We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

The Heat

Fall                                                                               Healing Moon

climate change vollmanThough I haven’t begun to read them yet, William Vollman’s two volume work: No Immediate Danger and No Good Alternative, the Carbon Ideologies paints a bleak picture. So does the IPCC‘s latest report. I also reported here, quite a while back, about a new movement called dark ecology that, like these three works, takes a dim view of our (that is, the world’s) willingness to execute the necessary carbon emissions restrictions.

Much as I hate to admit it, I believe these darker, more hopeless perspectives about the struggle against climate change might be right. If they are, we may be walking down a path that leads to an HG Wellian Time Machine world with the poor morlocks wandering the face of the earth (think the 99%) and the eloi burrowed into her mantle, using their great wealth and power to survive the heat and climatic chaos.

climate change eloi and morlocksIf we cannot slow down the rate of climate change (which is the most we can do, since so much climate change is already baked in), then we move to mitigation and adaptation. Geoengineering will become a buzz word as various strategies are tried. Climate refugees will become more and more disruptive across the world, especially those moving from coastal areas into interiors and onto higher ground. The already underway shifts in plant and animal eco-systems, climate refugees all, will bring them with different disease vectors, disruption to agriculture and sea life.

dark ecologyWe will not be known for Vietnam, civil rights, feminism, ruining health care, electing fascists to high office, but as the generation that allowed an earth compatible with human populations to slip away. Hard as it is to imagine the results of this inaction will be far, far more damaging than all the wars, holocausts and pogroms. How will we explain this to our grandchildren, to Ruth and Gabe in our instance? I understand the political and economic forces that have gotten us here, but explaining them will not alter the misery.




Still ongoing

Fall                                                                               Harvest Moon

Kate in her birthday chair

Kate in her birthday chair

Not sure what’s happening to Kate post-op. Her hemoglobin has dropped some. She may have bled a bit, though whether the bleeding represents old blood or new seems in question. An important distinction.

She’s down. Makes sense. Since Friday morning she’s had 8 units of blood, had her miserable veins explored too often by needles and IV’s and now a mid-line, a CT, a colonoscopy, a nuclear imaging test for bleeding in the her bowels, an attempted embolization of the bleeding site which failed, then on Sunday, the bowel resection. Too much for anyone. Except to keep them alive. Which is, unfortunately, the situation for her.

I created a caringbridge website for her if you want more updates.

I got my first normal night’s sleep since last Wednesday. That feels good.

Jon’s car blew an engine and he’s having a rebuilt one installed. Means he has no vehicle right now, riding his bike to work. I picked him up yesterday and we went over to the hospital to see Kate. He’s worried about her. In order to get  home in time for a good night’s sleep (achieved) I bought us take out at Katsu Ramen, then took him over to his house on Florence in Aurora.

20181002_110908Had an experience yesterday that opened my eyes a bit to the world of micro-aggressions. Due to all the driving in and out I ate up the miles to my next oil change, but couldn’t get an appointment at Stevinson Toyota, so I went to a Mobile Express  here in Conifer. It’s run by a former Jefferson County Sheriff’s captain. I ponied up keys, said no to synthetic oil, and went over to the chairs along the wall.

The Captain said to a customer who asked how long he’d have to wait, “Sorry. The geriatric crowd is working today. Everybody’s over 50.” Folks laughed. He continued to make slighting comments about his own employees, all in this ageist vein. I wanted to speak up, point out that I was right there, being 71, but exhaustion and a desire not to be seen as a complainer kept my mouth shut. Those of you who know me well know I’m not one to be silenced, yet here I sat, embarrassed by my age, embarrassed that others saw me (us, really) this way. And I stayed quiet.


Let There Be Bytes!

Lughnasa                                                    Waning Summer Moon

electronic-symbols2Weird issue. I couldn’t get an internet connection. At first only on this desktop. Then, the TV I watch during exercise went. And the second computer I have set up. I reset the router, did all the tricks I know from now over 30 years of messing with computers as a semi-literate end user. No joy.

I did have the occasional blip of magical thinking. Perhaps this will just solve itself. That does sometimes happen with electronics. Not this time. I knew it was not the router because the downstairs TV worked as did wifi. I set it aside because it was evening and my brain is not too crisp later in the day. The computer itself had failed to turn on and that was too much.

Got up this morning even earlier than usual, around 5:15, fed the dogs, came up to the loft. What the hell could be going on? I looked at things, unplugged and replugged ethernet cords. Then, I decided to try the light next to my reading chair. It didn’t turn on. Hmmm.

Electrical-Problems-Residents-in-Dallas-Face-Electrician-in-Dallas-TX-1024x768Looking behind the computer I noticed my UPS unit was dark. Now that’s really weird. It’s the backup to my backups. Never supposed to go dark unless there’s a power outage. In that case it has a battery that allows powering things down up to a couple of hours after a power loss.

OK. What about the surge protector? I looked at it, didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but it is below a table in the shade. I might be missing something. I bent down. Nothing. Got my flashlight. Checked that all the plugs were tight. They were.

Wait. Those little green led lights. Are they lit or not? I turned off the flashlight. Nope the surge protector led’s were not lit. What the? Flashlight. Looking around. There, hidden under a lip of plastic was a red button, probably a fuse or a circuit breaker? Anyhow I flipped it. And, voila, let there be bytes! Everything returned to normal. Second computer connected. Yes. TV. Yes.

einstein-einstein-quotesBest guess? A doggy induced power outage. Gertie loves to go underneath my computer table as a shortcut. And, no, I have no idea why. She must have somehow bumped it and tripped the circuit breaker? Really, I have no clue. Occupied a good part of the day yesterday and this morning.

I had a vague sense of panic at being disconnected. Oh, that’s a strange feeling. What will I do? Read? Heaven forfend. I like to read by choice, not by lack of choice. I could have adapted, I’m sure, since I’m of the precomputer revolution era, but I sure didn’t want to.

Which made me wonder if what I’ve gained with all the electronic whizbangs is really a distraction, an electrical haze between me and the world. Probably. At least to some extent. But, then, so is reading. So is spending time at the library. Ink and paper haze. Or, taking care of machines. An oil and gasoline haze. Movies. Television. The issue is not the medium, but the user. Me.


Ancora imparo

Lughnasa                                                                      Waning Summer Moon

January moon at Beth Evergreen

January moon at Beth Evergreen

The full Waning Summer Moon hung just above Black Mountain yesterday, so I watched as it disappeared behind the peak. It surprised me how fast it sank. I watched only for 2, maybe 3 minutes, then it was gone. At its last it was a bright line among the Lodgepole pines marking the rocky contours where it had been. This morning it’s well above the peak, looking much like the earth in the earthrise photographs from the Apollo missions.

The moon and the sun remind us, as do the stars, that we are not only alone on this rock, but alone for millions and millions of miles. At least. That simple fact could bring us together as a species, but it doesn’t. And, frankly, I don’t understand why, since it means that this little spinning piece of debris from the formation of the solar system is our home and any other possible home is way too far away to move to in any numbers. If at all.

curiosity9When we were at the Beth Evergreen teachers’ workshop last week, Tara asked us what we thought we brought to the classroom. “I bring a spirit of inquiry, of curiosity,” I said, then surprised myself by voicing an insight I didn’t realize I’d had, “I’ve always lived the questions, not the answers.” True that.

Sometimes, not often, I wish I could lean into answers, just accept a few, take them as settled law, stare decisis for the soul. But, no. Conclusions in my world are tentative, preliminary, awaiting new information. I think this is what the long ago psychiatrist meant when he said I had a philosophical neurosis. If so, so be it. As a result, I’ve been unendingly curious, never lacking something new to consider, never taking yes for an answer. Or, no.

I’ve modulated my approach so it’s not as acidic, not as relentless since I now realize that most people don’t share my intense, but actually (in my mind) playful attitude toward truth. Playful, I should note, in this age of “fake presidents,” but not stupid.

Ancora imparo.


Sublimation, Primordia and other fundamentals

Lughnasa                                                           Waning Summer Moon

The arid West has many surprises for a flatlander from the humid East. Add in elevation and the surprises multiply. I’ve mentioned the maximum boiling temperature of water which effects tea making and pasta cooking (takes longer). There is, too, the solar snow shovel, the decreased O2.Wet things dry quickly. Water is a constant issue.

sublimateGot a new one. I have a small refrigerator in the loft. I keep water for my workouts in it, an ice wrap for post-workout knee relief, and a tray of Rigel’s canned kangaroo treats. Last week I noticed I’d begun to get some frost buildup in the small freezer. Been a long time, but I remembered defrosting refrigerators. I took everything out, putting the water filtration filter to the side, the carbonated water, the ice pack, and Rigel’s treats. I got a bucket and put it underneath the freezer. Finally, I pulled the cord and left the door open.

I glanced at the bucket later in the day. No water. Well, it was cool. Checked again an hour or so later. No water. Not that cool. So, I opened the freezer to check. The gathered frost was almost gone. Oh. I’d forgotten about sublimation, too, but I was pretty sure that was what I was seeing. Sure enough, there was never any water in the bucket, the frost was gone and I restocked the refrigerator. How ’bout that?

strong and confident after the quilt documentation day

strong and confident after the quilt documentation day

lion's maneFriday, Saturday, Sunday. Kate did well all these days. A little nausea on Sunday, but not the real knock her back sort. It was good to see her up and about. I made her a birthday dinner: ribeye, little potatoes, and Lion’s Mane mushroom. This latter came from a present Jon gave her, essentially a sack filled with sawdust and mushroom spores. She’s been diligently misting it. Sure enough, out popped a white spongy growth, the hippy guy in the fungi perfecti video called them, interestingly, I thought, primordia.

I reached behind the largest one and wrenched it free from the growth medium, took it upstairs and sliced it into steaks. Butter, salt, medium heat. A great complement to the ribeye. Supposed to taste like lobster (not chicken). Kate thought it did. Me, not so much. I liked it though. Kate’s always wanted to get into mushrooms, now we have, thanks to Jon.

Yesterday morning I read through the morning service in the Reconstructionist prayer book. Why? Because it’s the service that the b’nai mitzvah kids have to learn. It’s a powerful work of liturgy, much that is ancient, much that has been reconstructed. I’m going to be working with it a good deal over the next year, so becoming familiar with it seems like part of the job. I’ll write more about it when I get a better understanding, but suffice it to say right now that it sent me into a spiritual place I’ve not been in a while.

See what I did, dad!

See what I did, dad!

Rigel and the deck. Jon left five five-gallon orange plastic buckets, Home Depot with Do It written on the side. They have bricks in them, used bricks he picked up somewhere. I carried them to the deck and put them in front of the deepest tunnels our Rigel had dug in search of voles, or rabbits. Working so far. Not a pretty solution, but a good temporary fix.

Brother Mark is still in Amarillo. He says gringos and Latinos seem to get along well there. Mary has started her school year at the National University of Singapore. Joe and SeoAh are in Hawai’i. He’s working; she’s seeing Oahu for the first time.

Cool here this morning, 40 degrees.

Sorry, dude

Lughnasa                                                                                  Waning Summer Moon



Did the naikan exercise before going to sleep again last night. I like it. It’s a helpful way of summing up the day, gaining perspective. Included among the troubles I caused, driving hubris results in wreck.

Like most of us I consider myself a good driver. No serious accidents, ever. No accident while moving that was my fault, though I did get t-boned once near the University of Minnesota by some guy coming off I-35. He forgot to slow down.

But. Backing up. I hit things from time to time. I’m the poster boy for why a backup camera and screen is a good idea. Our 2011 Rav4, in car electronic years, may as well be back with the horse and buggy. Little computational power overall and no backup camera. It would be good for me to have because when I back up my confidence level increases. Bad thing.

Kate’s got this quilt documentation event today. I mentioned it a few posts down. She is the queen of food which includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, stuff to drink, table service, all that. Yesterday, a good day for her, she went to Costco with Nyla, a friend who lives in Bailey. They bought supplies that had to be taken to the Catholic church that hosts the Bailey Patchworkers. Refrigerated items.

I’m da muscle, yeah. And, I acted like it. All brawn. Kate’s friend, a wizened older woman, whip thin and a face that would put school children in their seat with nothing more than a glance, had driven over to open the church basement so we could store the goods. She parked near the door and sat in her car waiting on us. I decided to backup so we could unload easily.

OK. I hit her. She’s in the car. Talk about embarrassing. “I’m sorry.” I was sorry, but, just like when we tell a kid that saying sorry doesn’t fix what you did, it didn’t. Wouldn’t. Won’t. The damage is minor, perhaps not noticeable if you hadn’t been sitting in the car when the muscle drove into your car. But, it’s there.

Om. Om. Om. Om. The wreck on my car bows to wreck on your car. More om. It was not the first time. Not even the first time with Kate in the car. In fact, as we drove home, I asked Kate, “Will you marry me?” She said, “Huh? I thought we were already married.” “Remember I asked you to marry me the time I backed into that car near the Lagoon Theater?” She pointed out that she didn’t make the connection because I’d done it since the Lagoon, too. Oh, right.

The obvious implication of all this? New car?


in the gopher state

Lughnasa                                            Monsoon Moon

Computer keyboard problems this am in Chamberlain, South Dakota. No joy when I tried to write this morning. Now, I’m able at least to use the laptop keyboard. The ergonomic keyboard crashes all entry methods. Sigh.

Appropriately for Lughnasa I drove through country with corn, beans, and wheat. The contract combines are out scything their way through early Nebraska, South Dakota and Minnesota wheat. Outside Ainsworth, Nebraska I had a rural moment when I started onto Ne. Hwy 49 and it was filled, both lanes, with a combine.

Right now I’m in the very opposite environment, on the 12th floor of the Millennium Hotel on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. I’d have to encounter a big street sweeper or an escaped Zamboni to have a similar experience.

I’m tired. The drive was long. Though I’ve done it many times, my body doesn’t seem to put up with the effort as easily. That’s ok, though. I’m back in Scandinavian inflected country, a place where the plight of each of us counts for something. The architecture here is more familiar. But, I didn’t feel that frisson of oh, I’m back home this time. Instead, I drove into the Welcome Center on I-90 just past the state line and felt like a tourist.

Here there are memories, so many memories. They tumble over each other. The old Chestnut Tree restaurant a couple of blocks from here. The 25 year plan for the year 2000 that I helped guide into existence-in 1975. The IDS which I watched emerge from the ground when I lived in the Mauna Loa apartment buildings across from the old Northwestern Hospital, now gone. Westminster Church and its associations with my work for the Presbytery. Getting married there to Raeone to Handel’s Water Music. And that’s all just in a few blocks from where I sit now, high above my past.

I’ve decided on my brief speech for Groveland. I’ll write out here before I give it.

Gonna go to bed tonight, then get out and start roaming around tomorrow. Probably over to Loring Park, the Sculpture Garden, eat lunch at the Walker. Like old times.

No pics for right now. I forgot to bring the cord that connects my phone to the computer. When I get back.

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.

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


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.




October 2018
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