The Ocean

19

February 16, 2017, Carlsbad, CA-

I have traveled, from one healing place

to another,

and then to another, yet.

Prescott has been my refuge,

for six years,

and six months.

Blythe is a wide spot

in the Colorado Desert,

of California’s underscored East.

I stayed there,

because it has the river.

A desert was once an ocean.

Dig deep enough,

past the scorpions’ nests,

and the caliche,

and there will be shell fossils.

La Jolla,

bustling,

overcrowded,

expensive as a place to live,

but sublimely peaceful,

if you look past the mobs.

It reminds me of a time,

long ago,

when I was in the Bronx.

on a Sunday morning,

in April.

No one else was about,

just me,

and Yankee Stadium,

and the animals of Bronx Zoo,

and the murals,

painted by those of good heart.

Today,

it was all the parents and kids,

beautiful people of tomorrow,

and a small colony of sea lions.

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There are few murals in La Jolla,

but  there is a Museum of Contemporary Art

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I left La Jolla,

and negotiated the hordes of people

trying, desperately, to get past

one another,

only to meet again,

at the next light.

We did this dance,

on I-5

and again

on the PCH,

from Encinitas,

to Carlsbad.

Here, I bought

yet another box

of Girl Scout cookies,

because mother and child

were alone,

ignored by those

passing in and out of Von’s.

I bought a box,

because this girl

is our future,

and the future needs

the water of encouragement.

I was followed

by a grandmother,

who bought four boxes,

which Mom proclaimed

the biggest sale of the day.

Encouragement

draws more encouragement.

I settled in,

at my Econolodge,

one of my refuges,

near the ocean.

 

Last Weekend, and This

4

October 8, 2016, Chula Vista-  It was a weekend of talk about change, and talk about commitments.  On October 1, a Baha’i Unit Convention was held in Flagstaff, and a similar gathering took place the following day, at the Native American Baha’i Institute of Learning, in tiny Burntwater, AZ, about 10 miles north of Sanders, along Interstate 40.

At these gatherings, we choose a person to represent our communities at the U.S. National Convention, in the Chicago area, the following May.  This is an important function, yet what is more important is that we are addressing the spiritual condition of our communities.  It is not a bland spouting of platitudes, and there are sharp opinions voiced, during the consultation.  Yet what we are, regardless of opinions, is respectful of one another’s value.  There is no one, among the gathered friends, who is discounted or seen as lacking value.  The goal, for each of us, is to extend this valuing to the entire community, not just committed members of the Baha’i Faith.

After an intense week at work, in which these principles of unity were put to the test, and which by the grace of God, I largely maintained progress,  I headed out to my son’s place, in this southern suburb of America’s Hometown.   He’s a bit laid up, from a fracture  of one of his left foot’s metatarsals.  So, my entire function, these five days in California is to help with his needs.  My usual meanderings up the coast will need to wait until the week after Christmas.

I set out from Prescott, last night, after a particularly strenuous day and a lengthy, soothing dinner at the American Legion Post.  The route this time took me to a very restful night at an economical motel in Blythe, then a drive through the Colorado Desert, through Brawley, to El Centro and over the Laguna Mountains to the coast.

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A 20th Century cowboy, circa 1992, downtown Brawley, CA

The weekend is off to a fairly restful start, and we can tend to tasks related to Aram’s healing, on Monday and Tuesday.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 231: Back to California, Day 1

6

July 17, 2015, Oak Grove, CA  “Don’t go telling people this is Aguanga.  We’re Oak Grove!  The sign even says so.”  Thus did a campground host admonish me, when I was describing my location to someone on the phone. This little village is darned proud of its identity, and never mind that the mail is addressed to Aguanga, six miles to the northeast. I stopped here for the night, at what has become my go-to campground, when en route to visiting my son, who is in the Navy, in the San Diego area.

My journey started in a more timely manner than previous SoCal trips, with my getting out the door by 9 A.M.  I was in Blythe by noon, affording me a nice lunch at Rebel BBQ, my favourite venue in Riverside County’s eastern gateway.  It offers south Texas-style barbecue fare, including brisket prepared with a Mexican-German sauce blend.  They offer something called vinegar slaw, which sounds like sauerkraut, but I opted for creamy slaw, with my meal.

It was 102 F, in Blythe, so I headed quickly uphill,  getting to Hemet, a higher desert town, by 3.  I spent a bit more time here than I have in the past, and for the first time, I checked out Hemet’s downtown, starting with its library, where I spent an hour or so.

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The town also has a lovely Children’s Museum, on the southern edge of downtown.  Not having a little one along, I didn’t go inside, but a local mother takes her children there, several times a year.  This speaks well of Hemet’s regard for its rising generation.

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The view towards Mount San Jacinto, 40 miles to the east, is spectacular.

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I headed out of town, along Juan Bautista de Anza Historical Trail, which is paved as far as the Conservation Camp, named in de Anza’s honour.  The route passes several orange groves, which remain a staple of Hemet’s economy, while having faded in other parts of southern California.

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Bautista Conservation Camp, run by the State of California, is used as a staging area for fire suppression efforts.  Painfully, not so far away, on the north side of San Bernardino County, a serious fire is wreaking havoc, destroying a small hamlet and threatening other areas.  I hope the hurricane remnants, that are forecast for tomorrow, bring soaking rain to the region.

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Between Bautista Camp and the Cahuila Indian Reservation, one goes along a narrow, unpaved road, and is treated to exquisite views like this:

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I can only imagine these will be even more gorgeous, once the rain comes.  Now, to sleep under the stars, before that happens.