Bouncing Back


April 29, 2022- April is the antipode of October, so it was no surprise to me that there was a mini-crash on Wall Street today, the first such event since the Covid Crash of March, 2020. Chances are, it’ll also be a short-lived slump, unlike that of October 29, 1929. There were several reasons for today’s downturn, the simplest being that it was the last trading day of the month, and even high rollers like their payday. The rest of the causes would take someone much smarter than me to explain.

My energy level was a bit lower today, as well, and it took me a bit longer to feel ready for the various activities, most of which were faith-based and on Zoom. Eventually, thanks to a nice breakfast at Zeke’s and the company of good friends (virtual, but no matter) through the day, I got errands done, and affirmed hostel reservations for my short jaunt to SoCal, in a few weeks. I also completed a long-running task that had started back in October.

There is seldom any end to either opportunities or challenges. The trick is to not let the latter upend the former. Thus, my work projects here and my travels are not going to be waylaid by temporary setbacks in the financial sector, though I promise not to be reckless in that regard. One can always truncate, without too much dismay.

It has always been the lot of May, in any case, to be a time for bouncing back from April’s scolding misfortunes. Besides, having completed a three-week journey without committing any faux pas, my confidence level is quite a bit stronger. Having overcome minor health challenges, I look forward to some finer days ahead.

Light Beyond Fire


April 28, 2022- Four groups of high school freshmen watched a video on the “True Story of King Arthur”, voiced in monotone, by an English actor. Some gave it a fair amount of attention, some fell asleep and others vacillated, between checking their messages and looking at the screen. I have the video pretty much memorized, after four straight viewings. Those who are concerned about the assignment that they face next week, will no doubt go on You Tube and check the film in snippets.

On the other side of our county, the fire that got me serving in a Red Cross shelter, last weekend and on Monday, is still raging, albeit being more contained than a few days ago. Being with youth, on the other hand, gives me a sense of the light that truly overcomes the fires of ignorance, destructiveness and imposition of suffering. The teens look out for one another, far more than they are sometimes credited with doing.

These classes are engaged in the study of a project far more cogent than the examination of King Arthur. In the 1990s and early 2000s, a young teacher undertook work with young people who others had written off. At first, any attempt she made to help them was stymied by jealous and insecure traditionalists, who thought that giving her only freshmen students would make her give up and leave the school.

The incompetents lost. Even hardcore youth have an eye for someone who actually cares for them, and gradually, the freshmen made the transition, grade by grade, to being graduating seniors-and many went on to higher learning. This teacher has extended her work to that of Visiting Professor at a university near her high school. She continues to effect change in the hearts and minds of people who might otherwise have been cast off.

This is not lost on the largely lower middle class youth at the high school where I worked today. They, too, are engaged in a journaling project that will be a saving grace for a good many of them. They, too, have experienced being written off by some in their lives-though thankfully not by many in this school.

The light that rises beyond fire is the light of the heart. It can change lives, and communities.



April 27, 2022- The fire found itself blocked, north and east. “Aha”, thought the conflagration, “I see the enemy is only concerned about property. Thus, I shall head west and south, and burn the campgrounds!” It also had visions of doubling back outflanking the firefighters, and burning the towns! “Ha, ha, silly humans! I was here, in the craters and pits, long before any other form of energy. There was no water, no solid land or rocks, just the molten lava and meeeee! Thus, shall it be in the end!!

The craven demagogue looks upon the masses and thinks, “How right Lenin was, with talk of useful idiots! I have them in the palms of my hands. All I need do is tell fanciful tales, demonize the other side and tell the crowds that only I truly understand them, and only I can get them what they need.

The firefighters look at the wind prognosis, and plan for the long run. One crew will work the north, another, the east. A third crew will focus on the west, a fourth team, the south. Then the aerial team will pound the fire from above. They will out-stubborn the force of doom. They will lead the way for rebirth and regrowth.

The voice of reason ponders all options. Freedom and the right to choose for oneself apply to everyone. This is a long, drawn-out process, he knows. His team knows this too, even those who dawdle and fret. All in the room are ready to out-stubborn the dark. All in the room are embracing the light.

The Thin Line


April 26, 2022- There is a slender, virtually unrecognized country in eastern Europe, known as Transnistria, so called because it is delineated by the Dniester River to its east and Moldova, to its west. It is essentially a largely Russian- and Ukrainian-speaking enclave, with Romanian-speaking Moldova having been its former overseer.

Transnistria was the target of bombings, yesterday, in which fortunately no one appeared to have been seriously injured. It has a significant regiment of Russian troops stationed within its borders, ostensibly as a “peacekeeping” force, sent in the wake of a conflict with Moldova, in the 1990s. There is always the chance that Transnistria could be the target of underground forces, with the aim of drawing Russian attention to yet another front, the way the Russians themselves distracted Germany in the 1940s, to the eventual overextension of Hitler’s forces. It is also possible that Russia is conducting these operations as “false flag” maneuvers, in an attempt to gain a pretext for an attack on southwest Ukraine, with its huge port city of Odesa.

In any case, the battle lines are thin, and getting thinner, as a conflict that is increasingly seeming to be based on equally flimsy pretexts grinds on. Russia has forgotten the lessons which its predecessor, the Soviet Union, taught the world about sieges, at St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) and at Volgograd (then Stalingrad). Ukraine has absorbed those lessons masterfully, however, at least so far.

The line of fortune can be thin indeed, yet sometimes a tough line of wire, or hard fiber, can withstand enormous pressure.

The Struggles of Good Men


April 25, 2022- A co-worker spoke of her husband’s having to wrestle with the uptick in rental rates, and the pressure it puts on those who, like himself, have genuine compassion for their clients who risk being put out on the street. Large scale rental agencies try to do their tasks efficiently, yet are more susceptible to macroeconomics than are individual, or small-scale, landlords, who can choose to cut their own costs or at least negotiate trade-offs with their tenants.

Masculinity matters, just as much as femininity. It hardly needs to come across as ungainly or overbearing, any more than femininity need appear as flighty or sappy. Both forms of energy are needed, in their time and from the same persons, both male and female. My father was tough when he had to be, and the epitome of gentleness and kindness, when those were in order. The same is so with my mother.

Pairings of males and females are essential to society, and even gay couples take their essential relationship cues from their heterosexual fellows. Everyone has a forceful element and a nurturing element. To ignore either one is to hobble in imbalance. Although I am doing well on my own, a keen interest in the well-being of both male and female friends and family is a very basic core of my being.

Long may good men overcome their challenges.



April 24, 2022- The imposing figure sat comfortably in his folding chair, and detailed the struggles which led him to his current career as a metaphysical healer. Metaphysics, essentially, is the process of first having an idea, then bringing it into fruition. It is conception, followed by manifestation. The healer described his once decrepit health, and the long process of meditation, natural supplement-taking and overall lifestyle changes that have restored him to a modicum of good health. While he is still exhausted at the end of a day and has to make choices as to activities, his countenance is robust and youthful, his intellect sharp and his demeanor energizing to all who are around him.

The notion of a spirit being able to manifest what is desired is an ancient one- Gautama Siddhartha, the Founder of Buddhism, said “When you truly want something and go after it, without limiting yourself with disbelief, the Universe will make it happen.” He also said ” All that we are is the result of what we have thought.” This sentiment would be repeated by Jesus the Christ: “Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.”– Gospel according to Matthew 7:7 and by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, “The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings. “– Abdu’l-BahaParis Talks, pp. 17-18. Native American and African tribal traditions say the same thing.

The concept of transcendence, then, is an essential one. We must remember, also, as the healer above acknowledged, that the last step of any thought process is action. The Universe will present a soul with what is requested. It is up to the soul, to the spirit, to accept what is offered. Thus, it is a person’s duty to self to take what has been asked to have manifested and to use it in a manner conducive to the elevation of the soul.

I have a sense that he will long continue in healing himself and others. As for me, I look forward to similarly continuing to manifest what is beneficial both to myself and to all around me.

The Whole Package


April 23, 2022- The strong woman winced, just a bit, as she recounted the story of her husband’s struggles. A few minutes later, fortuitously, he called and said that he was finally feeling symptom-free. I felt relieved for both of them, as she did a bit of Happy Dance.

It has been a long and not always comfortable struggle, but I have reached the point in my journey of growth, that the turmoil faced by those of even casual acquaintance is of deep concern to me. Listening with genuine, not just passing, interest has become a daily occurrence-and it strikes me as being high time. Once upon a time, it was my job, and one I did quite well. Now, generating healing energy is a feature of daily life.

It is a relief to me, that the people dearest to my female friends are, without exception, my friends, too. Recognizing that a person’s whole circle is deserving of unequivocal support is actually energizing, not debilitating-as I used to tell myself. So, I look out for the husbands and significant others, as well as the children, of my nearest and dearest; listen intently when an interesting stranger opens up about topics that I have only considered in passing; and ponder decisions that are run by me, a lot more deeply than I did, even six months ago.

Part of this may be due to age. It may also be that knowing more keenly that we are all part of the same team has become de rigeur, not just a personal goal or buzzword. I am comforted by this thought, while preparing for a second night of supervising a fire shelter. Even in crisis, life is sweet.

Everyone’s Earth


April 22, 2022- It’s been fifty-two years since environmental activists gathered, en masse, to protest the policies that contributed to the Santa Barbara oil spill, which happened less than a year earlier.

We have, as a species, gone back and forth on the environment vs. economics issue, over these past many years, and a relative handful of entrepreneurs have engaged in “greenwashing” practices, which look like they are contributing to the improvement of the environment, but do little or nothing to actually help things along. There is also the microplastics aspect, to say nothing of their larger refuse, which has considerable long-term validity, in that the residue of plastics does settle in the stomachs of people and animals, finding its way into the bloodstreams and tissue, of those who ingest it. We can be more discerning, in dealing with the former. The latter, by contrast, will take much more research, as to how to safely capture microscopic plastic residue, store it, reverse engineer it into a usable fuel, and so on.

In the meantime, we have many tasks ahead, in saving both the Earth and ourselves. Alternative sources of energy are in their relative childhood, as electric cars are still prohibitively expensive for a good many people, disposal of spent batteries for such vehicles needs to be addressed-as does the safe disposal of the rare metals that go into such batteries. Every innovation that helps relieve one problem has its drawbacks that need to be addressed, preferably before the innovation becomes a mass-produced item.

That said, there is no place for throwing up our hands and just continuing down the road that we’ve been bumping along, for the next century or more. Every energy-wasting practice needs to be evaluated, and either reformed or discarded, based on the availability of viable alternative practices. Thankfully, there are solutions, some yet not articulated or made practicable, which will go along way towards alleviating the distress of the planet once the bugs are worked out.

Tonight and tomorrow night, I will man a shelter for those fleeing a sizable wildfire, southeast of town. During the day tomorrow, it’ll be time to help man a couple of booths at the community’s Earth Day event. I will cat-nap my way around these and have time to rest afterward.

As a one-time psychedelic band advised in the late ’60s: “Wake up, it’s tomorrow.”



April 21, 2022- The titular word means “Paradise”, and is the name given to two gardens in west Asia. The first was a lush garden, north of Baghdad, from whence Baha’u’llah departed for what is now Istanbul, in April, 1863. It became the site of Baghdad Medical City, a large complex of hospitals, in 1973. The second is an island, surrounded by canals, in the vicinity of Akka, Israel. It was rented by ‘Abdu’l-Baha, in 1875, as a place where Baha’u’llah could spend time away from the dust and confines of the Prison City of Akka. It reminded Him of the Iraqi Garden of Ridvan, thus becoming eponymous to that spot, and also sacred to Baha’is.

Ridvan is also the name given to the twelve-day festival that celebrates Baha’u’llah’s declaration of His mission, which occurred on or around the ninth day of His stay at the original Garden of Ridvan, and made in the presence of His family and closest followers. Today, April 21, was the day of His arrival at the Garden and May 2 was the day He and His entourage departed. Thus, we celebrate the first, ninth and twelfth days as Holy Days, suspending work to the extent humanly possible.

Today also begins the nine-year period of which I have spoken in a few previous posts. The Universal House of Justice, our Supreme Body, has issued the framework for a Nine-Year Plan. Baha’i communities are also devising plans, within that framework and individual believers in turn are planning activities that fit within both the global framework and community plans. Our Faith works in both a top-down and bottom-up manner; the two being in synchronicity, through constant communication and consultation.

Both my activities here at Home Base and my travels thus have an essentially spiritual component. The goal is always building unity between people.

Support and Relief


April 20, 2022- I stopped in at a small local pizzeria, just before a Baha’i meeting, this evening. There was a lone server, a young woman, who seemed flustered by the eatery’s computer system. While she was gracious and seemed eager to focus on the considerable number of patrons who were gathering, as dinner hour progressed, the computer and the paperwork just seemed to be more of a hindrance than anything else.

There were at least five men in the back, who no doubt had their own specific duties, but only one came up front to help her with the system. The front was backed up, and despite her game face, I sensed she was struggling.

I mention this, because it is the second time this week that I have been in a restaurant, where it seemed like men were standing around, having conversation, while a lone woman was holding down the fort in the front. Maybe times have changed, but I recall working in establishments in the 1970s and ’80s, where we all were a team and pitched in when one member was having a rough time.

Later, at another gathering, I was asked to try and find some time to help out with another person’s project, over the next few months. This will happen, yet I want to see more reaching out-so that more people are drawn in to the effort-not just the same few of us, who are asked over and over again, to just find more time. That will be as much the crux of my efforts in this matter, as direct assistance itself.

This brings up the current wildfire situation in northern and central Arizona. The grasslands and scrub forest, east of Flagstaff, and the pine-clad mountains, southeast of Prescott, are each enduring conflagrations of unknown origin. Shelters are established, and I will be helping out with the one close to Home Base, both weekend nights and on Monday, if needed. Again, a small cadre of us holding the fort, so that the rest of the community may go about their business. In fairness, this has been the case with others, when I have been committed elsewhere.

Somehow, though, I would love to see more people take up the mantle of support and relief.