Tangential, Part 1

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September 8, 2018, Prescott- 

This morning, on a visit to Prescott Farmers Market, I spent a few minutes sitting on a bench, near where the  guest musician was playing an acoustic version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, accenting the powerful words of the sometime party tune.

I began to get caught up in the presence of his delightful little family, noting his daughter’s interaction with a another little girl, about her age.  As I smiled at a nearby vendor’s waving and goofing around with the singer’s infant son, the mother looked at me quizzically and I gave her the  proper explanation, as to what was happening, before excusing myself and going off to finish my purchases for the day.

I was challenged, earlier this morning, as to having been short and to the point, in my communications of late.  Simply put, I felt a lot of pressure this week, especially at work, with hard things happening to my team members, and a difficult person inserting herself into the classroom mix.  I have no problems, in particular, with the person who sent the message this morning.  We each are highly intuitive, but intuition, on a human level, is not foolproof.  One’s own fears and challenges get mixed in, invariably.  I take my own intuition with several grains of salt, and end up doing the same with other people’s observations, regarding my life.

Prescott Farmers Market, and the local Planet Fitness franchise, are places I frequent.  I notice that, with one or two exceptions, the management team in each of these places tend to keep me (though not their favoured few) at arm’s length, most likely for good reason-but what that reason has to do with me, specifically, I’m not sure.   Conversely, having the managers of a given establishment be my well-wishers is not why I avail myself of its services.  The Market does have several stalls, where I am on good terms with the vendors and can chat for several minutes, without the emotional door slamming in my face. The gym provides me with a reliable set of full-body machines and the incomparable Hydrobed, a next-gen version of the Ceragem massage bed that we had, in the Phoenix house.  Besides, the manager’s front desk assistants are uniformly more personable, and actually seem happy to see people come in, who are less than buff.

This leads me, again, to the whole culture of anonymity that seems to pervade the urban American West.  This puzzles me.  No one really seems to enjoy living as if under siege, but each of us does it, to some degree.  I have made some headway, walking to and from downtown and Yavapai College, and joining in more group activities, especially in the past two years.

I am approaching a crossroads, of sorts, which I had hoped would not be imminent until at least Autumn, 2020.  Still very much hoping to complete this academic year in one piece, the difficult academic specialist aside, I go to work each day and give it my best.  Still hoping to be of value to my Baha’i and other communities, I am a regular at scheduled and spontaneous events.  Still hoping to keep my head above water, I listen, carefully, to the voices of both support and of criticism, to glean the necessary lessons.

Part 2:  Affirmations and expectations

 

Lessons from Little League

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April 10, 2017, Prescott- 

One of my students asked me to attend his Little League team’s game, this evening.  Having no appointments or meetings, I eagerly headed over to Roughrider Park, the Prescott League’s primary venue.   It was carved from Fort Whipple, many years ago, along with Prescott VA Hospital and Yavapai College.

Team sports teach children several skills.  Some are obvious, like looking out for one’s teammates, decency towards one’s opponents, the value of practice and accepting constructive criticism.  Other lessons, such as everyone has something to contribute and there is no task too menial for a team member to perform, are less front and center- and sometimes must be sought out.

It’s been several years since I watched 8-10 year-old children in the course of learning these types of lessons, in an athletic setting.  Some things have changed:  Adults are not necessarily the only umpires.  Men are not necessarily the only coaches and managers.  The opposing team was managed by a woman.  Each team had at least one girl player, and each girl held her own.  Proves what I have felt to be true, since junior high school:  Skill is skill.

The basics, though, remain constant, and baseball will remain a key pastime of youth, for a good many generations to come.

The Road to 65, Mile 336: Testing

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October 30, 2015, Phoenix- I came down here, shortly after finishing my laundry.  The first order of business was picking up a list of requirements for me to at long last secure an Elementary Teaching Certificate.  I have several other credentials:  Secondary Teaching, Guidance Counselor and Principal.  Now, towards the final phase of my career, it is high time to complete the circle.

I will need to take three 11/2 hour exams, hopefully on a Saturday, which means heading up to Flagstaff, since Yavapai College, in Prescott, only offers tests when I am working.  Flag is a pleasant spot, and I can head up there on a Friday night, after whatever I am doing is finished.

Anyway, afterward, I spent some time with Aram and his good friend, in north central Phoenix, basically getting updates on various matters, and setting tentative plans for next week.  It’ll be good to have him in Prescott, for whatever fleeting time I can spend with him after work, and then, there will be Thanksgiving weekend, when we can both relax.

Tonight was another bit of “old home week”, as I joined a few friends on the west side of the Metro Area, at a house which Penny and I frequented, once a month, for nearly five years.  The family is one whose children I also watched grow into adulthood; the youngest will graduate high school in May. Some find this a “test”.  I find the attainment of adulthood, by those whose births and childhoods I have witnessed, a supreme confirmation.  They will do well, these Millennials, and so will the next generation, coming right behind them.  Isn’t this part of the wonder of humanity?

I ponder much, in my modest little room, at the Travel inn.

The Road to 65, Mile 162: Illuminate

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May 9, 2015, Granite Dells- Today was an unusually busy, productive day, for a Saturday.  The large Prescott Farmer’s Market opened today, at Yavapai College.  It’s several booths larger than last year.  I spent about forty minutes there, with a couple of friends, buying one a half-dozen poppies that were poised to open, after she admired them.

The afternoon featured a two-hour organizational meeting for Hope Fest 2015, a faith-based effort to help the homeless, the victims of domestic violence, and those in recovery from addiction.  We will have the event here on October 3.  I won a T-shirt and sat for a five-minute videotaped interview, which I haven’t done before.  My role on festival day will most likely be running errands (handling emergencies) and taking displays down, after it’s over.

I bought a new camera.  My Samsung 5X gave up the ghost, after four years and over 3,000 photographs.  My new camera is also a Samsung Digital, and is a 21X.  I have enough time to learn its features, before heading northwest.  Tomorrow may be a Sedona day, unless service calls.

The evening was spent again at Heaven On Earth, with new friends Happy and Johnny hosting a preview of the Illuminate Film Festival.  The Festival features thought-provoking films and will be in Sedona, May 27-31.  I’ll be in the Seattle area then, so tonight was a fine substitute for the actual event.  There was a fairly large crowd, about forty people, and after we enjoyed vegan hors d’oeuvres, the organizers of the Festival presented eight movie trailers, each with a rather deep theme.

We are told, in several sacred texts, and oral traditions of indigenous peoples, that in the “last days, all that is dark shall be made light”.  Illuminate does not just deal with the wretched acts of the rich and powerful, but those of the less well-to-do, also.  It addresses matters of altered states of consciousness and of expanded spiritual and cognitive awareness  The evening was time well-spent, among many inquiring minds.  If anyone reading this is interested, check:  www.illuminatefilmfestival.com.

Trailheads and Paths, Issue 16: Sculpture Garden and An Old Fort

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Last Thursday was an exquisitely beautiful day, and I sensed it would be not good for my spirit to just sit inside and ruminate.  There was one walking path I had not established as yet- a pedestrian route to Yavapai College and the VA Hospital.  So, there was my Thursday afternoon plan!

The “single-step” in this jaunt was a walk along North Arizona Avenue, past the Arizona Softball Hall of Fame, and the Smoki Museum, which has, as its mission, the preservation of Native American culture.  As such, the buildings are constructed of native stone, with extended beams, in the Pueblo style of construction.

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The first photo is of the Smoki; the second, of the Hall of Fame.

I crossed Sheldon Street a few minutes later, and entered the Yavapai College Sculpture Garden.  The community college has grown mightily over the past several years, but the Garden remains a focal point for meditation and serenity.

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Here is “Community Gothic”, by Richard Marcusen.

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Water is a key element in the garden’s central piece, “The Gathering”, by Gary Slater.

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Alternative energy gets a pitch here, with these avant-garde windmills.

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The north side of the college Library has been tapped for this interesting panel.

 

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Across the dry creek bed, the roof tops of old Fort Whipple peek out.

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Having reached the northern edge of the College grounds, I continued on into Rough Rider Park, where there is a short bike and hike trail, leading to the grounds of Prescott Veterans Administration Hospital.  This is a good trail for me, as I visit the patients of the Community Living Center there, once a month.  Now, I won’t need to drive there every time.

On the way, an old rail bridge caught my eye, at the edge of Prescott-Yavapai Indian Reservation.

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An extra feature of the Hospital is the preservation of Fort Whipple, an old Army post of Prescott’s formative years.  I first went in the Museum, which is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10-4.

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Below, is the chair used by General George Crook, one of the more successful commanders at maintaining a semblance of peace in the Southwest, during the period of unrest among the Apache.

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After looking about the museum for about an hour, I walked past the preserved old barracks.  The row of old houses, some still occupied by VA workers, cries out for restoration.

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Having come full circle, I walked back to Yavapai College, which along with some parts of the Yavapai Reservation,and Rough Rider Park, was taken form land occupied by Fort Whipple.  The trailhead to Rough Rider greeted me, as I walked through the gate.

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So, knowing three or four more spots to walk and meditate on a slow day- or a rough one, I am that much more settled into my near-downtown neighbourhood.