Where Affirmation Started

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June 14, 2019, Keams Canyon, AZ-

Two months ago, after I left my full-time work, I got a text from a long-time friend, from the Navajo Nation.  Her uncle, another long-time friend, had died, and the family needed my help with his funeral.  I was to offer a final prayer, to which I agreed.  I did the service, in a small cemetery on this isolated, but starkly beautiful location.

Another member of the family lives near the cemetery and invited me to visit him, when I was next in the area.  There was no better time for this, than the start of the Summer, 2019 road trip, so I came up here yesterday evening and spent the night in his nicely furnished and solidly-built ranch style home.

It does my heart good to see Indigenous people have access to the same quality of life that people in other ethnic groups have.  I don’t see the point in anyone being left out.  For too long, First Nations have taken the leavings of the majority population.  This is changing, mostly for the better.

Coal Mine Canyon is one of the least-visited parts of Arizona. Infrastructure is non-existent though a graded road made it possible for me to take some photos of the canyon, from its south rim.

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This last looks like the Earth is watching!

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I continued on, this morning, to the Hopi Nation, visiting a former co-worker, briefly, then upon finding there was no social dance in her village, this weekend, I continued on over to Keams Canyon, where what has turned out to be one of the two really rewarding positions I ever held, started, in August, 1992.  It’s certainly arguable that I should never have left Cedar Unified, but here we are.  I felt affirmed as a school counselor, more than I did in any other position.  Affirmation began in Tuba City, near Coal Mine Mesa, and continued both at Jeju National University and here.  I still feel validated by my First Nations friends.

Here are a couple of views of the inner area of  Keams Canyon, now largely abandoned.

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There used to be a trail that led from Keams to a part of the nearby Dineh settlement of Jeddito, to which we moved in 1993, after living in Keams for a year.  The trail, like much of the settlement has been redirected elsewhere.

NEXT:  Hubbell Trading Post and Its Impact on Navajo Arts and Crafts

Heavenly Flow

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April 21, 2019-

Today brought me close to two faith traditions:  A musical, somewhat relaxed Evangelical Baptist service- which I attended at the invitation of a former co-worker.  I didn’t see her  there, but met up with another former colleague with the Red Cross.  After exchanging pleasantries, I took a seat in the congregation, while he took his place in the choir.  My part was to sing with the rest of those in the congregation, join in greeting those around me, and respond to an occasional call.  I only regret not raising my hand when the pastor asked who believes in the Christ. I do, certainly.  One cannot accept the Message of the Father and discard That of the Son.

At our Baha’i community’s gathering, this afternoon, I joined with about 45 fellows in Faith, to commemorate the first day of Baha’u’llah’s declaring His Mission, even as He and His companions prepared for a long journey overland, from Baghdad to what is now Istanbul.

The message is similar:  None of us is squeaky clean, and God alone can absolve us with Grace.   The sufferings of each Divine Messenger are what free us from our wrongdoings.  Only by acknowledging this, and not wanting to be distant from the Divine, does one progress spiritually.

So, that was my day of spiritual fellowship.  Connection with the Divine, though, is what has eased my path, even when I find myself alone.  In times of uncertainty, as to my course of action, I find my Spirit Guides provide a very clear framework, within which I must make informed choices.

This week, for example, will bring me to Flagstaff, then to the Desert View Tower, at the eastern end of Grand Canyon National Park- honouring the Centenary of that great national entity.  From there, it will be time to honour an old friend, who passed on, last week.  His services will be east of Tuba City, at another lovely locale:  Coal Mine Canyon.  Then, I must return here to Prescott, and look after my own health, with a lab test on Wednesday.   Matters of faith, possible acts of service with the Red Cross, another friend’s birthday party and a presentation by Slow Food-Prescott will fill out the week.

The flow of celestial energy is constant, and bears heeding.

 

 

 

 

 

Tales of the 2016 Road: Long Nights’ Journeys Into Light

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July 21-24, Flagstaff- One of the most surreal experiences of road travel is finding oneself among perfect strangers, in a night setting, when there is no light, either overhead or around.  This happened to me, briefly, when I was driving between Port Jervis and Hershey, and twilight was fading, with no bright moon- and plenty of rain.

The Rocky Mountains, though, offer a far different scene, in the dark overhead.  The majesty that exists, both day and night, in the place of 10,000-14,000 foot promontories, also imparts a sense of caution- whilst also bringing people together.

After three days spent at an informative, albeit de rigeur, Essential Oils Summer Summit, followed by a brief visit with my 90-year-old uncle, I headed south on I-25, certain that I would settle in, somewhere around Colorado Springs, and perhaps stop by to see an online friend, in that picturesque city.  Along about Castle Rock, two things occurred:  I got a message from said friend, asking that I “think of him, as I was passing through.” Translation- “I’m too busy, tomorrow.”  The second thing was that a message appeared on a sign board:  “Major accident on I-25, South, 18 miles north of Colorado Springs.  Traffic will be slow.”  No one in Castle Rock had any information, as to alternative routes to CS, and all places of accommodation were full,so I drove on, to Larkspur. There, in the pitch black, several people were pulled off, in and around Yogi Bear Campground- pretty much trying to figure out how long they could stay along the road, before someone came along to make them move.  Another enterprising person was driving through the grass, between exits, essentially making a new “frontage road”.

I rejoined the crowd that was inching their way down I-25, and exited at the second Larkspur off ramp. There, we all formed a 2-mile-long queue, headed westward, taking 40 minutes to cover the five miles between I-25 and a county line road, which led, in turn, to the outskirts of Colorado Springs!  The darkness of said detour also featured several families, pulling off to the side, and trying to make sense of things.  It gave me an air of Armageddon, just a bit.

By this time, I just wanted to find a place for my head to hit a pillow.  It was raining, and near midnight, so camping was out.  Plaza Inn, a magnificent place, on the north side of CS, had rooms which were being renovated.  The young lady staffing the front desk gave me such a room, for $ 100, instead of the normal $175.  With a gargantuan hot breakfast buffet, in the morning, this was well worth it.  She gets an A+, for entrepreneurship!

I actually felt refreshed, the next morning, so after the aforementioned breakfast blowout, which was excellent, I said farewell to Colorado Springs, being sure to offer a hefty tip to the housekeeping staff.  The only things missing, in the “under renovation” room, were a microwave oven and a chair.  I know how to sit on a King-sized bed.

I took a lovely drive, along US Highway 160, from Walsenburg to Tuba City Junction.   In noted, wistfully, that one of my favourite road eateries, Peace of Art Cafe, in Del Norte, had closed, and had not been bought by anyone.  This was a staple of my southern Colorado jaunts, over the past five years. My next two stops, in Mancos and Cortez, were also happy returns to familiar towns.  I spent a bit of photo time in Mancos’ historic district, noting that a few homes there were also up for grabs.  Here are a few photos, in case anyone wants to take a closer look at a home near the San Juan Mountains, and Mesa Verde National Park.  Mancos has excellent soil and fairly plentiful water.

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Historic home, Mancos, CO

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Historic home, Mancos, CO

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Alice Ann’s, Mancos, CO

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A jazz-themed porch, Mancos, CO

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Zuma Natural Foods, Mancos, CO

Zuma isn’t for sale.  It was just a nice place to pick up a lunch item for the next day, in case I didn’t get all the way to Prescott, on Sunday night.  Dinner, was to be at Jack and Janelle’s, another of my favourite stops,in Cortez.  There, I was greeted by Janelle, and a bubbly little girl, who waved hello, and shyly smiled, while I was waiting for a table.  It’s sweet to be welcomed by someone who just picks up on good feelings.  I left the darling child to her own subsequent mischief at the family’s table, and gratefully enjoyed a modest helping of grilled salmon and Caesar salad.  Jack & Janelle will see me again.

The drive down through the Navajo Nation was relatively uneventful, until I reached Tuba City.  All the lights in my old place of residence and livelihood (1981-86) were out, courtesy of a lightning strike to a transformer.  The one major intersection was being monitored by a police car, its flashing lights the only indication that there was indeed an intersection.  All three gas station/convenience stores, and both large hotels, were pitch black.  I did not investigate further.

At Gray Mountain, some twenty-five miles southwest, on the road to Flagstaff, there were fifteen of us who stopped for gas, centering and potty breaks.  Two children had been sent by their mother to buy a couple of items and tend to their business.  I found myself reassuring the little girl that everything would be fine now, and Flagstaff was bound to be relatively safe.  The scene outside was moderately chaotic, but we all got gas, the kids got their snacks and no one fell victim to Nature’s Call.

I made it to Americana Motel, my usual Flagstaff resting place, slept well and had nothing more serious than a WiFi outage, for the rest of my journey back to Home Base.  The Hyundai Elantra’s first “Garython” was a good maiden ride.

 

The Glory Road

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January 27, 2016, Walsenburg, CO-  U.S. Highway 160 has long been one of my favourite routes- at least, the part between Tuba City, AZ and this little south central Colorado community has been, since we first traveled it, in 1983.

I lived for 5 years in Tuba City, four of them with Penny.  I was a school counselor, at the public Intermediate School (Grades 4-6).  During that time, we made friends with several people who lived there, and in the Navajo communities further northeast, sheepherding communities like Dinnebito, Tonalea, Cow Springs, and Kaibeto.  Highway 160 runs through Tonalea and Cow Springs, and there are several classic rock formations, throughout the portion of Arizona that is bisected by the 160, all the way to Four Corners, where four states meet.

I will do more with photos, when traveling the route again, in June.  For now, a dead battery in my camera, and a time frame connected with the Essential Oils Winter Summit, which calls me to the Front Range, have interrupted the photographic aspect of driving along this glorious road.

Once past Four Corners, I encountered a series of uniquely beautiful southern Colorado towns:  Bustling and congenial Cortez, agricultural Mancos and Bayfield, riparian Durango and its stately Fort Lewis College, healing Pagosa Springs, ski-oriented South Fork, laid-back Del Norte, commercial hubs Monte Vista and Alamosa, Spanish land-grant Walsenburg.

I pretty much bulled my way along the road today:  I gave a Navajo hitchhiker a ride from Tuba to Kayenta, the gateway to Monument Valley, scene of so many John Ford Westerns.  I filled up the car at City Market’s gas station, in Cortez.  I filled myself up at Junction Restaurant, Pagosa Springs- a favourite of mine, just because it lies at the western edge of Wolf Creek Mountain, whose Pass is frequently blocked in winter.

Not so, this evening, and I marveled at the stars  overhead, once being able to slow down and take them in, atop the massive mountain pass, with no ice or snow on the road.  I was planning to stop in Alamosa, for the evening, but the only non-chain motel had a No Vacancy sign, despite a near-empty parking lot.

It was just as well, though, as I made it to Walsenburg, a town I  visited, briefly, two years ago, whilst bringing furniture further up the road, to the Denver area.  Sands Motel is a gem, small enough to have gorgeous rooms AND be economical.  I will post a photo or two of the motel, when writing about my return trip.

For the next three days, I will be ensconced in a business meeting, so my posts will alternately extol essential oils and address some of the prompts in Winter Scavenger Hunt.  Stay sane and warm, everyone.