We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Mystifying Move

Samain                                                                             Bare Aspen Moon

Guanella Pass, an ancientrail. Friendship, an ancientrail

Guanella Pass, an ancientrail. Friendship, an ancientrail

A friend wrote that he found our move here mystifying. No doubt. At age 67 and 70 respectively Kate and I left our lifetime home, the American Midwest (except for her brief sojourn in Houston), flat and humid, for the Rocky Mountains, high and arid. We had built a substantial life based on flat and humid, lots of horticulture, a woods of our own, plenty of space for our big dogs to roam. There was room in the Andover house for Kate’s sewing, my books and writing, an exercise space, a kitchen and dining area that worked for us.

We both had professional and friendship links of over 40 years in Minnesota. We made consistent use of the many cultural assets in the Twin Cities, having met at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. We attended the Guthrie and other theater and musical events. I was a docent and guide at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for 12 years with frequent visits to the Walker, the Russian Museum and led a group that made monthly visits to quirky art related venues. Political engagement over a long period of time had, at the point of the move, led me to the Sierra Club where I helped work on the legislative program.

In other words we were both literally and figuratively well-rooted.

Saguaro National Park, Tucson, 2014

Saguaro National Park, Tucson, 2014

Ira Progoff Intensive Journal Workshops intervened. Progoff was a psychoanalyst in the Jungian tradition, the same theoretical framework used by my long time personal analyst, John Desteian. I first attended a Journal workshop in 1988 in southern Wisconsin. It altered my perception of the world through a six day process of guided meditations, journal writing guided through Progoff’s books and by a skilled facilitator. From this first one I developed a mantra, Stream flowing, White Pine rooting, that I used for decades in personal meditation. At a second Journal Workshop in Georgia, I deepened my appreciation of these workshops. They have an uncanny way of illuminating the current moment of my life in a way that’s both connected to the past, yet focused on the future.

Progoff’s intention is that the Journal be a source of continuing self-analysis. You learn the method at a workshop, then continue to use in daily life. I’ve found the journals too unwieldy for daily use, but the Journal workshops themselves transformative. I hope to attend one next year to get more insight into our life after the move.

IMAG0096It was the Tucson workshop that triggered the move. I say triggered advisedly because it shifted my sense of priorities after Kate’s retirement. Up till then the long, well-established roots I mentioned earlier made leaving Minnesota unthinkable to me. We had seriously discussed a move to Duluth, to Hawaii and often, to Colorado, but for me Minnesota’s thumb on the scale proved decisive. How could I leave the Woolly Mammoth’s, my men’s group of over 25 years at that point? How could I leave the political work and the work at the MIA? How could we leave our gardens and orchard, the bees?

However the various exercises in the Tucson workshop led me down a different path. First, it established clearly that my life phase that time, March/April of 2014, was defined by Kate’s retirement. It allowed me, encouraged me, to go into that phase with clearer eyes, to consider what our mutual life could mean now that she was free of daily work. With the exception of Anne, Kate’s sister who lives in Waconia, our family had moved on, both boys having left for Colorado, Jon around 2000, Joseph in 2005. Though Joseph had since joined the Air Force and left Breckenridge, Jon married and had two children.

Ruth and Gabe were 7 and 5, turning 8 and 6 the month of the Journal workshop. I planned to make a visit on the way home, driving from Tucson to Denver to surprise Ruth for her birthday. This meant the grandkids were on my mind.

Ruth, late March, 2014

Ruth, late March, 2014

I sensed, in meditation and through writing occasioned by the workshop’s flow, that our family’s center of gravity had shifted, for good, to Colorado. Both Jon and Joseph moved to Colorado for the skiing. Joseph would likely return to Colorado after his time in the Air Force (it seemed like that then, maybe not quite as much now) and our grandchildren were young. If we stayed in Minnesota, we would see them only occasionally and have little chance to play much of a role in their maturation.

This realization, that our family had shifted its home base from Minnesota, which we both loved, to Colorado, made me think moving to Colorado made some sense. Kate had gotten there long before me, so when I raised the question on my return, a decision to leave came quickly. We soon had a realtor, began making regular trips to G-Will Liquors for boxes and purchased colored tape.

First project, fence for the dogs

First project, fence for the dogs

Living in the mountains, at altitude, had three main drivers. The first was free air-conditioning. “If there’s no snow (or rain) falling from the sky and you’re not in a cloud, then the temperature decreases by about 5.4°F for every 1,000 feet up you go in elevation.” on the snow. So you can do the math for 8,800 feet. The second was to live in a distinctly different environment from our Midwestern home. Denver didn’t meet this criteria since it’s at what I consider the western terminus of the Midwest, where the plains wash up against the Front Range of the Rockies, and it’s a metro area, therefore not very different in kind from the Twin Cities. The third was to put some distance, though not too much, between us and the grandkids. We didn’t want to be used as babysitters, but to be available as grandparents.

Ruth and Jon helping us get ready for the moving van, Dec. 2014

Ruth and Jon helping us get ready for the moving van, Dec. 2014

This latter desire on our part, to engage the grandkids, but not be engulfed by them, was a distinct point of conflict with Jen, Jon’s then wife. She complained, from the first time we decided on Black Mountain Drive, that we were living too far away. No matter how often we pointed out that we had moved 900 miles closer, she always came back to how far away we were. While we understood her point, it was exactly that sort of attitude that had made us choose some distance.

So we moved to the mountains on the Winter Solstice of 2014, barely 9 months after the workshop in Tucson. We came into alignment as the workshop changed my attitude toward the relative virtues of staying in Minnesota or being close to the grandkids. In effect, it brought me around to Kate’s thinking.

 

Seeing the sights

Samain                                                                   Joe and SeoAh Moon

20171027_161725Slowly. Things change. Sometimes fast, but often slowly. Jon has most of his stuff removed from the house, a few things remain in the garage. The bench he’s making will soon have colorful cushions. Kate’s already hard at work thinking about colors, about furniture arrangements, window treatments for the rest of the house.

Yesterday we did a marathon, sitting in the Rav4 of course, to get those cushions ready for Thanksgiving. Colorado Fabrics, the place to go for quality cloth in the Denver metro, is in Aurora, far to the east in Aurora. Aurora is the eastern edge of the metro. We live 35 miles west of Denver. So, navigating the entire metro, and on city streets because the southern metro area has no freeways to help cross it.

Then, roll of fabric in the back, we turned around and drove back three quarters of the way home to Diane’s. Diane is a fabricator. She takes the foam Kate purchased, cuts and sews the fabric, puts in zippers and stuffs the covers. They’ll be done by the big meal. Jon, Anne, Ruth and Gabe, at least, will be here.

I like these sojourns that take us on city streets. I’m still an avid student of the way cities form, shape themselves, develop character. Getting to Colorado Fabrics is a lesson in the way Denver has pushed its way south, overwhelming Hampden Avenue, Highway 285, which was once a four lane, relatively easy to use transit across the line where the ‘burbs began. No more. Now it’s a clogged thoroughfare sandwiched between the Denver city limits and a string of homes and businesses that extends miles beyond it in all directions. But it’s not been replaced by anything better.

Diane’s place is in Lakewood, a you can’t tell you ever left Denver behind part of the metro area, but to the west, in the same fashion as Aurora is to the east, though not nearly as big. While driving on Sheridan north, we had to turn around due to a navigational error in the wetware I use to find my way. As we turned around, Kate said, “Goats.” Sure enough, a house with concrete gargoyle statues, a lion or two and lots of other stuff I assume meant to be decorative had a large field in back with maybe 10 or 12 goats wandering around. Kate then noticed horses and gardens. Mind you we’re still well inside the metro area, not far out of Denver proper. This is the West. It’s different out here.

Diane herself lived in a neighborhood that was new, I imagine, in the late 50’s, perhaps early 60’s, in the last century of the millennia just past. Mostly small bungalow type houses with smallish lots, most of brick. She had a large silver maple tree in her front yard and we walked through fallen leaves to her front door. The crushing of those leaves under our feet gave off the smell of a midwestern autumn, something we no longer experience in the mountains. Instant nostalgia. Raking the leaves. Jumping in the piles. Pushing them into the street and setting the on fire. God, I can’t believe we really did that. But we burned our trash, too.

Diane is a large, friendly woman with a home full of items with an oriental flavor: buddha statues, a Japanese style painting, a Chinese acrobat holding a small table up on his legs. She had a couple of small dogs who were very noisy when we first got there. She went through, carefully, what we wanted done with the fabric. Did we want the pattern to run horizontally or vertically? Did we want to emphasize the darker or the lighter aspect? Where could she place the zippers so we could flip them if we needed to? She had a small desk in an alcove area next to her kitchen. Kate and I were on a settee next to it.

Since this was rush hour time, Kate and I ate at a buffet I’d discovered when I was out for the closing on our house, exactly three years ago. The closing was on Halloween and I did this and that for three or four days afterward.

Finally, home. We left Black Mountain Drive around 1 p.m. and it was 5:30 by the time we got back. Turns out excursions of this length now leave us both a bit tired, Kate often a lot. Just the aging process accentuated in her case by Sjogren’s and rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Want to help? Change the system.

Fall                                                                             Joe and SeoAh’s Moon

Diego Rivera, Detroit mural

Diego Rivera, Detroit mural

An old brick warehouse in a seen better days strip of businesses, located down an alley with little obvious identifiers. When Kate and I found it, other members of Beth Evergreen had plastic bags in their hands, carrying multiple boxes of cake mixes into its interior. Inside snaked several sections of equipment with metal rollers, black plastic boxes filled with canned goods and boxed food items. Improbably, high up were case after case of Coors Beer.

Kate went in while I grabbed four plastic bags of cake mixes and followed the others inside where we deposited the bags on a wooden pallet. This room was forty feet by forty feet, filled with plastic boxes containing canned vegetables, pumpkin mix, potatoes, more cake mix on two sides.  The wall on the right as we came in had shelving with new cases of peaches, applesauce and other Thanksgiving food items.

We were there to pack Thanksgiving boxes for Action center clients. Barbara, director of Volunteer programs, an older woman in a blue Action center t-shirt, organized us. After linking up the sections of metal rollers to form an assembly line, putting a group to work making up boxes, and setting a crew to distribute cake mixes into boxes packed the other night, but missing the cake mix, she formed the rest of us in the first room.

jeffco action centerOne end of the sinuous assembly line of metal rollers had a person who put the empty boxes on the rollers, then stuck in a can of applesauce. After that the boxes moved past a station putting in peaches (Kate), yams, vegetables (me), pumpkin pie filling, potatoes, cake mix, 20 items in all. Moving out of that first room on the conveyor belt the boxes moved up the rollers and up a slight incline where the boxes got sealed, then plucked off the conveyor and put on pallets. All this under the glare of fluorescent lights and the scrutiny of those cases of Coors Beer.

We got there at 6pm and were done almost on the dot of 8. It was fun, doing mindless physical labor with friends, meeting others whom we didn’t know and helping alleviate holiday stress for folks with plenty else going on in their lives.

the warehouse another day

the warehouse another day

Barbara gave us a pitch about the folks who were clients of the center. “Two main stressors,” she said, standing behind a metal conveyor. “The first is medical costs or disability. The second, rising rents.” Denver’s very tight, hot, housing market has pushed up rents, those costs moving down market like a python devouring a goat; only in this instance the goat is available income.

Barbara also said, “These are people who are working, who’ve hit a stretch of bad luck. I’m glad to help them and I hope you are, too. I wouldn’t feel the same about people who don’t work and want a handout.” Hmmm. This sort of charity is easy to sell. Church and synagogue folk love it, many having a similar attitude.

It is, however, from my perspective, band-aids on a compound fracture. Sure, stop the bleeding, not a bad thing to do, but what about that broken bone protruding from the flesh? The broken bone penetrating the skin of these folks lives is a capitalist insistence on market rate housing, on medical insurance offered through work–which is lost upon unemployment–or purchased, for now, with the aid of Obamacare, and personally devastating when lost. That penetrating bone is also jobs requiring increased levels of education, blue collar jobs now disappearing down the maw of robotics and artificial intelligence. And, increasingly, not only blue collar jobs.

Compassion in action

Compassion in action

We insist on pretending that all this is normal, that good-hearted folks with sterling intentions and an acceptable work ethic will be all right in the end. Well, no. Money does not trickle down, it races up to waiting vaults owned by the one percent. Think of friends or family and consider those displaced by a factory or business closing, a sudden illness or trauma. It is simply cruel to ignore their reality, to insist that they navigate this nightmare of an economic system with no substantial safety net.

So, yes, go to the warehouse, unload donated vegetables from black plastic boxes and add them to other items so one of these victims of our heartless economic system can have a Thanksgiving meal. Why not? But don’t delude yourself into thinking that this is the kind of help that solves a problem. It’s not.

That kind of work, problem solving work, is political. It involves changing our entire, established Way. This work is about liberation, about empowerment, about making it shameful to insist on grabbing as much as you can for as long as you can. This work is about recognizing that all people, ALL PEOPLE, need medical care, food, affordable housing, education, dignified and adequately compensated work, then constructing a political culture in which those needs are met.

If we spend all of our volunteer, good-hearted time filling boxes or ladling soup, the system will not change and those of us with at least some compassion will be diverted from the main, the political task.

 

 

In A Techno-Desert, Thirsty for Human Interaction

Fall                                                                             Harvest Moon

5:20 am on Shadow Mountain. 43 degrees. 12% humidity. Pressure 22.60. No wind. Crescent moon. All the same without knowing these data points, I know. Still. I like to know them anyhow.

naisbittThis week Thursday I get to see Joe and SeoAh. I’m excited just to see them, to have some high touch in this high tech age. Remember Alvin Toffler? A futurist, he posited that the more complex and sophisticated our technology becomes, the more necessary direct human interaction. (Toffler preceded Naisbitt by at least two years with this idea, but Naisbitt made it a corporate buzz phrase. I find his notion of balance between our physical and spiritual reality an interesting idea.)

True. We exist, at least many of us, especially those younger than a certain age, in a cloud (pun intended) of virtual data. This blog, for example. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Email. Text messages. Twitter. I see, regularly, information and pictures about high school friends, old college friends, friends in Minnesota, family. I don’t use Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, not enough time in a day, but I’m on Facebook at least daily. I send and receive many e-mails, text messages. All this keeps me up to date, to some extent, on people I care about, a gratifying level of connection available, in yesteryear, only to voluminous letter writers.

1954-09 Galaxy Magazine by Ed EmshwillerBut the connection is, of course, partly, maybe mostly, illusory. We get only snippets, usually disconnected snippets. No hugs. No careful listening. No smiles. No touch on the hand during a conversation. No walks. No meals. The further out from our fleshly world, the less real information about another we receive because the context for what we know is very limited.

I don’t happen to see this as bad. I’m grateful for the chance to learn about even parts of the lives of people who once belonged to my fleshly world. But it does create a longing for in person moments, to embrace Joseph and SeoAh, for example. Or, to attend a 55th high school reunion, or show up at a Woolly Retreat in November,which I will not be able to do this year.

High Tech High TouchAs we age and travel becomes more difficult, I imagine this will become an even more poignant issue, extending even into our fleshly world. There’s promise, yes, in telemedicine, for example. We already meet with our financial planner over Skype. How many of our now daily or weekly interactions will become virtual? The key issue here, the one I think Toffler alluded to, though he may not have named it outright, is isolation.

We are on the map of the future where a cartographer might write in florid typescript, “Here there be dragons.” We just don’t know what the combination of high tech and increasingly low touch world might mean. Isolation is deadly, killing the spirit and ravaging the soul. Will we end up in a technological desert, thirsty for real human interaction, seeing it in the shimmering illusions of social media, but not being able to reach it? If so, what can we do about it?

 

Falling

Lughnasa                                                                     Eclipse Moon

- Nancy Drew, “Morris Louis, 1959″, (96 x 92) acrylic, flock and glitter on canvas, 2002 (This piece was created as an homage to Morris Louis, influenced by his work from 1959) Dana McClure

– Nancy Drew, “Morris Louis, 1959″, (96 x 92) acrylic, flock and glitter on canvas, 2002 (This piece was created as an homage to Morris Louis, influenced by his work from 1959) Dana McClure

The eclipse moon, still in the sky, now three weeks after blotting out the sun at midday, has become a crescent. I just looked up the moon calendar and noticed that the new moon falls on the two days prior to the fall equinox. The beginning of fall on the Great Wheel comes, this year, with the new energy of a rising and waxing moon.

Golden spears have begun to show up among the lodgepole pines on Black Mountain. Fall here announces itself with a subtle show of a single color, gold amongst green. As fall progresses, the subtlety disappears in wide swaths of yellow gold splashed across the mountains as a colorfield artist (Morris Louis, for example) might. Mountains become three dimensional canvases, temporary installations, a visual treat announcing the coming of the white season.

The angle of the sun has changed, it’s lower in the sky now, spreading its considerable energy over wider and wider areas, lowering the amount of warmth we receive over the course of a day. The trees and the birds and the bears and the elk and the mountain lions know this. The elk rut has begun and there are reports of bugling elk with large harems of twenty five cows coming in from many locations. A photograph and video collection on a local facebook group showed two bull moose with their velvet recently scraped off, clacking their wide racks against each other in a marshy area about twenty miles from here.

The Mt. Evans’ road has been closed for two weeks now, not to open again until after Memorial Day, 2018. OpenSnow, a website for skiers, announced the first snow of the season in the Cascades, noting that it should help fight the wildfires burning now in the northwest.

This turning of the Great Wheel brings with it, at least for me, renewed energy, an eagerness to engage the world fully. Heat saps me, makes me want to put on one of those funny hats that has room for two beer cans fitted to plastic hoses for constant cooling sips, sit down, and wait until, well, now.

I’m grateful for this seasonal change, though the growing season has its definite charms, too. It’s just that the temperatures important for plant growth are not so pleasing to me. And, BTW, Kate has pulled off a mountain gardening trick. She has several tomatoes ripening in our single 5 gallon plastic bucket container garden. My Demeter.

Elemental

Lughnasa                                                          Eclipse Moon

Indian Paint Brush

Indian Paint Brush

That was the idea I was reaching for in the post below about the West. Wildfire. Precious Water. Mountains and high plains. Blue sky and fancy clouds. Of course versions of these are everywhere, yes, but here they’re in your face, unavoidable and unmissable companions of daily, even hourly life. Not the wildfire, you say? Live in tornado alley? On a hurricane prone coast? In an earthquake zone? You’re always aware.

Earth, air, fire and water. Not a 70s disco band, but the notes of a changing composition of seasonal change. Right now we’re in the transitional movement between the allegro of the growing season to the andante of harvest, the celebration of senescence. Human activity does become more frenetic during the harvest, a sort of false allegro, but only because the plant world knows winter is coming. You can hear those bass notes as seeds form and disperse, plant stalks brown and wither, green fields become tan or golden.

20170814_172230Up here in the mountains the occasional aspen has begun to turn. The grasses in the mountain meadows have lost their intense green. The angle of the sun has already lessened, casting deeper shadows. Orion is visible in the dark, clear night sky. Moose, elk and deer bucks have begun to drop the velvet on their antlers, preparing for the quickening of the rut. The bears become more brazen as their need for calories, more calories, before hibernation makes them feel an urgency.

Somewhere around us in the Arapaho National Forest, up in the Mt. Evans Wilderness Area, over in Staunton State Park, the fox and the marmot and the fisher and the pika, the Abert squirrel and the red squirrel can feel their coats beginning to thicken. The mountain lions know the seasonal changes in their prey and change their hunting patterns.

lughnasa1The orchestra of life plays this symphony all year as it responds to the conductors spring, summer, fall and winter, each with their own favorite tempo. The elemental nature of the West makes the composition here often raw, sometimes going as far as dissonance during the chinooks, or a dry summer month, during a blizzard, yet it is usually majestic with soaring blue notes and the babbling background music of mountain streams and bugling elk.

Just sit back and enjoy the show.

Here on Sufferance

Lughnasa                                                               Eclipse Moon

20170519_060312Vast, blue sky with puffy white clouds. Jagged mountains and flat plains, forests and wildlife. Wildfire. Snow, rivers, a few lakes. Air, earth, fire and water. The West is so elemental. It’s no wonder that it has enlivened the imagination of those who visit it or read about it, yet is so difficult a place to live. Here the natural world apart from the built world (also natural in its way) dominates. The cities like Denver and Salt Lake City, Cheyenne and Boise, Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix are islands, admittedly big islands, but islands nonetheless, of concentrated human habitat. They disappear around the bend of a mountain pass, or are obscured by arid land with few towns.

It is obvious that we humans are here on sufferance, ravaged by fire, made thirsty by drought in an already arid land, moving slowly even in our cars and trucks across mountain reaches, unable to grow enough to eat. It is, I think, this stark contrast between the wealth and power of human civilization humbled by the land and the sky that makes the west mythic, much like northern Minnesota and Michigan.

The west has begun to seep into my bones, become my home. I live here and have begun to feel it, the place. Still learning, though.

 

Higher Up

Lughnasa                                                                Eclipse Moon

shaggy sheep2Took off yesterday morning about 7:30 am and drove west (or south) on Hwy 285 headed toward Park County, Bailey and Fairplay. I stopped at Grant, a place made visible only by its single, as near as I can tell, business, the Shaggy Sheep. There’s one of those yellow diamond signs just after it with a black silhouette of a bighorn sheep. This is one of several instances of displaced chefs seeking less frenetic lifestyles in the mountains. I mentioned the Badger Creek Cafe in Tetonia, Idaho in my eclipse post. There are others.

The breakfast I had was a deconstructed carnitas hash with green chili and two eggs on top. The deconstructed hash had carnitas laid over cut up chunks of potato, not mixed together as in corned beef hash. It was delicious. While I ate, I read a brand new book by an author from Boulder, Colorado, Megafire. Michael Kodas analyzes the sudden uptick of catastrophic wildfires since the 1970’s and why they’ll keep coming. It pleased me to see that the Shaggy Sheep had opened a second room, meaning they may stay in business, a far from certain conclusion for anything retail up here.

South Park (to the right) from Pennsylvania Mtn.

South Park (to the right) from Pennsylvania Mtn.

After breakfast, I drove on toward the Kenosha Pass, a cut through a huge granitic batholith that forms the western boundary of the Front Range. After the 9,997 foot pass, Hwy. 285 descends sharply, a 7% grade, into South Park. Yes, that South Park. At the top of the pass South Park spreads out below, a wide treeless plain that stretches to another range of mountains beyond. They mark the continental divide. That was where I was headed.

A Fairplay favorite, the Java Moose

A Fairplay favorite, the Java Moose

Fairplay, the county seat of Park County, is a not unusual, for Colorado, meld of old mining town, tourist destination and current mining. A dispute reported in last week’s Flume concerns whether or not to rezone residential plots for mining so a gold mine, yes, a gold mine, can expand its operations.

Those of us hiking up Mt. Pennsylvania met at a Sinclair truck stop on the east side of Fairplay. I went in the car with our two guides and Rich Levine, a member of Beth Evergreen and the lawyer who drew up our new estate documents. On the drive we went past the disputed zoning plat. The gold mine, it’s no longer grizzled old men in long underwear with pans and picks, looked more like an aggregate pit.

Indian Paint Brush

Indian Paint Brush

At the trailhead we began our hike at 11,700 feet through willow, lodgepole pine and a surprising abundance of wildflowers. The trail meandered a bit while traversing another 500 feet up to 12,200. We passed through the krummholz layer, crooked trees, that mark the tree line. Trees right at the tree line are stunted and crooked due to the inhospitable climate. It’s the tree line, after all.

After the krummholz comes tundra, flat and bare except for plants that hug the ground, mat plants, and a few hardy flowers. The air is thin here on Shadow Mountain at 8,800 feet, but 12,200 is thinner yet. It was a struggle to get to the highest point of the hike, requiring breath breaks for most of us; not, however, Tara’s three teenagers who seemed to run with exasperating ease (to this old guy) up the trail. As did Marley, their dog.

A tree island at the krummholz level

A tree island at the krummholz level

Those of us from Beth Evergreen were there because of the research being done on Pennsylvania Mountain. Forty years worth of investigation has been conducted there into alpine bees and some of the plants that they pollinate. Native dandelions, for instance, may be under threat from the expansion of the familiar, but invasive dandelion probably growing in your yard right now. Unfortunately, the scientists had vacated the site, presumably due to the academic year just getting underway, so we were left mostly with the stunning scenery as a benefit.

There was one other gain. The Beth Evergreen pre-school, now a wholly owned subsidiary of the congregation, has as a theme for the year, Bee Alive. It came up in the conversation that Kate and I have beekeeping experience. Rich has started two hives, which he has very cleverly suspended on steel cable high above the ground to foil bears. Otherwise an electric fence, and a strong one, is necessary. Rich invited me over to his house next week for a pre-school staff meeting. Kate and I may end up sharing some of our equipment and knowledge. Should be fun.

A full day. And a good one.

Family Celebration

Midsommar                                                                          Kate’s Moon

Jon has made it through, all the way through, a year plus of divorce drama with court appearances, lawyers, contested final orders. Those final orders, written in November of 2016 and recorded then, have now been in place for over six months. The daily crisis mode has fallen away, replaced by the gradual establishing of new norms. Both Jon and Jen must find a new balance, as must Ruth and Gabe. When kids are involved, you’re not divorced from someone, you’re divorced to them.

To celebrate we all went to Domo. It’s a unique restaurant, one of my favorites in Denver, that focuses on serving dishes typical of rural Japan, especially its mountain prefectures. Below are some pictures.

Waiting for supper

Waiting for supper

20170729_190250

Inside

Inside

20170729_190758

Making Friends

Midsommar                                                            Most Heat Moon

Fourth of July party at Steve and Jamie Bernstein’s. We went to this last year. I knew nobody. Jamie is Kate’s friend from the Bailey Patchworkers and the needleworkers. Since then we’ve become more engaged at Congregation Beth Evergreen, Jamie and Steve are members there, too. They’re both in the kabbalah class I’m taking with Rabbi Jamie Arnold. So this time I knew the hosts, too.

Their home is down a private road, maintained by a resident’s association. It overlooks Pike’s Peak in the distance with many mountain peaks between their home and this famous piece of Colorado history.

Since we showed up very fashionably late, the party was winding down. This meant we had a chance to talk with Steve and Jamie. Their party is big and they are excellent hosts so they move from guest to guest with little chance for in depth conversation. We had a good chat with them, touching on matters Jewish, kabbalistic, Beth Evergreen. I referred to Rabbi Jamie as Jamie and realized I’d been too informal. Gonna have to stick to Rabbi, though it seems over done for me. But, in the Jewish world, the Rabbi is the Rabbi.

Gradually, slowly making friends here. A week from today we’ll attend Marilyn Saltzman’s 70th birthday brunch. Marilyn is the chair of the adult ed committee at Beth Evergreen. We had dinner at her house with Irv and two of their friends a few weeks back.

 

 

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Nov    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Breadcrumbs

Trails