Giant Steps, Baby Steps

11

May 24, 2017, Prescott-

We are nearly done with the academic year,

and spent a good part of the morning

recapping.

Three of our students won awards,

having made great strides,

both academically and character-wise.

Another went slightly backwards,

misreading the cues,

after the assembly had finished.

The group as a whole had transition issues,

as the afternoon ensued.

It’ll be over,

for a few months, though,

by noon tomorrow.

I trust team changes,

and student transfers,

will allow for a more even start,

come August.

I will know my own assignment level,

in a week or two.

At least, I will continue to work,

somewhere.

We make adjustments,

and see progress,

in our lives.

Some are entirely

of our own volition.

Others are thrust upon us,

and duty calls-

or opportunity knocks.

Several said they hated today,

and were glad it was over.

I don’t see myself

as having that luxury.

Every day given me,

in good health,

is one more than

Penny was given.

I seldom heard her complain.

Most  of what I do

involves increments.

Baby steps,

some of them backwards,

are needed,

if one is to maintain focus.

Giant steps,

most of them forwards,

are what give me confidence.

Time was,

when I could not imagine myself,

doing half of what

the spirits have guided me to do.

Time will be,

when I look back

on things large and small,

and thank God for my feet.

 

 

So Fleeting, It Is

17

May 23, 2017, Prescott-

I have felt a lot, welling in my heart, today. Sitting on the floor, after hours, keeping a little boy out of harm’s way, whilst waiting for his guardian to arrive and take him home, two of us encountered his simplistic view of things:  If he were only allowed to, he would run after the bus, in stocking feet.  Somehow, he knew the bus would be late, and it was; but guardian was already en route.

This is our clairvoyant child, who warned me not to think of a new friend of mine in a romantic way.  I would not have done so, anyway, but he had no way of knowing my heart- or maybe he did see a hidden danger lurking.

It has been a tempestuous month:  Two deaths of friends, one expected; the other, a bombshell.  Both brought communities together.  An aged mentor, to many of us in my Faith community, went back to God, last Wednesday.    Then, this week, a colleague in the Red Cross passed on, after a serious illness.

Now comes Manchester.  A young lady of considerable, as yet unrealized, talent, sought to bring the joy of her dance hall style of music to another generation of youth.  A crazed and puritanical misfit set out to destroy her efforts.  The resulting carnage will live in my heart, for a long time.

Some in my circle have taken to responding to me, of late, with curt, businesslike replies.  Others, are acting as if we’ve never met, in the first place.  Life is fleeting, so why not friendship and connection?

It’s often said, that if you love something, set it free, and if it comes back, it is yours.  If not, it never was.  So, my friends and family are always free to come and go.  The spot they have in my heart will still be there, should they come back.  This is life, and it goes on.

Home

5

May 21, 2017, Kelowna,BC-via Prescott

“Wherever you have friends, that’s your country. Wherever you receive love, that’s your home.” Tibetan proverb quoted by the Dalai Lama in The Book of Joy (I highly recommend this book!) This quote brilliantly summarizes my experience of life with and as an exchange student. Half your heart has moved to a new location.

via quote- home — Shawn L. Bird

Falling, Gently

7

May 21, 2017, Prescott-

Yesterday could have been seen as somewhat of a bust.

I didn’t spend all that much time at a memorial picnic.

I felt there were some serious issues of trust,

coming from some of the people closest to the man,

in whose memory we were gathered.

Earlier, I had been at a place where trust HAS been earned,

and, in honour of my maternal grandfather,

enjoyed a Chicago-style Polish Sausage.

I never met Papa, in this life,

but his forebears hailed from Silesia,

when it was German turf.

There was, then, as now,

a great deal of interplay between German and Pole.

So, Polish sausage, with sauerkraut and Dusseldorf mustard, it was.

There was great food at the picnic, as well,

and the Mariachi were heartfelt in their performance.

It was a magnificent tribute,

frayed only by that lack of trust,

something that the honoree would never have countenanced.

I moved on, and read, just this morning,

a horoscope that told me,

those who hurt you were doing the best they could,

under the circumstances.

None of us, really, are ourselves,

in the wake of shattering loss.

I wasn’t, from 2011-14.

A lot of people were hurt,

in the wake of my mourning.

Some have never forgiven;

most have moved on.

Last night,

I happened on a troubadour.

Her message, sung across the miles,

to the one man she loves with every ounce of her being,

was just how lucky he made her.

The audience, mostly late middle-aged couples,

heard it in their hearts, too.

I know that feeling, so well.

My spirit angel was one of a kind.

She said to us, to me, if you’re struggling,

hang on.  It’ll all work out.

She sang of falling gently,

as she did for the man who waits for her,

back in Cape Cod.

Enjoy the accompanying message, from Monica Rizzio,

and if you’re ever in Cape Cod, catch one of her gigs.

Thoughts on A Morning World

3

May 20, 2017, Prescott- 

My spirit got me out of bed at 5:45,

just because this time of year,

with work winding down,

and the relative relaxation

of June approaching,

fills the spirit

with affirmation.

It’s easy to get off track,

when competing agendas,

of straight and narrow,

clash above my head.

This morning,

there is no such noise.

The lively Farmer’s Market

is always good for

several minutes of relaxation,

and live music,

even if one has to sit

on a curb,

as the tables are occupied

by people I’ve not met.

I’m just not so forward, yet.

My shyness goes back

a long way,

but no matter.

Let everyone

just enjoy themselves.

I think of a little girl,

whose name I know not,

who greets everyone

at school with

a hopeful smile,

and those she trusts,

with “Good Morning!”

Would that we could

all bring ourselves

to do the same.

I think I am going to buy

and put up, a hummingbird feeder.

It’ll be by the front window

during June,

and again from

August, forward.

I think I am

going to get rid

of lots of other stuff

in June,

and again in August.

I am going to make

Superior to Globe,

my getaway mainstay,

from September to May.

There is no romance,

that’s not the point.

There is intense spiritual energy,

vortical sustenance,

in many parts of the Southwest,

but especially along

that Copper Road.

These are my thoughts,

in this Saturday morning world.

Now it’s time to do a few errands,

pull a few weeds,

and eat a hot dog,

in honour of  Armed Forces Day.

Happy Weekend, one and all!

 

Mothers and The Ides of May

10

May 15, 2017, Prescott-

There was no obligatory Mother’s Day post here, this year. The Second Sunday itself was largely taken up with funerary rites.  Mom got a call from me in the evening, though two earlier attempts were made.  She’s on the move yet, during the day, so evening always seems to work best.

She loves the roses, and will hopefully have some idea of what I can do, come July, regarding helping to renovate our family home of 62 years.   Those are more welcome gifts than tying up the phone, which she finds tiresome, after ten minutes or so.  Perhaps the best gift I can give her, though, is maintaining a positive attitude.  It’s gotten her through nearly nine decades, and keeps her on top of what goes on, day by day.

My second brother, also a model of positivity, came through today’s medical procedure, ready as ever to get back to taking on the world. He helps guide the company that produces some of Boston’s finest frankfurters (“hot dogs” is not the term of choice there).

That news is indicative of this month:  Warm and cool days intermingle.  Death and suffering are dovetailed with love and recovery. Years ago, my over-correcting, on a California surface road, almost derailed our pending marriage, but warmer hearts and cooler heads prevailed.  Fifteen years later, I had walking pneumonia, which took well into June to disappear.  Now, twenty years further on, I am in the penultimate week of a challenging, but largely successful, academic year, and my first full-time stint since 2004. ( A brief internship with a rather mercenary “social service” agency, in 2009, hardly counts.)

May, 2017 has met its Ides, and the year as a whole is moving along, much faster than the previous two. I wonder what Quantum Physics has to say about such things.

 

 

 

Wakefulness

3

May 5, 2017Prescott-

I  am freshly returned from a visitation for one of Prescott’s genuine champions.The concept of waking, a seemingly odd term for remembering a departed soul, prior to burial or often, in these days, cremation, is perhaps in hopes that death is not a real thing.

I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but the life of Jayme Salazar (he pronounced his name alternately in English and in Spanish), came back before those listening to the eulogies.His childhood and adolescent antics, presented by his older sister, were reassuring to all, that a full life proceeded from that awkward time.  A lifelong friend of his recounted the man’s intense work ethic, combined with a genuine love of people, which established his Taco Don’s Restaurant as one of the city’s premier lunch venues, and a true gathering place.

He came came here from California, by way of Las Vegas, as so many of us have come here from farther afield.  Jayme found that the mountains, lakes, dells and grasslands of the area, but above all, the earthiness of the people, were a capturing force.  That he gave his life here, in the shadow of Granite Mountain, was the ultimate giving back.

Some six years ago, I saw my beloved wife go homeward, to the Light, in a more prolonged way, but not dissimilar period of service to the children and general citizenry of a western suburb of Phoenix.  Any home in which we ever lived together was open to countless people.  Any school in which she ever worked was the center of our married life, with work and love likewise moving in tandem.

So, I understood, fully, standing in the anteroom of the funeral home, this evening, that priceless spirit, that brings casual customers and acquaintances of a loving soul to a sense that here moved a lifelong friend; here lived a steadfast pillar.

To each one to whom I’ve bid farewell, these many years, let me close with the voice of Enya.

Jayme, Penny, Norm, Dad, Brian, Colonel Mortimer, Uncle George, Aunt Adeline, Margaret, Mike C. and so many standing beside you, in the Legions of Light, thank you, for having lit my way and for lighting the night.

Requiem On A Winding Road

9

May 1, 2017, Prescott-

I sat in a quiet, uncrowded taqueria, this evening.

The solemn crew of cooks and servers remained

as earnest and dedicated in their craft, as always.

Don Jefe, though, was somewhere else.

The motorcycle had been on the downhill of this road, countless times.

Its rider had gone to visit his friends, in the small town,

southwest of here, countless times.

That sunny, windy afternoon, last week,

he was taken somewhere else.

It’s not clear why she,

with both hands on the wheel of her truck,

felt it imperative to hurtle along,

pell mell, at breakneck speeds.

All that is known,

is that she over-corrected,

having realized she was in,

over her head,

on a winding road.

Her mind, it seems, had been somewhere else.

The young worker was on his way uphill,

driving into town, to put in his time.

He was a tad behind schedule,

but it wasn’t important enough,

to risk life and limb.

He was driving prudently,

and wondered why

the truck ahead of him

was taking the bends

so fast.

He saw the truck and motorcycle

collide.

He saw the rider, flying somewhere else.

The taqueria owner opened his shop,

most mornings, at seven,

and was  usually there for the closing,

twelve hours later.

His family, and a devoted crew

kept the place flowing,

building a dedicated base

of regular diners

and take-out customers.

Tonight, as I enjoyed

an enchilada-style burrito,

with a side of solemnity,

the messages of love

and gratitude

filled the shop’s windows.

Vases of flowers began to spread

along a small section

of the storefront.

Bright, multivariate,

in colour and hue.

That’s how the taqueria owner

would want it,

bringing joy out of pain,

as he watches,

from somewhere else.

Adios, Don Jayme.

Aquiescence

11

April 21, 2017, Globe, AZ-

Last weekend,

and this,

I am practicing

radiant acquiescence.

It was told me,

thirty-five years ago,

that accepting “NO”,

from the Universe,

often leads to finding

what one wants.

The ancient tale of Layla and Majnoon,

where he found her,

only when he gave up his search,

is a prime example.

Last Sunday,

I found

the gathering place

where friends were celebrating,

only when I had given up the search.

This evening, I found a place

to lay my head,

only when I let go

of wanting to camp

by the side of the road.

Tomorrow,

I will visit with one new friend,

back in Superior,

then head off,

to make others,

in the farm belt,

an hour east of here.

Radiantly letting go

of the insistent self,

brings boundless rewards.

Ridvan

5

April 19, 2017, Prescott- 

The Sun of Truth rises,

whenever the darkness is

so thick,

that one could cut it

with a knife.

The Creator promises

truth will be resurrected,

whenever Creation gets

rough around the edges.

New life rises,

from composted soil.

Buildings rise,

from the rubble

of edifices long rent

asunder.

New ideas stem

from new applications

of the old.

From one of

the world’s oldest nations,

comes the call

for mankind to finally

unite,

in the Light of God.

(Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha’i Faith, revealed His Teachings for a Divinely-inspired unification of the human race, in the twelve-day period preceding His departure from the Ridvan Garden, in Baghdad, from whence He and His family were to go to what is now Istanbul, on a second stage of exile.  This period is commemorated each year by Baha’is, as the Festival of Ridvan.  This year, the Festival is April 20-May 1.)