Gratings, and Sour-utations

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January 25, 2020-

The comment was unmistakable- I had crossed a line of political correctness, by stating that my colleagues at the school where I worked, the past two weeks, were going to wipe the school’s laptops clean, with a view towards safety.  This struck the commenter as borderline illegal.  Such is not the case:  Those computers are the property of the school district, and by extension, the State of Arizona.  No one advocates state control of personal computers.  It is the duty of educators to safeguard students from identity thieves and predators-period.

This has been the mood today- both online and here in town-sour, formal and hypercritical.  I was raised to walk through such environments and look to a brighter day.  So, here I am, having focused on positive aspects of life.

While it’s true that I am not returning to Peach Springs, next week, that does not mean, as some seem to think, that I dropped the ball, yet again.  My view is always to look for the most competent instructor for a group of children, and she will take the reins on Monday.

While it’s true that I spent two weeks helping that school, it doesn’t mean, as others have suggested, that I ignored the needs of Yavapai County, just to bring in more money. If that were true, I would not have come back here, signed on for more hours and added more schools in the county to my availability list.

While it’s true that I reserve the right to block people who make derogatory remarks about my late wife, and family, on social media, it does not-as one person is telling anyone who will listen, that I care nothing for the welfare of the mentally ill.  It is simply a matter of common decency-and pandering to a person’s baser instincts is doing nothing to help improve their state of being.

So, I hope people in Prescott and vicinity, and readers of this blog, feel better as the days in the northern hemisphere get longer, and as conditions in Australia and elsewhere improve.   May we not grate on one another, or give in to sour moods.

Turnarounds and Conundrums

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January 22, 2020, Peach Springs-

A talk with my son, last night, underscored the perception, even sometimes in my own mind,  that my shelf life is getting limited.  When the changes in the social wind blow ill, as they did yesterday, I look towards a place of refuge.  Sometimes, it’s just as well that there is no refuge available, immediately.  Sometimes, the only way out is through.

Things went far better today, with my class. I took the step of streamlining the rules, which had been overly drawn up by one of the previous teachers.  I took the step of not tolerating foul language or harassment. I took the step of countering the inchoate misogyny that some of the boys have shown, already, in their very young lives.

We got quite a bit accomplished.  It is not a traditional classroom.  Many students don’t get to school until two hours after the opening bell.  I am not here to judge them, or their families, for that.  Everyone, eventually, makes it to school. Everyone does some work, and learns something.  That is part of the reality in a rural community, where many live far afield, and no buses serve the area.

I am still not sure what will happen with me, after tomorrow.  There is more of a bond with the people here-and there is a bond, and a need, with people back in Yavapai County.  It will end up being one of those measured, eleventh-hour decisions, and I have a sense that the right thing will happen, by all concerned.

Commitment

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January 25, 2019-

We had, all in all, a good, productive meeting at work, today and prior to that, I felt a firmer commitment to us paraprofessionals, from our leadership.  These set the stage for a productive period, for the rest of the Winter and through the Spring.

It reminds me that my own commitment, to the well-being of humanity, branches off in many directions:  Our team and the students; the local Baha’i community, and the wider Prescott/Yavapai County community-through Red Cross, Slow Food, American Legion-and those who are just beloved friends ;  my friends who run the businesses around town, which I have come to love and appreciate- Frozen Frannie’s, Ms. Natural’s, Rustic Pie, Cupper’s, Chi’s Cuisine, Raven Cafe, Peregrine Books , Cornerstone Chiropractic, Planet Fitness and, most of all, Prescott Farmers Market; my family, most directly my son and daughter-in-law, mother and siblings-each of whom, are doing just fine.  When I’m needed, I will do what is necessary

I have always had a global take on things, though, even when that was considered odd.  So, I think, often and pray daily, for people in places which I might visit frequently- Phoenix, Flagstaff, the Verde Valley; not so frequently- Tucson, Superior, Carson City, Orange County, San Diego, Massachusetts,Missouri, Pennsylvania, the Great Lakes region, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida; once and again-the Pacific Northwest, western Europe, Alaska and east Asia- and those places which lie in my future, God willing-Africa, the rest of Europe, Central and South America, south Asia and the Middle East.

Yes, there is a commitment to travel, to visiting and to service where needed. Mainly, though, I am committed to living a full life, to doing the Will of God.   Thich  Nhat Hanh says commitment has nothing to do with convenience- so be it.

 

Fire Sign-Part II

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January 21, 2019-

My act of service, on this national act of service day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, was to join a determined little family, on a Red Cross project.  Sound The Alarm is a nationwide project to ensure that all homes in the United States have  access to working smoke detectors, installed free of charge, by Red Cross volunteers or team members from partner agencies, such as a local Fire Department.  I have been working with this family, for well over a year, to get this program off the ground in western Yavapai County.

Today, after manning a table for a few hours, outside a closed Boys and Girls Club, in Prescott Valley, we had generated a list of ten clients.  One of them asked that his alarms be installed today, so after the tabling activity was finished, we went to his home and installed two alarms.  This activity was a significant jump start, to a rather lengthy process.

I was born under the fire sign.  Corrective action, the fulfillment of promises and facing even severe challenges, without backing down, have been constant, in my adult life.  When I was challenged, last Fall, as to whether that was still the case, I had to recommit to it, though on my own terms, not those that were being dictated to me.

The fire is still here, and I will stand up and work through whatever challenges come, in the remaining future.

 

The Road to 65, Mile 238: What Now?

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July 24, 2015, Prescott- I had little time, this morning, to ponder the title question, as there was an urgent service event taking place, from 9- 1.  About forty of us gathered in the assembly hall of United Methodist Church, to fill backpacks for students from grades K-12.  School supplies, as many are aware, are a major expense for households and we were fortunate to have over $ 1,000.00 worth, from backpacks to pencils, donated for distribution, both by individuals and companies.  In addition, several hundred books were donated, by various corporations.  Half the group were us Baha’is, which further gratified me.

It is a lovely season, here in central Arizona.  I will have some time, before school starts, to help where needed with the Red Cross and Yavapai County Angels.  These opportunities will, of course, be available during the year, as well, though I will be also about the business of replenishing my resources.

Some have gotten the notion that I am primarily just a guy who runs hither and thither, photographing people, places and things, visiting historical sites and hiking mountains, canyons and beaches.  That is part of who I am, but it can hardly stand alone, in anyone’s life.  Indeed, except for about a dozen close friends, most of the people I have met this summer will not give me much thought, and several, I may never see again.  That doesn’t make the experiences any less memorable.  I will treasure each day spent in Nevada, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia and Alaska- just as I treasure each day here.

A friend spoke recently of “destination addiction.”  I remember, years ago, reading of a man from Italy, who had not been home in ten years, and had been so many places, with so little time to absorb each new experience, that he snapped, and was in the care of the Libyan National Police, spending his days staring into space, and mumbling.  Such a fate could not be more terrifying.

I will leave Yavapai County only once in August, to visit some long-lost friends in Hopi, an indigenous area about 100 miles northeast of Flagstaff.   Fall might afford some hiking opportunities, here and there- but not more than a day’s drive from base. The Christmas and New Year holidays will find me visiting family, but as an independent member of the brood.  I find I am altogether more settled, as many would expect, after four years of rather frenetic road trips and a European jaunt.

They have taught me, though, that I am a worthwhile person, that I can survive on my own, that I can make mistakes in my relationships with others, sometimes dreadful ones, and recover, with a major lesson learned.  I don’t need everyone’s approval, and there were a couple of people on the road, this summer, who made it clear that I was far from welcome to visit them. That was fine, because there were a vast number of others who were glad for my presence.  I take advantage of no one, and no one takes advantage of me.