Whose Toilet?

10

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

8

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

5

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

joyful!

 

Jenga

10

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Lessons Over Time

4

December 1, 2017Prescott-

Another writer on this network, having just also celebrated a birthday, detailed a lesson learned for each year of her life.  Her post showed me that the adage, “Youth is wasted on the young”, is largely a fallacy.  Youth may be at a disadvantage, regarding total life lessons, but working under a supervisor who is half my age, I find that the lessons she has absorbed are being put to full use. She is arguably the most competent, save one other, of the many under whom I have worked, over the past 40 years. Son has risen in rank, an average of once a year, for every year of his military service.  Nieces and nephews, and their spouses, have each made themselves highly valuable in their chosen work.

It also follows that there is truth to :  “There’s no fool like an old fool”.  To be old AND foolish has nothing to do with dementia.  It has to do with arrogance and an odd form of narcissism.  So, now, we are seeing high and low alike being taken to the Village Woodshed, for being so arrogant as to build a lifestyle around deception, indiscipline and disrespect for others, based on their own proclivities.

I have not been free of transgressions against others, but when they have occurred, I have chosen the path of humility, submission to chastisement and atonement.  It’s just been better this way.  I can live, today, concerned about today’s tasks and planning for tomorrow, as needed.  From each faux pas, a lesson has been derived, that has just made me a better human being.

I am grateful that the lessons learned have import for the times in which we live, and will continue to apply in days and years to come.

Chapter 67

12

November 28, 2017, Prescott-

Two events occupied my time, this evening,

even as a creeping fatigue occupied my body.

The first was a  tableau of non-profit organizations,

one of which I am deeply connected:  Prescott Farmers Market.

The two young ladies who oversee it are like daughters to me,

never mind that their own fathers are fine men.

I made contact with several other NPO’s.

One was represented by a man with a handshake like a vise-grip.

He’s occupied with reaching out to fatherless boys,

so that grip is a good thing.

Another was represented by a man whose mind was elsewhere.

I spent a few minutes with him, anyway.

An hour later and eight miles away,

I joined an interfaith devotional.

The hostess served up a German chocolate cake,

complemented by another friend’s homemade Green Tea ice cream.

The hostess led a singalong,

which, to me, is best spent listening to her megaton voice.

“Happy Birthday”, though, was a genuine group effort.

I was starting to fade,

when it came my duty to cut the cake,

and was gently reminded of this.

Fade-out didn’t hit, full force,

until my head hit the pillow,

forty minutes after I bid my friends

thank you and good night.

Chapter 67 began

with a reminder of how much

I’m loved here,

and how fallible we each remain.

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part LXVI: Days of Earnestness

13

November 22-26, 2017, across Arizona-

I cannot not serve others, even on holiday.  I am hard-wired to look for how best to relieve another’s pain and ennui, while finally having learned, thanks to my blessed departed wife, how to involve the other person in the solution to that suffering and ennui.

It comes to me, as to where I should go, on a given day, and who I should visit.  On Wednesday, with no prior schedule, I went out to Superior, to see my friends at Sun Flour Market.  I learned that my friend, whom I felt as if I’ve known forever, had left, to pursue other ventures.  I learned that my friend, who owns the enterprise, is facing a great personal challenge and that my unexpected visit, along with those of a few other friends, was most comforting.  No journey is ever wasted.

Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, was spent with my best friend and several of her family members.  It’s always a blessing to be with this woman, and my favourite holiday was no exception.  One of the other men carved the turkey, but I got the best job- trimming all the meat off the carcass, after dinner.  That, to me, has always been the most satisfying task- guaranteeing that there is plenty of meat for many a meal to come.

Friday morning, I went down to Phoenix, and visited a long-time friend who is entering the vacation rental business.  Here is a photo of the house in question.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

If interested in a Phoenix getaway, check this one out: https://evolvevacationrental.com/387677.

After looking over the house and yard, I headed up to Cave Creek, lunch at Local Jonny’s and a couple of hours of hiking at Spur Cross Ranch Preserve.  I will have more to say, and show, about this lovely expanse, in a few posts from now, but here are a couple of scenes of Spur Cross Trail and its offshoots.

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Above is an oasis, built along Cottonwood Wash.

This is A’s stone ruin, which he built with his mom and grandma.

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Here is a Huhugam mano and metate, from the 11th Century.

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Spur Cross will see me again, soon.

Saturday morning found me up early and headed out the door by 6:30. A stop fro breakfast at Verde Cafe, Camp Verde, got me well-set for the rest of the drive to Native American Baha’i Institute, at Burntwater, on the Navajo Nation.  The occasion was the Light of Unity Art and Music Festival.  I bought a few things, and took several photos, mostly in low light.  The power was in the music and in the accompanying dance.  Here are a few scenes of the power that radiated outward.  Diversio,  The Treasure Crew and the venerable Benally family laid down that power.

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There is unstoppable power in unity.  I haven’t been up to visit the Dineh as often as I might.  My role is increasingly cast in Prescott and vicinity, but as another friend remarked, this afternoon, distance to a friend’s house is ever small.  I will support these great efforts as best I can.

Sunday, I happened over to my best friend’s sister’s house, and ordered a Christmas gift, as she is a rep for a nationally-known cosmetics firm.  This took a couple of hours, well-spent, discussing a variety of subjects, around the display table.

Now, it’s back to work and a satisfying routine.  When I wake up, I will be 67, and a whole new set of expectations come with that seemingly artificial renewal.