North Rim

8

October 7, 2019, Kanab-

I will, as usual, post photographic accounts of my current jaunt, once back at Home Base.  In the meantime, here’s a verse on the topic.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Serene, confident teenager

stretched herself out

and took in the view,

of the gaping maw below.

Mother’s watchful gaze notwithstanding,

the girl took pains to keep herself safe,

as a much younger child,

asked her mommy,

“Can I do that, too?”

“Maybe, when you get

to be that big.”

The North Rim,

eight thousand,

three hundred feet

above the Colorado River,

at Bright Angel Point,

is not for those

with acrophobia,

or shortness of breath.

I promised my late

maternal grandfather,

spiritually,

that I would not

entertain the former,

and, as yet,

I do not suffer,

from the latter.

So, down the narrow trail,

I went,

and gazed over the edge,

at Bright Angel Point,

again at Point Imperial,

and, lastly,

at Cape Royal.

where two dozen of us,

watched the sun dip,

below the horizon,

accenting the smoke

from a prescribed burn.

The Road to 65, Mile 165: Seeds

6

May 12, 2015, Prescott-  I planted seeds of confidence in a young girl’s mind, this morning, and she guided the lot of us to revisiting a small detail, which made all the difference in a key part of the lesson.  This evening, the concept of seed banks and libraries was shared with thirty of us, who were gathered at a Slow Food chapter meeting.

I am into the sowing of seeds- of vegetables, fruit, grasses and ideas.  Sowing friendship seeds is the best such activity, and I am getting better at that.  The physical seeds will most likely wait until next Spring, but I will check the planting calendar, and see if an early July planting will work for this mountain climate. The seeds of amity can be planted anytime, and are well worth watering.  The seeds of ideas must be planted, and watered daily.

A gentleman at tonight’s meeting offered the opinion that individual seed banks are critical to preventing a USDA/Monsanto joint takeover of our food supply.  While the Feds are big on Genetically-Modified anything, I don’t see that ending well, for anyone.  Any given individual has a hundred places to hide seeds, and after all, the “success rate” of the war on drugs is not exactly earthshaking.  We who seek to grow our own food will be just fine.

This brings me to the bad seeds:  Suspicion, closed-mindedness and power-craving.  The first grows out of, and feeds, the second.  Both are a natural reaction to the the third.  The more those in authority overreach, even with the best of ill-informed intentions, the more those on the ground will push back, overreact and invite more overreach.  See the tiger, the dog, the snake chasing their tails?

Monsanto is responding to a reasonable request from the State of Vermont, to label Genetically Modified Organisms in foods sold there, by dispatching an army of attorneys, to sue, appeal and obfuscate- thus wasting millions of dollars and months of man-hours, while complaining about the cost of such labeling.  Then, there is the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free-trade Trojan horse, by which the President, and at least two of his predecessors, hope to use to force the GMO-free nations of east Asia to buckle under and get with the Monsanto program.  Go figure.

I am not against science.  The research ought to go on, move beyond monocultures and poisoning of the soil and water, and get over the idea that revenue, the building of fortunes, alone, should be the be-all and end-all of the accumulated knowledge.  We ought not eat what we can’t digest, no matter whose children are being put through college, with the generated profit.

I digress.  The seeds of knowledge, as well as those of sustenance, belong to all mankind.

The Road to 65, Mile 108: Soar High, Dive Deep

6

March 16, 2015, Prescott- When I watched “Birdman” recently, I started out expecting a variation on one of David Mamet’s plays.  Well, there was profanity and conflict, throughout and these were well-presented.  The difference was, there was an underlying theme of transcendence.  Michael Keaton’s character gets to fly, in New York’s Theater District.  Emma Stone, as his daughter, gives new meaning to “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number”.  Two jilted women find happiness, with one another.  The rest is left for you to discover, should you choose to see the film.

There is a Shakespearean element to the scenes:  It is, after all, a play within a play.  Scenes which seem extraneous to the plot, end up enhancing it.  I basically have no issue with this film being “Best Motion Picture” for 2015.

March is typically a time for me to assess myself, in terms of spiritual well-being, much as November is a time for me to assess a year’s worth of accomplishments, or lack thereof.  So far, I find I am drawing clearer, tighter boundaries:  I am more protective of my time and money, with a view towards both being more useful and living longer, and better.  I am more appreciative of the genuine helpers and friends in my life, both familial and amiable.  The users around me, though, get minimal contact.

This has been a time for stretching the comfort zone. I am involved in promoting wellness, not so much for participating in the “truncated pyramid” aspects of the business, as for developing the more practical side of myself that has been put on the shelf for so many years.  I believe in the efficacy of the products, because I see the good effects they have had on my health.

I am also going to do more with tent camping, being determined to put up the tent in such a way that it does not blow down in the middle of the night.  Confidence has often been my weak suit, especially in areas where I have found myself being shoved aside, so that “someone who knows what he’s doing” can just take over, and get it done.  The days of skimming the tops of trees, and of treading water, are at an end.

The Road to 65, Mile 95: A Place for Everybody

8

March 3, 2015, Chino Valley- About 1:30 PM, as my students of the day were working on a lesson about contractions (the grammar kind), a little boy walked in, quietly took a seat and pulled his coat over his head.  I patiently coaxed him to take the coat off, and asked if he would like to work on the same lesson as the other students, having determined he was a Special Needs student and only in the room for a short time.

The Inclusion Specialist was with us for that hour, so after a few minutes of saying it was not his regular lesson, he walked over and joined her small group.  He did just fine, writing the contractions along with the three other children, and proudly brought the paper to me for review.  After a few extra minutes in the group, he was off again- back to his self-contained class.  This time, he walked with confidence.

Education, these days, is developing a penchant for several pathways:  Besides the neighbourhood/wide area school, and its long-time alter ego, the private school, there are charter schools, computer-based academies and home schooling.  The idea of one size fitting all is going by the wayside.  There are many upsides to the idea of education being a bazaar, of sorts.

The point that matters most, though, is the mindset of the educator.  Having been brought up to include everyone who happens by, in whatever I am doing at the time, whenever possible, the idea of marginalizing or of outcasts, leaves me rather cold.  Especially with children, the circle must embrace and raise up those who might easily be forgotten or displaced.  It doesn’t take all that much effort, and for the Post-Millennial generation, it is the most natural thing in the world to encourage those viewed in former times as misfits and outcasts.

I was reminded of this again, this afternoon, while reading a post from another blogger about the haughtiness of some in a tony suburb, in another state, and how easy it is for them to draw tight lines around their social circle.  Perhaps adulthood, such as it is, can have this effect on people- but who is the more mature, in such a situation?

The Road to 65, Mile 10: Teamwork

8

December 8, 2014, Prescott- This morning, I  covered a choral classroom.  This frog didn’t croak, but a group of sixth graders practiced their songs and watched a segment of “Mary Poppins”.  Then, a single guitar student, in a class of six, showed up for class and I learned his classmates were testing in another part of the school.  So, he practiced his chords and watched part of “August Rush”.  The Advanced Choir came in next, and led by two classmates, the group practiced a choreographic piece, based on “Here Comes Santa Claus”.

The mostly female ensemble struggled with their own need to catch up with their friends, after the weekend, and the uncertainty that so often accompanies adolescents trying to learn a new skill, while being thoroughly convinced that “all eyes are on MEEE”.  They worked hard, very hard, to make it perfect- apologizing to me, and to each other, when they felt it wasn’t.  In the end, their teamwork made the difference.

I thought they did a fabulous job, with the various new steps, and that they listened.  Confidence is so sorely lacking in teens, despite their reputation for swagger and bravado.  Maybe that’s why I can’t think of any other line of work that I’d rather do full-time.  Teaching, safeguarding and advocating for children and teens is, and will remain, my most urgent concern- whether it is skill-building, working to free captives and slaves, or just plain listening and encouraging.

Watching the kids engaged in teamwork set my week on a beautiful path.