is wheatgrass, a major energizer and superfood in its own right, which another friend grows and which I already press for juice.

There is an old advertisement, in which an auto mechanic says: “Pay me now or pay me later.” I believe a lot of the concern that people have about the cost of health care could be obviated, if they gradually curb their reliance on reactive health care and add proactive practices.

Add one and subtract the other.