The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 24: What Matters Most

2

June 24, 2020-

This morning, I went to breakfast at one of my favourite counter spots. I had the counter to myself, as the rest of the regulars had shown up earlier than normal. Across the room, at a table, was a couple who were maybe fifteen years my senior. The wife got up to use a restroom, after their meal, but was about to try and walk without her assistive device. Husband quickly called her back and reminded her to use the walker. While she was away, he told me of her struggles. So much was familiar-he could no more leave her than I could have left Penny, during the eight-year joint grappling with PBD. Cognitive decline, in any form,does two things: It reduces a strong, intelligent, independent person to a largely dependent soul. It also shows the true character, and level of fortitude, of that person’s loved ones.

There was a lot that Penny didn’t understand, in her last year or so of this life. She did understand, though, that I was not going away-and that if I was not at the hospital, I was either working or tending to our son’s needs. I got the sense that this couple was operating on the same wavelength.

My closest friends now can expect the same loyalty, albeit without the romance and eternal vows that are particular to wedlock. I spent the afternoon helping one who is arguably my best friend, putting up a shelving unit-which, for reasons I will not belabour, took longer than it might have. We got it done, and it will help her nascent enterprise move to a more solid level.

This was another example of something my fifth grade teacher told us, way back in 1960: Men and women working as a team get more done than two men or two women. That may seem antiquated, but it has been true in my life, for several decades.

New Beginnings

2

December 21, 2019-

I am a late viewer of “Game of Thrones, Season 8”.  Although not knowing quite what  the author of  the series, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, will have to say in the last two books in that series, the television adaptation covered some basic themes, albeit in a modest way.

One of the themes mirrored the plight of the United Kingdom, which has chosen to leave the European Union.  In the program, the leaders of the northern sector, on the fictional continent of Westeros, chose to leave a continental political union, even though one of their own was chosen king, when the union faced a political vacuum.

Another was the matter of loyalty, and how easily it can shift, in uncertain times.  I’ve seen much of what passes for loyalty depend on how closely the views of the loyalist dovetail with those of the one being supported.   In the program, loyalty was a fleeting thing, at best.

The greatest theme, though, was that of new beginnings. The capital city, in the story, was nearly obliterated, by days of brutal warfare.  In the early days of the new regime, following continued carnage, there was squabbling about which projects would begin the reconstruction.  This is, of course, universal to our day and age, as well.

I have a simple idea about such reconstruction, though.  That is, whatever area is given priority should have the support of the community, state or nation, as long as the project will be of demonstrable benefit to those who have been left behind, in the prior progress of the political unit or community.  It is not a matter of mutual backscratching, per se, but a case of a new start being consistent and incremental, in the progress of the realm.

While each of us is headed forward, in one way or another, it’s a good thing if there is a network of support.

 

Sixty Six, for Sixty-Six, Part XXIX: Kindred Spirits

2

April 30, 2017, Prescott-

My spiritual family,

ever present,

even when physically

distant,

have made all the difference,

in a life that has seen

its share of ups and downs,

on a vessel

that has hit its share

of shoals and sand bars.

Spirit mothers,

reinforce what my

birth mother taught.

Father spirits,

advise bold action,

but with a sense of

constancy.

Brothers in spirit,

proffer strength,

yet are not afraid

of sensitivity.

Spirit sisters,

you are in

particular abundance,

of late.

It is always a comfort

to feel your loyalty

and nurturance.

Child spirits,

you are inheriting

the momentum

that will restore

our fellow man.

We know one another,

instantaneously.

Many of you reside

in Arizona,

but there you are,

when I happen upon

California, Colorado,

Texas, Oklahoma,

Illinois, Indiana,

Massachusetts, Virginia,

Florida, Washington,

Alaska, Alabama,

France, Korea

and so many points,

in between and beyond.

It is my greatest comfort

to feel your love and support.

Lover spirit,

you are ever with me

as you have been,

from the beginning.

Your message is

to forge ahead,

do what I am intended to do.

The parent, sibling and child spirits,

will see me through.

Should you, my love, visit me

in another personage,

I will be mindful and attentive.

Until then, my kindred spirits

envelop me in love,

as I envelop them.

Sixty for Sixty-Six, Part III: Kudos

4

January 15, 2017, Prescott- 

Last night, 22 of us paid homage to a man who worked, diligently, outside his area of expertise, for thirty-five years, bringing knowledge of human nature and psychological well-being, into the fast food industry.

Farouk “Frank” Assadi came to this country, from Iran, as part of a diaspora spawned by religious oppression.  He lived and worked in Iowa and California, before settling in Prescott, around 2000.  His Blimpie Sandwich and Salad Shop, part of a larger chain, was a central focus of meals for many, of all walks of life, for the sixteen years it was in existence.  Before that, he had run Orange Julius franchises and a Blimpie, in another community.  On December 31, Frank took down his food service shingle and will cast his net in another direction, after a period of semi-retired rest.

He’s 70, and thus serves as an inspiration for my own planned change of focus, in 2020.  We, who work for wages, eventually earn the right to follow our hearts into avocation.  For Frank, that will likely mean work in public health.  For me, that will likely mean itinerant acts of service, combined with photography and writing, much as I’m doing during off-work hours now.

My son is visiting the Prescott area, this weekend, combining time with me and a modicum of winter camping, this evening, in a nearby US Forest Service campsite, at White Spar, which I visited last year, in the course of hiking the Prescott Circle Trail, in a series of segments.

He has grown up to build a strong character, somewhat different social and political views from my own, but with the sense of loyalty and work ethic, which I instilled in him, early on.  I know he will continue to be a credit to the United States Navy, and to any other organization he may serve. In a few short weeks, Aram will head for the land of his birth, South Korea, and a new set of challenges and growth opportunities.  I will watch this, proudly, from the sidelines.

In a few days, our nation enters a new phase: Governance by a man whose life has been spent in the private sector.  I trust, though, that the American people will remain vigilant, and will call events as they see them.  I don’t think all that many people, especially in my circle of family and friends, have given the departing president much credit, partly due to his own detached demeanour and  partly due to his having come into office, with an unfamiliar face and name.  I do think, however,that he did a lot more for the country than we can even see at present.  Yet, it is also true that several bars need to be raised.  I will have more to say on these, in the next post.

Sixty-Six, for 66, Part II: Solstices, Hot and Cold

7

December 21, 2016, Prescott-  So, from today, our days will be getting ever  so slightly longer, with minute temperature changes a-coming, until June 21.  One of the kids asked about the Southern Hemisphere, and learned that the days in Australia,  most of South America and much of Africa, will now be getting shorter, until that same date, next year.

I was in Sydney, once, in mid-September, 1971, and enjoyed a mild Spring week.  I even had a few hours at Bondi Beach, and didn’t need a sweater, on the hydrofoil to Taronga Park.  Our seasons aside, I felt rather at home “Down Under”, and will someday make my way again to those parts, and to many others, for the first time.

Enough of things about which I can do nothing.  I’d rather focus on the emotional solstices that we seem to experience.  A few questions for thought:  How often have friends, some of them trusted, turned aside for the least perceived slight?  How often have friendships turned, because of unshared convictions, or a feeling that perhaps one is no longer “useful”?  How often has a friend looked upon you as a surrogate, either for a lost loved one, or for the person him/herself?

I am comfortable in many climates, and in many situations.  It’s something to which I have gravitated, all my life.  My peculiar form of loyalty is to humanity, as a whole- so slights are forgiven, secrets are kept, and often forgotten, and people are valued, even when they forget to value themselves.  I guess this is a fine way of remaining adaptable to both earthly and human environments.

Human seasons continue to come and go.  May they become milder, in tone and sharper, in meaning.