Around Hometown: Day 1

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May 17, 2021, Saugus- Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again”. He was making the point that both the home and the dweller change over time, and thus the fit is never quite what it was, when the two were intertwined, in the processes of childhood and adolescence.

This could be said, in my case, as much as it could be said about anyone. There is, however, the corollary that aspects of home go with us, wherever we may go in the world. I may have, long ago, lost my eastern New England accent, and the relatively watchful guardedness around strangers has faded, somewhat, but I have taken with me the basic lessons imparted by my parents, and the other significant adults of my youth: Aunts and uncles, grandmothers, concerned neighbours, the best of my teachers and advisers.

The genetic memory of my grandfathers also has impacted the values I have taken into my being. Both men worked harder than they might have, but both were providing for large families. Grampy Boivin was with General Electric, and had his own small backyard farm-with poultry, rabbits and a full garden. Papa Kusch, who I never met in the flesh, worked as a shoemaker, then came home to tend his sizable garden. The children who they sired were, to a one, imbued with the finest of work ethics-which they, in turn, imparted to each of us cousins-some 80, in all.

I also learned, growing up in Saugus, the importance of neighbourliness and community consciousness. Looking out for the welfare of the whole, underscored by my being the oldest of five children, is hard-wired in me. What is also a part of that is the concept of teamwork. Being an individual rescuer, or playing the victim and expecting to be rescued by one or two people, has also not been something that has made much sense to me. Thus, my life has been one effort at team building after another.

My brother, his brother-in-law and I were a team for much of today. While I focused on clearing items from the upstairs rooms of our childhood home, the other two men were concerned with the larger first floor. Sixty-six years of full living were reduced to more bags of trash, donated apparel and curated family keepsakes, books and necessaries than I have seen since my own house-vacating, in 2011.

No, I did not go home again today, but I paid homage to a great house, which served seven people to the full.

So Many Questions

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January 26, 2021-

Being the curious sort, I tend to raise matters of “What if?” and “Why?” in my head, while also seeking answers from my heart. The queries I have, regarding this life and its priorities, are largely answered in Baha’i Scripture.

Where I get more querulous, though, is with regard to flashes of images, and feelings that arise, that suggest events that happened long ago and places I’ve never been, both elsewhere on Earth and way beyond this planet. The best explanation I can summon, that is in keeping with my beliefs, is that as an energy being, I am tapping into the energy waves of people long departed, both my ancestors and those of like mind who were not directly related to me, but who had similar personalities to mine. Energy communication, and genetic memory, are like Chinese boxes-writ innumerable. We have no concept of from how far back they have been transmitted-and Quantum Physics devises at least thirteen dimensions, many curled up on themselves, from which energy can conceivably be drawn.

For now, though, I wonder as to the messages that these images and feelings are trying to convey. I am not quite on board with the whole Past Lives theory, but can make sense of the notion that energy, from those who lived in past ages and centuries, and from other parts of the Universe, is transmitted to those of us who are open to it, on a regular basis-and without channeling or summoning, which can be too easily faked.

Tempests

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October 24, 2020-

Thoughts on a day well-spent, and the memories conjured:

The young man reflected on times recently endured,

as we rode to and from his former home.

The tempest has calmed,

everywhere but in his memory.

Progress, though, is an insistent taskmaster,

and will chase his storms away.

A long ago student of mine

played story-songs,

to a transient audience,

coming and going in the evening coolness.

He learned more,

outside of the school where we shared

frustration and challenge,

dealing with the antiquated system

and its remnants.

The tempests of racism and false superiority

still cause pain in his heart.

So long ago, yet still irksome

in my heart, as well.

I recall the storms which tossed

the lives of innocent children,

just by reason of their indigenous heritage,

seen as a threat,

to the self-styled dominant culture.

Live music brings to mind,

all you could have achieved,

little one.

You would have been thirty, this year,

perhaps with a legacy

of having walked barefoot as a teenager,

having gone to the college of your choice,

and having given full vent to all your musical passions.

Maybe you would have been guided down the aisle,

leaving the first loving man in your life,

for another, forever love.

You would have made a soulful, loving Mommy.

Most importantly, you would have been a powerful force,

in whatever filed your adult self chose to pursue.

The tempest in another person’s life

led to all those dreams, being snuffed out,

when you were only six.

Tempests raged, in my own true love’s life,

as other storms raged in mine.

We traded storms, and came through a few,

as onlookers clucked and tut-tutted,

with no true understanding,

of the love that guided us,

to a measure of calm and certitude.

Let the tempest that rages now,

in the life of a sorely-tried nation,

find its way to being settled.

Peace shall come to the people.

Yes, It Matters

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April 22,2020-

In the midst of confusion,

in the heart of despair,

I hear you say

“This nonsense about all lives matter

is not how we live”.

You spoke differently,

apparently indifferently,

when others said

“Black Lives Matter”.

Then, you said,

ALL lives Matter!!”

Friend, life matters.

It matters, because

God gave it to all

His creatures.

It matters, because

each form of life

has purpose.

Each form of life

serves its Creator.

Humans, without respect

to colour, gender, status,

stature, age,

level of cognition,

level of hormonal balance,

progress on the Spiritual Path,

progress on the path of knowledge,

progress on the path of gestation,

are the highest form of material being,

ever to live on Planet Earth.

It is always wrong for individuals

to kill one another,

whether in the name of vengeance,

or in the name of fear,

or in the name of science.

It is always wrong for individuals

to diminish one another,

whether in the name of superiority,

or in the name of  possession,

or in the name of  revulsion.

Killing, diminution,

are the province of God,

for only He knows the hearts

of His children.

Only He has complete

knowledge of True Justice.

There was a time

when my maternal grandfather,

in the heat of frustration,

threw up his hands

and said he was through

with anyone who was

spending their days

lazing about.

Papa was no teacher

or counselor,

though he taught,

and listened to,

his children.

He was a shoemaker,

a gardener,

and tireless in his labours.

Genetics passed his ethic on,

to twenty-nine grandchildren,

whom he never knew,

in his brief earthly life.

He watches us yet,

and makes his lessons,

his regrets,

his triumphs,

known to me

through dreams

through waking visions.

He tells me

that all life

matters,

more than

the living realize;

more than many

even want to know.

In the midst of confusion,

in the heart of despair,

God’s love for us all

glimmers,

through the fog

and through the clouds,

just as Christ foretold.

 

 

Sustainable

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January 30, 2020-

I have long felt a connection with nature, in its deepest and purest forms.  This may be a matter of genetic memory.  The forest and the ocean have been places of comfort and affirmation, since I was a very young child.  That this connection should have been gradually extended to desert, prairie and alpine mountain is only a logical progression.

With such a tie to the natural world, connection with those who embrace an ethic of sustainable cultures, of various forms, also comes naturally.  I have been gradually moving away from “throwaway” living, since 1981. It has been a process fraught with fits and starts, but recycling-at least-has been ingrained in my life, for nearly that long.

This evening, I made good on a promise to myself and some members of the Baha’i community, and joined a small group at Prescott College:  The Sustainability Club.  I was the only person over 25, in that gathering-but found a genuine welcome. The group is finding its way, and plans a clean-up on Sunday, which I’ll join.  Other plans include improving the composting arrangement on the small campus, a clothing recycling effort and the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, in mid-April.

My plan is to join the Sustainability Club’s efforts as often as possible, and to help them network with like-minded groups in the area, particularly Slow Food-Prescott and other environmental organizations.  There is much I can share with the youths and much that they have to impart to me, as well.  This semester, and next, will be a fine time for building a solid sustainable community.

The Indissoluble Bond

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February 8, 2019, Chino Valley-

Every second and fourth Friday evening, God willing, a group of us gathers at the home of two dear friends, here in this town, 15 miles north of Prescott.  We share a meal, then indulge in drumming and chanting, with a flautist accompanying much of the music.

There is, of course, conversation before, after and in between the musical selections.  One of the members of the group shared the traditions and teachings of the Cherokee of North Carolina, explaining that there has been some divergence within the tribe, with regard to dialect and certain customs, as a result of the Trail of Tears and its resulting geographic isolation, of one group from another.

He performed a traditional Cherokee blessing, prior to the meeting’s end.  This is shared below, as performed by another vocal group.  I see similarities with other cultures, from Keltic Irish to Zulu, in terms of blessings wished upon visitors and loved ones.  We each noted that there is an essential tie between humans, both regardless of physical distance and regardless of separation by time.

I can feel an almost palpable connection, with my maternal grandfather, who I never met and with paternal ancestors, who I have been assured are watching over me constantly, from the distance of several hundred years.  Likewise, among those who live hundreds, or thousands, of miles away, I feel an unbreakable bond-though we may see one another once, or not at all, in the course of this earthly life.  Whether through genetic memory or a spiritual envelope, the ties have been, and continue to be, unbreakable.

The bonds that some try to break, out of fear, narcissism or ignorance, can never really be broken.  We are at a stage, in our human evolution, when connections are, or are about to be, seen for their true nature:  Indissoluble.