Fleeting

13

February 20, 2018, Prescott-

The snow came down, fitfully,

more than our precipitation shadow

usually sees,

and somehow, the creek,

near a natural foods cafe

that I frequent,

was rushing,

just enough to generate excitement.

I’ve been in situations

like this, many times.

A handful of raindrops

wet the pavement

in a dust bowl town,

and the community

celebrates.

A fishing town,

in the Northwest,

has five straight

days of sunshine,

and the tanning booths

empty out.

Most clearly,

I remember January thaws,

when several of us were out

in t-shirts and shorts,

at the first 50-degree moment.

This is central Arizona,though,

and the sun had burned off

the clouds, by 3 P.M.

Business as usual

cannot be put off,

more than a few hours.

 

Onward

5

January 1, 2017, Chula Vista- Seems people were so fed up with the year just past, that my retrospective montage was received like a lead balloon.  No matter- the clouds have cleared, from the torrential rains of the past two days (most welcome, here in southern California, and the neighbouring states of Arizona, Nevada and Baja California Norte).  My hope is that the clouds hanging over our nation, and over many parts of the world, will dissipate, as well.

I have a few, short-term, goals for this year:

January- This week, for the most part, will find me in the San Diego area, largely here in CV, with an Orange County outing, to Crystal Cove, on Thursday, before I head to Phoenix, and a dental check-up on Friday.  Training in Psychological First Aid, on Saturday, will let me bone up on those skills.  Who knows, as to just how many occasions such will be necessary?  Next Sunday,  my penultimate trek along Black Canyon Trail will bring me to the Emery Henderson Trailhead, in New River.  The last hike on that trail will follow, later in the month, (probably on the 21st. ) Over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, Aram is likely to visit, so the three days will be open-ended, to his preferences.  Other weekends will be divided between Baha’i studies and the trail.

February-  Son heads out to South Korea, the second week of this month, so I will spend 2-3 days in southern California once again, to see him off.  It’ll mean 1-2 ,years of Skype and a once-a-year visit.  I’ve been in those shoes, several times.  President’s Day weekend will likely find me in the McDowell Mountains, northeast of Phoenix.  A service project will also be done, during the Baha’i days of giving and service to others, known as Ayyam-i-Ha (Feb. 25-28).

March- This being a month that features a Nineteen-Day Fast, with Spring Break coming towards the end of said Fast, my plans are open-ended.  The inclination is to head over to  southern New Mexico and western Texas, to pay a couple visits to friends in the area, and take some relatively moderate hikes, the likes of which have worked out nicely, over the past few Fasts.  The Baha’i New Year (March 20, this year) will be followed up by a journey to Native American Baha’i Institute, to re-charge spiritually.

April- This is the month of the twelve-day Baha’i festival known as Ridvan,  commemorating the days when Baha’u’llah declared His mission, in 1863.  My energies will be thus directed. A few jaunts along trails in the Sedona and Payson areas will also be on the agenda.

May- Decision time, as to keep my current position, or move to a different school, will be at hand.  A long-postponed revisit to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, and neighbouring Superior, is the only existing item on the hiking agenda, for this month.

June-The first month of summer will keep me in the Southwest.  A week in SoCal will focus on Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.  Visits to Navajo and Hopi are also on the agenda.

July- My now customary week in Carson City and Reno will move to the first seven days of this month.  Then it will be northwest, to Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. From there, finances and circumstances will dictate my direction- either a week’s visit to Korea, or down the road, through Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Colorado.

August-Back to whatever work assignment awaits, and whichever forays into nature are allowed by the Monsoon rains.

September-The Bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s Birth will be celebrated next month, so this foot soldier will be ready to do whatever the Commemoration Committee needs done.  Otherwise, Labor Day will take me up Granite Mountain, and the end of the month will mean a weekend in Flagstaff’s Inner Basin.

October- The aforementioned Commemoration will take place on  October 22.  Hope Fest will also happen this month, so there will be much work, in service.  Fall Break is a cypher, at this point:  Tucson and vicinity will get first dibs.

November- Thanksgiving, this year, will be observed at Desert Rose Baha’i School, between Phoenix and Tucson.

December-  Christmas week will find me in Massachusetts, with family whom I feel have been somewhat neglected, over these past several years.  Several fences need mending.  That will include a train trip to Philadelphia, right before New Year’s, and on down to Tampa Bay, for the first week of 2018.

Books?  “The Brothers Karamazov” slog continues.  “The Standing Stones Speak”, by Natasha Hoffman, “The Century Trilogy”, of Ken Follett, “The Alchemist”, by Paolo Coelho and a pair of books on rebuilding communities take top priority.  Speaking of which, my long put-off book of poetry and short prose will be put together, starting with choosing the better of the poems I wrote, over the past year, and adding verse as it comes to mind.  No specific promises, as to date of publication, but it will be sometime this year.

So, off we go- Trump’s wild ride,  widespread exercises in patience with one another, and continued healing (on both a personal and a collective level) will define this next chapter in the life of this beautiful humanity.

 

Clearer Vision

6

November 29, 2016, Prescott- Now that my backlog of stuff has cleared up, somewhat, it’s time to consider what 66 has in store for me, or I, for it.

Fitness:  I like going to Planet Fitness, as there is a place for everyone, with a feeling of community and non-judgement.  People of all ages, sizes and ability levels exercise together and support one another, either silently, or as “spotters”.  My current plan has me there, three days a week.

Hiking:  Related to fitness, and to photography, my hikes vary in length and in difficulty.  They have sustained me, in many ways, for nearly 58 years.  The next twelve months will take me to:  Prescott Hotshots Memorial State Park, in Yarnell;  the southernmost three segments of Black Canyon National Recreation Trail, in New River; Spur Cross Ranch, Cave Creek; McDowell Mountains Desert Preserve, Scottsdale; the San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff; the Grand Canyon and who knows where, in AZ and elsewhere.

Work:  I was asked to consider being lead teacher in my current classroom.  I respectfully declined, preferring to see a younger person have a shot at that opportunity- as I am not devoting more time to the courses necessary for re-certification, and  given that I plan to work full time, for 4 1/2 more years, then go on to other pursuits, at the end of May, 2021. Children, and their well-being, will always be one of my highest concerns, though, wherever I am.

Family:  This means both biological and of choice.  Thankfully, there is no one in my biological family who would not be in my family of choice.  The former consists of about 140 people, including my mother, siblings, son, maternal and paternal relatives, and in-laws.  The latter has grown to at least 300, including many who will read this, over the past twenty-five years.

Travel:  My main immediate priority is time with Aram, after Christmas and before he heads to Korea for his next Navy assignment.  Between now and the end of May, I will be mostly in the Southwest and southern California, as work and my Baha’i activities keep me close to Home Base.  Mid-March may find me in west Texas, re-connecting with old friends.  The summer’s focus leans towards the Northwest, and possibly the Great Plains, but much could change, in the interim.  My Back-East visit looks to be in December, 2017.

Spiritual:  As most of you know, I am a fervent Baha’i.  We will observe a significant anniversary, on October 22:  The bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, Founder of our Faith.  A committee is planning a dignified and welcoming commemoration of the event, here in the Prescott area.  I will support and take active part in the event that is put together.

I also support the ecumenical event, known as Hope Fest, which will also occur in October, for its sixth year.  We all are living under the same blessings, coming from One Heavenly Source, in my view.

Writing:  I still very much plan to put together, and publish, a volume of mixed short prose and poetry, between January and March of the coming year.  Online, a series of posts on this site will be called 66 Days of Sixty-Six, being a random group of days that celebrate this age.

It’s going to be a great, if often challenging, year.  Stay tuned.

 

 

The Road to 65: Mile One

6

November 29, 2014, San Diego- Yesterday, I turned the corner on sixty-four years of age.  The next birthday will represent something of a milestone, for what it used to mean, and still symbolizes in many minds:  Old Age.  To me, and to many other Baby Boomers, though, it’s another year to be spent well.

I started this year by kicking an illness to the curb.  It was an upper respiratory matter, and a combination of essential oils, Vitamin C tabs, echinacea/goldenseal in hot tea, more hot tea with lemon and honey, and good Korean kimchi made recovery happen in short order.  I also spent time at one of my favourite spots in San Diego, La Jolla Cove, with one of my favourite people, my son.

As with any new journey, it’s worth looking ahead.  So here is a look at what the next twelve months seem to have in store.

December- A couple of Faith Community meetings, early in the month, then the 30th Annual Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference, right after Christmas.  My growth continues, in learning about Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade essential oils. Every day, I will go on site and spend an hour or so, building my store of knowledge.  Travel, within the Four Corners-Southern California sphere, will take me to western New Mexico:  Gallup, Zuni, El Morro, Bosque del Apache, Silver City and Lordsburg; then back around by Tucson and up to Phoenix for the aforementioned Baha’i Conference.

January- Usually, this is a month for laying low, but life close to home continues apace.  Having rung in the New, with fellow revelers in downtown Prescott, I may head up to Las Vegas for the first two days of the new year, to visit friends and walk in the Valley of Fire. I will spend time tilling my back yard, removing the weeds that have largely overcome the small plot on the northeast corner of our back lot.  Hiking more sections of Tonto Natural Bridge and the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is on the menu.  I will finish the month in Boulder, CO, at a  Winter Summit.

February- This will be another topsy-turvy month, taking me across the southern tier of states, (Feb. 6-17- with stops in El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans and the Panama City area, before spending 3-4 days visiting my mother-in-law, near Leesburg, FL.).

March- Always largely a month largely spent in fasting and reflection, sun-up to sun-down from 3/2-20, the time of Spring Break and NCAA Championships will find me visiting  SoCal, briefly, visiting family, and a couple of friends in OC and LA.  The rest of the time, we Baha’is greet our New Year on March 21 and I will plant some early-sprouting items like peas and tomatoes.

April-   This will be quiet, travel-wise, barring any emergencies.  Most likely, I will go up two small Flagstaff-area peaks:  Kendrick and Red Mountain.

May & June- I will stick close to home until the school year ends, then head northwest- through Nevada, northern California, central Oregon, western Washington, Vancouver (city and island), Haida Gwai’i and southeast Alaska, returning via eastern Washington, Idaho and Utah, in time for:

July- This Independence Day will be spent in Prescott, with a foray over to the venerable Prescott Rodeo.  Then, it’s off to San Diego for another filial birthday, on the 7th.  I will spend a couple of days in Santa Barbara and Ojai, before hunkering down in the Four Corners states, for the rest of the summer.

August- I will have planted squash and pumpkins, after returning from the Great North.  They will show me, this month, how they have responded to monsoon-style dry farming.  A few days among the Navajo and Hopi will be in order, as well.

September- Fall again, so soon?  Not necessarily, in AZ.  The  return of dry weather will mean some late watering of the nearly-mature crops.  My brother may be here, for his own special birthday, in the Grand Canyon.  Also possible:  Salt Lake City, for a five-day Parliament of Religions.

October-  I hopefully will carve a pumpkin that I have grown myself.  Rest assured, anything I grow will be from heirloom organic seeds.  A weekend camp-out in the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks wilderness will be in order.

November- The road to 65 ends here, before branching off to another year of growth and challenge.  My 65 starts on a Saturday, two days after Thanksgiving, so that means another great weekend in San Diego.

Books?  Yes, they are an intense part of my life, still.  In the next post, I will look back at this year’s reading achievements and ahead to those awaiting along the path I have just started.