Among the Indigo


April 30, 2021- The small girl spoke with a voice that was quiet, but full of thunder: “Don’t!”. Few people in my life, up to now, have shown the quiet determination to stand their ground and speak truth to power, at such a young age. She was not only speaking to me, but to several of her classmates, making it clear that the revelation she had just made about herself was the outcome of measured, long-considered self-evaluation.

For my part, everything within me said: “Abide this”. I had responded to her sharing with a standard concern, one that she had obviously heard several times before. The same concern came out of the mouths of her classmates. The notion of prolonged innocence is pretty well-embedded in our psyches.

Times, though, are bringing about a different, much earlier maturity-one that actually hearkens back to a pre-industrial past, while at the same time pointing to the evolving future of the human race. There is emerging a period of time, in early adolescence, when a person is examining feelings as to who attracts them, what it might mean for the short term, whilst recognizing that those feelings may very well change, over time. The person is definite about one thing: This is their life, and the number of people who get to weigh in on it is very much limited. Everyone else will be told, in terms that are, at least initially, respectful, but no less forceful.

I was in the presence of an indigo, someone fairly born with a sense of mission, a clarity of purpose. She is no less mirthful, spunky and mischievous than others her age, but in the quiet times when she ponders life, there is little confusion. All an indigo person needs from others is a respectfully listening ear and acknowledgement of the better angels of their nature. In turn, each of us gets to summon the better angels of our own nature. The appreciation of a child as an evolving, complete human being has never been more critical. We remain in good hands.

Unwanted Feedback


April 29, 2021- Certainly, the title does not refer to input from friends and family, even if it is critical. Rather, I am thinking of the voice echo that occurs when one is speaking to someone who has Bluetooth on, in an enclosed space, such as a car. There is nothing more irritating than the sound of my own voice coming back at me, when all I wish to do is speak to the loved one on the other end.

This reminds me that so often, my ill-considered comments have bounced back and impaired my friendships with others. Sticking with a conversation topic, long after the flow of dialogue had moved on, was once one of my “specialties”. Then, there were the facts and figures that I felt everyone “should” know. It didn’t matter that the audience was not especially concerned with the information, or that it had little to do with circumstances.

Thankfully, all that is behind me now and topics of conversation are more germane to matters of common interest. Conversely, I do find myself being more patient with those who perseverate, or are “broken records”. Helping them get back on track is far more satisfying than mounting a high horse and acting as if their behaviours are a mere nuisance. The end result, of another person being able to take a welcome place in society, is magnificent.



April 28, 2021- So often, when I think there is not much that might change in my little corner of the world, new experiences offer themselves-as a way of refreshing, renewing. There is also the continuing clean bill of health, from my chiropractor at least-and, I am anticipating, at my dental check-up, in two weeks. Sleeping more soundly is something to which I credit both the Thrive vitamins that are now part of my evening regimen and the letting go of left-over guilt, from not having met some people’s expectations.

The school year is winding down, with testing drawing to a close-and the focus being more on final class projects, at the intermediate and secondary levels. I am helping with intermediate students, working on science projects this week. Encouraging them to see the science behind everything from video games to pond scum is an exhilarating experience.

Next week, going back to primary level classes, will also provide some novel experiences, as the younger students, also, will be wrapping up some small exploratory activities. There is no end to what each of us can discover, as the world slowly opens back up, even as the technology which has sustained us through this pandemic offers new ways to maintain long distance connections.

I hope this last is not lost on many people.

The Snails Keep On


April 26, 2021- India, I hear, is bleeding. Brazil is getting restless, with its government’s perceived inaction. Canada is still locking many visitors out. Europe and east Asia seem to be making progress-and there is not much word from Africa-with regard to the pandemic. Many are more concerned with trying to get work and pay their way.

Here, we are making a fair amount of progress, and across the U.S., there is rising hope of getting back to some semblance of a post-pandemic life. COVID is a whipsnake, though, and its opponents, whether allopathic or naturopathic, are snails. Sooner or later, the snails will triumph-but they remain snails, and can’t help but be slow and meticulous. Even a whipsnake will get tripped up, sooner or later.

It seems that is the way with most issues of social import. Progressives act like one can just snap the fingers, and voila, the barriers to social justice will disappear. Reactionaries wish the progressives would just disappear. The rest of us will keep doing what we have always done-move forward, but in measured, sensible ways. Police will always be needed-just not in tyrannical form. Thugs will try to force their will upon the vulnerable, and will need to be opposed-thus, a firm, but fair, police force. (I read Mitch Albom’s account of life in lawless areas of Port au Prince, Haiti. That sort of thing could happen anywhere, if people adopt an attitude of self-centered insouciance.) An attitude, and practice, of listening to, and learning from, people with differing points of view will be needed-if our steps forward are not to be followed by a pell mell retreat backwards-as almost happened on January 6. A respect for people and, by extension, their property, will need to be re-instated. The stance that “They’re only THINGS” cannot be maintained in perpetuity. This is a material life, and even the monk needs assurance that his rice bowl will remain intact. What is wrecking a Boys and Girls Club, or a historical museum, going to do to advance social justice, anyway?

The snails move on, and will not be deterred.

Two Links, One Finish Line


April 26, 2021, Sedona- I could have sworn that the destination of today’s hike was not the same place where I ended up, eight years ago. I could have sworn that the Chuckwagon Trail went around to a point east of Devil’s Bridge, a wildly popular hiking destination-even by Sedona standards. Alas, the sole difference between then and now is that today, hiking buddy and I trudged along a road of rocks and sand, whereas “the Chuck” is more hard-packed dirt, and winds around through canyon country. Looking back at my post on the first trek to the area near Devil’s Bridge, I see that the last 7/10 mile is the same.

Oh, well; it would at least be easier on HB’s knees. Hiking with another person is good for my real world connection. I had been getting a bit disconnected, in that regard, going any which way I felt like going-even bushwhacking on occasion. We stopped about 1/4 mile from the actual arch. It was merely a different vantage point from the granite bench where I halted, eight years ago.

There were several awesome sights along the way, though. Here we go.

Lizard Head, visible from Dry Creek Road
Second Lizard Head, just east of Dry Creek Road
All the news that’s fit to paste!
Upper Dry Creek Canyon, with Capitol Butte as its bulwark
West view of Capitol Butte’s Balancing Rock
The road hard taken
One of several cairn piles. There were some larger ones, each of which had a line of selfie-takers waiting their turn.
Eastern view of Capitol Butte’s Balancing Rock
The granite bench, where i stopped eight years ago. Capitol Butte rises above.
Devil’s Bridge, with what looks like a small cave underneath.
West face of Brins Mesa
My PlantSnap app identifies this as a Sweet Cherry tree. Brins Mesa rises, across the canyon.

Thus went a cool weather hike. Devil’s Bridge Trail would not have been a good fit for a warm weather trek, though thousands do such a hike, every year.

Pressure, Real and Imagined


April 25, 2021- As I hau

As I hauled my laundry basket to the car, this afternoon, I spoke a few minutes with landlord, learning that there are a variety of infrastructure issues piling up, on and around the quad. This will most likely mean a rent increase, next year. I will face that issue, at that time. For now, there is no pressure on us tenants, but he will be pressed to come up with a game plan.

Whilst engaged in said laundry, I received another IM from someone whose basic message is that he needs help raising money. There was a time when I felt a welling up of pressure, with a measure of guilt at my relative level of comfort. I have since become more at ease with the situation, and my mantra is that people in a given country/community need to band together and make change happen-rather than keep the refrain that people in developed countries had better kick into the kitty , or at least make a loan to the poor souls. (Personal loans, even in this country, rarely are paid back, even in part. I have paid mine, but that’s a whole other matter.)

There is also pressure, both real and imagined, regarding one’s use of time. I have discussed the matter of proliferating Zoom calls, in an earlier post. Usually, there are at least two Zoom sessions, both of which are ABSOLUTELY URGENT, occurring simultaneously. I have learned to excuse myself, with a smile, from the less urgent of the two-or however many are scheduled at the same time.

It is a blessing to finally know how to distinguish true urgency from the urgency that exists only in the mind of the hearer.

Things That Last


April 24, 2021-

I have built friendships, over the past ten years. Those not founded on money, or any sort of desire, have lasted.

I have patronized several establishments and food providers over this decade. Those which honour me, as a single, older man, and base our transactions on a place of trust and integrity, have retained my patronage.

I have lived in the same dwelling for seven years. The landlord is old-school, “pay as you go”, knowing that I will honour my duty to remit my monthly rent on the first business day of the month and he takes care of anything that needs repair.

Faith and family have sustained me for seventy years. I know that neither is going to let me down. The Creator never will, nor will parents, siblings, spouse or son, whether they be in the flesh or in spirit.

These are things that last.

Summits Are Only A Beginning


April 23, 2021- I have never been to Ciudad de Mexico. The fifth-largest metropolitan area on the planet, it is also the second-largest metropolitan area in the Western Hemisphere. Ciudad de Mexico may soon become the locus of the worst ecological nightmare that humanity has seen, in several centuries. The Valley of Mexico, indeed, the entire middle swath of the country, is experiencing the worst drought it has seen, in nearly a millennium. Central Mexico, as a whole, may very well be running out of water.

We in the Southwest of the United States (including southern California) have also been experiencing drought. The occasional snow and rain that we have received, since last autumn, have not done much to put a dent in the dryness. Only more judicious use of our water has, and will continue to, keep our communities from literally blowing away in the desert wind.

It is an irony, that the first place to which people in Mesoamerica turn, when faced with economic hardship, or sociopolitical repression, is the American southwest-from San Diego to Houston-and everywhere in between. We have done relatively well here, economically, though the underbelly of homelessness and economic inequality is as much a concern in the Southwest as it is anywhere on the planet. A splinter wedged under my fingernail hurts just as badly as it would under anyone else’s. So we go about being concerned with our own, first and foremost.

All the same, those who express disdain for the current immigration impasse at the border between Mexico and the United States must brace themselves for what will happen, should the water crisis in central Mexico worsen. The six-figure populace massing near, and permeating, that arbitrary line could all too easily morph into millions, or tens of millions, of people.

The Group of Twenty summit, convened virtually, on addressing climate change, is a tad behind schedule, through no fault of those who gathered. That said, it is painfully obvious that every single person on the planet has a role to play in conservation and better use of resources-especially of our planet’s basic elements (water, air, soil/minerals, and fire). It falls as much to local teams, neighbourhoods and families to double down on meeting the challenge of climate change. Everything from taking shorter, though equally intense, showers to intelligently recycling items that won’t decompose (and not just depending on municipal contractors to do the job), is the responsibility of everyone who enjoys running water and non-decomposable packaging. Providing clean water for drinking and bathing, to those who lack this basic resource, is a whole other topic.

These are the thoughts that come to mind, after the G-20’s most recent summit.

True Blue


April 22, 2021- I was present for a couple of curious conversations, about the colour blue, this afternoon and evening. In the first, during a discussion between an art docent and a group of second graders, one boy referred to “regular blue”. By this, he meant the shade of blue associated with a clear sky. In the second conversation, this evening, a little boy, talking with his sister and grandfather, in a local restaurant, spoke of “real blue”. He was referring to the blue in people’s eyes.

Blue has always been my favourite colour. It is the colour of my own eyes, and I have been partial to any shade of blue in my wardrobe of shirts. Perhaps this is a matter of matching face and torso. In any case, I also find blue, along with yellow, as soothing.

Society seems to be of two minds about the colour. Blue is variously associated with the Democratic Party (“Act Blue”) and American police (“Back the Blue”). The two entities need not be at odds with one another, but some seek to stir up animosity along those lines. Indeed, there was a time when both Democrats and police were associated with the most reactionary elements of American society (i.e. the Birmingham Police & Fire Action of 1963 and the Chicago “Police Riot” of 1968). Now, while the best of the police seek to upgrade their profession’s image, through reasonable reforms, the Democrats have cast reactionary politics aside, opting for an ideological range from moderate to progressive.

Blue has also been associated with melancholia (“the blues”) and optimism (“Blue Skies ahead”). Thus, as with a lot of things in life, the fifth colour in Roy G Biv’s palette can signal different things to different people. There was even a time when blue was regarded as a girl’s colour and pink was for boys.

It’s all good, as long as I can be recognized as true blue, by my family and trusted friends.

Misfits Abound


April 21, 2021- The events of yesterday call to mind several aphorisms of my youth: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”; “People living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones”; “The pot shouldn’t call the kettle black”; “What! Cast your finger at another? Behold, three fingers are pointing back at you.”

I thought of these, primarily as there were references to yesterday’s verdict, in Minnesota vs. Derrick Chauvin, as “mob justice”. Seems to me, there were such instances of mob justice in the cases of Emmitt Till, in the trial of the Mississippi sheriff’s posse (1965), and in the Central Park jogger.

Chauvin could have been railroaded, but he wasn’t. The crowd that gathered and yelled, outside the courthouse, could have intimidated the jury, but the jurors were not aware of them. This case, if there were to be an appeal, would have to be shown to have been influenced by the protestors in general and Maxine Waters in particular. Thus far, the walls of the courthouse have not been shown to have let the sound outside permeate the actual courtroom or the jury facilities.

While none of that excuses the pandemonium outside, the parallels between it and the all-too-common lynchings, which took place for over a century, ring a bit hollow. I daresay that, had there been no lynchings, there would likely not have been the welling up of anger among people of colour; there would have been no build-up of smugness, leading to the “gladiator” mentality that has led to excessive force ( in which none of the police officers of my hometown, in the days of my youth, conservatives to a one, would ever have indulged); there would not have resulted in tit-for-tat shouting matches between progressives and conservatives, in cities across the country.

It was the original presumption of superiority, among the de facto aristocracy, that led to the Civil War, to Jim Crow laws and, in our time, to the mass attempts to shrink-wrap the voting laws of various states. Misfits abound, and they are not necessarily those protesting outside the courthouses.