Stay With the Energy

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May 12, 2022- Today was likely my last full day assignment for the 2021-22 Academic Year. A couple of half-days remain, the week after next, but with the year winding down, my focus shifts to Faith-based conferences, focusing on such themes as Building Vibrant Communities and Fostering Social Transformation; to making a commitment to cleaning out the remaining clutter in Home Base; to making my customary visits with friends and family and branching out to new areas.

The energy, which has been quite erratic, this Spring, is evening out just a bit. Though there are challenges each day, I feel more confident in meeting them, “in the moment”. Working with emotionally disabled special needs children can often feel like walking up a funicular, whilst carrying a sack of rocks, but it is one of those necessities in our society- at least as long as we struggle with the imperfect science of integrating the mentally ill into this mix.

Communication, never easy, is also subject to constant revision and repetition, as needs, moods and other conditions change, seemingly with the wind. Patience, forbearance and fortitude are certainly life-saving virtues! Still and all, this is a good life.

So Onward It Is

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January 1, 2022- We received our first, and possibly only snow of this new month, right about the time that the Boot dropped and the fireworks went off. It was also the time that I called it a night, as well as a year.

People have been wishing for 2022 to arrive since a) the inauguration of President Biden; b) the Delta variant started worming its way around; c) New Year’s Day of 2020. I personally adopted the time-honoured practice of taking one day at a time-back in 2002, when Penny first began showing real signs of decline. I have seen no reason to change that practice, since. Still, life does require some sort of planning.

So, today prompted me to think, first, about this day-which has ended up being largely a restful Saturday, aside from going to Farmers’ Market and helping scrape some of the ice off the asphalt in front of a good friend’s stall, and picking up a few items-including a beeswax candle. Then came a stop at Peregrine Books, for a journal, wall calendar and a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s “The City of Mist”. The laundromat was closed, so that’s put off until tomorrow, as is the carwash.

Then, I thought about this month. Visiting with Baha’i friends in western and southern Arizona will take up the second and fifth weekends. There are commitments here at Home Base, the third and fourth weekends. Work? I will choose my assignments carefully. After this past week’s fires in Colorado, I am also leaving myself open to Red Cross activity.

February looks quiet, right now. March will find me hopping on a train, a bus or some combination of the two-plus spot car rentals, and visiting family and friends in the Southeast, particularly Georgia and Florida. April and May will be a bit less frenetic, though visits to southern California Nevada are likely during that time. June and the first part of July will see a train trip up the West Coast, to several places in Canada and back across the U.S. The rest of July, August and September are open, and will be quiet, unless duty calls. October hopefully means Europe (Iceland, Sweden, Poland, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany and France-with a bit of Scotland possible). November and December will also be open. All of this depends on God being willing and the creek staying in its bed. After all, the last two journeys have been postponed twice. The postponements are probably a good thing. We Baha’is have received important guidance on the nine year spiritual plan that will certainly determine the basis for many, if not most, of my activities going forward. A spiritual element is present, whether I am at Home Base or going about the wider world. It is not, as someone once remarked, a simple matter of “going about here and there, taking photographs”. God knows, I could rent a drone to do that.

Having covered the “What” and “Where”, it’s time for the “Why”. Basically, I thrive on both connections with people-and on those connections being both virtual and real time. Rudimentary networks were established in 2014 and 2015, which I want to strengthen-along with making new connections, this year and in the four years to follow. This is how, to my mind and heart, the planet may be unified- with my doing a small but worthwhile part.

Happy 2022, and as another friend said yesterday, it’ll be a year-no promises, either way. We just set our courses and do our level best.

Tendrils

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August 2, 2021– My hiking buddy noticed the length of the sutured scar on my left cheek and wondered whether the basal cell had roots along the length of the incision. Perhaps, as it is the nature of invasive beings to send out tendrils. Trees send out root networks, which work for the betterment of those benefitting from what is produced, and tot he detriment of those who need their underground pipes and power lined left alone. Cancer cells just send out tendrils, after they reach a certain stage of growth. As the surgeon said he got all that there was of this basal cell, I am confident there are no such tendrils remaining.

Humans who prey on others also send out tendrils. I occasionally get e-mails from people claiming to represent this or that departed relative’s estate. These go to the spam file and are deleted. I do, however, notify whichever immediate family member of said relative is in my network, that such shenanigans are taking place-and after we both agree it’s a scam, nothing further needs to be said. I would do the same with phone calls-or even letters.

This brings me to the networks which DO need to be spread about, like the best of trees. You have read of a disaffected young man, who appears to see yours truly as the only one who can help him achieve his goals. I am seventy years of age, and though in good health, nothing is guaranteed, long term. My will has been written and my immediate family stands to receive my estate. Only a carefully-established network, which I continue to encourage the young man to establish, will resolve the lingering problems associated with poverty.

For the record, I fully intend to live a few more decades, anyway, and will continue to stress the value of networking. An overloaded basket loses all eggs.

Camaraderie

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May 25, 2019-

I have, very recently, met someone who has hit me like a ton of bricks, and much in the way Penny did.  I have no idea how this friendship will go, but it is bound to be one of substance.

For the past eight years or so, I have, to outward seeming, gone at times from pillar to post with my meanderings and efforts at working day jobs.  This is who I am, though, and my purpose remains to be a friend to as many who cross my path, as do not mean either me, or the world, harm.

I used to be a loner.  Penny changed all that- and even when it was the two of us, quietly reading or thinking, in our own spaces, I was no longer just one living for myself.  Since she passed, I have been aware that, if I ever reverted to loner-hood, she’d come back and haunt me.  Thus, there is the sense of belonging to a community that’s bigger; to groups that have an aim.

I have ties, camaraderie, with so many communities, it’s hard to pin down to one place.  That remains a good part of me, and so:

Prescott- Here, I have become grounded, made an effort at being part of a day-to-day community and have established many friendships-with people across the political and social spectra, who, in their own words, might not be able to stand being in the same room with each other.  While that’s sad, it is the human condition. I’ve been doing this sort of networking since high school, though, so it is second nature.

Phoenix- It’s no secret that this city, this sometimes choking environment, nearly buried me.  That is as much present in the circumstances of my time lived here, being a caregiver, especially for a loved one, is both labour of love and slow asphyxiation.  She often said she couldn’t wait to “be out of my way”, though to my mind, it could have gone on forever-until leaving was what was best for her.

I love the desert mountains, which the city has had the foresight to keep out of the harm’s way of uber-development (Prescott, take note:  You have no idea how close you are to losing the very places which make you special.) I also love the people who stayed close to me, when the feckless around us were seeking to quarantine my wife and me.

Arizona- You took me in, when I was still very much a mess.  Flagstaff, Superior, Casa Grande, Cochise County, the White Mountain region, Kingman-and the eternally blessed Dineh and Hopi Nations all have given me friendships that will draw this one back, time and again.  Tucson, for reasons both long-standing, and yet to pan out, is a special draw.

The West- California, in the words of Debbie Boone, will “keep calling me home.”  The beaches, the expanse of Mojave and Imperial Deserts, the Coast Ranges, LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, the Bay Area-and the Sierra Nevada underscore my ongoing friendships, which will remain.  Nevada, Colorado, Utah- your treating me like family will only be an ongoing comfort and draw this one back time and again.

The same hold true, for those in my heart in the Northwest, Alaska, the Midwest, Northeast, South, Canada, Korea and western Europe.  I cannot see myself staying apart from any of you, my friends and family, in perpetuity. Nor, for that matter, do I wish to preclude time with those friends in places yet unvisited:  The rest of Europe, the Pacific Rim, South, West and Central Asia, Africa and the rest of the Americas.

Time will tell whether my solo wanderlust, or this newfound friendship, sets the parameters of  the future.  It is a comforting place to be.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 3: Seeing Beyond The Green ($)

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December 1, 2014, Prescott-  I am involved in a local project, which will hopefully keep a key local elementary school form being closed by those who see the property on which it sits as the site of another hotel or shopping plaza.  It is far more valuable to the community as an educational institution than it ever will be as a commercial zone.  Less than a mile to the west, there is a large vacant building, at a major  intersection, that is begging for a tenant.  To the south, another property, which would make a fabulous guest lodge, also sits empty, at yet another key intersection.

We have just witnessed one of the most intense attempts ever, at dismantling a major national holiday, falter and stumble, with Wall Street weighing in, today, by selling off a pile of junk.  Sure, the easily-bored and disconnected among us showed up at the malls, and bargain hunters, who would have waited until Saturday, went in and scored their usual screaming deals.  The difference from last year seems to be that most of us have had it. For that matter, I haven’t been to a store on Thanksgiving weekend since 1996, and then only to use a birthday gift card from my in-laws.

I sense that, with all the drama in discount outlets like WalMart, and the bad weather in much of our continent, “Joe and Jane Sixpack”, who are also family people, are wanting to get back to the real sense of who they are, who we are, as sentient beings.  When my son and I took a brief walk along the beach front, at La Jolla Cove, San Diego, last Friday, it was comforting to see a huge number of families enjoying the day and the sea air.  A similar number were in evidence a bit further north, at Torrey Pines.

There will be more gains on Wall Street in the foreseeable future, and more people are likely to return to the workforce. There are also possible climactic and social disruptions, some severe, that will reverse the trend towards economic recovery.  Japan is still reeling, ecologically and economically from the Fukushima nightmare, and the northwest Pacific Coast, from Bristol Bay to the Bay Area, is witnessing troubling die-offs of marine and shore life.  Other parts of the world also report unsettling ecological changes.  For example, we had better hope, as a human race, that the Balkan Peninsula does not have a repeat of last year’s severe winter, given the relatively meager harvests reported from that area.  Thus does the pendulum wildly swing.

The answer is not to shrink back, but to reach out ever more fervently.  I will do my best to carry on my journeys of discovery, even if on foot and in relative paucity, as the true purpose of these is always to connect.  The same is true of my efforts here in Arizona.  It is the bonding, the networking, which will see us through all challenges.  The solution lies not in the Paper Green, but in the True Blue.

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