Knighthood and Benighthood

3

November 18, 2017, Prescott-

Depending on who you ask,

Charles Manson is dead,

or “not dead, it’s a liberal hoax”.

Depending on who you ask,

Bill Clinton was a good President,

or a ravenous cad,

or maybe both.

Depending on who you ask,

Woody Allen was a fine filmmaker,

or a disgusting rake,

or, again, one and the same.

Both, and.

How many of us,

have transgressed,

against someone,

or many someones,

in the days of adolescence,

in times of emotional stress,

or of moral drift.

Is it a matter of degree,

or a matter of having

overcome and transcended,

the lower nature.

We all have duality.

Some refer to that

as Original Sin.

Others brush it off,

as “his peccadilloes”.

The fact remains,

when one transgresses

the bounds of good behaviour,

of kindness,

of respect,

of dignity,

someone else is hurt,

and often, grievously.

There are no free passes,

no pats on the head,

or “It’s okay, I’ll get over it.”

I’ve felt shame before,

and made amends,

the best I could.

It made no difference,

that they were words,

or mild gestures.

Hurt is hurt,

and I was/am

deeply sorry.

What about the others?

Are they sorry?

Have they,

will they,

make amends?

Has so and so,

who trolled young girls,

in the 1970’s and ’80’s,

been a chaste and loyal husband,

these past 30 years?

Has a man who dabbled in porn,

when his “beloved”

was asleep,

faced and overcome

his afflictive addiction?

Has a woman who preached

Faith, by day,

and romped with men,

by night,

at last chosen her Lord

over her lust?

Many famous names

have been bandied about,

of late.

Fame sheds light

on darkness,

but where are

those of us,

who live

lives that are

not public?

Are we knighted,

or benighted?

 

If

10

November 14, 2017, Prescott-

If I am chosen to serve as a co-ordinator for international students,

I would work to make their time here a cornerstone of the rest of their lives.

If my son safely completes his time in service,

I know he will make a huge mark in the world,

in the time afterward.

If it be God’s Will, I shall not be moved aside

from generous acts of service,

both here and far afield.

If there be a clear sense of reality,

the good people of the world

will find a way,

to end imbalance,

for Puerto Rico,

Kurdistan,

Rakhine Province,

Sri Lanka,

Syria,

South Sudan,

Rockport- Port Aransas,

central Appalachia,

the Navajo Nation,

Uyuni,

Haiti,

Chicago.

If  justice prevails,

those being marginalized

will see solutions,

that honour their

creativity,

their intelligence,

their dignity.

Convergence, Days 1 and 2

13

November 10-11, 2017, Arcosanti-

The past two days have taken this loving wanderer far deeper into my past and how it has affected my subconscious, than any prior event in which I’ve been involved.

In between volunteer sets in the Cafe, I joined one of the workshops in the Healing segment of Convergence.  A session entitled Re-Patterning addressed the very issue that was weighing on me, yesterday afternoon.  My feeling that I was not trusted by people, very much, even in the context of the workshop participants, was allowed to be brought into focus.  After establishing that a few breaches of trust  on my part, mostly online, over the past few years, were still playing and replaying in the background, there was an exercise in which deep breathing and muscle resistance were used.  This brought to light that, when my family moved when I was four, I left someone behind, who I considered a good friend.  Somehow, in the fullness of  life in the new neighbourhood, this never entered into closure.

I have largely spent my energies in two divergent ways, since that time.  On the one hand, I am always open to new experiences, and visiting new places.  On the other hand, when off work, especially since Penny passed on,  my tendency is to occupy myself alone.  I have inherited the “comfortable in my own space” mindset of my mother and maternal grandfather.  Yet, there is more to it than that.  Yesterday’s session established the role of unresolved loss in the course my life has taken, all these years.

I feel like a great weight has been lifted, and am not as tense, in this large gathering, as I was yesterday, before the session.  I worked two long shifts in the Cafe, last night and early afternoon today.  I still find myself alone this evening, but that is more a function of having left Convergence this evening, to attend a Veteran’s Day dinner in Prescott, then returning here, after dark.

As indicated earlier, being at a large gathering, overnight, is new to me.  I won’t retreat into my own space and shut out the world.  This change is mainly for the sake of taking part in a group meditation and dreaming event, which will be more easily explained after the fact than now.  No, I will not be using psychotropic drugs.  Where I go will be where the universe naturally takes me, much like any other night..

Stay tuned.

 

How So?

2

October 30, 2017, Prescott-

You, the Secretary of Homeland Security,

have deemed a ten-year-old girl,

with Cerebral Palsy,

a threat to national security.

How so?

A taxpayer’s question:

Is she receiving treatment,

for her condition,

whilst in Federal custody?

How so?

People continue to be

pitted against one another,

on the basis of world view,

by those whose primary motive,

is retention of power.

This is framed as defending

the patriotic from the disloyal.

How so?

Two political opponents

accuse one another

of being in collusion

with a foreign power.

In each case, how so?

One faction of government

claims it, alone, can help

long-suffering and struggling

people.

How so?

Too many, among the elite,

see division as the only way

forward.

How so?

Beyond “Me, Too”

6

October 17, 2017, Prescott-

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

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

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

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

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

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

Car, Man and Tribulation

8

October 13, 2017, Prescott-

Car went through an ordeal, yesterday.

A wayward peace of cardboard,

in the road,

surrounded by loose gravel,

in the middle of a sharp curve,

sent car off into a small downgrade.

Car was pulled out,

by a gentle man,

in a powerful jeep.

Car is okay,

with a few screws

needing replacement.

Man woke up this morning,

noting that a long-standing

wound

on his face had faded.

Man is looking

more human.

Man and car went out,

and delivered flowers,

to people who are

being supportive

of a large community event,

tomorrow.

Man and car are fortunate.

Across California,

there are thousands

who face tribulation.

Sadratu’l- Muntaha

10

September 27, 2017, Prescott-

NOTE:  The title term refers to a tree, planted at a terminus of a road, in ancient Arabia.  It could signify either an ending or a beginning.

What, exactly, is a barrier?

Which is the beginning, and which, the ending?

I recall that every walk around Saugus began at our back door.

So, too, did every journey end there.

My formal education began in September, 1956, at the Felton School.

It ended in August, 1987, when I completed my administrative credential, at Northern Arizona University.

My time as a Roman Catholic began with my baptism.

It ended with my declaration as a member of the Baha’i Faith.

Now, I live in an apartment, in Prescott, Arizona; work as a teacher aide, at Prescott High School; am a devoted adherent to the Teachings of Baha’u’llah.

Do I still consider Saugus a place in my heart?

Am I still learning?

Do I still revere Jesus the Christ?

In each case, the answer will always be “Yes”.

Will I not again travel?

Will I close my mind to new ideas?

Will I turn aside from the Creator?

In each case, “No”.

What, exactly, is a barrier?

It occurs to me, that each barrier is a self-imposed ending.

 

Inside, Outside

7

September 14, 2017, Prescott-

Perhaps my own wandering nature

and tendency to hang back,

in novel situations,

are partially to blame,

but all my life,

I have encountered situations,

mostly at work,

where a small group of insiders

has kept me out of the loop.

I can even recall one occasion,

where I confided in my wife,

that I was not sure that I could

trust the school district administration.

I was the principal of a one-school district,

unable to trust the people who hired me.

Frequently, here in town,

I have felt the same.

Valued by the students, parents, and my peers,

but seemingly held in disdain,

by a small, elite group,

who have been here way too long,

I’ve hung on.

The latest such situation ended, today,

and I will now be working with

members of the same, appreciative

and open-minded group,

with whom I happily worked in Spring, 2016.

I wonder what happened,

to the in-crowd,

who obviously love children,

at some level,

even if their “My Way or The Highway” mentality

sets the children off,

so unnecessarily.

Why are their wagons in a circle,

so that my job becomes

“do what you’re told and keep still”?

I’m grateful for my new/old team.

It’s not an age thing,

because, while the team lead is a Millennial,

there are others in their 40’s and 50’s,

and I will be 67, in two months’ time.

It’s not a gender thing,

because, while I am still the only male,

I am not excluded by these ladies,

from any aspect of the work day.

I’ve come to the conclusion

that insecurity breeds insularity.

Aggression: Macro,Micro, Nano

0

September 13, 2017, Prescott-

Of course, I endure aggression- macro and micro, on a daily basis.

Fortunate, I am, that macroaggression is rare,

and is usually the flailing of a frightened child,

or the blaring horn of a vehicle,

driven by someone in the throes of misdirected rage.

Microaggression is more common:

The supervisor who tells self

that control of subordinates is paramount;

the restaurant server who rushes a lone patron,

through a meal,

so that a hypothetical party of two or three

will not be inconvenienced;

the neighbour who walks about,

nose in the air,

lest the great unwashed might

deign to speak their peace.

Those who minimize the suffering

of victims of natural disasters,

as, after all, “it’s not happening here!”

Are there  nanoaggressions?

I hope not, as this might

smack of paranoia,

on the part of the beholder.

 

 

The Ohio Knows

4

July 23, 2017, Jeffersonville, IN-

I stayed, last night, at an off-the-beaten-path inn, made all the more interesting by there having been an intense storm, which had caused a power outage.  Spanish Manor Inn lies on the eastern outskirts of a small Bluegrass Country town:  Olive Hill, itself a far exurb of Lexington.

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The motel is run by a pastor’s wife.  The  pastor himself uses one of the buildings as a wedding chapel.  They graciously received me in their home-office, and explained I was fortunate to get the last available room.  Given the intensity of the storm, I scarcely blame them for putting up a no vacancy sign, as soon as I headed back down the hill to the rooms.  There was no Internet, of course, but I surely got a restful sleep, despite the booming and crashing outside.

I texted my nephew, who lives in the Louisville area, just across the Ohio River from the city.  It has been a game of schedule tag, up to now, for me to meet his wife and children.  Today, though, they had a few hours, so off I went towards Slugger Town, going through a bit more rain on the way.  I ditched the rain, around Shelbyville, stopping only to pick up some gift items for the young family.

I had no trouble finding their suburban home, and after an impromptu tour of the house, the five of us went to a pleasant Mexican restaurant- my second confirmation this month, that there are people in Indiana who do such cuisine right.  This takes care of the contention of several people, that there is no proper salsa in the Midwest.  We had it, aplenty.  Once back in the house, I joined my nephew, niece-in-law and grand niece, in the family room, to watch Aladdin, for the first time in twenty-five years, while grand-nephew took his nap.  Once it was time for life’s errands to resume, I bid thank you and farewell to the wakeful members of our family’s Indiana branch.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The Ohio knows when to be gracious to a visitor.  This often overlooked sibling to the Father of Waters has been on my radar for a visit, for many years, and there was no time like this afternoon, at the Falls of the Ohio, a sometimes tempestuous section of river, shared by Louisville, on the south bank and Jeffersonville, on the north.  The Indiana side has an Interpretive Center, closed on Sunday.  The river itself, however, offers a wealth of walking trails and rocks on which to sit and meditate, or, as several were, fish.

The Ohio is not always accommodating, to put it mildly, and there is much deposited in the woodlands, on either bank, from Devonian and Silurian fossils, in the soil, to broken branches from the roiling storms of summer and winter, alike.

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Here are some scenes of the cataracts, which both draw people to the salubrious banks and make life difficult for those plying a trade, along the Ohio.

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I chose this spot to sit and reflect on how nice the drive through Kentucky and southern Indiana had been.

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Of course, the River answered, “Thank you”.

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This is a surreal view of Louisville, hidden by a railroad bridge.  There is a sign, on I-65, that warns of a toll booth, but I saw no toll booth on either northbound or southbound, and there were no cameras, either.  Methinks the toll has been discontinued.

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Lastly, before I headed south again, en route to Paducah, a wink to Lewis and Clark was in order.  This area was integral to the planning phase of their monumental exploration, and there was a family tie:  George Rogers Clark, who secured the then-Northwest Territory for our fledgling nation, was William Clark’s brother.  Clarksvillle, Jeffersonville,  New Albany, Corydon and Vincennes are all filled with historic sites, associated with the Clark family and the pioneers of the Ohio Valley.

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My spirit guides were calling me westward, to Paducah, for a further appreciation of the Ohio River, just a few miles shy of its meeting with the mighty Mississippi, at Cairo, IL.  So, on went the Hyundai and I.