Undying

4

August 20, 2019-

This is not a post about vampires or zombies.  It is a post about how the love I feel towards many; in fact, just about all those who come to mind.  I say “just about all”, as the few who have consistently repaid kindness with viciousness are those who I need to keep at arm’s length, while still not wishing them ill.  There is always room for forgiveness and a new start.

At any rate, I am thinking specifically of a few young ladies, with whom my contact is mostly, if not entirely, on social media, who are like daughters to me.  One resurfaced today, on my feed, and I could only feel relief that she is in a safe place.  Others are pretty constant here, and that always brings a smile to my heart.

There is a family wedding coming soon-in my heart family, that is.  I find this is as important to me as any of my birth family’s nuptials.  The bride defines self-made woman and I can feel this marriage will be a particular success.  She, and her mother (also  a self-made woman), have long been very close to my heart.

A good woman, whom I had the pleasure of meeting several times, recently passed to the Presence of her Lord.  One of the points in her obituary was her kindness to even the most derelict of people.  She would get after those who were slovenly, but always in a gentle way.  No one was beyond redemption, in her view.

I hope to keep on, with this state of heart, getting up each day with a vow to show love and respect to those who cross my path-and to be consistent about it.  That doesn’t mean being a doormat-as that would not be loving to myself.  It does mean walking in Light.

May this be an undying state of heart.

Dog Day

3

August 19, 2019-

The day started with two good turns- A young singer with a powerful voice invited me, through her father/webmaster, to like her Facebook page;  The National Weather Service now says we may get rain, over Labor Day weekend.

I “liked ” the page, as anything I can do, to encourage a fellow autistic to build on personal strengths, is going to happen.  I’ll take rain, whenever it comes.  Last year, it came during a huge Country Music festival-in early autumn.  The world is turning on its axis, it seems, so in addition to whatever atmospheric changes we are inculcating, Mother Nature is making some changes of her own.

I read a study that claims people who nap more in the afternoon, and wake up at night, are at risk of Alzheimer’s, down the road.  That would mean a lot of us who nod off, in the heat of the day, are bound to find themselves in a different state of mind, ten years hence.  To me, though, the crux is often hydration.  I nod off less, when my water intake is up.  Since the brain is largely water, that could have some bearing on dementia, as well.  Synapses fire better, when there is a proper level of saturation.

It was hot enough today, that I felt it prudent to give my laptop a three-hour break.  Reading and a Planet Fitness visit took the place of  correspondence and pontification.  Not to worry, the latter is about finished, for now.

Remember, the Dog Days rarely last beyond Labor Day, which is two weeks off.  Stay saturated, my friends.

This Is No Game

4

August 18, 2019-

Love is not a game.

Caring for someone is a 24/7 matter.

It is not a case of projecting one’s needs onto the beloved.

It never allows for ignoring or minimizing her/his needs,

and dreams, in favour of the all-important self.

 

Leadership is not a game.

Guiding a group, region or nation is the highest calling.

It is not a case of being in the limelight, 24/7.

It is not a matter of keeping people off track.

It is not sleight of hand, or

smoke and mirrors.

 

Faith is not a game.

It does not pick and choose

which Scripture fits one’s

own pre-conceived notions.

It does not hide from what is expected.

It does not bemoan challenges,

or misfortune.

 

Life is just not a game.

Constant

7

August 14, 2019-

Today is the fourth, in as many as thirty consecutive days of dry heat.

I will not let myself burn, or sink in exhaustion.

Today is another day of hand-wringing and grasping at straws,

in the financial markets.

I will not cry poor mouth.

Today we hear what many of us have long intuited,

that there is a tie that binds those

who serially abuse teenagers.

I will always view youth as my friends,

as being just as worthy of following their dreams,

as anyone else on the planet.

Today, a wise person wrote:  “I whispered in the Devil’s ear,……….

I am the Storm!”

To all who seek to bring humanity down into the mud,

I, too, am the Storm.

Stay focused,

stay strong,

your lives matter.

The Cost of Anonymity

2

July 19-21-

I am back in my salubrious Home Base, for three days, give or take.  No one knew I was back, until I announced my presence- such is the anonymous state of being that proceeds from apartment living, in a community that relishes independence.

I went down to one of the local coffee houses, on Friday morning.  For most of the time, I was the only patron sitting inside. The barrista, a recent graduate of our community’s high school, was bored out of her skull.  Too shy to talk to this old guy, she busied herself with grinding coffee beans, swiping her phone and otherwise staring into space.  I’ve learned to respect personal space, and so focused on my simple oatmeal breakfast.

Towards lunch, a visit to Ms. Natural’s, one of my favourite hangouts, revealed a different atmosphere.  The proprietor, C, was delighted that I was back, even if only for a few days.  One of the waitresses, C2, engaged me in a lengthy comparison of summer adventures:  Mine, on the road and hers. locally-based, but no less interesting.  After C2’s boyfriend showed up, they left and I talked with C and another waitress for a few more minutes, feeling that I belonged here.

Much of the modern West thrives on anonymity.  People don’t monitor a person’s actions, all that much.  Some of my contemporaries make it look as if they are watching what’s going on, but an old white guy staring at others, and not saying much, isn’t doing anything to deter either loneliness or miscreance.  I have chosen involvement in community activities, as an antidote to both.  It’s a fine line that needs to be trod-one can not force oneself on others, nor can one just turn a blind eye to incidents, large and small, that impact a community.

So, I went to a couple of meetings, Friday evening and Saturday afternoon, and joined several comrades for breakfast at the Legion Post, Sunday morning. I was apprised of all that had gone on, drama and the rest, over the last six weeks.  There was a fair amount of planning and the scene for Autumn looks to be fulfilling.  The cost of anonymity can only be paid by breaking out of the chrysalis.

Now, I look forward to a week with my Carson City family.

Honour and Hubris at Sand Creek

0

July 17, 2019, Eads, CO-

The sign clearly stated “Walk in silence and respect”, as I approached the ridge, overlooking a valley of hallowed ground, where 230 Cheyenne and Arapaho people,  mostly women and children, were killed by a regiment of U.S. soldiers, on November 29, 1864.  John Chivington, a colonel in the U. S. Army, orchestrated and led the attacks, turning a blind eye to atrocities committed by many of the men under his command.  Some white settlers who had befriended the First Nations people were also beaten or killed, by garrison troops at Fort Lyon who were in league with Chivington’s forces.  Several men in the garrison refused to participate in the slaughter.  Two of them wrote to higher authorities about the incident.  One of these, Silas Soule, was assassinated by other soldiers, on the streets of Denver, after he testified to a Commission of Inquiry about the massacre.

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This campaign of  slaughter, of course rooted in ignorance and greed, would result in the resignation of Colonel Chivington from the U. S. Army, whilst he and many of his men were regarded as local heroes, by the more conservative settlers of Colorado Territory, particularly in Denver and Colorado City (now Colorado Springs).  To be fair, there were constant attacks and depredations by both Whites and First Nations people, prior to Sand Creek-and afterward, but none were carried out by women and children.  The matter of ownership of land has resulted in far too much death and destruction.  In the end, no one has ownership of land, in perpetuity.  Indeed, it’s a dark irony, and a fitting one, that Bill Dawson, who owned the land on which the masacre took place, returned it to the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations, in 1999.  The National Park Service would compensate Mr. Dawson and his family for the land, but there was none of the acrimony among area residents that their predecessors had shown, throughout the remainder of the Nineteenth Century.  There was a consensus that this was hallowed, sacred ground, and that justice was finally being served, to the extent still possible.

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To me, there was no choice, but to sit in reverence and prayer, overlooking the massacre site.  As I was leaving, a pair of photojournalists arrived, preparing to make a brief video on the Massacre.  We were all startled when a car  pulled up, a door slammed and a perky Ranger loudly greeted the men and inquired about their prior visit to Bent’s Old Fort, another NPS Historic Site that is associated with Sand Creek.  It had been a still, solemn visit, and was now turning into business as usual.

I walked back to the Visitor’s Center, waited for the 1:00 presentation, and left at 1:30, when it was clear that I was the only lay visitor, and there would be no presentation.  I know the spirits were grateful for my visit.  A hawk feather had been laying on the ground, just off the first part of the trail between the Visitor’s Center and the massacre overlook.  The sight of  a circling eagle or hawk, or of a raptor feather on the ground is a sign, to many First Nations people, that one’s presence is acceptable to the Spirits. I circled the feather, clockwise, and silently prayed.

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Leaving the National Historic Site,  my route took me past the now-deserted railroad town of Chivington, its buildings mostly looking to fall over, with the next keening wind.  Eads, some twenty miles west, is a more thriving town, whose residents approve of the National Historic Site.

I will long be mindful of the continuing need to remember atrocities, such as Sand Creek, as examples of what happens when people fail to honour, respect and listen to one another, over a period of months, years, decades.

NEXT:  The Way Back to Home Base

 

The Home Base That Wasn’t

2

June 25, 2019, Tryon, NC-

In the gloom of Spring, 2011, I was casting about in my mind, as to where I might plant myself.  At the time, I had one immediate goal:  To make my way to New Hampshire and attend the wedding of my sister’s youngest daughter- for whose happiness Penny and I had prayed for several years.  Other parts of life were in a state of suspension.  Though I worked the rest of the academic year, following Penny’s funeral and Aram’s life was slowly coming together, with the Navy on the horizon, I had ME to get settled.

Several locations presented themselves:  I could have relocated somewhere else in the metro Phoenix area, or somewhere else where I had family nearby.  Then, there were places with no family in the area.  One such place, to which I’d never been and of which I knew nothing, was Tryon.

I happened upon this town, whilst en route from Knoxville to Columbia.  It was dinner hour, so at long last, I left the highway and found a space for my car.  The place seemed magical.

It had been a fairly good day in Knoxville.  The East Side was hardly as intimidating as the earlier news reports had suggested.  There were troubled people in the room directly below me, but they kept their troubles to themselves and I had a good night’s rest.  A nice lunch, a workout at Planet Fitness and a car servicing at Big O all took place across town, and by early afternoon, I was back on the road.  If you’re ever in Knoxville and want a good, quick lunch, I recommend “Best Bagels in Town”- a small place, behind a Walgreen’s, just a couple of blocks north of Big O, at 120 S. Peters Road. I promised the owner I’d send a shout out, so here it is:  Best Bagels is true to its name.

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Back to Tryon: The downtown is compact, with a well-known equestrian resort a few miles further east.  I am more of a cozy downtown type, so while resorts are nice and all, give me a small coffee shop/cafe restaurant, any day.  One such place is Huckleberry’s.

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One of the recurring themes in my life is how much I want for the younger generations to realize their dreams, to succeed-often in spite of the powers that be “moving the goalposts” and recognizing when a young man or woman gets things right.

Georgia got it right, albeit being rather self-effacing and business-like. The sign that Huckleberry’s owner put on the wall says it best:

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Georgia did keep busy, though, greeting, seating and doing half the serving.  I’ll say it again and again:  We Boomers are in good hands,  as we hand off the baton.

Tryon has a thing for bears-and for its claim to fame:  Horses.  The first sight that greeted me, as I parked was a wooden bear.

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Horses adorn a couple of spots along Tryon’s two main streets.

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This multi-coloured horse is found near the Post Office.

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Any town which claims Nina Simone as a Native Daughter has my fullest admiration.  A consortium of artists is working to restore the home of her birth.

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I chose Prescott, AZ, of course, as my Home Base-largely because it was familiar and the family had property, for the first 3 years of my time there.  I will continue to call Prescott my Home Base, until we see where my little family settles, next year.  A place like Tryon would not necessarily be out of the question.

NEXT:  Fair Columbia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Few More Reflections

5

June 24, 2019, Crossville- 

I have also had occasion, whilst packing up for the further road, to think about why certain people are more like family to me than others and about just what my role in the scheme of such things actually is.

I am not much for patriarchy-as despite my gathering age, I don’t have all that many of the answers, in my own right.   Also, there has never been a time when the women and girls in my life have felt subservient. Groups tend to solve problems, better than do individuals.  In order for my various groups to do that, regular communication needs to happen. This little group of three, this weekend, got an aging dachshund through a very uncomfortable bout of the cruds.  Greater things require people’s attention, but there is none so heart-rending.

There is,as I alluded in the last post, a lady west of here, who I met on last year’s visit and who I would  get to know better, in a heartbeat.  There are hundreds, if not thousands of souls I have befriended-if only by electronic means and each means something special-as blood relatives, as surrogate children-and surrogate siblings, and as trusted friends/mentors.  My two friends here are high in the sibling category, as well as in the last one.  I spend a lot of time thinking about each of you, day and night-which is as much an impetus for my time spent in community work, when at Home Base, and in connecting with so many, when the Road calls.

So, now, I head down to Chattanooga, to see what makes a friend in Wisconsin so enamoured of Ruby Falls- and perhaps check out Rock City, which a couple of friends in the Southeast love.

Reflections By A Small Pond

8

June 24, 2019, Crossville, TN-

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I have had a good long while, both in the company of my friends here and when alone, to ponder my relationships, my reactions to things that have come my way and my sense of how the course of civilization is moving.

I am in a steady state right mow, a bit tired, but still lucid.  I look at this pond, and see a solid ring of vegetation around it.  I see a goodly number of several species of birds.  That means the insects, seeds and nuts are prolific.  There was a Great Blue Heron that flew by the window, about an hour ago (It’s 8 a.m., CDT).  There don’t seem to be any deer around, this year, and only a few coyotes have been spotted.

These things tell me that the land is calling for quiet.  My friends can be quite vociferous, inside the house, but are calm and at one with the environment, when outside-other than running a lawnmower, once a week or so.  There are runoff issues that need to be addressed-by the wider community. Readers know my position on this:  I used no chemical sprays at my Phoenix and Prescott house and refrained from using them when I was maintaining the grounds at the apartment, as well.

I don’t throw noxious substances at my friendships, either. I feel it is best to go with the flow, almost as if I were water.  It is also a good idea to put oneself slightly behind others, in terms of meeting needs.  This has meant devoting more energy to friendships, which makes some people uncomfortable-“Why are you so concerned about ME?”  On the other hand, there are those whose interests in friendship are strictly financial assistance or 24/7 involvement. I feel for such people, but I haven’t that sort of energy, nor do I have unlimited resources.

I have said, recently, that I am single by choice, these past eight years.  That’s just where I am, emotionally, psychologically and aesthetically.  I won’t apologize for it. Just know that I am more able to do what my spirit guides tell me, in meditation and reflection, without taking on the day-to-day needs of one specific person, or another.

That said, this place could very easily, with the consent of the friends here, be my place of refuge.   I would do my share, and then some-but that’s all down the road a piece.  There is someone, not that far from here, who could easily be a person of interest to me, so to speak.  That would also be a few years hence.  My little family’s needs are also, as I keep saying, a major factor.

I have had some vivid and somewhat unsettling dreams of late, which I will describe in a few posts form now, as they have specific contexts.  Until then, the road will once again unfold, in a few hours.

NEXT:  Where Chattanooga’s Choo Choo Won’t Go