Facing Negative Energy

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January 9, 2019-

The young boy reacted to a task that was beyond his scope of understanding,  in the only way he knew:  He threw a fit of self-harm and flailing rage.  Two women were able to guide him through the anger and calm him down, without any appreciable damage to himself or anyone else.  He spent the rest of the day in peace, and participated in afternoon activities.

The past forty-eight hours have seen a fair amount of negativity, in situations far and near:

A dear friend has seen the person closest to her have to be brought to hospital, in a life-threatening emergency.  My prayers, and those of dozens of others, have gone up, that he may survive the night and recover.  The spouse, or significant other, of a friend is as dear to my heart as the friend.

There was, yesterday, what turned out to be a minor hiccup, in my son’s and daughter-in-law’s planned ceremony to sanctify their civil wedding vows. We maintained patience and the right thing happened-hiccup cured.  Ceremony will proceed as planned, in two months’ time.

I had planned, with a group of co-workers and their friends/family, to conduct a clean-up of one of the National Park properties that is not far from here.  This morning, an alert, banning the public from said property during the current shutdown, was hastily posted on the park’s website.  While  I can see any number of concerns that would bring such a response to the offers of a clean-up, (Ours was not the only such offer.), the shutdown as a whole is extremely negative and counterproductive.  Our group could clean up any of the National Forest sites in this area, though the U.S. Forest Service is fully operational.  We could, as one person elsewhere told me, focus on local neighbourhoods and not worry about Federal land.   These two scenarios can, and should, be a regular part of civic life-above and beyond the present impasse. (More on “local vs. global”, in another post.)  Our point, though, in THIS situation, is that the National Park System is suffering, mightily, from  ongoing neglect during the present shutdown.  It needs its citizens to step up, more than ever.

Negative energy is always around, and as darkness is dispelled by light, it can be countered and neutralized by a stronger positive energy.  Fighting fire with fire, or mud with more mud, is a short-term strategy, which usually results in the perpetuation of the very iniquity that one seeks to remove.  I have found that either maintaining a stronger stance of love, in the face of hate, or cutting off the flow of negativity altogether, has brought the darkness to naught.

 

 

Seared into Community

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January 8, 2019-

The local Sears may well be closing soon, along with most others of that company’s sites.  That fact has nothing to do with the title of this post, though.

Prescott has taught me how to be fully part of a community-actually a lesson that Saugus, and later, the Hopi Nation, tried to teach me, years ago, with varying degrees of success.  I guess that now, in my advanced middle age, and with a few knockabouts under my belt, people are more easily understood by me, and vice versa.

There is a move afoot for several of us to go to a National Park Service property (to be determined), and engage in a clean-up, this weekend.  This is just the latest of examples of why this community has a commitment from my heart to stay and work for the next 2-2.5 years, before family, and the curiosity about the wider world, take primacy in my life, once again.  My Faith community, the Red Cross, a local school gardens group, various individual friends-and my co-workers at Prescott High School have kept me well-occupied and quite happily so, especially these past two academic years.

This evening, I went to a fundraiser for our school’s Future Business Leaders of America.  Wildflower Bakery, a regional chain, has a new restaurant, within the shopping mall where it has been a fixture for several years.  It is visible from the road, and draws a fair crowd.  FBLA thus decided to hold its event here.  I support as many of these “club dinners” as I can, just out of love. Teens, in my view, deserve all the support they can get, in finding their way to a solid and sustainable future.
I guess this is the impetus to having all these other elements of community take root in my heart.

Vale of Three Mountains

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July 21, 2017, Harpers Ferry- After experiencing the intensity and blood-echoes of Antietam, I headed the back way southward, through tourist-clogged Shepherdstown, to slightly less congested Charles Town, not to be confused with the West Virginia capital, Charleston, which lies a good 3 hours to the south.  There, I spent a restful night, on the outskirts of town.

This morning, after driving past the even more-overpopulated Harpers Ferry KOA, a mini-city, I opted to first take a ranger-guided tour of the approach to Lower Town.  Ranger Michael gave us a fully- detailed visit to what had been Storer College, an institution of higher learning, founded in 1865 and aimed at training African-American teachers.   The school closed in 1955. It is now part of Harpers Ferry National Historic Park, with a National Park Service Academy (Mather Training Center) and Lockwood House, a Union Army hospital and later headquarters for Gen. Philip Sheridan.  When Storer College was founded, Rev. Nathaniel Brackett made Lockwood House the administration building.  It is now a research facility for the National Park Service.

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Behind Lockwood House lies Harpers Ferry Cemetery.  Michael led us through the burial ground, en route to Jefferson Rock.

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Thomas Jefferson stood on this rock, in October, 1783, and was extremely impressed by the view.  From that point on, the rock has borne his name.

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St. Peter’s was not there, back then, but you get the idea.

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We walked past the ruins of an Episcopal Church, which was there in 1783, before Michael bid us farewell, so he could conduct another tour.

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I took the shuttle bus back to the upper parking lot, and drove back down, for further exploration of Lower Town.  I stopped, for about twenty minutes, at the headquarters of the Appalachian Mountain Club, this being the midpoint of the Appalachian Trail.  The staff and several through-hikers were encouraging of my pipe dreams of someday walking that venerable long path.

Here are a few scenes of the business district and Virginius Island. These are the ruins of Shenandoah Pulp Mill, built at Halls Island, by Thomas Savery, in 1887 and destroyed by the Great Flood of 1936.

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The Flood also put an end to a cotton mill, on Virginius Island.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

These days, Virginius is popular with swimmers, along the Shenandoah River and with the ubiquitous deer.

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Thankfully, it is only accessible by footbridge.

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I walked on down, to Lower Town, and gazed at the confluence of the Shenandoah, with the Potomac.

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The small fire station, which once served as a “fort” for the abolitionist John Brown, faces the two rivers, at the edge of Lower Town.

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I walked on, up Main Street, avoiding the temptation to buy trinkets.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The last stop, before heading out towards Harrisonburg, was The Coffee Mill, where the heat of afternoon called for a root beer float.

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Harpers Ferry certainly had a hard time being hemmed in by two rivers and three mountains, during the strife of 1850-1865, but it has found a place in the hearts of grateful citizens, in this day.

 

Highway 16

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January 1, 2016, Prescott-  Yes, I know it’s still 2015, here in the American West.  It’s New Year’s Day in Rouen, France, one of my ancestral homes.  It’s also 2016 in: Silesia, Poland; Bremen, Germany; and Tours, France- three of my other ancestral homes.  In 5 1/2 hours, the New Year will come to Old Town, Maine, where my Native American relatives still live.  I am starting to beat a dead horse.

I will use the road motif for this year’s posts, much as the Road took me to age 65.  Highways indicate assertiveness, clear vision and moving out with a purpose.  So I intend 2016 to be.

I came back to Home Base, yesterday, to find I have a financial issue to settle, and will tend to it next week.  In the meantime, bills and rent will get paid and I was, thankfully, able to fulfill a promise I made, last week, to help a sick friend.  My nest egg isn’t growing right now, but neither is anyone else’s, in Wall Street’s mad rush to sell anything that’s not nailed down.  My nest egg IS nailed , though, so the bears can just go back into hibernation.

Meanwhile, I am not hibernating.  The next three days will see me on one trail or another, as we enjoy crisp, clear weather.  The schools will be back in session next week, and I will be ready for whoever needs my services.  The certification process will take a bit longer- ADE doesn’t save transcripts, so those need to be re-sent, and my long-ago teaching internship host will need to verify that I did complete “practice teaching”- in Fall, 1975.  So, I see that process being successfully completed by the end of January.

My essential oils have benefited me, health-wise, and I will be at three conferences, this year, that focus on their promulgation.  This month, and June will find me in Boulder and September features an International Convention in Salt Lake City.

Travel in the summer will depend on how well I do, work-wise, this winter and spring.  A week or so in Reno/Tahoe, at the end of May, is a given.  Anything beyond that, though, remains to be seen.  In any case, the focus will be on time with friends, not on “Here’s Gary at yet another fabulous site!”  I never want the latter to be how all this is viewed.

Reading is still huge for me, and with the Kindle, an excellent library system and three nearby book shops, I will never run short of material. I am currently engrossed in “The Witches:  Salem, 1692”, Dick Van Dyke’s “Keep Moving”, “Terra in Cognita”, by a fellow Baha’i:  William Barnes, “Extreme Ownership”, and “The Dinosaur Heresies”.  My tack is to read at least ten pages of a book, then go to one of the others, and so on.

This year marks the Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s initial offerings of “Tablets of the Divine Plan”.  I will have much more to say about this remarkable set of documents, during the course of the year.  Suffice it so say that, without the guidance I have received as a Baha’i, the person some in my family remember from long ago, and still think they see, would still be stumbling around- and I would not be blogging, to say the least.

This year also marks the Centenary of the National Park Service.  I will visit several National Park holdings in Arizona, and around the Southwest, in the course of this year.  Most certainly, my boots will meet some trails of the Grand Canyon, and Canyon de Chelly, for the first time in 18 years.

Most importantly, though, is WHO I am going to be in these next twelve months.  That will never be defined by anyone but yours truly.  To say otherwise would be to invite chaos.  Some, not far from here, want me to move nearer to them.  That is not happening.  Others would rather I stay as far away from them as possible.  So be it.  Any given decision could be resolved in at least seventy different ways.  The factors, for me, are these:  Service to those in need, especially children and youth; my own family’s well-being; my ability to fend for myself (I am not presently, nor will I be, a burden on anyone else); and, lastly, the overall circumstances of the world-at-large.

Happy 2016, one and all!