The Past Prologue and The Fulfillment Ahead

4

January 1, 2021

The year just passed has given us a few gifts, as well as having taken some treasures from us. Chief among the gifts is the ability to conduct mass meetings online. This will ease active participation in Baha’i activities, regardless of where I happen to be.

It is a poorly-kept secret that, if it be the will of God (and the creek stays within its banks), I will be back on the road, and in the air, for a fair portion of the next four years. Prescott will remain Home Base, at least for this year. There is much for me to do here, and in the Southwest at large, between now and the middle of May. The stage was set, as it were, by callings I received and followed in the 2010s.

So 2021, any larger issues notwithstanding, is looking like this:

January– The agenda set by response to the pandemic will probably find me continuing to help out in the schools on a fair number of days. Involvement with a regional sustainability group will also be a priority. Then, there is a little group that meets each Wednesday at 1 p.m. (MST), and which has my heart’s attention. I will be on the trail, looking at a couple of extensions of Black Canyon Trail, northward from the original trailhead, outside Mayer; finishing Limekiln Trail, with the Sedona segments; and spending time in Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountain Desert Preserve. There is also the homefront downsizing: Paper-shredding and discarding of unnecessary belongings will begin this month and extend into next.

February- It’s likely that COVID-19 will factor into this month as well, in terms of being asked to help out in the schools. I already have agreed to a four-day stint, in mid-month. Hiking will take me to the Hualapai Mountains, of northwest Arizona and to Picketpost Mountain, outside Superior. Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i Intercalary Days, will find me preparing hand-made gifts, for the first time since I made a bird house in Grade 8. These won’t be that elaborate, but will be done carefully, and from the heart.

March- It will have been ten years, since Penny passed on, March 5. I will invite other friends to join me at graveside, on that day. This is also the month of the Baha’i Nineteen Day Fast, and although I am no longer required ot abstain from food and drink during daylight hours, having reached the age of 70, my thoughts and actions will be in support of those who are abstaining. I will also make a road trip to Texas, in the middle of the month. Hiking will include a first visit to Phoenix’s South Mountain Park.

April- The Festival of Ridvan marks the twelve days of Baha’u’llah’s preparation for His second exile-from Baghdad to Istanbul (then called Constantinople) and His Declaration of Mission, during that twelve-day period. It also ends a Five-Year Plan we have been following, and begins a twelve-month celebration of the life of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, as November will mark the Centenary of His Ascension. Much of my activity, this month, will revolve around these events. Hiking will take in the Hermit’s Rest area of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and parts of Sycamore Canyon, which runs south of Flagstaff and east of Sedona.

May- Preparations for the summer and autumn will occupy much of this month. Hopefully, New Mexico will re-open itself to us Arizonans, and I will spend a few days at Chaco Culture Historical Park. If California is open, and safe, by then, a visit to the coast will be in order,

June- If Bellemont Baha’i School is open for in-person groups, I will devote this month to that endeavour. If not, then I will make an early drive northwest-to my soul families in Nevada and Oregon, as well as to Vancouver Island, Haida Gwai’i (The one place Penny wanted to visit together, that has not happened yet) and British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast-north of the City of Vancouver.

July- The Plan B for June will fall into this month, if Bellemont is open. Otherwise, I will head east through Canada, and visit as many family members and friends, en route to and around Boston, as have time.

August– Atlantic Canada will take up part of this month, then it’s back southward and westward, again visiting family and friends along the way.

September and October– Take care of some necessary business in Arizona, spend quality time with Texas family and then off to Europe, with Iceland a first stop. This journey will also be oriented towards the ancestral home of my mother’s family, in what is now western Poland, with other stops in Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, Romania, northern Italy and France. A few stops in the British Isles are also possible.

November- This month will be devoted to specific community and regional celebrations, in Arizona, of Abdu’l-Baha’s life.

December- This will be whatever my family wants it to be.

These plans are what my meditations have told me, as of today. Recalling that last January, I was fully intending to do a cross-Canada journey in the summer, I will simply accomplish as much as reality on the ground allows.

May all have a Happier 2021!

Righting the Ship

4

February 23, 2020-

So, I got back to Home Base around 4 a.m., doing what is customary, under such circumstances: Sleeping for three hours.  It was then time to shower and do devotions, as always, and head off to the American Legion, for the last breakfast I will have with the mates, for a month or so-as my final physical Fast is approaching (March 1-19, this year).  A devotional meeting followed, in Prescott Valley, for which I was actually quite mentally present.

More sleep took up early afternoon, thus righting my physical/mental ship.  Among other things, the illness that lingered, for nearly two weeks, is finally gone.  Maybe the exercise, of pushing myself to do the long round trip to/from Indio, was exactly what was needed to push the remnants out.  Sometimes, counter-intuitive is the way to go.

At last night’s concert, Sheryl took a few minutes to engage the audience, as to who in the crowd was in their thirties, forties and fifties, the last being her own age group.  She asked how many were still having fun, in their fifties-as she certainly is.  A goodly number gave a rousing response.   That’s gratifying; people ought to enjoy life, at any age.  She didn’t ask US-those in our sixties and beyond, but I am, my row mates (also in their sixties) and the seventy-somethings, who were seated across the aisle, seemed to be having a great time of it, as well.

So, on we go. This coming week brings Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday/Lent and, for us Baha’is, Ayyam-i-Ha (the Intercalary Days of feasting and gift-giving, before our Fast begins, a week from today).

May it be a great run-up to Leap Day!

 

It Goes Without Saying

9

February 26, 2018, Prescott-

I’ll say it, anyway-

Today was the first day of Ayyam-i-Ha, the Baha’i period of gift giving and gratitude for what we have.

I gifted an intentional community, north of here, with a stoneware baking dish, because they have been jerry-rigging their baking efforts.  Plus, I love those kids.

Actually, I love all kids, and have for years.  Even the ones that others call misfits and brats deserve love and encouragement, though not coddling.  Nonviolent discipline is a vital part of love.

This generation, which some call The Founders, will have its work cut out for it.  How much work, will depend on how much their parents’ and grandparents’ generations put up a fight against their efforts (see #CameraHogg and other noisome garbage that various “Old Guards” are spewing forth).

It will also depend on how seriously the children come to take their own pronouncements about inclusion.  Splitting into cliques and putting up walls will just be more of the same.

“Hallelujah” and “The Sound of Silence” are among the most beautiful songs in the English language.  They’ve been on my evening’s playlist. Then, there is this:

The Baha’i Nineteen-Day fast is coming up, starting Friday, and lasting until sundown on Tuesday, the twentieth of March.  I will refrain, to the best of my ability, from eating or drinking, between sunrise and sunset, for those nineteen days.

Guns don’t kill; hate kills.  Guns make killing easier, as do bombs and flammable liquids.  The bottom line is, though, it’s a hate thing.

I could not live, easily, in a world without women.  It started with Mom, and Grandma, in the early mists that I knew as Saugus, in the 1950’s.  That brings up this:

The harbour lights and the campground lights have meant the same thing to me, over all these years:  There is love and safety ahead.

Know this, my friends and family:  There is not as fine a world, if not for you.  Self-battery should never be an option.

 

 

The Road to 65, Mile 92: Balance

2

February 28, 2015, Prescott-  Over the past several days, we Baha’is have been participating in Ayyam-i-Ha, the gift-giving days signaling the approach of our liturgical year’s end.  We then will fast for the final month of the year, at least those of us who are between the ages of 15-70, and whose physical circumstances do not pose a risk to health.

During this time, people have indulged in a bit of fol-de-rol, online, regarding a certain multi-coloured dress.  I’ve weighed in on the matter, tongue in cheek, and see no harm in such activities.  All the same, the heinousness of many, around the world, also continues.  Angry, misanthropic men indulged themselves in the wanton destruction of ancient treasures, in a museum of Mosul, Iraq, much as they savage Christian and Muslim alike, in the territories unfortunate enough to have fallen under their control.  The same process repeats itself in northern Nigeria, western Myanmar and pockets of the resurgent nation of Somalia.   No one in those places is safe.

Here at home, a human monster is using a motor vehicle as a weapon, aiming it at other drivers, striking their parked vehicles and generally trying to instill fear in a peaceful neighbourhood, towards God knows what end.

Every community has to deal with the unbalanced.  For me, it is well that I have personal faith and its various avenues towards achieving balance in my life.  I am grateful for my friends and family, for the essential oils and organic foods that have kept me out of harm’s way, physically, over the past year or two. It’s a tough row to hoe, being mildly autistic yet capable of holding positions of responsibility and, most importantly, being able to see other people’s point of view.

The Hopi world view was presented, nearly thirty years ago, in a film entitled “Qoyaniqatsi”, or “World Out of Balance”.  Man’s departure from the world of nature was a central theme of this film.  Nature, by itself, struggles to maintain balance, and by itself is generally successful in that regard.  Humankind can maintain balance, in itself and with nature, only by following physical and natural laws, of which “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the most basic.  To achieve and maintain balance, one must feel connected with all things.

It is the disconnect that many have felt, for some time, that underlies the savagery we see, continuously, in so much of the world.  There are no easy answers to resolving the rage of Islamic State, Boko Haram, the Burmese Buddhist extremists, al-Shabab or any of the bullies who who cause distress, to a lesser extent, in communities around the Earth.  There is, however, a slow process of regeneration taking place, simultaneous to the destruction.  Balance will be restored, and in one state of being (physical or spiritual), each of us will see it.

The Road to 65, Mile 90: In-Between Days

1

February 26, 2015, Prescott- The Baha’i Faith uses a calendar that consists of nineteen devotional months, of nineteen days each.  That leaves four days, in a 365-day year and 5 days, in a Leap Year, for celebration, gift-giving and acts of service.  I will only say that my service has been done, both inside and outside of my comfort zone, these past few days.  While I don’t like doing things that are unconventional and might attract unwanted attention to myself, I have done so, for the sake of peace in my wider community.  On the other hand, it’s easy for me to pitch in and help with a group activity, as that was always de rigeur in my family, both nuclear and extended.

Ayyam-i-Ha, or Intercalary Days, (February 26-March 1), are always an interesting time, as are the days of the Fast, which follow, from March 2-20. We gather, as a community, and offer hospitality and service to both one another and to the wider community. We are “promised” a five-day storm, starting Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.  Something tells me we will be in for five days of sunshine.  High pressure, around here, is a blessing (tourism magnet) and a curse (One can’t drink dust).  My point is, things are far more unpredictable than usual, this time of year.    I look forward, though, to both the gifts and the challenges, as always.