The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 35: Walking My Path

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July 5, 2020-

Upon going through my usual morning rituals, I found a message on my phone, informing me that I was expected to start up a Non-Governmental Organization, the purpose of which would be to “save the world’s destitute children.” I was to found the organization and become its president.

Just so we’re clear, this is the wish of an over-exuberant online contact, whom I’ve never met, but who regards me as a family member. What is also clear is that I will help this person with legitimate goals, but I am NOT going to undertake the founding of an NGO, and become its head.

I will always strive, in an unofficial and voluntary capacity, to help the children of this world and support those of normal working age, whose careers are still underway. I will be 70 years of age, in late November, and while I realize that the election just prior to my birthday will be between two septuagenarians, that is THEIR choice. After forty-four years of working, I will be finished with being at someone else’s beck and call. I will still be robust, but am not working 60 hours a week.

My inner being is getting attention, especially during this period of sequestering. I am, and will be, taking part in the Harmonic Convergence that is goiong on, from today until July 14. Spirit guides, who these days prefer to be called Soul, are still telling me to prepare for time on the road, later this year and early next, and to go abroad, for much of the next four years.

Jesus once alluded to the fruits of presumption as despair. I take each day as it comes.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 21: Ever Strong

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June 21, 2020-

This was a Father’s Day of my own making. My Uncle Walter told us boys, for years on end, to learn to make our own fun. So it has been, for nearly seven decades.

After hosting a heartfelt and meaningful devotional on Zoom, I hopped over to Ms. Natural’s and had a quick and healthful lunch, on the downstairs patio. Then, it was off to Sedona, for a relatively short hike, along a trail called Big Park Loop. It was hot, so I walked fairly slowly and drank a good amount of water. The scenes were of Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock from a southern angle.

Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte, Sedona-seen from the south.
Cathedral Rock and Castle Butte, from the east.

The past two months have been very dry, as usual. The great rushing creeks and rivers of the “Monsoon” season are flowing only underground, right now, if they are flowing at all.

Large dry wash near Courthouse Butte, Sedona

I stopped in, after the hike, at a normally favourite and welcoming coffee house, but found the mood a bit tense- largely over who got to use a device which soothes muscle pain and can heal skin disorders. A friend who works at the cafe managed to get some use from it. The device, it turns out, belongs to the cafe owner, is quite expensive, and was not to be used by anyone but the employees. The owner was not amused, when friend offered it to me for a session. Fortuitously, it operates off cell phones, and mine was not co-operating. I quietly left, after enjoying a refreshing and healthful cool drink.

Father’s Day dinner was at a barbecue place, called Colt Cafe, in Old Town Cottonwood. The tried and true brisket sandwich and Triple Crown potato salad restored my physical balance. It was a fairly easy drive back, after dinner.

My father taught us He showed us that strength is not brutish, not overbearing and is never selfish. Strength shows respect where it is due, but is not fawning or sycophantic, as no human being is worthy of such adulation.

At the same time, strength avoids excessive fault-finding. If a person is praiseworthy, on balance, clebrate that which is good about the individual, neither dwelling on, nor ignoring, the person’s frailties. I wonder what Dad would think of the current campaign to denigrate most, if not all, of our nation’s, nay our planet’s, people of renown? In an age when everyone from George Washington to Mother Theresa has detractors who have managed to find a ready audience, can we truly approach anyone’s legacy objectively?

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 8: Persuasion and Fake Rain

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June 8, 2020-

Today was a good day. I got to visit Raven Cafe, and while I wore a mask into the establishment, and while ordering and paying afterwards, I found the al fresco dining experience both comforting and free of any worries about COVID19. The young ladies who work there, like all those I encounter during this Twilight Zone of a year, are worthy of no less than the utmost care that each of us who patronize the place can muster.

I finally have restored all the photos that I eliminated from my 2012 posts, whilst still in the limited storage space of Word Press’s free account. Writing means more to me now, so maintaining a Pro Account, with its unlimited storage, has made such restoration possible-and with better quality versions of the older photographs.

Now, to the title subject. As is my wont, I have engaged in reading and listening to both sides, or all sides actually, of the various debates on both COVID19 and the episodes of violence towards individuals, the vast majority of whom have been African-American. I have engaged, as well, in discourse with people who bring up seemingly minor details of these matters, both by way of expressing their concern with the matters at hand and by way of denying such problems exist. There are also those who don’t want to hear what is being said, and interject-sometimes, but not always, with pejoratives and catcalling.

Into this cacophony, have come Black Conservatives-loudly, almost tearfully, denying there is systemic racism extant in this country. The “you low life cousins of mine are bringing it on yourselves” take on the issues MAY have SOME ring of truth, in SOME situations. What it tells me, more immediately, is that these are people who have either lived more comfortable lives than many others of their skin tone or they are just hard-wired to tough out life, without thinking much of misfortunes.

I have never had to endure the day-to-day ignominies faced by, say, Appalachian whites, or trailer dwellers who work day labour, in many small cities and towns across the continent. That doesn’t mean I look down on them. I am hard-wired to tough out misfortunes, but those who aren’t, are deserving of a leg up, along with encouragement to build up their emotional immunity, so that life is not an endless cycle of tears and self-loathing,

On the edges of the cacophony, and often in the middle of it, stands our nation’s 45th President. I have to say this- I do not think he is a well man. I don’t think he’s an evil man, but he is not acting like a well person. It would be far better for all concerned, if he were to step aside, preferably at the end of his current term, as our nation’s 36th President did. Lyndon Johnson was also not well, and did what he could to save himself and the country.

If the voters of this nation want to stay the course of conservatism, there are plenty of others, men and women, who could take the reins. If, as current polls indicate, the electorate is shifting leftward, there are plenty of competent men and women who could serve, from that political stance, as well. (I am far from sold on the current presumptive alternative to Mr. Trump).

The cacophony, however, is unlikely to let up until a critical mass of one end of the spectrum either sees, or experiences, the legitimate concerns of the other. There is far too much urination, to put it indelicately, that is being sold the public as “rain”. Only independent investigation of truth can bring this to an end.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 7: The Enemy Is The Mindset

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June 7, 2020-

I got back to Home Base at 10:30, this morning, after a restful night in Flagstaff (keeping obedient to our lingering statewide curfew) and a pleasant breakfast of smoked trout and gouda omelet, at a lovely little place called Downtown Diner. Never let it be said that our rising generations are without a work ethic. Every one of the teens and twenty-somethings who served us, this weekend, was working nonstop.

Now, to the title of today’s post. I read, this evening, of the murder of a Santa Cruz County sheriff’s deputy, in the line of duty. It had nothing to do with a protest, of any kind-and was apparently done by a mentally ill man, who had easy access to firearms. For sharing this news, I found myself painted as spreading “an Alt-Right trope”, as the phrase, “All Lives Matter” was part of the article (as was “Black Lives Matter”, in a sympathetic way).

There is a cost to denying others their humanity. For centuries, it has been the purview of an elite which has prided itself on the maintenance of power, wealth and “tradition”, to the detriment of those regarded as the “lower classes”. The deaths of peasants, and later, of slaves, were viewed by the high and mighty as mere trifles.

Those lower classes learned this lesson, all too well. The miasma of bloodletting, during the French and Russian Revolutions, was the natural consequence of those centuries of rule by feudal mindset. The rulers would point to St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and the peasantry were cowed, for a time. When things became too much to bear, the cherry-picked passages from the Bible no longer held currency. Unleashed, the long-suffering masses lashed out, in every direction.

The same is true today. Decades, if not centuries, of being told to find one’s place, and stay in it, have worn those who have heard such drivel, to a frazzle. There has been progress, and there will be more, in the area of building a just society. The trick, however, is to not, as Pete Townshend warned us, in his song, “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, let “the parting on the left” become “parting on the right”.

There is elitism among conservatives, and there is elitism among progressives. There are people living in deprivation, on both sides, as well. If there is to be genuine progress, the recognition of the enemy being our mindsets, our egos, has to be kept front and center. Otherwise, those at whom one looks down one’s nose will bring about changes that will serve to keep the cycle of disparity going.

We are all in this together.

When Darkness Descends

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May 31, 2020

I will say this, today was a balanced day, in terms of how I interacted with others. Breakfast was served by a nice young lady, and was well-prepared and delicious. I was taken aback, though, by the surliness of her boss-who took exception to the t-shirt I was wearing. Not sure whether the death stare was due to it being a t-shirt,or to the message it stated: “No Room in My Heart for Prejudice”. There is also the matter of my being a single man, sitting at a table meant for four, but I displaced no one. (Prescott restaurants, as I’ve mentioned before, are not always welcoming to parties of one.)

I went back to the house, and had a well-attended online devotional, though a couple of the participants got a bit testy, when I described my earlier experience. I am seen by some around here as being a bit too pushy, when it comes to talking about my beliefs. That is something I can abide, as I rarely even broach those beliefs, unless I sense a receptive audience.

I had good conversations with the others, though, thus balancing out the morning. In the afternoon, a very good friend and I discussed a couple of enterprises that she is considering. This is a most proactive response to the harrowing events that have hit our country, thus far this year.

The day came to a pleasant end, at least for me, with a two-hour instructional on bridging cultural differences. Lord knows, this applies as much to life within the United States, as it does further afield.

May has been a rough row to hoe, but we’re getting….somewhere.

Discombobulation

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May 22, 2020

Discombobulation was a term used by one of the more effective teachers, in my junior high days, to describe the constant shifting of one’s physical or social situation, without allowing for a reasonable explanation or period of adjustment.

The notion that change is a constant is widely understood. What does not seem to be as well understood are the notions that opinions can evolve and that people can’t be typecast by their ethnicities, genders, generations or even prior stances on issues.

Much is being made about the constantly changing positions of the president, some members of Congress, some state governors and some medical authorities, with respect to COVID19. I attribute most of that clamouring to fear of the unknown and a desire for some measure of consistency, that people may deal successfully with the disease, in their own spheres.

The public state of affairs caused by the pandemic, as well as the virus itself, are evolving, continuously. Thus, people, including those in positions of authority, need to be afforded some measure of flexibility, in their public pronouncements and in their assessments of the situation. This virus has variously presented us with a clearcut roadmap for flattening the curve of infections and hospitalizations, followed by what appears to be an insidious game of Whack-A-Mole.

There is, almost as a sideshow, the spectacle of the presumptive Democratic candidate for president making what he now says is an offhand remark, regarding the qualifications for being “black”. Whitesplaining is odious, in any context, and introducing a measure of cognitive dissonance, into the lives of African-Americans who have conservative political views, makes it even more so. I’ve pointed out, in a different context, that there are liberals, conservatives and all point in between, in every given community.

We each have our opinions, on just about everything. The fact that we have them, or that we feel strongly about them, doesn’t make them right. The fact that we are free to change these opinions, hopefully in light of new information, doesn’t mean that we are suddenly either in grievous error-or imbued with wisdome from on high.

Change is ever a constant.

Setting the Bar

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May 12, 2020-

My conversations with various people, last night and throughout today, have invariably featured goals they want to achieve, over the next several weeks and months.  One of my best friends here has set the goal of building a raised planter bed and showed me the frame she has made by herself- a very sturdy oblong planter, which should hold two or three crops, once filled.

This morning, around 11, I visited a small barbecue restaurant, on the second day of the re-opening of food establishments.  Tables are set six feet, or more, apart, with the goal being to not have to close up again, anytime soon.  Those who came in, while I was having lunch, were very respectful of the few requests the owners made.

My next order of business was to deliver a bottle of essential oil capsules to someone who is suffering a debilitating disease.  While at his wife’s establishment, she and a relative were discussing a goal relative to their own overall health- and devising a team plan to meet this objective.

I met my own goal of getting my hair cut, this afternoon.  The conversation, with the woman who was cutting my hair, centered on keeping children happy during the ongoing shutdown, which of course will continue into summer-a time that children normally are off, anyway.  In some circumstances, no one course of action can resolve an issue.  There will be some boredom and some grousing-but I have learned that, when I’ve been bored or listless, things come to me, as to what I might do and inventiveness is always a good skill to hone, in any mind.

I continue to set the bar high for myself, at least, and feel confident that this entire exercise in patience and perseverance will not be as wasteful as one individual, with whom I spoke early this morning , seems to believe.

Moving Right Along

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May 11, 2020-  

I have observed, as life progresses, some things re-open and others maintain their COVID19 restrictions, that there is some fraying taking place.  Yesterday, on a Mother’s Day visit downtown, I stopped at a frozen yogurt establishment.  I took my place in line, behind a gentleman who was wearing a mask.  A mother with two boys in tow ignored the line and went to the ordering table.  There, she was immediately served, by the teenaged clerk. The mother looked up at the man glaring at her, from the head of the line, and offered a lame excuse  for having jumped ahead-something about being pre-occupied with the menu.  This further incensed the man, who asked to speak to the manager/owner. After registering his complaint, he called to the women who were with him and they left, sans treats.  I got my order in, and was actually served before the mother and sons.

Things are happening, as businesses re-open, in random order.  I went to my haircutting place, which re-opened today, and made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon.  I got my car washed, this afternoon, and was surprised to see that the lady who used to work at the dry cleaners, where I had been taking my winter coats, was now the attendant at the car wash.  Turns out, the dry cleaning shop had closed, due to a rent increase. So, my cleaning goes to another shop, on the north side of town.

Traffic has picked up, and with it, the presence of those who are not comfortable in traffic, and have to pass as many people as they can, as quickly as possible.  This will, of course, continue for quite a while.  Line jumping may happen, though here in Prescott, it is the exception, rather than the rule. There were 20 of us in line last night, for picking up take out orders.  A man who had a little boy in tow was allowed ahead of us, to use the establishment’s restroom, but all others took their places, without any fuss.  Then, there are those, at pick-up stations like the Farmers’ Market, last Saturday. who scoured the line of cars and served their friends first, leaving the rest of us to appeal to the market director.  There will be several such anomalies, as we move forward.  I pray that patience wins out.

Vortices

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May 9, 2020-

Snow descended on a swath of the Northeast,

and Atlantic Canada, early this morning.

It was blamed on the Arctic Vortex,

which usually rears its head

and roars, in the dead of winter.

We have our own vortices,

here in the Southwest.

They bring concentrations

of energy and uplifts in awareness,

to those in tune with them.

The snow will have disappeared,

from many places,

by Noon, on Mother’s Day.

The changes brought by

increased awareness,

will cause ignorance

and shopworn habits

to disappear.

May there be purity,

from both kinds

of vortices.

Credibility

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May 5, 2020-

Fifty years ago, yesterday, four students were slain, at Kent State University, Ohio,  in the midst of a “tough” government reaction to protests against the VietNam War.  At that time, as now, there was a stark division between those who wanted peace and those who favoured a hard response to an identified enemy.  I was little more than a child, then, and even though I was on active duty with the United States Army, I felt strongly that there had been an overreaction.

Coming from this incident, there was a very intense backlash among people of my generation-especially among those in college.  Hippiedom was still much in vogue, as less than a year had passed, since the Woodstock Festival.  A cliche arose, as well:  “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean that we’re not out to get you.”   There were also working class youth, like me, who were not exactly over the top for the Hippie culture, but still had our reservations about the Military-Industrial Complex.

Fast forward to the current crisis.  Many of the same people who had doubts about our government then, have the same reservations now.  The difference is in the target of those qualms.  Now, it’s the Scientific-Medical Complex, from Monsanto to “Big Pharma”, and anyone who stands to make a bundle off disease cure and prevention.

I will say this, having posted arguments from both sides on another social media platform:  At least half of the predicament in which large companies find themselves is a hoist of their own petard.  Lack of transparency always sticks in the craw of an educated populace.  Numbers have been fudged, quite frequently- and by those on both sides of an issue.  There has been fakery, to the point that one must even scrutinize the claims of fact checkers.

It all can be avoided by just telling the truth-but that may cost people money.  There is a hard choice to be made by many.