Vignettes, but No Pictures

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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.

 

 

What Makes Community?

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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.

The Road to 65, Mile 285: Kombucha and Quixote

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September 8, 2015, Prescott- I have a couple of pieces of starter for kombucha.  It is a sort of fermented tea that, combined with organic, unrefined sugar, and mixed with the starter, will be a very strong digestive aid. Penny and I made it, around 2006-7, and used it for both of our abdominal well-being.  I will do this again.

This, and milk-based kefir, were the topics of a Slow-Food Prescott gathering, this evening.  Of course, there were a wealth of GMO-Free and organic dishes, as part of the festivities.  Given the pressure that our U.S. House of Representatives, and various conservative judges, around the globe, are putting on us to force the public to buy Genetically-Modified products, I think we need to have more events like this, to safeguard our health.  Someone asked, not long ago, if I would go to jail for my beliefs.  This is one area where I would do so.  No one tells me what to eat.

I heard on the radio that this year marks the 400th Anniversary of the publication of “Don Quixote de la Mancha”.  Miguel de Cervantes wrote of the consequences of a belatedly examined life, and of how a man’s not living his dream, until late in life, leads to so many bouts of foolishness.  Don Quixote’s idealization of the chivalrous life is not so different from the modern day fascination with Super Heroes. I was surprised, as an adolescent, when none of the Classics Illustrated comic books, which I relished, included a version of “Don Quixote”.  I didn’t read the novel until my third year in university, and I read it in Spanish.

I wonder at times, whether all we do to counteract the power structure in this world is actually a tad quixotic.  My heart, though, tells me “No, keep going.  Our children deserve a better, less materialistic system.”  So, onward I will tilt my lance.

The Road to 65, Mile 165: Seeds

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May 12, 2015, Prescott-  I planted seeds of confidence in a young girl’s mind, this morning, and she guided the lot of us to revisiting a small detail, which made all the difference in a key part of the lesson.  This evening, the concept of seed banks and libraries was shared with thirty of us, who were gathered at a Slow Food chapter meeting.

I am into the sowing of seeds- of vegetables, fruit, grasses and ideas.  Sowing friendship seeds is the best such activity, and I am getting better at that.  The physical seeds will most likely wait until next Spring, but I will check the planting calendar, and see if an early July planting will work for this mountain climate. The seeds of amity can be planted anytime, and are well worth watering.  The seeds of ideas must be planted, and watered daily.

A gentleman at tonight’s meeting offered the opinion that individual seed banks are critical to preventing a USDA/Monsanto joint takeover of our food supply.  While the Feds are big on Genetically-Modified anything, I don’t see that ending well, for anyone.  Any given individual has a hundred places to hide seeds, and after all, the “success rate” of the war on drugs is not exactly earthshaking.  We who seek to grow our own food will be just fine.

This brings me to the bad seeds:  Suspicion, closed-mindedness and power-craving.  The first grows out of, and feeds, the second.  Both are a natural reaction to the the third.  The more those in authority overreach, even with the best of ill-informed intentions, the more those on the ground will push back, overreact and invite more overreach.  See the tiger, the dog, the snake chasing their tails?

Monsanto is responding to a reasonable request from the State of Vermont, to label Genetically Modified Organisms in foods sold there, by dispatching an army of attorneys, to sue, appeal and obfuscate- thus wasting millions of dollars and months of man-hours, while complaining about the cost of such labeling.  Then, there is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade Trojan horse, by which the President, and at least two of his predecessors, hope to use to force the GMO-free nations of east Asia to buckle under and get with the Monsanto program.  Go figure.

I am not against science.  The research ought to go on, move beyond monocultures and poisoning of the soil and water, and get over the idea that revenue, the building of fortunes, alone, should be the be-all and end-all of the accumulated knowledge.  We ought not eat what we can’t digest, no matter whose children are being put through college, with the generated profit.

I digress.  The seeds of knowledge, as well as those of sustenance, belong to all mankind.

The Road to 65, Mile 148: Slingshot Day

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April 25, 2015, Prescott– I woke this morning, at 2:35, got shaven and dressed, then headed down to Phoenix Zoo, where an Oral Cancer Awareness Run/Walk was being held.  My volunteer position was the Raffle Table, where I sold tickets, oversaw the placement of tickets in various jars that were in front of prizes being raffled, and encouraged a couple of high school students who were walking about the grounds and selling tickets, as well.  The activity was most enjoyable and our happy mood drew many more people to the table, as they were curious as to the joyful atmosphere.  The old saying goes “Laugh and the world laughs with you.  Cry, and you cry alone.”  I have always found that to be a bit harsh, but I will go with the first part of it.

Around 8:20 AM, I left to go back up to Prescott, the reason being that I also planned to help out at the School Garden Project, at Mountain Oaks Charter School, where I have a loose association with the administration.  Plus, Slow Food Prescott has made school gardens a priority, and I support that group’s legitimate activities, even if I don’t always like the people it attracts.  Anyway, I got back home, napped for an hour, and got over to the school in time to put together a woven bamboo fence, in front of the back vegetable garden. After a quick lunch, the project ended with weeding a section along the front fence, and spreading manure, for the sunflowers, gourds and corn that were planted there.  These activities, also, were done in a joyous atmosphere.

That’s what service should be.  Contrasted with the sometimes grim and guarded posture that I find myself adopting, when dealing with aggressive homeless veterans, today’s activities were a breath of fresh air.  Tomorrow, I will focus more on paying respects to my departed friend, who served others constantly, in her own way.