Astroworld

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November 8, 2021, San Diego– A lot of the conversation with friend, J, at Harpoon Henry’s Restaurant, in Dana Point, had to do with self-assessment and self-accounting. This was my first visit with her in two years, due to both the pandemic and the current circumstances of her life. J and I normally walk a bit along a beach of her choosing- Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach and Dana Point being her favourites. For the time being, such walks are on hold, but it was a good time for catching up. We agreed that it has been quite a year, all around. There have been ongoing debates and recriminations passed around, unwitting public figures being drawn into the limelight and a penchant for name-calling taking the place of people owning their decisions and the resulting behaviours. Through all the negativity, the pandemic continues, albeit in a slowly diminishing manner and responsibility takes a vacation-not in the beach towns, but at large public events.

Astroworld’s hip hop concert, over this past weekend, ended in horrific fashion, with eight people being crushed to death, and dozens more injured, in a stampede. There are further intimations of people being jabbed by hypodermic needles, laced with illicit drugs, at certain points during the Travis Scott concert. The performer himself couldn’t hear people calling for assistance for those injured or dying, until it was too late.

It is time for musicians, performance artists- and politicians to take stock, not only of how their words and actions immediately affect their audiences, but also how these infest the muscle memory of significant segments of society. Travis Scott cannot bring back his dead and injured fans-nor is he, alone, likely to curb the increasing tendency towards lurching towards abandon, when crowds of people are whipped into a frenzy. Astroworld should be a wake-up call for people to exercise restraint and look out for those around them. In the same way, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Las Vegas, North Charleston each should have been a wake-up call for curbing the access by mentally ill people to firearms.

The solution is spiritual. J and I each have chosen different paths to the sacred. Yet, both of us have found that sacred, in a way that makes sense to us, as individuals. It would have been all too easy, at least for me, to embark on acts of throwing caution to the wind-and giving vent to the wildest of urges-had I not been raised to act in a conscientious manner. Even so, trial and error have taken their toll, though thankfully not in a manner that was injurious or lethal to another human being. I can credit belief for the fact that such tendencies have gradually faded.

My heart always aches for those who suffer, needlessly, in events that go awry or where destruction is intended. The stampede at Astroworld and the apartment collapse in Lagos, also this weekend, are only the latest examples of the consequence that accrues, when we do not-even for the briefest of times, look upon the well-being of our neighbours with the same vigilance that we look upon our own.

No Frozen Hearts

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February 17, 2019, Banning-

It was a fairly pleasant morning and early afternoon on the Orange County coast, with stops at San Clemente and Dana Point.  The first was to check out the beach and surf, after noting, from the highway, that the beach further down, in San Onofre, was cluttered with organic debris.

San Clemente Beach was occupied by a few True Believers, and was just barely safe for them to try surfing.  The outing lasted for less than ten minutes, though, as the boogie boarders observed a pretty strong undertow.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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A TV News reporter, at Ocean Beach, in San Diego, reported that “The sea is agitated”.  True enough, when recognizing that the planet, and its components, are living entities and that there are consequences to mistreatment.

I later had a nice lunch, at Harpoon Henry’s, in Dana Point, with a long-time friend.  During our wide-ranging conversation, her lifetime of watching the changes in southern California’s climate revealed just how disconcerting the increasing dryness is, on the ground.  I have a number of friends in southern California and have long watched, with alacrity, the effects of drought on the region.  Lake Cachuma, near Santa Barbara, her home town, has been a focal point of her watch, as it provides for much of Santa Barbara’s water supply.  Its ups and downs have been a concern of mine, as well as the levels in nearby Lake Casitas-and Lake Mead, for that matter.

After bidding her farewell, I made an easy drive on Hwy. 76 to I-215 and Murrieta, where another friend and her family welcomed me for a catch-up session.  Come to find out, their extended family members are the owners and operators of Outlaw Donuts, one of my favourite spots in Prescott.  One of the gratifying things of my life has long been that, no matter the outside temperature, or the circumstances of the world, I can go just about anywhere and find a friend with whom to pass the time- and that there are often few degrees of separation between one friend and another.

It’s chilling, and quite gloomy, weather-wise, in this town at the base of the San Jacinto range, but this room at Sunset Motel is toasty and I will get a warm welcome tomorrow morning, at Gramma’s Country Kitchen-which I’ve visited several times, over these past eight years.  The drive back to Home Base ought to be interesting:  Eight inches of snow are reported on Prescott’s west side.

I know there are no frozen hearts in my life, though.

 

 

Who Am I?

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June 22, 2016, Springerville, AZ- My father passed away, thirty years ago, today.  Then, as now, I made a long journey.  Then, as now, it took a few phone calls to get the details right.  I arrived at my destination after six hours of travel.  I was comforted by the very people I came to comfort.  He was given a dignified send-off, and from the spirit realm, he still looks after me, in a stern, but loving manner.

Who, exactly, did Dad leave behind?  I was not the easiest of sons to raise, but there was a lot about autism that was not known, that was misunderstood.  There still is, in the perceptions of many people.  There is, however, nothing about who I am that limits me.  I have raised a fine young man, and am gladly here to answer his questions about the time of life that is young adulthood.  I am here to encourage his success, to boost him over the bar.

I am also here to reach out to as many people as possible.  July will be yet another month on the road.  This time, though, it will be focused on family members, some close and some long-lost.  It will be focused, as well, on friends- some in pain, some offering joy.  I will be keeping an eye on things in Arizona, though there are still those nagging critics who take umbrage at my having missed this meeting, or not being available for that event during the coming four weeks.

I am not easy to define.  Mostly, my living consists of proferring love on those around me. It’s the most basic thing in the world, and in the Universe, for that matter. There will always be those who try to obfuscate and throw me off course. There will always be those who hear the word “widower” and think, “troll”- as is the case with one of my co-workers here at the fire shelter.  No matter:  I am here to do a service, and I will continue, whether this person likes it or not.  I am very open about my wife’s having passed on.  The other part is that I am open about being comfortable with how my life is now.  This life is full of bonds, and true friendships.  The false of purpose, and the fearful, need not worry about my presence.

Another thing that colours my life:  Commitment to the generations coming up behind me; not just my son and young relatives, but the well-being of all.  A case in point:  When I stopped for dinner at one of my “A-List” California restaurants, en route back to Prescott, I was struck by the humidity inside the place, and concerned for two young ladies, who were dressed in Victorian attire, in their roles as servers, and who were about to crumple from the stifling air.  The manager, herself about to keel over, had them go into a small staff room, which was more comfortable.  We need to pay close attention to those who work hard on our behalf.  Fortunately, all three ladies recovered nicely.

This is my 1,000th Word Press post.  To leave you with more of a sense of who I am, here are a few scenes from my coastal visit on Monday.  First, here are two scenes of Cardiff State Beach, west of Encinitas.

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Not your typical June Gloom, but a bit of mist was there, on San Elijo Beach.

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Beach artistry is alive and well.

Up the coast, at Dana Point, I enjoyed a lengthy lunchtime conversation, with a longtime friend, at another of my California “A-list” establishments.

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Harpoon Henry’s is at the south end of Dana Point Harbor.

Who am I, really?  I’m just a human being who treasures those in his life, who is glad for the form in which I find myself, who does not have a need to judge the paths and courses of life taken by others, insofar as they do not harm those around them and who looks forward to whatever tale each day has to present.

Post 1,001 will look at an estuary- the mixing of fresh and salt water, and why brackishness is a good thing.