The Flow Increases


March 16, 2023- The usually placid river overflowed its banks, while I was up in New Mexico for a day or so. A large number of people, many living in RVs, fled their park, with some ending up in a shopping center lot and others settling into the parking lot of the Red Cross shelter, at a local school. The shelter itself was otherwise quiet, with a couple who had left their riverside home and three volunteers, quietly monitoring graphs that showed the progress of the flood’s subsidence occupying the small gymnasium. Thus it was, as I stopped briefly in Camp Verde, on my way back to Home Base.

Santa Fe, where I spent yesterday evening, and part of this morning, was alternately experiencing cold drizzle and light snow. Friends who “mind the fort” at King’s Court Motel, Pantry Restaurant and Henry & The Fish Cafe were nonplussed and I got my usual warm greetings. The two eateries have fare that fits nicely into my weight reduction plan. The lodging is quiet, comfortable and central to anything I might want to do in The City Different. I could always opt for the International Hostel, down the road, but it is seemingly always full. Sometimes, quieter is just better.

The road back was also alternately rainy and snowy, until I got to the turn-off that brought me down hill, from the Mogollon Rim to Camp Verde. I saw flowing water in river and stream beds that are normally dry sand. Much of this is a positive development, with the price being that nearby residents take the risk of maybe losing some personal items and of having to up and leave for a few days. It can be worse, of course. There are several places on the California coast where the land has given way. I saw a photo of an apartment complex in Oceanside, where the swimming pool is now at the edge of a collapsed cliff. There actually appeared to be people in the pool

I thought a fair amount, about how places where I may find myself once or twice a year, or sometimes once every two years, ever seem just as much like home as this Home Base of mine. Time and space don’t really seem all that much of a burden. In each case, it seems like things that happened decades ago seem like yesterday and across the country, or the ocean, seems like next door.

In many respects, the flow of time is similar to that of water. It’s productive use can yield similar nourishing results. Both can be squandered; both can evaporate. Both can also be destructive. Sometimes, neither is missed until it’s gone. I do know that we have what we need, of each, and how it’s used is up to the individual.

The Don’t Blink Emergency


March 10, 2023- The alert came on my phone, warning of a possible need for me to go over to California, due to imminent flooding. An hour later, the Red Cross sent out an “all-clear” e-mail. This puzzled me, as there was still a weather alert for the state. Oh, well-there’s plenty to do around here-and in the north of AZ, next week and the week after. Then again, things could change, emergency-wise, on a dime.

Spring Break is coming, and with it a respite from working for wages. I did, though, get in two days this week-both among students who welcome my presence and assistance. I spoke earlier of Wednesday’s work; today’s was more upbeat, with a birthday party for one of the students, a fire drill that occurred just as I had retrieved a broom and dustpan for cleanup after a class project and the project itself-making “Leprechaun Traps”. Collaring imaginary humanoids is tricky, according to legend-but the students’ imaginations and systematic planning skills were given free rein. It will remain in the annals of the school, that “Mr. B.” walked down to the fire evacuation area, carrying a broom and dustpan.

There is also good news about the situation I mentioned in the last post. The school has hired a capable worker, who is keeping the troubled student I mentioned on track. Human ingenuity can, as a friend said in a post of her own, reduce the most severe of worst case scenarios to puffs of smoke.

So many “emergencies” tend to end up being “Don’t Blink” affairs.

Lions, Tigers, Bears-and Zebras


March 1, 2022- I woke this morning, after some vivid dreams, in a sort of mental fog. I managed to get the rent paid, then went and sat in one of my safe havens, and wrote at length in the 2022 journal. Things were better afterward, so a synopsis about March came into my awareness.

March appears to have come in like a lion-in Australia. A wide swath of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria is under water. On the opposite side of the country, Western Australia is parched. Here in North America, the month has started off in benign fashion, after a tempestuous February.

This one, born in a Year of the Tiger, will view a “Birth Chart” in a few days. It will likely answer some questions I still have about the circumstances of my birth and how they have affected my life since then. Part of me has been bold and another part, furtive. Both are traits of a tiger in the wild. That aspect lends credence to the East Asian zodiac.

The Russian Bear has stalled. Mother Russia seems to have had less say about where her cubs have been sent, and why. The wayward Lone Male has sent them on a mission, known only to him-with only snippets divulged to a select few. While he stays in his cave, the cubs cast about for food-and fuel.

I see and hear a lot of zebras these days. People talking out of both sides of their mouths are more common than they’ve been in a long time. Skittish, prancing about haphazardly, wanting to be everything and nothing, simultaneously, they alternate between snorting half-truths and noises of obeisance to the Lone Male and braying that they only want to see justice done. They readily point to the other animals, in the corral, and claim that those are the real beasts who need to be brought to heel.

March will bring out a lot of truth and will bring a few down. We may or may not be seeing the onset of another worldwide conflagration. We may or may not be seeing the long-overdue implosion of the real “empire of lies”. We will definitely continue to see the true faces of heroism and love of humanity.

In the late winter of the Russian soldier, his humanity buried by the artillery of his wayward master; in the long nightmare of the Ukrainian mother, her dreams for her children drowned out by the pummeling of all around her; in the long and frightful night before the eerie dawn-listen to the hopeful voice of Mat Shaw:



August 10, 2021- The water came pouring into the office space, putting electronic equipment at risk and forging a disparate group of workers into a unified team. I’ve noticed that about the school where I once worked full time, and where I am covering for an old friend who is on family leave, this week. In about forty minutes, we had the water mostly sucked up, using wet vacuum cleaners and had prevented any electrical short-outs or fires.

This has been a beneficent monsoon season, after three years of drought-like summers. We are likely to get more storms, this week and at least part of next. The type of storm we had in the Prescott area is called a cloudburst, with a heavy amount of rain falling, in a relatively short time. That the students faced this at dismissal time is disconcerting, but not uncommon. I can recall one storm, in 2010, in Phoenix, in which the streets were impassable, north and south of the school where I was working. Heavy hail was also falling. I had to advise students who were trying to walk home, regardless, to return to the school and wait for safer conditions-and so notified the school office of the situation. Today’s situation was close to that-and many students indeed did come back inside for the duration of the storm. At least, there was no hail.

It is said there is no true retirement, when one’s career has been spent working with children and youth. So it goes.

All Those Meanwhiles


March 26, 2019- 

For a good part of my time with my little family, in Korea, I was drawn away from anything to do with the wider world.  It felt only natural to narrow my focus, with only a relatively brief microburst of heavy rain, upon our return to Busan from Jeju, on March 15, to let the potential of havoc remind me that there was indeed “life’s mud and stone”, in the words of the great Kenny Rogers, of which to be ever mindful.

Nothing was more jarring than the shootings in Christchurch, something for which I ached, for days afterward, upon reading a digest of news in a copy of The Korea Herald.  Spiritual truth is one, continuous flow, throughout history and will remain so.  The wanton slaughter of 120 people in northern Nigeria, yet another episode in the back-and-forth atrocities between Christians and Muslims in that country and the ongoing bloodbath in Mali, orchestrated by the Islamic State and pitting the Peuhl people against IS’s Dogon opponents, have stayed on the back burner of the world’s awareness.  This is the wrong approach. At the very least, what happens in Africa, especially in the west and north of the continent, will spread to Europe, eventually, just as conflicts in the west of Asia are feared to do.  More essentially, the deaths of hundreds-anywhere- is a humanitarian crisis, worthy of the full attention of the wider world.

We seem to at least be paying closer attention to the horrific cyclone-caused damage and casualties in Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe.  Americans can identify with such events, especially when simultaneous horrors are ravaging the North American Great Plains and riparian areas of the Midwest.  Nature is in a highly-charged state right now.  Whether it is cyclical or the result of intense man-made climatic disruptions, unified responses are necessary.

Then, there were the more personal individual tragedies:  A young lady who had survived last year’s Parkland, FL shootings was overcome by her emotional pain, and took her life.  A week later, the esteemed economist, Paul Krueger, overcome by suffering of his own, followed suit.  Closer to home, two teen girls in our area and a Phoenix police officer were killed by inattentive drivers.

I learned my lesson, that even during the most basic and intensely personal of life events, there is no separation from all that surrounds us.  Meanwhile, family thrives, near neighbours may struggle-and those who live in areas, where life’s larger problems seem intractable, continue to warrant our love and efforts to help, where possible.

The “meanwhiles” never take a vacation.