That Lunar Influence

2

January 21, 2023- I read yet another “free” detailed horoscope for 2023, pretty much repeating what two Reiki practitioners, Hiking Buddy and my own observations over the years have told me. I don’t need to rehash all the wonderful things that are attributed to my being or all the challenges that stem from my shortcomings. The horoscope was, of course, followed by a series of generalities and a pitch for “personalized, special details about what is coming. Some of it may be quite shocking!” Most likely, the only “shocking” part would be the price tag. I passed.

I got enough out of the freebie to sense that an auspicious day is coming, towards the end of this month and that I will experience an unforeseen burst of energy over an upcoming five-day period. I need to be present and attentive. What else is new?

I do feel ebbs and flows of energy, with the various phases of the moon and planetary alignments. Venus seems to have an outsized influence on my demeanour, as does Neptune. I don’t get crazy during a full moon, but I do experience more alacrity. A new moon (the one we can’t see) brings more energy also, but in a kinder way. Having been born during a waning gibbous (first phase after a full moon), that phase brings me a more centered energy.

This day itself had minor challenges-mainly around my sending a certified letter to a friend. One of the few times I left my cell phone at home, and was expected to have it at the ready, came at our main post office. A discrepancy was found in the zip code given me by said friend. I was told to go look it up, and that the post office was not responsible for providing that information. That led to returning home, finding the information-it was one digit off-and getting back to the P.O., thankfully dealing with a different, less officious, clerk. I will have my karmic rebuttal, in the post-visit survey.

Afterward, came three good workouts- being part of a skeleton crew that broke down the Farmers Market, a session at Planet Fitness and walking to and from Raven Cafe, where a delightful young couple performed three sets of gentle folk tunes. It was as gratifying to see how they adore one another as it was to listen to their delicate harmony.

I have to give the freebie astrologer credit: He does recognize that I generally view life through a positive lens.

Magical Again

2

January 15, 2023- An eclectic musician was also present, at least night’s concert-dancing with several ladies, in the small area, front of the band. He was sporting a red ball cap, with the acronym MAMA, representing “Make America Magical Again”.

I rather like that notion. Much of what has made life nice, these many years, has seemed almost magical in its unfolding. How many times have I been graced with accommodations that would ordinarily seem out of reach? How many meals have come my way, both when Penny and I were at wit’s end and when I have been on my own? How many friends have appeared, seemingly out of nowhere?

Some of this is, certainly, a reflection of love for others. I find myself thinking, ” Whatever you need, my love”; or “As you need,my pal”, when helping a child or adolescent, or a young woman, for that matter. Their needs are those of the future, after all. Their dreams and efforts are a good part of what will make seeming magic become commonplace. Helping remove obstacles, for anyone really, is an essential part of being an adult in this world.

As I sat with one of my young friends, last night, she noted that what makes any community special are pockets of celebration and affirmation. Some communities, like San Francisco and Boston, have several such areas. Prescott, with Raven Cafe, Founding Fathers Collective and Wild Iris, among other places, is increasingly holding its own in that regard. Faithful readers will note other such pockets of celebration, around the United States and in various countries across the globe.

So, the magic unfolded: The delightful sprite-like dancer, mentioned in the previous post; the structured, polished ballroom styles of an elegant couple; the dancing musician, wearing the M.A.M.A. cap; the melodious offerings of the three lovely women from Bisbee; the genuinely joyful presence of a dear friend and collaborator. Magic, after all, when it is intended to bring harmony, is pure and loving energy.

The River Flows Freely

2

January 14, 2023- The best part of this evening’s encore performance by The Barn Swallows, besides the incomparable music, was the blissful dancing of an irrepressibly free spirit. While her mate contented himself with just sitting or with taking photos of the snow falling outside, the young woman whirled about, not dervish-like, but in a manner that brought joy to everyone in the full house. Even when she went up to refill her water glass, it was with a gently swaying, waltzing motion.

Earlier, as I made plans to attend this evening’s concert, I got an ethereal message that a dear friend would also be there. I got to the Raven around 8, just as the Swallows started warbling their sweet tunes, and took care of dinner, at a high top table. After a fashion, the friend in question walked in, greeted two other friends who were sitting a short ways from my table, then came over to the high top and engaged in intermittent conversation, also flowing around the room to mingle with others. She, too, is a passionately free spirit.

I have had the thoughts, especially lately, that friendships, and relationships in general, flow organically, if they are healthy. My own progress, in that regard, has been to comfortably let people alone and largely leave it to them to contact me, in their own time. There are exceptions, of course, when I know of illness or special situations, and the first step needs to be mine. Strong ethereal messages, like this evening’s, tend to come to me as well, and can advise either to be ready to greet and spend time with someone, or to keep my distance.

Life is good now, and as long as I follow the free-flowing river of friendship, things will progress nicely.

Seven Dogs and Seven People

4

December 10, 2022- The strikingly comely woman described being in a van, with the titular living arrangement. There was a time in my life when just being in the same environment with a person like her would have been Heaven on Earth. As I think about it, and ponder her own description of the situation, I would now be more likely to see what I could do to extricate her,and probably at least a few of the dogs, from that sardine can of a vehicle.

I have been in crowded vehicles that were headed from A to B, on more than one occasion. The obvious ones have been airplanes, but there were others-a third class train, from Playa San Carlos to Nogales, Sonora; a third class ferry, from Yosu to Jeju, South Korea; a van from Blue Springs, MO to Troy, NY. This last saw me help calm a cranky toddler, who had just driven her mother to exasperation. The young woman got about an hour’s respite as I held the little girl gently enough so she fell asleep for a while.

I went to the Raven Cafe, again this evening, after a delightful Christmas party, featuring pork ribs, potatoes and vegetable, for two reasons: One was to purchase a to-go meal, for the benefit of Arizona’s Children Association; the other was to listen to the band, The Barn Swallows, a folk music iteration of four musicians calling themselves Juniper Djinn. JD offers jazz from the 1930s and ’40s, with an emphasis on the Gypsy jazz that was popularized by Django Reinhardt. The Barn Swallows, three women with extraordinary voices, gave us two hours and thirty minutes of mellifluous, original folk tunes that hinted of the experiences people had during the Great Depression. The lovely lady mentioned above was one of these. All were compelling talents, backed by a male cellist/guitarist.

The troupe will return to Prescott again, in mid-January. This will hopefully give a good friend, who couldn’t make it this evening, a chance to enjoy their offerings. In any case, the band has at least one new fan.

It’s a supreme joy to appreciate the totality of human beings and their talents.

Gatherings

7

December 3, 2022- Hiking Buddy found me, as I was texting her, asking where she was. There was a large table of casseroles and snacks, from which I was welcome to nibble, while we waited for the Christmas Parade to start. It was good to meet several of her other friends, who are the organizers of this parade day “tailgate picnic”.

The parade itself was 1 1/2 hours in length, and with the chill afternoon wind, I was glad to no longer be standing around outside-even with one of my best friends. Nonetheless, this mini-gathering, if it continues, will be a fine Season Launch day tradition. I can even bring a crock pot full of Christmas run-up staples from my adolescence-cocktail franks or mini-meatballs.

Two hours later, the annual Tree Lighting found Courthouse Square and the surrounding area wall-to-wall, with the anticipatory crowd. The Christmas story was narrated, as it has been for thirty years, by our area’s State Senator. As he spoke the final words of the Nativity, the switch was flipped, the lights came on and fireworks were set off.

Parades and fireworks happen with regularity here in Prescott, but not (as yet) so much so as to lose the dignity and honour befitting the occasions. More important to me is that I am finding, once again, the joy of being part of groups, in a regular, meaningful way. COVID, which I have personally not contracted, has wrought havoc on group activities. When it is confused with influenza, or a severe cold, as happens more often of late, than is sometimes supposed, the fear factor keeps us apart ad infinitum.

The last gathering of the day was a concert at Raven Cafe,by an area Bluegrass band, opened by twin brothers who have added luster to the Prescott music scene for nearly ten years. They are barely twenty, but show the spirit and talent that can put a town on the map of musicality. I took a seat at a table for four, as the high tops were all in use. As I had hoped, two people, one of whom I knew from a few substituting assignments, asked to sit at the table and were followed by two more-easily re-working the spot into a table for five. The surrounding tables were likewise filled to capacity, and a few intrepid souls were up and dancing. Stephy Leigh and Lullaby League, the main band, preceded-and accompanied a bit, by Cross-Eyed Possum, were the perfect voices and instruments to end this day.

I am grateful to be moving into a renewed sense of enjoying life in group settings.

The New Parade Day hangout
Grinchmas
Llamas and alpacas

Sept. Ides Notes

2

September 15, 2022- The counter lady from the Window Glass repair shop called me, two hours after I had dropped KIA off, and deadpanned that the car was ready for pick-up. I walked over from downtown, and she gave me the keys, with a light smile and a neutral “Thanks for choosing us.” The place used to be a fun place with which to do business. Oh, well; at least the workmanship is still good. It’s nice to have a windshield that is whole again.

It was good that I decided to have breakfast at Raven Cafe, as my friend Melissa’s two daughters happened by, to get coffee. It’s always good to see them. Besides, the pancakes are great, and coffee excellent.

I made it to the Post 6 General Meeting, which I have not attended in some time. Nothing major was decided, but talking with a fellow Legionnaire about Baha’i was an unexpected pleasure. It affirmed what I said last night, during a Baha’i gathering, about not always making grandiose plans and expecting others to follow suit. The measure of Faith is in willingness to act, and in following the Will of the Divine.

I keep reading blurbs from mass media giants that tell us “You WILL vote ________________ in the coming election, because that’s how it’s always been.” Breaking news: I will vote the way I please, because THAT’S how I’ve always been.

I saw fit to shuffle a late October weekend event (Sedona) to early November, so as to attend a late October event somewhere else (Scottsdale). That, in turn, means Monument Valley/ Aneth (UT) shifts to mid-November. Thanksgiving plans are unaffected. I know you’re impressed, but that’s life.

Lastly, the huge file of keepsakes and old card/letters has been culled, and organized into more sensible sub-folders. The most important stuff remains here; the rest went to the Maxi-Shredder.

It’s been a fine day, all in all.

Under The Big Moon

2

April 16, 2022- The first thing that came out of my mouth, this morning, when asked “What’s up?” was “The Moon!”, which was still true, even if the orb in the western sky was a Luna of chalk white. She’s big this month, which just means closer to Earth, in terms of visual perception.

Often in the past, I have noticed an uptick in strange or unanticipated behaviours during the period of full moon. That was not so tonight, at least in the places I visited-Rafter Eleven, where a four person Country & Western band played a couple of sets, with a few couples dancing, and Raven Cafe, where a jazz ensemble was in full swing-again with brave souls getting up and swinging their partners round and round. It was a rather mellow, but still enjoyable affair. The closest we may come to looniness will be on Monday night, when I will click on an Ecstatic Dance session-but that’s on Zoom, and I will have my shades drawn, so no one will be the wiser.

Today was itself full of civility- from breakfast at Zeke’s, through a morning Zoom call, and a visit to the rather windswept Farmers’ Market. Yep, if anyone was getting into the loony groove, it was Mother Nature. Gusts were up to 40 mph, and those present were helping hold on to the tarps shading several booths.

Perhaps all the spiritual energy coming from those observing Easter, Passover and Ramadan is helping put everyone else’s energy into focus. We Baha’is will be contributing our fair share, when Ridvan starts on Thursday-and there will be plenty of help from Wiccans and other Naturists, when Earth Day is observed, next weekend. Of course, by then, the Moon will have largely waned. The eclipses are coming, though, in the first half of May. There’s rarely a dull moment.

Not A Death Sentence

4

April 9, 2022- The lady, who looked to be in her early forties, was bemoaning the fact that twentysomethings looked to her like babies. “I’m olllddd!“, she said to her dance partner, who is in his early sixties, and to me, who promptly told her she hasn’t seen old.

George Foreman famously said that forty is not a death sentence. He is two years my senior, and I would not be surprised if he were to add, “and neither is seventy!” I do not feel any worse for the wear, after a long and sometimes taxing jaunt across the southern part of the country. I feel no worse than I have in times past. Mother, a nonagenarian; my octogenarian aunts and older cousins; and a few older friends are all pushing the boundaries of what is elderly well past what we all thought of as old, even a dozen years ago. I chuckled to myself, appreciatively, a few days ago, when the manager of the motel where I stayed in San Antonio told the Uber driver, whom he was engaging to take me to the bus station, that I was an elderly gentleman. It’s a fine thing that people several decades younger will honour those my age, as I continue to honour my own elders.

On a related note, I sat down and did the math, relative to modes of transportation. The cost of a car rental, alone, far outweighs what I would have paid in gas and oil/lube, even at the inflated prices of the past few weeks, had I driven the Saturn. Time was the big factor in this journey just completed, which will not be the case in the still-potential trips of mid-June to mid-July and September-October. I will weigh several factors carefully, but my vehicle and I are joined at the hip. It was enjoyable to have driven a late model vehicle, with all the bells and whistles-food for thought, for the next car, when there is one. (It’ll be an EV, at any rate.)

Today was a full day, with an online gathering and two in-person events. I was told by a few people to rest today, and I did get in a nap this afternoon. Being with the three groups of friends was energizing, though. This evening, at Raven Cafe, was also rejuvenating. It was there that the above-mentioned woman made her plaint. As long as there is music and camaraderie, though, life is good.

Acker Night, 2021

2

December 10, 2021-

For some, it was a chance to engage in a mass dance performance, based on the pop song “Baby Shark”. For another singer, it was a chance to regale an infant girl and her family with that same silly little tune.

For most, the evening was a chance to raise funds for arts education programs in our area. It was also a chance to get yet more photos of the magnificent light display on Courthouse Square. I have posted such photos, in years past and may yet get better shots this year.

For some, it meant crowding into Raven Cafe, The County Seat, or other such eateries, to relax as much as one can in a standing room only setting. There were also those who stood in a long line, outside a real estate office, where live music was also on offer. Then, there were those places, like two of our three downtown bookstores, which opted out of the festivities. Bill’s Pizza had no choice in the matter-Omicron is believed to have come calling, earlier this month and one of the best little pizzerias in Prescott is temporarily closed.

For me, it meant taking in a couple of performances, and leaving a tip in each fund-raising jar. It was quite a crowded event, but with so many places opting out of this year’s participation, the mood was a bit more subdued.

I think, though, that Acker Night will endure, and be a fine fundraising event for years to come.

Masked Dancers

2

November 20,2021- The four ladies were alternately jumping, twirling and swaying, with the energy of twenty-year-olds, though they were closer in age to yours truly. All the while, they kept their COVID masks securely on their faces. This was for the duration of a 40-minute set by local artist Jonathan Best, and his troupe of blues and funk musicians. Half of it was a funk rendition of “Blowin’ In The Wind”, which I think Bob Dylan would thoroughly enjoy. The other 20 minutes was devoted to Sly Stone’s “Thank You for Letting Me Be Myself”.

I was given an egg castanet, which is about what you would expect-a mini-Easter egg shaped rattle, for the purpose of joining in the festivities. Jonathan goes full-on, bringing his audience into the fray. Whilst dutifully shaking the instrument, I felt as if I was watching a band of dervishes, even when three of the women took off their masks. The fourth, in addition to wanting to guard against COVID, also didn’t want men to see her face, and so kept tugging her mask against her nose. To me, it is six or a half dozen, whether I see a person’s visage or not. The show was the thing. It was all just a great way to spend a couple of hours on a mild Saturday night.

The Raven is the sort of place where patrons, and the bartenders, help the lone server clear tables, when she is overloaded with delivering food. This discomfits the standard dining patron, but for me, and several others, it is second nature. We are more like family, than “us and them”. I kind of like it that way.

That is part and parcel of living in a fairly mellow town. There are those who see everything through an ideological lens, but their influence here is diluted by the culture of broad acceptance. A patron who tried to push the envelope with “Let’s Go, Brandon” ,(poor Mr. Brown, he just wants to race his stock car), was brought into the festivities by being given a larger castanet. Jonathan is a progressive, but ideology is left at the cafe door, when he is set to perform. He knows that conservatives and reactionaries love a good, lively performance as much as anyone else-and so we all rock out together.

The days before Thanksgiving are a great time for such in-gathering.