Staying Independent

5

July 4, 2019, Saugus-

I will continue (go back to) my photo blogs, in the next few posts.  Jumping ahead to the Fourth of July just seems best, though.

I had a conversation with someone very close to me, during the family gathering at a niece’s home, this afternoon.  One thing rings very loud and clear, from this discourse and from other conversations I’ve had, these past few months:  Many people are feeling put upon by aggressive individuals and groups, who take a point of view opposite that which they happen to hold.  Many individuals and groups ARE resorting to the use of force, when confronted with those taking such opposite viewpoints.

I was raised to hear other people out.  My parents, social conservatives, made a great effort to understand even the most seemingly ludicrous viewpoints.  I have maintained an open mind, as a result, throughout fifty-six years of adolescence and adulthood.  Civil Rights have long been a matter of supreme importance in my life, and that cuts both ways.  The Right cannot bully people of colour, of Faiths other than that of the majority in a community, or those living a lifestyle different from that which is conventional. The Left, likewise, cannot deprive people of more traditional bearing, of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Violent behaviour, on either side, is the stuff of fascism (even when the bully calls self “Antifa”)

I am, as it happens, an obstinate soul, when people without authority try to force me to do their bidding.  Additionally, I question those who DO exercise authority, as to the ethical basis for their actions.  That is what I get from both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution.    That is what I get from my Faith.

So, to my family-my elders, siblings and cousins:  You all matter, greatly.  Your point of view has at least some validity and is worth hearing, and pondering.  Our family is large, so there are all points covered, on the political spectrum. I will not plug my ears to any of it, so long as you do not ascribe to a coda of violence or or a policy of defamation against your opposite numbers.

To my children, nieces/nephews, and “grands”- You are, one and all, a great hope; you are people of immense promise and, especially if you are feeling vulnerable,  are worthy of all the support and love that we, your elders, can muster.  We cannot spare you from life’s ups and downs, but we can point towards the light. This is the very least we can do, in building and safeguarding your own sense of well-being and independence.

Most of the problems we face, when it comes to intolerance and reactive violence, seem to stem from the violent ones acting out of insecurity.  In truth, though, i have to ask, “How does a person expressing an alternative point of view, in and of itself, constitute a threat to my well-being?”  It may be annoying, but it is not a threat-unless accompanied by force-which then makes it an entirely different matter.

Staying independent means, to me, that one takes the time to carefully examine issues and evaluating a variety of points of view.  It also means extending that right to independence to every one else.  These are my thoughts as the Sun goes down on another July 4.

Janus in July

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July 30, 2018, Prescott-

I will return to the chronicles of my summer road trip, in a few hours. First, though, I want to note this month’s activities, closer to Home Base.  The three weeks following Independence Day were mostly relaxing, yet had their share of joyful activity.  We celebrated the birthday of  a generous and humble friend, in what was supposed to be a surprise.  Our efforts came as no surprise to her, but she was nonetheless delighted.

I learned that my left knee does not take kindly to being idle for long stretches on the road, at least while my carcass is undergoing chiropractic adjustment, between now and March.  There is some connection between the two, so with Fall coming, I will need to get in at least one vigourous walk per day.  That will give my knees the workout they seem to crave.  Planet Fitness and Deep Blue ointment are also helping.

I have, at long last, taken the time to pay a few visits to Firehouse Coffee and Black Dog Coffee Shop, virtually completing “discovery” of our town’s java joints.  Both are fine purveyors of brew, but Firehouse wins the cinnamon roll contest.  Black Dog focuses on scones.  The Saturday after I got back was my son’s 30th birthday.  After wishing him a great day, long-distance, I went to Game Night at Wild Iris-enjoying Uno and a dice game, with the regulars at this event.

This past weekend, though, was a special cap on this bountiful summer.  I did three days’ Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) service at Bellemont Baha’i School, west of Flagstaff.  All three days featured “gully washers”. Saturday had the added excitement of a heavy hail shower.

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Even with a borrowed tent, and large tarpaulin, there was much to be done later, as I had to use a wet/dry vacuum cleaner to siphon the small pond that had threatened to ensure no sleep that night.  As it was, I had a dry tent, by nightfall, and slept very well.

The service in question was on behalf of over 50 middle school-age children, from the Phoenix area. Many of them had not been out of the metro area, so being in the woods was a fabulous experience,  to say the least.

The camp was open for a half day, today, but I came back to Prescott, last night.  Three days of preparation and “welcome back” gatherings at Prescott High School will get another year of concerted effort at learning underway.  So, it’s ten months of joyfully getting up at 4:30, knowing that we will provide at least some stability and learning opportunities for eight young people who, rather like me at their age, cannot count on their own bodies to remain calm and focused, without assistance.

2018-19 will be a monumental academic year.

The 2018 Road, Days 2-3: Pre-conceived notions, Heart Pancakes and A Warrior Princess

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May 27-28, 2018, Carson City- I got into Carson City, and a long-time friend’s house, around 10:15, on Sunday night.  I’ve been here, each year since 2012, on either Memorial Day or Independence Day. The members of Family S have been like biological family to me, for far longer-since the early 1990’s.

So, a stop up here has been a precursor to my summer time excursions, whether I’m headed northwestward or am eastbound.  I’ve known some family members since they were tweens and now am honoured by the presence of Princess B.  She will remain off-screen here, per my own policy when it comes to children, but B. is a highly intelligent and imaginative young lady and nobody will lay a hand on her, by my lights- or those of her grandmother, let alone on her parents’ watch.

Monday was spent in study of a Baha’i text that deals with consultation.  This is a practice that is sorely needed, not just in this country, but across the globe.  How many times have I found friends, even from other parts of the world, not opening their minds and hearts to other points of view?    The text I studied yesterday reminds us that no one person has all the answers, nor does any one group.  We watched a PBS documentary on the many aspects of warfare, after the study session.  Failure to view people outside one’s group, community or nation as human, or worthy of respect, has been the single greatest underlying cause of warfare, throughout history.  This is true, regardless of the cause of record.

All day today, Tuesday, I have thought of the world being left to B and her contemporaries, and to my grandchildren, yet unconceived, unborn.  She, her grandmother and I enjoyed a lovely Chinese buffet, shopped for things we needed at Target and Best Buy and came back for a “group project”, involving a streaming device and antennas.  Then, we enjoyed pancakes, including  two heart-shaped gems.

Those of you who have followed me , for the past several years, know that I have regularly come across heart-shaped items, both in natural and urban settings.  Here is a view of one heart-shaped pancake, before it was claimed by its rightful owner, our indomitable warrior princess.

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This visit was way too short, we all agreed, before B left with her father.  Tomorrow, I may connect for a bit with another WP reader, not far from here, before heading across Nevada and Utah.  Hopefully, I will also connect with extended family in Colorado and friends along the eastward route.   The centerpiece of this trip, my youngest niece’s wedding, looms three short week from now.