Dreams Deferred

8

May 26, 2017, Prescott-

In the interests of preventing further problems, for me and others, the chief of department has several questions, which she will raise next Wednesday.  A lot of decisions with regard to children are made, based on second-or third hand information.  There are specific program issues, personality clashes between adults (which do NOT take the children’s interests into account), and matters of style.

Memorial Day weekend has often been a time of deferring action, as there are many year end transitions that have to be accomplished, but people need respite.  I once lived out of my car for the weekend, while a prospective landlord took time off.  He, of course, blew me off on the following Tuesday, but I found a far better place in which to live.

This year brings a similar situation.  The possibility of returning to working with a high school age population is still quite real, but will need to defer to the principle of rest, and to further discussions.  My plan B is to be full-on with the Red Cross, though that will bring $0.  Then, too, there is the option of moving into a less expensive community, and starting over.  As I said, yesterday, quick, not dead.

Different

14

May 11, 2017, Prescott-

I have, as most are aware, led a life that has been far from conventional.  My love and I did not play by the rules, as much as we might have, when purchasing our home, in 2003.  I did proudly bring in my mortgage check, for five years, whilst juggling her increasingly unpredictable medical state.  Then came the Madoff scandal, which hit us, indirectly.  Then came the “Great Recession”, bankruptcy and short sale.  Three years later, she was gone.  Son moved on with his life, a testament to our own resiliency, and his.

We, the survivors, are hanging in there.  He’s fine in Busan, South Korea, as far as I can tell.  I am stable in Prescott, as far as I can tell. Money is tight, but no matter.  Those who played by the rules have their struggles, as well.  In the end, we each have what we’ve earned, and little else.

My autism has made me different, from day one.  I approach new situations, new groups of people, from a distance, with some caution.That’s caused issues with others, who jump into newness with both feet, and think a delayed response is a sign of apathy.  It’s caused initial issues with women, who are more in tune with connection.  After reading my heart, much of that has faded away, but it still irks me- that I can’t.quite. be. as forthcoming with new friends, as seems reasonable.

Life is better now, though.  At this age, most of those around me have either been through their own scar-fests (my contemporaries and elders) or are heart-readers (children and teens).  I have one goal, for my own behavioural exchequer:  Feel less inclined to hang back, in new situations.  ACCEPT that most people are naturally inclined to be social, to be accepting, themselves.

It’s okay to be different.

The First Eon, Part II

0

April 28, 2017, Prescott- NOTE:  Today marks the Ninth Day of the Festival of Ridvan, during which Baha’u’llah declared His Mission to the world.  On this day, His family joined Him, in the blessed garden, outside Baghdad, preparing for their departure, towards Constantinople (Istanbul).

Each of us is constantly being separated, and reunited, with both our physical and spiritual families.  This is the second part of my own reunion with a very close member of my spiritual family.   Her remarks appear in quotes.  Mine do not.

And so:

I have looked at your mate’s countenance.  He’s intensely devoted to you, as you are to him.  That’s essential, especially in the years immediately to come.

“I’ve been with him, at several levels.  He is a fairly advanced spirit, as you and I are.”

My departed wife was a bit more advanced than I.  She still looks out for me, constantly.

“You are too modest, my brother.  Yes, you have your blind spots, especially when it comes to controlling your physical attractions.  You’re working on that, though, and I recently gave you a boost, up and over two of the more restricting ones.”

That you did, and I’m glad those particular stumbling blocks are in the rear view mirror, so to speak.

“All of our earthly desires can be restricting.  It’s best to channel the basis of those desires into service to the greater Universe, which you and I are both doing now.”

So true, and I am learning from the children, on a daily basis.  Their well-being, and appreciation of nature, remain my impetus, on this plane.

“You’ve been like that, almost from the beginning.  I admit to having been off-track, a few times, but my love for Creation has always brought me back. Again, having a mate who is so close to my own mission, has been a series of blessings, beyond measure. Having you, and several of the others, with me again, is even greater a bounty.”

I’m glad to have you with me, also, dear sister.  There are several of the others who have reunited with me, as well. One of the younger spirits is living not far from you, now, as a matter of fact.  He will reconnect with you soon, I believe.

“It’s so odd, to be using terms like ‘he’ and ‘she’.  We have had to do that on a few other planes, as I recall. I have a sense that the next plane won’t be so.”

Yes, and I feel that raising animal consciousness, to a level higher than that imposed by procreative impulses, is a major task of our presence here.

“Our little troupe of souls will continue, in that regard.  Let’s ever be open of heart and mind, to all whom we encounter.  I look forward to our next physical encounter, and may you be safe and well, in the interim.”

May you be the same, precious soul sister.

Diamond Hearts

12

April 25, 2017, Prescott-

A few days ago, I remarked to a friend,

that many encounters I’ve had with people,

over the years,

had met a dead end.

Whenever I make a new friend,

two key questions cross my mind.

First, is how does he/she treat,

and is treated,

by her/his significant other?

At my age, most people I meet have one.

The second question is,

what is her/his story?

Everyone has a legacy of some significance.

Of the people I visited last weekend,

two women have husbands,

whom they love passionately.

One man, who also loves women,

in general, with a passion,

is finding his niche.

One woman looked deep into my eyes,

the day I met her, over a month ago,

and conveyed a message of love.

It was not from Eros.

In fact, I sense that if I met her man,

I’d see the same message in his eyes.

That would, most assuredly, not be from Eros.

I sense the hearts are gathering inward.

There is a call going out, heart-to-heart,

and diamond to diamond.

I got a message, this evening,

looking at a photo of my friend and her husband,

that something huge is about to happen.

The man’s eyes conveyed the notion,

that there is an urgency for people

to set aside their differences.

The woman’s eyes flashed a fierce love,

as they did when I photographed her

and her employer.

Everyone connected to that little cafe/market,

seems to have magnetic energy.

They all seem to be telling me,

stay grounded.

The ladies, and their gentle men,

are telling me, wordlessly,

stay grounded;

there’s a lot of electricity

coming in the air.

I see these things,

when I take the time

to really look

into people’s eyes.

Bless the heart people,

in the towns I’ve come to love, so well,

and bless their diamonds.

 

 

 

 

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XX: Genuineness and Imposture

6

April 1, 2017, Superior, AZ-  I returned, briefly, to this roughly beautiful little town, at the edge of central Arizona’s Queen Creek Gorge, to partake of the Gorge’s eastern flank, popularly known as Devil’s Canyon, (I prefer “Spirit Canyon”), and a sandwich, coffee and butterscotch brownie prepared by a friend, Kathy, at Sun Flour Market.

She and the market’s owner, Willa, are prime examples of people who make everyone entering their enterprise feel genuinely welcome, like royalty.  They work hard, as well, and their efforts show: The place was hopping, despite the relatively quiet Main Street.

I don’t take photographs of people at work, or of random customers, but these are scenes from Sun Flour’s interior, including Willa’s Easter Tree.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I have spoken before, of places where I feel safe.  This establishment is another such place.  I consider the ladies as friends, who love their spouses, AND have intensely caring hearts, when it comes to people in general.  The Easter Tree is a nod to the children, whose parents bring them in, regularly, on Saturdays.  You might note some Easter dresses, to the left of the tree.  While I was there, a little girl talked her parents into buying one of the dresses.  Needless to say, Sun Flour Market will see me, whenever I’m in the area.

I mention imposture, in the title, as well.  I pondered, a great deal, whilst hiking in the canyon, after lunch, as to my own state of being.  Friends will say that I am a genuine soul, and I am honoured by that.  There are plenty of others, including several family members, who would say otherwise, and I have to live with that.  My own personal jury is still out, on the matter.

Most such self-ambivalence stems from work.  Going back to when I first entered the workforce, there were supervisors, like Phil Mitchell, Bob Powers and Sgt. Dave Cummings (United States Army), who saw my rough edges and used whatever sand paper they had available, to turn me into a fairly decent worker.  Fast forward to the late seventies and early eighties, men like Peter Webb, Dr. Mike Duff, and the late Patrick Giovanditto also helped me hone my skills, often ignoring objections from less compassionate supervisors.  My colleagues at Jeju National University, in Korea, were uniformly supportive of my work, during the five years I served as a trainer of English teachers.  Back in the States, in the 1990’s, I got support and encouragement from Eugene Charley and A.T. Sinquah, whilst serving as a school counselor.  Truth be known, many students, teachers and parents also believed in my abilities- far more than I believed in myself.  The people with whom I worked last Spring, at Prescott High School, remain advocates, as well.  These were the people who could see inside my heart.

The people I mentioned above are counteracted, to a great degree, by the majority of those under whom I have worked, including my current supervisors.  Their negative opinions, unfortunately, only bring me back to a state of doubt.  None of them have been able to see inside my heart.  My own vision, often cloudy, requires constant cleansing and refocusing.  All I know is that the safe zones in my world are what make such recovery possible.  Perhaps some day, my work place will be a similar place.  For the next eight weeks, though, I do the best I can, with six of my eight students as beacons of light.

 

Always Regal

4

March 8, 2017, Prescott- 
Some thoughts on the occasion of International Women’s Day:

Women, at least from what I can see, want what men want-

Respect, dignity, appreciation, the right to strive, the right to achieve, the chance to succeed, avoidance of typecasting.

I would not be anywhere near the man I am, were it not for Mother’s diligence in her job.

I would be far lesser a person, had it not been for my wife’s undying love and encouragement.

I would not be as loyal a friend, had my sister not been the true and loyal friend she has been, for 64 years.

My world would be bleaker, without many female friends, ranging in age from ten to eighty.

Much is still made of beauty- but it is the kind of beauty radiating from within, that sustains any person, in perpetuity.

Comely women need to be viewed as humans, with the same needs and wants as anyone else, or the viewer is missing a variety of points.

When a task requiring many hands presents itself, a full crew of both genders is the most productive.

I shudder at a world, in which women are barred from exercising their talents and faculties.

Blessed International Women’s Day!

Sixty Six for Sixty-Six, Part IV: Raise the Bar

4

January 16, 2017, Prescott-  I spent most of today just being here for my son and a friend of his, so that they got a good breakfast into themselves and didn’t forget any of their gear, from last night’s camp-out.  The other act of service was a visit to my surrogate uncle, Henry “Hank” Alcott, whom I’ve mentioned here before.  He told me I needed to cook for myself more, and so I have a sheet with some of his favourite New England recipes.  He also reinforced my commitment to service, by telling me, again, about his daily regimen of getting up at dawn, making his own bed and going around the VA Hospital, and visiting those who are alone.  Henry is 93, and regards everyone he knows as his family.  I can’t think of a finer way to live fully.

This leads me to the next order of business:  We hit rock bottom, during the last election cycle, in a variety of ways.  Elections often produce winners who seem to be the opposite of what a country needs.  There are eras, as with the presidency of Ronald Reagan, when the elected grows, marvelously, into the position and stands firm, in meeting the needs of the times.

Society could well stand a make-over or, at least, a cleansing.  Here are some suggestions:

  1.  Learning should not be limited to a prescribed pedagogy.  I have a personal dedication to raising the bar for my students, to see knowledge as a tool for personal success- and for myself to not rely so much on cognitive material.  People are embracing the process of learning, and its mastery, a lot more.  Let’s place more stress on analysis, synthesis and application.
  2. Family, as Uncle Hank says, is unlimited.  The possibilities of what can be achieved are limitless, when one does not constrict his/her circle of contacts and sources of ideas.  I said, yesterday, on another medium, that people can be estimable, regardless of their personal politics.  I have not restricted my “family” to the realms of close genealogy, regional neighbourship or even shared pigmentation, national origin or nationality at birth. It would be more than grand, if we were to value the lives of others, as if there were no “Other”.
  3. God is not a four-letter word.  Most of the satisfaction I have had from life has come from a belief system.  I believe each of us has to find our own spiritual center, and that, in doing so, we don’t cast aspersions on the beliefs of others.  I speak of Baha’u’llah and study His Teachings.  That does not mean I hold it against Christians, Muslims or followers of other Faiths, who wish to share their beliefs. Fullness of spiritual knowledge can only make us stronger.
  4. These are three areas, in which I believe the “bar” can be raised.

Mother Miguel Mountain

3

January 3, 2017, Chula Vista-   Whenever I look out the window, from my son’s apartment, the curious sight of Mount San Miguel, in the Otay Range, looms to the southeast. I took advantage of Aram’s being back to work, got up before dawn, and headed over to Mount San Miguel Park, on Chula Vista’s east side.  There was a short wait, of about twenty minutes, as the city park opens at 6 A.M., with decent light about 6:30.

My choice of trails led up Mother Miguel Mountain, to a military commemorative, called Rock House.  Two explanations are in order:  “Mother Miguel” is a mash-up of Madre Grande, which some early settlers from the eastern U.S. took to pronouncing “Mother Grundy”, and San Miguel, the name given to the area by earlier Spanish ranchers;  Rock House is the name given to a rock arrangement which houses two, rather tattered, flags-our national flag and the banner honouring Prisoners-of-War and those Missing-in-Action.  The latter is to be flown, or displayed at meetings of veterans’ service organizations, until the day comes when all such persons, or their identified remains, are honourably interred or cremated on U.S. soil.

My leisurely up and back lasted about three hours, over a round trip of 6.2 miles.  The photos, taken with my phone camera, are not as clear as those taken with the digital, but you will get the idea.20170103_0651391

Here is the trailhead for Mother Miguel, from the east end of Mt. San Miguel Park.20170103_0701591

Above, is a view of the destination, for which I used a series of 22 non-taxing switchbacks.

20170103_0711551

Occasional limestone boulder piles provide a place to sit and contemplate, along the way.

20161106_1303161

Others just dominate their area,  as does this castle-like outcropping.

20170103_0808581

Once atop the modest-sized peak, Mexico looms, to the south, with the San Ysidro district of San Diego, in the foreground.

20170103_081143[1].jpg

Here is Rock House, with its resident banners.

20170103_081252[1].jpg

A second stone arrangement, intended as a circle for contemplation, is found just south of the Rock House.  Sweetwater Reservoir is seen in the distance.

20170103_081328[1].jpg

A third, circular, stone arrangement is a bit more to the south, still, and seems to invite a holistic view of the repatriation process.

20170103_0828011

Off to the east is Mount San Miguel, whose owners SAY they don’t want hikers going to its summit, but do nothing to prevent those few intrepid people,usually military members doing personal training, who make the steep hike up its western slope.

Speaking of which, there were about six others on Mother Miguel Trail, while I was there.  One, a young lady, passed by, as I was taking in the rock arrangements, and went to the southernmost point on the summit.  After she had returned from her moments of solitude, and headed on down the mountain, I went to that point, and found a commemorative bench.

20170103_0830342

There is, indeed, nothing that replaces a sense of home.  I hope that she felt comforted, and reassured, by this message.

The way down had me thinking, somehow, of just how vital the two youngest generations are, and will continue to be, to the well-being of our nation, and of our planet, as a host of problems, heretofore unfaced, will present themselves, over the next decade or so.  I guess the energy of the young runners and hikers, along with the industrial views of the area to the west and north of the park, set this thought in motion.  Like all previous such times of challenge, humanity will prevail, by working together.  There is no other choice.

20170103_0940242

The rocks remain, and patiently look upon us.

 

Relections on Noel, 2016

3

December 25, 2016, Phoenix-  I had thought I might be getting out of snow-shoveling this year, but it didn’t turn out that way. No matter- I made do with four hours of sleep, before heading back down here for the final day of Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference.

There was a rather intense seminar on communication between us and those who have gone on.  I have had plenty of messages from Penny, and from other relatives, over the past several years, and was visited by my maternal grandmother, not long after she passed away.  Dabbling in the psychic, which is discouraged by Baha’u’llah, in His Writings, is quite another matter. This presentation was quite informative, however, with regard to the power of concentrated energy.

I also attended a presentation on children in community life, and was confirmed in my own position:  People of all ages deserve to be included in the life of the community, and encouraged in their pro-social dreams and aspirations.  Noting that traditional societies, most familiar to me being Native Americans, have long practiced the full involvement of children in community life, the group concluded this was key to rebuilding society.

I went to the west side of town, to visit some friends.  A couple and their granddaughter were home, so I gave the girl a copy of Abby Wize:  AWAKE”, by Lisa Bradley.  She is very loving to animals, and the story is about a girl who loves horses, so I think it will go well with her.  My other friend was still at a church service, so I rescheduled to see him next week.  Dinner was at a customary place- Mandarin Super Buffet, in the heart of Phoenix.  It was packed, as Chinese restaurants often are, on Christmas night.  The food was fresh and hot, so I was again delighted by Mandarin’s varied and hearty fare.

I had intended to attend a concert, back at the Conference site.  Concert time, however, found me in an intense and wide-ranging conversation with a much-admired mentor, of many years.  As he remarked, when it was time for us to leave:  “There will be other concerts.”

Lastly, it was much easier to get onto my street, and in the house, this evening.  Hope you each had a joyous Christmas.

A Progressive Rogue

4

December 17, 2016, Prescott- 

I regard myself as a progressive.  There is only one way to real progress, though, in my view.  That is, for everyone to roll up their sleeves, get a given job done, and not be concerned with WHO ELSE is on the team, or in the relay line, so long as each person is carrying his or her weight.

I was on a team, this morning, whose collective task was to empty a storage yard of holiday wreaths.  We had about a thousand wreaths, most of which were in boxes of six.  Our team, of ten men and one woman, loaded the boxes and loose wreaths onto any of three trucks.  The trucks then brought their loads up to a staging area, in Prescott Memorial Cemetery, where others took the wreaths and placed them at each of a thousand or so gravesites, as part of Wreaths Across America, which honours our departed veterans, each Christmas season.  The team members did not stop for a minute, until the job was done.  Yes, it was cold(18-25 F), but so was shoveling snow, back in Saugus, Deerfield and Bangor, in my earlier days.  As the project director said, when we first gathered for assignments, the men and women whose graves we honoured did not flinch, for convenience’s sake.

I left the site, after our job was finished, and went over to another place, where 45 women, men and children were putting Christmas baskets and backpacks together, for homeless veterans and disadvantaged families.  My jobs were to sort donated groceries into food types, sort empty backpacks into piles, by colour and size, and then help fill twenty backpacks, with donated clothing, safety implements, toiletries and stationery. Once again, each of us worked with the others, across lines of ideology, gender and age, with no regard for differences.

These two events, no doubt, had their counterparts, by the thousands, across the country, and around the world.  We do them, as part of our community loves, on a daily basis, some of us more than others, but each according to his/her own talents and time allowances.

I  went to see “Rogue One:  A Star Wars Story”, last night, in our very comfortable, and inexpensive, Picture Show Theater.  The plot told of a young woman who grows up, a de facto orphan, learning the self-reliance and self-discipline that such a state of affairs imparts.  She trusts few, having been abandoned by her father, and betrayed by two competing groups of tyrants.  The rest is up to anyone, wishing to see the film, to find out for themselves.

I have had to go it alone, several times, in life and I’m sure this will happen again.  Being “rogue”, however, doesn’t mean that one should lose sight of the greater challenge facing humanity.  We are here, I believe, to care for one another with enormous passion.  My opus, gladly engaged, is caring for others with an ever-decreasing regard for my own comfort.  Yes, my “job”, in the eyes of family members, is to take care of myself, and I have that one down, pretty well.  That said, people and their chronic issues will not go away by themselves.  Progress means that the problems of society are to be remediated systematically, or not at all.  It means we do this together, and get over our differences.