Monster, Part II

4

January 16, 2018, Prescott-  Dolores O’Riordan had a powerful voice, calling out those who exacerbated tension and bloodshed, in her Irish homeland and appealing to those who take the feelings of loved ones lightly, to think deeply about their choices in life.

I’m thinking of her,now, in the wake of an untimely passing and on the heels of some very harsh judgments, flying in all manner of directions.  Dolores both made rash judgments and received quite a few, over a 25-year public career.  She made amends for the former and absorbed the latter, as many of us do, in similar straits.  I find her music compelling, regardless.

The ego leads us into horrible choices, even among those who have dedicated their lives to the welfare of humanity.  I have made plenty of my own, and I know of many others who have, as well.  In each case, there are people who could come forward and point fingers.  We’ve seen quite a bit of that, lately, and in most cases, the accused could probably stand to make amends, if they have not already been made.

The ego leads us, also, to set conditions on our love for others.  Christ says:

Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors love their friends.

If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? But you must always act like your Father in heaven.”  (CEV)

Baha’u’llah says

“Now is the time to cheer and refresh the down-cast through the invigorating breeze of love and fellowship, and the living waters of friendliness and charity.”
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 7) , and, through His eldest son and interpreter, ‘Abdu’l-Baha, He admonishes us:

“The greatest gift of man is universal love – that magnet which renders existence eternal. It attracts realities and diffuses life with infinite joy. If this love penetrate the heart of man, all the forces of the universe will be realized in him, for it is a divine power which transports him to a divine station and he will make no progress until he is illumined thereby. Strive to increase the love-power of reality, to make your hearts greater centers of attraction and to create new ideals and relationships. First of all, be ready to sacrifice your lives for one another, to prefer the general well-being to your personal well-being. Create relationships that nothing can shake; form an assembly that nothing can break up; have a mind that never ceases acquiring riches that nothing can destroy. If love did not exist, what of reality would remain? It is the fire of the love of God which renders man superior to the animal. Strengthen this superior force through which is attained all the progress in the world.”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 111-112)

Satan, the personification of the  dark aspects of the ego, is clever, as the human mind is clever.  It can get a person to do and say the most heinous of things, even in the name of the Lord.  It can make a person fear those who mean no harm, and embrace those ready to apply a dagger to the back.  It can lull a soul into complacency, whilst raising the hackles of another, leading to lost spiritual growth, in each of them.  It leads to disease, contention and strife.  Yet, this is not some one of the supernatural dark forces, being summoned, (though these do exist).  It is the power of a person’s own ego, or of the collective ego, manifest in a community.  The time is now, to work at channeling our egos towards love, and away from self-aggrandizement.

I have said enough, for now, and will have more to say about love, in an upcoming post.

 

Flights

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January 8, 2018, Prescott-

He was like Gibraltar’s rock,

working day and night

to secure his future,

and those of countless others,

for he was a man of finance,

and a man of principle.

I’d have trusted him

with the account I am building.

He loved a sacred space,

not far from where he

and his beloved

had lived

for over two decades.

He worked the grounds

of that sacred space.

I had the honour

of working alongside him.

Now, he has taken his flight,

after a life lived powerfully.

She was in the worst  of pain,

the sort that only a flood of love

can even come close to healing.

Those closest to her,

not knowing her level

of suffering,

tended to other matters.

She tended to her matter,

and took her flight,

after a life lived tortuously.

We know not what

is in store for us.

We can only live

in as much of the Light

as we can absorb.

We can only absorb

as much of the Light,

as the size of our lens,

will let in.

Our lens is

only as big,

as the heart that

it mirrors,

and the lenses

off  which

it reflects.

So, I honour

a forthright,

valiant man.

So, I feel pain,

for a tortured

woman.

 

Year End Reflections,Part 1: Proud

8

December 23, 2017, Prescott-

Before heading down to Phoenix, to take part in a Baha’i conference, I want to take a few minutes and look back at those who have made me proud to know them.

My dear friend’s daughter has finished high school, a semester early, with honours and is embarking on two life efforts, dear to her heart.  L is a living, breathing miracle.

My second cousin, the only granddaughter of a paternal uncle, who passed away this year, has finished college, Magna Cum Laude, and will walk the stage, next May.  S is also a living, breathing miracle.

My son, Aram, has made rank, every year since he entered the Navy.  He has overcome many obstacles to get where he is, and will face down whatever gets in his way, because that’s what he knows.

Both of my living brothers are taking life by the horns, and building on already stellar careers, to see major projects through to completion.

My sister, a peacemaker, is ever working to keep her beautiful extended family on an even keel.  Every one of her children is a success, in his/her own way.

My blessed mother continues to show us the way forward, and to send any pre-conceived notions about aging, up the creek, where they belong.

My sister-in-law, in Florida, has taken on the often thankless task of caregiving, which I know, firsthand, means “putting your own life on hold”, while realizing that this is an integral part of everyone’s life.

My co-workers, standing with me, in helping our students face both their own disabilities and the possibilities that life still has to offer, have provided the most rewarding base of operations I have realized, in nearly 20 years.  I look forward to the rest of this amazing year, R and MF.

A Baha’i friend, here in Prescott, mostly singly and alone, is building a spiritual foundation for several children and youth, in her neighbourhood.  J is another living, breathing miracle.

Lastly, my dear friend, you have stood by me and are always encouraging me to go forward.  You are one of the greatest miracles of all, not willing to just survive, but to take leaps of faith, for the sake of your youngest child, to serve your Lord and to let Him carry you forward.  I will be in your corner, always, precious M.

This has been a year of depletion, of replenishing, of sustaining and of thriving.  It has been a year of loss and of gain, of discovery and of reminders.  Those mentioned above, and countless others, have helped make it an unexpectedly blessed one.

 

Thoughts on A Thanksgiving Just Past, and On Black Friday

4

November 24, 2017, Prescott-

Why do I wake in a state of love?

Perhaps it’s because the alternative

is nothing but a debilitating illusion.

I was treated to a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner,

courtesy of my hard-working,

always conscientious

best friend,

and her younger daughter,

this daughter’s boyfriend

and BF’s middle sister.

I had the pleasure of

helping out,

before and after the meal.

Helping always makes

me feel a part of the lives

of those around me.

Thanksgiving has its

roots in our primal need,

as creatures,

to praise our Creator.

The Konda Reddy people,

of southern India,

praise their Lord,

when the wild mango ripens.

The Zuni, of western New Mexico,

offer thanks, each December,

by blessing the houses that

have been built or renovated,

during the course of the year.

The wise among us,

do similar things,

once a year.

They also offer thanks,

first thing in the morning

and last thing at night.

Thanksgiving is not

imposed by conquerors.

It is a gift of the heart.

The sweep of commerce,

leaving little sacred,

in its wake,

screams “DEALS!”,

even before one’s

heavenly meal,

is a thing of the past.

Again, today,

I think I’ll pass.

But For Now

9

October 23, 2017, Prescott-

Tomorrow, I will write at length about two parts of New Mexico,

but for now, I am content to set my boundaries here, in this room.

Some day, I will likely balance my time between a beautiful little family

and my larger worldwide family,

but for now, I will tend to the needs  of my students and team mates.

Some day, I will be comfortable in the large group of people,

who have recognized the Presence of Baha’u’llah,

but for now, I am patient with my friends who are a bit skittish

about the beliefs I am sharing.

Some day, I will see the world, from a mountain redoubt,

but for now, I am happy to have that world close at hand.

Light of the World

5

October 22, 2017, Prescott-

There is ever a power in love.

It is the greatest, and most inextinguishable power,

in all Creation, and is the reason for Creation itself.

God so loves the world,

that He sends His Message to Humankind,

in new form, every 500-1,500 years,

as He sees our need.

Thus did He send the Spirit of the Son,

some two thousand, seventeen years ago.

Two hundred years ago, today,

there appeared the Person of Baha’u’llah,

literally the Glory of God.

The Presence of God is always

the Light of the World.

Only our lower nature

can blot out that Light.

A Chrysanthemum Morning

2

October 21, 2017, Prescott-

This was a crisp, cool respite from the ongoing summer onslaught.

Coffee came before, and after, a Farmers’ Market breakfast,

of quiche, and a lamb samosa.

My favourite cold brew purveyors have taken to the wind.

Jonathan Best was there, though, bouncing the air around,

and waking up the mountains, with his enormous energy.

Becky was there, too, with her mother, Bonnie,

and Dalke Farms’ unique toffee bar.

A comely lady was selling gourds and squashes.

I picked up an acorn squash, and a small gourd.

I will get more gourds, next weekend,

with a view towards a painting project,

on Halloween.

The last stop was the Whipstone stall,

and chrysanthemums will grace this afternoon’s

commemoration:

The 198th anniversary of the Birth of Al-Bab,

Herald to  the Light of the World.

 

 

 

Arizona’s Miami

6

October 11, 2017, Globe, AZ-

This old copper-mining community, near and in competition with, a town called Miami (pronounced my-AM-uh), was, in times long gone, a gathering place for foragers and for farmers.

I spent a fair amount of time in each town, today.  Starting at a small chapel in a canyon called Bloody Tanks, where a former professor of mine was born, some eighty years ago, I noted the fervour of the copper miners of Miami.  This chapel, dedicated to St. Mary, has the full protection of the townspeople, regardless of their individual faiths.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Bloody Tanks has an interesting tributary of the Gila River, which itself figures prominently in my planned stops of the next day or so.  It’s dry here, as the big river is, around these parts.

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Miami was very quiet in midweek.  It seems the majority of the town’s business, these days, is conducted along Highway 60, which runs clear across the Southwest.  Miami’s downtown, what there is of it, is largely a series of antique shops.  It would be a nice place to rejuvenate, but I prefer to see that revival run by locals- as is happening in Superior and Globe, on either side of the Cobre Valley.

A revival sparked by the Apache spirit would be a fine one.

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The “can-do” spirit of people like Manuel Mendoza also does this town proud.  There are many who have carried on, based on his example.

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After looking around downtown, I took a ride along the hill to the south of town.

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From the south, one gets a good view of Miami’s extant copper mine,

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as well as of ‘M” Mountain.

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Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament is the town’s most prominent church, highly visible from the south ridge.

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Miami’s hills will, no doubt, draw me for further exploration.  It was time, though, to head on over to Globe’s tribute to its indigenous past:  Besh Ba Gowah.

 

 

Sixty-Six, for Sixty-Six, Part LVIII: Return to Down East, Part 3- The Heritage of Agamenticus

4

July 16, 2017, York, ME-

My penchant for delving into the past, of any given community in which I find myself, is fairly standard by now.  As a native New Englander, I will always look at the reasons for people’s settlements.  Maine began as a county of the colony, and later, of the Commonwealth, of Massachusetts.  Most initial settlement in the region was, naturally, along the coast.  The Penacook Abenaki people, who predated Europeans here, called their settlement Agamenticus.  There is no specific definition given, for that name- but it refers to what is now known as the York River.

In 1624, Sir Fernando Gorges, representing the British Crown, established a settlement here and made it the administrative center for the District of Maine.  He called it Gorgeana.  Upon his death, the Massachusetts Bay Colony laid claim to Maine, and the town was renamed York.

I set out, this afternoon, to visit the three museums, over a 2 1/2 hour period.  Upon the advice of the chief curator of Old York, I first went to Old Gaol (jail), as it would close first.

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It was, as one might expect, a rather unwelcoming place.  The jailer lived in the facility, and was also a weaver.  His loom and his sleeping quarters were in one room, on the first floor.

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The miscreants, of course, did not have such comfortable digs.

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“Have a seat”  also meant something different, back then, when addressed to, say, the town drunk.

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The punishments of the day were a fair bit more severe than what we might exact for a similar offense, today.  Note that there were two ways of writing the letter ‘s’.a

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The walkway between cells was not intended for easy passage.

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I would then, as now, preferred to observe the laws of the land.

Having been convinced of the earnestness of justice in Old York, I headed to Emerson- Wilcox House, which is an example of a residence which was leased from the First Parish Congregationalist Church of York, by one town merchant, Edward Emerson, a granduncle of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in 1766, for 999 years.  After Mr. Emerson died, his son inherited the house, but was unable to maintain himself financially, and died penniless.  The surviving women remained in the house, which was purchased by the town magistrate and constable, David Wilcox, hence Emerson-Wilcox House.  Mr. Wilcox expanded the home, out of necessity, so there are two period styles of architecture in the home:  Georgian and Federal.  Photography is not permitted inside the home, but here are some views of the exterior.

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After a friendly and informative guided tour of the house, I passed by the Old Burial Ground,SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

and browsed the Remick Collection of York memorabilia, which include original bed hangings from one of the first homes in York.  Again, there was no photography permtted inside the collection, but here is a look at the outside.

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The adjoining Jeffords Tavern, however, is photo-friendly, and gives a view of the casual side of colonial life.  Maine was nowhere near as Puritanical as Massachusetts Bay Colony, being more concerned with maritime commerce, from its inception.  There were several churches, which were mostly concerned with keeping the Sabbath and ownership of land.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Jeffords Tavern.

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You can see that not all the furniture is from the Georgian Period.  The modern fare is for the convenience of researchers and other visitors.

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Lastly, here is the Old York Schoolhouse, now-but not then- placed adjacent to Jeffords Tavern.

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York has a plethora of places of interest, many of which are natural preserves.  In the next post, the last in this series, Hartley-Mason Preserve, and York Harbor, are the focus.

 

May Beetles, June Bugs

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May 31, 2017, Prescott- 

This has been a grueling, yet vital, month.  In retrospect, though, the transition that has arisen as one of the options I must consider, over the summer, has been bubbling up from the magma flow, for quite some time.

I am likely to hang on to this apartment, for at least the rest of 2017, although rents in this area tend to command 60-70% of the fixed portion of one’s income, thus making it essential to be able to earn one’s keep, above and beyond government checks.  This is as true of “senior” apartments, as it is of the general housing stock.  The other factor is that the chief of our department will need some time to sort out who should work in what capacity.  Although this is hardly an employer’s job market, when it comes to the well-being of children, standards need to be maintained.  This, I understand and support, while being one who poses no threat to any child.

All the while, as I mentioned to an online friend, in a comment, this morning, I am continuously building a network of solid contacts, across the continent, and abroad, so that, even if I am relegated to staying in legitimate campgrounds, in the not-too-distant future, I will be able to hold my head up, engage in acts of service, and earn my way.  I had hoped that this would wait until I reached age seventy, but the Universe moves as it will, and we have to maintain some flexibility.

So, May ends, with me being halfway done with the task of clearing our overgrown back yard, and having been able to serve my Lord, in a few small ways.  June beckons, starting with taking care of an important errand in Phoenix, combined with a small act of service.  I will then complete the yard work; downsize my possessions; go to  Hopi land, for a weekend visit; go to southern California the weekend after, on another errand of service; and toward month’s end, take part in a Baha’i Summer School, at Bellemont, west of Flagstaff.

May slogged along, though not for naught.  June will blaze on out, and I hope to have some sense of accomplishment, when heading to Ventura, Santa Barbara, Carson City and cross country, after Bellemont.