Burned, but Not Broken

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August 4, 2018, Prescott-

As I stood, gazing at the sunset, this evening, admiring just how beautiful this city is, I think of different people here, and also realized:

You the disaffected one, silently snarl,

and greet me sullenly,

no longer by name,

just a perfunctory “Hello“.

You’d like me gone,

because I’m not who you want me to be,

WHAT you want me to be.

I’m still here,

as it’s the Universe,

not human beings,

deciding what I am going to do,

and where.

You, the gym managers, greet me by name,

because you see my heart,

and your only agenda

is to love and serve.

You, the busy entrepreneur, make time for me,

when it fits your schedule.

That’s okay, as

I was brought up

to honour people’s privacy.

You, the children and youth, smile

when I walk in your space,

or into the classroom,

because we share

a tenderness of heart.

You, my co-workers,

know of my undivided loyalty,

and support,

because we share a love

for the youth we serve,

and all else is secondary.

I have no real enemies,

just people who read me  wrong.

I suffer no lasting injury,

just the temporary wounds

which those in dire pain

want so badly to share.

As I looked at the sunset,

I realized the wounds are healing.

The 2018 Road, Day 26: A Yorktown Meander, Part 2-The Grounds of Surrender

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June 20, 2018, Yorktown-  

Having seen the coastline along which the final major battle of the American War for Independence played out, I turned to the equally critical interior locales of the struggle.

Yorktown Battlefield is the end point of Colonial National Historic Park, just as Jamestown represents the beginning.

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From there, the auto route of the park leads to Yorktown National Cemetery and the Grand French Battery.  Whilst  I was here, a few boys were engaged in Hide and Seek, along the redoubts.

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The scene of the cemetery itself was more subdued.

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A bit north of the park, on the way to modern Yorktown, is Yorktown Victory Monument.

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Doubling back towards town, just a bit, I caught this glimpse of Main Street.

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I am always glad to see the intense forest growth in the Tidewater area.  Some groves are impressive, in their height.

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Redoubts 9 and 10 were scenes of brief battles, with the French capturing the first and the Americans, the second.  The British ceasefire occurred three days later.

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These sharpened stones bore no significance, but they captured my attention.

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Next on the route was Augustine Moore House, where the British surrender was negotiated, on October 18, 1781.

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The York River flows just east of Moore House.

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Here is the Surrender Field, where Cornwallis’ army laid down their arms.

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This is the Untouched Redoubt, abandoned by the British on September 29, 1781.  The Allied forces arrived the next day, and left the position as it was.

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With this loop tour, one gets a well-rounded view of the final major clash of our nation’s first struggle towards respect in the family of nations.  There would be much to be done, internally and externally, before we would reach a dominant position as an economic and military power.  I wonder what it will take, to reach similar prominence, spiritually.

 

 

 

 

The 2018 Road, Day 20: A Place of Resilience, Part 3- Washington Slept Here

6

June 14, 2018, Valley Forge-

The area on the west side of Valley Forge National Historical Park lies between the village of Valley Forge and the Schuylkill River, with General Washington’s Headquarters and its support buildings dominating the area, during the period of regrouping.

This residence was used by the Quartermaster for the Continental Army at Valley Forge, General Nathaniel Greene.

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About a half-mile east, Washington’s main encampment was established, after he moved the Marquee away from the Artillery Park. His personal guardsmen were housed in these cabins, with a spring house immediately below.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The building below was a bakery for the Continental Army.

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Here is the house that served as General Washington’s Headquarters. The downstairs was office space and a kitchen. All officers, including George Washington, slept on the second floor.

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Here is a glimpse of Washington’s office.

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Washington slept here.

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I grabbed a late lunch and gassed up in Valley Forge Village, with Freedom Deli and Catering being right next to a Sunoco station.  I took a brief look at Freedom’s Foundation’s grounds, which I remember from Frankie Laine’s pitch on the radio, in the late 1950’s.  Funny, what sticks in your head. I didn’t get photos, as the place was closed and I would like to do it justice, on another visit.  Valley Forge left me with a deeper appreciation for the truth of all those stories of hardship and endurance, we heard in my school days.

Back to Oley, I’m headed, and thankfully there is no rain in the forecast.

NEXT:  Brotherly Love and The Wedding of the Year

The 2018 Road, Day 15: Montreal, Light and Dark

4

June 9, 2018, Montreal-

The gargoyles came to life, this afternoon.  My Lenovo, my warhorse, which has been with me across the country, five times, to Alaska, Hawai’i, British Columbia, western Europe, now has a new “owner”.  Whilst I was walking to and from the polyglot neighbourhood where Montreal’s Baha’i Centre is located, one or two interlopers broke into my car and rummaged through the backseat, finding the laptop case, underneath two backpacks. Nothing else was taken, but the drivers’ side windows were shattered.

A police officer came, after about 45 minutes, and took down the relevant information, as well as a sample of the shattered glass.  She dusted a bit for prints, and filed a report, giving me the number, by which I can send the laptop’s serial number, from my files, once I get back to Prescott.  This has all been explained earlier, in “Dear Thug”.

Now to the draw of Montreal- its majesty, as a city.  I came here in the first place, because of my memories of the city, when I visited in 1972-73, as part of a college tour group.  I had also told my seat mate, on the way back from Europe, in 2014, that I would visit this year.  She may well have forgotten, and was not even here, this weekend, but I did visit a branch of the restaurant in which she works:  La Panthere Verte.

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I was pleased that it was just a short block from Auberge Bishop.

Also in the vicinity of the hostel are the facilities of  La Musee des Beaux Arts, along Sherbrooke Avenue.  The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul is in the midst of these properties.

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The church even has a “guardian”!

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Below, is one of the museum’s  main buildings.

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Mount Royal Park’s eastern flank is not far from this complex.

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Walking back towards the hostel, I spotted Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, mounted on a mighty steed.

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Here is the bright side of my ill-fated walk of this afternoon, which took place after I had checked out of the hostel, with every intention of beginning my drive south, to New England, this afternoon.  May I present Mc Gill University, Victoria Hospital and the Montreal Baha’i Centre:

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Victoria Hospital now has a different campus.  This is one of the main buildings on the original campus.

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Montreal Baha’i Centre is a small, but graceful building,  I spent only twenty minutes here, as, ironically, I wanted to still find the Baha’i Shrine,  a house where ‘Abdu’l-Baha stayed, during His 1912 visit to Montreal.  That did not happen, on THIS visit. Here, though, is the modern centre of our Faith’s life in this great city.

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On the way back to my car, I had this view of Montreal’s downtown.  In the foreground is McGill’s soccer field.

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In the end, one gets up, dusts self off and moves forward with gusto. No one knew this better than Montreal’s bard.

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So, in honour of Leonard, I made the most of my unexpected Montreal Sunday, returning to Auberge Bishop and taking in one of the city’s historic districts, in the afternoon.

 

 

The Song Resumes

4

June 26, 2018, Spring Hill-

This post comes to you, via my new laptop.  I will miss the old warhorse, which may be in the hands of the Montreal Police by now.  In any case, my important files are secure, and the new puppy is going to fill the Lenovo’s shoes.

I will resume my photo posts, tomorrow morning, with an account going all the way back to Elkhart, IN and June 6, which would have been my 36th wedding anniversary.

Tonight was devoted to catching up on the ton of e-mails and business matters that have only been handled sporadically, via cell phone, since I left Baltimore, eight days ago.  I’ve also had a good rest here, at the southern Home Base, which as I’ve mentioned before, is the third point on the triangle.

It’s also a joy to read my friends’ posts more readily again.  I won’t be such a stranger as I’ve been since June 9.

 

Freedom Within

12

June 14,2018, Oley, PA-

The past two days have been spent taking in some aspects of history. Yesterday afternoon, I learned about American railroads, by visiting Steamtown National Historical Park, in Scranton, PA. Today, I spent almost the entire day at Valley Forge, the place where George Washington regrouped and shored up his forces, for a more concerted run at the powerful British Army.

The knowledge of history is right up there with the natural world, in my pursuit of understanding. I regret not posting photos, but when I get my new laptop, all these visits will be reprised, with the photos I’ve been taking.

Back to the matter of freedom. Valley Forge is a symbol of fighting for freedom. There is even an active organization in the town:Freedom’s Foundation, made famous in the 1969’s by the late American singer, Frankie Laine.

My take, in a nutshell: Freedom is a state of mind and heart. Of course, as with money, one must work to secure outward freedom, and never take it for granted. Yet, even those living in a dictatorship have the option of keeping the flame of freedom alive in their heart and mind.

I will have more to say about this,later, but I am getting tired,after a wonderful day, capped by a lovely dinner with a new friend.

Dear Thug

13

June 10, 2018, Montreal-

You thought you got the drop on me, yesterday, waiting until I was far enough away from my car that I didn’t hear the smashing of window glass, did not witness you taking my seven-year-old laptop and my passport. To the extent you thought of me at all, you probably imagined a terified, whimpering American tourist, who was wondering “Oh, whatever shall I DO?”.

So, let’s get real about what this means, for each of us. I spent The rest if my Saturday being assisted by your better neighbours: A confident and dedicated young police officer, who knows her role in society, far better than you know yours; a strong, but gentle, young man who is a Muslim, by the way, and who carefully and diligently removed the bulk of the glass you left in my car, following your act of rage; two hostel workers who called around, for a space for me, to no avail. It is one of Montreal’s signature weekends, after all: Formula One Grand Prix.

Today, I am back at my favourite place to stay in Montreal. I made my car fitted with protection from the elements. I gave back to the young people who have so gracefully welcomed me into their community. I got a fine haircut from Irina. I am singing along to Eddie Vedder’s “I’m Still Alive”. Tomorrow, I will move forward, with new glass on my car windows and clearance from my government, to cross back into the land of my birth. In two years’ time, I will be back in Montreal.

So what of you? Perhaps, you are bragging to your friends and associates, about how you took advantage of a stupid Yankee. You may find someone who can break my laptop’s encryption and enable you, or your “employer”, to read my posts, to harass me or, God forbid to use the device for more nefarious purposes. You may try to sell my passport to the wide world of imposters. You will, in the long of it, fail. You are probably well-known to the Montreal Police Department, and the young officer took evidence with her. You are certainly known, at least in terms of your actions, by the people who live around McGill University. Their patience is running thin.

So, we both move forward. I will continue to live a life that values people and a Higher Power. You have a choice to make. Give up what is not yours or face one element or another, of civil society.

Sudden Leghold

7

June 9, 2018, Montreal- 

I will remain here. In a mostly majestic city, for two more days, and possibly three.

No details, and I am safe. In fact, thanks to the Grand Prix that is taking place here, I am alone in a big, empty palace.No one else wanted it, and I had no place else to go, so here I am, for one night. Tomorrow, it’s back to a hostel. I am without a computer, for several days, so The 2018 Road series is on hold.  No details beyond that, for the time being. I am safe. I have a car that works  and now, I am going to sleep. See you tomorrow.

The 2018 Road, Day 9, Part 2: Tenkswatewa’s Bequest

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June 4-5, 2018, Prophetstown State Park, IN-

I spent the day and night here at this underrated, but magnificent little Indiana state park.  The weather was just right, and I actually avoided the storm system which passed to the north of us, then, unfortunately, went southeast and wreaked havoc on eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

Prophetstown was a settlement of Wea people, who were part of the Miami Nation, with several French and British traders living among them, in the period immediately following the end of the American Revolution.  The Europeans exercised some influence over Tenkswatewa (popularly known as The Prophet), the spiritual leader of the Wea, and his brother Tecumseh, who was the Wea’s military and political leader.

The settlement was closely monitored by American forces, led by General William Henry Harrison, a native of Virginia, who had interests in American expansion into Indiana and Illinois.  In 1811, tensions were again mounting between the United States and the United Kingdom, basically over the rights to these very territories. The British, in what is now Michigan-and Canada-, were feeling boxed in, by the fact of the Louisiana Purchase.  American fur, and other agricultural, interests were pushing hard for a westward land link to Louisiana Territory.  As always, the indigenous people were caught in the middle.  Tecumseh and Tenkswatewa thought their lot lie with the British, so they held firm against any American approaches.  The upshot was that, on November 7, 1811, Harrison’s troops retaliated for what turned out to be a contrived, British-led attack on American settlers and attacked Prophetstown.  They found one old Wea woman there, and after moving her to a safe location, the American troops burned Prophetstown.  This was one precursor to the War of 1812.

Without further ado, some photos of the park, as it exists today.  Both Wea and more contemporary American buildings are preserved here.  The Wea structures shown are the chief’s house and the Longhouse, or Council House.

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Those who have followed this blog, for several years, may recognize a resemblance between this longhouse and that at Mission San Luis, in Tallahassee.  There was, in fact, much communication and trade between the nations of the Southeast and those of the Midwest, as well as with other regions.

Below, is a model of the village of Prophetstown, in miniature.

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Below, is one of several units for fur traders.

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Between the indigenous and white settlements, a section of short grass prairie is preserved.

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The next few scenes are those of the familiar Midwest farm settlement.

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Below, is a mound, possibly a burial mound similar to those found across the Midwest-such as the ones found near Chillicothe, Ohio and Cahokia, Illinois.

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Western Indiana is one of the areas where tall forest meets prairie.

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So, there is the background for tomorrow’s post:  The Battle of Tippecanoe, whose site I will visit, then.

The 2018 Road, Day 8: A Day of Being Blocked

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June 3, 2018, Lowell, IN-

I set out, in earnest, for the Baha’i House of Worship, Wilmette at 9 a.m., fully intending to meet a mentor- friend who lives north of there, in a timely manner.  The problem was, I left at 9 a.m. from Carthage, on the west side of Illinois.  I stayed within the good graces of the law, clear to a point about 20 miles south of Rockford, getting there about 1 p.m.

Inching eastward, using a variety of state highways, I got to Wilmette way too late to visit with said mentor-friend.   So, takeaway # 1:  Never stay more than 2 hours from Chicagoland, if the goal is to meet someone in Chicagoland, the next day-even from Saturday to Sunday.  In fairness, the same holds true for New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco and even Philadelphia, where I will stay in the center of the city, in two weeks’ time.

Other things got done, spiritually. It is my eleventh visit here, and this is the first-and last-time that I have tried to make a same day visit to the Temple, from outside the 50-mile radius.  I also had a lovely full meal at Ridgeview Grill, a wonderful place on the west side of Wilmette, served by engaging and attentive Lisa D.  I think that will be my dining place of choice, in future visits to the House of Worship.

Needless to say, there are no photos from this Day of Being Blocked. I made it to a campsite here, in Lowell, IN, around 9 p.m.  Amen!