Stirring

8

November 16, 2017, Prescott-

Today marks the fortieth anniversary of my first day as a full-time educator.  The two-year stint, in a rural area of central Maine, was far from my finest tour of duty, but it was a start.  People there would not remember me fondly, but they may as well know that most of my demons have been cast.

On another note, I have been in touch with my son, regarding the earthquake in P’ohang, South Korea, about two hours drive from his city of Busan.  He’s fine, as is his girlfriend.  I follow such things with alacrity, however, as any parent would.

I am feeling stirrings of outrage, at the ruling allowing imports of elephant parts from Zimbabwe and Zambia, by trophy hunters.  This is too obvious a ploy to let well-connected slaughter tourists have their way.  There should be no more pretense that this helps conserve species.

Then, there is the “accidental” spill of thousands of gallons of crude oil, from the Keystone Pipeline, in northeastern South Dakota.  Wow, who saw that coming?

Both parties, and all points on the political spectrum, have personages who have abused women;  no surprise here either.  Ego knows no ideology.  At least, a few people, Sen. Franken and Louis CK, are willing to take their lickings.  Many more, myself included, have had to undergo a considerable measure of emotional growth, in this regard.  In my case, it’s been a very lengthy process, though I have not, once, forced my attentions on anyone or sought to avoid responsibility for making anyone uncomfortable.  We have made some progress as a society, but not treating people as objects is an area of several segments and one in which each of us must take a measure of responsibility-whether it means changing our attitudes, or encouraging others to change theirs.

So, it’s been a full day, of wide-ranging stirrings in my psyche.

Sutherland Springs

2

November 5, 2017, Prescott-

My post about a visit to Cave Creek will be up soon.  In the meantime, another Sunday, and more mayhem.

Upwards of thirty people may be dead,

and 30 others with life-threatening injuries.

All they set out to do, was worship.

Someone else had a different plan.

Bring on Armageddon.

Others responded to his act,

predictably-

blaming the Government,

blaming Trump,

blaming the Democrats,

even blaming anyone who

showed outrage at the horrific act.

This last, shades of post- Sandy Hook,

post- Las Vegas.

“It can’t be the shooter’s fault.

Maybe there was no shooter at all.

Maybe the Government made it all up.

Maybe it’s just a hologram.”

Tell that to the wounded.

Tell that to the families

who will be burying

their dead.

Tell that to all those

who have INDEED

lost their children,

parents,

siblings,

neighbours,

friends.

Denial means continuity.

 

 

Sixty Six for Sixty-Six, Part LXV: It Doesn’t Matter

0

October 31, 2017, Prescott-

Happy All-Hallows, to those who celebrate it as an evening of festive family and community enjoyment.

It doesn’t matter to me,

if you are Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow, or some sort of hybrid.

It is superfluous,

if you are conservative, liberal, libertarian, progressive.

It is inconsequential, in my view,

if you claim adherence to the oldest of Faiths, to the Faith founded

two-thousand years ago, to the newest Faith or to no Faith at all.

It is of passing concern,

if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual or just plain fed up with it all.

Male, female, “hybrid”;

child, adolescent, young adult, midlife, early senior, advanced senior, centenarian-

I have much to learn from you,

and much to offer, in return.

What matters is your spirit.

Who I am,

in this final month

of being sixty-six,

is largely who I have

ever been.

My labels do not define me.

God sees beyond the superficial,

the fleeting,,

the limited.

 

How So?

2

October 30, 2017, Prescott-

You, the Secretary of Homeland Security,

have deemed a ten-year-old girl,

with Cerebral Palsy,

a threat to national security.

How so?

A taxpayer’s question:

Is she receiving treatment,

for her condition,

whilst in Federal custody?

How so?

People continue to be

pitted against one another,

on the basis of world view,

by those whose primary motive,

is retention of power.

This is framed as defending

the patriotic from the disloyal.

How so?

Two political opponents

accuse one another

of being in collusion

with a foreign power.

In each case, how so?

One faction of government

claims it, alone, can help

long-suffering and struggling

people.

How so?

Too many, among the elite,

see division as the only way

forward.

How so?

Forgiveness

16

October 29, 2017, Prescott-

A couple of years ago, one who is closest to me

said “I forgive you”,

in the context of reassuring me

of his filial devotion.

It was not specific to anything,

leaving me to guess,

as to which of several possible

lapses in parental judgment,

to which he might have been referring.

Others, over the years,

have accepted apologies

and held me to my word.

Still others, have simply

dropped out of sight,

though no one ever

drops out of my mind

or heart.

Conversely,

I have forgiven

all but one or two,

of those who caused

my late wife so much

unnecessary pain.

All she wanted was to die in peace.

That was too much for that one,

those two,

whose concern was more about

money,

about rules and regulations,

than human decency.

If I want to be forgiven,

by those whom I have wronged,

then I have to forgive

the worst of the bad,

as well.

Christ said it,

so did Baha’u’llah.

So be it.

 

Beyond “Me, Too”

6

October 17, 2017, Prescott-

Once upon a time, I bought into some, but not all, of the idea that people ought to objectify, idealize, the opposite gender.  This was held true for men and women alike.  The physique was the primary initial attracter, with social skills and hygiene the glue that secured a person’s place, in the eyes of an opposite number.

Mom told me to look for a person of substance.  The intellect was important, and a wide range of interests.  She said that a comely, but shallow, person would not last long in our family- falling away by attrition, not by any malice that would be directed at her. I’ve noticed this has continued, through the four marriages of my siblings and me, the seven marriages of my nieces and nephews, the engagement of my youngest niece and the solid relationship of my son and his lady friend.  Terra Firma has lent herself to our support.

In my post-marital years, there have been a few emotional rough patches.  That comes with the territory.  They have, however, lifted me up and out of the stinky swamp of residual objectification.  By keeping this thing, in the back of my mind, about viewing women in relational terms, I was also objectifying myself.  The current sturm und drang over Hollywood’s sexual predators has had what I consider a bright silver lining.  Women are free to raise the roof, over the long-standing, callous disregard for their total being.  It’s as old as the rise of homo sapiens sapiens, and it’s past time that men, freely and in their own space, create a mindset, a heartset, that truly measures a woman, first and foremost, by her interests, goals and dreams.

I have the privilege, and honour, of working with two dynamic, highly intelligent and personable women, one happily married.  Both are young enough to be my daughters, but no matter.  The success of a team is driven by professional chemistry, with social bonding being of secondary importance.  In that regard, our little team is solid and focused on the well-being, first of our students, then of one another.

I have a further honour : A wealth of friendships, both on and offline.  This drum has been beaten many times before, and I shall not belabour it again.  Suffice it to say, my friendships are neither spurred by physical attraction, nor negated by it.  Each of my friends’ hopes and dreams matter to me, greatly, regardless of any of their personal or physical attributes.  That means dignity comes first.

The antics of celebrity lechers are hitting a brick wall.  May each one of us view ourselves through a lens of accountability and resolve to move further, towards this thing called purity.

Where?

10

October 16, 2017, Prescott-

No joke, but Yahoo is holding my large Flickr account hostage.

The giant won’t recognize any of the passwords,

it keeps insisting I must change.

This means 2,200 photos are inaccessible.

If anyone out there has any answers,

please advise.

Yes, I have reached out to Flickr,

through back channels,

so we’ll see if anyone responds.

End of rant.

Car, Man and Tribulation

8

October 13, 2017, Prescott-

Car went through an ordeal, yesterday.

A wayward peace of cardboard,

in the road,

surrounded by loose gravel,

in the middle of a sharp curve,

sent car off into a small downgrade.

Car was pulled out,

by a gentle man,

in a powerful jeep.

Car is okay,

with a few screws

needing replacement.

Man woke up this morning,

noting that a long-standing

wound

on his face had faded.

Man is looking

more human.

Man and car went out,

and delivered flowers,

to people who are

being supportive

of a large community event,

tomorrow.

Man and car are fortunate.

Across California,

there are thousands

who face tribulation.

Colombo

4

October 9, 2017, Prescott-

Synchronicity leads to triage.  A meeting that I cannot miss, tomorrow night, has delayed my brief jaunt over to Gila Cliff Dwellings, until Wednesday morning.  This will be just fine, though it takes me away from other meetings, Wednesday and Thursday nights.  As long as I’m back, to take care of a key task on Friday, it’s all good.  Besides, driving down and over to Superior on Tuesday night, after the gathering, will be easy enough.

Now then:  Today is celebrated by those of  Italian descent, across the United States, as Columbus Day..  Others among our countrymen point out that Columbus’ track record, with regard to the Indigenous people of the Caribbean Basin and Rim, was hardly deserving of special honours.

A contemporary of Columbus, Bartolomeo de las Casas, himself a defender of indigenous peoples’ rights, says of the Admiral :  He was “more than middling tall; face long and giving an air of authority; aquiline nose, blue eyes, complexion light and tending to bright red, beard and hair red when young but very soon turned gray from his labors; he was affable and cheerful in speaking […] A forgiver of injuries, [he] wished nothing more than that those who offended against him should recognize their errors, and that the delinquents be reconciled with him.”

Columbus did concur with slaughtering cannibals, among the Caribs of Dominica, after seeing graphic evidence of their torture of both Taino and Spaniard.  He reported, but did not practice, the sexual enslavement of young Taino girls.  For this last, and other “crimes against the Spanish”, his opponents, Bobadilla and Roldan, sought Columbus’ removal. Although Roldan later reconciled with Columbus, Bobadilla persisted, and eventually saw to the Admiral’s removal and imprisonment.  Much of the present-day condemnation of Christopher Columbus comes from “evidence” cited  by Bobadilla, who was himself a severe persecutor of indigenous people, though his own rule over Santo Domingo proved ineffective and was, therefore, very brief.

Having said this, I am not sure what merit Columbus has, for the honours heaped upon him, as “discoverer of America”.  He never set foot on American soil, other than Puerto Rico, which has its own history and sovereignty, separate from that of the United States of America.  He was, by his own admission, not the first European to set foot in North America (having visited Iceland and heard the descriptions of “Vinland”, from that country’s residents).

Like many of our holidays, Columbus Day has become about us. In this case, it has become about proud Italian-Americans  marching in parades and honouring their rich heritage.  That heritage includes, among other things, the fact that our hemisphere’s two continents are named for one of Columbus’s contemporaries:  Amerigo Vespucci, a cartographer.  Columbus himself is honoured, decently enough, by places being named for him, from the capitals and largest cities of Ohio and South Carolina, to Canada’s westernmost province (albeit by way of Lewis and Clark having named the Columbia River after him).

People change at a glacial pace, so I expect Columbus Day, and the parades, will be around for some years yet.  It doesn’t much matter, here in Arizona, save for the banks and post offices being closed.  We tend to pay more mind to those important to this area’s heritage.  So, by and large, the sensibilities of Native Americans loom larger, and Columbus is more a figure of curiosity and of academic study.

One Never Knows

6

September 24, 2017, Prescott-

I began today, with five things on my agenda.

Two of them ended up not happening.

The middle of the day brought honours

to a man who has unselfishly worked hard

on behalf of our community’s veterans,

over the past twenty years.

The evening brought a lovely dinner.

Then a group of us studied some spiritual guidance.

I was mildly upbraided, in the middle of this,

for my own teaching style.

Maybe, I’ve made progress,

on the often lonely road.

It was not difficult to see the critic’s point.

She will get a chance to flesh out

what she wants, instead,

at a gathering in her own town,

tomorrow night.

I look at my admin page, here,

and see that one of my critics

from last week

liked two of my posts,

today.

Goes to show,

sometimes I get

overwrought,

about nothing.