The Robust Lines


November 8, 2022, El Mirage- The quiet, unassuming woman took her place in line, outside the polling station, in this thriving western suburb of Phoenix. One thing distinguished her from the rest of the voters: She sported a sweatshirt, with a logo that several people have found threatening. The lady was not intimidating; she just wanted to cast a ballot-and so it transpired.

I was here as a Poll Chaplain, from 3 p.m. until closing. My role, as I explained to the site manager, was simply to sit outside-just past the 75-foot barrier prescribed by law, and be there to provide reassurance to anyone who might be upset or anxious about the atmosphere at the site. I reassured several voters, a few of whom were first-timers, and mostly presented a calm demeanour to the nearly 200 voters who passed along in line, over that four-hour period.

The participation of voters was heartwarming, and the decorum exhibited by all in the lines was even more so. No one saw any point in being less than gracious to those around them. For that, I have never been prouder to be a citizen of this country. There are those who have commented that the concept of the United States is outmoded, and that conservative areas should be split from progressive areas. Such a ridiculous proposition ignores the fact that there are conservatives and progressives in every state, community and, often, within families. Showing respect and regard for another human being should not take a whole lot of energy-yet the wire-pullers have convinced far to many that it is impossible. The fact remains that the majority of people in my life, regardless of ideology, are loving individuals, who mainly want to be heard and understood. If that sounds like the former president talking, after the Charlottesville incident of 2017, so be it-but I will never excuse acts of violence committed by anyone in my ever-widening circle. It does the perpetrator’s soul no good, whatsoever, to not be called to account.

The day itself was full, beginning with a drive from Prescott to the small city of Avondale, about ten miles west of Phoenix and equally south of El Mirage. There, I paid a visit to some old friends’ coffee shop and bakery-enjoying a light lunch. Coldwater Coffee House and Bakery is also a community gathering place. The Martinez de Aragon family is committed to strengthening the civic pride that their neighbours feel in Avondale, and in its subcommunities. After lunch, I got my bearings, and did a week’s worth of laundry at a shop near the school, in El Mirage, where Penny and I both worked for several years, in the 2000s.

The chance to serve as Poll Chaplain was the icing on the cake of a very fine day. Even the forecast rain and wind held off, though we are told it will definitely take place tomorrow.

The Run-Up Ends


November 2, 2020-

It is time to breathe. It is also time to remember that, no matter who is elected president, our system will survive. It has seen worse men occupy the office and has seen worse reactions to disparate candidates. The 50/50 chance of a woman, even one with whom I disagree on many issues, being elected vice president, is a refreshing aspect of this contest.

I see Donald Trump as a populist, an opportunist and something of a narcissist, but not a fascist. I see Joe Biden as a career politician, also an opportunist, but not a communist. There are elements of both progressivism and conservatism that can do this country good. I guess this is why the electorate has seen fit to balance the two, by and large. We need traditions, to keep us grounded, and we need inclusivity, to strengthen our population and our institutions.

I have been excused from jury duty, by way of the trial being canceled. So, my full attention is now on the community and in helping out in any way necessary, in the unlikely event of unrest here. We have had our differences, and some have made it their business to exercise a minor show of force, at some public events. Still, people are mostly content to show their signs, across the street from one another and sometimes engage in spirited civil discourse.

If you haven’t voted-please do. In all cases, stay safe and maintain respect for all, no matter what stance anyone takes. We are all lovers of country, if not of planet.

These Are What Matter


October 27, 2020-

A “new poll” chirpily predicted a “surprise Republican blowout”, next Tuesday.

I don’t care.

What matters is what happens afterward. Regardless of whether this poll is genuine, or just a fabrication, designed to “make the liberals cry again”, the fact remains that, on Wednesday, November 4, on December 9 and again on January 21, we are each going to be essentially the same people we were, before the voting took place.

The thing that matters most is that no one loses heart. There are universal truths, with which it seems all people of good will ought be comfortable:

All life is sacred;

Everyone bleeds the same;

Calling another person a derogatory name, does not make it so;

Everyone is worthy of being treated with respect;

No one person, or group, is entitled to lord themselves over others;

Children are worthy of being loved and nurtured by everyone in their community;

Elders are worthy of being treasured and safeguarded by everyone in their community;

Our planet, and its life forces, deserve good stewardship, not ravaging for the sake of making more money than the maker knows how to handle;

All knowledge comes from the same Source-and it is not a human one.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 62: What I Want in August, Part II


August 1, 2020-

Half of any soulful person’s wish list, at any given time, is what is wanted for the community. My list, in this regard, is both simple and complex.

The simple things: Our neighbourhood children may continue to come and go as they please, safely, through the alleys, yards and creekbeds that outline their world. Instruction, whether online or in-person, starts soon and engages minds. People gather downtown, or in public parks, and enjoy their time, without having to justify their beliefs. Nursing homes are able to permit visitors, even with screening for temperatures, before too many more weeks have passed.

The complex things: Our election goes off, without a hitch, on the day scheduled. Those erstwhile friends of mine, now acting more like acquaintances, come to see past their sectarian and political blinders and look at the hearts of those, including me, who hold no ill will towards them or anyone else. Freedom of travel returns, and is not made subject to the partisan views or “one-size-fits-all” health prescriptions of either government officials or private citizens of means. Recognition that the lives of preborn children, infants, toddlers, school-age children and adolescents are universally sacred.

August is said to be a month of masculine energy. I know I will be plenty busy.



March 18, 2020-

We are, so to speak, in the process of in-gathering, even as it seems we are in a distancing process.  The political arguments of the two major American political parties are increasingly hollow. The leading candidate of one party offered his solutions to the COVID-19 induced crisis to his opposite number, carte-blanche. Who sits in the White House, come next January, is less important than pulling together and stopping the virus, to the extent possible.

Events,in situ, are being canceled,  with digital means being found to replace many of them.  This will very likely work for the duration of the crisis (2 months-18 months, depending on who is making the assessment).  It is likely to become an alternative, but not a permanent replacement, to on-site meetings, in the way that e-books are an alternative to books in print.

The same will be true, in my humble opinion, to Take-Out and Delivery of items in restaurants and coffee shops, as opposed to dine-in experiences.  We are, in essence, social beings and those of us who live alone, in particular, will resume dining out, in addition to whatever private dinners to which we may be invited, or hold ourselves.

Phone calls are still important.  I called my mother this morning, and as I expected, she is well, lucid and concerned for my well-being.  The same is true of my son, who called me last night. This sort of convergence will never go out of fashion. Texting matters, as well, and social media, despite the flat-footed attempts at censorship, by some of its founders, will only become more crucial to keeping us connected.

As I mentioned earlier, despite being a peripatetic soul, the well-being of my fellows is vastly more important than what I might be inclined to do, if untethered by conscience.  I will be extremely cautious in venturing forth, for the duration of this crisis.  Besides, as I found out, these past two days, my presence is most definitely needed here at Home Base.  It will become even more so, of all of us, in different ways, in the next several months.

In many ways, humankind is converging.



November 7, 2018, Prescott-

For the first time, in a good many years,

I’m in a state some would call “broke”.

I have what I need, though,

and things will take an upturn,

soon enough.

For the first time, in a good long while,

people came at me,

claiming to represent a friend,

saying they had the solution

to all that ails me.

I reported them to the authorities,

and let the real friend know,

what was happening,

in her name.

Things will take an upturn,

soon enough.

There is no such thing,

as a quick fix,

or a free lunch.

Yet, as Baha’u’llah wrote,

“The fowls of the air,

and the beasts of the field,

receive their meat each day from Thee.”

This morning,

as some cheer,

and others mourn, last night’s election,

I feel certitude,

that things will be made aright,

soon enough.