Quotidia Beget Adventure

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March 7, 2019, Los Angeles-

Among the phenomena which might be overlooked, when one is en route to a special destination, is the landscape below an airplane circling for a safe landing.  Such was the case this evening, as our Sky West flight from Phoenix got cleared for landing at LAX.

This was the first time in memory that I had a window seat, and thus could look at the vast expanse of  territory that is the Los Angeles Basin.  With all that has been written, bantered and felt about LA and its smog, congestion and excess, the place as a whole is a marvel, when seen from 8,000 feet-especially at night.  Some SoCal-phobes will reply that a mess can’t be a marvel, but we know better.  One does not have to approve of  what is the current situation, to be amazed at how much humanity is packed into even such a vast area.

Prior to this, I put in a full day at work and was glad to leave my charges with a sense of accomplishment, leading up to the ten-week homestretch that follows Spring Break,  The shuttle van down to Phoenix was an equally smooth and quotidian process, with us arriving at Sky Harbor with time to spare.  Barrio Avion provided tender and spicy beef for my farewell burrito.

Two three-year-old boys, meeting by chance and becoming fast friends, provided the after-dinner entertainment.  G., a new older brother, very much appreciated the presence of J., his new friend.  Watching them play with miniature cars and trucks, hide and seek and get lectured by their respective fathers, for shaking the line stantions, that are used to separate groups of boarding passengers.  There was no lack of spirit with these two.  Indeed, my first encounter with G was his running up the aisle, momentarily unbeknownst to his parents.  I kept my distance, but also kept an eye on him, in case he made it clear to the TSA  area.  Mom was on scene, 30 seconds later, and brought him safely back to the gate lobby.  Then J and father showed up and more localized activity took over.

We landed at LAX, about fifteen minutes late.  I then embarked on a 1 1/4-mile walk, from the United terminal to the Asiana booths, at Tom Bradley International (AKA Terminal B).  I am in the shape to undertake such a luggage lug, but I wonder how disabled people are accommodated, with the City of Cars expecting everyone to walk, with no electric sidewalks and only the occasional elevator, along the labyrinth.

I made it, with the loudspeaker calling my name, four times, as the Koreans wanted to verify my new passport.  I heard them and felt their pain, eventually getting to show the document to the chief of security at Asiana and receiving his swift assistance, in getting through the line, to the check-in booth and onto the shuttle bus that brought us to the plane.  It was an East Asian style shuttle, meaning that a packer was on hand, to shout at and cajole us into cramming as tightly as possible.  I actually kind of miss those days, in Seoul and Jeju, though I must say young men are less prone to grab all the seats and make women and older men stand for the ride.  That is the one thing about the old days that never failed to get me rankled, especially when Penny was pregnant with Aram.

I’m on the plane now, seated with an elegant woman from Colombia and a Korean student, on Spring Break from her school in Arizona.  It’ll be a long, and I sense, restful, journey to Seoul.

The Fast: Day 18-Continuity

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March 19, 2018, Prescott-

Today found me back at work.  Spring Break was restful, if as fast-moving as the Academic Year itself.   No matter who a person is, how old one gets or where s(he) finds self, there are certain constants.

Mine are waking at or near dawn, careful bathing and grooming, devotions, nutrition, focused prayer, communication with friends and family and some act of daily service.  Work, in the Baha’i Faith, as in Christianity and several other religious traditions, is an act of worship, when performed in service to humanity.  This goes for manufacture, public service and parenting.  That implies a goodly amount of integrity, in all one’s acts while on the job, or while representing one’s place of work, or one’s employer.

Continuity is also a sign of cognitive awareness, when performed in a logical and mindful state.  So, as my sixties roll on, I’m glad to be at work, winding down my third-to-last physical 19-Day Fast and being in good company, wherever I happen to be.

 

The Fast: Day 10- Justice

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March 11, 2018, Prescott-

I haven’t done a whole lot, this weekend, and probably won’t do a whole lot during the first part of Spring Break.  It is a good idea to indulge the principle of rest.

This evening, though, I went to see “A Wrinkle In Time”, starring Oprah!  Ms. Winfrey was not the main point of the film, however, by a long shot.  Her credo of empowerment was prominent, though, and that’s always a good thing.

The plot line was true to the novel, as I remember it from the ’60’s.  The  film will not likely be up for any Oscars, but it worked, as a vehicle for showing a path to justice.  There was some violence, towards both the downtrodden, and at least one of the oppressors.  Overall, though, without revealing much more, the violence was minimal and there was no bloodshed.  It was, essentially, a 1960’s children’s story, reworked for the 2010’s.

Justice was served, in the end.  Justice, in the divinely distributed sense, is, according to Baha’u’llah, “The best beloved of all things in (God’s) sight”.

 

The Fast: Day 8- Fidelity

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March 9, 2018, Prescott-

Yesterday was the official International Women’s Day.  I was in the company of my two beautiful co-workers, during the day.  Both have men in their lives, who are luckier than either woman might sometimes suppose.  As an aside, it occurs to me that every day should be Women’s Day.

My mind today, the last day before Spring Break, has been on fidelity.  Faithfulness is the mindset, and chastity the outcome, of a person who feels fidelity, loyalty, to another human being.

I was faithful to Penny, all those years.  There were times when other women would flirt with me, and she made it clear that we’d all get clobbered, if they kept it up.  She needn’t have ever worried.  I wasn’t going anywhere.  The proof of that became clear to her, when we circled the drain together, those eight years.  I stayed close; kept hope alive.  I guarded her from those whose sole concern was getting their hands on what little money we had.  I spoke up for her when an emotionally clumsy male nurse made her cry.

Since I’ve been back on my own, my fidelity has been to friends and to my charges.  Some get it; some don’t.  I have a friend, whom I have at times regarded as my best friend, who has adopted a distance, ostensibly for reasons of our differences in spirituality, which are in truth, basically semantic.  I respect that distance, and stay away.  Most of my friends, even the most emotionally needy, know  full well where my loyalties lie.

I spent this evening, with a few such people, in the comfort of devotional drumming.  We used Baha’i Scripture and prayers for this, but there are many traditions.  Here is the Indian drummer, Sivamani, accompanying a Hindu woman in song.

Sixty-Six for Sixty Six, Part XIV: Picketpost Mountain

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March 13, 2017, Superior, AZ- Spring Break started in earnest, this morning.  A drive down to my dentist’s office took care of a moderately vexing issue, then I stopped at Scottsdale’s lovely Baha’i Center, to recite my morning prayers, in its serene courtyard.

Superior, and the Upper Queen Creek Watershed, have long been on my radar screen as a venue for exploration.  Picketpost Mountain forms a spectacular backdrop for Boyce Thompson Arboretum, a compendium of desert flora, from around the globe.  Like its counterpart, Desert Botanical Garden, in Phoenix’s  Papago Park, “The Boyce” manages to educate a wide-ranging public, on the value of deserts and the importance of preserving the life that is found in them.  Much more about all that, later.

My immediate draw, even before getting to the town of Superior, was a brief (2-mile, round trip) hike in the eastern approach to Picketpost’s base.  This gave me a foothold on Arizona National Scenic Trail, the length of which may yet be in my future.  It was also not enervating, as I am in the last week of a sunrise-to-sunset fast, of 19 days’ duration.

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This work station is managed by the Federal BLM, two of whose workers were on hand, when I first pulled in, to make sure I wasn’t planning on camping at the site.  Picketpost dominates Superior’s western approach, much as Pike’s Peak lords over Colorado Springs, and the San Francisco Peaks, over Flagstaff.  It was named by soldiers stationed here, under Gen. George Stoneman, in 1870, as it was a good spot for a sentinel post. Here are some of what await the serious hiker. (I would consider it in October, not before.)

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The wall is a remnant of General Stoneman’s western camp.  The bulk of his operation was what is now the town of Superior, 3 miles further east.

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As you will see, continuously, in this series, the rains have been good to Arizona, this winter.

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Thanks to my zoom,  here is a close-up of the top ridge, from a good distance.

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In the opposite direction, Weaver’s Needle says “Hey, remember me?”  I surely do, and what a marvelous trek that was!

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I have encountered many heart rocks, all symbols that the Universe holds me in a good place.  Diamond-shaped rocks are a sign of one step further.  Superior would join Prescott, Bisbee, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tubac and Chloride as a special Arizona place in my heart.

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Next up:  Oak Flat