Deep Breaths


July 30, 2022, Bellemont, AZ- The toddler was fascinated with the stenciled bear on my hand drum. She periodically got to strike the drum with its stick, before handing it back to me and watching how I was keeping rhythm, during a series of chants.

Most of the chants were devotional in nature, including one that many people who are familiar with Dineh culture would recognize: “I Walk In Beauty”. Two Dineh elders who live in Flagstaff, about 20 miles from here, came to spend time with us this evening, as their daughter and grandchildren were among the camp attendees. The husband is a Medicine Man (He dislikes the term “Shaman”), and spoke of the holistic nature of healing that is his concern, in his practice. The wife is also well-versed in holistic healing, and spoke of the nature of Dineh philosophy and spiritual practice. She stressed the value of maintaining balance and of unity with all peoples.

In the traditional way, one is told to begin the day, turning to each of the four main directions, breathing deeply and offering thanks to the Creator and asking blessings upon the people in each direction. I make special sense to focus on one’s breath. At the very least, I notice that my heart rate is within healthy range, when I take 3-10 slow, deep breaths each morning, This works well, no matter the altitude at which I find myself. (Here, it is 7000 ft. above sea level, as opposed to 5000 ft., in Prescott or 200 feet in my childhood home of Saugus, MA.).

So, mindfulness and breathing go hand in hand, in keeping a person focused and purposeful.



July 29, 2022- Irony is abundant, a good many days. Today, I find it ironic that the desert Southwest is getting a good soaking, whilst the Pacific Northwest is experiencing scorching heat. Coal Country is going through a horrific flood, of what looks like Biblical proportions. Fossil fuels didn’t cause the present spate of climate change, but they aren’t helping matters any.

I find it ironic that the national lottery is up to $1,000,000,000 and Congress is considering upping the tax on billionaires. Then again, it’d do my heart good to see a dirt-poor village in Appalachia, the Deep South, one of the First Nations-or somewhere in Haiti, for that matter, have the winning ticket. A billion dollars, split 15-20 ways, would help a lot of people.

Speaking of Congress, isn’t it ironic that some of those voting against a medical program for military veterans are veterans themselves? Then, again, they have theirs, so what else matters? Self-interest, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be what sinks the current system. Co-operate and regenerate!

This great planet of contradictions will keep us on our toes, for a good long while.

Heavy at Times


July 28, 2022- There was plenty of water given us today. The showers were fairly steady, with just enough of a break that I got to take Saturn in for its “welcome back” oil & lube, with a brake light and wipers replaced. Everything else looks good.

The phone calls were also heavy at times. Someone from Indonesia is trying to get my attention-and probably some of my $, but neither is forthcoming. The delete button works just fine. The calls that mattered-pertaining to Saturn’s body work, all came today. The job will be done on August 10-12. I will have a rental at my disposal, courtesy of Erie Insurance Co. That’s good, because I, too, will be on assignment for ten days and the school is eight miles to the northeast of here.

I am not as heavy as I was a few weeks ago, so there may be something to the concoction I put together, that is loosely based on the video I watched last week, and more in keeping with the directions from the herbalist I consulted here and the directions on the bottles. Many of us are heavy at times, and while that is neither inherently good or bad, each person does well to keep personal health in mind.

The affairs of the day were also heavy at times. It helps to bear in mind that we are experiencing the gradual fading of old ways of doing things, which are based on exclusivity, elitism and a zero sum mentality, at the same time that a more inclusive, equanimical and abundance-based system is slowly, but steadily, rising. Any attempt to ignore a group of people, or deprive them of their due, will fall flat, even if it appears to succeed, by fits and starts. I am specifically referring to the move against providing care for military veterans who have been injured by toxic chemicals or by burn pits, while in a combat theater.

Lots of things can seem heavy at times.

Getting Power to the Tower


July 27, 2022- The technician’s assessment of the issue facing my modem/router combo was quite simple. The power cord sent in the original package was not suitable for the device. M/R had faked it, for several months, but was unable to make it, in the end. So, I bought a universal power supply, set it to 12 volts, and if the tower was not too worn out by the recent experience, it should be good for quite a while longer. For good measure, a wall plug adapter, specific to this device, should be here on Friday.

Some, but not all, people of my generation-including yours truly, at times, have to be taken through technological matters, by the numbers. Fortunately, I haven’t had to have the same lessons repeated, ad nauseam. Power to my own upstairs still comes fairly easily. Nutrition has been a big factor, as has keeping immunity up to a high level.

This brings me to the matter of the power allotted to the average citizen. I am reading the last chapters of the autobiography of Mohandas Gandhi. It covers his life up to the 1930s, and focuses on the lack of trust that colonialists had in the people of the Indian subcontinent, in managing their own affairs. Some of this, no doubt, came from greed and a cultivated lust for power and control. The rest came from the rulers being stuck in one model of civilization.

We see the same, across this country, and around the globe, in our own time. Those who mistrust people who see things differently from themselves have taken to turning off their ears, and their filters, reverting to the failed and miserable mindsets of bygone days- be they Fascist or Bolshevist.

In this complex world, answers to problems come from various points of view. No one viewpoint can address everything that the world presents to humanity. The tower of power should be open to all, which means only inclusive democracy will work to sustain civilization-in the long run. As long as we are in a human state, no autocrat, no matter how bright, can run a nation alone. We need only look to the failed rulers of the 1930s and ’40s, to see this.

I rest my case.

Under A Gentle Mist


July 26, 2022- I woke this morning, to a router/modem combo that was struggling to even fully load, and a candle pot that had somehow crashed to the floor and shattered, overnight. After cleaning up the pieces of ceramic and vacuuming the shards, I looked carefully at the device, and found its power supply was running very hot. So, the whole thing was unplugged and will remain so, until a technician from Sparklight comes over, tomorrow at some point. Thus do I write from the pleasant surroundings of Wild Iris Coffee House and will communicate with others, this evening, from Raven Cafe.

There is a misty rain in Prescott, this morning, a gentle reminder that, no matter how difficult things may seem at times, there is always a Guiding Hand that will help keep things on an even keel. Last night, as I walked from Bill’s Pizza, following a pleasant dinner served by a precious soul, I was approached by a longtime friend, who is a Youth Pastor. He asked my opinion on the political events of the past two years, then stated his disaffection with a certain defeated candidate for the presidency. My contention that any one of us can be dumb at times, but few are stupid, was reinforced by our conversation. My conservative friend has a good heart and a discerning mind.

I got a reasonable estimate from the auto body shop that I use here, so Saturn should be repaired, relatively easily, sometime in August, courtesy of the culpable party’s insurance company. In the meantime, it’s roadworthy and will get its welcome back oil & lube on Thursday.

Late August and early September will find me in Colorado and northern New Mexico, with a Baha’i school in Colorado Springs as the centerpiece. The second half of October will bring a visit to northern Nevada and eastern Idaho. I had considered a train ride to Sacramento, and renting a car from there, but the time and money required to drive up there is actually less than a train/rental car combination. So, once again, it’ll be Saturn and me going forth together. Thanksgiving will, most likely, be a Texas affair, with Christmas right here at Home Base, but more on those, later.

This is a community of very finely-tuned synchronicity. I left the coffee house, momentarily, to change parking spots, as there is a two-hour limit. Spotting an empty space in Iris’s lot, I went to the car, turned around and, lo and behold, the car in front of me got the empty space. Having been raised with a mindset of abundance, I pulled around the corner and found several spaces available. There is, most often, room for everyone in this world.

Rainy Day People


July 25, 2022- The day has started off proactively. I was able to get an estimate on repairs to the Saturn, and this now goes to the insurance company representing the person who caused the crash on July 7. I sense that the relatively small amount of damage should not be difficult for that company to



July 24, 2022- Short and bittersweet- After finishing my dog-sitting stint this morning, I came back to Home Base and prepared to host a Zoom devotional, as I frequently do on Sunday mornings. We got off to a good start, then the connection was cut. I have noticed my modem/router combination going out, off and on, since a renovation project began upstairs, in the apartment formerly occupied by a deceased neighbour.

It seems some jackhammering was done on Thursday, while I was away. The workers say that their activity shouldn’t affect electric flow in my unit. The Geek Squad will be here on Tuesday, so we’ll find out what the issue really is. There is plenty to be done in the meantime, and I have no Zoom activity until Wednesday night.

This is a time of uncertainty, but I will make it through these First World speedbumps.

Not A Hard Dog Day


July 23, 2022- Beauty thought she would like to go out and smell the rain. So, I put on her harness and attached her leash, then got on my shoes and cap. We walked a short distance, up to a patio near where some kids live and she stood still, waiting for someone to come out. A nice lady came out and greeted the little dog. A boy came out, but not to greet Beauty. He had a household chore to do. We headed back towards the apartment where I am minding her. Then, the skies opened up. She got wet, and tried to shake it off, as is customary for dogs, but her curly hair just held the water. I dried her off with a towel and put a comfort shirt over her upper torso, which calmed her down. She was done smelling the rain.

Beauty is a friend’s dog, and has been acquainted with me for several months now. So, when friend wanted to go on a brief visit out of town, I was asked to stay with her for a day or so. This did not really conflict with anything, so I was glad to oblige. All in all, she is an easy animal to “pet-sit”. We went on three walks, including the wet one. She ate voraciously, then went back to gazing out the window. She fell asleep awhile ago, so here I am, contemplating what dogs dream. I sense that the process includes which of their people are kind to them and which ones are better off out of their lives. There are, no doubt, smells that get remembered, just as humans recall sights and sounds. There may even be a hope or two, who knows?

I was asked, this morning, whether I would be sticking around here for a while. Yes, in fact, I am, barring any family emergencies. There is work to be done, for most of August until Thanksgiving, with a few days in Colorado and northern New Mexico at some point in August or September and a trip up to St. Anthony, Idaho (long story), with a possible stop to visit friends en route (have yet to hear back from them), in mid-October, also in the mix. There are other matters, elsewhere in Arizona, to honour as well. Basically, though, the next few months look, right now, to be on a fairly even keel.

Work to be done? I keep hearing that I am supposed to be retired. Well, there are substitute assignments for which I will make myself available; Red Cross activities, here and there; Hope Fest, on September 10 and, most likely, Farm-to-Table Dinner on September 11. Then, there is always work on behalf of my Faith. Those who wish to see me cease and desist are free to stop working themselves, when the time comes-no pressure from this end.

It may be a dog’s life, for Beauty et al, but I’m glad for that which I’ve been given.

Lots of Crackling Sunshine


July 22, 2022- The spunky girl took the cell phone she had left sitting on a chair, in the sunshine, and for a moment, her world came crashing down. Once I told her chaperone that an hour or so in a cool building would revitalize the phone, she was back to being an effervescent twelve-year-old.

Thirty-one young people, each of them a source of brightness or of challenge, at any given time, have been front and center for the past 1 1/2 days. Anyone wondering how a person my age could be in such a situation, and not go bonkers, is missing the big picture. The energy that seems so unmanageable now is going to be the source of a good many solutions to problems that seem insurmountable, to the very people who complain about the kids. Besides, when one takes the time to listen, any person can feel validated.

The small team of adults, each an angel in their own right, brought the campers up from the Phoenix area, for a session that will last until Monday. I stayed until this evening, then came back to Home Base, due to another commitment. It would have otherwise been no problem, to have remained at Bellemont until closing. I will be back up there next weekend, for a shorter camp, with a smaller group of adolescents.

My work was somewhat in the kitchen, and somewhat around campus. Mainly, the task was just being supportive of campers, chaperones and camp staff. We tended to one another’s needs, as if family-which is how a faith community ought to be. When a cabin full of girls reported, through their dorm master, that someone was knocking at their door after lights out, every other camper, chaperone and staff person accounted for their own whereabouts and it was determined that an adult would stand watch outside the cabin, until morning. My boss volunteered himself. If he hadn’t, I would have stayed up. No one threatens or hurts “our” kids. Least of all, do they hurt one another. One of the most important life lessons is building compassion.

Every being has a purpose, and every sentient being has several. I am honoured to be able to contribute, meaningfully, to helping these wonderful souls to find theirs.

Back to the Woods


July 21, 2022- So begins an unusual four days. I will shortly head up towards Bellemont Baha’i School, for the first of two kitchen helper sessions, (today and tomorrow), with the next being July 30-31. Getting back tomorrow night, then Saturday and part of Sunday will be spent caring for 15 pounds of lovable, if willful, white fur.

I have had an affinity for Bellemont, since I first visited in 1981. Back then, only “primitive” (tent) camping was an option. The only motels or hotels were 20 miles away, in either Flagstaff to the east or Williams to the west. The kitchen, so to speak, was an outdoor “chuckwagon” set-up. People sat around, well into the night, and engaged in deep conversations, many of them of a spiritual nature.

Nowadays, we have a state-of-the-art, enclosed kitchen. There are cabins, for male and female attendees. There is a bathhouse-with male and female facilities. The old green cabin, one of the original classrooms, has been renovated and still serves as a study center. The library, above the bathhouse, is an ancillary classroom. The main clients, these days, are adolescents, aged 11-14. I have helped out, off and on, for three years now. (2020 was a hiatus for everyone), with the camps-from the Spring cleanup to the Fall breakdown, and as many camps as my other activities allow, over the summer.

The kids are wonderful and several longtime Baha’i friends comprise the staff, so it makes for a time of vigourous, but enjoyable activity. I will be offline until tomorrow night; thus, this early post.