The Peak of the Canyon- Part I

4

October 6, 2019, Jacob Lake, AZ-

Sitting at the counter of the restaurant, in this gateway community to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I enjoyed a sandwich of “Leftover Jalapeno Meatloaf”-(a tongue-in-cheek expression, as the dish was freshly prepared) and bantered a bit with a somewhat surly young man, who definitely wished I wasn’t there.  Once he left, the waitresses seemed to relax and there was a light-hearted rest of my visit.  The food was very good.

 

It had been that kind of day, a blend of dealing with surly people and those who relaxed when the angry ones left.  A screaming woman, berating the disabled manager of the motel where I had stayed in Flagstaff, last night was replaced in my view by his head housekeeper, who helped the poor soul get his bearings.

This evening, just before sunset, I was being tailgated, at ten miles over the speed limit, on the narrow road leading to Cape Royal, where I was heading to take a photo of the sunset.  Turns out, the motorist with a hair-trigger temper was also heading to the Cape, to take a professional photo or two.  Once we got there, and he realized there was still time for his shoot, all was well.

In between, there were genuine moments of peace:  A crew of high school soccer players washed my car, as part of their fundraiser.  Then, it was off towards the North Rim, via a trio of scenic wonders, majestic in their own right.

Here are a few scenes of Marble Canyon, where I walked around Navajo Bridge, a New Deal project which replaced the ferry across the Colorado River.

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Above, is Navajo Bridge, now a pedestrian walkway between Marble Canyon Lodge and a Navajo Artists’ Market.  Below, is the Colorado River.

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After a Thor Burger, at Marble Canyon Cafe-and  pleasant conversations with the  mostly Dineh staff, I headed up the road a bit, to Cliff Dwellers, also mainly a place for Navajo jewelry to be sold.  It does have an astonishing series of boulders and rock formations, near what once was a settlement of Fremont people, who were mainly hunter-gatherers.

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Vermillion Cliffs came next.  There are an unusually high number of retired people traveling, this time of year.  The warm weather has helped, as has the political tension in the country, which leads people to seek an outlet.  We know that travel is one of the best outlets for relieving tension.  There was certainly a time in my life, when that was so.  Vermillion Cliffs is one of the most popular areas for many seniors to visit.  A Road Scholars bus had just left the area, as I pulled in.

Here are some views of the cliffs and of a canyon that has been cut by the Paria River.

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This sandstone spire reminded me a bit of Spider Rock-or maybe Darth Vader.

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All of this set the stage for my second-ever visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as an homage to the national park’s centenary.  Having visited the South Rim in April, it was an equal time matter.

The aspens and oaks are turning colour, so the approach to the Rim, itself, was a treat.  The area had been populated mostly with Ponderosa pine, but a fire in 2000 created a swath, into which aspen trees have taken root.

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It was now time to take a look at the highest points of the Grand Canyon.

 

 

Be(k)nighted

4

September 27, 2019-

Reflecting on the tendency of many, to place blind trust in a celebrity, or other person of renown:

You, so blameless, in the eyes of the like-minded,

cast aspersions on the character of others,

at odds with yourself,

who, themselves are viewed as blameless,

in the eyes of those of similar mindset.

They, in turn, cast aspersions on you,

and the cats chase each others’ tails.

The resulting hole,

hole in the ground,

rabbit hole,

gets deeper,

murkier,

until none

but those with

the keenest of vision,

can see any glimmer

of light.

Meanwhile,

you gaslight,

obfuscate,

blame cast

and enlist

legions of  legalists,

talking heads

and eager apologists.

You are on the Right,

or on the Left.

It makes no difference

since you see yourself

as above it all.

How far you have,

to fall.

 

 

Virtue Signalling

10

September 25, 2019-

So, a short, intense teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome (something I share) is triggering,to middle-aged Europeans and North Americans, with time on their hands, fear in their hearts and next-to-nothing in the way of solutions to the issue (very broad and general, mind you) that she has raised.  The fact is that the market place is full of, and is implementing, a good many solutions to the problems posed by climate change.

It’s said that the child is being abused, being trotted out by minders whose ultimate goal is world dominance.  Funny, that she has never heard of George Soros, or the Koch Brothers, that she knows Leonardo DiCaprio only from an odd movie or television rerun and has met Prince Charles and Al Gore-once each.  She shows no sign of being forced to do this work, against her will, and gives no hint of making this into a high profile Virtue-Signalling crusade.  She is making a Primal Scream, with no other agenda,except that those who will inherit a goodly mess need to have some say in how it is cleaned up.  She does not favour the chimeric Green New Deal or other nebulous proposals.  In fact, she told her interviewer that she does not relish the limelight. She will go back to her schooling, in a few weeks, after the return trip.

This whole charade by some, but by no means all, on the Far Right says more about their terror at being inconvenienced, that their nagging little voice saying “Children should be seen and not heard!!” is taking over their reasoning.

It is a frightening thing, this vision of oceanic flooding, frying soil and widespread chaos.  The last thing anyone should be doing, though, is attacking the messenger. Greta does not have the education or reasoning skills to devise solutions, as yet.  None of that makes her campaign any less valid.  Adults will need to take the lead on devising and implementing solutions.  Here’s one such, in fact:  Scot Presler, a political conservative, has recently organized and conducted three large-scale clean-ups of blighted areas, in Baltimore, in Newark and in  Los Angeles.  (Each time, he was hounded by blinkered critics on the Far Left-an opaque mirror of the crankiness that has followed Greta Thunberg’s speech.)

It’s easier for the tired and the intellectually bereft to wallow in fear, than to recognize the need for change.  It always has been.  Recall the historical (hysterical) reaction to Mohandas Gandhi (“Half-naked Indian fakir”!  “A racialist, who hates Black Africans”! “A wife beater!!”); to Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Communist; reverse racist; misogynist!”) and, in the present day, to the survivors of 9/11, Sandy Hook, Parkland (“all dupes of a globalist conspiracy”).

As has been said, by thoughtful people across the political spectrum, this Climate Change Adjustment is:  Long-term; requires everyone to, as Greta said. “do what they can”; is neither subject to the vagaries of maintaining the staus quo, nor the numbing platitudes of the Green New Deal crowd (two of whom have made headlines, recently, by taking 11 different jumbo jets on a series of visits around the world.); and, as Mr. Presler & crew are showing the rest of us, is not the province of the Illuminati and their minions.

No amount of prattling from the tired and worn-out has ever stopped the civic-minded and socially aware, among rising generations, from speaking their minds.  It didn’t work in the 1940’s, when the youth of Warsaw fought the Nazis-and their own hidebound elders.  It did not work in the 1950’s and ’60’s, when Bull Connor sicked his dogs and his robots on demonstrating school children, in Birmingham.  It didn’t work last year, when the Alt-Right screamed at the Parkland students to go back to class.  It didn’t work when the neo-Fascists in London snarled at Malala Yousafzai, for not going back to Pakistan.  It won’t work now.

Only hard work will work.  That, and realizing that those who try to beat their young into submission have already failed.

 

Dear Greta

8

September 24, 2019-

Dear Greta,

I have listened to your brief remarks at the United Nations, yesterday.  They were cogent, as far as they went.  There is much work to be done, by all generations.  There is much to be done, by every nation.  I admire and honour your courage, in speaking before such a vast assemblage.  The concerns, the welfare, of young people are concerns of mine. I am also proud of you for seeing Asperger’s Syndrome, which I share, as a groundswell of strength

Now, let us go beyond the general expression of outrage, knowing that such is common to youth, as my own generation showed, in the 1960’s and ’70’s.  It only holds the world’s attention for a fleeting period.

Your work can only bear fruit if the steps followed are specific, succinct, bulleted or numbered.  Your arguments deserve to be outlined, in clear form.  Your arguments, in a field as fraught with emotion as climate, deserve to be understood, by ally and opponent, alike.  Your arguments cannot be “Pie in the Sky”.  Take your time, in formulating them.

I love the people of each of the rising generations, passionately.  Having taken your side, in conversations with more hidebound members of my own generation, I must caution you, as to what they see.  There is a sizable group, among the survivors of World War II, among Baby Boomers and among Generation X, which conflates the activism of young people today, with Hitler Youth and the Red Guards of mid-Twentieth Century China.  They see you as being dupes of well-heeled figures on the Far Left. They see you as not coming forward with your own thoughts.  They see you as brainwashed.

I have reminded such people that we, both in North America and in Europe, rebelled against political corruption, as teens and as  young adults.  Time passed, and the lure of career, success, money led all too many away from ideals.  Do not let that happen to you!  Read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, if you’ve not already done so.  Learn of the insidious power of corruption.  If you have sponsors who are wealthy, keep an eye on them and know their motives.  If they are sincerely concerned about climate change, you will know soon enough.  If their agenda is control, you must recognize that, too.

Know, and be sensitive to, the fears of the average wage earners and of those on fixed incomes.  One of the drawbacks of the Green New Deal is that it has not engaged the broad Middle Class, or the the elders who are on fixed incomes.  These people can be, and are, all too easily susceptible to the fear-mongering of those whose agenda is at variance with your own.

People can be told that, if a climate change mitigation is followed, the Stock Market will crash, and their savings accounts will crash along with it.  Too many of us elders are woefully uneducated about finance.  The wire-pullers are, even now, threatening to push for a “Bear Market”, so as to maintain control over those on fixed incomes.  Such balderdash is all too easily believed, by those who are struggling to live within their means.  Study your history, and you will see that the same tactics were used by the Fascists, in 1920’s and 1930’s Europe.  There is indeed a significant body of evidence that the economic Crash of 1929 was the work of those jockeying for control of the masses.

So, learn your finance, as well.  Using that knowledge,  plan steps that are incremental, that are focused and realizable.  Whatever you do, do not let yourself stray all over the place, especially in response to scattershot criticism-a favourite tool of political extremists on both ends of the spectrum.

Stay the course, my friend, and make sure it is YOUR course-not the hidden agenda of those who do not have your best interests at heart.  Stay fierce, and stay focused!

Mass Assumptions

6

September 19, 2019-

I don’t know about you, but I am alternately amused and flummoxed by colloquialisms and popular beliefs, that don’t hold up in the court of scrutiny.  Bear with me; this is a potpourri.

  1. “Leprosy is returning to California, via the homeless population!” FACT:  There have been no cases of leprosy reported among the homeless, in California or anywhere else.  There IS a hygiene issue, due to several cities decriminalizing toileting in public.  While this is disgusting, it has nothing to do with leprosy.
  2. “California is forcing children to experiment with sexuality!”  FACT:  California’s guidelines on public sex education  are a lot less age appropriate than many would like.  Parents, and school districts, can, however, opt out of adopting these guidelines. (DISCLOSURE:  I believe sex education is primarily the duty of the parent(s).)
  3. “MYSELF should be used, instead of ME,  and mentioned first,when speaking or writing in the first person, or when mentioning self along with others.”  I still am more comfortable using ‘me’ or ‘I’, after referring to others in my company.
  4. “________ Year Anniversary” is ‘shorthand’ for ____________st(th) Anniversary.  How is being redundant shorthand for anything?  An anniversary IS the passage of one year.  There is no such thing as a ____ month anniversary, or a _____week anniversary.  It just SEEMS like time is dragging.
  5.  “If a Democrat is elected President, the stock markets will slam shut!”  FACT:  The stock markets, under Presidents Clinton and Obama, made fair gains-albeit not as much as has been the case under President Trump.  Markets don’t move lock step with whoever is President.  China, and other countries, actually have more influence on the markets than does a U.S. president.
  6. Lastly, and my favourite: “Everybody else can do this.  What is wrong with you?”  “Everybody else” refers to either 7.7 billion people, or to everyone else known to the speaker.  There is no way for him(her) to know what even everyone he or she knows can do or not do.                                                                                                             Those are just some things that passed through my consciousness today.

Home Is Fluid

6

September 17, 2019-

“Well help me figure this place out.  I know I’m an outsider, but I’m not an enemy.” “No, you’re not.  But in this town those two words mean the same thing.”                     – Toni Morrison, “Paradise”

So, I was part of an interview, this morning, promoting a Home Safety event, sponsored by the American Red Cross, and to be held this coming Saturday.  Inside that little room, among friends, I felt like somebody, safe and honoured.  The interview went well, and I felt secure in sharing it on social media, once back in my apartment.

Walking from the studio to Ms. Natural’s, I crossed the Courthouse Plaza, normally a neutral place, where all are welcome, at least officially. Today, I had to pass by those who glared at me in my Red Cross shirt and ball cap; pass by the well-to-do, who look down at anyone not dressed for business.  It’s never pleasant dealing with the Self-Perceived Originals, in any community.

It was much different at Ms. Natural’s, as it always is.  Claudia and the young ladies are not from here, either, and know some of what gets thrown around, by some of the Pioneer Families and the faux elite.  I am at home there.  Sharlot Hall, one of the original pioneers, for whom Prescott’s Historical Museum is named, would spin in her grave  at the pretense and the snobbery.

No matter; I am here to serve those who need it and just have to put my lingering Impostor Syndrome and refugee mentality aside.  The people who accept me, and take me into their circle, are also from somewhere else.  These are the ones who matter.  They are the ones who make it all worthwhile. Home, for me, is a fluid term.

 

 

True Beauty

2

September 16, 2019-

Ric Ocasek died yesterday, peacefully in his sleep.  He and his band, The Cars, rekindled my interest in rock music, in 1978, after it had been rather put to sleep by the glam rock and proto-disco tunes of the mid-1970’s.  Ric was sometimes called “ungainly”, by certain wags.  He did, however, have a magnetism that drew women-most notably his wife of 29 years, Paulina Porizkova.  To her, he had true beauty, and that is what mattered most.

True beauty transcends gender, species and even Kingdom.  It can only emanate from the soul, through the spirit and be reflected by the body- in terms of actions, expressiveness and outward reflection of spiritual qualities.  A person with the plainest of countenances and the frumpiest of figures can be a human Hope Diamond.

Having only recently completely cast off the social baggage that comes with being raised in a society stoked on appearance, I find the appreciation of each human being, and each daily set of experiences, a liberating renewal of spirit.  In the course of transformation, it’s helped to encounter comely women who have turned out to have dark spirits, plain ladies with hearts of gold, men of saintly mien and plenty of people who have both physical and spiritual beauty-putting the latter kind of beauty first.

This gives me a sense of wonder, at all that lies ahead.

Back to Harmony

6

September 8, 2019-

Yesterday, I let the sour mood pass through. I think it was a reaction to the falling barometer.  We got about 1.3 inches of rain, in this neighbourhood and in points east.  A trip to the laundromat, on the northwest side of town, revealed continued “dry as a bone” conditions. Whilst at Farmers’ Market, I learned, from a vendor, who is a mutual acquaintance, that an erstwhile tormentor had found some peace in her life.  That is comforting, as unhurt people are less likely to hurt people. As the day wore on, and the rain had passed, I felt more in tune.  Spiritual Feast, in the evening, was vibrant and well-attended, another uplift.

Today has seen a nice breakfast at Post 6 come and go.  Now the long and celebratory Farm-to-Table Dinner will occupy my afternoon and evening.  This is one of four large social events of the Autumn-three of them this month and the last, on November 2, which will keep me connected to the community and offer a form of activity, in addition to Planet Fitness and whatever hiking I do, here and elsewhere in the Southwest.  Service projects, other than the above, will also be performed, through the Red Cross.  Home safety, simply put, is our major focus, in areas at risk for wildfire.

The message comes to me that disharmony is, largely, actually a product of not being in sync with the community.  Letting other people’s pain affect my own self-concept is a disservice, to them and to myself.  So, back to a state of balance I go.

Today will make many people happy.

Lack of Imposture

17

September 4, 2019-

Every so often, when I get in a situation where it seems my presence isn’t wanted, the default status, known as Impostor Syndrome, jumps out and tries to say “Boo”.

I feel this, particularly when I go into a business establishment and am either given a pro-forma greeting, followed by a brush-off, or am treated rudely by one or more staff.  Then, there are those who cannot maintain eye contact for more than a minute or so.

In the old days, I’d figure I just wasn’t worth it.  Other people were okay, but I was a different matter.  This didn’t so much impact my casual friendships, but it did affect everything from my dating to employment interviews.

Experiences were thus limited and my own confidence had to start from the ground and work up.   Time in the Army helped-as I was responsible for accountable mail.  Time in college, afterward, wasn’t so beneficial, in terms of self-confidence, nor was the first part of my educational career.  It took marriage, the Baha’i Faith and time among Native Americans to build a solid foundation.  Still, I had trouble whenever I dealt with mainstream society.

Having to be on my own, since 2011, has erased most of this sense of imposture.  It started to come back, last Fall, when I was challenged by someone, as to my very basic level of competence.  I made it past that hurdle, only to have self-doubt re-surface, over the past  week.

So, it became needful to spend much of this day in reflection.  Some conclusions:  It is NOT my fault that the bar manager at a local restaurant was in a bad mood and avoided dealing with anyone dining at the bar, and not imbibing alcoholic beverages.  It is not my fault that a vendor at Farmer’s Market would prefer I not stop at her stand, and take her attention away from older women, who may or may not purchase items.  It is not my fault that a Hispanic waitress at a downtown diner prefers to not serve or interact with English-speaking patrons.

I will do what I can to accommodate these people, and others like them, but I will not, any longer, absorb a sense of imposture or unworthiness, into myself.

Back In The Saddle

2

August 22, 2019-

I got in a full-day’s work today, after five months’ hiatus.  Of course, there hasn’t been a lot of idleness during that time, but I have missing being around children and youth, on  a regular basis, nipping at my consciousness.

Today went very well.  The few who wanted to mess around, didn’t meet with much success.  I am long past the point where I let mischief get to me.  On the other hand, I don’t let it spread.  The rules of the day are set by the regular teacher, so the parameters are already in place.

Children and teens know this is how things work, and those with whom I interact are quite relieved that I am not here to be a slacker.  Simply put, this brief period of my presence in their lives needs to be of support for their broader plans, hopes and dreams, and of deterrence to the obstacles, both self-induced and put in place by others, that would derail those broader plans.

My goal:  To be of maximum support, to each young person who comes into a room where I am working.