The Colours of Winter

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December 27, 2021, Albuquerque- There was plenty of mud in the foreground, which did not stop some of the younger members of the crowd from finding their way down a short trail, to the first overlook, in the northern, Painted Desert section of Petrified Forest National Park.

I left 66 Motel, to the cheerful strains of “Come back again”, around 9 a.m. It is always good to have doors remain open and bridges intact. Twenty minutes later, I got a similarly cheerful greeting from the gate guard at Petrified Forest’s north entrance. Whether it is because they are just cheerful, positive-thinking young women, or because of something in my own aura, these types of exchanges are what help brighten even the dreariest of skies.

Nature also provides relief from the grayness that precedes a winter storm. Here are scenes from each of the Painted Desert’s viewpoints.

These scenes are composed of Chinle Sandstone layers, first formed 227 million years ago and making up the bottom layers of the formations, with Bidahochi Sandstone, formed as recently as 4 million years ago, comprising the top layers-including Pilot Rock and Blue Mesa (in the southern area of the park). I have seen other colour blends, at the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, the Paint Pots of Yellowstone and Bumpas Hell, in Lassen Volcanic National Park. Like each of those, Painted Desert is unique.

Some vocabulary: Tiponi is a Hopi word, signifying a badge of authority-usually a sacred ear of corn, given to a priest or matriarch;

Tawa is the Hopi word for Sun Creator.

Chinde is the Dineh word for ghost or remnant spirit.

Pintado is Spanish for “painted”.

Nizhoni is the Dineh word for “beauty”, especially that found in nature.

Whipple Point is named for Lt. Amiel Whipple, a military surveyor who passed through this area. Fort Whipple, in Prescott, now a Veterans Administration Hospital, is also named for him.

Lacey Point is named for Congressman John Fletcher Lacey, of Iowa, who successfully worked to protect the Petrified Forest, which he termed “Petrified Forest of the World”.

The Painted Desert section of the park could easily take up a whole day, in periods of mild weather. I was there for a bit more than two hours. After a quick lunch at the Visitor Center Cafe, the drive across New Mexico was broken only by gassing up at a Flying J, in the small settlement of Jamestown. I was berated by a homeless man who wanted me to take him and his cart to God knows where. There probably wasn’t enough room in the Vue for that cart, so not being a saint, I kept on going.

Once here , in Duke City, a welcome nap evened my keel and a short walk around Old Town brought a soothing smooth jazz performance by a lone saxophonist and a lovely dinner at Little Anita’s, on the north edge of OT. As my mother told me yesterday, life is good.

A Small Fix

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December 20, 2021, Sedona- The bright-faced young people remembered me, though it’s been a while since I stopped in at Synergy Cafe. A minor tiff with one of the other workers led to extended absence, but as with all minor tiffs, it’s over.

Hiking Buddy is gradually on the mend, so we came to Sedona today, for a brief spiritual and aesthetic fix, First stop was Airport Mesa, with a sumptuous lunch at Mesa Grill, Once a brief whiff of jet fuel had passed through the dining area (swiftly addressed by the floor manager’s closing a random slightly-opened vent), we were in good form and enjoyed ample and well-cooked Aviation Classic Burgers, with an appetizer of Eggplant Meatballs. Sorry, I don’t do “food porn”- besides, some of my minders think even mentioning what I eat is a bit much.

After a brief walk around the grounds of the Grill , the overlook and a small botanical garden, we drove down to Tlaquepaque. This is still outdoor mask country, for about half of the visitors. We checked out several courtyards, my personal favourite being the terra cotta area (Patio Azul). HB was not quite up to clambering up and down the stairs, as yet, so we contented ourselves with the still considerable surface area of the arts and entertainment village.

Next up was a brief stop in Uptown Sedona, so she could photograph a few sculptures by James Muir, an allegorical sculptor active in Sedona. Most prominent of these is “Caduceus”, which features Iris carrying the legendary medical staff. Here is the piece, with the artist himself next to it, in a stock photo.

It was after this, that we stopped in at Synergy, for a brief refreshment break. Drumming and casual visits here will resume for me, soon, and it’s likely that Hiking Buddy will join in some of those excursions, at least.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this short video on Tlaquepaque of Sedona.

Seventy-One and Counting, Day 4

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December 2, 2021- It was a fine thing, to again have hot water for my shower and for washing the dishes. It turned out that the landlord’s own apartment also had lukewarm water. That led to things being straightened out, in short order. It is also just in time, as the unusually mild weather we’ve had is about to transition to more seasonable temperatures.

Rampage. Four young people, two boys and two girls, were killed by a gunman, on Tuesday, at Oxford High School, north of Detroit. There are two counties which have now closed their schools for the rest of this week, at minimum, with either accomplices to the shooter or copycats, threatening to up the number of victims. Two weeks ago, an automobile was the weapon of choice, for an unhinged man, acting out of hatred. Tuesday, in Oxford, the killer reverted to a firearm, of the sort used so often to inflict pain and suffering, these past twenty-nine years. This is another of those instances that gives the lie to the claim that only guns can stop guns. The reality is that only mental health programs, getting to the roots of what make unstable people go over the edge, can augment firearms registration and safety training to the point where gun-based violence is a rarity, rather than a pestilence.

Choices. I have reached the point where my work assignments are going to be carefully selected. More of my efforts are to be self-care, with a fair amount of volunteer work, though that is turning out to be less than before. Keeping a healthy immune system will be the pet project for the foreseeable future. I have seen four of my most treasured spiritual teachers pass on this year, partly because they just reached an age where their systems gave out. There was, however, also the matter of compromised immunity.

“Welcome to Earth”. This is the heading on the December issue of National Geographic Magazine. It is intended to take a fresh look at our planet, with a specific focus on the Serengeti Plain ( a place I fully intend to visit, along with other places in Africa, sometime between 2024-26). There are pieces devoted to each aspect of the ecosystem-including the human element, without which no amount of goodwill and effort at saving the beleaguered wildlife will suffice to keep this global treasure for the sake of generations to come-both for the area’s residents and all those around the planet, who value the place from afar. This will be a classic edition of NGM, much like the special editions on France, Australia and The Oceans.

There is so much to be done, locally and abroad. I can only promise to take the best care of my autumnal self. From there, everyone I love will be well-tended.

The Daughter of Pedernal

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October 12, 2021, Santa Fe- The rough-hewn log cabin greeted several of us who pulled into Ghost Ranch around noon. It’s given name is City Slicker Cabin, though BYOB (Bring your own bedding) is the obvious message for those who take a look at its plank-floored emptiness. Needless to say, the present owners of the property take care to lock it, each night at 5 p,m,

The day had started wet and cold, as I enjoyed a homestyle breakfast at Cuban Cafe, across the road from Cuban Lodge, both owned by the same family, in Cuba, NM. Rain changed to snow as the road took me over Sierra Nacimiento, and to a brief stop at Abiquiu Lake, a reservoir built by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1963. The earthen dam which secures the lake was raised in 1986.

Having made a reservation at Ghost Ranch, for a day pass, I was told rather apologetically by the attendant in the Welcome Center that I would not be able to eat in the Dining Hall. Since that was not one of my expectations, I thanked her and went into the theater, to watch a brief video about the property and its history. Imagine my surprise to see a treasured friend among those who was on a group hike, a few years back.

Ghost Ranch has attracted many of us, well-known and obscure, alike. Ansel Adams, Nelson Rockefeller, Del Webb and Robert Wood Johnson (the founder of Johnson & Johnson, and the second part-owner of the property) have all treasured its serenity and beauty. Perhaps most famous of all, however, were Max Roybal, the Santera (carver of wooden saint likenesses) of Ghost Ranch, and Georgia O’Keeffe. It was Ms. O’Keeffe’s association with Ghost Ranch that first prompted me to want to pay a visit. There is much about her simple artistic style and love for basic black and white backgrounds that has appealed to me, since my teen years. She had a passionate love of desert and mountain alike, regarding nearby Cerro Pedernal as “her” mountain. In many ways, Georgia was a daughter of Perdernal. She is also regarded as the “Mother of American Modernism”, relative to painting and sculpture. She lived on Ghost Ranch from 1934-1984, when frail health prompted a move to Santa Fe, where she passed on in 1986, at the age of 98.

With Ms. O’Keeffe’s long and cherished career in mind, I set about exploring the grounds of this fascinating property. Carol Stanley moved to the former Archuleta property, in 1930, recording the deed to it in her name, after divorcing her husband, Roy Pfaffle, who had won the property in a poker game. A frequent visitor, businessman Arthur Pack, bought the property from Ms. Stanley, in 1935. It was he who developed the land to its present rustic, but economically viable, state. Mr. Pack and his wife, Phoebe, being childless, sought a non-profit entity to purchase the land, after he became infirm. The Presbyterian Church was given Ghost Ranch by them, in 1955, and uses it as an educational and spiritual retreat. The property was damaged somewhat, by a flood in 2015, but has largely been restored.

Here are five scenes of Ghost Ranch.

I spent about thirty minutes walking the nearby Labyrinth. Being in a deep state of meditation after leaving the Labyrinth, I decided to not photograph it, this time, but looking at the Medicine Water Wheel, one can get a fair idea of the appearance of the maze.

There are two museums, south of the Welcome Center: The Anthropology and Paleontology Museums. During the height of the Covid Pandemic, these were the only museums in New Mexico to remain open! Even so, only four people at a time could visit each one. I spent another forty-five minutes between the two.

When it was time to say farewell, for now, to Ghost Ranch, I was bid adieu by these two sentries:

The Healing Garden

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September 13, 2021- With no agenda for today, other than a load of laundry and a look at the protocol for the Red Cross Blood Drive, in which I will assist on Wednesday, the morning rolled out blissfully quiet.

I revisited Crossroads Cafe, which is Prescott College’s eatery, and the place where I first connected with the Sustainability Club. The interior is still off-limits, but the patio is lovely and relaxing, so I enjoyed Breakfast Quesadilla as a few groups of students ruminated aloud, about everything from sexual identity to the stresses of just getting out of bed on a Monday morning.

Just past the patio lies a Healing and Meditation Garden, which in the future will be my favoured place to enjoy breakfast or lunch, on a Crossroads visit. Gardens have vied with the wilderness as places for me to recharge- so long as there are not loud and boisterous souls about, who don’t seem to realize what salubrious means.

Don’t get me wrong-the energy of youth, however noisome, is a major source of regeneration. Several of the most treasured, beloved young people in my life are effervescent enough to power a freight train, figuratively speaking. It is the balance of the calm and the hard-charging that has gotten me to this point in life.

The quiet, though, was much-needed, after two very intense days of service, with a cast of collaborators ranging from those who are elated at my presence to those for whom five minutes of that presence is about all they can handle. It may well be that solitude becomes ever more rare, in the coming months of Autumn and early Winter. Thus will the Healing Garden, along with Acker Park, a few select trails in Prescott National Forest and in Sedona, and the gurgling coolness of the Agua Fria, at Badger Springs, be ever more precious.

Each day and hour have their indelible places in my soul.

July Road Notes, Day 24: Connectivity

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July 28, 2021- When stopping for a meal, traveling alone, I like to sit at the counter, if one is available. It often gives a chance to converse with the server(s) and anyone else who happens to be sitting nearby. This evening, dropping into The Wiggly Pig, in Cortez, it gave the young server, who was fairly sweltering, a chance to express her feelings about the “Swamp Cooler” A/C system. The rooftop box set-up is financially efficient, but does little to provide comfort to anyone doing physical labour, within. I noticed the cook didn’t look too happy, either, when he emerged from the back, momentarily. He did, however, serve up a fabulous bleu cheese burger.

The journey back to Prescott was serene, and comfortable, offering a chance to recap.

Amarillo: Wes was a bit quieter than usual. I was the one yakking away, though I forget what about. Smoky Joe’s did give me a chance to give back to him, for all the times he has been a gracious host.

Grapevine: It’s always relaxing to be with my little family. Son has reached his “Third of a Century” mark, and is growing into something of a paternal role-even if the children are still in the future. He looked after me, and got my Bluetooth installed in the car-and made certain Elantra was not a toxic environment. Life in this apartment complex seems more satisfying-with more families than single men, clustered in groups.

Tulsa: Approaching my Greenwood District visit, by stopping first at Sherman, TX, offered a prologue to the study of the 1921 Massacre-as one of the key families in Greenwood had moved there from Sherman. The little north Texas town would, itself, have a few days of infamy, in 1930. Greenwood’s slaughter has, thankfully, not prevented people of colour from rebounding-and those who have gone on to succeed in life are less likely to suffer depredations than their predecessors of a hundred years ago.

Memphis: Many people wonder why I stop here. It’s about the heritage-and making note of the pockets of vibrant culture that sustain what is actually a wonderful hub of art and musi: Beale Street, Sun Studio, Cooper-Young District, and the area around the Museum of Civil Rights. Yes, the parking lots are scruffy and Super 8, by the river, was a bit on the rough and tumble side, but I’ll take those as trade-offs for the cultural richness and youthful energy that transcend the heat and humidity.

Crossville: Another place of extended family, who have my well-being in mind. The pond, the unique pets, the interesting conversations that flow from talk of travel, independent businesses and the history of people of colour in Massachusetts-these made for a sweet two-day respite. The hike to Fall Creek Falls, in the rain, no less, just accented how soothing the little plot of paradise can be.

Harrisonburg: Two years away from another of my homes away from home made only a slight difference. I miss Jess and Mike, but Duke’s has taken up where Artful Dodger left off. Dan and Naomi are doing just fine-and there is Village Inn, to provide comfort after a long slog up the Appalachian spine. Any number of interesting small cities and historic districts may be found, either south or north of “H”, as well. Though I could have done without encountering the voice from the past, at White’s Fort, in Knoxville, one does need to remember that such people are not uncommon, and patience is still needed, to a degree.

Oley: Glick’s is undergoing quite a transformation-Next Gen horticulture is going to be as fabulous as what has come before it, if not more so. As much as I enjoy visits with Beth, it was a pleasure to get to know Dave and the crew better. My D’s stopover, this time out, left me concerned for the well-being of the “May/November” crew, in a rare period of swelter. I tend to be very concerned for the young people, especially the women, I encounter- being patriarchic and avuncular comes naturally, after my upbringing.

Saugus: The town of my childhood is no longer “hometown”, per se. Mom is in the next town northward. Family still abounds, nearby, though, and I had a long overdue visit with dearly cherished cousins, in nearby Lynn. It was a pleasure to honour my brother and sister-in-law, for all they have done, and are doing. Mother herself is adjusting to her “new apartment” and still has the spunk that inspired me to achieve. Hammersmith Inn is still there, serving great breakfasts-and I noted a competitor, uptown’s Iron Town Diner-maybe next spring.

Maine and New Hampshire: Another long overdue visit, with cherished cousins, and along a beautiful stretch of Maine coast, highlighted this day. Stonewall Kitchens is a fine place to stop, perhaps for a breakfast, but definitely for gift shopping, ahead of any visits further afield. The solemnity of my visit to the graves of an aunt, uncle and cousin, who were veterans, was broken by the sudden cold rain that had me rush back to the car. What’s past is prologue-and seemed to be a short-lived trend: I had my third dinner, in five days, at a Ninety-Nine Restaurant, as the place in Augusta was just outside the cemetery. Maine’s and New Hampshire’s capitols grace two fine historical towns: Augusta and Concord, respectively. I just wish Concord had few more places of accommodation-though Holiday Inn filled the bill nicely.

New York and Pennsylvania: I will definitely make time, in the future, for a day or so in Albany, if for the architecture, alone. D’s was much more comfortable this time around, and a very strong-willed and proactive young lady seemed very much in charge, even though the owners were present, and interacting with the regulars. DuBois is a nice little town for an overnight stop.

Mishawaka: It’s just good plain fun to stop and visit with Val and Mark. That I took a wrong turn, abetted by a balky GPS system, and ended up just over the line, in Michigan, was a non-event, though it made for a late dinner. I learned to turn the phone off and back on, thus picking up the WiFi that WAS available.

Chicagoland and Wisconsin: It is ever a joy to stop at the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette, north of Chicago. The price is always to participate in the Windy City’s eternal rush hour, but no matter- I have an EZ Pass transponder now. I only need to plan ahead and load the account. That the Temple is as much of a draw for visitors as ever, brings joy to my heart. Madison offers a shimmering and impressive Wisconsin State Capitol-easily accessible.

Twin Cities: What a joy it was to meet members of the family’s Minnesota branch-and to learn of their Arizona connection. Family is family, and being blended just adds that much more strength to the unit. I feel a tight bond with cousins Darah and Amarah, and their crew.

St. Paul has an impressive Minnesota State Capitol-and Cathedral. George Floyd Square- in honour of an unassuming man, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, has brought disparate people together- and has brought focus onto the underlying shared humanity of us all. This was easily the most interesting experience, on a most interesting journey.

Great Plains Highways: Fairmont is Anytown, but it was special to meet Tericca, an engaging soul who came here from the Phoenix area, and who has a special appreciation for the back country of the Plains. Why I didn’t take more time to make sure the radiator cap was on properly, I’ll never know, but it was a good reminder-even though I had to sit for four hours, while a skilled mechanic, named Alex, gave my car’s cooling system a complete once-over. Falls Park is a fine reason to visit Sioux Falls, and a great place for locals to spend the three-digit summer days. Making it as far as York, NE, after the car service, was indeed a near miracle.

Castle Rock: It was a sublime surprise to find Max’s Diner, near the junction of I-80 and I-76. Navigating detours and road construction is just part of the deal, in summer travel. Max’s, with hand-made burgers, is a true gem, in a place called Big Springs, NE. Castle Rock, south of Denver, has experienced explosive growth, in the five years since I was last through this way. It was joyful, though, to be surrounded by young families, even to be next door to three very chatty and outspoken little boys.

Down the 160: This route feels like home to me, in so many spots. I could stay in Walsenburg, Fort Garland, Del Norte, Pagosa Springs, Mancos, or Cortez, and feel right at home. Alamosa, Monte Vista and Durango are a bit congested, but are also fine places to visit for a day or so-maybe longer, in the Fall. Del’s Diner (Fort Garland) is an unassuming spot, with plain fare, but the ladies are supremely gracious to all who stop for a meal. I miss the old “hippie” spot in Del Norte, and didn’t see anything that has taken its place. The drive over Wolf Creek Pass featured rain, in buckets. In Cortez, it’s always a coin flip: Wiggly Pig or The Farm Bistro. This evening, Wiggly won the toss. Love that Blu Burger! The rest of the road, through Dinetah, Flagstaff and the Verde Valley, just required that I stayed awake. Even with no place to get a cup of coffee, I found it easy to manage.

Tomorrow is S-Day (for Snip) and I will be well-rested for it.

July Road Notes, Day 22: Too Slight a Twist, and then…Sizzle

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July 26, 2021, York, NE- The auto heating and cooling technician took a hard look under Elantra’s hood, then a hard glance at me, and went to work on the grizzled grey one, having set aside a few other projects, that I might go on towards home, by day’s end. It turned out to be a simple matter.

The day started tamely enough, with continental breakfast at the Super 8, Fairmont, MN and a serene drive through the prairie of western Minnesota, to Sioux Falls, with the INTENT of taking in the Queen City’s signature Falls Park, and heading on to Nebraska. Wouldn’t you know, though, that in checking the water level of Elantra’s radiator, I managed to not put it on as tightly as I thought?

The piper came calling, as I drove out of Falls Park, towards I-229. The radiator’s warning signal came dinging (not silently, like the “Check Engine” light, but earnestly. I managed to turn the blower off and found an auto body shop parking lot, let the receptionist know why I was there, and called AAA. An hour later, I had added water to the radiator, determined there were no leaks and Elantra was loaded onto the tow bed. Four hours after that, the good folks at Twelfth Street Auto Care, on the west side of Sioux Falls,had squeezed Elantra into their already impossible schedule, determined that SOMEONE had not tightened the radiator cap properly, and that there were no other problems with the grizz. Properly chagrined, I thanked all concerned, profusely, and headed out.

Now, back to Falls Park. It was discovered by early settlers, in the 1850s, though the Yankton Sioux people had long celebrated the beauty and bounty of the cascades along the Big Sioux River. https://www.siouxfalls.org/parks/parks/locations/falls-park

Here are some scenes of my meanderings that followed a fine picnic lunch.

Foreground, Falls Park, Sioux Falls
A view of the lower Falls, from an observation deck
Local volunteers clean up algae and debris
The upper Falls
Ruins of the Queen Bee Flour Mill, destroyed by fire, in 1956.
The bed of Big Sioux River

It is not the Big Sioux at its fullest flow, which suited the many families who came to visit, just fine. Falls Park is a marvelous place for whiling away hot summer days-at it is expected to hit 102, in Sioux Falls, on Wednesday.

Thanks to Alex and Josh, I won’t be there. Instead, on towards Nebraska I rolled, through Elk Point and Jefferson, taking care to give a little girl on her bike, a slow and wide berth. (Jefferson is still the type of town that many of us knew, growing up, where such activities were the norm.) Sioux City came next, along with a casino town, to tis south. In both cases, restaurants were shuttered, due to lack of staff ( a temporary, but still nettlesome issue). I finally hit upon an Applebee’s, in Fremont, NE, getting a satisfying meal, despite the laconic and distracted bar tender/server.

Yorkshire Inn, in this I-80 town, became my resting place for the evening. Tomorrow, it’s on to North Platte, Sterling, Denver and as far beyond as I can get by 7 p.m. MDT.

July Road Notes, Day 10: Rainy Day Fun

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July 14, 2021, Crossville- After a sumptuous meal of R’s homemade pizza, and a restful night, the suggestion was made to visit Fall Creek Falls State Park, about 20 miles west of here. As state parks in Tennessee have free admission, and they are invariably filled with natural wonders, I was game.

C and I headed over, around 9:30, and found relatively few people on the trail to Fall Creek, one of two waterfalls in this park of short, but relatively challenging trails. Here are a few scenes of the main trail.

Fall Creek Falls, from overlook
Hard sandstone wall, Fall Creek Trail
Sandstone scramble, Fall Creek Trail
Fall Creek Falls, from the base of the trail
Falls emptying into Fall Creek pool
Millikan Overlook-In this area, Dr. Glenn Millikan, a professor at Vanderbilt University, fell to his death, in 1947.
Suspension Bridge, south of Piney Falls Trail. Of course, when I was on it by myself, I had to bounce on it, just a little.
Piney Falls, south of Fall Creek, is the more robust of the two waterfalls, at least right now.

It rained, off and on, while we were on the main trail, and it was rather slippery in spots. As we were coming back up from Fall Creek, we encountered at least two large groups of hikers coming down the trail. Fortunately, by the time they would have had to come back up, the sun was out again. The trooper of the day was a woman who went down and back up, in her flip flops-very gingerly and carefully. Two children wearing crocs get second and third place. I was shod in regular sneakers, and thus blended into the crowd.

July Road Notes, Day 6: In Good Repair

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July 10, 2021, Grapevine- Today started off undefined, which is suitable for a summer Saturday. We opted for a short walk along the paved trails of Heritage Park, in nearby Flower Mound. There were wildflowers aplenty, and a large number of families about. The water slides, practice fields and disc golf courses were very popular, as they should be. The northern suburbs of Dallas seem to take good care of their public, recreation-wise. Disc golf, for the unitiated, is a sport that involves throwing a disc at a wire basket. The rules are similar to those of golf, but it reminds me somewhat of horseshoes. It takes serious focus, in any case.

The day turned, after a fashion, towards attending to the inside of Elantra. The Galloping Gray One was looking a lot shabbier than I have cared to admit, so Aram and I set about wiping the dashboard, doors, compartments and rear ledge. The windows got treated, as well, and Son vacuumed the seats and carpeting. The day concluded with a round of online trivia games and a trip over to an East Asian shopping center, with a variety of ethnic cafes, stores and restaurants. We chose a place called Too Thai Street Eats. The food hold its own, in quality and portion size.

I am in good repair, other than the bump on my face-which has a limited time left. I did a plank for a minute, and could have gone longer-but this was a trial run. I know that some parts of this septuagenarian frame need more individual work, and will do better by them, as the year progresses.

Tomorrow, this family time will come to an end, and I will head north, to Tulsa-for an homage to those who tried to embrace the American Dream and found that those around them were far from ready to embrace them.

A Path for Healing

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June 8, 2021, Bellemont, AZ– The events of this year have not lost their ability to surprise, though each one, both joyful and sorrowful, has had roots in what has been bound to occur, sooner rather than later.

I have lost friends and family, recently, yet all of them were suffering from chronic disease. Mom moved, of her own volition, from our family home of 66 years, but that had been in the cards for quite some time.

It was a surprise, however, when a man to whom I had been quite close, when he was a child, walked into the kitchen of the summer camp here, at which I will be director for the next few days. “A” did not recognize me at first, as we hadn’t seen one another since 1995. Life has taken him on several rides, but has not dimmed his intellect, or his drive.

Once he did remember who I was, we had a long overdue conversation regarding a mutual loss, which occurred in mid-summer, in the Eighties. He proposed to me that we undertake a hike, what will amount to a healing walk, in mid-August, in the area where the loss transpired.

Healing journeys have occurred throughout my life, and in particular, over the past ten years. This one will close a small hole in my heart, and at least begin to close the much larger hole in his. Indigenous people, the world over, know the importance of ceremonial walks, in bringing the deepest of hurts to the surface, where they can dissipate.

So it goes, that I am continuously being brought to places where the connections that are necessary are made. This is a particularly strong year of healing and correction.