Vignettes, but No Pictures

8

October 11, 2017, Silver City-

I am intending to get to bed shortly, so as to wake up in time for a 2.5 hour drive to Gila Cliff Dwellings.  So, there will be no photos of Besh Ba Gowah or the Gila Wilderness, for a day or two.

I do want to mention a few people I have met, over the past two days.  There was a little girl, about 3, who expressed concern about the bandaid on my left facial cheek.  I have it to guard a sun blister that is slowly healing.  No explanation was needed, but her concern was priceless.  Another little girl greeted me this morning, as I went to my car for an item.  She was pleased that I was on vacation, like she was.

At the Slow Food Prescott meeting, last night, I was able to invite three couples to our upcoming observance of the Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth, on Oct. 22.  It takes a lot for me to offer invitations, and two of them were accepted graciously, with the third being rather hesitant, but taking it anyway.  More importantly, a Convergence event was announced at this meeting.  It will be held from November 10-12, which I can attend for at least two days- and with some negotiation and calendar tweeking, three days.  There will be an all-nighter, on the last night, ending at 8 AM, 11/13.  Work the next day, of course, will keep me from that part.

When I got to Superior, I had to bang on the window to get the resident manager’s attention- no doorbell, and the phone is in the office.  It took ten minutes, but I got in my reserved room.  Tonight, in Silver City, my initial room had a dead magnetic strip, and a broken faucet handle in the bathroom, so I got a different room and a discount on top of a discount.

At Tammy’s Cafe, in Buckhorn, NM, this evening, the grill was overloaded, so it took several of us close to 40 minutes to get our meals.  The staff, though, is incredibly energetic, attentive,  and gracious.  No one is idle.  The food was marvelous, worth the wait.

In the meantime, I had a lengthy conversation with a young ranch hand, named Jason, who gave me a wealth of information about Gila Cliff Dwellings, Casa Malpais (in Springerville, AZ) and various cliff dwellings on both private and county land, between Silver City and Springerville.  Tammy, the cafe owner and one of her waitresses were also full of information on the prehistoric remnants of the area.

It’s always a good day, when I feel open to connecting with new people.

 

 

Return to Wolverton Mountain

8

October 10, 2017, Prescott- 

I revised my Fall Break plans, a bit, so as to attend a gathering of Slow Food-Prescott, this evening.  it’s been a while since I’ve connected with that group, and missing two other meetings that I attend on a regular basis is an act of triage, so to speak.  So, Wednesday and Thursday will find me afield.

Getting back to the subject of the title, Prescott’s Wolverton Mountain lies about a mile south of Copper Basin Road, on the west side of town.  I passed by it, a year ago, whilst hiking the main part of Prescott Circle Trail, intending to come back and hike the spur trail, on an odd afternoon.

Sunday provided that odd afternoon.  I was just about done with the post-monsoon weed pulling, in my back yard, so it was high time to get back into the woods.  Up Copper Basin I went, and found the expanded parking area at Aspen Creek Trailhead.  The trail towards White Spar is across the road, taking the hiker to the junction with Wolverton Mountain Trail, 3/4 of a mile southward.

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Around a few corners and slight inclines, I located the spur trail leading to the south summit of Wolverton, after taking short bushwack to its trail-less north counterpart.  The north summit offers a fine view of Granite Mountain, always an inspiration.

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You can see that Wolverton has been ravaged by bark beetles, in recent years.  Still, there was a stand of Fall colours, nearby.

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The south summit proved a bit less impressive, but any mountain is worth exploring, at least once.  There is what appears to be a defunct watch station and water tank, carefully fenced-off.

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It was a pleasant return to the trail, anyway, and the presence of a few late bloomers added to the sense of allure.

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There are a few more local peaks, still on my radar- Hyde Peak and Pine Mountain being the most notable, and a return to Harquahala Peak, in La Paz County, beckons sometime this winter.

In the meantime, a two-day jaunt eastward will bring some treasures into view, followed by three weekends devoted to honouring the Creator and His Messengers.

 

 

Break Time

6

October 6, 2017, Prescott-

It’s Fall Break, from now until October 16- when we return to our labour of love and our lead teacher has a birthday.  In between, there is a balance of rest and motion. I have a service jaunt to Flagstaff, bright and early tomorrow morning, to help install smoke detectors in several units of a large modular home development.  Sunday will be a day of rest- until it isn’t.  Monday, I head down to Superior,  reconnect with the SunFlour  people and maybe hike Picketpost Mountain.  Beyond that is time in Globe,  then across to Safford, Silver City and Gila Cliff Dwellings, before getting back here, sometime Wednesday evening.  There will then be two days of relative rest, before Saturday the Fourteenth, when everything seems to be happening at once.  More details will be in order about that, later.

Anyway, it’s good to change the channel and replenish, every so often.

 

Walking in Place

3

September 23, 2017,Prescott- 

Several readers have, over the years, expressed a preference for my travel posts.  While I greatly enjoy visiting places old and new, there has been an increase in responsibilities and commitments, hereabouts, since my return from the East Coast, at the end of July.  Not the least of these is my work with autistic teens, a veritable payback to all who have guided me, over the past several decades.  There are also two major public events here in town, in October:  Hope Fest (October 14), a celebration of faith, which I will be assisting for the third consecutive year and, a week later, the Festival of Light and Unity- commemorating the Two Hundredth Anniversary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, on October 22.  As the Baha’i calendar is a lunar construct, the Birth of His Herald, al-Bab (The Gate), is observed the day prior to that of Baha’u’llah.  This year marks 198 years, since al-Bab was born and we will observe that event, as well, on October 21.

My friendships being wide-ranging these days, several events tend to converge on given days. So, today, largely devoted to Prescott Stand Down, an event dedicated to serving homeless veterans in our community, took up much of the day.  I was later able to make further progress on clearing my backyard and 3-4 more hours of concerted effort ought to get the job completed, for this year.  Tomorrow, two events at the American Legion, two Baha’i activities and an hour or two helping a good friend move, will keep me honest and productive.  This coming week, there is a gathering, of one sort or another, every night.  Looking ahead to October 14, that day will see me at two other events, in addition to Hope Fest.  Life is never dull.

With regard to travel, Fall Break will be here, in two weeks.  I am in between going to Joshua Tree and Lake Cachuma, California, or down to Superior, Globe and over to Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, for 4-5 days (in which case, the California trip gets done over an extended Presidents’ Day weekend). My spirit guides will advise me, on this matter, as with so many others.

Yes, I do get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, as well as a 30-minute power nap, most afternoons.  Stay tuned.

As Summer Ends

2

September 20, 2017, Prescott-

Almost as if on cue,

the triple digit temperatures

are leaving Phoenix,

and our nights, here,

are requiring a light blanket.

Soon, I will need a sleeping bag

for Fall and Winter camping,

that will provide comfort,

below forty degrees F.

I will finish pulling weeds,

in about ten days.

They won’t be back,

until next May.

I will be fully engaged,

in my daily work,

both faith-based and secular.

In such times,

it feels good to occasionally,

come up for air,

even when immersed,

in water and the Spirit.

In eleven days,

I will come up for air,

and I do not know,

as yet,

in which hyperbaric chamber,

I shall ensconce myself.

Harry Dean Stanton and Henry Barnwell

4

September 16, 2017, Prescott-

Yesterday, the Divine called back two very different souls, whose influence on me was indirect, (I never met either man), but extraordinary. Harry Dean Stanton was a party animal, a singer and character actor, par excellence.  Henry Barnwell was a man of the cloth, and a family man, as well as a community bulwark, par excellence.

Harry Dean was someone people saw in movies, for nearly six decades,  and while many couldn’t remember his name, the man was ever familiar.  He had a Festival, as well as an award, named in his honour, by the City of Lexington, Kentucky, near the town where he was born and raised.  Harry Dean was the first winner of the Harry Dean Stanton Award, in October of last year.

He influenced me, by confirming that it is alright to have friends of even the youngest generation, and that it was not disrespectful to be a friend, but not a  worshipper, of one’s elders.  He pointed out that, while having a relationship with someone many years one’s junior was okay, it was even money as to how the romance would end.  He learned this from direct experience.  I’ve found his assessment to be absolutely on point, as well.  Harry Dean’s party-heartiness is not something I chose to continue, past the age of thirty.  It didn’t hurt him much, but I was not born to be a booze hound.  Nonetheless, the cool cat ruled, over much of the Hollywood scene.

Henry Barnwell was a Bishop, a nonstop social activist, and a man committed to breaking the cycle of broken families, especially in the Black community of Phoenix.   He was a child of broken marriage and made sure that he and his devoted wife did not follow suit.  Their four children are lasting beneficiaries of their parents’ insistence on Family Night and regular dinners together.

Phoenix, and all Arizona, are the lasting beneficiaries of Bishop Barnwell’s constancy, in the matters closest to obtaining and maintaining a codified and de facto equality of all people.  He met with the most reactionary public figures, on the same level as with those who agreed with him on civil rights matters.  He would call people whom he wanted to bring together for the public good, and sometimes as early as 5 a.m.  Few, if any, hung up on him.  None were viewed, by Henry, as strangers.

His influence on me was to affirm that reaching out to those with whom one disagreed was the most correct and most natural thing that could happen, in a truly civilized society.  He would never write anyone off, in perpetuity, and that remains my goal.   He would also never write off a desired outcome.  The work continued, despite a struggle with dementia, until Henry breathed his last.

I continue to strive to be as relaxed and nurturing around others as Harry  Dean Dean; as caring and dedicated to helping others, as Reverend Mr.  Henry Barnwell.  May they both be victory-bound!

Inside, Outside

7

September 14, 2017, Prescott-

Perhaps my own wandering nature

and tendency to hang back,

in novel situations,

are partially to blame,

but all my life,

I have encountered situations,

mostly at work,

where a small group of insiders

has kept me out of the loop.

I can even recall one occasion,

where I confided in my wife,

that I was not sure that I could

trust the school district administration.

I was the principal of a one-school district,

unable to trust the people who hired me.

Frequently, here in town,

I have felt the same.

Valued by the students, parents, and my peers,

but seemingly held in disdain,

by a small, elite group,

who have been here way too long,

I’ve hung on.

The latest such situation ended, today,

and I will now be working with

members of the same, appreciative

and open-minded group,

with whom I happily worked in Spring, 2016.

I wonder what happened,

to the in-crowd,

who obviously love children,

at some level,

even if their “My Way or The Highway” mentality

sets the children off,

so unnecessarily.

Why are their wagons in a circle,

so that my job becomes

“do what you’re told and keep still”?

I’m grateful for my new/old team.

It’s not an age thing,

because, while the team lead is a Millennial,

there are others in their 40’s and 50’s,

and I will be 67, in two months’ time.

It’s not a gender thing,

because, while I am still the only male,

I am not excluded by these ladies,

from any aspect of the work day.

I’ve come to the conclusion

that insecurity breeds insularity.

What Would I Do In Portugal?

4

September 11, 2017, Phoenix-

What would I do, if I went to Portugal?

I’d sit on a hilltop,

in Braga,

and ponder what made

the Bishop of that city,

issue a screed against the Guarani,

who stood between his country

and control of the Rio de la Plata Basin.

I’d visit the Fish Markets,

in Lisboa,

Porto,

and Coimbra,

and listen to the banter

of people who rise early,

and bring Omega 3

to the masses.

I would stand

in the grandeur of Evora,

and reflect on the

temporary nature,

of all save God.

What would I do, if I found myself in Zanzibar?

I would pay my respects

at memorials to those

who freed the people

from servitude.

I would befriend the common folk,

be they Waswahili, Arab or Indian.

I would book passage on a dhow,

from Unguja to Pemba,

spend three days on each island,

saving Stone Town for last.

What would I do, if called to China?

Macao would be first,

because of the School of Nations.

I’d not visit the casinos,

being averse to monetary gambling.

Shanghai- the Bund is being overshadowed,

by those great Chinese structures

and systems,

which Pu Yi envisioned,

when he turned the country over,

to Sun Yat-sen.

I would gladly walk,

from the Great Wall’s fastness,

in Beijng,

to the field of the terracotta warriors,

in X’ian,

if the authorities were inclined

to let such a thing happen.

I would stand at the Potala,

inside the Forbidden City,

and within the Stone Forest,

as my spirit soared,

from the energy

extant in each.

What will I do, in my forest town,

over the next two years?

I will serve those

who only seek

to meet each day,

with wonder and a smile.

I will follow the promptings

of  my Creator,

which are not found,

only in carefully arranged stones,

or  in the pronouncements

of this body of personages

or of that Enlightened Soul.

I will use this time,

to inculcate

the spirit-set

of making each act

a holy act.

I will love.

What Makes Community?

13

August 22, 2017, Prescott-

This evening, I attended a  gathering of Prescott Area School Gardens, aka Slow Food Prescott.   There were several small presentations about various garden projects, at both public and private schools, across the western half of Yavapai County.  The ensuing discussions broached upon several topics, including what, if any, are the rights of those who don’t support small agricultural projects?

A small group,  in the town of Humboldt, led by the town’s elementary school principal and a local landscaper, are pushing to remove the school’s garden, because its stewards are using organic farming techniques, will not allow Roundup, and other poisons, to be used in the garden area and are “taking up space that could be used for buildings.”  It’s even been said that these gardeners are teaching values that are at variance with local values.  What those local values are, is not quite clear.

There has been, in the media, reference to “the Hate Community”, following Charlottesville.   I wonder, does this mean there is an equal and opposite “Love Community”?  How about an “Indifference Community?”  The “White Community” is, supposedly, to be set apart from the “Black Community”, “Latino Community”, “Native American Community”,etc.  Do each of these communities have their pot luck dinners,  Kumbaya circles and support groups?

I have never been wholly accepted into a particular community, save my Baha’i Faith, and the online Archaeology for the Soul group. I have many friends who belong to various communities, but there are always those in a given group, for whom my presence is somehow a threat. Part of that is my peripatetic nature.  There is also the rapidity with which people form impressions of others, based on relatively brief encounters, real and perceived slights and lack of sustained communication.

I maintain that anonymity is largely to blame for estrangement, breakdowns in communication, or the lack of same.  It’s too easy to turn a stranger into a strawman. It is too easy to build false zones of security, based on opinions and practices that are themselves rooted in ignorance, superstition and hearsay.  Five minutes on social media offer proof enough of this.

It is also too easy to stick with one’s annoyance at another, based on one incident.  I have not, in nearly 67 years, had the luxury of holding onto grudges and resentments, and have had my fair share of bullies and haters.  Oftentimes, those same people have resurfaced in my life, as changed people, and/or as people in clear need of assistance.  I don’t regret my decision to see them as friends.

Communities, like individuals, are in various stages of growth, and will find themselves in conflict, as a result.  I do not, however, think that there is a “Hate Community”, or even a completely insular ethnic community, sufficient unto itself.  The world has just become too connected, and despite the fact that this means discord will chafe at our individual and collective skin, as a true World Community is formed, the long-term ramifications of this process are nothing short of glorious.

So, what does this mean for the “Roundup Community”?  It probably means a temporary ‘victory” over the organic farmers, given the mindset of our governmental agencies.  Long term, poisons will not be able to be administered in small enough doses to avoid permanent damage to soil, water and public health.   They will also prove ineffective against evolving pests, whose predators already exist in nature, and which are also evolving.   My overall point, in this rambling, is that life is going to continue, according to the Greater Plan of our Creator, Who will not abide its arbitrary extinction.

NOTE:  My remaining travel posts from July are awaiting my ability to pay for an upgrade to this Word Press account, so as to get unlimited storage for the photographs which enhance such posts. This should not take longer than a few more days.

Sixty-Six, for Sixty Six, Part LI: Twisters and Turns

7

July 11, 2017, Van Wert, OH-   My drive from Elkhart and Goshen was uneventful, until I reached the Ohio state line.  I had an idea, that I might stay in Lima, a northwest Ohio town, with a Baha’i connection (one of the early American Baha’i teachers was from there.)  That went out the window, as soon as I reached the first Ohio highway rest area.  Rain began falling, copiously, to say the least.  Thunder and lightning were, of course, a huge part of the mix.

I then and there decided to make my way to the closest town, Van Wert.  It was the right move.  No sooner had I checked into downtown Van Wert’s only motel, than a tornado alert came on the cellphone, and the motel manager began the process of evacuating her family, and all of us tenants, to the YMCA tornado shelter, across the street.

We spent about forty minutes in the Y’s basement, before the all-clear was sounded.  The twister had struck a town just north of Van Wert, but left us alone.  The night, after that, was peaceful.

Here is the undisturbed scene, the next morning, at Fountain Inn and at the Y.

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By now, Van Wert had grown on me, so a little exploration was in order.  There are two fine breakfast places in town.  I chose Truly Divine Bakery, figuring a little hubris is merited by people who have to live under the threat of tornadoes.  The other place, Balyeat’s, lists itself as “nationally known”, so I also thought Divine needed a boost.  The place has exemplary pastries, and marvelous breakfast sandwiches, so it was the right choice.  A group of A.M. Lions was having their meeting at Divine, so that was another good sign.

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Midwest towns are, on the whole, homey, clean and standard.  There are often one or two surprises, though.  Van Wert has an impressive Courthouse.

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It also boasts Brumback Library, the first county public library in the U.S.

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Finally, there is the Marsh Foundation for Children and Families, serving the needs of high-risk children, since 1922, when George and Herlinda Marsh, a prominent Van Wert couple, saw the need for such a center in northwest Ohio.  The spacious campus  now tends to the needs of young people, from all over the country.

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So, Van Wert is a solid community, and well worth the time taken.  I stayed on U.S. 30, driving through Lima, but continuing on, in the interests of time, and of not knowing when another storm would present itself.  The highway did take me to two other appealing cities:  Mansfield and Canton, subjects of the next two posts.