These Happened

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September 24, 2022- The little girl, no more than two, came up to me while I was sitting in my “director’s chair”, at the large music festival. She tried to climb on my lap, which, as I knew neither her nor her mother, I gently declined. Her mother came over and led her back to the spot where she was preparing the child’s stroller. With mother so occupied, the girl came right back, and tried again. This time, both mother and I explained that this was not something she should be doing. There was no yelling or finger-wagging, just gentle dissuasion. Conversely, while the mother said I should have ignored her daughter, that, too, is something one doesn’t do to a person who is experiencing so much, for the first time in her life. I feel that I have a duty before the Creator to lovingly assist other people, especially children, to the best of my ability.

Earlier today, a small group of us honoured a revered community leader and beekeeper, on the first anniversary of his passing. There was a man who embodied loving assistance to all he met. Even the bank manager, who oversaw his mortgage, was given instructions on what to do with his house-upon the occasion of said passage. Hopefully, those instructions were followed and the home sold to the certain type of family who would honour its feng shui. The bees themselves were carefully dispersed to various other apiaries, prior to GK’s passing.

I went from the memorial service to VortiFest, in Sedona, particularly to meet up with a friend I had not seen in 2 1/2 years and to possibly see other friends from the Synergy/Apotheca complex. The centerpiece, for me, of the music festival, was an appearance by Camille Sledge, the scion of Sister Sledge, and her band, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra. Camille, as it turned out, was off, touring with her mother and aunts, so PAO’s superbly talented instrumentalists managed a delightful and rousing 45 minutes of non-vocal ear candy, and got many of us, up and jumping around, much as they and Camille did, when I first heard them, four years ago.

That set was what brought about a brief encounter with a Sedona friend, that puzzles me, even as I write this. She greeted me, danced around for a bit, then spent the rest of the set alternately acting like she was scared to death of me and that I no longer existed. I will refrain from trying to explain that, other than I am aware of certain threats to her safety, from someone other than myself. He could have been around and have made his presence known to her. For a good part of the rest of the Festival, she was escorted by other men, including one of the security detail members, so who knows? For my part, I would not harm a hair of anyone’s head, much less a dearly loved friend of three years.

My newly re-connected friend served as a reality check on the whole matter, cautioning against personalizing the incident, in any way, shape or form. I followed her advice, knowing that forming a narrative, based on incomplete information, is worse than a fool’s errand. So, I headed homeward, ahead of the mass exodus that was sure to happen after the last set of the festival. Even having parked in a smaller lot, across the highway, I would have been stuck in the scrum of traffic, had I stayed to hear the last, excellent band.

Besides Afrobeat, there were two other fabulous bands that I did encounter: One was the festival founder’s group, simply named “Decker”. The other was a group called “G-Love”, which offered several peace-themed tunes, that were nonetheless rousing, and which had what seemed to be 2/3 of the audience standing and bouncing, in front of the stage. I chose to sit for most of that set, getting up mainly to take video of three friends who were wearing lighted costumes and were engaged in performance art. There was a third band, which performed well, but their vibe was a bit on the angry side. Turns out, they had a shortened set, due to some misunderstanding with the festival organizers. The final band, Arrested Development, a hip-hop group, also performed well, though I heard their offerings only as I walked back towards my vehicle.

So, that was Vorti-Fest, and my Saturday. This is also my 3000th post, on this platform. Goodness and ill abound in this life, and I do not hesitate to bring you both, in the right measure. My feelings right now are well-covered, if obliquely so, by Paul Simon’s “America”.

Mean?

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September 23, 2022-

The complaint was registered: Why are people so mean? The response was offered: What makes you call them such? The retort: No one gives me what I want!

I am glad to have been raised with a work ethic and to be able to hear “We owe you nothing!” , without sulking or arguing. The same people, after all, do reward me, handsomely, for doing the job that I was hired to do.

This makes it hard for me to identify with someone who does little or nothing, and finds people mean.

Equinox Abundant

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September 22, 2022- Equinox always seems to coincide with heavy physical energy-especially in September. So, we see intense storms affecting an area from the Windward Islands to Newfoundland, the southern Caribbean (and onward, next week, to Florida and beyond), western Alaska to northern California, and Pakistan. Earthquakes hit Mexico (twice), Chile and Indonesia this past week, with minor quakes in several other spots , including California.

Anything that affects Earth also affects its inhabitants, so there appears to be an upswing in aggressive behaviour, as well as its opposite, passivity, with Learned Helplessness accompanying the latter. I saw plenty of both today, in my work assignment. Fortunately, the school where I worked has effective systems in place to address both extremes.

Mostly, though, I see Equinox as a celebrant of both fertility (in the southern hemisphere) and productivity (in the northern hemisphere). Whenever there is an uptick in constructive energy, it is met by converse forces that tear down that which no longer meets the needs of humanity. There is resistance to both, and when that resistance can no longer be justified by logic and the scientific method, conspiracy theories arise. Yet, because the Universe is about the generating of life, and follows several levels of order, those theories and the resistance that generated them, tend to fall by the wayside.

I believe, very strongly, that this is what will happen with the current resistance-all the authoritarianism, denial (of climate change on the Right and of fetal humanity, on the Left) and closed mindedness across the political spectrum. Chaos is not going to be the order of the day.

The Equinox is about abundance.

Ambiguities

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September 20, 2022- The young man remembered me, from seven years ago, and launched into the playful antics for which I remember his eight-year-old self. He livened up the web-based class, for which I was the in-person monitor, maybe a little too much-but we got through the material offered by the online teacher. He showed up twice afterward, during the day, once to hang out during lunch and correct a prank he and his buddies had played on me and once, hoping to hear that his class was my favourite of the day. It wasn’t, and the shoulders slumped-but he’ll get over it. He did allow as to having been furious, when I was abruptly dismissed from that Third Grade teaching position, in favour of a dour local resident, who needed a job. Many of the students in that class felt the same way, and I’ve encountered three of them, elsewhere, since then.

I created a mild set of problems for myself, this morning, by overlooking the time for the onset of class, arriving a bit late and thus having to navigate the ambiguities and idiosyncrasies of the online Spanish class, on the fly. Things were a bit hectic, for the first two hours, but the learning curve was mastered by the start of Third Hour. The rest of the day went smoothly.

Ambiguities have never been my strong suit, yet I am having to master them more often, these days. Thus I will arrive early for tomorrow’s assignment, so as to read the instructional fine print more carefully. Even then, there are no guarantees of immediate success, as the connotations of words are different sometimes. Sometimes, sparks have to fly, in order for the communication to be made clear. Today, the teachers and admin were patient; not all teams are.

I also sense that there is a bit of tension in the air, as the seasons change. This evening, while at the gym, I found a bottle of energy milk on the floor, and asked a woman who was nearby, working out with her ten-year-old son, if it were hers. She said it was his, so I gave it to him and advised as to a safer place to put it, which he did-and then got self-conscious. The two left the area shortly afterward, so I wondered about the ambiguous situation again being an issue. In any case, I can’t ignore anything that compromises the safety and well-being of a child.

As I headed over to the massage chairs, a man was loudly complaining about what he regarded as an affront to his dignity and threat to his personal safety. He was gently guided outside by a gym employee, who continued to hear him out. I heard the same mother who had been in the whole body exercise area, telling the front desk clerk that if the man had gotten any closer to her son, she’d have called the police. Ambiguities, again, were exacerbated by the assumptions made by two different personalities.

It was, in the end, fitting that my own horoscope told me to not make assumptions about people. So I have learned, time and again.

Depth of Purpose

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September 14, 2022- The clerk happily told me that the school had managed to fill their remaining vacancies in Special Needs, so any time I am asked to help them, henceforth, will be to cover for a specific person, rather than a nebulous “vacancy”. This represents progress in both creating a nurturing learning environment-and a stable working environment as well.

I spent the day covering for several teachers, over a six hour period, as each attended a ten-twenty minute meeting. Each time, the lesson was carried out, even when a select few students wanted to spend time on their personal business. My focus, anymore, is primarily on purposeful behaviour and what will benefit the children in both the long-run and the short. So, while taking what time was needed to address behaviour issues, my focus was otherwise on the children who were having trouble learning, and explaining concepts to them in ways they could understand.

The notion has also occurred to me, over the past several days, that it is all well and good to feel love for so many people, but that it’s time to take it up a notch-and conduct my visits to, say, coffee houses and restaurants in ways that truly provide both support and encouragement of those for whom I care most, and recognizing that it’s best if I minimize occupying a table for four, especially on what looks to be a busy time. More take-outs will be in order. Nuance is coming increasingly into my view, which is both progress in handling autism and deepening of my sense of purpose.

Love is best shown by recognizing what the loved one needs, and doing what one can to fill that need. Most often, the matter requires both keen observation and forethought. I’m getting better at both.

Brightness, Under A Half-Moon

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September 5, 2022, Taos- About seven miles west of this town of Puebloans, hippies, cowboys and off-the-grid Libertarians, there is a bridge across Rio Grande Gorge. About a mile further west, there is West Rim Road, which takes people to old Apache campsites, new marijuana farms and a Buddhist stupa, atop a hill and past various homes built by Apaches, South Asians and the above-mentioned Libertarians. Among those who built a home, on ancestral land, is a friend, G. She and her surrogate grandson live in a comfortable solar-powered residence, about a mile off West Rim Road.

When I was leaving Colorado East Baha’i School, earlier today, I felt very strong energy, telling me to go towards Taos and G’s home, and to do whatever it took to visit them. So, after helping with the clean-up at CEBS, and bidding farewell to new friends, I headed down I-25, and arrived in Taos around 5:30 p.m. With my usual penchant for following general directions in a skewed manner, and for not checking my phone while I was driving, I missed a few last-minute updates-which came while I was on “Flag Road”, as her graded road is called. I also missed G, while going in one direction, only to turn around and see her, while driving in the opposite way. Call it lighting effect, fatigue or, as one local astrologer said, “the Taos effect”, in the end I followed G slowly up the driveway, and in short order was enjoying the delectable fresh garden vegetables, with chopped tuna and non-glutinous rice, that she had prepared in honour of my visit.

A half-moon guides us tonight, and with its energy, G filled me in on the events that have transpired since I last saw her, in Tucson, at her son’s residence. Grandson, M, proved a quiet, but congenial young man and seems like he will be an asset to G, in the months ahead. The time there was well-spent, and the house will not be hard to find, when I am next in this part of New Mexico. As the evening turned to late night, I headed back into town, and now am resting in Super 8, on Taos’ south side.

G’s brightness is always evident, no matter the phase of the Moon.

The Future of Power

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September 4, 2022, Colorado Springs- I had breakfast with a group of children, this morning. The topic of conversation (to which I was largely relegated to the role of listener) was the quality of schools and of those schools’ schedules. There was a fairly lively debate about the advantages of sacrificing an hour of sleeping-in, four days a week, for the joys of a Friday off. Siblings from a rural community, in southeast Colorado, have that reality. The rest, living in various communities along the Front Range, are attending schools with standard, M-F 8-3 regimens. Quietly, I empathize with the four-day week, though I would have to LIVE near the school that starts at 7 a.m., in order to work there-especially in winter. The children, ages 6-10, have definite expectations about what they want from their teachers-and recess is not their “favourite subject”.

Another aspect of child life these days is, as it has ever been, the angst of adults, especially of grandparents and their contemporaries, over “What will become of humanity?”, as they observe little boys fighting, throwing things from rocks to tantrums and being generally aggressive. “Where do they get that from?”, asked one grandmother, while fretting that the generation will become inherently violent in their own adulthood. The answer to the question is: We are, physically, animals, and thus have one part of ourselves that is territorial and defensive. The answer to the second fear is: It falls to us to nurture the rising generations, intervene, nonviolently, in the fracas and offer alternatives to trail by combat. It is going to take a long time to get past the genetic memory of spanking, a practice which I admit I used, albeit sparingly, in bygone days. Yes, adults who hit, with the best of intentions, sanction present and future hitting by their offspring. Thankfully, I saw only nonviolent firmness and loving care by parents, even when they thought no one was watching, these past three days. The toughest of men were as steel and velvet, and the women were, as ever, firm and gentle. The little boys will grow up, by and large, to emulate their fathers.

I am coming away from this gathering of Baha’is, and some of our friends from the wider community, with deep-seated hope. The emphasis here has been on cooperation and creativity, as well as the deepening of faith. The power invested in children, and the channeling of energy in a constructive direction, is being replicated in any number of communities, nationally and worldwide. It is this phenomenon which is actively competing with the acquiescence to the above-mentioned violence, and the use of electronic media as passive diversions, for the hearts and minds of young people. The children, based on what I heard this morning at breakfast, prefer the former.

Power thrives on encouragement and nurturing.

Questions About the Ordinary

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August 30, 2022- The students were asked to draw their non-dominant hand, to examine both front and back and to write down any questions that came to mind about the hand. This was all by way of the commenter explaining how great discoveries are made, just by taking time to look at things that one sees every day. He pointed out that Galileo, using a telescope that Italian military scouts employed to keep watch on intruders, managed to see the physical features of Earth’s Moon. Mary Anning’s curiosity about rocks on the beach at Lyme Regis led to her finding the complete fossilized skeleton of a plesiosaurus. She helped identify a skeleton her brother had found, of an ichthyosaur, and later herself found the fossilized remains of a pterosaur.

With that background, the two classes of 10-year-olds were set to the examination of the non-dominant hands of themselves and of a partner. Some came up with as many as ten questions. Others could not think of any. Such is the range of curiosity, even among children. Some are ready to examine the world and all that is therein-or far beyond it. Others are like the baked earth that follows a period of warm rain. While we ought give up on no one, a goodly dose of patience will be needed, in encouraging some to learn-while others are just late bloomers, who will eventually find the stirrings of curiosity breaking through, like shoots through a hard soil that is cracking open.

So many times, I have asked, with regard to an ordinary phenomenon: “Why is that?” As long as that persists, I will wake each day with a sense of anticipation.

Hiatus for The Rushing Streams

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August 29, 2022- Lynx Creek was impassible, as friend Akuura and I looked out over it, on a short hike celebrating a break in the monsoon. That is okay by me, as the creeks and streams of our area need to have a high flow, if for no other reason than to ever so slightly raise the water table, and flow level of the rivers into which they feed: Agua Fria, Verde and Bill Williams (which in turn feeds into the Colorado River.)

The monsoon itself is on hiatus, with sunny weather predicted from now until Friday, when there are expected to be more storms throughout the weekend. Next week, from Labor Day until Thursday, 9/8, will bring another hiatus, then more monsoon rains, the following weekend. Still and all, this summer has brought the best monsoon we’ve had here in many a year.

Here are some Lynx Creek scenes.

This was at the west end of a residential area.
Scene just off a Forest Service road, in Salida Gulch area
Upstream, in Salida Gulch

Where a cross-creek trail washed out

This area is one of those in which I have spent little time, up to now. It is definitely worth more exploration, in the weeks of early October and those of November.

I returned to a frequent haunt today, finding that the return of hot sunny days affects some adults and children in a not altogether pleasant way. I sense that humidity makes many people disagreeable-and there is also the difficulty that some have with sleeping, on sultry nights. I am fortunate to have ceiling fans that keep my sleep patterns from being interrupted. There is AC, in a pinch, but I try to keep the use of that to a minimum. Other people, particularly in high rise apartment buildings and in older houses,are not so fortunate.

I like the idea of living each day to the fullest, though, regardless of weather.

Why I’m Not Scared

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August 25, 2022- The robust girl raised a barely-concealed middle finger at one of her classmates. When she saw me looking at her, she lowered the dirty digit and instead put her other hand in front of her face, with the middle finger again stealthily in my direction. “I know what you’re doing, so knock it off”, was my rejoinder. She put her hands down and went back to her work. None of her classmates saw fit to challenge me, after that, and besides, they got to listen to music, with headphones or ear buds. The regular teacher arrived early from her morning training, and was pleased to see how much work had been accomplished.

It has been a long time, since I realized palpable fear. Maybe because, as one gentleman said, a few years back, I am “in the fourth quarter” of my life, and there hasn’t been much that has yet to be tossed my way. I’ve been shot at, and missed; had “the stuffin'” knocked out of me; been psychically assaulted, resulting in physical injury; and bee surrounded by thugs, who were intent on administering a beat down. (The last one was ended,without harm to yours truly, when a more prominent local ruffian walked in and told his minions to “get the hell into the back of the truck!”) Large groups of people have come and gone from my life, and not seen fit to intimidate or harass me. Mentally ill people, especially if they are unpredictable, still need to be handled carefully, but by and large, they don’t threaten me, nor I them.

Of course, I choose my battles and do seek first to understand, to listen and then be heard. Mother’s admonition to not speak, until the other person has taken a breath after even the most seemingly trivial of remarks, or the most windy of monologues, has reaped me dividends, foe many years now. That has applied even when someone has launched into a lengthy diatribe. If there is something of value in a lambasting, then I will take it. That’s even true when a troll, hiding in cyber anonymity, launches into a tirade. I can then cut someone off, and glean whatever truth has been imparted, thus perhaps improving myself.

Basically, I am not scared, because I maintain awareness of my surroundings and find that no one, inherently, is a threat-in and of self.