Heart’s Desire

By Mike B

It is my heart’s desire that you will experience today and throughout all your tomorrows:

in spite of differences

in spite of suffering

in spite of turmoil

in spite of frustration

in spite of offenses

in spite of temptation

in spite of failures

in spite of weariness

Self Control
in spite of pressures

June 2016

letting go of fear

By kat

there are demons in this world, sometimes embodied in the souls of those who have lost contact with their souls. human demons whose sole purpose is to inflict damage on others. the damage has a name: fear. capital “F” fear. on a personal level, i have managed to move the fear to a lower-case “f”.

now is the time to release fear, freeing us up to proceed in peace, able to project love in this difficult time. meditating, i journey to a place of healing. encountering my father, i see him as a pure being of light. i find respite in his arms. without effort, i let go of everything but love and peaceful rest. for a time i am thus soothed, then return to my journey with renewed energy.

fear is ripped from my heart and soul, not without pain, ripped from my stubbornly clinging fingers. the fear is then fed back into the universe, recycled if you will, back into the primordial soup. great gaping holes are left, then filled in with love. i experience warmth comfort and the connection of all living things.

i easily perceive that all things in the universe are alive. all of nature, all souls, human or other, all thoughts even, are living things with which we can impact and reform ourselves and our world.

stripped of the fear which had taken up residence in my soul, i am left open to give and receive love. filled to overflowing with enough love to share, i am given over to live, love, sleep and dream in relative peace. throughout the remainder of this epidemic, recovery, and the next challenge, we CAN be peaceful and loving to ourselves and others. indeed it is the only way to override the anger and hatred, transforming lives as we share love.

February 2021

Three Haikus

By kat

corona virus

“rona” they call it
younger folks have a way of
changing fear to fun

clearing out

sorting through boxes
organizing the keepers
be glad when it’s done

my kitties

one is still lively
the other has stiff sore joints
nineteen-year-old cats

January 2021

Pleasant Turnabout

By Nando

It was early in 1963. For 130 twenty-something USAF enlisted men and women it was also a time of maximum application of their mental and physical abilities as they, and each, pursued this last opportunity to qualify for a USAF commission as second lieutenants. Theirs would be the last USAF Officer Candidate Class.

The six-month program of shared stresses and bonding was about half completed when an unusual opportunity was offered married Officer Candidates: a “Three Day Pass,” without distance limits, after virtually no free time during the prior months of training. It was of course accepted with smiles and alacrity by the marrieds and raised eyebrows by us bachelors.

My 1962 Corvair Monza Turbocharged Spyder Coupe, 4-on-the-floor and other young guy stuff had collected dust for weeks. When a married classmate AWOL bag in hand, asked to borrow it, I gave him the key.

Back within the time limit, my classmate thanked me and noted the car was fast as certified by a ticket he had received. We graduated on June 23rd.

July, my second week of Pilot Training at Williams AFB north of Tucson was over. I invited my suitemate and fellow student pilot to my home in Tucson (90 miles south) for Mexican grilled steak and beer. We left still in our flight suits as he wanted to return that evening to study. We indulged in Mom food, moderated the beer intake.

We drove back over the favored curved road with its desert-wash dips and nice scenery, again enjoying the slight G’s of zipping through its curves and washes.

A week or so later, we chatted about weekend plans. I told him I was going home, he said he was going to see his girlfriend. That Friday afternoon we completed our hot Arizona desert flights and went to our quarters to clean up.

He called from our shared bathroom where he had just shaved and was combing his hair. I went to the open door and before I could wisecrack about his hair spray, he said he was flying to California to visit his beautician girlfriend. Good that I did not wisecrack as he then asked if I wanted to use his 1963 4-on-the-floor Corvette over the weekend.

Ha! I put my damp flight suit back on and stepped out front and into the gorgeous blue gray coupe. Long story short, it was a blast for this twenty-something over that curvy back road, even when below the speed limit. I also had opportunity to confirm the swiftness of a friend’s car with a speeding ticket five minutes after reaching Tucson.

Had my married friend and I each known we would get speeding tickets, we would have still accepted our new friends’ keys.

January 2021

Gopher (AKA Round Tailed Ground Squirrel) Chronicles

By Nando

If sent elsewhere, do gophers, these members of this rapacious and encroaching species, get their RHE visas pulled? If predators are imported how does one export them back?

They are a highly mobile encroaching species, they encroach upward and downward and sideways, and are multiplying due to favorable conditions … monsoon and human provided nurturing … mesquite beans, mesquite bark, mesquite leaves, Texas rangers, prickly pear, garden plants, expensive landscape decor, and most anything green … except usually weeds.

… and someone must be feeding the coyotes, or are they also getting unemployment plus $600 a week?

… and do they burrow? Does a cat meow? It is no longer safe (or sage) to walk about the back forty … holes galore, and some more where one’s weight collapses a burrow to create another.

… a couple of weeks ago, a city main leaked for likely more than 36 hours … at a rate well above a fully open garden hose … a part of that stream had flowed during that time into a gopher hole… It did not fill up nor did it appear to exit anywhere. Do they dig cisterns? Saw some during the leak period; none looked freshly bathed.

There is some suspicion that they are displacing other burrowers or vegetation feeders … fewer rabbits? Squirrels? Tortoises? Lizards seem to be doing OK…

They are insouciant-like now, these Gophers, or whatever these little *** are. Are they beginning to seem proprietary rather than interlopers? Should we apologize, wallow in guilt if we do not grow green foodstuffs for them?

An observation as to their cerebral potency: In a gravel covered chain-link fenced square, an area accessible only to a ground squirrel/gopher, a newly dug burrow was noted. The gravel had been displaced very neatly and perfectly in a circle about 18 inches wide. The burrow opening was very neat and free of dirt accumulation. A few days later it was observed that the hole had disappeared, and the gravel was no longer displaced. In other words, the opening had been closed, and from without, the gravel had been meticulously replaced such that unless the hole had been sighted before, no hint of the underlying burrow could be detected, not even to the critical and wondering eye of the observer who had seen both. Truth 1.

Truth 2: At a square, cement floored structure composed of two brick walls forming an interior corner, and two picket-fence-like 36-inch walls completing an enclosed square, a dog of highly attuned predatory instincts and behavior was barking. It was its distinct “I smell a prey” yip and bark. Inquiry required removing the right-angled picket structure. Lo, in the corner formed by the bricks, a mound of dug up earth about 18 inches high was noted. It was very neatly piled and appeared almost fluffy. How did that much dirt come to be in the brick and cement corner? It appeared to just be a mound of piled up fluffy dirt … no openings anywhere. Upon removal of the wood structure, the dog thrust its nose toward the mound and let out a great bark of discovery, though nothing, hole or critter was visible. The mound was large, spreading out at least two feet. Seeking to perturb the situation, it was squirted with water from a nearby hose. Nothing. Bark, Bark, higher pitch. One more spray with the hose, and the dog lunged into the spray and snapped on a gopher/ground squirrel, simultaneously snatching it and killing it in one bite. So, there was a gopher in a mound of dirt in which no opening was discernible to dog or man. The dog is not for rent. Further reduction of the mound with the hose merely produced more mud.

So, truth one is of exquisitely disguising a burrow that had been/was there; truth two of a non-burrow which was nonetheless functional? Alfred Hitchcock and Twilight Zone come to mind … Gophers of the genus genius … only in RHE.

May 2020

Strolling the ‘hood, an ode?

By Nando

Richland Heights East. We show on a map as a collection of streets and structures within a square boundary. But . . . are we more, a distinct neighborhood differentiated by its people, even its pets? Hmm.

Obviously, not everyone in RHE is indoors petting their dogs instead of walking them about. Now, after weeks of transitioning from few walking to many walking . . .sans masks, even . . . dogs and people are all about . . . some pairs or trios exploring for the first time this unique ‘hood. It is good to do.

And at this time of year, walking the ‘hood whether walking the dog or the dog walking thee, the emergent greens of spring are so positive. Surely they ameliorate or even banish thoughts of virus, politics, or worse things?

The greens of spring and co-emergent fauna are background for outdoor exercisers, on nature’s presence and contributions to where we live . . . architecture and non-organic additions seemingly subordinated or enhanced by the products of this winter’s ample rains.

And in strolling about these spring mornings or evenings, with or without leash-felt demands, one is drawn at personal levels of consciousness to our immediate environment’s uniqueness and positiveness. There was no cookie cutter designer, and best of all there are no high rises . . . windowed cabinets for people on file?

Ah, the space . . . self-quarantined here among open spaces . . . wide streets and larger lots . . . wildlife in fur or feathers, scaly long-tailed lizards, or those with stubs, regenerating tails from encounters with adrenalized formerly indoor-only pets, and ground squirrels, and look . . . what was that?

Never have so many informed themselves on their Richland Heights East neighborhood. A mere collection of designated streets and structures, not really. Keep on walking. Its concomitant, the well informed, is the organic infrastructure of a living neighborhood.

May 2020

Third Haiku Submission

By Dennis M

Another Mural

Are pigs flying yet?
Let’s check hell’s temperature, yes!
Javalinas bike.

Here’s a new koan.
The sound of one hand washing
Is this what is heard?

Noisy city walk
Ambulance has no traffic.
Some good comes with bad

April 2020

Pandemic Writings Continued


Quiet city walk
Hear backyard children laughter.
Love’s heart goes to them.

Quiet in front yard
Emerge from life’s cholla nest.
New doves fledge today.

April 2020

Haiku Thursday

By Dennis

Quiet city walk
Delightful gifts come in time.
Orange trees blossom now.

Porch Pirate?

Quiet city walk
White truck loops in neighborhood.
Tough time to be thief.

Drive on Left? Walk on Right.

Quiet city walk
All met walking on wrong side.
What is right or wrong?

Noisy city walk
Military jets slash our sky.
Very loud freedom?


Quiet city walk
Whales hover over desert.
Are pigs flying yet?


Want to learn something?
Plural form is this easy.
Haiku need(s) no “s”!

April 2020


During the COVID-19 pandemic, LAH volunteers kept in touch with clients who were sheltering at home by phone. Vicki, the leader of the Senior Writing Group, was one of the callers. Here is an email she sent on March 24, 2020 . . .

One of my people to call was Dennis DeFreitas. I hadn’t seen him in well over  a year and his phone number no longer worked. I tried email, but nothing. So I left a note on his door. His son called me last night to say that Dennis had died of cancer in September. His son said that he and Dennis’ daughter were very appreciative of the things that LAH did for Dennis. He said Dennis talked about us. Also his daughter was at the social when the senior writers read from our book. I think she read his story.

He had not been active with LAH for a couple of years, but I spent a lot of time with him from 2012 thru 2016. He and I started with the Writing Group on the same day. He was a regular for over 3 years. His stories are in the book we published. I drove him twice a week for physical therapy for about a year. I took him out to the Desert Museum to see the Raptor Show and almost killed him with the long walk and the heat. The last time I saw him was during a social at the church — he rode his three wheeled motor bike over. He also rode it to the Botanical Gardens and to Randolph Park for our picnic.

Dennis hated December — too many people he loved had died in December.  I’m glad he died in September — not glad he died, just glad it happened in September.