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Monthly archives for July, 2018

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Summer                                                                      Monsoon Moon

monsoon clouds in Aurora

monsoon clouds in Aurora

The last day of summer. Lughnasa, which starts tomorrow on August 1st, marks the beginning of the harvest season. Though the growing season is not at all over, gathering in has begun and will only increase as we move through Mabon, the second harvest season and then end the harvest on Samain. Samain means end of summer and that name holds the history of the ancient Celtic calendar which had only two seasons, Beltane (the growing season) and Samain (the fallow season).

In the mountains we do not anticipate the beginning of the harvest season so much as we mark the beginning of the monsoon season. The monsoon pumps moisture from the Gulf of Baja and the Gulf of Mexico northwards until it cools and falls over the Rockies. This marks the end of the high fire season.

20180616_133209Taking off today with age nipping. The incident yesterday (see post below) means I have to pay attention to myself in new ways. A bit disconcerting. Not to mention that I occasionally leave the refrigerator door open. A common thread here, oddly, is hearing. The refrigerator has a come back and shut my door melody it plays when the door is left open. Trouble is, I can’t hear it unless I’m right by the door. The truck’s engine is obviously on when I step out with it running, but the call back that its noise would generate for others is only background for me. So a combination of distraction and hearing loss. Time to adapt. Again.

20150911_174834If I go to Indiana, I go home. Home in this case is the place of my childhood, a place, with Heidegger, into which I was thrown without choice by decisions my parents made. Indiana home, the banks of the Wabash, the sycamores, Harrison Street, mom and dad’s graves, the years of growing up, basketball, the Indianapolis 500 and lots of hate has a sort of giveness to it that makes it seem inevitable. Of course I grew up on Monroe Street, called down bats with stones thrown in the air, cheered for the Tigers, worked for the Alexandria Times-Tribune, P.N. Hirsch and Johns-Manville.

Gertie, Vega, Rigel in Andover

Gertie, Rigel, Kona in Andover

If I go to Minnesota, I go home. Home in this case is the place of my adulthood, the second phase of life focused on family and career. Minnesota was a choice and has none of the inevitability of my Hoosier life. I could have chosen differently. I tried New York City for example. I might have gone to graduate school at either Brandeis or Rice, both places where I got accepted in Anthropology graduate programs. I could have headed overseas as did Mary and Mark.

Instead, I chose seminary in New Brighton and continued to choose Minnesota in decision after decision. Now the land of sky blue waters, the western shores of Lake Superior, the northwoods and the timber wolf and the moose, the Twin Cities, two marriages, the adoption of Joseph, years of political work, immersion in its cultural life mean home.

When I stay for 5 nights at the Millennium Hotel on the edge of Loring Park, I’ll be in the midst of my own history, a neighborhood where I chose to live, where I participated in its politics. Within walking distance will be the Walker Museum of Modern Art and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts two institutions that shaped my aesthetic. Close by, too, is the Minnesota Church Center where I once had an office as an executive of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.

The Woolly Mammoths, the docent class of 2005 at the MIA, and various political cronies, mostly in the Sierra Club during my last years, the members of Groveland UU are the web of relations that make Minnesota home.

Mountain Home

Mountain Home

When I leave Minnesota, though, and head west again, it will be my used-to-be home once more. I’ll be heading home to the Rocky Mountains, to the land of mountain Jews, lodgepole pine and golden aspen, of black bears and mountain lions, mule deer and elk. Ruth, Gabe, Jon, Kate, the dogs. They’re all far away from Minnesota, in my third phase home.

This is another place of choice, a home determined by decisions that Kate and I made.  We will have been here four years on the Winter Solstice. We will have owned our home here for four years this Samain.

I have three homes: Indiana, Minnesota and Colorado. Each from a different era of my life, a different phase, each shaping me and, being shaped by me, in diverse ways.

Today I’m leaving for home and when I head out on the return trip I’ll be leaving for home.

 

 

Sigh. O.F. alert

Summer                                                                Monsoon Moon

feeling the years

feeling the years

OK. Old guy here. Kate was going in to pick up the grandkids this morning for a couple of days stay here. “Where are the car keys?” “Hmm. Don’t know. Let me find them.” Not where I thought. “Maybe I left them in the truck. I’ll go look.”

Turns out that was it. Not only did I leave them in the truck after I returned from the library yesterday, I had not turned the truck off. I just got out, went in the house. Sigh. As I said. Old guy here.

When I walked into the garage, it was hot. In spite of the temperature outside being around 44. Well insulated with a truck running in it from around 5pm until 1:35 am. I’m pretty sure that was the length of time because the battery ran out and the clock stopped. At that time.

20180420_104829I mean, geez. Geeze. Things were looking bleak. We live on the mountain; I was pretty sure the truck was outta gas. I mean it ran till 1:35 am. The battery was dead. Neighbor Jude leaves for work at 6:30 am and this was around 8 am. Neighbors Holly and Eduardo asked to watch their house while they were gone. They were still gone. OMG.

But, I put the battery charger on and waited while it got past the 3 minute time for a rapid charge, enough to restart the truck and check the gas. Surprise! There was about a quarter tank of gas. Driving to Aurora to pick up the grandkids should charge the battery, so off we went. Pretty much on time.

Got gas at a Sinclair station. The truck restarted. Charged. Filled with gas. Glad I bought that battery charger. And not for the first time.

Weather. Travel dilemma.

Summer                                                                              Monsoon Moon

Want to use a weather widget on my website. I have from time to time, but somehow they get corrupted, get discontinued, fail to work. The one I have now, Willy Weather, is easy to use, attractive (I think), and has several data points easily accessible. Only problem? It shows the weather about 10 degrees cooler than my weather station does. Others show the weather warmer than it is. The many microclimates in the mountains makes nailing down accurate data very difficult.

Weather Underground is the best I’ve found since it allows use of personal weather stations like mine. There are two within a thousand feet or so of our house, not including my Davis Vantagepro2. I’ve not been willing to go through the process of setting mine up for the net. It’s an old system, from the last millennia and its software interface is clunky. But, with the ones close by I can find, on my phone, data that reflects the weather here on Black Mountain Drive. It does not, however, at least that I could find, have a weather widget that I can add to Ancientrails. Gonna leave Willy Weather on for now, but just know that it seems to have a cold bias.

Today is prep day. Read my travel checklist. Pack. It’s becoming harder and harder to leave home. When I fantasize about travel, I revert to a younger, stronger, more resilient self. He makes me want to go, to pack up, leave. See the sights. Experience the unexpected in places I don’t know. But, like today, when faced with an imminent departure, suddenly I think about how comfortable our mattress is. How nice it is to have the loft and its resources. And, when I’m leaving alone, how nice it is to have Kate as a traveling companion.

More today than ever travel has a push-pull associated with it for me. I still want to see the world, get away from home, be out in the wide world. I share that desire with my brother and sister, wanderers all. Inherited from our father who was a frustrated nomad. However, age takes it toll, as do the insults of traveling. Air travel has insulted me so many times that, if I can avoid it, I’ll take another mode of transport.

Tomorrow I’ll be in a rental car. In many ways it’s the ideal travel method for me. A rolling retreat where I can tune out for hundreds of miles, letting my mind shake loose from the ordinary, the day to day. The geography goes by at a pace I can assimilate, not too fast, not too slow. I can stop where I want when I want. No schlepping bags from terminal to terminal, standing in long lines, being probed and wanded and scoped out from the inside. Problems are: it’s slower. Sitting down for long periods makes my back act up. I’m responsible for the driving, the navigating, the locating of places to stay, which is ok, but can create some tension.

I don’t know how to resolve this though the trajectory seems clear. At some point the overall hassle of travel will outweigh my willingness, and, perhaps my ability, to manage. The only trips will be short or obligatory. Not there yet, but I can see the horizon.

 

Mary, Mark, Superior Wolf

Summer                                                                         Monsoon Moon

Mary, Diane and Mark. Andover, 2011

Brother Mark drove up yesterday. He’s back in the U.S.A., back in the U.S.A. He loves being in his home country, but he doesn’t love the price of life here. Definitely cheaper in Southeast Asia. He’s a wanderer of note, having traveled the world for most of his adult life, living in various spots for a while, then moving on. At 59 I’d have to say he’s a pro at living a cheap life that enables his traveling habit. He also has the mental stamina to take a life lived often alone, most often alone. Not something all of us have.

We talked about family. Both Mary and Mark, perhaps because they’re both expatriates, spend more time connecting to our extended family than I do. Mark knows about our new grand-nephew in the Three Rivers area of Washington state. Cousin Kathy was with him when he had a medical procedure in Indianapolis. Cousin Diane and he connected again when he was in the Bay area last week. Mark stays in touch and I admire that about him.

Mary, Singapore Cricket Club, 2016

Mary, Singapore Cricket Club, 2016

Mary is still in Kobe, Japan. She found, improbably, a Frisch’s Big Boy and had an Indiana nostalgia meal there. She says there are many large Japanese in the Kobe area, maybe the beef? Mary, like Mark, travels a lot, often in the past few years to conferences where she’s either presenting or headlining. Athens shows up on her itinerary often, Australia and Indonesia, too. She returns to Singapore after Kobe.

Up here in the Rocky Mountains we’re enjoying more rain and cooler temperatures. The too long at very high fire danger signs now point Smokey’s finger at moderate, a blue stripe, not the angry reds and oranges of high, very high and extreme. This is welcome news for us since the wildfire season has been compared to 2012 and 2002, both years in which thousands of acres burned.

Fishing advisories are in place for many mountain streams and rivers. The low snow pack and resultant desultory melt has streams often below 50% of normal flow. That means the water heats up and limits available oxygen for the trout fly fisherfolk go after.

August 2016

August 2016

The big fires, the 416 and the Spring Creek Fire, have both been contained and most of the smaller ones are under control, too. We’ll all be sending petitions, in whatever way, to the snow gods. Please cover us this year. We need it.

I leave for Minnesota on Tuesday morning in an Enterprise Rental Car. Since 2011 Kate and I have used rental cars when taking trips. Got to get over to the Evergreen Library today and load up on audiobooks. Need to pack tomorrow. Easier when going by car.

An agent I think might really like Superior Wolf opens again for submissions on August 1st. I’ll be in Minneapolis, but I’m preparing to be able to send her my query letter and the first fifty pages as the clock ticks over. I wrote my query letter yesterday. Here it is:

superior wolfSuperior Wolf

Dear Ms. Moore,

Superior Wolf needs representation and your client list suggested to me that you may find this 95K fantasy/horror novel compelling.

 

Christopher’s father dies in a whiteout, attacked on a frozen northern lake, his head wrenched off, leaving Christopher alone in the dogsled. Who or what killed his father?
His obsession with finding an answer, returning to northern Minnesota time after time even though only 10 years old, causes his godparents to send him away, separating him from their daughter, Diana, who loves him.

 

His determination to find and kill the man responsible for his father’s brutal death leads him back to Diana, now a MacArthur grant geneticist, back to northern Minnesota, and to the immortal Lycaon.

 

Did Lycaon, king of ancient Arcadia, kill his father? Does he hold the key to life extension that Diana seeks on behalf of a mysterious group of hedgefund CEO’s who want to live forever?

 

I wrote Superior Wolf because northern Minnesota had the only intact wolf population left after decades of their successful extermination in the rest of the lower 48. Given that, why hasn’t there been a werewolf novel set there? Superior Wolf remedies this curious lack.
Research for Superior Wolf included a week of intensive study at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minnesota in January. We went out and howled with the wolves one bitter cold night. They howled back.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Pilgrimage

Summer                                                                                    Monsoon Moon

St. Croix River, September, 2016

St. Croix River, September, 2016

Returning to the auld sod. September of two years ago was my last trip to Minnesota, that one for a day long Woolly Mammoth retreat in Stillwater. This time it’s Groveland UU’s 25th anniversary and their acceptance as a covenanting community of the UUA. Kate and I were part of Groveland from very near its inception, meeting in the round upper room of the Highland Park Library. I had just left the Presbytery and needed a religious community that did not make my mind go into reverse in order to remain.

The UUA proved to be a caravan serai for my longer journey, a spot where I could consider the contradictions of monotheism in friendly company. Groveland gave me a chance, over the years, to write out and present a travelogue of my own soul. This was a rare and welcome opportunity, one where I could say out loud what would have been heresy in my Presbyterian robes.

Mom, Dad, Me

For a while in those years I thought I would return to the full time ministry, perhaps even settle as a clergy in a small congregation. My analyst, John Desteian, later helped me identify this wish as a regression, a return to my back then profession to pick up something I’d left behind. In the retrospectoscope of many years now I think it was a need to say goodbye to that world, the world of the religious professional, to acknowledge that I no longer belonged in it, perhaps never did.

The notion of vocation is powerful. When triggered, as mine was in a complex mix of politics and renewed interest in spirituality, it becomes self-defining. Called, some say. I never felt called to the ministry; though I did come to feel that the peculiar mix of politics and institutional leadership of my short, fifteen year, career was my vocation. Ordained first to my work as manager of Community Involvement Programs apartment living training program for the developmentally disabled, moving from there to the political work of the West Bank Ministry and finally onto Presbytery staff where I had broader responsibilities for mission and congregational development, I was able to pursue a commitment I made to myself during high school.

Industrial ruins of the Johns-Manville plant, 2015

Industrial ruins of the Johns-Manville plant, 2015

While working as a managerial intern for Johns-Manville corporation, the CEO of the factory where I worked offered me a full ride scholarship. In return I would work for the corporation as a manager for five years after college.

I needed the money because my SAT scores, though good, were not competitive for the best financial aid. I even found the work I’d done as an intern interesting. My summer project was to develop a diagnostic tool for the factory, defining and then developing a method to track what Jim Lewis, the CEO, called key operating indicators, koi’s. It was fun, digging around in the data to find a group of numbers that indicated the ongoing health of the work, then developing a method to track them on a regular basis.

When it came time to reply to Jim’s offer though, I had a very strong gut response. No. I would not, I said to myself then, ever work in a setting that compromised my values. At that point I was a strong labor advocate and attuned to the damaging, psyche cramping, even soul destroying power of corporate America.

Ye young radical, 1968

When I went to United Seminary in 1971, I gave myself a year. I wanted to get out of Appleton, Wisconsin, out of Fox River Paper company’s rag room. I needed to use my mind, not my back. When I got to United, I discovered a campus and, at the time, a profession, pushing back against the war in Vietnam, in solidarity with the civil rights movement, and intellectually rigorous. I liked my classmates and was able to continue the radical political life I’d begun, like so many, in the late sixties college movement against the war.

As I went deeper into the spiritual tradition of Christianity, I found contemplative prayer, long retreats, an inner world of great depth. Intellectual curiosity kept me coming back for more. And, that commitment I made was not challenged, not at that time.

It was only after adopting Joseph in 1981, five years after my ordination, that I began to find cracks in the metaphysics I’d accepted. If Joseph had been raised in his birth home, in Bengal, he would likely have been raised Hindu. And, as a Hindu, he would have been beyond the pale of salvation. No. The same sort of gut response I’d had to the Johns-Manville offer hit me. No. If I could love this boy now, I would love him as a child devoted to Shiva or Vishnu or Kali. And, if I could do that, and the god I served could not. Well.

09 11 10_Joseph_0271Was that the real trigger? I’m no longer sure. It was a contributing and significant one, that I know. I believe now that it was the rationale I could explain to others. The true inner shift was a different one, a result of the contemplative and spiritual work that I first found in seminary.

I read the Creation of the Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner when it was first published in 1986. It opened my mind and heart to the power of metaphor, how metaphor could be used as an oppressive tool, one so subtle that what appeared as spiritual might actually be enslaving. In particular Lerner’s work convinced me that transcendence, with its up and out of the body, up and away from the natural order move, reinforced, even helped create patriarchy. The best, the most sublime, part of us was not in our embodied form, but in our ability to leave the body for a higher spiritual plane, to merge with God. This was a move that reinforced that the three story universe where true power, the most real, was above us, literally, in the realm of God, the father. Heaven.

Instead, I came to believe that true power, the most real, was right here, in our bodies, on this earth, in the amazing web of life in which we participated along with the rest of the animate world. Transcendence became, for me, a concept that smuggled in a world ruled by men and kept the world that way through constant repetition and its anointing as the way to true spirituality.

IMAG0680croppedAgain, NO. See a pattern here? When I made the turn from up and out of the body to down and in, my religious worldview shifted permanently. My spirituality became an embodied one, one that found the universe in my hands, my feet, my skin, the very fleshy things that are of this world. When gardening and beekeeping and orchard tending occupied a lot of both Kate and mine’s time, it was easy to see the link between the soil and this embodied, non-transcendent spirituality.

This was the core move, the one I could explain theologically, intellectually, even emotionally through the Joseph story; but, which was in fact a metaphysical shift away from spiritual realms other than the one into which we are thrown at birth. I’m still in that place. I’m still anti-transcendent, pro-body, pro-earth. I find God an unnecessary idea, but, oddly, I find religion itself compelling. Still.

Judaism, reconstructionist Judaism, is, unexpectedly, a comfortable home. It requires no dogma, requires no belief, and has an establishing principle of skepticism toward the past, yet an acceptance of the power of tradition. Beth Evergreen in particular is a place that allows, encourages deep exploration of self, of community, of our obligations to each other as fellow creatures, and to the gritty world that supports us. All I ever wanted, really.

 

Around the Globe, Ellises

Summer                                                                      Monsoon Moon

Wednesday night, coming back from the protest in Aurora, we drove through thick fog as we drove up Hwy 285. This morning, the dewpoint is 48 and the outside temp 50. Foggy now, too. The monsoon season had brought that Gulf moisture streaming into the state, cooling down the overheated summer we’ve had, even here in the mountains.

Cousin Diane Keaton sent an article from the San Francisco Examiner about a man who always wanted to see a mountain lion. He found four on his porch. In Conifer. The article was the second most popular piece in the Examiner yesterday.

Sister Mary has spent the last month or so in Kobe, Japan, teaching at the university there. When she got there, a typhoon caused severe flooding. The last week plus has been a three digit heat wave, creating numerous problems. Maybe not the best time to spread the Singaporean message about education.

Brother Mark is back in the U.S. after a year or so away, first in Saudi Arabia, then in various locations in Southeast Asia Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. He was in the Bay Area, but left for Reno on the Greyhound, the Hound, as he calls it. Housing costs too high, even, apparently, in Oakland where he had been staying. Since I have his new debit card and his new credit card, he uses my address as he roams around the world, he told me yesterday that he had booked a flight for Denver. He’ll be up here tomorrow.

Joseph has spent the last two weeks in Hawaii, on Oahu, doing war planning. Seoah and Murdoch are at home on Robbins AFB. Murdoch graduates today from obedience school.

Tu B'avToday is Tu b’av.* Kate and I are going to CBE tonight for a local celebration. Rabbi Jamie is away so this is a congregant planned Shabbat.

 

*Tu B’Av is the quirky Jewish older brother of Valentine’s Day.

Here’s what you need to know about this ancient day of love, which in 2016 starts in the evening of August 18 and ends in the evening of August 19:

  1. This romantic holiday used to be the Second Temple period version of a singles mixer. Jewish women would go dancing in the vineyards, according to the Talmud, and unmarried men would go to the fields to pick out a wife.
  2. The women would wear white dresses that they had borrowed, so that no one would be embarrassed if she didn’t own the proper garments.
  3. Women would also go dancing on Yom Kippur, and the Talmud ranks the two holidays as the happiest days for the Jewish people for this reason.
  4. On Tu B’Av day women and men from the different tribes of Israel could ignore earlier prohibitions against intermarriage, according to the Talmud.
  5. The holiday’s Hebrew name simply translates to the date: the 15th of the month of Av. “Tu” is short for the Hebrew letters Tet (which represents “nine” in Hebrew numerals) and Vav (which represents “six”), adding up to the number 15.
  6. The day is celebrated in Israel, much like Valentine’s Day in the United States, with flowers, romantic dinner dates and evening soirées. It is considered to be a good date for a wedding.
  7. From the end of the Second Temple era until the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, it was only commemorated by the omission of “Tachanun,” a penitential prayer included in the weekday morning and afternoon services. It’s not clear why the holiday was revived by Israelis.
  8. Lovers taking an evening stroll outside can enjoy nature’s mood lighting, since the holiday falls on an evening with a full moon.

Read more: https://forward.com/sisterhood/347404/8-quirkiest-facts-about-tu-bav-the-jewish-valentines-day-you-never-heard-of/

 

And God placed a rainbow in the sky

Summer                                                                              Monsoon Moon

Stage two fireban lifted. Rains have been remarkable the last few days. We’ve gone from fire restrictions to flash flood and small stream flooding advisories. Yay. Feels safer here now and I’ll feel less worried when I leave for Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Kate and I went to a protest yesterday at the Aurora ICE detention center. The Moral Minyan sponsored it. A Moral Minyan is a local group organized through bendthearc. In Jewish practice a minyan is ten (men in the past and still in Orthodox communities) Jews together so public instead of private prayers can be offered. There were about fifty people there, perhaps a bit more. Too cerebral, too speaky, but only the second one of what the Moral Minyan plans as a monthly gathering. It needs guitars and better music, more chants, maybe some songs in Spanish.

There was one remarkable moment for a Jewish gathering.

double rainbow over ICE detention center, Aurora

double rainbow over ICE detention center, Aurora

There was brief moment of defiance when a protest leader asked those of us who were willing to block the only road into the facility. Many of the group chanted, “We will not be good Germans.” as we moved onto the drive. Maybe 15 of us were there when an ICE employee, heading home from work drove up. And began honking. Impatiently. After less than a minute, the group dispersed.

The Democratic candidate for state attorney general, Phil Weiser, spoke, as did his primary opponent, Joe Salazar. Salazar, who lost the primary, gave an impassioned speech as a Latino whose roots go back 500 years in the land now known as the United States. A young pediatrician, a woman, gave a moving speech, referencing, as did many of the speakers, the holocaust. As I wrote here a week or so ago, Renee, a Beth Evergreen member, said that as a child of holocaust survivors, she could call these detention centers what they were, concentration camps.

Here are a few more photos from the event.

20180725_17140420180725_17221420180725_17214420180725_17171320180725_17493220180725_175304

 

Summer                                                                 Monsoon Moon

Alan, during the enso drawing presentation for kabbalah

Alan, during the enso drawing presentation for kabbalah

Riding in the future. Carpooled into Denver yesterday with Alan, in his Tesla Model S. It’s very wide display screen shows a map with your route laid out. It also shows buttons for radio, podcasts, particular stations. Alan asked me who my favorite musician was. John Coltrane. He spoke, “Play John Coltrane.” And 2 seconds later, John Coltrane filled the comfortable interior. It’s quiet and smooth, has a transparent, though tinted roof.

He demoed autopilot which kept a safe following distance between us and the car in front of us, slowing as they slowed, Alan’s feet comfortably away from the pedals. Going down the Front Range toward Denver the power consumption dial had a small green band that pulsed up and down. “Regenerative braking.” I asked Alan if the power he gained going downhill compensated for what he used going back up? No. The Tesla updates the range moment by moment. “I gain 5 miles of range going down, but lose 20 miles of range going up.”

We went into Congregation Rodef Shalom for a day of training in the B’nai Mitzvah curriculum. It focuses on the social and emotional development of students in the 11-13 year old age range, the range most common for bar and bat mitzvahs. As with all of the Jewish learning I’m doing these days, the curve is still very steep. This curriculum, for example, is apparently a radical break from the old style religious school model for b’nai mitzvah ages, but I have no idea what the old style looked like. This is 100% of my experience.

A print at Rodef Shalom

A print at Rodef Shalom

Rodef Shalom is a long, low building situated next to the Mizel Museum. It looks most like a fifty’s elementary school. Southeast Denver, Rodef’s location, is the heart of the Denver metro’s Jewish community, containing many synagogues, including several Orthodox synagogues where congregants have to live close to walk to the Temple on Shabbat. Alan grew up Orthodox in Southeast Denver.

There were 20 trainees including four of us from Beth Evergreen. Temple Sinai, Rodef Shalom, Judaism Our Way, and the Aspen Jewish congregation were also represented. We did example exercises from the curriculum. For example. A facilitator from Moving Traditions put up two large sheets of paper: Agree and Disagree on opposite ends of a wall. When answering questions like at age 12 0r 13 did you experience pressure to do well, we positioned ourselves either on one end or another, or in the middle according to our response.

This regular napper, around noon or 1 p.m. everyday, got seriously sleepy around 1, but struggled through it. I enjoyed meeting new people and learning more about Jewish culture. The religious school year starts on September 5th at Beth Evergreen.

 

Monarch of the Mountain Spirits

Summer                                                                            Monsoon Moon

101

at Running Aces

Kate’s getting hammered again by Sjogrens or illness or some very difficult to identify g.i. tract problem. She’s tough and resilient, my new favorite virtue, but, geez. She shouldn’t have to prove it so often.

Get to ride in a Tesla today, going into Denver with Alan for the Moving Traditions training. He bought his Tesla last year, sort of a I’m retired, this is a really good car thing. His dad did the same though he wanted a Cadillac and ended up buying an Oldsmobile. Alan bought the Cadillac.

No good deed goes unpunished. We’ve had significant rainfall the last couple of days. Yay. But. Hwy 285 in Bailey closed down yesterday due to a mudslide. Open now.

After a swim, from September, 2015

After a swim, from September, 2015

I waited on the hosta division for the monsoon rains to begin. Hot dry weather is very tough on transplants. The rains have kept the air cooler, the cuttings evaporate less so the leaves stay strong. The roots don’t dry out. Gives them a chance to get over the shock of a new spot, send out some rootlets. There’s also a concoction made by Miraclegro called Quickstart that I’ve used for years when dividing plants. It encourages root growth and gives the plants a burst of nutrients.

That buck yesterday was magnificent. He was the sort you see in bronze on the stony gate pillars guarding expensive homes. His bearing was regal. This is his kingdom. Unhurried, strolling the easement like it was a path in the gardens of Versailles. Perhaps the monarch of the mountain spirits who visit us.

 

 

 

A Great Pagan Morning

Summer                                                                  Monsoon Moon

By I, Atirador, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons

By I, Atirador, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons Irish Giant Deer

Rigel barking. Gertie and Kep run to the back fence to back her up. There, in the utility easement, just outside our 5 foot fence, a ten or twelve point elk buck, regal and calm. Rigel barking. He walks, slowly, along the fence line, gets to the end of our property, then turns around and walks quietly back. You, dog, are nothing more than a nuisance. Get out from behind that fence if you can.

The Irish Wolfhound, half of Rigel’s gene pool, was a deer hound until the Irish discovered while hunting deer with them that they killed the wolves who were also hunting deer. The Irish deer were very big, weighing between 1,100 and 1,900 pounds, as big as the current Alaskan moose. To the extent that memory of that prey is still in Rigel’s body’s somehow, the elk would have seemed not so formidable. Rigel has always been a predator, Gertie and Kep humor her, but don’t have the same instincts.

A great pagan morning. First the glorious elk, then time spent dividing hosta, finishing what I started yesterday. While doing it, digging up the root ball, separating distinct sections to transplant, hands in the soil, remembering how and what else needed to be done, I greeted a part of myself that has been quiescent for almost four years. The horticulturist. No vegetable and fruit garden. No orchard. No flowers. No bees. I miss him, but the barrier here, unless we buy a greenhouse, is too much for me at this stage of life. Even so, this was a good reminder. Hands in the soil, gardening tools out, used to occupy many, most, of my summer days in Minnesota.

at the start

at the start

in process

in process

Finished

Finished

 

Breadcrumbs

Trails