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

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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.

 

“He Was At Home Here”

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May 6, 2017, Cottonwood-

There was a magnificent scrum of motor vehicles, and drivers, when I arrived at the parking lot of Taco Don’s, and took my place in the rapidly forming motorcade.  The hearse and family cars were followed by the motorcycles, then the classic cars (Jayme was a car buff, being from eastern LA County) and us friends and admirers, taking up the caboose end.

We set out ahead of time, and had cleared Prescott, by the time we were originally supposed to leave.  Some stragglers caught up with us, on Highway 89A, and passed ahead, to get to their designated spots.  By the time we reached Jerome, and wended our way through the “ghost town’s” streets, everything was in perfect order.  Jerome, like much of the Central Highlands, is in full bloom.  Here are some lupines, that graced our view.

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We reached Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, on the northwest side of Cottonwood, with 30 minutes to spare.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that the church’s cross-street neighbour had set up two golden Dol Harubangul (Korean “stone grandfathers”, the symbol of Jeju, where we lived from 1986-92).  This was very much something that Jayme would have found wildly amusing.  As the statues are usually black volcanic rock, this was definitely a nod to the area’s mining culture.

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Immaculate Conception is a spacious, majestic parish church- almost cathedralesque, in size and airiness.  The celebrant priest, also a friend of Jayme’s, noted that the man “felt at home here”, making frequent trips over the mountain, on Sunday mornings, perhaps because of the exhilaration one feels, when going through the pines, and along Jerome’s streets.  The church felt quite homelike for us, this morning, with a robust celebration of Jayme’s relationship with his Lord and an outpouring of love, from his family and closest friends.

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The exquisite service left me chastened, as funerals so often do.  I thought, once more, of my own ongoing mission, knowing that being there for others, something that Jayme Salazar did so well, and at which I am improving, is imperative.  We will all gather again, in his memory, on May 20, for a Fiesta Grande, at Prescott’s Watson Lake Park.  I promised his dearest friend that I would be there early and leave late.

One other nice touch- when I stopped for lunch, at Colt Grill, in Old Cottonwood, the soundtrack featured Mike and The Mechanics’ “The Living Years” and REM’s “Everybody Hurts”.  The Universe always speaks clearly.

“If you don’t give up and don’t give in, you may just be okay.” – Mike Rutherford

“Hold on”.- Michael Stipe

Ridvan

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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.)

 

 

He Bids Us All To Arise

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April 16, 2017, Prescott-

Today, nearly a billion people, around the world, commemorated the Resurrection of Jesus the Christ.  Many combine the sacred with the whimsical, filling baskets with candy of all sorts, making Easter the second most popular candy-eating holiday, after Halloween.  Others leave out the sacred, altogether, thus making Easter little different from the Feast of All Hallows.

Christ overlooked the faults of others, save the Pharisees, whom He scolded and the merchants in the Temple, whom He chastised more forcefully.  He was far kinder to those who committed indiscretions of the heart.

The lesson I get from this, and from His very resurrection, is that the human spirit is capable of enormous resilience.  We fall down and hurt others, either physically or emotionally, yet some of these same people could very well return to at least a modicum of friendship, over time, if we ourselves recover our moral bearings.

Christ was not only saving us, by His sacrifice.  He was also showing us, how we might save ourselves, albeit by less supreme means.  Each of us can arise, in our own way, through adhering to the Golden Rule and by making amends, for wrongs that we have done to others.

As a Baha’i, I revere Christ as Messenger of God and Supreme Teacher.  Accordingly, I know that it’s my bounden duty to serve others, both to make amends for what I’ve done wrong in this life, and out of love for them.  Love is the basis for everything the Messengers of God, from Adam to Baha’u’llah, have taught us, over the millennia. Yesterday, I had the bounty of visiting several people, at the Native American Baha’i Institute of Learning (at Houck,AZ) , in the Hopi village of Polacca and in the small Verde Valley town of Rimrock, where a longtime friend is in the fight of his life, against a crippling disease.  What I went to impart, was a very simple message:  Your life matters.

Christ said this, repeatedly, 2000 years ago. Baha’u’llah said this, repeatedly, 164 years ago.  Both gave us the admonition to say this to one another.  Both gave us the bidding to arise, to lift ourselves, and one another, out of despair and trouble.  That is the message I get from Easter.

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Which None Can Really Know

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February 16, 2017, Prescott-

I work for someone who doesn’t entirely trust me,

and is constantly seeming to be under the gun.

I work with children who don’t entirely trust anyone,

and are each very much under siege.

I work in a community which thrives on trusting its own,

yet views the wider world with a flinty eye.

I am a native son of a country which is not sure who to trust,

yet asks the rest of the planet to go with its judgement.

I am a citizen of a planet which is getting more intimate,

and is entering a future which none can really know.

Archangels

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February 4, 2017, Prescott- This afternoon, I finished reading “The Standing Stones Speak”.  Set in Carnac, France, British spiritualists Natasha Hoffman and Hamilton Hill detail a series of messages they claim to have received from archangels, on topics ranging from the existence of Atlantis to the progress of souls.

 

There are numerous references to Jesus, Mohammed, the brief primacy, in the not-to-distant future, of a “charismatic figure”, whose rule will be primarily in Europe and North America, and will last 3 1/2 years, before he is removed.  There are references to karma and reincarnation of souls, from one human body to the next, over  the past several thousand years, and that both karma and reincarnation will cease, in the very near future.  This will take place, the archangels say, because the “New Jerusalem”, mentioned in the Bible and, essentially, the true New World Order (the opposite of that which is, rightly, feared by devout Christians), will be built and will obviate the need for souls to constantly return in human form, in order to resolve their issues.

That is the gist of the archangels’ messages.  To me, these would conveniently explain my wistfulness and longing for the forest, for certain places in Europe, Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and the Rocky Mountains, being drawn to particular people and familiarity with certain situations, that I had not previously experienced.  I would need a lot more confirmation of these messages, from more authoritative spiritual texts, especially from the Baha’i Writings, before I would be “all-in” with the overall content of the messages in this book.

Nevertheless, the tone of the book is positive, encouraging of people to develop the goodly character of their souls, and to work, mightily, to seek spiritual advancement, through a righteous life- not in isolation, but among the people with whom we find ourselves.  Baha’u’llah teaches us to be of good character, in group settings, as well as individually, just as Jesus did.

I am continuing to read several Baha’i books, as well as “Apocalypse”, by Dr. Jim Richards and “Return to The Garden”, by Shakhti Gawain, in pondering this primal subject.

Each Part Matters

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January 11, 2017, Prescott Valley-

Each boy’s lesson had my full attention,

and, for the most part, his.

Each faith community member’s insight,

was elicited, and heard.

Each section of the study unit

had our full attention,

and time was set aside,

for the last remaining section,

a week from today.

The story of a hiking party’s survival,

on New Year’s Night,

was as important to us,

gathered THIS evening,

as any critical agenda item.

Every atom is essential;

every minute, of consequence.

Onward

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January 1, 2017, Chula Vista- Seems people were so fed up with the year just past, that my retrospective montage was received like a lead balloon.  No matter- the clouds have cleared, from the torrential rains of the past two days (most welcome, here in southern California, and the neighbouring states of Arizona, Nevada and Baja California Norte).  My hope is that the clouds hanging over our nation, and over many parts of the world, will dissipate, as well.

I have a few, short-term, goals for this year:

January- This week, for the most part, will find me in the San Diego area, largely here in CV, with an Orange County outing, to Crystal Cove, on Thursday, before I head to Phoenix, and a dental check-up on Friday.  Training in Psychological First Aid, on Saturday, will let me bone up on those skills.  Who knows, as to just how many occasions such will be necessary?  Next Sunday,  my penultimate trek along Black Canyon Trail will bring me to the Emery Henderson Trailhead, in New River.  The last hike on that trail will follow, later in the month, (probably on the 21st. ) Over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Aram is likely to visit, so the three days will be open-ended, to his preferences.  Other weekends will be divided between Baha’i studies and the trail.

February-  Son heads out to South Korea, the second week of this month, so I will spend 2-3 days in southern California once again, to see him off.  It’ll mean 1-2 ,years of Skype and a once-a-year visit.  I’ve been in those shoes, several times.  President’s Day weekend will likely find me in the McDowell Mountains, northeast of Phoenix.  A service project will also be done, during the Baha’i days of giving and service to others, known as Ayyam-i-Ha (Feb. 25-28).

March- This being a month that features a Nineteen-Day Fast, with Spring Break coming towards the end of said Fast, my plans are open-ended.  The inclination is to head over to  southern New Mexico and western Texas, to pay a couple visits to friends in the area, and take some relatively moderate hikes, the likes of which have worked out nicely, over the past few Fasts.  The Baha’i New Year (March 20, this year) will be followed up by a journey to Native American Baha’i Institute, to re-charge spiritually.

April- This is the month of the twelve-day Baha’i festival known as Ridvan,  commemorating the days when Baha’u’llah declared His mission, in 1863.  My energies will be thus directed. A few jaunts along trails in the Sedona and Payson areas will also be on the agenda.

May- Decision time, as to keep my current position, or move to a different school, will be at hand.  A long-postponed revisit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and neighbouring Superior, is the only existing item on the hiking agenda, for this month.

June-The first month of summer will keep me in the Southwest.  A week in SoCal will focus on Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.  Visits to Navajo and Hopi are also on the agenda.

July- My now customary week in Carson City and Reno will move to the first seven days of this month.  Then it will be northwest, to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. From there, finances and circumstances will dictate my direction- either a week’s visit to Korea, or down the road, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

August-Back to whatever work assignment awaits, and whichever forays into nature are allowed by the Monsoon rains.

September-The Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth will be celebrated next month, so this foot soldier will be ready to do whatever the Commemoration Committee needs done.  Otherwise, Labor Day will take me up Granite Mountain, and the end of the month will mean a weekend in Flagstaff’s Inner Basin.

October- The aforementioned Commemoration will take place on  October 22.  Hope Fest will also happen this month, so there will be much work, in service.  Fall Break is a cypher, at this point:  Tucson and vicinity will get first dibs.

November- Thanksgiving, this year, will be observed at Desert Rose Baha’i School, between Phoenix and Tucson.

December-  Christmas week will find me in Massachusetts, with family whom I feel have been somewhat neglected, over these past several years.  Several fences need mending.  That will include a train trip to Philadelphia, right before New Year’s, and on down to Tampa Bay, for the first week of 2018.

Books?  “The Brothers Karamazov” slog continues.  “The Standing Stones Speak”, by Natasha Hoffman, “The Century Trilogy”, of Ken Follett, “The Alchemist”, by Paolo Coelho and a pair of books on rebuilding communities take top priority.  Speaking of which, my long put-off book of poetry and short prose will be put together, starting with choosing the better of the poems I wrote, over the past year, and adding verse as it comes to mind.  No specific promises, as to date of publication, but it will be sometime this year.

So, off we go- Trump’s wild ride,  widespread exercises in patience with one another, and continued healing (on both a personal and a collective level) will define this next chapter in the life of this beautiful humanity.

 

No Abyss Needed

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December 20, 2016, Prescott-

Today was either a day of mourning,

if one sees oppression and catastrophe ahead;

a day of rejoicing, if one sees opportunity to prosper,

or to return to old ways of looking at the world;

or, as it was for me, a day when the imperative,

of seeing one’s perceived adversaries as like unto

oneself, has become manifest.

In a few short days, I will bid farewell

to another old soldier,

whose interment will take place,

two days before Christmas.

Then, it will be time

to listen to the Divine,

in another group setting,

as we Baha’is gather

in consultation and spiritual discovery,

for the thirty-second consecutive

Christmas season.

I’m close to finishing

“The Tenth Insight”,

a novel of intense

spiritual energy,

of visions

of Armageddon,

of Rapture,

of Afterlife.

Much will happen,

in those regards.

I believe, though,

that we need not

leap into an abyss

of self-doubt.

We need not

head backward,

into a jungle of despair.

Our journey,

of true togetherness,

may cast a bridge

across the widest gulfs.

It is a matter

of free will.