Re-enchant

Winter                                                                               Imbolc Moon

20180116_183104This is, I know, a terrible picture, although since it was taken at night, with my hand held computing device and from a considerable distance away-I was parked at the side of the road hoping no one would stovepipe me-it’s ok.

This tree is my favorite light display along Brook Forest Drive on the way to Evergreen. There were many. The folks who lit it up must have run a very long extension cord to get to it, because it sits all alone in the woods, on the edge of a precipice. I love its existential isolation and yet its brilliance and its color.

The woods up here, the Arapaho National Forest for the most part, are lovely dark and deep and beautiful because of that, but having this small bit of human intervention tickles me.

It’s a part of a larger picture that’s coming to me. When I mentioned shamanic seeing in the post about the mountain spirits, it made me aware that I need to a third R to my gerundal theology: reimagining and reconstructing AND re-enchanting. This last of the three R’s of an emerging approach to faith may be the most important of all. The first two involve rational heavy lifting, taking something apart and putting it back together in a way meaningful today. Important and critical, yes. But, I’m realizing, not enough.

reenchant_logo10-08-100pxMore than the intellectual work we need the emotional work, a return to shamanic seeing, a return to a view of the world as a magical, mystical place. Which it always has been and continues to be. The empirical method, the scientific method has, like religious dogma, occluded our ability to see wonder. One woman said, during the mussar class in which we discussed the three messengers (angels) from the mountain spirit, said, “How would the mountain know when to send out the messengers?” Beep. Wrong question.

The right question? How can we open our hearts to the intimate communication we get from the natural world everyday? Including those emanating from within our own bodies. It’s our perception that needs to change, not the world. It’s still sending messengers and messages, but we’ve systematically tricked ourselves into thinking we now know too much to attend to them. We don’t.

reenchant.jpg2What does that lenticular cloud hanging over Black Mountain have to say? How about the wind howling down off Mt. Evans? The snow storm about to hit us? The fox or the mountain lion or the bear crossing our yard? The gradual decline of our muscle mass, our mental mass, as we age? Where are our faeries? Why won’t the wood nymphs of the lodgepole pines speak to me? The sun and its perpetual light. That rock fallen on to the road. What do they mean? Not what are they? Not why are they there? But what love note from the big bang do they contain? How would the ancient Greek or the Hebrew on Sinai or the folk who walked up out of Africa relate to them?

No, we don’t have to give up the scientific. No, we don’t have to abjure missing the rock with our car or truck. We only have to ask about our relationship with all these. What is it? How does it convey meaning to me? I like the notion of spirits and gods, goddesses, too. I’m still looking for the Great God Pan. Maybe you’ve seen him?

 

Figuring Things Out

Winter                                                                          Imbolc Moon

20180119_095931 Rigel. We took her to the VRCC, the Veterinary Referral Center in Englewood. This place is the equivalent of the University of Minnesota’s Vet Hospital for the Denver Metro Area. The Vet school here is in Colorado Springs, at an hour and half away too far for most folks to travel.

We had a consultation with Dr. Danielle Bayliss, an internist. She reviewed the blood work Rigel has had, all the notes from Sano Vet Clinic, asked about her ultra-sound and went over Rigel’s recent history of weight loss and neediness. Plus her insistent dining on Jewish texts.

Dr. Bayliss’s mind was a pleasure to watch work. She was compassionate, unhurried and thorough. She began by explaining that she thought we needed to redo Rigel’s blood work and do what she called biologic tests. Her reasoning was that the major presenting problem was weight loss. “That could point to some GI tract problems with nutrition absorption. We don’t want to do a liver biopsy (our Vet’s recommendation), then find out she’s still losing weight.”

Kep and Rigel

Kep and Rigel

The biologic test involves drawing blood, getting a baseline, then feeding her and two hours later, drawing blood again. I’m not sure exactly what it measures, but it tells Dr. Bayliss something important about the bowels. We’ll get some of the results today, the rest, the biologic tests, sometime next week.

Meanwhile, Dr. Bayliss prescribed a new dog food, one with rabbit as its primary protein, not the chicken in her Blue Diamond Senior diet. Prescribed in this instance means expensive, like $84 for a 25 pound bag. In addition, since she’s supposed to have only this diet, her treats will have to be canned dog food with the same ingredients. Another $82. Yowzer. She also received a prescription for metronidazole.

All this, however, gave both Kate and me at least a momentary reprieve from the liver cancer we thought they would find. It could be there’s still something dire going on, but it’s also possible she’s becoming unable to absorb chicken proteins and that the diet will be at least a partial fix.

Rigel

Rigel

We’re never ready to lose a dog and Rigel has been our healthiest dog ever. Which is saying something after seventeen dogs. She’s a sweetheart, except for digesting texts and flashcards on Hebrew and several patterns from Kate’s sewing room collection.

Since Vega died in April of 2016, she has come out from under Vega’s big personality to claim her own space. In particular she has found her voice and comments on many things, not always intelligibly to us, but usually so.

This summer she dug after and caught a vole. The shallow hole she dug was about three feet long, this is in spite of the amputation of one toe on her right front foot a year or so ago. Catching that vole, and eating it, reawakened her predator spirit and has found her since then spending a lot of time looking for critters under the shed, something she and her sister Vega did for hours in Andover. She’s retained that vigor, the eagerness, I suppose you could say zerizut. She runs out with her long, loping stride, tail up and ready for what she might find.

May she still.