Janus in July

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July 30, 2018, Prescott-

I will return to the chronicles of my summer road trip, in a few hours. First, though, I want to note this month’s activities, closer to Home Base.  The three weeks following Independence Day were mostly relaxing, yet had their share of joyful activity.  We celebrated the birthday of  a generous and humble friend, in what was supposed to be a surprise.  Our efforts came as no surprise to her, but she was nonetheless delighted.

I learned that my left knee does not take kindly to being idle for long stretches on the road, at least while my carcass is undergoing chiropractic adjustment, between now and March.  There is some connection between the two, so with Fall coming, I will need to get in at least one vigourous walk per day.  That will give my knees the workout they seem to crave.  Planet Fitness and Deep Blue ointment are also helping.

I have, at long last, taken the time to pay a few visits to Firehouse Coffee and Black Dog Coffee Shop, virtually completing “discovery” of our town’s java joints.  Both are fine purveyors of brew, but Firehouse wins the cinnamon roll contest.  Black Dog focuses on scones.  The Saturday after I got back was my son’s 30th birthday.  After wishing him a great day, long-distance, I went to Game Night at Wild Iris-enjoying Uno and a dice game, with the regulars at this event.

This past weekend, though, was a special cap on this bountiful summer.  I did three days’ Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) service at Bellemont Baha’i School, west of Flagstaff.  All three days featured “gully washers”. Saturday had the added excitement of a heavy hail shower.

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Even with a borrowed tent, and large tarpaulin, there was much to be done later, as I had to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to siphon the small pond that had threatened to ensure no sleep that night.  As it was, I had a dry tent, by nightfall, and slept very well.

The service in question was on behalf of over 50 middle school-age children, from the Phoenix area. Many of them had not been out of the metro area, so being in the woods was a fabulous experience,  to say the least.

The camp was open for a half day, today, but I came back to Prescott, last night.  Three days of preparation and “welcome back” gatherings at Prescott High School will get another year of concerted effort at learning underway.  So, it’s ten months of joyfully getting up at 4:30, knowing that we will provide at least some stability and learning opportunities for eight young people who, rather like me at their age, cannot count on their own bodies to remain calm and focused, without assistance.

2018-19 will be a monumental academic year.

The 2018 Road, Day 25, Part 1: Jamestown’s Three Communities

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June 19, 2018, Jamestown, VA-

After a lovely visit, yesterday evening, with one of Penny’s second cousins, I meandered through the interior of Maryland’s Western Shore and spent the night in the regional commercial hub of Lexington Park.  This morning, after enjoying a breakfast sandwich at Donut Connection, I headed towards the southern tip of St. Marys County, a spot called Cape Lookout.  It turns out to be a private community, called Scotland Beach. Nevertheless, there was a small turnaround area, where the residents look the other way, while a visitor takes a photo or two.

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Point Lookout also has a state park, which I am sure is lovely, but it is cash only, so I headed back towards the town of St. Marys, which was Maryland’s first capital, in provincial days.

Point Lookout was a Prisoner of War camp, for captured Confederate soldiers, between 1862-65.  A memorial to those who died whilst incarcerated, stands just north of the state park. Although I have no sympathy for slaveholders, these were soldiers, and I paid my respects.

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St. Marys is a lovely town, along the river of the same name. I stuck to the highway, as a bridge with hideous traffic was between here and Jamestown, and I wanted to get there by 1 PM, at the latest.

These scenes were taken across from the entrance to St. Marys College.

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After spending forty minutes on the aforementioned bridge, and nearly being rammed by a vehicle whose driver was busy texting, whilst going 40 miles an hour, in bumper to bumper traffic, I enjoyed a rather pleasant drive through Virginia’s Upper Tidewater, and got to Jamestown around 12:40.

The entrance to Jamestown National Historic Park has 50 plaques, describing how each state came to enter the Union.

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The Great Hall has several exhibits that detail Jamestown’s three early communities:  The Powhatan Nation, long-established here, when the settlers arrived; the English settlers, who began to arrive in 1607 and slaves brought from Angola, southern Africa, beginning in 1619.  There are examples of the homes and daily lives of each group, in various sections of the Great Hall.

The first section describes the lives of the Powhatan and their neighbours.  The house below is a typical Powhatan home of that period.

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This is the inside of an early English hut in James Fort, as replicated in the Great Hall.

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Model of ship used to transport goods and people, along the coast.

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Once outside the Great Hall, it was time to get a sense of how the actual settlement looked.  Discovery Tower is the last remaining structure from the days when Jamestown was Virginia’s capital.   It was a church tower.

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Visitors to frontier towns, up and down the North American coast. faced piked fences around the fortified villages.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESCannons were posted at various points along the wall’s mezzanine.  Spanish, as well as Indian, raids were a constant concern at Jamestown, as were attacks by pirates.

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The thatching that was common, across the British Isles, became common in the early English settlements as well.

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I visited several of the buildings.  This is the interior of the community church.  Unlike the later colonies in New England, Jamestown pledged fealty to the Anglican Church.

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Here is the supply wall of the guard house.  Guards manned this fort, 24/7.

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Here is the storehouse for the village.

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These bells were rung by the guards, to alert settlers of danger.

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In the Governor’s House, the governor’s manservant slept near the front door.

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This was the Governor’s home office.

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The Governor had some privacy in his sleeping area.

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With my self-guided tour of James Fort complete, I walked towards the James River front.  A replica of an early dugout canoe lay above the shore.

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The Susan Constant is a replica of the largest of a small fleet  of ships which sailed between Jamestown and England.

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Imagine yourself manning this crow’s nest!

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Here is a typical bunk for a crew member on any of the fleet’s ships.

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As this grate indicates, humans worked in  a hold, under the main deck.

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Here is what lies below deck. Yes, it was hot down there.

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As it was getting close to closing time, I headed towards Powhatan Village.

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Here is the interior of the Council House.

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A more typical family house is below.  It appears this dwelling was the home of a prominent village elder.

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This is the ceremonial circle. The posts represent the guardian spirits of the village.

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The staff was leaving, so I was as well.  I stopped for a view of the James River, just outside the park.

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Like any replica of life in the mists of history, Jamestown is constantly evolving as archaeologists unearth more evidence from the dig site, a short distance to the north.

So, I checked off another place missed during our 2007 trip.  I’m sure even more discoveries would await, were I to return some years from now.  For now, I am headed to Williamsburg, for the night, and Yorktown, tomorrow morning.

 

The 2018 Road, Day 10: Reckoning with Destiny

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June 5, 2018, Elkhart- 

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My morning was spent, very well, at Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum

.  After viewing a film on this unfortunate event, it occurred to me that, had Tecumseh not been taken in by the British, he may have reached some sort of accommodation with at least enough of the west-bound Americans, that Harrison would be remembered as other than as the President who served the shortest term, before dying of the lingering effects of pneumonia. Tecumseh, also, might have lived to promulgate the Federation of Native Americans that he so treasured.  The Prophet might also have figured in the spiritual renaissance of the confederated people.

It was not to be, though, and the Battle of Tippecanoe might easily be regarded as the opening salvo of  the War of 1812.

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This diorama shows a Wea couple, as they may have appeared in their home, at a village similar to Prophetstown.

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Nearby, is a more heartening place.  The Wabash Hertiage Trail stretches from this engaging Nature Center

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This surreal scene was taken from behind  a one-way mirror.  The birds and rodents could not see me, but I think a  red-billed woodpecker saw its reflection in the window and rammed the glass with its bill.

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After a few minutes of watching the action, I took a 3-mile round trip hike, along the Wabash Heritage Trail, going as far as Barnett Street Bridge.  The full trail goes to Fort Ouiatenon, a ruined fort, 13 miles to the south.

Here are some scenes of this northern segment of the trail.  It follows Tippecanoe Creek.

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Black lace wings kept me company, at various points along the trail.

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The creek had to be forded, at one or two points along the trail, but it was more muck than running water, at those points.

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Finally, I turned around at Barnett Street.

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As it was 87 degrees outside, this was enough.  My reward, about three hours later, was a home-cooked meal, courtesy of an old friend-and a new one, who was grill–master for the evening. Then, I found my way to a true Budget Inn, here in Elkhart.

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 9, Part 1: Purdue’s Two Hosts

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June 4, 2018, Lafayette, IN-

Today began, and ended, down on the farm. Oak Ridge Farms, a dairy enterprise combined with a resort, has a “farm to mouth” restaurant, and a huge presence in the area between Lafayette and the Calumet region of northwest Indiana.  It was too early in the morning, for any of the facilities to be open, so I went about the grounds and share these scenes:

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The Farmhouse Restaurant being closed until 10 a.m., I headed to Rensselaer, down the road a piece, and had my own repast at Janet’s Kitchen.  Breakfasts in much of the Midwest are very basic, but flavourful and filling.  That was the case here.

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I went shortly afterward to downtown Lafayette looking, as always. for  solid buildings and interesting scenes. Various art forms share the space here.

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Tippecanoe County Courthouse is reminiscent of the equally solid courthouse we have in Prescott.  It has a couple of extra spires, though.

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I was taken with this avant-garde bench, on one of Lafayette’s side streets.

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After doing my laundry at West Lafayette’s large tanning salon/laundromat enterprise:  Levee Tan & Laundry, I took a short walk along the main drag of Purdue University, which is the pride of both cities, and of west-central Indiana as a whole. Purdue has plenty of both ivy-covered traditional structures and state-of-the-art, modernist buildings.

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With that, I headed south, to Indianapolis, and had an enjoyable, if brief, catch-up session with an old friend and her son, at a north side Einstein Brothers.  Curiously, though no surprise to me, I took the exact exit I needed to take, without knowing where we were to meet.  There is a lot of energy out there, guiding this often clueless wanderer.

The day ended, as it began, with me on the farm.  Part 2 of this post will look at one of western Indiana’s best-kept secrets:  Prophetestown

 

Appreciated

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May 8, 2018, Prescott-

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week, in our school district.  Today, on a national scale, is Teacher Appreciation Day.  As with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, most will be honoured and appreciated.  Some will meet with hostility or indifference from their charges.  Well, we can’t legislate love and honour,now, can we?,All in all, this year I feel appreciated and respected-both by my colleagues It is a work in progress, just like last year, but day to day we are on point and have proactive plans that are student-centered, rather than centered on outside interests.

My own perspective and focus have also returned to that which I held in the 1990’s, before the political firestorms of 1998-2001, and before Penny’s health became my be-all and end-all. Back then, it was the total student who mattered.  The building and sustaining of wide-ranging goals and dreams are again front and center.

Appreciate people and they appreciate you back.,

Where I Need to Go

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May 4, 2018, Prescott-

I went back onto a Facebook site, where I had been inexplicably trolled, about a week ago.  There are just too many good friends on that page, and the one troll is probably gone by now.

I went into work, a half-hour early, as is my practice, so as to set things in place for a successful day.  We had carnival, this afternoon, and one of the students spotted the rides, whilst we were on our daily walk.  That took us to carnival early.  It was no use trying to talk that student out of heading onto the carnival grounds, especially once she saw the Tilt-a-Whirl.  Three rides sufficed, though, especially when our weekly movie and popcorn were mentioned.  The needs of our students are relatively simple.

I am headed down to Tempe, tomorrow, as the Baha’i meeting planned earlier, will take the entire day.  The Prescott area is where I need to focus, most of the year, for the next three years.  Of course, emergencies could always happen elsewhere, and plans change.  Right now, though, I am fine with being here, eleven out of the twelve months.

My head and my heart are pretty much in sync, after all the fumbling and misinterpretations into which I have fallen, during my extended period of mourning.  I’m grateful for the large number of friends who have surfaced, from every corner of the world.  It’s said:  Quality, not quantity.  Well, I can testify that one does not negate the other.

I am letting necessity determine my locus and love light my path.

NEXT:  Catching up with Antonio

May, and I’m Not Away

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May 1, 2018, Prescott-

There are 3 1/2 weeks left in our academic year.  I have two days off left- Tomorrow, for a Baha’i Holy Day- the Twelfth Day of Ridvan (more at that time) and a dental appointment, in two weeks’ time.  Otherwise, weekdays will find us finishing what we started, for our four remaining students.

I won’t leave the state of Arizona until Memorial Day weekend and another “Where’s Waldo?”month.  There is so much yet to do and to thoroughly enjoy, in the meantime, that I am hard put to make preliminary arrangements for June.  You know, though, that I’ll get ‘er done, in plenty of time.

I’ll be back in Tempe, on Saturday, for a daylong Baha’i conference.   Sunday will be spent reconnecting with a few long-lost friends, and honouring a very special young lady, on the cusp of her high school graduation.  Mother’s Day weekend means Prescott Valley’s 40th anniversary.  I may also head to Tucson, to see an ailing friend, if he’s up for a visit.  The third weekend will be mostly Baha’i business, planning and prepping for the summer months.

One of my friends here has posted about making a Vision Board.  I might try my hand at that, either next week or the following.  It’d be good to do this in the presence of our peer tutors in the classroom, as it might inspire them to do the same.

May is sweet, hot (at least after this coming Saturday) and a time of culmination.  I intend to truly savour the blessed days.

Chains: Part 1

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April 26, 2018, Prescott-

I walked, and stood alongside, my co-workers this morning. We are among many, in several states, who are making a statement in favour of actually showing the nation’s public schools that they are important to our nation’s security. This includes granting teachers and other school workers a living wage. By living wage, I mean that a family of four can pay its rent/mortgage/ property tax, insurance, utilities and basic living expenses, which include savings and modest leisure pursuits, without the need for one or both parents to hold down two (or more) jobs.  Most people in this community get that.  There are a few who think otherwise, and I note that they have theirs.

Let’s be clear:  I believe in EARNING one’s way. I do not believe in indentured servitude or de facto slavery.  A job well done should be a job well remunerated.  A few conservative thinkers, believers in the free market system, have shown how this can be done- without shorting the colleges and universities, or the public health system.  (Both are cited by some legislators, as reasons why the schools should make do with less.)

I do not buy the argument that “only Communists” want teachers to get higher pay. (Yes, this has been advanced by some legislators here, because ONE teacher admires Noam Chomsky.)  For the record, I have co-workers who love President Trump and who are adamant about raising revenue to improve the schools.  Also, I am a political independent, who loathes dictatorships of any kind.

There are other chains I want to break.  More is coming, as is Part II of the Antonio Ribeiro story.

Observations on A Mid-April Morning

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April 19, 2018, Prescott-

I appreciate the attention so many have paid to my reblog of the post on Bleach Enemas.  In what dimension anyone could think such a procedure is anywhere near good, I don’t know.  My blessed mother fought tooth and nail for our well-being, and would have clobbered anyone who even dared hint at something of this nature.  Dad loved us dearly, and would have had one thing to say to the suggestion of bleach enemas:  “Pig’s neck!” (His polite term for BS.)

Barbara Bush left a grand legacy of literacy promotion, continued by her daughter-in-law.  The gift of literacy is one key element, in the package of empowerment that loving people can offer to others.  Long may her legacy thrive!

Ridvan begins tomorrow evening, at sunset. It is the twelve day festival, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Proclamation of His Mission to the world and His departure from Baghdad, towards Constantinople (Istanbul), on horseback and on foot, in April and May, 1863.  My Lord lived a life of exile, imprisonment and torture, yet, like unto Christ, never once turned His back on humanity.

Chalk-It-Up is Prescott’s annual art fair, at which a wide variety of chalk art is available for public view and on which viewers may vote.  I will be insanely busy on Saturday, but Sunday will find me taking in the wonders of human imagination, in that temporary gallery.

Arizona’s educators are winding up a vote, as to whether to walk out, or not.  I’ve cast my vote and will keep my own counsel on the matter.  My first loyalty, in any event, is to the students.

Speaking of whom, several students at our school will be out on the front lawn, in a 17-minute vigil, tomorrow morning, honouring the memory of the Parkland shooting victims.  They will then return to their studies.

Have a blessed day, my friends.

What If

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April 10, 2018, Prescott-

We went over to the local YMCA,

this morning,

and the students did several elements

of gymnastics.

I confined myself to the trampoline pad,

doing five rounds of three minutes each

and a rest in between each.

Cardiovascular is critical to good health.

What if I had hung from the high rings

and jumped into the foam pad pit?

I have thought, quite a bit,

of through-hiking,

when I am about 74 or so,

perhaps the Pacific Crest,

or the East Coast Continental,

which subsumes the AT

and Florida Trail.

Maybe, I will get really

ambitious, and walk

from Nordkap to Gibraltar.

A veteran through-hiker

says it takes lots of money

to do any of  this.

I suppose one could argue

that it takes lots of money

to do anything worthwhile.

What if I did it on a shoestring?

These are random thoughts,

on a languid Tuesday.