Pulse

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June 12, 2016, Prescott-  My week was largely occupied with helping to man a shelter, for some 37 people who were evacuated from two communities, Yarnell and Peeples Valley, once again threatened by fire.  This time, no one died.  This time, there was minimal property damage.  This time, the fire was taken seriously, from the get-go.

The shelter closed this morning.  I helped with the breakdown, helped inventory the necessities.  Then, I went to the Raven Cafe, had brunch and came home.  My middle brother, in the course of a phone conversation, told me of Orlando.  He told me there were 50 dead.  He told me there were 50 other people, whose lives were in the balance.  He told me of the worst terrorist act on U.S. soil, since 9/11/2001.

Orlando/Beirut:  Many dead, in the former; many terrified, in the latter.  Two fine cities, united by atrocity.  The list of affected cities and towns grows.  The list of innocent victims multiplies. The hate continues.

Three years ago, when I was in yet another of the fogs that come with grief, and was making some terrible choices, one person came to my aid. One person called me and said, directly and convincingly, “This needs to stop.  You are acting crazy and it’s not going to end well.”  That person reset my mental clock.  That person, as fine a friend as I’ve ever known, is a member of the LGBT community.  That person and his fellows deserve all the respect and human dignity that those of us who are heterosexual, cissexual, or any other designation, can possibly muster.

Pulse is now a place of mourning.  Orlando is now a city dealing with two shocks: One small in scale; the other, the worst firearms attack in American history, outside of war.  Both shatter the convoluted logic that, if only good people had firearms, the bad would be at a disadvantage.  Yes, quick, decisive action by police officers did prevent more lives from being lost, in both incidents.  Yet, both shooters reportedly acquired their weapons legally.

So, our choice is this: 1. Honour the souls who have gone on, and not make excuses, as we have done- every single time before, including after 9/11 (“That Frenchman said the U.S. Government did it.”) and after Newtown (“Don’t you know those kids are in hiding.  Nobody really died, except Lanza.”)

2.  Stay in the mindset of ignorance, and denial, and watch, “helplessly”, as the carnage goes on, and gets worse, and comes to a theater near you.

I am listening, thinking, waiting- and mourning.  I will not stand idly by, if a demon rages  in my view.

Stairstepping In Kodachrome Land, Part 3: A Zip Through The Cedars

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June 3, 2016, Chinle, AZ- After leaving Nevada behind, I decided that the drive through the expanse of heaven that is southern Utah would have to be somewhat less than just.  I have the Golden Circle on my radar screen for a full month of exploration- but not until next summer, at the very earliest, and maybe not until 2020.  The pines, cedars and unparalleled canyons of southern Utah are treasures to be taken one inch at a time.

One caveat I share with most other drivers is:  Don’t make a nuisance of yourself, by constantly and abruptly pulling to the side of the narrow road, to get that great photo.  So, the scenes presented herein are few in number- focusing on two places:  Navajo Lake/Duck Creek and Orderville Canyon.  These two very different environments give a snippet of the variety in a relatively small area of Kane County.

I spent a few minutes in the commercial hub of Cedar City, just refueling and resting my Nissan.  The traffic was already gearing up for a crowded weekend, hereabouts, so on up through Kolob Canyon it was.  Navajo Lake lies in the rim country, above Zion National Park.  There were about a dozen people at the overlook, so we took turns with photographs.

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Navajo Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Navajo Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Dike  across Navajo Lake, Dixie National Forest, Utah

The dike was built by members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, during the New Deal, to maintain constant water flow.

Navajo Lake, and nearby Duck Creek, were created by lava flow, which altered the course of the Virgin River, which created Zion Canyon.  Below, are some scenes of the lava beds, around Duck Creek Visitor Center.

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Lava bed at Duck Creek Visitor Center, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Lava bed, Duck Creek Visitor Center, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Duck Creek, Dixie National Forest, Utah

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Duck Creek, Dixie National Forest, Utah

Orderville is one of the small farming towns that are a delight to visit, in the midst of southern Utah’s canyon country.  It is also a jumping off point for those headed east, towards Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Park.  Orderville has a gorgeous canyon of its own, though, and can easily enchant the visitor for 2-3 days.

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Orderville Canyon, Utah

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Orderville Canyon, Utah

With the day growing short, I headed on east and south, through Page, AZ, on the southern shore of Lake Powell, across the Navajo Nation, to Kayenta and Chinle.  At Tsegi, just west of Kayenta, I cam across a couple whose vehicle and trailer had overturned.  The Indian Health Service worker who had stopped to help was having a hard time getting through to emergency services.  I was able to call and get help en route.  Good thing that neither person,nor their two dogs, were injured.  Past Kayenta, a brush fire had broken out, south of Chilchinbeto, where I once worked. Once again, 911 was dialed from my phone, and a fire truck was dispatched.

That was the end of the day’s excitement.  I enjoyed a relaxing meal at Junction Restaurant, in Chinle, before heading down to Native American Baha’i Institute, another 1 1/2 hours further southeast.  It is time to change gears, and focus on spirituality for a day or so.