Resurgence

1

October 14, 2019, Arcosanti-

The first sentient being to greet me,

this morning, was my friend Pam.

It was a silent greeting,

each  of us stretching,

across the courtyard,

of the sleeping area,

known as the Vaults.

There were about twenty of us,

some, like Pam and me,

in our own singular spaces,

and responsible for

our own warmth.

Others coupled,

keeping each other warm

against the early morning chill.

Each of us dreamed,

many lucidly.

I resolved an old conflict,

wondering why fault had been

continually found with me,

all those years ago.

The answer came,

in my lucid dream,

and I was absolved,

set free,

with a new understanding

of why a beloved soul

had been so quick to judge,

back then.

It is always pain,

that brings this on.

When the pain is gone,

so is the blame.

The second sentient being to greet me

this morning,

was a peregrine falcon,

whom I will call Percival.

He perched on the rail,

outside the central kitchen,

and took in our shared morning world.

I sat and did the same,

for several minutes.

This, we can learn from animals.

The morning ever brings resurgence.

The Peak of the Canyon- Part I

4

October 6, 2019, Jacob Lake, AZ-

Sitting at the counter of the restaurant, in this gateway community to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, I enjoyed a sandwich of “Leftover Jalapeno Meatloaf”-(a tongue-in-cheek expression, as the dish was freshly prepared) and bantered a bit with a somewhat surly young man, who definitely wished I wasn’t there.  Once he left, the waitresses seemed to relax and there was a light-hearted rest of my visit.  The food was very good.

 

It had been that kind of day, a blend of dealing with surly people and those who relaxed when the angry ones left.  A screaming woman, berating the disabled manager of the motel where I had stayed in Flagstaff, last night was replaced in my view by his head housekeeper, who helped the poor soul get his bearings.

This evening, just before sunset, I was being tailgated, at ten miles over the speed limit, on the narrow road leading to Cape Royal, where I was heading to take a photo of the sunset.  Turns out, the motorist with a hair-trigger temper was also heading to the Cape, to take a professional photo or two.  Once we got there, and he realized there was still time for his shoot, all was well.

In between, there were genuine moments of peace:  A crew of high school soccer players washed my car, as part of their fundraiser.  Then, it was off towards the North Rim, via a trio of scenic wonders, majestic in their own right.

Here are a few scenes of Marble Canyon, where I walked around Navajo Bridge, a New Deal project which replaced the ferry across the Colorado River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Above, is Navajo Bridge, now a pedestrian walkway between Marble Canyon Lodge and a Navajo Artists’ Market.  Below, is the Colorado River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After a Thor Burger, at Marble Canyon Cafe-and  pleasant conversations with the  mostly Dineh staff, I headed up the road a bit, to Cliff Dwellers, also mainly a place for Navajo jewelry to be sold.  It does have an astonishing series of boulders and rock formations, near what once was a settlement of Fremont people, who were mainly hunter-gatherers.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Vermillion Cliffs came next.  There are an unusually high number of retired people traveling, this time of year.  The warm weather has helped, as has the political tension in the country, which leads people to seek an outlet.  We know that travel is one of the best outlets for relieving tension.  There was certainly a time in my life, when that was so.  Vermillion Cliffs is one of the most popular areas for many seniors to visit.  A Road Scholars bus had just left the area, as I pulled in.

Here are some views of the cliffs and of a canyon that has been cut by the Paria River.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

This sandstone spire reminded me a bit of Spider Rock-or maybe Darth Vader.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

All of this set the stage for my second-ever visit to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, as an homage to the national park’s centenary.  Having visited the South Rim in April, it was an equal time matter.

The aspens and oaks are turning colour, so the approach to the Rim, itself, was a treat.  The area had been populated mostly with Ponderosa pine, but a fire in 2000 created a swath, into which aspen trees have taken root.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was now time to take a look at the highest points of the Grand Canyon.

 

 

North Rim

8

October 7, 2019, Kanab-

I will, as usual, post photographic accounts of my current jaunt, once back at Home Base.  In the meantime, here’s a verse on the topic.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Serene, confident teenager

stretched herself out

and took in the view,

of the gaping maw below.

Mother’s watchful gaze notwithstanding,

the girl took pains to keep herself safe,

as a much younger child,

asked her mommy,

“Can I do that, too?”

“Maybe, when you get

to be that big.”

The North Rim,

eight thousand,

three hundred feet

above the Colorado River,

at Bright Angel Point,

is not for those

with acrophobia,

or shortness of breath.

I promised my late

maternal grandfather,

spiritually,

that I would not

entertain the former,

and, as yet,

I do not suffer,

from the latter.

So, down the narrow trail,

I went,

and gazed over the edge,

at Bright Angel Point,

again at Point Imperial,

and, lastly,

at Cape Royal.

where two dozen of us,

watched the sun dip,

below the horizon,

accenting the smoke

from a prescribed burn.

Growing My Vision-Part 1

2

October 5, 2019-

At our Baha’i Unit Convention, this morning, I spotted a sign on the host’s chalkboard, with the message, “Build Vision”.  One of the constant mantras of my childhood was that we each had to see ourselves in five years, ten years, etc.

Most of us have thought of this, to the extent we think of it at all, in terms of education, career, size of family, etc.  I did all that, and now, as my formal career has little more than a year to run, albeit as a part-time substitute teacher, my vision is changing tack.

It’s always been natural, even impulsive, for me to take in the world, in my planning or visualizing.  Often, I have been chastised, for being too global.  I think the point was for me to be more present, in the here and now.  My head has made great strides, in that regard-and my focus is sharper, in the past dozen years, than it was long ago.  A good part of that came with being a caretaker. There is, as is said in such challenging environments as, say, the Alaskan Bush, the fact that “Ignorance, distraction and stupidity are the three Princes of Death”.

There is much that I have left to do, so keeping my broader vision global, whilst maintaining a sharp focus on what’s close at hand, has presented itself, with a welcome intensity.  If I slip, I know there are those among my faithful readers, not to mention, real time friends and family, who won’t hesitate to blow the whistle.

That is the supreme comfort.

Nuance

4

October 4, 2019-

We have all seen and heard- over the past few days, months, years- those among us who shun nuance, skit tact and embrace the bullhorn-far more than the average person.  Granted, most of us drop the tact microphone every now and again. Fatigue, stress, runaway emotions can all factor in and create a thoroughly embarrassing moment-or extended series thereof.

Those who have followed me for several years, know that I’ve had my share of tact-free episodes.  I have to own those times, and if they get thrown in my face, it is best that I ponder the situation and see what remains to be learned.

We have had a few firestorms of nuance taking a vacation, over the past several years, and most recently the back and forth over responsibility for climate change, as well as diplomatic fracases.  The larger truth seems to be that every living thing affects the climate of the planet on which he, she or it lives.  We humans, being the most advanced creatures on Earth, have the greatest capacity for influencing such change, but I digress.

Humans, chimpanzees and ants are the three groups of animals most closely associated with warfare.  Ants use what Nature gave them.  The Primate species use tools, and unlike ants, can effect intentional destruction.  There is scant nuance in war.

Nuance is developed by adopting a mindset that gradual change is best; that things aren’t always, or even often, what they seem; that complexity is inherent in the human condition; that people are not prisoners of their past.  Nuance, like any other feature of civilization, requires an open mind, listening skills and an essential love for humanity, for sentient life.

I look forward to continuing to develop an appreciation for nuance.

Another Song Celestial

0

September 29, 2019-

The humble, soft-spoken man recounted the life of his father, who is, to date, the only conscientious objector to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Desmond Doss, Sr. was portrayed by the actor Andrew Garfield, in the film “Hacksaw Ridge”.  His son  briefly detailed the actual man and the fullness of his life, at yesterday’s Hope Fest.

Desmond Doss, Jr. is at lower left, below.

20190928_111134

This day-long celebration of purpose-driven life is primarily about service to the community, with a clear message that peoples’ lives are best led through a personal relationship with Jesus the Christ.  I have helped the organizers of this effort, for the past five years.  One of the elements of this event is recognizing and honouring the veterans of present and past conflicts.  VietNam is not the least of these conflicts.

20190928_111201

Though I take a longer view, seeing a relationship with the Creator and His Messengers as essential to a well-lived life, by way of accepting that Revelation is progressive and God’s message unending, I see that encouraging others in the positive,  personal growth-oriented aspects of their own Faith is the finer path.

I came by my understanding of Baha’u’llah’s Teachings honestly, and will never hide my Faith from anyone.  It was actually the very essence of what Jesus the Christ taught, that love is paramount, which drew me to the Baha’i Faith, as “Love is the secret of God’s holy Dispensation, the manifestation of the All-Merciful, the fountain of spiritual outpourings.”- ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Baha

It never made sense to me, even as a child, that God would visit Mankind with His Grace but once.  Knowledge given is as the rays of the Sun.  The solar rays of a thousand years ago, of ten thousand years ago, warmed the Earth and were beneficial.  They remain praiseworthy, for all they brought forth.  Likewise, the rays of the present day sustain life.  They, too, deserve our appreciation.  Understanding all that is given us, by the Creator, is a worthy effort.

So I offer service to those who themselves serve others, in the highest way they can conceive.  It is our shared love for humanity that propels gatherings like Hope Fest.  Long may they continue, and bear fruit.

Be(k)nighted

4

September 27, 2019-

Reflecting on the tendency of many, to place blind trust in a celebrity, or other person of renown:

You, so blameless, in the eyes of the like-minded,

cast aspersions on the character of others,

at odds with yourself,

who, themselves are viewed as blameless,

in the eyes of those of similar mindset.

They, in turn, cast aspersions on you,

and the cats chase each others’ tails.

The resulting hole,

hole in the ground,

rabbit hole,

gets deeper,

murkier,

until none

but those with

the keenest of vision,

can see any glimmer

of light.

Meanwhile,

you gaslight,

obfuscate,

blame cast

and enlist

legions of  legalists,

talking heads

and eager apologists.

You are on the Right,

or on the Left.

It makes no difference

since you see yourself

as above it all.

How far you have,

to fall.

 

 

Virtue Signalling

10

September 25, 2019-

So, a short, intense teenager with Asperger’s Syndrome (something I share) is triggering,to middle-aged Europeans and North Americans, with time on their hands, fear in their hearts and next-to-nothing in the way of solutions to the issue (very broad and general, mind you) that she has raised.  The fact is that the market place is full of, and is implementing, a good many solutions to the problems posed by climate change.

It’s said that the child is being abused, being trotted out by minders whose ultimate goal is world dominance.  Funny, that she has never heard of George Soros, or the Koch Brothers, that she knows Leonardo DiCaprio only from an odd movie or television rerun and has met Prince Charles and Al Gore-once each.  She shows no sign of being forced to do this work, against her will, and gives no hint of making this into a high profile Virtue-Signalling crusade.  She is making a Primal Scream, with no other agenda,except that those who will inherit a goodly mess need to have some say in how it is cleaned up.  She does not favour the chimeric Green New Deal or other nebulous proposals.  In fact, she told her interviewer that she does not relish the limelight. She will go back to her schooling, in a few weeks, after the return trip.

This whole charade by some, but by no means all, on the Far Right says more about their terror at being inconvenienced, that their nagging little voice saying “Children should be seen and not heard!!” is taking over their reasoning.

It is a frightening thing, this vision of oceanic flooding, frying soil and widespread chaos.  The last thing anyone should be doing, though, is attacking the messenger. Greta does not have the education or reasoning skills to devise solutions, as yet.  None of that makes her campaign any less valid.  Adults will need to take the lead on devising and implementing solutions.  Here’s one such, in fact:  Scot Presler, a political conservative, has recently organized and conducted three large-scale clean-ups of blighted areas, in Baltimore, in Newark and in  Los Angeles.  (Each time, he was hounded by blinkered critics on the Far Left-an opaque mirror of the crankiness that has followed Greta Thunberg’s speech.)

It’s easier for the tired and the intellectually bereft to wallow in fear, than to recognize the need for change.  It always has been.  Recall the historical (hysterical) reaction to Mohandas Gandhi (“Half-naked Indian fakir”!  “A racialist, who hates Black Africans”! “A wife beater!!”); to Martin Luther King, Jr. (“Communist; reverse racist; misogynist!”) and, in the present day, to the survivors of 9/11, Sandy Hook, Parkland (“all dupes of a globalist conspiracy”).

As has been said, by thoughtful people across the political spectrum, this Climate Change Adjustment is:  Long-term; requires everyone to, as Greta said. “do what they can”; is neither subject to the vagaries of maintaining the staus quo, nor the numbing platitudes of the Green New Deal crowd (two of whom have made headlines, recently, by taking 11 different jumbo jets on a series of visits around the world.); and, as Mr. Presler & crew are showing the rest of us, is not the province of the Illuminati and their minions.

No amount of prattling from the tired and worn-out has ever stopped the civic-minded and socially aware, among rising generations, from speaking their minds.  It didn’t work in the 1940’s, when the youth of Warsaw fought the Nazis-and their own hidebound elders.  It did not work in the 1950’s and ’60’s, when Bull Connor sicked his dogs and his robots on demonstrating school children, in Birmingham.  It didn’t work last year, when the Alt-Right screamed at the Parkland students to go back to class.  It didn’t work when the neo-Fascists in London snarled at Malala Yousafzai, for not going back to Pakistan.  It won’t work now.

Only hard work will work.  That, and realizing that those who try to beat their young into submission have already failed.

 

Dear Greta

8

September 24, 2019-

Dear Greta,

I have listened to your brief remarks at the United Nations, yesterday.  They were cogent, as far as they went.  There is much work to be done, by all generations.  There is much to be done, by every nation.  I admire and honour your courage, in speaking before such a vast assemblage.  The concerns, the welfare, of young people are concerns of mine. I am also proud of you for seeing Asperger’s Syndrome, which I share, as a groundswell of strength

Now, let us go beyond the general expression of outrage, knowing that such is common to youth, as my own generation showed, in the 1960’s and ’70’s.  It only holds the world’s attention for a fleeting period.

Your work can only bear fruit if the steps followed are specific, succinct, bulleted or numbered.  Your arguments deserve to be outlined, in clear form.  Your arguments, in a field as fraught with emotion as climate, deserve to be understood, by ally and opponent, alike.  Your arguments cannot be “Pie in the Sky”.  Take your time, in formulating them.

I love the people of each of the rising generations, passionately.  Having taken your side, in conversations with more hidebound members of my own generation, I must caution you, as to what they see.  There is a sizable group, among the survivors of World War II, among Baby Boomers and among Generation X, which conflates the activism of young people today, with Hitler Youth and the Red Guards of mid-Twentieth Century China.  They see you as being dupes of well-heeled figures on the Far Left. They see you as not coming forward with your own thoughts.  They see you as brainwashed.

I have reminded such people that we, both in North America and in Europe, rebelled against political corruption, as teens and as  young adults.  Time passed, and the lure of career, success, money led all too many away from ideals.  Do not let that happen to you!  Read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, if you’ve not already done so.  Learn of the insidious power of corruption.  If you have sponsors who are wealthy, keep an eye on them and know their motives.  If they are sincerely concerned about climate change, you will know soon enough.  If their agenda is control, you must recognize that, too.

Know, and be sensitive to, the fears of the average wage earners and of those on fixed incomes.  One of the drawbacks of the Green New Deal is that it has not engaged the broad Middle Class, or the the elders who are on fixed incomes.  These people can be, and are, all too easily susceptible to the fear-mongering of those whose agenda is at variance with your own.

People can be told that, if a climate change mitigation is followed, the Stock Market will crash, and their savings accounts will crash along with it.  Too many of us elders are woefully uneducated about finance.  The wire-pullers are, even now, threatening to push for a “Bear Market”, so as to maintain control over those on fixed incomes.  Such balderdash is all too easily believed, by those who are struggling to live within their means.  Study your history, and you will see that the same tactics were used by the Fascists, in 1920’s and 1930’s Europe.  There is indeed a significant body of evidence that the economic Crash of 1929 was the work of those jockeying for control of the masses.

So, learn your finance, as well.  Using that knowledge,  plan steps that are incremental, that are focused and realizable.  Whatever you do, do not let yourself stray all over the place, especially in response to scattershot criticism-a favourite tool of political extremists on both ends of the spectrum.

Stay the course, my friend, and make sure it is YOUR course-not the hidden agenda of those who do not have your best interests at heart.  Stay fierce, and stay focused!

Mass Assumptions

6

September 19, 2019-

I don’t know about you, but I am alternately amused and flummoxed by colloquialisms and popular beliefs, that don’t hold up in the court of scrutiny.  Bear with me; this is a potpourri.

  1. “Leprosy is returning to California, via the homeless population!” FACT:  There have been no cases of leprosy reported among the homeless, in California or anywhere else.  There IS a hygiene issue, due to several cities decriminalizing toileting in public.  While this is disgusting, it has nothing to do with leprosy.
  2. “California is forcing children to experiment with sexuality!”  FACT:  California’s guidelines on public sex education  are a lot less age appropriate than many would like.  Parents, and school districts, can, however, opt out of adopting these guidelines. (DISCLOSURE:  I believe sex education is primarily the duty of the parent(s).)
  3. “MYSELF should be used, instead of ME,  and mentioned first,when speaking or writing in the first person, or when mentioning self along with others.”  I still am more comfortable using ‘me’ or ‘I’, after referring to others in my company.
  4. “________ Year Anniversary” is ‘shorthand’ for ____________st(th) Anniversary.  How is being redundant shorthand for anything?  An anniversary IS the passage of one year.  There is no such thing as a ____ month anniversary, or a _____week anniversary.  It just SEEMS like time is dragging.
  5.  “If a Democrat is elected President, the stock markets will slam shut!”  FACT:  The stock markets, under Presidents Clinton and Obama, made fair gains-albeit not as much as has been the case under President Trump.  Markets don’t move lock step with whoever is President.  China, and other countries, actually have more influence on the markets than does a U.S. president.
  6. Lastly, and my favourite: “Everybody else can do this.  What is wrong with you?”  “Everybody else” refers to either 7.7 billion people, or to everyone else known to the speaker.  There is no way for him(her) to know what even everyone he or she knows can do or not do.                                                                                                             Those are just some things that passed through my consciousness today.