Interdependence

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July 4, 2022, Saugus- I walked past my now-renovated and much enlarged childhood home, and over to the short hill that served as backdrop for many adventures, back then.

It was on the above-seen hill that I slid down with my eyes closed, on both a disc and sled, somehow knowing just when to turn and avoid the tree that my sister was afraid I would hit. It was here that I told fantasy tales of ghosts and imaginary communities, to my cousins visiting from Lynn, who knew it was all bollocks, but grinned and said “Wow”, anyway.

The hill now has well-placed homes on each end. One of them has been here since the 1950s, built by a First Nations man, who reared three children here, with his Scots-Irish wife. There is an ecologically-pleasing home, slightly above it, on the hill.. On the northern end, another home or two sit, across from the Intermediate School, which thankfully looks a lot less like a prison than it did as a Middle School, built in the aftermath of the school fires of 1963.

All this reminiscing reminds me of just how interdependent we all are. What belonged to one, in the past, belongs to another now. What was a refuge to someone, decades ago, is a home to someone else today. Things like schools, hospitals, parks that were built by people of one generation may very well continue to serve their successors, without restriction based on some historical pride of place.

The other aspect of my current journey that enforces the notion of interdependence is the increasing awareness of geography, across humanity, and interest in visiting even the most remote communities. A recent visit to L’Anse aux Meadows, at the northern tip of Newfoundland, saw about ten other passenger cars and a busload of tourists, making their way around the seemingly bleak and windswept bogs (on boardwalks, of course) and gazing at snow-covered hills.

People who never saw those from other nations and cultures now routinely greet those from across the globe. People who could barely identify the major cities of their own state or province can now readily match countries on other continents, with their capitals and major cities. Thanks to more heterogeneous travel and immigration, regardless of cause, people in even the most insular communities are becoming familiar with those whose ethnicities’ names, ten years ago, they could barely pronounce.

When I was a kid, I was regarded as odd, for being so interested in people and cultures far afield from this little town, north of Boston. Nowadays, there are plenty of other people who could run circles around me, in terms of global awareness. I regard that as a good thing.

From One Bit of Heaven to the Next

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June 28, 2022, North Sydney, NS-

The return ferry out of Channel-Port aux Basques was a much more elaborate arrangement than that which I took from North Sydney, five days ago. It is all part of the run-up to the Canada Day weekend, which is also the Independence Day weekend. Our two great nations have long collaborated on celebration of their respective nationhood, so it all makes sense. I lined up my vehicle, with at least 200 others, two hours before loading. A breakfast cafeteria was available, in the Ferry Terminal, so I got coffee and a bagel with cheddar cheese. Sitting back in the Saturn, devotions and random thoughts whiled away the remaining ninety minutes.

Once we were underway, and the above scene passed by, I was pleasantly occupied, by turns, with observing the passing ocean, reading a book I had purchased while at the Baha’i House of Worship, having lunch and napping. Then, Nova Scotia came back into view and before long, I was ensconced in Highland Motel- a spare, but adequate, establishment that is clean and comfortable, at least. I launched into writing about my last day or so in Newfoundland, only to have the laptop quit on me. It turns out that the electrical wall outlet in my room has no power. The desk clerk, already surly from dealing with other guests who were unnecessarily argumentative (IMHO) and rather rude to him, just shrugged his shoulders. I am now getting ready to go to bed ( FYI: This post has been completed, four days later).

Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and for that matter-New Brunswick, Maine and states clear down to Alabama, are part of the geological uplift known to us as the Appalachians. The same geological features can be found in eastern Quebec, Labrador, Prince Edward Island, southern Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, Norway and all along the western seaboard of Europe, into Morocco. An International Appalachian Trail exists, in one form or another, in many of these regions. Indeed, an Eastern Continental Recreational Trail is also in place, from Key West to St. John’s. I have whimsically thought, at times, of taking on the challenge of that long walk-but there is, realistically, much more for me to do than to shuck it all and walk for 2-3 years.

Nonetheless, I have found many elements of Heaven on Earth, in so many places visited, these past few decades, both in terms of scenery and of humanity. Newfoundland and Cape Breton make two more. I will be back to both, in 2-3 years, for more focused, selective visits, knowing that my life, far from being more relaxed and sanguine, is just getting busier-though in a happy and rewarding way. I feel good and have more energy now, than even two or three years ago.

Tomorrow, hopefully, will find me visiting some First Nations friends, along the shore of Bras d’Or Lake.

Cape Breton, High and Low

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June 22, 2022, Whycocomagh, NS-I had originally come here to this island of both intense and sublime beauty, to honour the First Nations people who keep the flame of dignity and well-being, for all creatures, alive and well. The person who I was hoping to meet, along those lines, had to work extra long hours and our meeting is deferred until next Wednesday. I did meet a young First Nations lady who works for Parks Canada, and who processed my admission to Cape Breton Highlands. I also encountered a road crew of Miqmak people, who were clearing what appeared to have been a serious rock slide, on the Cabot Trail.

Cape Breton is defined, topographically, by two features: The mountains of the Highland region and Bras D’Or Lake (Pronounced “Brah Dor”, though a local wag once had a restaurant he called The Old Brass Door, situated on the lake shore.), representing the forces of uplifting and nurturing. The lake, a salty offshoot of the Atlantic Ocean, extends virtually the length of eastern Cape Breton, from St. Peter’s, in the southeast, to Sydney Mines, in the northeast.

Here are a few views of Bras D’Or, from near Fair Isle Motel, where I am staying, and a viewpoint close to the Cabot Trail’s southern entrance

Bras D’Or Lake, near Watogomah First Nations Community, NS

Less than twenty minutes later, the view changed dramatically, as the clockwise route around the Cabot Trail beckoned.

View from Cabot Trail, near Nyanza, NS

The road ran out, briefly, just shy of Margaree, as the aforementioned crew had me turn around and use a short detour. Once back in the Margaree region, views of a healthy river and the Atlantic were abundant.

Here is a view of the Margaree River.

Margaree River, near its namesake town, Cape Breton Island

Next are some views of the coast, in western Cape Breton.

Margaree Harbour, NS
Margaree Harbour Beach
Beach at Cheticamp Island, NS

The three main communities of Cape Breton are the Miqmak First Nation, the Scots and the French-speaking Acadiens, distant cousins of Louisiana’s Cajuns-those who left Atlantic Canada, after the French and Indian War of 1756-63. The Acadien communities, such as Cheticamp, are very much thriving today.

Paroisse St. Pierre, Cheticamp

It was time to go up into Cape Breton Highlands, so after gassing up, in Cheticamp, I went to the Park Visitor Center, where the young lady I mentioned earlier greeted me warmly and sold me the admission pass. The mountains themselves were not long in providing a warm greeting of their own.

Here is Grande Faillante:

Grande Faillante, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Next is La Bloc.

La Bloc, Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Sorry to have to do this, but the photos will have to stop here, so that I may get this out. Something is blocking my uploading of photos, regardless of which platform I use (whether Chrome or Firefox). I had to fight to get these last two photos posted. Wanting to keep this series going, so, for now, let words suffice. When I get this issue resolved, photos will be posted of the rest of Cabot Trail.

From La Bloc, the Cabot Trail goes on to the glorious greens of French Mountain and MacKenzie River Valley. The view of Pleasant Bay, from the top of the switchbacks to its north, is nothing short of breathtaking. Green Cove, between Pleasant Bay and Ingonish, allows for clambering and being as one with a smoothed mass of boulders, jutting out into the sea. There were many doing just that, including a mother and daughter who sat in meditation, as the rest of us took in the clifftop view of the Atlantic. The scene would repeat itself at MacKinnon’s Cove and at North Beach, in Ingonish.

By the time I reached Tartans and Treasures, in Dingwall, it would have been easy to identify with the “cranky” Scottish owner (“Patrick was a saint, but I ain’t”)-but the scenery is too soothing, so I got a second wind and kept on, past St. Ann’s and the “north” junction with Highway 105, which took me back to Bayside, which was full with golfers and day fishermen, as well as tired waitresses-who nonetheless took my order-the last one of the evening. The chowder was again superb. Getting back to Fair Isle, I got laundry done and am now ready for a good night’s rest.

Tomorrow, it’s off to Newfoundland.

“Why Are You Here?”

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June 9, 2022- The security official was asking this question, that was legitimate to his job, as I entered the Border Station, in Sidney, BC, seven years ago. He added an odd second question to the “purpose of travel” query: “Why would someone from Arizona be on the West Coast?” My answer to both was “Visiting Victoria”, which was indeed the purpose of my short stay-as there was a First Nations Festival that day, and I was prompted to go there for that.

This comes to mind because, in setting the course of my upcoming cross-continental journey, I have been asked “Why are you coming HERE?”, with regard to a couple of places. Truth be known, I can’t always articulate, in tangible terms, why I follow spirit prompts. Often, it is not clear even to me, until I arrive in a place. I understand that not everyone is that in touch with inner vision or spirit guides- so many dear souls have all they can do to make sense of their physical reality. No one is under any obligation to greet me, and I think no less of them if they don’t-it just means that the time is not right.

Conversely, though, there is enough restriction put on us, for various reasons. We need not place additional shackles on one another. So, I will only ask, if I call on people and the time is not right-leave it at that and do what you need to do for self and loved ones. I will do better at sharing my inner promptings, than perhaps has been done in the past, so maybe these journeys will be better understood, but I will not ignore them.

With that, I will go down to Phoenix, where it is hotter than blazes, this afternoon, to visit Penny’s graveside and join a friend at a coffee house endeavour he is making. Those are my spirit promptings for the day.

My Love Letter to America

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January 19, 2021-

Dear America,

Tomorrow, a change will take place in our governance, which a bit more than half of the voting public wanted; which nearly half hoped, against hope, would perhaps be thwarted and a few of us, including yours truly, wanted to see blended with the best of what its opposite has advocated.

Changes are a constant. In order to truly realize the cohesion that every politician, regardless of stripe, says is imperative, may we look at what you have meant to so many-and what you might better mean to all who come to your shores.

“There was a time”, Neil Sedaka once sang, “when strangers were welcome here.” Yes, and no. People could come from everywhere, and there was a crucible to be borne. Those who were established, the First Nations, welcomed Europeans, sometimes openly and as time went on, and the mindset of conquest and dominance became more apparent from the first such Europeans, the welcome became far more cautious. People were brought here, mostly from Africa, but from other places as well, against their will-to serve and promulgate the fruits of conquest and dominance. Those who came from other parts of Europe, either in search of freedom from oppression and tyranny or in search of opportunity to succeed materially, had to prove themselves to those who had been here for a century or two-or at least had been here for a few decades.

Let you now be viewed, and experienced, as a place of healing. Of course, your people must begin by healing themselves-and one another. The energy, both spiritual and medicinal, that emanates from you is immense. The ancient wisdom, much of it preserved by the First Nations, and other parts of it rooted in the land itself, can serve to generate enormous healing for those who have lost their way, in the course of nearly five centuries of material quests and forgetting Who the Creator actually is.

I have had the blessed experience of carrying ley lines, from west to east, and back; from southwest to northwest, and back; from north to south, and back-over the past ten years. Far more than merely enjoying travel, as a friend remarked a few days ago, I sense that carrying healing energy-both for myself and for others I encounter- is both your gift to me, and my gift in return, back to you.

Blessed homeland, your nurturance has helped me shed so much emotional and psychological burden, and as I recall my early days of sitting very still, by a gurgling little brook or of visiting a hill, with a view of Boston’s skyline, from a rock behind a turreted house, I feel your healing energy has always been here. Even when buried under the Shrines of Progress, or when ravaged by all that people have deemed essential to build their empires, that energy has sighed, bided its time and waited, sometimes patiently and at other times expressing urgency.

Now, more of us see what the headlong rush into material advancement, regardless of cost, has produced. Now, more of us are making a place in our lives, a place in our hearts, for the healing which, alone, can bring a balance between material stability and spiritual well-being.

I love you, my homeland. May your strength of spirit long make itself known, and endure.

Beyond Cacophony and Mud

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October 9, 2020-

In brief, I see a lot of mud being thrown at walls-some sticking, some falling to the ground. I hear a lot of noise, with the vibrations passing one another, on the way to deaf ears. Two very different visions of how this country should move forward, and how it should look ten or twenty years hence, have beeb part of the national fabric since at least 1800.

Back then, the First Nations people, who both dominant groups viewed as inconvenient obstacles, and the enslaved Africans, whose social position was seen, by both sides, as a collective means to a national economic end, watched the proceedings from the sidelines, with far more prescience and comprehension than either dominant group could imagine.

So it still is, with many of us, in various demographics, watching from the sidelines- seeing truth in aspects of both sides’ positions. Society needs to find a way to safeguard the health of the unborn-check. Society also needs to give women the prime responsibility for their own decision-making-also check. The nation does well to protect children, teenagers and vulnerable adults from human trafficking. The nation needs to value the lives of those who have historically been marginalized. It is an imperative to feed masses of people. It is also crucial to safeguard the cleanliness of our four elements-Air, water, soil and energy. We must protect our nation from mob rule by anarchists, from the neo-Maoists now ruling China-and from illiberal authoritarians, inspired by Russia-and by the Fascists of the past.

We have a tall order ahead, and both men garnering the lion’s share of public suppport have a far graver responsiblity than either of them seem to realize. One will, in fairly short order, be given a public mandate to govern, from January, 2021-January, 2025. The other will need to decide whether he can step aside and act as a loyal opponent, or continue to seed mayhem from behind the scenes.

There is no longer any room for shouting, name-calling, discounting, gaslighting and making false promises about prosecuting “those people”. The mud will stop sticking and the noise-makers will find Charley Brown and his classmates, hearing “Wa-wa-wa-wa”.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 9: Glow of a Super New Moon

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September 17, 2020

If anyone had mentioned the above term to me, when I was a kid, I’d have rolled my eyes. Everyone knew that a New Moon was invisible to the naked eye, so how could it be “super”. The explanation turns out to be: If the new moon is at its closest approach to Earth, in a month, it is a Super New Moon. So it is with this New Moon, and will be with the next two.

Under this New Moon, lots of things are happening. The “pop-up” hurricane, Sally, dumped a lot of rain-several feet, on Mobile and Pensacola, and brought with it a storm surge that, among other things, washed away a replica of the Columbian ship, Pinta.

I have seen a disturbing video, purporting to show Mr. Biden inappropriately touching a little girl, while her family members were distracted. There is a voiceover, “narrating” the scene, and sounding remarkably like some of the Bots who “narrated” the stuff about Pizzagate. Uncle Joe may, or may not have, pinched the little girl, in a sensitive area. It’s hard to tell from the video, but she was uncomfortable and moved away, right after the contact. As with all such videos, while I take the comments with several grains of salt, (Any video can be doctored or altered.), I know that, with people of a certain age, patting, or slapping, a girl on the buttocks is seen as an act of endearment. I am disgusted by such behaviour, though. The whole culture of NOT seeing children, teenagers or even grown women, as full human beings is something that can’t fade away fast enough. This video was taken five years ago, but still- Mr. Biden needs to acknowledge the issue and make some serious changes to how he is perceived. At the same time, his misbehaviour can’t become a Right-Wing trope. His opponent, after all, is hardly a paragon of virtue.

The whole concept of good forest management is being raised-especially with regard to the Oregon fires. It is not enough to simply blame Climate Change-especially when arsonists are to blame, for at least three of the fires. If the First Nations could maintain good forest management practices, well before Europeans arrived on this continent, modern man can certainly do the same.

Around here, a house burned down in nearby Prescott Valley-the huge cloud of black smoke suggests that a vehicle was parked in the garage that burned.

COVID numbers are up, just a bit, in Arizona-attributable, it is suggested, to Labor Day weekend. I worked in two schools this week, and saw a good deal less than high attendance. Reportedly, a second wave of the virus has hit parts of Europe and, as expected, it’s worse than the first outbreak. August is vacation month on the Continent, so maybe that has a lot to do with this.

In the meantime, I am getting my rest while I can, and fully expect to be deployed, somewhere, with the Red Cross, either Tuesday or shortly thereafter.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 12: Overcoming Selves

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June 12, 2020

There are those who loathe Columbus.

They would gladly tear down his statue,

were the opportunity to present itself.

I don’t at all like what he did to the First Nations

of the Caribbean and the north coast of South America.

There are those who would erase all mention

of anyone who ever owned a slave.

They would obliterate statues and monuments,

of Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.

Locales, across the country,

would be obliged to change their names.

If it ever came to that,

I would recommend the original names

given to each place,

by the First Nations people.

I don’t at all like that people were enslaved,

or even indentured in servitude.

I think, though, that

we cannot erase our history.

I have made mistakes in my life,

some of which merely irritated

those affected, and some

which greatly discomfited

the people who were in

my life, at the time.

I will not erase myself,

I will improve, and continue.

We, as a human race.

cannot erase our past.

We can only learn from it,

and move on.

My Four Tent Posts, and Center

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April 18, 2020-

Today would have been the start of Earth Week, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day One.  As it happened, I spent quality time (2 hours) watching and listening to young people talking about their concerns regarding Mother Earth.  Few are really blaming all of the mess on the human race, but each made the point that we are not blameless, nor are we powerless, in the face of the climate challenge. Youth groups and the Farmers’ Market are my anchors, in this Center that is my Home Base.

There are also four spiritual posts, one in each direction, that help me stay centered, and which have connections to one another, and to the Center.

East– The Baha’i Faith originated in Iran, spread gradually in all directions, and is now found in nearly every nation on Earth, with its World Centre being in Haifa, Israel. The Teachings of Baha’u’llah have confirmed my lifelong conviction that there is only one Race,the Human Race, and that all religious teachings emanate from One Creator.   This eastern spiritual post has led me to the others.  http://www.bahai.org

South– Elizabeth Peru is based in Adelaide, South Australia.  I was drawn to her website, was introduced to her daily guided meditations and insights into the interaction between Earth and all other elements of the Cosmos.  These meditations and observations both affirm and enrich my own.  The southern spiritual post affirms my connectedness with all living beings.  http://www.elizabethperu.com

West– Earth Rising, based in San Francisco, also focuses on the connectedness of all beings on the planet and in the innate spirituality of mankind.  I was drawn to this site, through other Baha’i friends on social media.  It’s a private group on Facebook, yet I feel abundantly welcome, and affirmed here.  I join in regular digital conferencing of this group and its affiliate, Gaia Calling.  New members are welcomed, through Earth Rising’s Facebook page.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1039631319395983/

North– Chief Phil Lane is a longtime Baha’i friend and well-deepened Lakota spiritual guide.  His Four Worlds International Institute, in the Vancouver area of British Columbia, is in many ways a North Star.  I have deep genetic memory of being connected to First Nations people, especially those of the eastern woodlands.  Four Worlds has graciously welcomed me into its fold, with regular digital conferencing, for the time being. http://www.fwii.net

In the midst of the current turmoil, I have increasingly felt the need for these four posts, and for my center.  There is, I feel, a new society rising out of all that is happening, and all that remains to happen, in the foreseeable future.  Those who live their truth have little cause for alarm.

Views from A Deep Place

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April 16, 2020-

The young girl read her poem  She thanked Coronvirusdisease2019, for bringing things to a halt, for making us take notice of one another and for showing us that we need to use our time more wisely.

I joined a Zoom call this morning, with people from Jordan to New Zealand, from Bolivia to Alaska, joining together in prayer, and a short series of Talking Circles, organized by the Four Worlds International Institute, a spiritual connectedness center, run by First Nations people, in Surrey, BC-south of Vancouver.

Most of the time was spent in prayer and thoughtful remarks.  The young girl and her father, Bedouins from Jordan, offered very cogent remarks about the state of the planet and fervent prayers for all humanity to recover fully, from the current crisis. They were followed, not long after, by an Israeli Jew, singing a prayer in Hebrew.

This session lasted two hours, and will be followed, on a daily basis, by a Mayan gentleman, offering  a prayer at sunrise.  It will be followed, on a weekly basis, each Thursday until May 21, by a similar prayers and Talking Circle format.

A Talking Circle, for those not familiar with it, is a small group of people talking from their hearts, one at a time.  Customarily, a Talking Stick is held by the person whose turn it is to speak.  No one else may speak until that person finishes.  A person may not have a second turn holding the stick, until everyone in the circle has had a chance to speak-though one with nothing to share may pass the stick to the next person.

In the current, digital format, the unmute button serves as Talking Stick. Everyone remains muted, except the person whose turn it is to speak.  Six of us, three from Arizona and others from as far away as Norway and Fiji, spoke briefly in introduction to one another.  I am sure the conversations will become deeper, as the weeks progress.

This sort of discourse will be where the ideas for spiritual regeneration come.