September 18, 2018, Cave Creek-

A friend called me, a while back.  The message was that someone had been harassing her, leading to severe anxiety. We spoke for a time and I made the offer of a window of opportunity to put a good distance between her and the tormentor.   Tomorrow could be the first step in that direction.

I was raised to take action, when confronted with pain in my own life- be it physical or emotional.  Several times, I’ve had to pull myself together, and do the uncomfortable or the inconvenient, in resolving hard issues. Hey, we all have.  Life has never been mistaken, by anyone but the foolish, for a sweet bowl of cherries.

So, a week ago, yesterday, I had another tooth pulled, not because it was causing me pain, but because it was seriously infected and heart problems run in my family, on both sides. Dental issues are directly connected to heart issues. My own heart is physically in good shape, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Arrangements are being made for a replacement denture, which led me down to the office of my dentist of the past seventeen years, this evening, after work.  Then came the follow-up call to my above-mentioned friend.

Candice Bergen said, many years ago:  “Men are such jerks about beautiful women”.  To be sure, I have had a few periods of jerk-hood, and came to the conclusion that, if I didn’t have so many doubts about myself and my own worth, any obsession with beauty would not take hold. The physical frame is a fine gift of the Creator to mankind, but it is only part of the package.  Were that not so, then plain or homely people with exquisite spirit, personality and skill sets would never have a shot at much.  Were it not the case, ravishingly attractive people would never suffer pain, and we probably all know of at least one person who has suffered, either despite, or because of her/his comeliness.

My physically attractive, suffering friend (who, we both agree, is like a sibling, and no more than that) is enduring things that I, and many others in my circle, do not have to tolerate.  It happens that way, sometimes.  Life is an equal opportunity provider, of both good and ill.

I thought further of this, whilst in a small burger joint, Big Earl’s, in this, my favourite Phoenix-area town.  The very pretty teen girl who was serving me whacked her elbow, whilst loading a bucket of ice, and my paternal angst winced a bit.  She shook it off and kept on with her work.

So must we all.  I will do my darnedest to help sister-friend get through her current nightmare.  She will, eventually, find her own light.




January 8, 2018, Prescott-

He was like Gibraltar’s rock,

working day and night

to secure his future,

and those of countless others,

for he was a man of finance,

and a man of principle.

I’d have trusted him

with the account I am building.

He loved a sacred space,

not far from where he

and his beloved

had lived

for over two decades.

He worked the grounds

of that sacred space.

I had the honour

of working alongside him.

Now, he has taken his flight,

after a life lived powerfully.

She was in the worst  of pain,

the sort that only a flood of love

can even come close to healing.

Those closest to her,

not knowing her level

of suffering,

tended to other matters.

She tended to her matter,

and took her flight,

after a life lived tortuously.

We know not what

is in store for us.

We can only live

in as much of the Light

as we can absorb.

We can only absorb

as much of the Light,

as the size of our lens,

will let in.

Our lens is

only as big,

as the heart that

it mirrors,

and the lenses

off  which

it reflects.

So, I honour

a forthright,

valiant man.

So, I feel pain,

for a tortured



Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXX: Density


,May 2, 2017, Prescott-

The night sky seems denser than usual.

I’m walking home,

from the second of two meetings

held after work.

This one was spiritual, in tone,

so I was not worn down.

Spirituality can be dense,


Yet, that density is what lifts us

to the light,

and sustains us,

in time of an even denser sorrow.

My heart aches for one

who lost her dearest,

a few days ago.

I have been there,

and felt the aloneness,

even when surrounded by friends.

She feels lost, at times,

this I know,

without ever having met her.

There is a fog,

as thick as pea soup,

that envelops the grieving.

Left behind, it seems,

one inches forward,

in the gloom.

Light breaks through,


because that is the nature

of the Universe.

The density of light

is what sustains us.

We stand with you, Senora.

Let us, the friends you know,

and those you haven’t met,

be your light.

The Road to 65, Mile 257: Desert Wildfire, Day 3


August 12, 2015, Mohave Valley-  Wherever there are unicorns, there are also dragons.  Where there is joy, sorrow and rage are not far away. Light is accompanied by shadow. I prefer, I insist, that the former will outlast the latter, because that’s how life goes on.

The fire has been reduced to hot spots, which are being monitored, 24/7, by a very capable local fire department.  As always happens in a community that prides itself on independence, there is gratitude towards the local first responders, and grumbling towards the Federal presence, in this case, the Bureau of Land Management.  A government that seems distant, both physically and ideologically, is an easy target, and so it has been here.  The perception, among many who have come by for food, clothing and comfort is that the Feds didn’t seem to care about them, or about their property.  The Gold King mine mishap is thrown in, for good measure, as “eventually, that stuff will find its way down here, en route to the Gulf of California.”

It’s hard for people who are themselves overwhelmed, to see the situations of others- no matter which rung of the ladder we occupy.  I was fortunate to have been raised by parents who instilled the viewing of the situation of the other, in me.  Being the oldest of five made it more urgent.

Having to deal with the local bete noire, yesterday, put this whole concept to the test.  I went through six months, last winter and spring, of being patient and forbearing with someone whom nobody else seemed to want.  These folks are sent to us by a Creator Who desires only to see our full potentials realized.  This, I understand; it was just that, at the end of a long day in the heat, I had trouble waiting for a well-rested, fastidious case worker to complete the process with a needy, isolated and very edgy outcast.  I went back to the truck, turned on the A/C, and saved myself, while keeping the window cracked open enough to hear what was going on.  She completed the matter, thirty minutes later, and the four of us left the man, who felt more accepted, and headed home.  I guess this is one of the lessons that Christ meant to impart, when He worked on Lazarus, and on Mary Magdalene.

There are issues in any community, on any given street, and within any household which has more than one occupant.  In the Fire This Time, we, as a team, did well by the town of Mohave Valley.  After a day largely spent cleaning the gym floor of the temporarily closed Mohave Valley Elementary School, three of us volunteers headed home.  As we left town, a swirl of burned-out desert dust rose high in the air, causing our Team Lead to call in a “possible re-sparked fire”.  It turned out to be just a dust devil, with burned material, almost giving us a farewell, of sorts.

We stopped up the road apiece, at Westside Lilo’s, a homey, relaxed German restaurant, in Seligman, and decompressed with some fine sandwiches, served by an engaging and spirited young woman.  I always enjoy a good bratwurst, and a pretty smile.  The rain, which our driver had feared, seems to have preceded us, and it was an easy drive back to Prescott.

Goodnight, and it looks like tomorrow will be a bit of a respite, before the next big thing.