A Cosmic Soaking


September 10, 2022- Today was the latest, in what seems to be a series of auspicious days. This began, this past Tuesday, with the passing of one of my last four surviving paternal aunts, continued Thursday with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II and today, a more cheerful celebration of my mother’s 94th birthday. I was able to sing her birthday greetings, via Face Time-and she liked my singing voice. That’s not a given. Had I sung off-key, I’d have heard about it. Mother has kept us each authentic, over the years.

It was just before starting a day of service, at the Tenth Annual Hope Fest, that this brief phone connection occurred. Hope Fest, for those not familiar, is a large in-person celebration of community service, modeled by the life of Jesus the Christ. So, my own service was basically “serving the servants”, doing whatever was requested by the organizers of the event. I am always a “floater”, going and doing tasks that range from driving back and forth to pick up items overlooked by the Event Director to stomping on excess ice (reminiscent of helping a neighbour of Greek descent stomp on his grapes, as a child). Being the volunteer not as well-known by the Director as her closer friends, I generally keep busy otherwise by finding things that need doing and getting them done.

Today’s event was similar to that of the first year-in that it was punctuated, and interrupted three times, by heavy rain. The first downpour occurred at lunch time, pre-empting the opening ceremony, which is usually a welcome by the Mayor of Prescott and a group photo. The second was in mid-afternoon,just before one of the musical guests was to perform. The third was in late afternoon, and was accompanied by thunder & lightning. The intensity of that downpour led the electronics director, and the scheduled headliner band, to cancel the evening’s performance.

I think it is a good thing that those in charge have a deeply spiritual vision, These, especially the last one, seemed to be cosmic downpours, perhaps testing the mettle of the participants and audience. They did not seem to dampen anyone’s spirits, and those arriving in anticipation of the evening concert were quite accepting of the cancellation, and grateful that the safety of the band and the sound crew were prioritized. The concert artist, who usually paints energetically, in accompaniment to the music, went about her work with only the music in her head to guide her. She is magnificent, in and of herself.

It was a warm rain, and even the young children who were momentarily caught in it were delighted. The monsoon season itself is winding down, and is expected to mostly finish by this coming Tuesday, with a chance for one last sprinkle to accompany the Autumnal Equinox. The Cosmos has been kind to the Southwest, in terms of rain, this summer. Now, we look to whatever lies ahead for Fall.

Joy In A Sea of Sand


August 31, 2022, Kayenta- I looked at the normally dry Red Lake, about fifty miles southwest of here, and was amazed to see it full! Traffic and lack of a safe place to pull off kept me from photographing the scene, but seasonal lakes are a definite joy to behold.

I am here, on the way to southern Colorado, and the Colorado East Baha’i Summer School, to which I was invited a month or so ago. There are always numerous visual delights on this route, US Highway 160, which starts near Tuba City and continues eastward, to near Poplar Bluff, Missouri. I have been on the route, as far east as Pittsburg, Kansas.

The Badlands, grasslands and Hoodoo country, from Cameron, AZ to the Ute town of Towaoc, Colorado seem energized and rejuvenated by this year’s specially productive monsoon rains. Even those areas normally devoid of vegetation are showing a certain lively energy. The sandy wonderland that is Monument Valley finds its southwestern terminus here, in this small but vibrant Dineh community. So, I have stopped here for the evening, as being among Dineh people has augured well for me, at the start of any journey-whether within the Southwest or transcontinental.

Monument Valley is a sea of sand, but what marvels that sand has helped create, with help from wind and water! I will begin tomorrow with a few photos and meditations of joy.

Heavy at Times


July 28, 2022- There was plenty of water given us today. The showers were fairly steady, with just enough of a break that I got to take Saturn in for its “welcome back” oil & lube, with a brake light and wipers replaced. Everything else looks good.

The phone calls were also heavy at times. Someone from Indonesia is trying to get my attention-and probably some of my $, but neither is forthcoming. The delete button works just fine. The calls that mattered-pertaining to Saturn’s body work, all came today. The job will be done on August 10-12. I will have a rental at my disposal, courtesy of Erie Insurance Co. That’s good, because I, too, will be on assignment for ten days and the school is eight miles to the northeast of here.

I am not as heavy as I was a few weeks ago, so there may be something to the concoction I put together, that is loosely based on the video I watched last week, and more in keeping with the directions from the herbalist I consulted here and the directions on the bottles. Many of us are heavy at times, and while that is neither inherently good or bad, each person does well to keep personal health in mind.

The affairs of the day were also heavy at times. It helps to bear in mind that we are experiencing the gradual fading of old ways of doing things, which are based on exclusivity, elitism and a zero sum mentality, at the same time that a more inclusive, equanimical and abundance-based system is slowly, but steadily, rising. Any attempt to ignore a group of people, or deprive them of their due, will fall flat, even if it appears to succeed, by fits and starts. I am specifically referring to the move against providing care for military veterans who have been injured by toxic chemicals or by burn pits, while in a combat theater.

Lots of things can seem heavy at times.

Fits and Starts


August 1, 2021- This is normally the hottest month of the year, even here in Arizona, where people expect heat, much of the time. This year’s monsoon, though, is more active than those of the last three years and there has been rain reported here in Prescott, just about every day since Independence Day-so Mother Nature heeded the fireworks. I will go tomorrow, with my hiking buddy, to Watson Lake and see how much the water levels have been affected by the rather generous precipitation.

Rain often comes during this time, in fits and starts. It could be dry for as long as two weeks, then rainy for almost as many days, and back to dry. My energy level tends to be the same, varying with the heat index, as one would expect. With the added vigilance about sun exposure, especially safeguarding the “little bit of heaven” on the left side of my face, I will limit the hike and other outside activity to an hour or less at a time-and be well protected.

August is saddled with the sobriquet, “Dog Days”, as this is the time of year when dogs are especially either enervated or aggravated by the heat and humidity. School starts up tomorrow, but as I have said earlier, my presence there this year will be limited somewhat-with more of an emphasis on Red Cross activities-if the powers that be in the local organization see fit to have me along to help out.



June 30, 2021- No, this isn’t about Joe Biden. The things that happened in tandem today were a good stretch of fairly heavy rain and the eighth anniversary of the fire which killed 19 wildland firefighters, in Yarnell, AZ. The rain hit our area quite well, making a small dent in the dryness of the soil. It’ll take far more to reverse the lack of moisture that has marked the last two summers. I do hope that it helped to quench some of the fires that have ravaged much of our state, these past two months.

There was intermittent rain, as I drove out to Yarnell, to attend the dedication of a town park, constructed in honour of the 19 men. The grandfather of one of the fallen is a man with whom I worked for several years, in the western suburbs of Phoenix. He has since relocated to the Yarnell area and is a driving force behind this memorial. I also know family members of three others among the Granite Mountain Hot Shots who died that day. In each case, there have been shrines and memorial sites built, both on private land and as part of a State Park, which lies seven miles south of Yarnell, and which I have visited twice.

Here are some scenes from the heartwarming ceremony that took place this afternoon and of a private shrine, built by a couple who lost their house that day, and have since refurbished another fine residence, to include a chapel dedicated to the firefighters.

Entrance to memorial park, Yarnell
Eighth Commemoration of the Yarnell Hill Tragedy
Koi pond, at the Chapel of 19 Bells, Yarnell
The Chapel of 19 Bells, Yarnell

This day, marking the halfway point of any given year, thus will ever have its own indelible significance.

Various Shelters


June 23, 2016, Eagar, AZ-  I have been helping to staff a Red Cross shelter, in this small eastern Arizona town, for the past two days.  Those who are here, have come because of respiratory issues.  The smoke from the Cedar Fire, a human-caused forest conflagration, has been more of a problem than the actual blaze.  Few, if any, structures have been affected by the fire.  The school where we are housed is well away from the blaze, of course, as is the school in the Painted Desert town of Holbrook, where a second shelter has been opened.  The concerns now are smoke and flooding, once the monsoon rains come, in earnest.  We got a foretaste of the latter, last night, when the parking lot outside our staff motel got about twenty minutes’ worth of shower activity.

The other day, in between beach visits in southern California, I spent about forty minutes walking in the western lagoon area of San Elijo Lagoon Natural Reserve, in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, north of San Diego.  A brackish water lagoon is also a shelter.  Both marine animals and desert mountain creatures find a safe haven.  The lagoon is, however, a tenuous place of refuge.  Given its location near various industrial areas, there is always a balance to be struck between the natural filtering that water plants offer and Man’s perceived need to generate waste, in the name of “prosperity”.  Brackishness has a long way to go, in being appreciated for what it offers the balance of nature.

Thus, San Elijo’s lagoon is a vital educational tool.  Here are some views of the western portion of this extraordinary refuge.


Thick vegetation is needed, to help filter out toxins.


Several channels converge in the lagoon, en route to the sea.


A lone egret was partaking of the solace, this morning.


The channel on the right has cut through to the ocean.


The Kumeyaay people, now also called Diegueno or Luiseno, had simple, temporary dwellings, when they came to the lagoon to gather fish, crustaceans and kelp.


Here is a view of the ocean-bound channel, from the Visitor Center’s second-floor observation deck.

The eastern section of San Elijo Lagoon Natural preserve lies east of Interstate 5, in the community of Encinitas.  It’s an area best enjoyed in the coolness of Fall.  I may well stop and investigate the emerging channels and their hillside source, come October.

There are no real external shelters from one’s own struggles.  The only way, as was said in “The Empire Strikes Back”, is through.  I have been my own worst foe, in so many situations, that the aforementioned option has become my default.  There were two instances, in the past day or so, where my efforts at maintaining the shelter clashed with others, who were either not thinking things through, or were just worn out and seeking the path of least resistance.   The only thing I could do, in both cases, was quietly continue what I was doing, for the benefit of the shelter clients, while not pushing the confrontation envelope. Our manager has confidence in my judgement.  This is a continuation of what I experienced this past Spring, at Prescott High School.  It’s refreshing, actually, and indicates I’m doing something right.

I am grateful for many shelters.