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.