Dreams Not Deferred

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May 21, 2020-

After visiting the newly reopened American Legion Post 6 and stopping by Bill’s Pizza for a couple of slices, which I then enjoyed at a park bench, in Courthouse Square, I headed along North Cortez Street, and made note of more places re-opening, this coming weekend.

It was another of life’s sublime pleasures, to see a fairly good cross section of our area’s graduating high school seniors, lining up in their vehicles-sedans, trucks, SUVs and Jeeps, preparing for a motorcade through downtown, after which they would go to Pioneer Park, on the north side, for a group celebration. I stayed around and cheered all of the grads, as they drove by my perch on the outside of a long-defunct Chinese restaurant.

This group has been challenged to complete their course of study, in ways not seen since World War II. People of my parents’ generation may well identify, yet at least they got to finish school in their buildings. This spring semester, at all schools, has been an intense swirl of innovation-much of it accomplished on the spur of the moment. The best of it has relied on inquiry and discussion, followed by students coming up with solid new ways to accomplish things that had relied on formula, for far too long.

I had little to do with the achievements of this class of seniors, but I did cheer one young lady, a special needs person, who learned the value of setting personal boundaries and safeguarding herself, without, thankfully, having to undergo trauma. She can now take her place among those pursuing, and realizing, their dreams-hers being to work as a cosmetologist.

May each of these remarkable souls make their mark, not waylaid by any future misfortune-either greater or lesser than the one that interrupted, but did not dismantle, their last year of high school.

Prescott Circle Trail, Segment 1, Part 2: Trail’s End

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May 22, 2016, Prescott- There are lots of challenges left in the world, for those who think it’s all been done by others.  I know that, no matter where I go, there will be someone who’s already “done” the trip, gone along the trail, gone up the mountain, forded the river, negotiated the canyon.  I’m happy for them, and hope that many will follow after us.  The world is for learning and for appreciating.

In twelve section hikes, I have explored the entire unpaved course of Prescott Circle Trail.  Ten segments, spanning 53 miles, separated only by a 1.8 mile gap of neighbourhood and ranch, offer a variety of terrain and ecosystems:  Pinon juniper forest, manmade lakes, grassland, highway underpasses, scrub oak forest, tall pines and, always, granite or shale badlands and Dells.

I started this effort last autumn, with a  view towards getting a holistic sense of my adopted home base and the condition of its natural environment.  This afternoon, the final section of trail presented itself:  A loop, starting and ending on the side of Granite Basin Road, a bit south of Cayuse Day Use Area, an equine staging area.

Hence, the photos:

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Two days of steady rain, this past week, have brought the fireweed into a healthy state of being.  I took a brief walk to an area I explored last week, to see how they were doing.

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Once up on the Ho-Kay-Gan Trail, the settled homes of Williamson Valley’s horse lovers come into view.

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As is often the case, the stone watchmen are on the job.

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A rock that resembled an ancient sage sits with its back to the trail.

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I like finding hills that resemble pyramids.  Ho-Kay-Gan is a steep little mountain, and the trail skirts its slope, with a sharp descent into Alfano Gorge.

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Here is a view of Alfano Gorge, headed upstream.  This part of Williamson Valley resembles Pioneer Park, not surprising, given that the two are  a scant two miles apart.

Above, is Ho-Kay-Gan Trailhead.

A nice party of three hikers, who had passed me, while completing their own loop hike, graciously took this keepsake.

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Ho-Kay-Gan Trailhead

So, my first completion of a long-distance trail system is now complete, at least the unpaved portion.  I will walk the gap, from Katahn Drive to Pioneer Parkway, for the sake of integrity, early next month.  Then, too, completing Black Canyon National Recreation Trail by the end of 2016 is also a goal.

The Road to 65, Mile 317: Prescott Circle, Segment 10.

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October 10, 2015, Prescott- I took three hours, this afternoon, to begin my series of hikes around Prescott Circle.  It is a 51-mile loop, that connects several of our area’s natural wonders.  As is my wont, I am doing the circuit in clockwise fashion.  So, I started with Segment 10, which takes in a very familiar stretch:  Pioneer Park.  This is a huge greenbelt in northeast Prescott, with a rim trail that looks down on a series of groves, comprised of juniper pine and scrub oak.  The park has 9 miles of hiking trails, in addition to Prescott Circle, which goes along the park’s northern edge, then dips down and passes through Pioneer’s ball field, before continuing on.

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The surrounding mountain ranges, such as the Bradshaws, background left, are all visible from the rim trail.

I have hiked in this area several times, but looking at it as part of a whole gives Pioneer Park a fresher meaning.  The strength that comes from walking 9.6 miles round trip is an added benefit. Tomorrow, if my chores and acts of service are done, I will pursue the next segment, also in familiar areas:  The Embry-Riddle Forest Preserve and Willow Lake.

The Road to 65, Mile 218: Independence

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July 4, 2015, Prescott- It is a strange twist of fate that, on this 239th anniversary of the issuance of the Declaration of Independence, many Americans’ minds, and those of others around the world, are on Athens, the Birthplace of Democracy and now a seeming hotbed of rebellion against a global system that emphasizes money and profit as indicators of responsible behaviour.

There are several schools of thought about this global system.  Many here in the United States are convinced that it is the work of a tightly-knit group of families, whose specific identities are unknown and are called, collectively, Illuminati.  Dozens of TV series,and a few movies, have featured this entity, in various configurations, as their Archvillain.  Christians immediately identify it as serving the Antichrist, or maybe being It.

I only know that such a controlling presence, if real, would only suffocate and oppress the human spirit.  Working for wages has never been liberating, and only adopting an ethic of work as an act of worship, of service to humanity, has given most of us any kind of fulfillment.  My best years of working were when I was a school counselor, followed, oddly enough, by my years as a substitute teacher.  Most prospective employers who’ve looked at my resume have shaken their heads at this, and the selection process has ended for me, then and there.

Work, though, has to be an act of service, because our humanity is what we take with us, and besides, acts of service, in the long run, are what make us independent.  Money can be taken from a person, by the government, by creditors, and, in the form of lost investments, by a collapsing economy in a place far away. One’s accomplishments and relationships, however, can never be taken away.

I thought about all this tonight, as my good friend was driving us back from viewing the fireworks at Pioneer Park, on the northwest corner of town.  Her concerns are with an imposed world government, and contrived financial collapse.  These things are possible, but study of the teachings of various faiths and some secular philosophies tells us that they are not the End Game.  Each of us has individual DNA and each of us has a distinct soul.  We are, by nature, independent and will only successfully act in a collective manner, if  our acts of service lead to a collective consciousness.

As I saw the other night, on “The Celestine Prophecies”, that consciousness, and not an externally-imposed mindset or false world order, represents the next step in the evolution of the human spirit.  This is chosen by each of us, in healthy independence.