These Happened

4

September 24, 2022- The little girl, no more than two, came up to me while I was sitting in my “director’s chair”, at the large music festival. She tried to climb on my lap, which, as I knew neither her nor her mother, I gently declined. Her mother came over and led her back to the spot where she was preparing the child’s stroller. With mother so occupied, the girl came right back, and tried again. This time, both mother and I explained that this was not something she should be doing. There was no yelling or finger-wagging, just gentle dissuasion. Conversely, while the mother said I should have ignored her daughter, that, too, is something one doesn’t do to a person who is experiencing so much, for the first time in her life. I feel that I have a duty before the Creator to lovingly assist other people, especially children, to the best of my ability.

Earlier today, a small group of us honoured a revered community leader and beekeeper, on the first anniversary of his passing. There was a man who embodied loving assistance to all he met. Even the bank manager, who oversaw his mortgage, was given instructions on what to do with his house-upon the occasion of said passage. Hopefully, those instructions were followed and the home sold to the certain type of family who would honour its feng shui. The bees themselves were carefully dispersed to various other apiaries, prior to GK’s passing.

I went from the memorial service to VortiFest, in Sedona, particularly to meet up with a friend I had not seen in 2 1/2 years and to possibly see other friends from the Synergy/Apotheca complex. The centerpiece, for me, of the music festival, was an appearance by Camille Sledge, the scion of Sister Sledge, and her band, Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra. Camille, as it turned out, was off, touring with her mother and aunts, so PAO’s superbly talented instrumentalists managed a delightful and rousing 45 minutes of non-vocal ear candy, and got many of us, up and jumping around, much as they and Camille did, when I first heard them, four years ago.

That set was what brought about a brief encounter with a Sedona friend, that puzzles me, even as I write this. She greeted me, danced around for a bit, then spent the rest of the set alternately acting like she was scared to death of me and that I no longer existed. I will refrain from trying to explain that, other than I am aware of certain threats to her safety, from someone other than myself. He could have been around and have made his presence known to her. For a good part of the rest of the Festival, she was escorted by other men, including one of the security detail members, so who knows? For my part, I would not harm a hair of anyone’s head, much less a dearly loved friend of three years.

My newly re-connected friend served as a reality check on the whole matter, cautioning against personalizing the incident, in any way, shape or form. I followed her advice, knowing that forming a narrative, based on incomplete information, is worse than a fool’s errand. So, I headed homeward, ahead of the mass exodus that was sure to happen after the last set of the festival. Even having parked in a smaller lot, across the highway, I would have been stuck in the scrum of traffic, had I stayed to hear the last, excellent band.

Besides Afrobeat, there were two other fabulous bands that I did encounter: One was the festival founder’s group, simply named “Decker”. The other was a group called “G-Love”, which offered several peace-themed tunes, that were nonetheless rousing, and which had what seemed to be 2/3 of the audience standing and bouncing, in front of the stage. I chose to sit for most of that set, getting up mainly to take video of three friends who were wearing lighted costumes and were engaged in performance art. There was a third band, which performed well, but their vibe was a bit on the angry side. Turns out, they had a shortened set, due to some misunderstanding with the festival organizers. The final band, Arrested Development, a hip-hop group, also performed well, though I heard their offerings only as I walked back towards my vehicle.

So, that was Vorti-Fest, and my Saturday. This is also my 3000th post, on this platform. Goodness and ill abound in this life, and I do not hesitate to bring you both, in the right measure. My feelings right now are well-covered, if obliquely so, by Paul Simon’s “America”.

Three-Story Park

2

June 25, 2021, Carson City- Even in mild heat, there is no finer place for children to meet and play together than in a park space, where they can be free to explore and exercise, while at the same time be monitored by parents or loved ones who are (hopefully) not distracted by the other duties and vagaries of adult life. There is, most definitely, no responsibility more imperative than the safe and nurturing rearing of a human being to own adulthood. So, we of adult age find ourselves accompanying our young ones to parks, playgrounds, swimming pools, nature preserves and each other’s houses, that humanity may long continue to thrive.

Much of this vigilance still falls to mothers and grandmothers. There are also men, like yours truly, who see every child as worthy of safeguarding-and are thus constantly mindful of where those immediately in our care are and what they are doing. The public space where I went with friends, yesterday, I will call Three-Story Park, the name by which the kids themselves identify the space, owing to its three-decker climbing tower, is almost ideal. The odious wood chips of the 80s and 90s have been replaced by a soft, rubbery padding. Metal slides have been replaced by large plastic ones and monkey bars, by mini-climbing walls. There is no place in the park that is not subject to line-of-sight vigilance, though my friend told her grand daughter, for good measure, to be within an area where I could reach her, in fifteen seconds or less. Thus, we planted ourselves in a shaded spot, proximate to the aforementioned tower and its accompanying slides and climbing wall.

This is the reality of this nation, and indeed this planet, in a world where too many adults view children as extensions of themselves, or who wish for a child to reflect even the most arcane attitudes and fancies of their elders. It is from the worst of such people, that I remain vigilant, on behalf of children-and teenagers, for that matter.