The Harvest and The Fallen Towers

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September 11, 2022- The glasses came, in dribs and drabs. My co-volunteer and I cleaned them, in drips and drops, and they were returned to the souvenir table. It was a smaller, more intimate Farm-to-Table Dinner this evening, with the emphasis on up-and-coming chefs, partnering with local farmers more directly. This marks the seventh time I have helped with the event, and the smaller affair was welcome, in that sense, as Hope Fest, which happened yesterday, and judged a success by the director and her management team, still takes a lot of energy. I am grateful to still have enough stamina to help in these efforts.

Farm-to-Table is planned, every year, to coincide with the autumn harvest and its attendant full moon. The team, mostly from Prescott Farmer’s Market, paired with professional servers from the Hilton Hotel’s banquet staff. This added grace to the affair, though in previous years we have had servers from local restaurants, who are certainly competent.

Earlier in the day, the focus was on the twenty-first anniversary of the attacks on American soil. There is a renewed focus on the role that some citizens and government officials of Saudi Arabia may have played in the horrific series of events. The complicated geopolitics that tend to limit a proper investigation may well need to be reviewed and their processes changed. As is being said, regarding another pressing legal matter, no one is above the law. The miasma has not been forgotten in the least, however, and those who claim it was a hoax are only finding themselves held in nearly as much disdain as are the perpetrators.

Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

So Onward It Is

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January 1, 2022- We received our first, and possibly only snow of this new month, right about the time that the Boot dropped and the fireworks went off. It was also the time that I called it a night, as well as a year.

People have been wishing for 2022 to arrive since a) the inauguration of President Biden; b) the Delta variant started worming its way around; c) New Year’s Day of 2020. I personally adopted the time-honoured practice of taking one day at a time-back in 2002, when Penny first began showing real signs of decline. I have seen no reason to change that practice, since. Still, life does require some sort of planning.

So, today prompted me to think, first, about this day-which has ended up being largely a restful Saturday, aside from going to Farmers’ Market and helping scrape some of the ice off the asphalt in front of a good friend’s stall, and picking up a few items-including a beeswax candle. Then came a stop at Peregrine Books, for a journal, wall calendar and a copy of Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s “The City of Mist”. The laundromat was closed, so that’s put off until tomorrow, as is the carwash.

Then, I thought about this month. Visiting with Baha’i friends in western and southern Arizona will take up the second and fifth weekends. There are commitments here at Home Base, the third and fourth weekends. Work? I will choose my assignments carefully. After this past week’s fires in Colorado, I am also leaving myself open to Red Cross activity.

February looks quiet, right now. March will find me hopping on a train, a bus or some combination of the two-plus spot car rentals, and visiting family and friends in the Southeast, particularly Georgia and Florida. April and May will be a bit less frenetic, though visits to southern California Nevada are likely during that time. June and the first part of July will see a train trip up the West Coast, to several places in Canada and back across the U.S. The rest of July, August and September are open, and will be quiet, unless duty calls. October hopefully means Europe (Iceland, Sweden, Poland, Croatia, Bosnia, Germany and France-with a bit of Scotland possible). November and December will also be open. All of this depends on God being willing and the creek staying in its bed. After all, the last two journeys have been postponed twice. The postponements are probably a good thing. We Baha’is have received important guidance on the nine year spiritual plan that will certainly determine the basis for many, if not most, of my activities going forward. A spiritual element is present, whether I am at Home Base or going about the wider world. It is not, as someone once remarked, a simple matter of “going about here and there, taking photographs”. God knows, I could rent a drone to do that.

Having covered the “What” and “Where”, it’s time for the “Why”. Basically, I thrive on both connections with people-and on those connections being both virtual and real time. Rudimentary networks were established in 2014 and 2015, which I want to strengthen-along with making new connections, this year and in the four years to follow. This is how, to my mind and heart, the planet may be unified- with my doing a small but worthwhile part.

Happy 2022, and as another friend said yesterday, it’ll be a year-no promises, either way. We just set our courses and do our level best.

Four Courses of Love

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September 12, 2021- A longtime friend, a few years my senior, has taken to posting photos of a newborn child, whom he has nicknamed after himself, her mother and a mutual friend of theirs, in hybrid fashion. He is clearly proud of the infant girl. My hope is that he can be there for her, through her teenage years, when the voice of a good man is as valuable to a young girl as is that of her mother. Without a parent, or parent-figure, of the opposite sex, a teenager is likely to drift emotionally. This takes nothing away from the efforts of those of the same sex as the youth, but it is an essential adjunct to those efforts.

There are several girls and young women whom I love as if they were my own daughters. I had the honour of working with two of them this evening, as Prescott Farmers’ Market put on its annual Farm-to-Table Dinner. I was a server, helped by two food runners and a busser. One of the ladies to whom I referred is the Executive Director of the Farmers’ Market, and can pretty much ask anything of me, in terms of service to the Market. The other is a tireless worker in the field of sustainability, and likewise devotes her energies to the Market’s success.

The dinner was served in four courses: Soup, salad, entree and dessert. Initially, each course was served by the designated team for two tables, with a total of seven crews. Four Chefs and a sous chef carefully and lovingly plated each course, and two complimentary courses for sponsoring VIPs. We on the serving crews brought each course to the patrons, with about twenty minutes between courses.

By the time the desserts were ready to be served, the Dinner was some minutes behind schedule. It was then that the teams combined and served all tables, allowing a half-hour for dessert, coffee, aperitifs and post-meal chitchat. It is never a good idea to jump out of one’s seat in a rush, though a few patrons did (“The dog is alone”; “I need to take my meds”; “It’s past my bedtime”). The high schoolers also had to leave. Those of us who stayed until the end continued the swarming behaviour, giving the dishwashing crew and the breakdown crew a boost, mindful that those teams of two have been stuck, in past years, when the high school age workers have had to leave, due to curfew. That is how I am used to volunteering-being one of the last to leave. No less really seems fair.

So went the second day of a most fruitful weekend. I am taking tomorrow “off”, focusing on training materials for a Blood Drive on Wednesday, but otherwise staying in a state of relaxation.

Fortnight of Transition, Day 4: Legalese

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September 12, 2020-

Good things happened today. My middle brother turned 65, surrounded by the Georgia branch of his family. It was good to speak with him and to hear the vibrant voices of nephew, SIL and the little ones.

I am reaching an understanding with someone who thought I could be the brains behind his operation. There are legal points, like “Conflict of Interest” and Federal tax laws that would present problems for my being the Great White Hope. I think he gets it now.

“Cuties”, the well-intentioned, but misguided, film has run into a buzz-saw of valid criticism, for its reported perseverating on the physiques of pre-adolescent girls. I haven’t seen the film, nor will I-since Creeper Status is not something with which I identify, as well as the fact that my primary role with young people, male or female, is to encourage them to avoid being objectified and to follow dreams of their own choosing. Hopefully, there will arise a sense of propriety and like misguided projects before it, “Cuties” will disappear from the media.

Our Baha’i group had its tri-monthly consultative meeting and planned out the overall course of activities, over the next three months.

That brings me to the Red Cross-and that I was already asked when I could resume Disaster Response activities. A look at the map shows why-Fire to the left of us, Storms to the right-and I will be stuck in the middle, for at least another week, as I have personal business on the last day of summer and will focus on other matters here at Home Base, in the interim.

The Farmers Market is a bustling place, with a new venue. I was happy to visit there this morning, seeing some of my better friends, locally. Next weekend will bring me to Dharma Farm, in advance of Equinox, and the Weekend of Peace will see some events, both on Zoom and in the park across the street from me.

With that, let’s all take a deep breath, to the extent possible, in a climate of widespread smoke.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 76: Dog Days

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August 15, 2020-

I woke up grouchy, this morning, and had to sit for a few minutes, processing a few unresolved issues from the past, which, it is said, come up whenever several of Earth’s fellow planets go in retrograde from this world. One thing that annoys me, that has little or nothing to do with retrogrades, though, is the dry, extreme heat that comes with a La Nina summer. It will be dry as a bone, from California to Texas, into September, unless the La Nina pattern breaks up ahead of schedule.

So, on days like this, I have only to pull myself together, with extra hydration, and a large meal in midday, with smaller fare earlier and later. Fortunately, too, the Microgreen and Wheatgrass delivery came, this afternoon, as did the coming month’s supply of do Terra products.

It was an emotional lift to take that large meal at Rustic Cafe, which I had not visited since before the pandemic shutdown. The young sisters-in-law who work the front are ever peppy and cheerful, lifting everyone’s spirits. The food is always hearty and in manageable portions, as well as being scrumptious. Unlike a few of my other favourite spots, there is seating inside.

Another bit of good news: Farmers’ Market will move to a site that is more welcoming to the staff, vendors and patrons. The parking lot of a shuttered elementary school will be our gathering place, in perpetuity, come September.

Dog Days can wear one out, so the spirit must work harder at making the most of the last few weeks of high heat. Who knows? We may get a wet September and October, which has happened in the past, most notably, ten years ago.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 61: What I Want In August, Part I

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July 31, 2020-

My parents were wed seventy-one years ago, today. They got to be together, in the flesh, for thirty-seven of those years. They left several good road maps for us, and Mom is still blazing the trail of how to live long and prosper. I was thinking, last night, that I will be honoured to live into my nineties, perhaps even hitting the Century Mark. I would, however, have to be of use, to have most, if not all, of my faculties.

Today, so far, has been quieter than the previous two. I received a message from an African friend, for whom I had written a project proposal, bemoaning that those to whom we had sent copies of the proposal had not responded as yet. It’s been a week, so my take is, check in with them weekly, until mid-August. He asked me to send each of them a montage of photos of the worksite. I can do that,around some other tasks that have arisen, since I turned fostering of the project back over to him. Life does not stand still.

I have thought about what I want to do, in my own sphere, as well. As hard as life is for many people, I cannot just put myself into one hundred percent abnegation, though some will no doubt find that odious of me to say. There actually isn’t all that much that I want for myself, though.


August is said to be a month of masculine energy, so the first thing I want to do is to bring some health supplies to a rendezvous point at Holbrook, close to the Navajo Nation, which is still itself off limits to outsiders, due to COVID. In Holbrook, I will meet the same friend who I met in Flagstaff, in the Spring, to transfer the items. That is Monday’s agenda.

Synergy, the health elixir cafe operated by friends in Sedona, reopens on August 8, so that will be my place of refuge and celebration, next weekend. “Double” days are most often special to me.

I also miss my farmer friends in Paulden, up north just a bit, so maybe the afternoon of the 16th will find me there. The following weekend, Friday- Sunday, will likely be a time to visit Bisbee, a vibrant and eclectic Southern Arizona cousin to Prescott

The month will climax with Farm-to-Table Dinner, on the 29th, and unless the COVID cops declare our most stringent safety precautions inadequate, I will be among the masked and gloved servers and busers, tending to a smaller, but no less fervent, group of patrons of our vibrant Farmers’ Market.

What I want is for life to go on, carefully of course, but not dancing to the tune of one group of tyrants or another.

Moving Right Along

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May 11, 2020-  

I have observed, as life progresses, some things re-open and others maintain their COVID19 restrictions, that there is some fraying taking place.  Yesterday, on a Mother’s Day visit downtown, I stopped at a frozen yogurt establishment.  I took my place in line, behind a gentleman who was wearing a mask.  A mother with two boys in tow ignored the line and went to the ordering table.  There, she was immediately served, by the teenaged clerk. The mother looked up at the man glaring at her, from the head of the line, and offered a lame excuse  for having jumped ahead-something about being pre-occupied with the menu.  This further incensed the man, who asked to speak to the manager/owner. After registering his complaint, he called to the women who were with him and they left, sans treats.  I got my order in, and was actually served before the mother and sons.

Things are happening, as businesses re-open, in random order.  I went to my haircutting place, which re-opened today, and made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon.  I got my car washed, this afternoon, and was surprised to see that the lady who used to work at the dry cleaners, where I had been taking my winter coats, was now the attendant at the car wash.  Turns out, the dry cleaning shop had closed, due to a rent increase. So, my cleaning goes to another shop, on the north side of town.

Traffic has picked up, and with it, the presence of those who are not comfortable in traffic, and have to pass as many people as they can, as quickly as possible.  This will, of course, continue for quite a while.  Line jumping may happen, though here in Prescott, it is the exception, rather than the rule. There were 20 of us in line last night, for picking up take out orders.  A man who had a little boy in tow was allowed ahead of us, to use the establishment’s restroom, but all others took their places, without any fuss.  Then, there are those, at pick-up stations like the Farmers’ Market, last Saturday. who scoured the line of cars and served their friends first, leaving the rest of us to appeal to the market director.  There will be several such anomalies, as we move forward.  I pray that patience wins out.

Thirty Days In

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March 29, 2020-

I began serious application of Coronavirus Disease 19 response planning, on Leap Day, February 29.  In the past thirty days, these have happened:

Work stopped, on March 6, at 3 p.m.  Part of that was Spring Break, but my employer stopped assigning people on March 11.  I got some pay, this past Friday.

I said “see you soon” to friends who have since closed their businesses, moved away from college dorms, stopped playing gigs in local clubs and are generally sequestered.

Prayed, incessantly.

Learned a  lot about navigating Zoom and opened an account with that medium.  Hosted my first meeting on it, today.

Have been catching up with reading, journaling and, yes, Netflix.

Have made plans for “journeys in place”-studying various topics.

Kept in touch with people across the planet, to see how things are going.

Have done take-out orders, just so some support is going their way.  Same with food boxes  from the Farmers Market and groceries for a pop-up food bank at the Toyota dealership.

It’s standard stuff, and part of being a member of society.  Would do it all over again, no questions asked.

Brighter days are ahead.

 

 

 

Soup’s On

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March 10, 2020-

The Nineteen-Day Fast has just passed its midpoint.  So, it’s a good time to look at what sustains this soul, in my last go-round with total abstinence from food and drink during daylight hours.

The key, at least this year, has been hot soup for breakfast.  It helped me knock out the cold that had lingered inside me, for nearly two weeks and has kept me hydrated during the daylight hours-along with two glasses of water before sunrise, and one at sunset.

There have been several soups that filled the bill.  Two were my own concoctions:  1. A beet soup, with the bulbs hitting the crock pot first, then taken out and sliced.  Next, the beet greens were cut up and added.  Sliced scallions came next, with oregano oil, chili powder and turmeric added to the water (no soup stock).  The mix simmered for four hours, and sustained me for five days.

2.  Last Saturday’s Slow Food Prescott potluck called for another soup. This one used fresh cut-up spinach,  a cup of bolete mushrooms, a cup of mixed lentils,  2 sliced dried sugar chilis, turmeric, a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt and cumin.  The soup was fairly well-received at the potluck and I had enough left over for two more dawn meals.

Since then, there have been a cream of mushroom soup (2 meals, from a vendor at Prescott Farmer’s Market, and a sliced carrot and quinoa soup, from Ms. Natural’s (1 meal).  The rest of the Fast will see more such delights, getting my day off to the right start.

Soup makes my winter sizzle!

Thoughts on A Serene Saturday

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January 4, 2020-

Today had no particular agenda.

There will be lots of days like that.

They sustain me, sustain us,

through the frenzied course

of other days.

It was mild today,

and those who were

not made ill,

by the recent cold snap,

were out in force,

at Farmers’ Market.

I met my Dharma family

and a serene, lovely grandmother,

who was winding up her visit.

I see where L gets his sense

of calm purposefulness.

A long “update”

of my New Year’s

produced a few

stifled yawns from the

otherwise attentive vendor.

I’ll know to keep my

quotidia to myself,

in the future.

I said farewell,

this afternoon,

to four place mats,

which have been

in our households

for nearly twenty years.

It’s time for refurbishing,

one step at a time.

Apartment supe

liked the lasagna

he got for the holidays.

So, it’s been a quiet one,

and a fine day for reflection

and figuring out practical matters.