It Goes Without Saying


February 26, 2018, Prescott-

I’ll say it, anyway-

Today was the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i period of gift giving and gratitude for what we have.

I gifted an intentional community, north of here, with a stoneware baking dish, because they have been jerry-rigging their baking efforts.  Plus, I love those kids.

Actually, I love all kids, and have for years.  Even the ones that others call misfits and brats deserve love and encouragement, though not coddling.  Nonviolent discipline is a vital part of love.

This generation, which some call The Founders, will have its work cut out for it.  How much work, will depend on how much their parents’ and grandparents’ generations put up a fight against their efforts (see #CameraHogg and other noisome garbage that various “Old Guards” are spewing forth).

It will also depend on how seriously the children come to take their own pronouncements about inclusion.  Splitting into cliques and putting up walls will just be more of the same.

“Hallelujah” and “The Sound of Silence” are among the most beautiful songs in the English language.  They’ve been on my evening’s playlist. Then, there is this:

The Baha’i Nineteen-Day fast is coming up, starting Friday, and lasting until sundown on Tuesday, the twentieth of March.  I will refrain, to the best of my ability, from eating or drinking, between sunrise and sunset, for those nineteen days.

Guns don’t kill; hate kills.  Guns make killing easier, as do bombs and flammable liquids.  The bottom line is, though, it’s a hate thing.

I could not live, easily, in a world without women.  It started with Mom, and Grandma, in the early mists that I knew as Saugus, in the 1950’s.  That brings up this:

The harbour lights and the campground lights have meant the same thing to me, over all these years:  There is love and safety ahead.

Know this, my friends and family:  There is not as fine a world, if not for you.  Self-battery should never be an option.





February 20, 2018, Prescott-

The snow came down, fitfully,

more than our precipitation shadow

usually sees,

and somehow, the creek,

near a natural foods cafe

that I frequent,

was rushing,

just enough to generate excitement.

I’ve been in situations

like this, many times.

A handful of raindrops

wet the pavement

in a dust bowl town,

and the community


A fishing town,

in the Northwest,

has five straight

days of sunshine,

and the tanning booths

empty out.

Most clearly,

I remember January thaws,

when several of us were out

in t-shirts and shorts,

at the first 50-degree moment.

This is central Arizona,though,

and the sun had burned off

the clouds, by 3 P.M.

Business as usual

cannot be put off,

more than a few hours.




February 14, 2018, Prescott- 

While there were many Roman Catholic holy men named Valentine (from the Latin valens (worthy, strong, powerful), the one most commonly associated with this day of celebrating romance, and. more recently, other forms of love was a Roman priest of the Third Century, who gave his life in witness to the Faith of Jesus the Christ.

It’s said that the most powerful love is indeed that which is given in sacrifice.  We all know of parents and grandparents who sacrifice their all, for the welfare of the children they love.  Countless spouses put all they have, and more, into their marriages.  Siblings go the extra mile for one another.  Service professionals, in the military, first responders, educators, health care professionals, social workers, more often than some believe go way beyond their job descriptions- even if it means ignoring said documents, in ensuring the welfare of their charges.

I have known many such people, among them one Augustine “Gus” Belmonte, a police officer in my home town of Saugus, MA, who was killed in the line of duty, on February 16, 1969, whilst responding to an armed robbery, at a local restaurant.  I knew Gus as the consummate neighbourhood patrolman, usually on duty in Monument Square ( “the Center”), in the afternoons and evenings, when many of us would congregate near Sanborn’s News or McCarrier’s.  He was strict with us, but never rough.

Later that same year, on a jungle path in VietNam, Private First Class Stanley Egan was walking point guard for his squad.  He was mortally wounded, in an exchange with the Viet Cong, and died several days later, in hospital.  Stan was a year my senior, and was ever both the life of any party and putting the welfare of others ahead of his own.

In August, 1984, a humble Indian Health Service dentist named Gordon Tong was attempting to get his truck out of the mud, on a back road in the central Navajo Nation.  In the back of his vehicle were three of his four children and two elderly Navajo women.  I had been riding with Gordon, and had been helping him get the vehicle unstuck, when his oldest son decided to run off and “go get help”.  I left in pursuit of the child, and a short time later was met by a vehicle, driven by another friend, who had the boy with him, and informed me that Gordon had passed away, at the scene of the mishap.  He had suffered a heart attack.  This was the final sacrifice of a man who, with his wife, had given countless hours of his time and energy, in service to the Navajo and Hopi people, in the name of his Faith.

There are many others I know, who have given their all, while short of giving their lives.  “Living sacrifice” is as meritorious as death, in a good many of their cases, as the lives they impact in a positive manner are ever stronger and happier.

So, in the name of a love that is far more basic than any romance, have a blessed Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Doing Becomes Finding Out


February 11, 2018, Prescott-

Thursday afternoon, as I was leaving work, I stopped backing out, on instinct, as a black SUV blew past me, in my blind spot.  The driver of a red pick-up, who was a few car lengths behind the SUV, then began to mock me and, following me close behind, pulled into the strip of driveway to my right.  He was laughing, and shaking his head, as I made room for him to pull around and find that…there was only room for one vehicle to turn at a time, whether right or left!  He couldn’t have been a regular student or staff member; we all know this to be true. Grimacing, the hot shot waved “Thank you”, and made his turn.

Friday afternoon, I drove home from work and found my street was closed, a SWAT vehicle was in our driveway, with a half-dozen police cars and at least a dozen armed officers standing in position.  One of the neighbours had committed a felony and was taken into custody.  It was a matter of his having beaten his lady friend and allegedly threatening responding officers with a deadly weapon. (I did not see any of this, but I trust that it happened, as reported. )  I drove around the corner, and waited at the next block up, talking with other neighbours, until the operation was completed.  Do the crime, and the time awaits.

Last night, I went over to a “Paint Jam”, at Wild Iris Coffee Shop.  I was given a canvas, a palette, three brushes, some rinse water and a mixing plate.  Realizing I had forgotten to bring a sketching pencil, my free-style painting commenced.  It ended up, as a little girl who was observing remarked, being “a very funny painting.”  My mind, after the fact, recalled several basic truths about the art of painting:  Backdrop gets done first; remember how to blend primary colours;  never, ever, forget a sketching pencil.  A photo, to copy, is also a nice thing to have.  Such are the consequences of not having painted a scene since sixth grade- 56 years ago.  I am keeping the painted canvas, in a place known only to me, as a token of humility.

Do, and you will find out.

Sunshine Blogger Award


January 27, 2018, Prescott-

I have been nominated for two awards, since establishing Sagittarian Seeker. One, is a Liebster Award, on which I will comment tomorrow, after a long wait.  The other is a Sunshine Blogger Award, bestowed upon me by the estimable Madekesiworld.  So, without further ado, here are my answers to his questions!

1. Which country do you come from?

The United States of America

2. What’s your national language?


3. What’s your country’s staple food?

Potatoes and corn

4. Apart from blogging, what else do you do?

I work with autistic teens and young adults; I study a financial planning course; I hike; I practice the Baha’i Faith; I read; I socialize with people in coffee houses; I exercise at Planet Fitness;

5. Would you get married to someone outside your race?

There is only the human race, but yes-most definitely.

6. Do you watch football? If yes, what’s your favorite team?

Once in a blue moon.  The Patriots, because my late uncle had a financial interest in them and besides, I am a New Englander-even in diaspora.

7. Do you think nations should do more to manage global warming?

I believe nations, and their citizens, should do more to stem climate change.

8. Christian or Muslim? What’s the one thing you love about the other religion?

I am a Baha’i.  I believe that Divine Revelation is never final.  I love the commitment that the majority of both Christians and Muslims have to the Teachings of their respective Manifestations of God, which, contrary to public perceptions, include injunctions to practice peace.

9. Which is your favorite music genre?

Contemporary rock and folk.


10. Which music genre do you hate the most? Why?

Death metal, because it is so negative.

11. Who would you choose between Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jung-un?

Trump, because there is a peaceful mechanism in place, by which he can be removed from office.

So, here we are, with my questions to those, who will be named below.

  1.  Which languages, other than English, do you speak?
  2.  Which is your favourite place in the world?
  3. In that place, which is your favourite spot, in which to spend time?
  4.  Do you see life as “half empty” or as “half full”?
  5.  Do you dream in colour?
  6.  What do you regard as the greatest challenge facing mankind, today?
  7.  Do you honour, or despise, those who think differently from you?
  8.  In what are you experienced?
  9. If you could visit any place on Earth where you have never been, where would that be?  Why?
  10. Do you have a pet?  Which kind of animal is it?
  11.  What is your favourite genre of literature?

Now, here is my list of nominees.  I can only list nine, as the rest of you have your blogs off of hyperlink.

  1. Emmanuel Rockan
  2. lou rasmus
  3. braedenmichaels
  4. Shape Shifters Fitness Trainer
  5. Cathy Lynn Brooks
  6. -Eugenia
  7. thewintersdance

Larry Nassar


January 27, 2018, Prescott-

I dropped off my customary load of old newspapers, at a local charity for battered women and their children, as is routine for me, on Saturday mornings.  Next door to the thrift shop, there is a thriving donut shop, run by a young couple and their extended family.  I went in there, as is also routine, and was greeted warmly by the wife, who apologized for not having enough coffee to fill my order, but graciously gave me an extra 1/2 cup, when the brew was ready.  Shortly afterward, feeling the need for a  more substantial breakfast than a donut, I stopped in another young lady’s shop and got an open-faced bagel, with lox and cream cheese.

Both young women are gorgeous, brainy, hard-working, and very much in love with their mates.  I am there to support their dreams, and their families’ dreams, period.  In the face of the recent conviction of former sports medicine practitioner Larry Nassar, for the serial abuse of young female athletes, a few observations:

Many people have an intrinsic fear of certain among life’s features- Financial wealth, personal success, good physical health and the presence of good-looking members of the opposite gender.  I get all of this.  “I used to be among the crowd you’re in with”, to quote Bob Dylan (“Positively Fourth Street”).  Financial wealth eluded Penny and me, largely due to life happening, but also because of my own lack of financial intelligence.  I didn’t think I deserved personal success, and lo and behold- there were plenty of movers and shakers who were glad to oblige me, in that deprivation.  Physical health has been my strong suit, though the dental part of it had to be recovered, after putting my own needs on hold, during Penny’s long illness.  I was blessed with a beautiful wife, and stayed with her, long after both of us found our good looks fading- because in my family, a marriage is for life, and besides- I love her spirit, still.

Outside of my marriage, though, there was a time when I felt myself undeserving of the attentions of attractive women.  Some attribute such an attitude to misogyny.  Perhaps, but I think that criticism is way too simplistic.  No fear is about the thing that is feared.  It is about the lack of self-worth, in the beholder.  Beyond that, however, is this:  Women have always been complete human beings, with dreams and goals that are every bit as worthy as those of men.  That we men have often overlooked or discounted those dreams and goals is no fault of the dreamers.

I get that the condemned Mr. Nassar may have started off wanting to serve the population of teen women athletes.  He may even have had twinges of conscience, when he first gave in to his lower cravings.  Yet, it didn’t last.  Women who should have been able to pursue their athletic goals, without hindrance from a source that should have been trustworthy, found themselves being treated like toys.  Mr. Nassar’s reaction to their needs, and to their presence, became despicable.

I have worked with teens and young adults, pretty much continuously, since the late 1970’s.  The bottom line has ever been, honour and respect; build, not destroy.  If I inadvertently wronged anyone, to the “extent of a mustard seed”, that person got full amends.

I can only hope that the frightened, ravaged young gymnasts go on, to recover, to dream again and to live in fullness.

Whose Toilet?


January 14, 2018, Prescott-

My day will likely be a joyous one, with my spirits telling me to get the laundry done, attend a memorial service, then either go and help my dear friend, or go hike in Granite Dells, if she is not in the mood for company.

Now, back to the title question.  I was discomfited, annoyed, put out at the tale coming out of the White House, as to our President’s purported comments, regarding immigrants and their countries of origin.  Either he said these things, thus committing a serious breach of comity OR his actual words were translated to fit the opinion of the observer towards the President, thus committing a serious act of calumny towards him.

Either way, I have to say this, about countries in general:  Each has its places of sublime beauty, and each has its places of squalour.  This is as true of the USA as it is of Haiti.  It is as true of France, Germany, the UAE, as it is of Liberia, Guyana or Bangladesh.  I have seen exquisite, serene villages in Guyana and decrepit, unsettling places in France.  No one who has been across our great nation would deny that there is astonishing beauty in Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains, whilst admitting that there is much work to be done, in addressing the matters of homelessness in cities large and small, in raising up the standards of living in First Nations reservations and in run-down sections of both urban and rural areas, across the continent.

No one likes to have their good name, or that of their country, sullied.  Some will argue, “Well, if the shoe fits, wear it!”  If that shoe has a hole in it, I would gather that the person has every right to decline its adornment.  Far better, in my view, that, having shone the light on the filth and the problems, the President, and each of us who has looked down their noses at a person, community or country, should put down that flashlight and ask, “How might we help?”  One immediate thing we can each do is, stop referring to the shortcomings of a people, as their be all and end all.  Acknowledge the beauty of a place, or of a society, instead of yammering about how horrible SOME aspects of it happen to be.  Messes happen, even in the finest of communities (just ask anyone in Montecito, CA). Beauty and strength, likewise, may be found anywhere.  How about building on that beauty and strength?

Year End Reflections,Part 1: Proud


December 23, 2017, Prescott-

Before heading down to Phoenix, to take part in a Baha’i conference, I want to take a few minutes and look back at those who have made me proud to know them.

My dear friend’s daughter has finished high school, a semester early, with honours and is embarking on two life efforts, dear to her heart.  L is a living, breathing miracle.

My second cousin, the only granddaughter of a paternal uncle, who passed away this year, has finished college, Magna Cum Laude, and will walk the stage, next May.  S is also a living, breathing miracle.

My son, Aram, has made rank, every year since he entered the Navy.  He has overcome many obstacles to get where he is, and will face down whatever gets in his way, because that’s what he knows.

Both of my living brothers are taking life by the horns, and building on already stellar careers, to see major projects through to completion.

My sister, a peacemaker, is ever working to keep her beautiful extended family on an even keel.  Every one of her children is a success, in his/her own way.

My blessed mother continues to show us the way forward, and to send any pre-conceived notions about aging, up the creek, where they belong.

My sister-in-law, in Florida, has taken on the often thankless task of caregiving, which I know, firsthand, means “putting your own life on hold”, while realizing that this is an integral part of everyone’s life.

My co-workers, standing with me, in helping our students face both their own disabilities and the possibilities that life still has to offer, have provided the most rewarding base of operations I have realized, in nearly 20 years.  I look forward to the rest of this amazing year, R and MF.

A Baha’i friend, here in Prescott, mostly singly and alone, is building a spiritual foundation for several children and youth, in her neighbourhood.  J is another living, breathing miracle.

Lastly, my dear friend, you have stood by me and are always encouraging me to go forward.  You are one of the greatest miracles of all, not willing to just survive, but to take leaps of faith, for the sake of your youngest child, to serve your Lord and to let Him carry you forward.  I will be in your corner, always, precious M.

This has been a year of depletion, of replenishing, of sustaining and of thriving.  It has been a year of loss and of gain, of discovery and of reminders.  Those mentioned above, and countless others, have helped make it an unexpectedly blessed one.


Dancing With Reality


December 19, 2017, Prescott-

My comments, of a few days ago,

regarding relationships seemed stark to some.

They do have a flip side.

It was not my intention to pigeonhole women in any age group,

nor to automatically “friend-zone” anyone. ( I hate that term, anyway.)

Reality for me, at the edge of 2018,

has several very positive aspects.

On my present job,

I face the possibility of violent outbursts,

on any day or at any given moment.

These are never personal, and our team is well-equipped to handle them.

The positive aspect of this is that we are well-supported,

internally and system-wide.

We also know what the triggers are,

and can be proactive.

Outside of work,

I have my Faith group,

several friends from

the wider Prescott community

and so many,

across the nation

and the planet.

Revamping my blog,

as I will mention again,

in my year-end recap,

has brought hundreds of new

friends- and a few critics,

to my world.

There are those,

towards whom I feel close,

who are quite skittish,

and dancing with reality

requires that I approach

them, with carefully-chosen

words and actions.

This dance is complicated,

but it is breathtakingly





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.