Further Reflection

18

December 13, 2017, Prescott-

Baha’u’llah tells us that each soul expresses a grain of truth.  In the past several days, there has been much discussion, largely initiated by single men, regarding the push for gender equality.

I have responded to some of the posts and been somewhat rebuffed by the authors.  My take, essentially, is that people should not be limited in their pursuits, their dreams, their achievements, by traditional gender roles.  My identity as a man does not stand or fall on whether a woman, friend or not, can change a tire, rebuild an engine or run a Fortune 500 corporation, as well, or better, than a man could.  My identity as a man does not depend on whether I have a lady on my arm, even as I find many women strikingly lovely.
I must, however, agree with some of the men who have posted.  A human being’s relationship with any other human being is based on trust.  Women and men are equally capable of maintaining trust, and are equally capable of violating trust.  I have been in a couple of situations where I was the breaker of trust.  That I was going through episodes of grief, in each case, does not excuse my behaviour and I have apologized, done as each person violated has asked, and moved on.  In my friendships, over the past three years, I have been far more discerning and attentive to trust issues.

No one is entitled to respect, based on gender alone.  Respect comes from maintaining good character, and that includes being trustworthy.  A man had girlfriend begged off of their scheduled date, saying she didn’t feel well. She was later found to be having dinner with another man, that same evening.  She said it was her prerogative, as a woman.  Well, balderdash!  She reaped the fruits of that choice, which was an end to her relationship with Man A.

There is an argument, making the rounds, that women prefer men who are coarse, who will rough them up if necessary, or at least be selfish and disgusting.  My take on that is:

Such a woman is fundamentally looking for someone who is hard enough to perhaps safeguard her from the coarseness and meanness of the wider world.  A nice guy makes a good friend, so the saying goes, but a mate must be willing to be a brute.   My attitude is that a nice guy must also be strong in the face of adversity. Brutishness is a perversion of strength.

I practice goodness towards people, in general, but my mother did not raise any wimps. I stood up for my wife, as she did for me, and we stood up TO one another.  I am loving, nurturing and supportive of my female friends, but the last time I checked, none of them needed a doormat.  I am in their lives on their terms, and they are in my life, on mine.

The bottom line, in all this discussion, is PEOPLE need to be humane and considerate to other PEOPLE.  PEOPLE should be strong and reliable, in the eyes of other PEOPLE.  If a woman doesn’t respect a man, and vice versa, then what’s the point of their relationship?  More basically, if one doesn’t think he/she deserves a strong, reliable, trustworthy mate, then he/she won’t find one.

Revision

11

I am not pleased with the site revision, by which my posts are listed on a single page and I can’t view comments at the bottom of the individual post, as I could earlier. It almost looks like the design of a free blog site. I am paying $ 199 per year. That should account for something.

Equality

16

December 11, 2017, Prescott-

I just made my final statement, in an ongoing discussion with a “traditionalist”.  He says that true equality between men and women can never happen, because “we are each what the other isn’t.”

This take on things uses truisms, to construct a false dichotomy.  He states that no two people have the same skills, or even interests.  I concur.   We can all agree that no two people even have the same fingerprints, or identical DNA.

This, however, is where the notion that equal means identical must be met, and discarded.  I regard equality as a match in opportunity, status and reward, for the same abilities and efforts.  There should be no “glass ceiling”.

Opportunity is the big one.  A woman who has the ability to run a multinational corporation, rebuild an automotive engine, pilot a rocket ship or stare down a tyrant, should be given full rein.  The compensation should be the same as for a man.

Goodness knows, I was given this lecture, in 1970, by a hardknocks Army sergeant, who I would have thought would be the last person to challenge anyone’s lingering sexist bias.  It changed my own 20-year old’s view of how women should be treated in the workplace, and for all eternity.  I wasn’t a pig, mind you, but there was an attitude that a man should be in charge of a work station.  I am glad to have been rid of that, these past 47 years.

My late wife was my full partner, and yes, was everything I was not- and vice versa.  That’s what makes a full partnership work.  My women friends enrich my life in ways that “the guys” can’t, and vice versa.  This is what makes for a salubrious social network.

So, yes, we will never be identical.  All the same, I never want to go back to a world where we men must make all the decisions, garner all the honours and rewards and never have to rein in our egos.  That, to me, would be a vast, screaming desert.

 

Jenga

6

December 10, 2017, Walker, AZ-

I attended a Christmas gathering at the home of a senior Red Cross volunteer, this afternoon, in this small forest community, ten miles southeast of Prescott.  It was just a relaxing time for volunteers to recap the year and share stories of their various deployments, across the South, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and California.  After a couple of hours had passed, with goodly amounts of food and drink, and people began to head out, the host brought out a Jenga set.

This inspired these thoughts:

How sturdy is a house of loose blocks?

How many pieces can be removed, and from which part of the structure, before the edifice comes tumbling down?

Is there careful planning, as to demolition?

If so, what plans are there for something to take its place?

How high can such a structure be?

Does it really matter who lives in it, or even who owns it?

A lot of life is like Jenga.

En-titled

7

December 9, 2017, Prescott-

I awoke this morning,

in a state of tension.

“Come off it, self!

This is Saturday,

and no one expects

anything of you,

except that you

take part in the

noon conference call.”

I got myself together,

drove to one friend’s house,

picked up a bin of cut juniper,

and delivered to another’s house.

Somehow, I will want to do better

than that.

The pieces of wood are small

in the second friend’s eyes.

Aren’t we a funny breed?

A person is entitled

to big, to fine, to proper,

to sufficient.

I thought of other friends,

in Ojai,

looking at the embers

and foundation, where

once, there was a

home similar to

the second friend’s

house, here.

Where is their piece

of entitlement, now?

Once upon a time,

an angry young woman

demanded of her mate,

that he throw me out

of the house

that five of us shared.

It was mid-February,

cold, snowy,

central Maine.

An older couple

took me in,

two days later.

Seems the Universe

decided that I

was entitled to

dignity, and

freedom from

pneumonia.

Here’s how I see it, now.

These are our entitlements:

Respect, with regard to

our persons,

our time,

our necessaries.

Love,

unconditional,

therefore, never forced.

Opportunity,

to make choices

and to follow through,

on those choices.

These three

are enough for me.

All else proceeds

from them.

 

 

Safe

4

December 8, 2017, Prescott-

My only request of the Universe is safety.

That is all my mildly autistic mind has ever wanted.

Love tends to be tenuous,

and, for the most part, conditional.

Friends- these days,

I just try my best to keep out

of everyone’s way.

I’ve been to several places,

on different continents,

and have had my safety,

pretty much maintained.

I thank the Universe

for that.

It makes aloneness

a comfortable thing.

I can be in a crowd,

as I was tonight,

and not feel,

like my guard

needs to be up.

Thirty-Seven Gone By

15

December 6, 2017, Prescott- 

Each day brings choices.

That cold, wet night in Zuni,

thirty-seven years ago,

I chose to meet your eyes,

share your chair,

embrace your being.

We knew, pretty much

from that point on,

that this was a defining moment.

The charades of other people,

taking my place with you,

or your place with me,

never panned out.

Our time,

briefer than either of us expected,

was still a time of tight fit,

unbreakable solidity,

sweet and sour unity.

Family knew we would never break,

our child was glad that we,

never,

went to bed angry,

and so were you and I.

The neighbour across Solar Drive,

seeing me go out the door,

and come back,

less than five minutes later,

was never quite so sure.

The Dineh could have told her,

we never raised unkind hands

at one another.

Peace was always our only solution,

to all the storms that raged

in our hearts.

Thirty-seven years later,

nearly seven years after

you flew homeward,

I recall that peace.

It sustains me, yet.

 

Boulders on Shoulders

17

December 5, 2017, Prescott- 

A young girl told an advice columnist that pressure, “from society”, for her to have sex with her boyfriend, felt like “a boulder on my shoulder”.

There is infinitely more to any given human being, of any age, than titillating, tintinnabulating, appealing to the weary and shopworn sensibilities of the jaded and the restless.

I’ve mentioned earlier that I work with two strikingly pretty women- one happily wed, one contentedly single- both young enough to be my daughters.  There is not a moment of the day when untoward thoughts cross my mind about either lady.

There are, on the edges of my life, a gorgeous mother and daughter, whom I treasure as friends.  The mother could become more than a friend- maybe, someday.  I keep our friendship in full perspective.  Moreover, nobody will ever, with impunity, lay an unkind hand on daughter- God has my word on that.  That young woman is the salt of the earth.

I suppose that could mean kudos to yours truly, but I will take a pass.  The above sentiments ought to be de rigeur, for each of us,male and female, who see all manner of  people, to whom we might be attracted, on a daily basis.

Yet, to me, the joy of living, what keeps me young, is in seeing a human being as a complete entity- in knowing and supporting his or her dreams, so long as those dreams don’t entail crushing the souls of others.

Boulders crush, when they are dislodged, and roll downhill.

Collateral

5

December 4,2017, Prescott-

(I watched an episode of “Law & Order:  Special Victims Unit”, this evening.  It dealt with several horrific family issues.  One was children as collateral damage.)

He may well never know

what a treasure

on which he turned his back.

It was a matter of disinterest,

on his part,

back then.

It is less than that ,

now.

I have seen

how well you  have done,

in spite of his disinterest.

Survivors often do

outlast those

who torment them,

who act as if they don’t

exist.

You have not only

continued to exist,

you have transcended.

You are masterful,

interested in a fine young man,

certain to make a solid mark,

both of your own,

and,  perhaps, together with him.

You are ever wondrous,

focused,

setting goals

that you have already

attained-

and we know,

there will be other goals.

They will be reached,

because you are

determined.

Your mother knows

just how high you will soar,

how many dreams

you have

and how hard you will

work to attain them.

I watch,

from the distance

that has been set for me.

I feel wonder,

pride at even being

in this observer’s seat

and, on occasion,

am invited to your sideline,

cheering for you, full tilt.

I know what he is missing.

It is the world.

 

 

The Next Thirty-three

13

December 3, 2017, Prescott-

My readership is fairly tired of me right now, so maybe this outlandish title will be a coup de gras.  Let me explain further, though.

Last weekend, my best friend and I were discussing the concept of aging.  I am a Baker’s Dozen years her senior, so the notion she raised- that humans could live to, let’s just say for now, well over 100, as a matter of course, is mentioned in the Bible.

I lost another friend, early this morning, who was 83.  By the same token, I have lost friends  who were 13, 18, 22, 37, 38 and 62, among many others.  My Mom’s first employer was 105, when the Call came.  It’s a most individual state of affairs.

I have a few, perhaps presumptuous, notions about my own future.  So, I am quietly formulating plans for the next 33 years, putting me exactly at 100, when those plans are up.  It’d be nice to share a lot of that time with BF, even given that we are both highly independent creatures, and are not co-dependent.  It’d also be nice to be absolutely of service to my family and to the wider community, again not being on top of either.  I am a human, not a drone or helicopter.

You know it, readership!  Trails and travel will always beckon, whether with my dear friend, with others in a group or alone.  Health and harmonious living, whether in my own place or in an intentional community, is the foundation of these plans.  Earning my way will never be taken for granted- as the eldest of five, I am hard-wired to do my share, and to look out for those I love.  That number has grown, drastically, since the days when we happily lived in a relatively small house.  It was cozy and it was loving.

So, 67 is with me, for slightly less than a year.  It will take me back east, twice (Late December and June), to BF’s, and other friends’ homes, whenever they need me and to various places around this beloved Southwest and thereabouts, when the call comes.  It will take me to work, and hopefully, not to task.  I will seek its aid, in making certain that I grow in love and that no one gets short shrift.

The “next thirty-three” doesn’t feel like such an outlandish theme, after all- if one year at a time.