The Eve’s Eve

4

October 31, 2020-

Some nights bring almost an altered state of consciousness, even when one has not indulged in mind-altering substances. Last night was one of those nights.

Hallowe’en (All Hallows Eve) is one of those evenings which has grown so much in popularity, that it has its own Eve-especially when it falls on a Saturday or Sunday. So, yesterday featured many people in workplaces, in costume.

After a quotidian day of paying rent and bills, it was time to head over the mountain, to Synergy, where the Friday musical gathering, these days, typically offers a more balanced energy than the testosterone fests of Saturday night. It was anything but disappointing.

The Real– At first, it was a quiet affair, with a few of us musing about the need for both social companionship and for space to recover from a dissolved relationship, as one of my young friends is experiencing now.

The venerable drummer came in first, almost as a herald. We exchanged thoughts about the general atmosphere of the community. He allowed as how he missed the presence of children, in the transitory neighbourhood, in which he lives.

The flood tide of people came in, in wavelets of 3 or 4, first sitting and engaging in several conversations, whilst sipping their drinks and nibbling artisan chocolate or cookies. The music began in the back, and I stood tapping on the door sill, for want of another instrument. When the owner of a cajon drum left it and went away for a while, I borrowed it and joined in accompaniment to two guitar players and a flautist. Upon her return, and subsequent departure with the cajon, I used a table top for a while. This let me know that I need to get a drum of my own-preferably before my next visit to Synergy.

Going into the front room, I sat in a swivel chair, and fell into a meditative state, whilst still tapping in unison with the rising crescendo of a group that had gathered in the area outside the shop. So much joyful noise, being made by loving beings, and I have not felt this level of positive energy in a large group, since the Convergence at Arcosanti, in September, 2018.

I left, around 11 p.m., as an hour’s drive homeward remained. One of these times, I will spend the night in a small motel not far from Synergy, and thus be part of the gathering until it is finished. The drive home was serene and uneventful, but for a brief stop by a police officer who was doing sobriety checks.

The Dream– Sedona, Bisbee and Boulder, Colorado mashed up, as I was sitting in my car at a curb. A man and his little daughter got in the back seat, thinking I was an Uber driver. They asked me to take them down an alley. When I stopped to wait for another vehicle that was backing up, I turned around and there was another man sitting by himself in the back seat. I asked what had happened to the other man and little girl. He said, “They got out to go to the grocery store. Could you take me to my neighbourhood?”

This was getting interesting, and did not leave me disconcerted. For some reason, though, the road was closed, after a few minutes. I got out and started walking, with the man beside me. Three pit bulls appeared, with one of them leashed, I took the leash and walked the animal, while the other two were alternately licking my hands and playfully tussling with one another. The two unleashed dogs spotted a cart, which had several caged parrots. They headed towards the cart, but I called out to them, while Passenger # 2 just stood, staring blankly into space. The leashed dog followed my command to stay away from the cart, and just before one of the others got to one of the parrots, a window opened, from a room overlooking the street. A small boy called to the parrots, startling the pit bulls. A light came on, the front door opened, and a robust man came out, speaking firmly to the dogs, in Spanish, and holding a hose, from which he shot water towards them.

I received a call from Uber, saying a small amount had been paid them electronically. I explained that I was not an Uber driver, and had no idea which of the two parties who sat in my car would have made that payment. By then, the stoner had disappeared, but along came the first man and his daughter, apologizing for their abrupt disappearance, while he asked for his $40 back. When we walked back to my car, the owner of the three pit bulls came and apologetically took his animals back. I looked in my cup holder and there was $40, along with a credit card receipt, for $14.78. The dream ended, then and there.

It must have been the chocolate beverage that I had at Synergy. Please, though, if you have pit bulls, keep them away from othe rpeople’s parrots.

Last Quarter Plans

2

October 11, 2020-

With October nearly half over, it’s high time for me to look at this last three months, or so, of 2020.

October 12-17– This is Fall Break week and is the first of the two weeks I gave myself off, from any out -of-state deployments with Red Cross. If a wildfire breaks out around here, of course I will be on hand to help. Otherwise, on Tuesday, I will hike the first of two peaks in northern Arizona that go by the name Red Mountain. It is in an area between Prescott Valley and Lynx Lake, a section of the Bradshaw Mountain foothills that I have not explored, up to now. Monday and Wednesday feature Zoom meetings, two of which I host, so walks downtown will suffice. Thursday through Saturday, the road will lead to other Red Mountain, north of Williams, on the road to the South Rim of Grand Canyon. If the road to Hermit’s Rest is open, on the South Rim, I will go there as well.

October 18-24- This is a Holy Week for Baha’is, with two days spent commemorating the births of al-Bab and Baha’u’llah, which did occur back-to-back, though two years apart- Baha’u’llah having been born in 1817 and His Herald, in 1819. It’ll be different, celebrating these auspicious days on Zoom.

I may also have work opportunities, with the Sub service, but we’ll see.

October 25-31– Halloween Week will also be different this year. No word has gone out, from either of the groups who have put on parties, in years past. My default will be to throw on the silly suit I wore last year, and bring treats to neighbour families who know me. It may also be either a heavy subbing week or yet another deployment, for a disaster response yet unseen.

November 1-6- Election Week will have its share of challenges, both local and further afield. I am leaving my service options open: Our normally quiet, live-and-let-live little city could need as many voices of reason as can be had-or it could stay quiet, and congenial. There could very well be those who need the services of the Red Cross, if mayhem results in mass displacement. I will have the blessing of a virtual Spiritual Retreat, each evening, from November 5-8, to provide online balance.

November 8-14- Veterans’ Week will hopefully remind everyone that Freedom isn’t Free. Any public activities on November 11 will find me there. November 12-14 will be a good time to head up to Painted Desert-Petrified Forest.

November 15-21- Mid-month will be either a full work week or a time for day trips to Sedona, finishing the long-delayed completion of a hike on Limekiln Trail and going up Cathedral Rock.

November 22-28- Thanksgiving Week, ending with my 70th Birthday, so it’ll be Texas Time. Son will use a grill in the apartment complex courtyard, so this will be another fine gathering. I will likely be quite reflective, on that Saturday, with a view towards using all for which I can be grateful to help those who have been discounted and marginalized- the mirror image of the fourth Thursday in November.

November 29-December 5- The first week of my eighth decade will begin a run-up to my retirement (always unofficial) from substitute teaching. In practical terms, what that will mean is that I will not NEED to work, in order to make ends meet, after this calendar year. I will still be amenable to going in, two or three days a week, from January through May. The major emphasis, though, will shift to volunteer work, for which I’m already getting plenty of practice.

December 6-12- This marks forty years since I first met Penny. A trip to Zuni and Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Preserve will be in order. I will also stop in Bisbee, which we never visited together, on the way back-just because it’s there.

December 13-19- There may be a smidgen of work to be done, but my emphasis this week will be culling old files out of the cabinet and putting effort into shredding.

December 20-26- Depending on family input, and the state of the pandemic, I will either make a journey to New England or devote some time to an Arizona Christmas.

December 27-January 2- Part of the time will be in Texas and part will be in Florida, with the Gulf Coast in between (weather-permitting). The first week of 2021 will be the same, in reverse.

Some things will remain constant, location notwithstanding. I will have regular Baha’i Zoom calls to maintain and continuing to pay off what is left of my bills will be achieved.

This is my vision for the last twelve weeks of a tempestuous year.