Lighthouse, Shimmering In The Heat

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June 18, 2019, Amarillo-

I made it a point to stop here today, for two reasons.  One was my old Xanga buddy, Wes, and his ties to the Amarillo that was.  The other was Lighthouse Trail, in Palo Duro State Park.  I always meet the most delightful people, through both Wes and Palo Duro.  Today was no exception.

Texas Tidbits (Wes’ old Xanga moniker) suggested a meet-up at Smokey Joe’s, which I recall as a most delightful spot.  The cutest, and toughest, little lady was our server last time.  Her co-worker, J, was our gracious and ever-attentive hostess, on this fine afternoon.  We sat around for about an hour, while I savoured a Tex-Mex burger, and solved at least some of the issues that plague mankind.

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Now, I could sit in the presence of Wes and the ladies, for hours on end, but my hiking legs would not forgive me for such self-indulgence.  So, I bid pardner adieu and set off for Palo Duro.

Upon arrival, the lovely and friendly ranger pointed out that many folks had been their before me, snapping up all the campsites. No worries here, though.  The main point of my visit was that Light House in the desert, shimmering as it was, in the heat.  I brought enough water to fuel a truckload of cattle, and set off on the six-mile round trip.

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Capitol Peak and an unnamed “human” figure loom in the near distance, before the trail to Light House Rock veers to the right.

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Other magnificent formations grace the way to Light House.

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The first close-up view of the Light House formation, came as I reached the crest of the only real ascent of the hike.

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Here they are, one at a time.

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This shows the actual distance between the two rocks.

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As the first rumblings of a storm were heard, I took this last close-up.

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Whilst I was doing this, another man was contenting himself with climbing a path to the top of the rock on the left.  He spent several minutes there, fortunately getting down, as the skies darkened and racing up the path, to avoid the rain.

As I was walking back, I met a young couple with a dog, and pointed out to them that the storm was getting much closer.  They deiced to head back and stayed with me to the parking area.  E and M are a delightful pair, reminding me of my son and daughter-in-law.  We noted the lushness of the surrounding area, as a sign of the copious rain that the Panhandle has enjoyed this Spring.

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We got back to our cars, just as the rain was intensifying.  No sooner was everyone safely inside the vehicles, than hail started falling-furiously.   Yet, once we got to the park entrance:  Voila!  The sunshine returned.  With no camping site, I drove back to Amarillo, and have a room at Camelot Inn and Suites.

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Yes, another good day was had in the desert!

NEXT:  When Armies Wear Each Other Out

 

 

 

 

 

 

Duke City Redux

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June 17, 2019, Albuquerque-

This morning saw the last vestige of abdominal upset leave me.  Today would be a day for treading lightly and eating slowly.  It did not take long for the Elantra and me to get to Mother Road Hostel, though, and I was pleased to be able to get settled earlier than is the case in most hostels.  An early nap took care of what was left to be cured.

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I had hoped to get in a return visit to Blackbird Coffee House, in Old Town, but the parking situation is such that exact change is required for a space, and I’m still not one to offer $10, for a $5 fare.  I did get laundry done, across from Mother Road, ignoring a “plea” from a street person who said he needed coins to do his laundry, yet there was no sign of said laundry, as he stood in front of The Wash Tub.

Mother Road is a thoroughly relaxing place, convenient to both downtown and Old Town, though it was rather toasty today.  By evening, though, with laundry clean and put away, I ventured to the west side of Downtown, and enjoyed a lovely dinner of Minestrone Soup, Vortellini and sauteed vegetables, at Villa di Capo.  Being the days of the Senior Olympics, I was joined by many people my age and older.  This competition augurs well for those seeking a higher quality of life, as people age.  I personally did not take part in the events, but the examples of my contemporaries spurred me to plan a hike tomorrow, at Palo Duro Canyon, south of Amarillo.

Declining spumoni or tiramisu, I bid my gracious hosts farewell, and took a stroll around the Raynolds neighbourhood, taking in both architecture (lots of Art Deco, in downtown Albuquerque) and street murals.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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There is a pizzeria, two blocks west of Villa di Capo, which invites patrons with this sidewalk piece.

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Java Joe’s, closed for the evening, looks inviting, nonetheless.

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Raynolds’ residents seem to be quite active, in addressing the needs of their surrounding area.

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These three poles adorn a middle school playground.

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Finally, the full range of the neighbourhood’s vibe is shown here.

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Albuquerque was restorative to my health, and a confirmation that hostel life is most suitable to my mode of exploration.

NEXT:  A Spot of “Fun Zone” and A Lighthouse in the Desert

 

 

 

The Art of Encouragement

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SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESJune 14, 2019, Ganado, AZ-

During the course of the tortuous process of incarceration, known as The Long Walk, white America showed itself to be of two minds, regarding the Dineh (Navajo) people.  There was the idea that, by removing Dineh, the resources of the area in which they lived would be available to the “Greater Nation”.   President Lincoln also retained the distrust and dislike of First Nations people, which he had carried since his participation in the Indian Wars of 1818-20.  He did not have to be cajoled into signing off on this travesty.

In all of this, an even-handed, but not easily-swayed, Dineh leader named Totsohnii Hastiin (“Man of the Big Water”) resisted incarceration, initially, fleeing to the Grand Canyon and living among his paternal relatives, who were Hopi.  He learned of his people’s suffering at Fort Wingate, and so surrendered, after a time.

When the Dineh were allowed to return to their traditional homes, by President Andrew Johnson, in 1868, some Euro-American traders, especially those of Spanish or Mexican ancestry, were allowed to approach the First Nations people, to establish trading rights.

One of these was a New Mexico native, John Lorenzo Hubble.  He settled with his family in a small Dineh settlement called Pueblo Colorado.  There, Chief Totsohnii established a friendship with “Don” Hubble (Don is a Spanish term of respect for a man of means.) In time, the village of Pueblo Colorado became regularly confused with the large town of Pueblo, Colorado. The people chose to rename their village as Ganado, after Chief Totsohnii’s common title, Ganado Mucho (“many cattle”).  Both names stuck, and today the great leader is remembered as Ganado Mucho.  The village has become a thriving crossroads commercial center.

An essential part of Ganado’s growth has come from the trading post established here, by John Lorenzo Hubble, in 1878.  Hubbell lived here with his family and actively encouraged Dineh artisans to sell their jewelry and wool rugs, two trades they had learned from the Spanish and which they had perfected over nearly a century.  His trading post became a model for others, throughout the Navajo Nation, and nearby First Nations communities.

Today, Hubbell Trading Post remains a working concern, whilst also being preserved in the National Park System, as a National Historical Site.  Here are some scenes of this special establishment.  Below, is the side entrance to the Main Trading Post.

 

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On the ceiling of the “Jewelry Room”, one sees baskets of many First Nations, who traded them with Mr; Hubbell and continue to trade with the present-day proprietors.

 

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The cradle board, examples of which are shown below, was essential for Dineh mothers to carry their infants, both during their work in the fields and along the Long Walk.  It is still used today, by traditional Dineh women.

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In these corrals, the Churro sheep that are so essential to Navajo weaving, as well as for the mutton that is integral to the Dineh diet, are penned.  Churro mutton is one of the Heritage Foods, recognized by Slow Food International, in its work to maintain a diversity of foods for the human race.

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Horses, also beloved of Dineh, as beasts of burden, are also corralled here.

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I got a chance to briefly look inside the home of the Hubbell family, now preserved by the National Park Service.

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The unique tree stump carving below, was commissioned by the  Hubbell family, as proof of  the range of Dineh artistry.

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This hogan-like octagonal cottage housed artists who were commissioned by Mr. Hubbell.

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The Hubbell family members are buried on this hill, which is off-limits to the public.

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The property also shares a Veterans Healing Trail, a serene walk of about 3/4 mile, with the Chapter of Ganado.

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It ends at this Peace Tree, on Ganado Chapter property.

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This first real effort, at bringing heretofore inimical peoples together, has served as an ongoing example of just how our our interests, both common and divergent, can serve as an example of alternatives to conflict.

NEXT:  Canyon de Chelly, As Viewed From the Rims.

Open-ended

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June 11, 2019-

Back at Home Base, for a couple of days.  I find peace has returned to some parts of my life which had been in upheaval, just before I went up to Bellemont.  A friend who was mildly irritated with me has reached out and it’s all good.  A person who was livid at my very presence, last summer, was gracious and helpful, this evening.  Time does heal wounds, without necessarily having to wound heels.

I had a nice conversation with my next-to-youngest brother, whose birthday is today.  He’s one of the stars in my life- a man who has overcome serious odds to successfully lead a team of Research & Development pros, for a small Boston-area company.

My hometown, so far, is the only solid East Coast venue on my upcoming journey, and it is by far the most important-Mom is there and a couple of childhood friends have been hurting.  In between, there are several friends and family, across the Southwest and South, and a few feelers have gone out-so we’ll see how it plays out.  This year, I’m told, it’s especially crucial to be open-ended and let the road lead.

There will be time, after my New England visit, for Chicago, the Great Plains, Rockies and Great Basin, en route to the other solid venue of the summer, a dear little girl’s stage debut.   The road will lead.

This will be, as things stand now, my last coast-to-coast road trip wholly within the continental U.S.- save a possible run out to Florida, over the Christmas-New Year’s break.  Summer, 2020 will focus on the Pacific Northwest, southeast Alaska, Trans-Canada and back across the northern tier of states.  After that comes retirement, and time with my little family and with friends in other parts of the world.  These, too, are open-ended and the road will lead.

Godswood

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June 10, 2019, Bellemont-

Those who faithfully watched Game of Thrones will know the title term, as being the spiritual retreat of the family Stark and their vassals.  There are several places on this property that serve as such a place of solace.

I have spent six of the past eight nights here, three of them in the company of middle-school aged youth, who are, as their predecessors were, far more of a blessing than many realize.

Their spontaneity needs monitoring, and correction at times, but does not need the check that some in my generation see as imperative.  We, the Baby Boomers, were after all the generation of free speech. I heard no more than three “f-bombs”, during the course of these three days.  The kids’ focus was primarily on elevated speech; on matters of the mind and spirit.  We, the Baby Boomers, had a thing about “free love”-though it was less widespread than the media often portrayed.  I saw no unwanted attention directed towards anyone.  The kids both see one another as people-first and foremost-and not as objects to help a person break from his/her shell.

There is, in any generation of youth, a cooperative spirit.  This spirit has been ravaged, among many who have aged, by the way we have approached the issues of everyday life.  Some will say that the rising generations will feature more of the same, as that’s how human beings just are.

By and large, I don’t concur.  Humanity is moving, slowly but inexorably, towards a cooperative, united front.  I find youth, basically, to be fairly more mature, at a younger age with each generation.  Their methods of communication may differ, as may their methods of spending time.  I do not, though, see a dark future ahead, on account of the “dissolute gamers”.  Any darkness that comes forth will be solely the result of selfishness and a provincial, “me-centered” mindset.  No generation has a corner on either, and no generation can point fingers at another.

These are things that came to me, during work, play and at meals, during these eight days in “Godswood”.

 

Offense

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June 8, 2019,Bellemont- 

A young woman I’ve known since she was a child will be married, in a few hours.  It’s a beautiful day here and, though I will be here at camp, rather than at the wedding, I absolutely wish the new couple every good thing.

One of the key aspects of married life, as well as of any relationship, is not taking offense at one another. Whether mannerisms, tone of voice, inattention to another’s feelings, not doing one’s fair share, or a host of other personal shortcomings, every person has challenges.

We are advised to neither ignore, nor take offense at, another person’s actions, on  a personal level.  If someone causes harm to another, it is  the aggrieved’s right to seek redress, at an institutional level..  It is not, however, the right of anyone to hold grudges, and to carry forward a resolved issue into one’s future dealings with someone.

One surely must protect self from a person, or group of people, who ACTIVELY  seek to degrade her/him.  Just living differently than the person taking offense, or not doing what the aggrieved thinks is one’s proper course of living, is not, in itself, cause for their bearing a grudge.  “Live and let live” has its merits, as a mantra, so long as innocents aren’t made to suffer as a result.

I say this, with regard to those who have taken umbrage at some recent decisions I’ve made-and hold myself to the same standard.  I can’t justify a “reverse grudge” at them, either.  This is one of the many true aspects of St. Francis D’Assisi’s admonition: “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”

The Most Blessed

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June 6, 2019, Bellemont-

Thirty-seven years have passed

since we took the vows of eternal love.

Eight years,three months and three days ago,

she left this plane for a brighter world.

In  all the time we had together,

there was no day

that either a bright memory,

or a life lesson, cemented the foundation.

In the years since her passing,

I have had my share of joys and sorrows,

yet through them all,

the spirit who was known on Earth as Penny,

has found a place in her to help me stay safe.

There is none more blessed in my heart.

 

Days of Heaven

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June 2, 2019, Bellemont-

The past few days have seen confirmation of my path, this summer.   The last minute invitation to an event by Global Stilt Alliance, entitled Congress: The Legislation, brought me to Arcosanti, normally a place I visit in Autumn, on Friday evening.

A performance of young stilt artists, accented by two spoken word performers, drove home the point that we need to move beyond solving our problems through separation and the building of walls.

Yesterday, I felt the sadness of some who have bonded deeply with me, when it was time to let my friends at the Farmer’s Market know I would not be back there until August 3. This gave me another perspective on the occasional objections to my wanderings, from some of my fellows in Faith.

Saturday evening, though, did accomplish the laying of a foundation for regular meetings of a group of spiritual tutors.  We had a fruitful discussion and sharing of expectations and concerns for the practice of our tutoring activities.

Today, I was greatly pleased to see a young Navy veteran join our breakfast group, at American Legion Post 6.  The perspectives and ideas of the newest generation of military veterans are long overdue for inclusion in service organizations.

This afternoon and evening, I spent the first of several days at this Baha’i retreat property, west of Flagstaff.  Clearing brush from the area took about ninety minutes.  Then came an evening of quiet reflection and meditation.  Arriving at a more present state of mind is one of the sweetest results of the relative isolation I enjoy this evening.  Thinking over a couple of minor faux pas, which occurred yesterday evening and this night, during routine dinner outings, I see things more form the perspective of those inconvenienced.  The solution lies in my own heightened awareness, even when somewhat fatigued.

Seven of the next eight days will be spent preparing for, and assisting with, a camp for middle school-aged youth.  I look forward to continuing my own reflections and meditation during this time, as well.

Unlimited Doors

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May 29, 2019-

On this day,

127 years ago, Baha’u’llah ascended to the next realm.  The door of His Teachings remains wide open, to all who seek.

102 years ago, John F. Kennedy was born, in Brookline, MA.  His work was unfinished and his potential far from realized, when the door to his life here was slammed shut, in 1963.

55 years ago, my youngest brother, Brian, was born, in Melrose, MA.  His purpose here was to train us all in unconditional love.  From the looks of how my family has lived, since his passing, in 1994, I’d say his work was successful.

This past April, a door to my working full-time closed.  Since then, other doors have remained ajar.  This is the truth behind- “When one door closes, another will open.”

Some doors can appear, from a distance, to be closed.  Sometimes, that is simply the result of skewed vision.

Other doors, which one tries to close, remain open because they have contents within that are needed for a healthy life.

Then, there are those others, which are better off shut, no matter how much one thinks that what’s inside is desirable.

May my ability to choose the right doors remain strong.

 

 

Encumbrances

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March 28, 2019-

I woke this morning, to see a couple of challenges awaited.  Both involved technology, so I steeled myself and said, “This is not going to keep me down.”  Experimenting a bit with what little I knew, the solution to to one problem involved enlisting a friend.  So my first ever video will be done under friend’s tutelage, tomorrow.

Enlarging photos is, it turns out, not difficult, but it will be time-consuming.  It has to be done over several weeks, yet as I will have access to Internet, even whilst on the road, I will get several photos enlarged and sent to their intended recipient, per day.

The human issue is always the most difficult.  I have, as I have mentioned countless times, a variety of friends.  As long as I steer clear of any deep emotional attachment, I am well and good.  Love has to be bigger than that.  Someone who showed interest in me, a few days ago, quickly figured out that was really not the case.  It’s all well and good, as I am really not in the mood for gamesmanship and want to remain in an adult frame of mind.

In a few days, I will sit down and figure out exactly where my spirit will take me, the next two months. I will have my annual physical, tomorrow afternoon, and that will determine a lot.  A couple of camps, with adolescents, will bookend the summer break.  In between, I feel the need to reconnect with friends, across the country, starting with Dineh friends in Coal Mine Mesa and Hopi friends in Polacca, on Father’s Day.  After that, the route will take me to points across the South, then northeast, back across the Midwest and northern Rockies, with a bright shining Starfish at the end of July, in Carson City, before the second adolescent camp.

So, I treat each encumbrance as a chance to break free, with a new sense of strength.