What Makes Community?


August 22, 2017, Prescott-

This evening, I attended a  gathering of Prescott Area School Gardens, aka Slow Food Prescott.   There were several small presentations about various garden projects, at both public and private schools, across the western half of Yavapai County.  The ensuing discussions broached upon several topics, including what, if any, are the rights of those who don’t support small agricultural projects?

A small group,  in the town of Humboldt, led by the town’s elementary school principal and a local landscaper, are pushing to remove the school’s garden, because its stewards are using organic farming techniques, will not allow Roundup, and other poisons, to be used in the garden area and are “taking up space that could be used for buildings.”  It’s even been said that these gardeners are teaching values that are at variance with local values.  What those local values are, is not quite clear.

There has been, in the media, reference to “the Hate Community”, following Charlottesville.   I wonder, does this mean there is an equal and opposite “Love Community”?  How about an “Indifference Community?”  The “White Community” is, supposedly, to be set apart from the “Black Community”, “Latino Community”, “Native American Community”,etc.  Do each of these communities have their pot luck dinners,  Kumbaya circles and support groups?

I have never been wholly accepted into a particular community, save my Baha’i Faith, and the online Archaeology for the Soul group. I have many friends who belong to various communities, but there are always those in a given group, for whom my presence is somehow a threat. Part of that is my peripatetic nature.  There is also the rapidity with which people form impressions of others, based on relatively brief encounters, real and perceived slights and lack of sustained communication.

I maintain that anonymity is largely to blame for estrangement, breakdowns in communication, or the lack of same.  It’s too easy to turn a stranger into a strawman. It is too easy to build false zones of security, based on opinions and practices that are themselves rooted in ignorance, superstition and hearsay.  Five minutes on social media offer proof enough of this.

It is also too easy to stick with one’s annoyance at another, based on one incident.  I have not, in nearly 67 years, had the luxury of holding onto grudges and resentments, and have had my fair share of bullies and haters.  Oftentimes, those same people have resurfaced in my life, as changed people, and/or as people in clear need of assistance.  I don’t regret my decision to see them as friends.

Communities, like individuals, are in various stages of growth, and will find themselves in conflict, as a result.  I do not, however, think that there is a “Hate Community”, or even a completely insular ethnic community, sufficient unto itself.  The world has just become too connected, and despite the fact that this means discord will chafe at our individual and collective skin, as a true World Community is formed, the long-term ramifications of this process are nothing short of glorious.

So, what does this mean for the “Roundup Community”?  It probably means a temporary ‘victory” over the organic farmers, given the mindset of our governmental agencies.  Long term, poisons will not be able to be administered in small enough doses to avoid permanent damage to soil, water and public health.   They will also prove ineffective against evolving pests, whose predators already exist in nature, and which are also evolving.   My overall point, in this rambling, is that life is going to continue, according to the Greater Plan of our Creator, Who will not abide its arbitrary extinction.

NOTE:  My remaining travel posts from July are awaiting my ability to pay for an upgrade to this Word Press account, so as to get unlimited storage for the photographs which enhance such posts. This should not take longer than a few more days.

The Road to 65, Mile 164: Base Camps


May 11, 2015, Prescott- I often get to thinking, especially this time of year, about the base camps I’ve known, in my all-too-peripatetic life.  Saugus really didn’t count, as most of my wandering in the early days was around town, or over to Lynn, a long walk, or short bus ride, away.  Fort Myer, VA- I took a bus, then walked from Georgetown or Capitol Hill, all over Washington, and into Prince George’s or Montgomery Counties.  Bangor, ME was the first real such launchpad, and I hitched rides all over Maine, as well as  into New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Then came Arizona, and not a weekend went by that I didn’t leave the Villa-Oasis School and head for any part of the state that could comfortably be visited in forty-eight hours.  Bear in mind that I was without a car, from 1978-1982.  So hitchhiking and bus rides were my ways of getting around.  It was something of a different time, though hitchhiking was a risk then, also.  I made my first visits to  Canada and several Western states, back in 1972, on a two-week dash from Montreal to Edmonton and Calgary, then back, through Montana, Salt Lake City and Denver, to Baltimore and Boston.  The West unfolded in greater detail, during my two summers with Toltec, then Flagstaff, as my bases. I made wide-eyed visits to Lake Tahoe and Portland, as well as southwest Colorado and southern California.

Penny and I were a bit more settled, especially while raising our son and later, in the years of her moving towards the Spirit Realm.  Still, we were off and running every summer, and some winters, either around the Navajo Nation and Hopiland, or to places like Israel, Guyana, Taiwan and South Korea (Aram’s birthplace, where we lived and worked for 5 1/2 grand years.)

Prescott has been the place where I have lived the longest, on my own.  It is an excellent base from which to head out and experience the combination of visits, service, and exploratory learning to which I have become accustomed.  Once in a while, like today, I wonder whether I might be wearing out my welcome here, but I know some people’s snippy dispositions and standoffish manners have more to do with them, than with anything I may have done or said.  I will hang on here, for at least two more years, coming and going, and coming back, to and from places like Reno, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Victoria and Juneau, this year; and other, more distant spots, in November, 2016.

Base camps are no less valuable to the wanderer than they are to the settled soul.  All the preparation and heavy lifting of life go on at one’s chosen abode.  Without home, there is no true journey.  Without the journey, there is no  true home.