One gets the sense that the Ghosts of yesterday, Keep the Dreams of Tomorrow Alive in Jerome, Arizona. Sitting at 5000 feet, the small town is literally built into Cleopatra Hill and overlooks the Verde Valley in Northern, Arizona.
The town was once a thriving mining community which excavated gold, silver and copper from the bowels of the earth below it. The community grew quickly as many followed the money to the mountain town. As it goes with many boom towns, history dictates a quick rise and early fall to the community. In the early 1900s, Jerome was a thriving city made up of several churches, hotels, saloons, miscellaneous businesses and gambling halls. At its height, Jerome once supported a population of more than 14,000 residents. Mining operations began to decline in the area in the 1920s and by the 1950’s, no more than 100 individuals called Jerome home.
With conviction a town once dead can discover new life. The fires, sink holes and industrial economic upheaval could not ruin the Town of Jerome, and from the ashes rose an eclectic renaissance where the community now thrives. Tourism, artistic endeavors, and ghost hunting is now the basis of commerce in Jerome.
What is most interesting about Jerome, is that the City does not hide from its tumultuous decline. The remnants of brick buildings once burnt down now serve as landscape for recently completed artwork; their masonry shells protecting and showcasing individual skills of those who now reside in the area. If you’re in the vicinity, it worth visit. If the reported ghosts that haunt the town don’t get you, the winding mountain roads and scenery surely will.
I lived in a Portion of the Arabian Desert for about a year and vividly remember the sound of everlasting sand particles whipping against our frail canvas tent during storms which would appear at a moment’s notice. Once during a rare cold winter rain squall the tent flooded with a foot of water. We grabbed whatever we could and took shelter upon our cots which barely kept us out of the invading flood. The dry arid landscape surely presents many hardships and hidden dangers but during evenings in the desert, I found solace in the stillness of the nocturnal sky. In those chaotic days long past, the desert night sky provided a sense of peace in a place void of tranquility. There is beauty to be found is these vastly empty places.
I recently found myself in Saguaro National Park before sunrise on a frigid early morning walk. The park is located just outside of Tucson, AZ. I saw more than a few coyotes on my pre-dawn sojourn which was a bit intimidating. Saguaro is a different environment then the Arabian Desert but both places speak the same language, albeit with a different dialect. The sounds of the desert before sunrise eco the voices of life purged through the rugged reality of nature. If these creatures can survive the harsh struggles of the desert, then they deserve to be heard.
Leave all behind and walk the desert trails before dawn in Saguaro National Park, there is no telling what one will hear.
Memories recede beyond the dark abyss as the sun sets and rises again and again. Our history, our stories, our triumphs and failures deserve to be remembered, but sadly these stories mostly dwindle and fade away into forgetfulness. It’s as if the sun and the moon never notice life on earth or the efforts of those on the ground striving, working and yearning for something better. We mortals dwell, subsist and toil as best we can, but despite our greater works, the forces of nature care little of our deeds. From the stars, it’s hard to determine or measure the number of miracles that occur daily in the world below, but down in the weeds, where the footsteps of humanity tread in the muddy landscape, one can see miraculous events occur daily, if one is just willing to open their eyes to witness them.
Like the sun and the moon, humanity also suffers from the inability to observe such miracles, mostly due to human distractions which blind our perspective. What a world we could live in, if only we could open our eyes and see these wonderous events transpire before us. Our minds open to the goodness of humanity, which would allow us to absorb the positivity which emanates from these awe-inspiring works of art. Unfortunately, this is not the case, we our blinded in our own reality.
It is truly difficult to witness a miracle with so much ugliness surrounding us in the world. I firmly believe that both good and evil exists in the hearts of man. Even the most despicable person is worthy of genuine acts of kindness and vise-versa; the kindliest individual has the potential to do acts horrific beyond recognition. This duel characteristic of man makes life unpredictable and often blinds us to the good that is done daily. It’s the old story of the cowardly soul who accomplishes a courageous act making him an accidental hero or the loving supportive father and husband falling into temptation during a moment of weakness. These stories represent the multifaced characteristics that resides in all of us. We are awash with the tears of heavenly angels but still waiver against temptation and yearnings that lead us down very dark paths.
Maybe I have become an optimist in my declining years, but I believe there is more good in this world than bad and wonderous miracles happen every day. These events may not be huge or earth shattering from a broad perspective, but they are miracles none the less.
I think of a family friend who was severely injured with a traumatic brain injury during a motorcycle ride gone terribly wrong. This young man literally died and was brought forth back from death’s door. Doctors were confident that he would not survive but through what could only be a series of miracles, he survived and beat the odds. He continues to this day to make progress after numerous surgeries and procedures. The financial burden alone was enough to break him and his family, but they never wavered and continue to progress forward through their struggles and tribulations.
Three women saw this struggling family and endeavored to assist them in their time of need. These women have families, jobs, and burdens of their own, but their own problems did not stifle their yearning to make a positive difference. Filled with conviction, these ladies were truly motivated to make a positive difference. They developed an idea for a fundraiser and fervently worked the plan. Throughout their efforts, they faced roadblocks and pitfalls which impeded their progress, but unknown advocates assisted them along the way. They overcame many obstacles to raise more than four thousand dollars for the family in need. Their dedication to service was truly the divine spark which lead to the successful fundraiser, but we can’t forget the many people that helped them along the way and the generosity of those who attended the fundraising event that cold winter night to kindly and freely give to a worthy cause.
When I ponder the story above, I see miracles in action, combining with other positive acts of kindness. A miracle can be as small as a divine spark or as large as the widest ocean. My hope is that we can open our eyes more to the goodness that occurs every day instead of focusing on the negativity that brings us down. We can’t be naïve to the darkness that exists in our world but by focusing more upon everyday acts of good, maybe the world can be just a little bit brighter.
The Definition of Miracle
• An extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.
• An extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment.
Just posted a video on my recent ride to Central City, Colorado. There is some good scenery, a brief history of the City and friendly banter. If you have a chance to visit, you should!!!
A blizzard roars outside causing the house to creek with fear, the wind is relentless. My hope is that our pipes will not freeze this cold squally evening. With no electricity, I am on battery power and hope to put thoughts on paper before my laptop fades away. Just a few days ago the roads cleared enough to take my cycle for much-needed maintenance ride. It was a cold day, but that short trip on two wheels brought needed joy in the form of adrenaline to my mind and body. Winter never dies, it just fades away in Colorado. It’s mid-March, I thought the worst was behind us, but Old Man Winter is not done tormenting my soul. Motorcyclist are not bound by the rules of society or cultural norms, but a polar vortex will surely stop us in our tracks.
My hope was that the riding season was upon us, but I know now that my dream was just a fleeting glimpse of reality. Hope can be a wild beast to ride, but it’s a ride worth living. Hope drives us to find a better tomorrow and uplifts our spirits during time of need. Hope is one of the greatest motivational forces and is an immensely powerful force of good which can dictate positive action.
Another survival tactic that one can rely on is to dive into the situation fully immersed without dwelling upon the situation and its many negative characteristics. The Phrase “Embrace the Suck” epitomizes this theory of living. When you are in a situation where life is just bleak and miserable, and one does not have any control of external influences than sometimes the best track is to dive into the misery and let it become you. It’s about not wishing for a change in the environment but finding the good within it. If you are willing to open your eyes, most situations have something that one can be thankful for. “Embrace the Suck” goes deeper then that; one must be willing to fully commit to the situation they are in and put forth all effort to enjoy it without a logical approach of reasoning. It’s a mindset, a way to propel yourself forward by throwing yourself into the ugly reality and enjoying it.
Keep the rubber side down, the sun shall shine again as the new dawn approaches.
So I have been riding a ton in the back country on National Forest Roads. Such awesome rides can be found in the dark green wilderness. No doubt these rides are great and I love some of the strange random sites I have seen. One such site was during a pre-dawn ride in the back country where I came across a car hanging out on the side of the road (the car was actually hanging off a big ledge on the side of the road). It was kind of crazy and reminded me of a scene from a horror movie. To this day, I am not sure why that car was in the middle of the forest. Here is the photo below:
I am in the process of planning a ride through Southeast Colorado which I am calling the American Travesty Tour. I try to research the historical significance of places that I plan on visiting on my motorcycle. I find that a bit of inquiry before the trip, makes the sites I see more vibrant and impactful. Planning this ride really made me reflect upon the concept of the duel Characteristic of Man. The notion that an individual can be both good and evil is not all that easy to swallow until one really dwells upon the deep unending depth of an individual’s soul. Were all capable of doing wondrous positive things as well as committing horrific acts of evil. What is an even more bazaar is that individuals often can do these things in conjunction with one another. Researching the historical significance of the Sand Creek Massacre and the Granada War Relocation Center in Southeast Colorado put into perspective the wrongs that my own country has committed. These are not the only sins that burden my own cultural identity but give me a sense of what we are all capable of doing if we do not live with an ethical and spiritual conscious. As a combat veteran, I can tell you that I am proud to be an American but one also must keep their hearts open to learning opportunities that we can learn from the past.
On November 29th 1864, America lost its moral compass when a force of Colorado US Volunteer Calvary under the command of US Army Colonel John Chivington attacked a peaceful village of Cheyenne and Arapaho Native Americans. The encampment was filled with mostly women and children, since the men were out hunting food for the upcoming winter. The band of Indians were requested to move to the Sand Creek area of Southeast Colorado and were guaranteed their safety by the American Government. In their village flew an American Flag along with a White Flag underneath the stars and stripes which was raised by the tribe to show their peaceful nature. Most adult Cheyenne and Arapaho men in the encampment were either sick or too old to attend the hunt. There is no real accurate causality list but it is safe to report that more than 100 Arapaho and Cheyenne Native Americans were killed, mostly women and children. This attack became known as the Sand Creek Massacre. This blood bath lead to further violence throughout the region when countless reprisals were made against white settlers in response to the Sand Creek Massacre by Native American Warriors. It’s a classic sad tale of hate begetting hate. Not all the military personal under Colonel Chivington participated in the massacre. Captain Soule who was in charge of Company D of the 1st Colorado Calvary ordered his men to stand down and did not attack when given the charge orders. Captain Soule latter testified against Colonel Chivington. On April 23, 1865 Silas Soule was murdered in Denver, CO while on duty as a Provost Marshal. Evidence suggests that his untimely death was payback for his eye witness testimony against Colonel Chivington.
Granada War Relocation Center, also known Camp Amache was a Japanese Relocation Camp located just outside Granada, CO in Southeast Colorado. In the spring of 1942, Japanese Americans were rounded up and forced from their homes and made to move to one of ten such Japanese Relocation Camps. Individuals were only allowed to bring one bag to the relocation centers and were forced to sell their valuables and property including pets and livestock before getting forced out of their homes. It’s hard to fathom such fear and hate which lead to such an abysmal act. While their family members were stuck in War Re-Location Camps, Japanese Americans were fighting the fascists in Europe. The US Army 442nd Regiment was made up of mostly men of Japanese ancestry and was the most decorated unit for its size and length of service in the history of American Warfare. The 442nd Infantry Regiment earned 9486 Purple Hearts and was awarded eight Presidential Unit Citations. Their motto was “Go for Broke” and they lived up to that creed with twenty-one of their members being awarded the Medal of Honor.
I never have posted my pre-ride research before an upcoming ride but felt so affected by what I learned that I wanted to put in words and share. I plan on taking this journey in the next few months and will hopefully be able to share more information.