We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Going Well

Lugnasa                                                                               Superior Wolf Moon

Lycaon wants to test the omniscience of Iupiter and serves him human meat.  Hermann Postumus, 1542

Lycaon wants to test the omniscience of Iupiter and serves him human meat. Hermann Postumus, 1542

Superior Wolf is ticking along, riding the interior highways. Sometime in the next couple of weeks I’ll be a third of the way done with the first draft. Reimagining is going more slowly, my daily goal of 300 words reflects the more difficult act of building an argument, rather than a world. But, it’s getting regular attention, something I’d not had for it before.

The grandkids are on a hemophilia walk this morning. I feel curmudgeonly about such things. Walking and raising money is a simulacrum of action. They seem like doing something, but in fact they leave the actual political labor necessary for real change to someone else. These walks, runs, auctions, benefits all substitute thoughtful action for the easy: walk, write a check, see friends, enjoy the weather. They are salves to the soul intimidated by the need for analysis, meetings, hard work.

2010 11 12_0561Bear Creek Design got a healthy check from us yesterday. They work on retainer. You fill up an account, they go out and spend money per the estimate and when the account runs low they come back for more. Looking forward to the new shower.

Looks like I may be in Minnesota near the end of next month, probably the 22nd through the 25th. Joseph and Seoah plan to be there then for a Twin Cities event celebrating their marriage. Raeone is hosting. It’s a little iffy since Joseph’s schedule is under control of the USAF, but right now its on. I haven’t seen Joseph and Seoah since Korea. Woolly friends and docent friends I haven’t seen in a longer time. Kate may have to stay here for the grandkids.



Beau Thai. Bear Creek. Beth Evergreen.

Lugnasa                                                                                Superior Wolf Moon

bear creek desighBear Creek Designs has finalized our bathroom remodel plans. They start next week and estimate 4-5 weeks total. A zero entry shower may not be strictly necessary right now, but when it is necessary, I don’t want to have figure out if we have the money to make the change. We do now.

We went over to Bear Creek in Evergreen yesterday and discussed possible shower door options, an unexpectedly complicated chore due to the small size of the bathroom. The solution, move the shower valve to the opposite wall from the shower head, seemed counter intuitive until we explored all the other options. It allows us to maintain the zero entry which was the point of the remodel. So, we chose to do it.

Afterward we ate at Beau Thai. Get it? The food is better than the pun. It’s sister restaurant is a Himalayan spot only four doors away. Tom yum and green papaya salad. Since we still had a little time, we went to our favorite small shop in Evergreen, the Village Gourmet. Among many kitchen and home related items, the Village Gourmet also has a very nice truffle shop. We got four truffles plus some dishtowels and a plate to replace one broken over the weekend.

20160714_143955Then to Beth Evergreen for Midday Mussar. This was the fourth of four weeks in which we looked at classic texts in this long established Jewish spiritual tradition. Once we choose a text, next week, I’ll probably write more about mussar. It’s a very pragmatic discipline and worth knowing.

A woman we had not met returned to the group yesterday. She was at the end of a four year saga waiting for a new kidney. She had diabetic neuropathy and finally found a kidney for transplant a few weeks ago. Her explanation of the transplant’s effect on her was eloquent. “I thought I knew about gratitude, but now I know I didn’t. This gift to me from a man who checked his organ donor box is beyond explaining. I now have to consider what I will do with the rest of my life. Which I will have. I’m going to live it to be worthy of the gift I’ve received.”




Making Things

Lugnasa                                                                      Superior Moon

As the weather cools down, the work level goes up for this former Minnesotan. One thing Kate and I have always agreed on is that cool is better than hot. How much cool, not always, but temps trending down, but not up? Delightful. And so it is here right now. 40 this morning at 7:00 am. Orion, too, rises with the morning sky, bringing with him the change toward fall.

Yesterday was busy. Writing: ancientrails, Superior Wolf, Reimagining Faith. Workout. Into Denver for Wednesday dinner and art with the grandkids. After eating at Minnesota’s own Famous Dave’s restaurant, we went back to Montview Elementary and made prints.

Here are a few photos of the experience.



jon's found objects

jon’s found objects

mointview gabe

Gabe inking up an object to print

Ruth printing her spoon

Ruth printing her spoon

A Colorado Tuesday

Lugnasa                                                             Superior Wolf Moon

shaggy sheepWent to the Shaggy Sheep yesterday, about 10 miles west of Bailey in Grant. One of the real joys of living up here is the chance to choose a place like this for our weekly business meeting. The drive through the Platte Canyon, starting in Bailey and continuing to the Kenosha pass about 20 miles west of the Shaggy Sheep is beautiful. Mountain meadows with horses and cattle. Old resorts like the Glen Isle. Rocky mountain sides covered with pines. The North Fork of the South Platte a constant running presence near Hwy 285. An Orvis recommended dude ranch. Santa Maria YMCA camp. Gravel roads snaking up into the mountains.

Also stopped by the Happy Camper on the way back to pick up some THC edibles. We now have to ring a doorbell to get inside. “To regulate the flow,” said a guy, maybe the owner sitting in the shop. He and a guy playing a guitar were lounging. Mine was the only car in the parking lot, so at that moment I represented the entire flow.

The young woman who helped me asked me if I had anything fun going on this Tuesday, “Buying dope,” I said. She smiled. “It’s a lot easier this way than when I was young,” I went on. She got a cute smile on her face, “Yeah, you don’t have to be so sneaky!”

A Colorado Monday.

Shadow Mountain Journal: August 22, 2016

Lugnasa                                                                         Superior Wolf Moon

computerHitting my mark for 750 words a day on Superior Wolf, it will be well started under its very own moon. Decided yesterday to make a 300 word a day goal for Reimagining Faith. I think about it a lot, but do little. Changing that. Still no Latin, but soon.

The divorce grinds on, unpredictable, usually awful. Over the last 12 years since Jon and Jen moved into the house on Pontiac, Jon rode his bike to work most days. Now he has to get up early and commute for an hour or so. A temporary hardship, but it adds frustration. They need to sell their house, but it’s not happening, not sure when it will. Until Jon gets his money out of the house, he’ll have to live with us. Future child care schedule and decision making about Ruth and Gabe remains uncertain. Strong nuclear family force giving off lots of energy as the nucleus explodes.

20160406_105312Due to Joseph’s deployment schedule we’re going to keep Kep through next March. At that point he will decide if we can just keep Kep permanently. A hard decision for Joe since Kep is his first dog as an adult, but probably best for Kep. Gertie and Rigel are in good health, both a bit arthritic as their aging bodies slowly decline. We know the feeling.

Seoah’s English is improving. She says she was homesick for a while, but got over it. She and Joe moved into a new place in Macon, Georgia. He’s renting out his house, now all repaired after the angry tenant trashed the place. We hope to see them in Minnesota late next month. Raeone is hosting a post-wedding northern latitudes reception for them.

Speaking of arthritis. Raeone’s having knee replacement surgery soon. She says cortisone no longer works for her. It works somewhat for me, tempering the pain from exercise, but not eliminating it. When I don’t exercise, the cortisone seems effective. A devil’s bargain, but I choose exercise.


A Shadow Mountain Salute to Ode

Lugnasa                                                                 Superior Wolf Moon

Proud of my buddy Mark Odegard who conceived of this project last year and saw it through to the opening Friday, August 19th.

At the Raymond Avenue Art Gallery in St. Paul until September 23rd.


Mark Odegard lives in Minneapolis, received his BA at the University of Minnesota in sculpture. He also attended the LA Art Center to study design and typography. He volunteered for the Peace Corps in the Fiji Islands, creating museum exhibitions of traditional artifacts. He returned and became head of design at the Science Museum of Minnesota for 20 years. He was active in the American Institute of Graphic arts, served as president, and started Insights Lecture Series at the Walker Art Center. In the last 15 years he has worked in Asia at the National Science Museum of Thailand, taught art and design at Bemidji University, and worked as a lockman at Lock and Dam #1.​

Time Like A (Slow) River

Lugnasa                                                              Superior Wolf Moon

Dazzle Bar

Dazzle Bar

A Sunday. Took almost all day to get my 750 words. Slow, slow day. We got home late (for us) after Dazzle Jazz on Saturday. That in itself slows things down. But the slighter thicker movement of time on the Christian sabbath is the real culprit. The Sunday paper. The nothing special going on usual Sunday schedule. On the one hand fewer neighbors going to work and on the other more motorcyclists, bicyclists and campers. The occasional chainsaw rattling to life somewhere. Folks out in their yards doing this or that. Slow.


Family Time

Lugnasa                                                                  Superior Wolf Moon

Gabe and Ruth were up here yesterday, bringing their peculiar brand of energy and enthusiasms. Gabe tried to go fishing for dogs again with a stick tied to twine. He found the pruners, wanting to cut a stick for a reason I couldn’t understand, but it was important to him. After laying the pruners down, and watching Rigel walk around him, this hemophiliac said, “Rigel’s really clever. She knows how to walk past sharp things.”

20160820_151257Ruth came up to the loft and ate a sandwich she made, “Two cheeses, four meats and dijonnaise!” When grandma asked her if she wanted to help make peach pickles, Ruth said, “Well, I know how to make pickles, but I don’t know how to peel peaches.” So she helped. She is a sponge, soaking up Kate’s sewing skills and cooking skills. Reading books from my library and ones she gets on her own. Learning printmaking techniques from her dad as she prepares her portfolio for DSA, Denver School of the Arts. 10.

Apres le grandkids Jon and Kate and I went into Dazzle Jazz in downtown Denver to hear Roberta Gambarini. She’s very skilled. This was the next to last event in Kate’s birthday month. She has a present coming on Monday from Jon.




Hail and Lightning

Lugnasa                                                                          Superior Wolf Moon

37 this morning and small piles of hail still scattered around look like snow. Two solar panels have a blanket of hail still on them from yesterday afternoon. We had a gully washer with lightning that seemed right over our heads. Gertie and Rigel stayed close, real close. The rain was welcome.

A transmission line went down in the storm and our generator chugged to life, powering us for a couple of hours while IREA worked to get the power back on. Though it took me over a year, I’m glad we persevered and got the generator hooked up and working. No lights is one thing, no water is quite another.

Brother Mark has finished a year’s worth of teaching with one longish break. He has two weeks of training in Jubail, Saudi Arabia, then he’s off until November. As he put it, he’s heading “to the further East” for some r&r.

The grandkids are here today, but just for the day. Afterward, Jon, Kate and I are going into Dazzle Jazz to listen to Roberta Gambarini. We go in around 5:30 or 6:00 since seating is first come, first served for all 7:00 p.m. shows. They have an interesting menu so we eat before the performance. The jazz scene here is vibrant, lots of opportunity to see local and national performers.



A Ploy of the Devil?

Lugnasa                                                                            Superior Wolf Moon

A taste of fall here. 42 degrees right now and cool weather tomorrow, too. A soaking rain yesterday.

Step-son Jon took Kate and me out to Carra Viejta, a Mexican spot just off 285 at Windy Point. Kate’s birthday. Good food and good company. Jon’s in much better spirits these days as the divorce moves closer to resolution.

20160714_143955Kate and I drove over to Congregation Beth Evergreen yesterday for another session of mussar, led by Rabbi Jamie Arnold. Over the last three weeks we’ve been discussing possible texts to use as the basis for study over the next year. One more this next Thursday. The three texts so far are: The Palm Tree of Deborah, the Way of the Tzaddikim and the Way of the Just. These are completely unfamiliar to me, which makes them interesting.

I get surprised occasionally. Jamie said yesterday, “We’ll have to see what our ancestors saw in these texts.” Not my ancestors. It’s interesting to be in but not of the conversation, I like it. Also, when the conversation turns toward G-d, I stop internally. I have to engage in a reconfiguration of the idea. What does G-d mean to the author here? Does the idea bring anything unique to the conversation or does it serve as a placeholder for something like: This is really important; or, take this seriously, dude; or, this is the best we could do in figuring out why should we believe this; or, this idea links us to all those in our 5,000 + year history who have believed this.

Emblem_of_the_Papacy_SE_svgMy impatience with religions of revelation has not waned. Revelation, word and practices with the imprimatur of divinity, has created so much bloodshed, so much cocksure wrongheadedness, so much diminution of the other that it seems like the opposite of what it claims to be. If there were a devil, it would be a clever ploy to create texts reputedly authored by God and spiked with so much absolutism that adherents to the texts would consider themselves an exclusively correct clan.

Outside dogmatic adherence to the idea of revelation most religious traditions have also devoted a lot of thought and practice to the question of the good life. How might we live? What are behaviors that respect all of G-d’s universe? How can we navigate the often muddy waters of our inner life? This is mussar. And kabbalah. And lectio divina. And the Way of the Pilgrim. And meditation. And the four noble truths. And the Tao Te Ching. These approaches to life as we live it here and now are among the great gifts of the world religions. They distill the wisdom of generations of sophisticated and nuanced thinkers, practitioners. It feels good to be learning another one.


They’re baaaack!

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Black Mountain Drive, Colorado

August 2016
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