Sutherland Springs

2

November 5, 2017, Prescott-

My post about a visit to Cave Creek will be up soon.  In the meantime, another Sunday, and more mayhem.

Upwards of thirty people may be dead,

and 30 others with life-threatening injuries.

All they set out to do, was worship.

Someone else had a different plan.

Bring on Armageddon.

Others responded to his act,

predictably-

blaming the Government,

blaming Trump,

blaming the Democrats,

even blaming anyone who

showed outrage at the horrific act.

This last, shades of post- Sandy Hook,

post- Las Vegas.

“It can’t be the shooter’s fault.

Maybe there was no shooter at all.

Maybe the Government made it all up.

Maybe it’s just a hologram.”

Tell that to the wounded.

Tell that to the families

who will be burying

their dead.

Tell that to all those

who have INDEED

lost their children,

parents,

siblings,

neighbours,

friends.

Denial means continuity.

 

 

Day of the Dead

4

November 2, 2017, Prescott-

Hispanic families, in Mexico and elsewhere, observe this day as a way to honour their departed ancestors and strengthen the ties between this world and the hereafter.

As I looked out the window, this morning, I swear I could see Penny’s image, and that of her father, looking back at me, in a tree across the way.

Some have gone on, this past year, who had roles, large and small, in my life.

Uncle George Boivin, one of my last surviving father figures, gave me a paving stone from Boston’s old Scollay Square, which was transformed into Government Center, when I was about 12.  He was ever available, when I was in Colorado, to set me straight, in the difficult  2 1/2 years, immediately following Penny’s passing.  His mind was sharp, until the end, and those doll houses live on.

Al Tercero served our American Legion, at the post and district level, for over 30 years.  Now he is in what we call Post Everlasting.  The Honour Guard he helped establish is still the finest in Arizona.

George Marchessault, also a Past Commander and Honour Guard stalwart, stayed true to the Legion code and was ever present at our gatherings, on almost a weekly basis, until his last illness confined him to rest.

Bea Cronin, a grand-aunt’s sister-in-law, was always outside watching the Saugus High football team, from her back yard. There was an open door and welcome to the kids who knew her sons, and to us, her far extended family, when we were in the neighbourhood.

Ivaloo Mac Vicar was always in the hall, when I was passing to classes in seventh grade, admonishing us boys to WALK down the stairs, ONE step at a time.  She made it to the Century Mark, and a bit beyond, as did-

Evelyn Porter Anderson, who gave my mother a shot at success as a hairdresser and cosmetologist, in the uncertain days after World War II.  She never stopped doting on the five of us, until blindness and infirmity kept her confined to her last home.

Bernis Hanlon taught me, in fifth grade, to rely on my own wits and to start building  layers on my thin skin.  It took twenty more years for that lesson to really stick, yet less time for her next life lesson, appreciation of fine drama, to be absorbed, six years later, when she was the  High School Theater Advisor, who didn’t mind my being on the periphery of that club’s efforts.

Firuz Kazemzadeh was a high-level scholar of the Baha’i Faith, and one of our most accomplished mentors, serving in so many capacities, legal and educational.  His was always a bright and friendly face, at national and international gatherings, as well as at “our own” Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, held annually in Phoenix.

So many others have come and gone- and some day a person or two will write of my time on this Earth.  There is much to do, as yet, so let it not be too soon.

 

Transmuted

6

October 12, Silver City, NM-

Silver has a shot at glistening.  I came away from a visit to this town, far from its neighbours in southwest New Mexico and southeast Arizona.  Silver City has a character similar to artsy towns like Bisbee, Cottonwood and Prescott, AZ; Silverton, CO or Pioche, NV.  It is not the least bit upscale, which I find a definite plus.

The lure of Gila Cliff Dwellings, and Gila Hot Springs, is enough to draw visitors into the town itself, and here are some reasons why I will return to Silver City, which is officially a town.

I always like pied downtowns.

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Dedicated art spaces are essential to the quality of life, in a modern town.

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This establishment, alone, would bring me back.

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I have mixed feelings about Javalina (pronounced JAVA-leena).  The fare is as good as any in the desert Southwest, and the patio’s ambiance is potentially relaxing.  The drawback is, from the time I entered until I had left the area, the barista, her boyfriend and the shop’s owner were watching me, very warily-even monitoring as I took a couple of photos of the mural across the street.

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Here is the scene, across from Javalina, that caught  my attention.

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This patio is a welcoming place for lunch (11-2) and dinner (5-9).  I happened by at 4 pm, and opted to dine across the street, at the unassuming, but satisfying, Silver Cafe.

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A short, but pleasant, Riverwalk, behind the business district,was a sweet after-dinner diversion.

 

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Like all old mining towns, Silver City has its Victorian hotel.  The Palace dates from 1887.  The ominously-titled Hang ‘Em High has nothing to do with Spaghetti Westerns.  It’s a frame shop!

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One of these days, I will visit friends in Deming, and make another foray up to Silver. Maybe the folks at Javalina will have gotten over whatever mood they were in, by then.

Sixty Six for Sixty-Six, Part LXV: It Doesn’t Matter

0

October 31, 2017, Prescott-

Happy All-Hallows, to those who celebrate it as an evening of festive family and community enjoyment.

It doesn’t matter to me,

if you are Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow, or some sort of hybrid.

It is superfluous,

if you are conservative, liberal, libertarian, progressive.

It is inconsequential, in my view,

if you claim adherence to the oldest of Faiths, to the Faith founded

two-thousand years ago, to the newest Faith or to no Faith at all.

It is of passing concern,

if you are heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual or just plain fed up with it all.

Male, female, “hybrid”;

child, adolescent, young adult, midlife, early senior, advanced senior, centenarian-

I have much to learn from you,

and much to offer, in return.

What matters is your spirit.

Who I am,

in this final month

of being sixty-six,

is largely who I have

ever been.

My labels do not define me.

God sees beyond the superficial,

the fleeting,,

the limited.

 

How So?

2

October 30, 2017, Prescott-

You, the Secretary of Homeland Security,

have deemed a ten-year-old girl,

with Cerebral Palsy,

a threat to national security.

How so?

A taxpayer’s question:

Is she receiving treatment,

for her condition,

whilst in Federal custody?

How so?

People continue to be

pitted against one another,

on the basis of world view,

by those whose primary motive,

is retention of power.

This is framed as defending

the patriotic from the disloyal.

How so?

Two political opponents

accuse one another

of being in collusion

with a foreign power.

In each case, how so?

One faction of government

claims it, alone, can help

long-suffering and struggling

people.

How so?

Too many, among the elite,

see division as the only way

forward.

How so?

Forgiveness

16

October 29, 2017, Prescott-

A couple of years ago, one who is closest to me

said “I forgive you”,

in the context of reassuring me

of his filial devotion.

It was not specific to anything,

leaving me to guess,

as to which of several possible

lapses in parental judgment,

to which he might have been referring.

Others, over the years,

have accepted apologies

and held me to my word.

Still others, have simply

dropped out of sight,

though no one ever

drops out of my mind

or heart.

Conversely,

I have forgiven

all but one or two,

of those who caused

my late wife so much

unnecessary pain.

All she wanted was to die in peace.

That was too much for that one,

those two,

whose concern was more about

money,

about rules and regulations,

than human decency.

If I want to be forgiven,

by those whom I have wronged,

then I have to forgive

the worst of the bad,

as well.

Christ said it,

so did Baha’u’llah.

So be it.

 

, Conscience

8

October 28, 2017, Prescott-

Nobody gets out of here alive.

Nobody here can totally escape blame.

There has been a small tempest,

an outgrowth of the recent Weinstein firestorm,

over former President GHW Bush’s

randy behaviour towards women

young enough to be his granddaughters.

People patting others,on the backside,

without their permission,

or any other form of unwanted physical contact,

including leering,

is a behaviour that needs to head for

the human scrapheap.

My conscience tells me that there were

a few times that I overstepped my bounds,

though thankfully never touching

a person’s backside, breasts

or anyplace else that constitutes

prurience.

My conscience will not let me

claim a spot, astride a moral high horse.

I will say this, though:

I own my transgressions,

whether I was called out on them,

or not.

I have no apologists, spin doctors,

or coterie of on-line attack dogs,

who will savage someone

who does call me out,

nor would I want any.

If a person humiliates, betrays

or disrespects another,

he (or she) should own it,

make amends,

and grow past it.

 

 

The Mogollon and Their Brief Haven

14

October 12, 2017, Gila Cliff Dwellings, NM- 

There are few places in the world that can claim a heritage that is chronologically brief, yet historically enduring.  I had the pleasure of being in such a place, this morning.

The Mogollon people lived in this rugged area for about 25 years, starting around 1200 AD.  Then, for reasons that may have ranged from drought to encroachment of other peoples, they left these cliff dwellings behind.

Here are several photos of the four inhabited high cliff caves, and the legacy of their only known inhabitants.  Note the charred ceilings and carefully built stone apartments.  I began by crossing this foot bridge, over a tributary of the Gila River.

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The hike was 1/2 mile, up moderately steep switchbacks.  It took me about twelve minutes to get up to the dwellings.

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Once on top, I passed by a cave that was never inhabited.

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At cave 2, I was greeted by a volunteer docent, who explained that the community was organized into apartment units, with a common area for dining and religious gatherings.

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Cave 3, the largest settled area, is accessible by ladder, as it was in the Mogollon’s time.

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The curious T-shaped window afforded a broad view of the adjacent cliffs and a narrow enough egress, in times when cook fires were errant.

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Note the remaining soot on the ceiling.  It is dated from the 13th Century.

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This ladder is a Twentieth Century replacement for the log ladder, used by the Mogollon.

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This is an example of the apartmental structure, in Cave 4.

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The area below was a common gathering place, also in Cave 4.

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Here is the eastward view that greeted the Mogollon.

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Here is an apartment in cave 5, which is not accessible to the modern visitor.

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Few pictographs remain, in the dwellings themselves, but here is one.

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As with all parts of the mountain west, the Gila Wilderness has had its share of fire.  This is an area which burned in 2011. The gentleman at lower right, and his wife, are involved with the Everett, WA Botanical Garden, which I visited in 2015.

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The Mogollon seem to have borrowed some construction techniques from the Ancient Puebloans, further northeast and from the Salado people, to the west.  Their ultimate fate remains unknown, though they seem to have made their way northward, after abandoning this site.

NEXT:  Silver City

Two Corners of Enchantment

9

October 24, 2017, Prescott- 

Whilst returning to this Home Base, in late July, I chose a route through the Oklahoma Panhandle, and into northeast New Mexico.  Bypassing the town of Clayton, I headed towards Folsom, a ghost town of sorts, whose approaches took me through some Badlands and the Cimarron Mountains, which eventually took me past Capulin Mountain- a National Monument where I hoped to stop for an hour or so.  Monsoon rains removed that possibility.

Here are a few views of the territory between Black Mesa, OK and Cimarron, NM.

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The area south of Black Mesa is high desert, and full of rugged, little-traveled BLM roads. The rock formations, as elsewhere in the Southwest, seem to have petrified beings hanging about.

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The pine-clad ridges took over, just northeast of Folsom.

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So, too, did the monsoon rain.

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I found Folsom not showing many signs of life, but several signs of history.

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Below, is the former Folsom Hotel.

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I briefly stopped in Cimarron, and later in Taos, which will each be places to revisit, in their own right, at a later date.

Here are two photos of each.

The St. James is Cimarron’s premier hotel.

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Taos is known for its art and for upscale accommodations.  I like the down home aspects of the place.

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My goal was to reach Prescott by the following morning, so I did not tarry in Taos, as tempting as it was.  I did briefly stop at another gem, not far from Taos:  Rio Grande Gorge.

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Fast forward to October 11.  I passed the eastern Arizona towns of Safford and Duncan, heading towards AZ Rte 78 and US 180, which would lead me to Silver City, in New Mexico’s southwest region.

The Gila Wilderness lies between, and is every bit as rugged as the areas described above.

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I found my way, that night, to Tammy’s Cafe, in tiny Cliff, NM and a local man named Justin regaled me with stories of ranch life and the opportunities it availed, for random exploration of early American ruins, many on private land. Tammy’s had good food, as well, although the wait gave Justin nearly an hour to spin his yarns.

NEXT:  A continuation of this month’s trip to New Mexico:  Gila Cliff Dwellings

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.