Cave Creek’s Story

7

May 26, 2019, Cave Creek-

(This is a bit of recent history-mine, about some earlier history-Cave Creek’s.  I stopped in this fun-loving town, this evening, after having made my graveside visit.  Cave Creek is the sort of town that Penny and I enjoyed together, much like her pre-marital abode:  Julian, CA.)

I had ninety minutes to spend, prior to having dinner at Big Earl’s, so where better to go than Cave Creek Museum- a small, but well-appointed repository of the frontier town’s historical record.

First, I spent about a half hour reconnecting several of the dots.  The area, being near the Verde River, as well as its namesake creek, was a crossroads for trade between the Sinagua and Hohokam peoples.  Thus, artifacts from all over the Southwest found their way here.  The Pima, or Akiel O’odham, were living in the area, in more modern times.

Following European settlement, and further upon the opening of the Southwest to settlement from the Eastern U.S., gold and gem mines popped up around Cave Creek, in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries.  The Mormon Girl and Golden Reef Mines were the largest in the area.

After World War II, the dry climate and relatively warm temperatures drew people seeking relief from tuberculosis and other pulmonary ailments.  A cabin that had been used to house t.b. patients is preserved, on the museum grounds.

Any frontier town has its characters.  Cave Creek’s included Honky Tonk Jack, who played music in several of Cave Creek’s saloons and “Dirty Al” Rance, a popular but somewhat unsavory cow puncher, who was often afoul of the law.

Here are some scenes of the museum’s outdoor exhibits.

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A prospector like this gentleman could be found outside mines like the Mormon Girl, which still exists on the side of nearby Black Mountain.

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Here’s lookin’ at ya!

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Driftwood art is natural, for a town close to waterways which rage, during monsoon rains.

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This stamp is from Golden Reef Mine.  It is the only ten-stamp ore-grinding mill still in operation in Arizona-at selected times. The tramway tower, of course, is off-limits.

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Here is a replica of what the ore yard looked like at the height  of Golden Reef’s operations.

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This windmill graced a nearby ranch.  The name of the operator, David Bradley, is shared by many, including a personal friend.

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Here’s more ore yard equipment.

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I don’t think this ore cart would be a very comfortable ride.

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Extracting ore requires lots of water and gas.

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Every western town had a gazebo, or bandshell, similar to those of the Midwest and South.

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This is the Cave Creek Community Chapel, still offering Sunday services.

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The church bell still works.

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Here is a look at the off-limits Tuberculosis Cabin.

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Finally, this critter draws many children to ask their parents for a visit to the museum.

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So went the saga of one of my favourite central Arizona towns.

Sacrifice

18

May 31, 2019-

I was mildly upbraided for my summer plans, with the person exhorting me to consider “sacrifice”, for the sake of those who might need me to be here.  Sacrifice does mean giving up something, for a larger good.  So, let me look at that.

I live in one of the most desirable communities I’ve ever known.  It would, actually, be the easiest thing in the world, to stay here through the summer, and be at the beck and call of a relative handful of people.  Summers in Prescott are laid back. I could walk down to Courthouse Square or over to one of the colleges that are within walking distance.  I could hang out at Ms. Natural’s or The Raven Cafe, in the morning hours, then get together with friends in the evening, for regular spiritual study or other elevated conversations.

I live, however, for the wider world-as well as for my Home Base.   My journeys are NOT “taking a break from routine”, as was suggested.  Perhaps the person making that statement sees self, and some others up here, as feeling trapped- perhaps.  In truth, none of us here are trapped, in the literal sense.  I use time that is not devoted to work, to connect with other friends and family- not to hang out in luxury accommodations or visit theme parks.

There have been several years in my life, when the wider world had to wait, precisely because responsibilities did occupy my life, 24/7.  Such circumstances could find me again.  In any of these cases, it is a labour of love.  I do not view time spent here as a sacrifice, in any way, shape or form.  Nor do I view time spent on the road as an extravagance.

Whose Laws?

11

May 30, 2019-

I am a law-abiding citizen.

When it comes to the laws of the land,

in which I live,

or the land in which I find myself,

I am very much in synchronicity.

I am a God-fearing soul.

When it comes to the Laws of God,

I am obedient, for therein

lies my safety.

I am connected,

to the messages

of my spirit guides.

When what they tell  me

conflicts with the opinions

of those telling me

to stay put,

lest I be seen as

unwilling to sacrifice,

I go with the spirit guides.

They’ve not failed me.

Last year, my angels

told me to leave the city.

Someone else wanted me

to visit a shrine.

I sought to visit the shrine.

I was robbed.

The angels sighed,

and stayed with me,

bringing friends who

comforted me and

skilled craftsmen,

who repaired the damage.

This year, my guides say

“Go serve, at the beginning

and at the end,

of this summer’s path.

Then, go forward

and be with some of those

who love you,

in other parts

of the nation.”

A voice of discontent

says “Sacrifice your wanderlust.

Stay put!”

My soul knows that

I will be of intense service

here,

when autumn comes,

when winter returns,

when another spring beckons.

For now, in summer,

I belong to the wider country.

There is more sacrifice in this,

than the person

who sees time

on the road,

as a mere break

in the routine,

can ever know.

 

 

 

Unlimited Doors

8

May 29, 2019-

On this day,

127 years ago, Baha’u’llah ascended to the next realm.  The door of His Teachings remains wide open, to all who seek.

102 years ago, John F. Kennedy was born, in Brookline, MA.  His work was unfinished and his potential far from realized, when the door to his life here was slammed shut, in 1963.

55 years ago, my youngest brother, Brian, was born, in Melrose, MA.  His purpose here was to train us all in unconditional love.  From the looks of how my family has lived, since his passing, in 1994, I’d say his work was successful.

This past April, a door to my working full-time closed.  Since then, other doors have remained ajar.  This is the truth behind- “When one door closes, another will open.”

Some doors can appear, from a distance, to be closed.  Sometimes, that is simply the result of skewed vision.

Other doors, which one tries to close, remain open because they have contents within that are needed for a healthy life.

Then, there are those others, which are better off shut, no matter how much one thinks that what’s inside is desirable.

May my ability to choose the right doors remain strong.

 

 

Encumbrances

0

March 28, 2019-

I woke this morning, to see a couple of challenges awaited.  Both involved technology, so I steeled myself and said, “This is not going to keep me down.”  Experimenting a bit with what little I knew, the solution to to one problem involved enlisting a friend.  So my first ever video will be done under friend’s tutelage, tomorrow.

Enlarging photos is, it turns out, not difficult, but it will be time-consuming.  It has to be done over several weeks, yet as I will have access to Internet, even whilst on the road, I will get several photos enlarged and sent to their intended recipient, per day.

The human issue is always the most difficult.  I have, as I have mentioned countless times, a variety of friends.  As long as I steer clear of any deep emotional attachment, I am well and good.  Love has to be bigger than that.  Someone who showed interest in me, a few days ago, quickly figured out that was really not the case.  It’s all well and good, as I am really not in the mood for gamesmanship and want to remain in an adult frame of mind.

In a few days, I will sit down and figure out exactly where my spirit will take me, the next two months. I will have my annual physical, tomorrow afternoon, and that will determine a lot.  A couple of camps, with adolescents, will bookend the summer break.  In between, I feel the need to reconnect with friends, across the country, starting with Dineh friends in Coal Mine Mesa and Hopi friends in Polacca, on Father’s Day.  After that, the route will take me to points across the South, then northeast, back across the Midwest and northern Rockies, with a bright shining Starfish at the end of July, in Carson City, before the second adolescent camp.

So, I treat each encumbrance as a chance to break free, with a new sense of strength.

Altogether Fitting and Proper

7

May 27, 2019-

The morning dawned,

and all were present.

The rain was here,

to bless the events of the day ahead.

The clouds lingered overhead,

to offer the promise

of further blessings.

The Sun peeked,

to let us know

that there is

always hope.

The politicians are here,

to show that they

at least appreciate

our right to be freely represented.

Friends are here,

to remind me

that I’m not alone.

Foes and naysayers are here,

to remind me

that no one

can meet everyone

else’s expectations

and wants.

Conservatives are here,

to maintain the best

of what we have.

Liberals are here,

to ensure that society

does not remain

uniformly static.

Children are here,

because mankind has

a bright future.

Seniors are here,

to share the better part

of our immediate past.

The choirs, male and female,

are here,

because everyone has

a voice that is

worth hearing.

My mind is here,

to keep a lid

on the whimsies

that sometimes

threaten

to carry me off.

Memories and appreciation

will remain.

Thank you, for having been, my grandparents,

my father, little brother,

departed aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Thank  you for your service,

Uncles Carl, Ernie, Charlesie, Jimmy,Eddie, Tom, Bob , Sonny, Al and John;

Aunt Toddy; Cousins Gordon Spousta and Mike Madigan;  friends Stan Egan, Dicky

Devine,”Little” Charlie Stack, Mike Kmita, Paul Smith, Lori Ann Piestewa.

On this day, all who served with honour are to be honoured themselves,

for having given the supreme sacrifice-either dying in combat,

or later, from its effects.

Mr. Lincoln had it right:  It is altogether fitting and proper, that we give such remembrance.

 

 

Relevant

0

May 26, 2019, Phoenix-

With tomorrow being rather a full day of honouring the departed, back in Prescott, I made this afternoon a time to place flowers and spend some time at Penny’s grave site.  Although I feel her presence constantly, and don’t crowd her spirit life with constant thoughts of what might have been, it is still the mark of a human being to honour loved ones who have gone on.

I’ve thought further about my latest ruminations on friendship.  Each and every one I call friend has at least one particular relevance in my life, and several have more.  Whether a person is primarily a friend-in-Faith, has a role in my health regimen (including the person I met yesterday), is an intellectual match or is tied to me through social networks, alone, each is someone who is of value.

I am past the thrashing about, that seemed to take shallow root, in the two years after Penny passed.  I am not going to follow  third-party hints about pursuing a relationship with someone, when that person herself is not the one dropping those hints.  That, to me, is borderline harassment.

Where I am now is finding my way forward, and keeping my ties to each of my friends based on mutual respect and nurturance.  Whether I see a friend almost every day, once in a while, once a year, or only contact online-the principle is the same.  You have my heart.

 

 

Camaraderie

8

May 25, 2019-

I have, very recently, met someone who has hit me like a ton of bricks, and much in the way Penny did.  I have no idea how this friendship will go, but it is bound to be one of substance.

For the past eight years or so, I have, to outward seeming, gone at times from pillar to post with my meanderings and efforts at working day jobs.  This is who I am, though, and my purpose remains to be a friend to as many who cross my path, as do not mean either me, or the world, harm.

I used to be a loner.  Penny changed all that- and even when it was the two of us, quietly reading or thinking, in our own spaces, I was no longer just one living for myself.  Since she passed, I have been aware that, if I ever reverted to loner-hood, she’d come back and haunt me.  Thus, there is the sense of belonging to a community that’s bigger; to groups that have an aim.

I have ties, camaraderie, with so many communities, it’s hard to pin down to one place.  That remains a good part of me, and so:

Prescott- Here, I have become grounded, made an effort at being part of a day-to-day community and have established many friendships-with people across the political and social spectra, who, in their own words, might not be able to stand being in the same room with each other.  While that’s sad, it is the human condition. I’ve been doing this sort of networking since high school, though, so it is second nature.

Phoenix- It’s no secret that this city, this sometimes choking environment, nearly buried me.  That is as much present in the circumstances of my time lived here, being a caregiver, especially for a loved one, is both labour of love and slow asphyxiation.  She often said she couldn’t wait to “be out of my way”, though to my mind, it could have gone on forever-until leaving was what was best for her.

I love the desert mountains, which the city has had the foresight to keep out of the harm’s way of uber-development (Prescott, take note:  You have no idea how close you are to losing the very places which make you special.) I also love the people who stayed close to me, when the feckless around us were seeking to quarantine my wife and me.

Arizona- You took me in, when I was still very much a mess.  Flagstaff, Superior, Casa Grande, Cochise County, the White Mountain region, Kingman-and the eternally blessed Dineh and Hopi Nations all have given me friendships that will draw this one back, time and again.  Tucson, for reasons both long-standing, and yet to pan out, is a special draw.

The West- California, in the words of Debbie Boone, will “keep calling me home.”  The beaches, the expanse of Mojave and Imperial Deserts, the Coast Ranges, LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, the Bay Area-and the Sierra Nevada underscore my ongoing friendships, which will remain.  Nevada, Colorado, Utah- your treating me like family will only be an ongoing comfort and draw this one back time and again.

The same hold true, for those in my heart in the Northwest, Alaska, the Midwest, Northeast, South, Canada, Korea and western Europe.  I cannot see myself staying apart from any of you, my friends and family, in perpetuity. Nor, for that matter, do I wish to preclude time with those friends in places yet unvisited:  The rest of Europe, the Pacific Rim, South, West and Central Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas.

Time will tell whether my solo wanderlust, or this newfound friendship, sets the parameters of  the future.  It is a comforting place to be.

 

Power

11

May 23, 2019-

While I was exercising, this afternoon, a former student happened by the exercise room, accompanied by a couple of friends.  The three stood nearby and watched me, out of the corners of their eyes, whilst having an animated conversation.  This student impressed me, over the past two years, as one who has a wealth of personal power and has learned, early in life, how to nurture and exercise those strengths-physical,intellectual and interpersonal.

I’ve been thinking a fair amount, about the exercise of power, over the past few days.  Knowing what power actually is, helps greatly  in that exercise.  Some regard power as the ability to outshout, to cut other people off, to be “large and in charge”.  I see this in various levels of government, in the press and on broadcast media.  Some exercise their power by seeking to exclude others from work, from social events and even from living in a community.  Still others try to legislate or shame people who aren’t living in a manner they see fit, from doing what they regard as abominable or distasteful.

While this last is a  laudable response to crimes against children, vulnerable adults or animals, or to actions causing environmental havoc, it has been carried too far when it comes to prescribing what a person should or should not do with his/her own body.  In a nutshell, regarding the abortion issue and the childcare issue overall, I stand foursquare in favour of adoption/community parenting-and a much more rigourous set of standards for foster parenting, as well.  Those are topics for other posts, though.

Power comes from inside oneself.  It can, temporarily, be augmented by the use of a weapon, by obfuscation and sandbagging, or by outright lying.  Those, however, are bandaids- and we know that bandaids must be changed, daily, lest infection set in.

Power comes from within, and must be brought to account, each day.  It must be nurtured, through prayer and meditation.  It must be strengthened through mindfulness.  It must recognize the Source of all power.   It cannot be ascribed to others.  They, our parents, our elders, our steadfast friends, our leaders, our teachers can only nurture what is already present within each of us.  It is up to the individual to exercise and maintain her/his power.

Closure

15

May 22, 2019-

I was invited, by my former building principal, to attend an end-of -year barbecue.  I went, and he greeted me pleasantly at the door.  A few former co-workers exchanged small talk, and I had a nice lunch. Predictably, some of the elite in my former department turned their backs when I sat down.  That’s what they do.  I did not budge from my seat.

Closure, in a stratified environment, is often hard to achieve.  I give the principal, and my former team members credit, though, for having the integrity to not define me by the unfortunate misunderstandings that led to discretion being the better part of valour, last month.  The principal did what he had to do, and everyone else adjusted.  There was simply no time, or space, for a proper investigation into the false accusations.  I know this, from having been in his shoes.  There are some very fluid situations, on occasion, and time does not wait around.  The safety of students is what matters most.

Education will continue, and will hopefully continue to improve.  I will keep on going and, even if I find it difficult to remain in this community after this Fall, I will find peace wherever I am.  At least I have closure, with regard to leaving my post.