The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 18: Ring of Fire

2

June 18, 2020-

Today was a low-key day, with no outside commitments, or Zoom calls. So, I checked over some work i was to do for a friend, and found-I’d already done it! I completed anothe rbit of study for a Red Cross credentials update, and spent a while at Planet Fitness.

Today was a suitably relaxing day, as the next three days: Juneteenth, Solstice and Father’s Day, have their expectations and the certitude of intensity. Topping it all off is the Ring of Fire Solar Eclipse, with a New Moon as the catalyst. It won’t be visible, in this neck of the woods, but I am sure we’ll feel its effects.

I am encouraged, even while posting on another medium as to what I would like to see gone, to post what I would like to see come to pass. Here is a short list:

“Physical Distancing”, as the term used for keeping people safe.

Adoption, instead of abortion.

Hands across the ideology divide, so people see clearly where their true friends are.

Universal free access to information.

A collaboration between naturopathic, homeopathic and allopathic medicine, with a de-emphasis on the profit motive.

A public safety system, in which there is transparency and consistency of communication as the baseline.

The Ring of Fire now being witnessed, across the globe, represents a cry of people who have been discounted and dismissed, for too long a time. I have learned that it is not entirely race-based. It is primarily rooted in economic eleitism and opportunism.

Altogether Fitting and Proper

0

May 20, 2020-

I woke today, feeling the power that comes with a day which may be written as 05-20-20, and which is the midpoint of the twentieth week of 2020.  Being Wednesday, I found myself in two consecutive Zoom calls, for two different reasons, this afternoon.

After those were finished, it was time for a regenerative cat nap-THEN came the urge to finally take the first of four directional walks.  So, on went the sneakers, sunglasses and ballcap-and east I went.

Today was the last of a series of mild, rather breezy days, so walking was a veritable pleasure.  My eastward route took me as far as the still-shuttered Planet Fitness franchise, in a shopping center called Frontier Village.  This was a 1 1/2 mile-one-way jaunt, and relatively easy.

The way back led me along the edge of Prescott VA Cemetery, resting place of many military veterans, and a place where I usually join a large group of volunteers, placing American flags at gravesites, on Memorial Day weekend.  I’ve heard nothing about that, this year, so am thinking it’s another casualty of COVID19.  I stopped and read Abraham Lincoln’s “Address at Gettysburg Memorial Cemetery”, thinking about what, today, is “altogether fitting and proper”.

There are three things that come immediately to mind:

  1.  Treat all citizens, especially those with whom one disagrees, as worthy of respect.

2.  Honour those who may need us to make small adjustments in our daily conduct- i.e. people who might be immunocompromised, and need those around them, in public places, to wear face masks.

3.  Continue thinking for self-and that means THINKING, not following the loudest voices in the room, on the Internet or in the streets.

These are altogether fitting and proper, nearly 157 years after our nation’s 16th President dedicated a military cemetery, receiving the remains of those who fought in one of our nation’s bloodiest, and most divisive, conflicts.

My Gratitudes

2

November 28, 2019-

A year ago, my shoulder was getting better and my left knee, injured by what seemed to be a psychic attack, as I walked down a short, routine set of stairs, was also well on the mend. The “woo-woo” aside, my health has been fabulous this year.  I am grateful to do Terra essential oils, hemp-based CBD cream, a team of physical therapists, my dental team in Phoenix, Planet Fitness and my chiropractor for helping me maintain that fabulous.

My family has been extraordinarily gracious and generous this year, as always.  Being with Aram, Yunhee and the Shin family, on the occasion of their Baha’i wedding, and the travels around southern South Korea that followed, remains the greatest of blessings.

My Baha’i community and other dear friends, around Prescott, continue to keep me grounded.  Those whose aim was to bring me down also had a role to play. Rearranging my priorities this year, has only made my life richer and more satisfying.

Prescott, and Arizona as a whole, continue to be inspiring, good hosts.  I never tire of the view of Thumb Butte, from my front window or of any of the exquisite scenes that unfold, no matter which direction I go.

My many friends and family, across the United States, and beyond, are ever present and encouraging, even if we rarely, or never, see one another in person.  I am grateful to have spent time with some, from California to Massachusetts and in-between, over the past twelve months.

Being ever expansive in my view of the world, visiting new places and making new friends is always a plus.  I found new perspectives on Albuquerque, Memphis, Charleston, Raleigh, the Eastern Shore and Delaware, West Point, Pittsburgh, Chicago/Wilmette, Kansas City and Los Angeles, over the past twelve months. Youth hostels, Airbnb and the comfort of friends’ and family homes made all the difference.

Time in nature is always huge, in my life.  The Centenary of Grand Canyon National Park saw me visit both North and South Rims.  The Navajo Nation’s Coal Mine Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, Window Rock  and Monument Valley ever warm my heart.  Being in New Mexico’s El Malpais was a comfort, after a case of food poisoning upended my Father’s Day.  There were meanders along the banks of the Mississippi and above the Goosenecks of the San Juan River; focused exploration of  Utah’s Natural Bridges and Hovenweep National Monuments, Lake Powell’s Wahweap area and the urban solace of Los Angeles’ Venice Canals re-affirmed who I am,at my core.

The greatest gratitudes are reserved for what is ongoing:  My mother’s continued presence in our lives, my little family returning to the United States, having three of the finest people as my siblings, my Faith in God being reaffirmed, each day, and my physical, financial and mental health remaining optimal.

Thank you, 2019, for having been, and remaining, a space of strength and comfort.

Back to Harmony

6

September 8, 2019-

Yesterday, I let the sour mood pass through. I think it was a reaction to the falling barometer.  We got about 1.3 inches of rain, in this neighbourhood and in points east.  A trip to the laundromat, on the northwest side of town, revealed continued “dry as a bone” conditions. Whilst at Farmers’ Market, I learned, from a vendor, who is a mutual acquaintance, that an erstwhile tormentor had found some peace in her life.  That is comforting, as unhurt people are less likely to hurt people. As the day wore on, and the rain had passed, I felt more in tune.  Spiritual Feast, in the evening, was vibrant and well-attended, another uplift.

Today has seen a nice breakfast at Post 6 come and go.  Now the long and celebratory Farm-to-Table Dinner will occupy my afternoon and evening.  This is one of four large social events of the Autumn-three of them this month and the last, on November 2, which will keep me connected to the community and offer a form of activity, in addition to Planet Fitness and whatever hiking I do, here and elsewhere in the Southwest.  Service projects, other than the above, will also be performed, through the Red Cross.  Home safety, simply put, is our major focus, in areas at risk for wildfire.

The message comes to me that disharmony is, largely, actually a product of not being in sync with the community.  Letting other people’s pain affect my own self-concept is a disservice, to them and to myself.  So, back to a state of balance I go.

Today will make many people happy.

Dog Day

4

August 19, 2019-

The day started with two good turns- A young singer with a powerful voice invited me, through her father/webmaster, to like her Facebook page;  The National Weather Service now says we may get rain, over Labor Day weekend.

I “liked ” the page, as anything I can do, to encourage a fellow autistic to build on personal strengths, is going to happen.  I’ll take rain, whenever it comes.  Last year, it came during a huge Country Music festival-in early autumn.  The world is turning on its axis, it seems, so in addition to whatever atmospheric changes we are inculcating, Mother Nature is making some changes of her own.

I read a study that claims people who nap more in the afternoon, and wake up at night, are at risk of Alzheimer’s, down the road.  That would mean a lot of us who nod off, in the heat of the day, are bound to find themselves in a different state of mind, ten years hence.  To me, though, the crux is often hydration.  I nod off less, when my water intake is up.  Since the brain is largely water, that could have some bearing on dementia, as well.  Synapses fire better, when there is a proper level of saturation.

It was hot enough today, that I felt it prudent to give my laptop a three-hour break.  Reading and a Planet Fitness visit took the place of  correspondence and pontification.  Not to worry, the latter is about finished, for now.

Remember, the Dog Days rarely last beyond Labor Day, which is two weeks off.  Stay saturated, my friends.

Day of Rage and Remembrance

6

June 19, 2019, Joplin MO-

The title refers to August 10, 1861, and I will elaborate, momentarily.  My Juneteenth began in Amarillo, with three surly drivers edging towards road rage, within a span of an hour.  The first one zipped around the corner and found me in his way, so the horn blew and the fist was pumpin’.  I got off the road and waited a bit.  Then there was the woman who was off-kilter because I went straight when there was no “left turn only” indicator.  Still no harm, no foul.  Finally, after my Planet Fitness workout, across town, I was screamed at, for driving across a parking lot and not stopping at each point where the road intersects with said lot.  This is, apparently, an Amarillo thing. (In Arizona, every parking lot intersection has a STOP sign. We must be spoiled.)

With all that, I left the city behind, and waltzed on over to Shamrock (See Ernest Tubb’s “Waltz Across Texas”).  There is a place there, called Big Vern’s Steak House.  Aram and I had lunch there, in 2011.  Vern no longer opens for lunch, so after looking around and asking the kind cross street neighbour as to whether Vern was okay (He is; he just opens for dinner only, is all.), I checked out a place called Rusty’s.  The perky owner told me she wouldn’t be open for another week or so, but if I went north a piece, I’d find a nice little place called Mesquite Canyon Steak House.  I did, and it filled the lunch bill nicely.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Next to Rusty’s is  Spinning Jenny’s House of Music.  If I’d been in a better mood, I’d have popped on in there.  Rusty and Jenny are both pretty and vivacious ladies, with good product, so it’s likely I’ll stop in Shamrock, next time I’m in the area.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I recall June 19 as Juneteenth, the day that Texas slaves received word of the Emancipation Proclamation:  June 19, 1865, when the Union forces landed in Galveston and spread the news.  This was 2 1/2 years after President Lincoln issued the Proclamation.  Today, many people are still not free of their own limiting mental chains.

“Waltz Across Texas” became “Zumba Across Oklahoma”, shortly thereafter.  I have a breakfast meet-up with one of my cousins, who lives near Joplin, early tomorrow morning.  So, there were no Sooners on my schedule, this leg of the trip.  I took the I-40 to 44 and onward straight-away, finding that the long-standing detour through the east side of Tulsa has been eliminated.  It’s all freeway, from Erick to Miami, so I found an hour had been shaved off the drive.  There was a minor rush hour jam, near downtown OKC, but that was all.

Once in Joplin, I found Motel 6 was reasonable, and that this franchise owner has a high-tech system, reminiscent of the European hotels I used, in 2014.  Keyless entry and paperless registration are here in the Heartland.

NEXT:  The Battle of Wilson’s Creek

A Step at a Time

2

March 31, 2019-

I made it to Planet Fitness, despite a sense of fatigue after a trip to Phoenix and back, having attended a worthwhile, but somewhat tiring, meeting.  I was glad to have not had to drive, with a competent friend at the wheel instead.

Tonight’s workout came after a twenty-minute catnap.  I feel better, having done the 30-minute express, followed by ten minutes on the hydrobed.  Bittersweet March has thus, in the end, affirmed that there is still quite a bit left in this sexagenarian frame.  I get appreciative glances from ladies, the younger among them knowing, as well as I do, that that is as far as it goes.  It feels nice, regardless.

It is now full-on Spring.  Tomorrow, we will see what practical jokes remain to be played.  Later in the month come Chalk-It-Up, Earth Day, Easter and the Twelve Days of Ridvan, commemorating Baha’u’llah’s Declaration of His Mission.  I will get my annual physical at the VA, sometime during the month, and will visit the Grand Canyon, on Good Friday.

April, as a wise colleague once remarked, cannot be the cruelest month.  Sorry, T.S. Eliot.

The Black Hand

4

March 30, 2019-

In the Planet Fitness where I work out, there is a large seat, shaped like a Black Hand, in each of the stations where a hydromassage bed is located.  It strikes me that this is a symbol of challenge, that there are always difficulties to be overcome, whether self-imposed or brought on by others.

I have had to do a lot of re-assessment, after a rough past few days.  What I have determined is that: 1.  I am going to make fitness a higher priority than it’s been, having shown that I can make time for a workout, even on the busiest of days.

2.  I am going to cut way back, if not eliminate, my appetite for pastries and other high sugar-based food items.  Neither having my cake nor eating it, at least for the last two months of work.

3.  Doubling down on avoiding violence, no matter how violently I might be attacked, either by one of my charges or anyone who is deranged.  My reaction, from now on, will  be to distance myself, until assistance is at hand, at least in the work setting.

4.  Being more mindful and present.  Neither Alzheimer’s nor Parkinson’s has knocked on my door, but problems have presented themselves, through a combination of fatigue and autism.  I have done better, today, and need to continue getting enough rest, so that there is no repeat of incidents on Thursday and Friday.  The same old story:  When I am challenged by an authority figure, when I’m in a fatigued state, I come out with a blather of telling the person what I think they want to hear and making myself look guilty of something that, in actuality, never happened.

5.  Tax returns are done and I have worked out a more efficient system of time management, so despite some of the above, things are on an upswing.

Gratitude Week, Day 3: Health

7

November 20, 2018, Prescott-

The last day of work before Thanksgiving came and went, with barely a hitch.  The students are surrounded by people who want to be working with them.  That has not always been the case, and the kids know when it isn’t.

Health, both physical and mental, depends not only on one’s genes and personal habits, but on how connected one is to those around us. I have been in good health for over ten years now, even counting the infections contracted whilst I was Penny’s caretaker and the recent knee strain.  It has been being surrounded by a largely independent, but genuinely loving, network of friends, to whom I paid homage two days ago, and to extended family, to whom I will pay similar tribute on Thanksgiving Day, which has brought me home, in terms of radiance and stamina.

A good daily balance of work and play, rest and activity, socialization and solitude has kept me in recovery from whatever ailments are brought on by aging and occasional stress.  I am grateful to do Terra essential oils, Planet Fitness and our systems of forests and parks, at all levels of government and of private landowners (Nature Conservancy, various local trusts) who allow access to their treasured sites.  I am indebted to those who provide healthful food and beverages, often but not always, free of Genetically-Modified Organisms and sometimes meatless.

I have much towards which to work, both gainfully and as a volunteer, over the next several years.  My health community is a key component of the process.

Tomorrow, I will offer a shout-out to those who have kept our communities, states and country safe and to those who work towards a safer world.

Face The Lion

21

October 28, 2018, Prescott-

One month remains of my being 67.  October, thus far, has been another instance of what the forest rangers call “facing the lion”, the feline in this case being a mountain lion (aka cougar or puma).  The broader meaning of this, of course, is facing one’s trials, without flinching.

I stood for what I believe, earlier this month, was castigated for it by a troubled soul and am not sorry for standing my ground.  I have promised to not harp on this, so I won’t. The most important thing is that, if I am all but ordered to compromise who I am, under pain of disapproval- I will take the scratches and bite marks of disapproval.

Physically, I have recovered from a mild injury to my left knee and am maintaining a rehabilitative exercise regimen.  It was gratifying to have returned to our local Planet Fitness, this evening, and to have been able to complete my usual exercise regimen, with a few modifications.

Yesterday, I chose to stay close to home during the day, rather than go down to Phoenix for what would have been a mere hour, before returning to this area for a Halloween party.  The day was greatly satisfying, though, as I attended a Fall Festival, at the site of the chiropractic office which I use.  There were many raffles, and I won a plastic sled.  The sled ended up going to a five-year-old boy.  I believe every child ought to have the enjoyment of sledding on snow- and in his grandparents’ yard, to boot!

The Halloween party, at my lead teacher’s home, was a masterful blend of food and imaginative visual effects.   There were “talking” creepy ghouls and monsters and a fine variety of hot and cold buffet items.  The best part, though, were their three German shepherds, including a very vocal albino G.S., named Lloyd.  He and I got along just fine, as I would talk back to him, saying it’s all okay.

I got mesmerized by yet another replay of Bette Midler’s classic “Hocus Pocus”, which we used to play every Halloween, when Aram was a child.  It’s been a while, so looking back on how different child characters stood up to Bette’s character and her sisters was a treat.

Yes, some lions are more comical than others. Some are more problematic. All must be faced with confidence and courage.