We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

Wednesday

Spring                                                                             Mountain Moon

dishesYesterday was d-2 of the new dishwasher era. I have now seen the wonderful word, CLEAN, on its external panel twice. And, after checking, it’s true! I believe, barring trouble, that this brings the dishwasher saga to an end. Blessed be.

We’ve had maybe 8 inches of snow over the last week. All gone. As if it it never happened. 62 yesterday. Blue skies, small cotton balls of cumulus drifting over Black Mountain. Another day in the Rockies.

Kate sewed yesterday! This is a big deal and I’m happy for her. She can get her right arm up to 90 degrees though she still can’t use the shoulder for the most part. Coming along though. Her weight is up and so are her spirits. “I’m so happy I did the surgery.” Me, too.

whelmAfter the initial overwhelm (what’s a whelm*, I wonder?), I’ve been surprised by the good feelings that have come from my part in Kate’s recovery. Doing more, enjoying it more. Though. I will be happy when Kate’s back to full functioning.

Qabbalah last night. A lot of talk about sacred time, about creating sacred time, especially referenting Shabbat. What kind of practices move us toward eternal time? Observing Shabbat is one.

Allan talked about creating characters as an actor. He’s just been cast in two plays. The formation of a character and then the expression of the character on stage is a lot of work, a technical and often demanding process, but it’s ephemeral. After the rehearsals are done and the play has closed, the work disappears. I imagine each character leaves some residue, but I take his overall point that immersion in another identity allows for a glimpse of sacred time.

time, creation and expulsion

The Creation of the World and the Expulsion from Paradise   Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena)  1445

*who knew?

verb

archaic literary
verb: whelm; 3rd person present: whelms; past tense: whelmed; past participle: whelmed; gerund or present participle: whelming
  1. 1.
    engulf, submerge, or bury (someone or something).
    “a swimmer whelmed in a raging storm”
    • flow or heap up abundantly.
      “the brook whelmed up from its source”

noun

archaic literary
noun: whelm; plural noun: whelms
  1. 1.
    an act or instance of flowing or heaping up abundantly; a surge.
    “the whelm of the tide”

Out and Back Again

Spring                                                                       Mountain Moon

20180422_182925Earth Day. Thanks, Gaylord Nelson. Gabe’s birthday, too. 10 this year. He got a fidget spinner, an infinity box and a red envelope with money, $10 for each year. This year Earth Day is also Kate’s one month mark after surgery. She’s on an upswing in many ways, weight, pain, nausea.20180422_173735

We were at Domo again, the rural Japanese restaurant that was one of Zagat’s five best Japanese restaurants in the U.S. in 2007.

Quite awhile ago I told Ruth that I liked restaurants that transported me to another culture or offered a very different experience than my day to day life. She remembered and asked me last night if Domo was one of those. “Yes. Definitely.”

20180422_174528In addition to having an Akido studio that is one of the oldest in the country, Domo has a museum of rural Japanese objects, many related to farming or carpentry. They also have art hung in many spots, but in an unobtrusive, organic way. It’s located in an older, warehouse looking building in what is now a rapidly growing part of Denver. A brand new apartment building is under construction right next to it.

It’s not surprising, then, that there is a disclaimer on the door that reads, “No. We are not closing. Domo has no intention or plans for closing. We look forward to serving you in the future.” Both Domo and the equally unique Buckhorn, which is about three blocks further south on the same street, have been enveloped by Denver’s hot housing market and its drive for non-vehicular transportation. The Buckhorn, liquor license #1 in the City of Denver, sits in the curve of a rapid transit station and shares with Domo new housing starts, mostly apartments, all around it. The old city, Buffalo Bill Cody ate at the Buckhorn, and the new smooshing together.

20180422_174540It’s been an unusual weekend visually with the suspended bee hives and the elk Saturday, the 4/20 celebration at Happy Camper on Friday and Domo yesterday. There is, too, of course, always the mountains. When we drive down the hill into Denver, we leave them behind for a bit, decanting ourselves onto the terminus of the great plains, still high at 5,280 feet, but flat all the same. Last night when we came home, a mountain in the distance toward Evergreen was a flat, pastel teal with pink ribbons of clouds behind it. Only Cezanne could have done it justice.

Black Mountain

Black Mountain

We go into Denver less and less, remaining in the mountains unless family or medical matters call us. On occasion we do visit jazz clubs, go to a movie, head into a museum, but not often. As a result, each time we drive into the city, I feel a little more strange, a little more estranged from the (relatively) crowded streets, the hurry, the built environment. When we turn west, which from Denver means headed toward the Front Range, I get the same feeling of peace now that I used to get when I turned north on a trip and headed back toward Minnesota.

We can return home three different ways, each offering a different sort of return to the mountains. The most dramatic is to take I-70 to Evergreen. After passing through the first foothills and getting up the rise, the snow-covered (now) continental divide appears in the distance, the sort of mountain scenery that is post-card worthy. We can also turn off 470 and head through the small touristy mountain town of Morrison, up past the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater and onto a windy road with rocky cliffs and Bear Creek tumbling alongside. The most common way home is up Hwy. 285 which enters the foothills through a dynamited opening in the hogback. 285 winds in largely gentle curves up to Conifer. All three take us home by gradually reintroducing us to elevation and the rocky, fir covered slopes where the great plains come to end.

Mountain Scenes

Spring                                                                    Mountain Moon

On the way over to Rich’s (see post below), I saw these gals lounging around in front yards.

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This morning, looking east on Black Mountain Drive.

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Hiving

Spring                                                                        Mountain Moon

The Levine hive suspension method

The Levine hive suspension method

Drove over to Rich Levine’s in Evergreen, up on Alpine drive. I took with me two hive boxes, twenty filled out frames, a half bee suit and a veil, smoker, pellets, bee brush, and a hive tool. Rich carried the hive boxes and frames up to his deck cum study where his bees live on a wire.

We hived a three-pound box of bees into one of my old hive boxes. This involves spraying down around 10,000 bees with sugar water, removing the tin can that has fed them on their trip from the bee supplier, in this case all the way from the Western Slope, and easing the queen cage out. Once the queen cage was out, we removed a small cork in the end of the tiny wooden container and replaced it with a marshmallow. This allows the workers and queen to eat away at the marshmallow, releasing her gradually and hopefully encouraging the colony to accept her. They may not and if they don’t they’ll kill her. If they do, your hive is queen right.

Queen cage

Queen cage

After putting the marshmallow in the queen cage, we removed four frames from the middle of the hive box, turned the box over so the space for the can faced down toward the hive floor and whacked the can. Since it was chilly and since we’d sprayed them liberally with sugar water, the workers fell into the bottom of the hive. I took my hive tool and spread them around on the bottom. They’re a squirming, moving mass, whirring. With the workers in the base of the hive, the other four frames return to the hive box and the queen cage is placed between two of the frames, marshmallow end down.

BEES 3 poiund package

Since there are no flowers or other blossoms out right now, the colony must be fed sugar water until they can find something to eat. Rich purchase a feeding system new to me. It involves four holes cut into a hive box cover, just the right size for four mason jars put in them upside down. Punch a few holes in the lid, fill the jar with sugar water, invert.

The fifteen or so people there, many of whom would take a hive box and a three-pound box of bees home and repeat the hiving process there, watched with both fascination and a bit of trepidation. Afterward we had lunch, hotdogs, hamburgers, veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs. Rich is a vegetarian.

I left a little early. I’ve become part of Beth Evergreen’s community at the synagogue, but I’m still nascent as part of the community outside of it. At first I thought it meant something negative, the feeling of being an outsider; but, I realized no, it was only a part of the process of coming to belong there, too. I’m an introvert and cast as the expert so being with so many strangers, I knew only four people, and looked to for answers wore me out. Normal, really.

 

Homey

Spring                                                                        Mountain Moon

the political side

the political side

Played domestic goddess yesterday. Wash dishes. Make taco meat. Three loads of laundry. Feed dogs twice. Make supper. Pick up. Take out the trash this morning. The duties of an ordinary housewife of the 1950’s, coupled with raising the kids, would have been physically and mentally exhausting. No wonder they wanted to go to work. It’s easier.

Whole process getting simpler, better understood, flowing with the tao of the moment which is nurture and be nurtured.

We went to see Jackie yesterday at Aspen Roots. Better coiffed now. I’m enjoying the well groomed look. It’s all persona. Cut the hair. Let it grow. Trim the beard. Let it flow. Just different. Since this look is less counter cultural, I feel it less. It’s a way of hiding in plain sight.

Cleaned up

Cleaned up

Decided a few days ago that I’d stick, for now, to my resistance workouts and some modest cardio before and after them. That’s three days a week, leaving me four days to do house work or take care of other matters. It’s better because I’m not feeling short changed on those days I usually do my longer and high intensity cardio. I’m good at getting back to the routine after I’ve changed it, so it’s only a matter of time.

Today is a workout day but before that I’m going to fold laundry and wash my bee suit. Hiving some bees on Saturday morning for Beth Evergreen and I want to look spiffy. Part of the well-coiffed thing, I guess. Can’t find my hive tool or my full body bee suit. Gotta be here somewhere, but I can’t find them.

Kabbalah tonight. More on time.

housework_thumbWhich brings me back to housework. Housework, in its earthy, basic realm, is a microcosm of the Great Wheel. It’s a cycle that never finishes, food must be bought and cooked, trash discarded, dishes cleaned. Then again and again and again. Likewise clothing gets soiled and must be washed, folded, put away. Toilets and counters and floors and windows get dirty, then cleaned, then dirty, then cleaned. It’s a great wheel because it relates to the true life needs of us all and is, as a result, repetitive, but powerful.

 

Old Man of the Mountain

Spring                                                                              Mountain (New) Moon

Filling the Rav4 with gas, Legault Mountain behind me

Filling the Rav4 with gas, Legault Mountain behind me

Today the new shoulder moon sets. Since I name the moons each month, either using a traditional name or one I’ve created, I sometimes use them to remind me of something over the course of the month. Without melancholy this time I’ve come to an additional revelation, a sudden insight into who I am here in Colorado. Sorta obvious, but I’m a mountain man, a man of the mountains.

Song dynasty

Song dynasty

However. I’ve been reading a lot of the mountain poetry of China, a very old tradition extending from the Eastern Jin Dynasty into the present. The Eastern Jin Dynasty began in 317 A.C.E. T’ao Ch’ien (365-427) began writing poetry about his mountain life.

I’d long felt these mountains and lakes

Calling, and wouldn’t have thought twice,

But my family and friends couldn’t bear

Living apart…

After Mulberry-Bramble Liu’s Poem, T’ao Ch’ien

I just ordered more books of Chinese mountain poetry and I’m going to start looking for more poetry about mountains. If you know any, I’ll appreciate the reference. Not just poetry though. I’m also looking through my books of Chinese art, especially the (many) paintings that feature mountains, often scholars and poets by streams or in mountain huts. I want to learn from these how to use sumi-e to paint mountains. Lots of them here to serve as subjects and they politely remain in their pose. There are also many paintings in the Hudson School tradition: Bierstadt, Cole, Church, e.g.

Cotopaxi, Frederic Edwin Church

Cotopaxi, Frederic Edwin Church

Too, I’m fascinated by the geology and orogeny of the Rockies. How did they get here? Where are they going? How do they compare to other mountain ranges?

And, even more obvious. Get out there, dude. No use repairing the knee if you don’t use it to wander in the mountains. To be my kinda pagan you need to immerse yourself in the local, the around you. It’s not only the soil, the animals, the plants, the trails, the streams and lakes though they are essential. It is too the human deposit of art about the place to which you’ve become native. Science, too. Also, if you can, adding to the expressive vocabulary that art shares with the world.

So, this is the Mountain Moon and I’m under it, nourishing another new turn in my attention.

 

 

Photo Journal

Spring                                                                         New Shoulder Moon

A few pictures from the last week

In, appropriately enough, Elk Meadow Park:

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The next day, at Robbins Air Force Base, deep in the heart of Georgia, Joseph becomes a major:

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And, finally, a couple of my favorites from my continuing sumi-e adventures:

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Not At My Best

Spring                                                                   New Shoulder Moon

caregiverCare giving is tough. In just a week I’ve become a bit fragile emotionally. It’s a combination of Kate’s recovery, which focuses her, naturally, on herself, and the amount of physical labor (astonishing) and the amount of emotional labor on my part. None of this is a surprise. By that I mean things aren’t worse than I imagined, nor are they terrible.

But. I got to feeling underappreciated. And said so. I needed to say that for my own sanity, so that I wouldn’t let resentment build, but when I did say it I felt guilty immediately. How could I feel underappreciated when Kate had this recovery to deal with? Didn’t matter. It was how I felt and after I let it out, in a not very helpful way, I might add, things softened up. I was no longer carrying it and Kate had a chance to deal with what I was dealing with.

More intimacy as a result. Clumsy, yes. Poorly managed, yes. Important, yes.

I’m writing this because care giving is something we all do from time to time, and face more of in the third phase. It’s not a straight shot of empathy and compassion. It’s a muddled mess of self-congratulation, compassion, distraction, love, and sorrow.

SEP020660

I said, and meant, that I don’t mind the extra work. In fact, as I wrote earlier, it is exhilarating. Still is. I’m learning new skills, reinforcing old ones, and caring for Kate. Thing is, it’s a new, difficult role and requires learning, shuffling old priorities, picking up new ones. That kind of learning is fraught under the best circumstances, new job, new marriage, even vacation; but, well worth it.

Finding the tao of healing and caregiving is not impossible, but there are many ways it can go sideways. Trying to tap into that now.

09 11 10_Joseph_0264 (2)A very sweet part of it all. Joseph just called, wanted to know how bad it was, whether he and SeoAh should come up right now. No, it’s not that bad. Could SeoAh come up for a week? I’d come, he said, but I’m running an exercise right now. If it’s real bad, I’ll be there, help out with the daily ins and outs. Cue tears. I’d love for her to come, I said. It would be a real help.

Family. As it’s supposed to work. So the web of caring maybe is another curvature, like the one I talked about below.

Yesterday in Pictures

Spring                                                               New Shoulder Moon

20180327_145202

Looking north from Happy Camper, Mt. Evans

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dogs who lunch

dogs who lunch

dogs who lunch

dogs who lunch

dogs who lunch

dogs who lunch

apres snow, Monday

apres snow, Monday

view from loft balcony

view from loft balcony

Suspended

Spring                                                               New Shoulder Moon

Still not home. I went over yesterday after lunch only to find Kate struggling to eat a bite of a bacon sandwich. She couldn’t keep that down, water either. Extremely unpleasant for her. Kate hates nausea.

ok, maybe not this quiet, but still...

ok, maybe not this quiet, but still…

When I went in yesterday, the busy M-F buzz of the hospitals had disappeared. There were fewer cars in the parking lot, a guard at the concierge desk, the Ortho small cafe closed. Nobody bustling about guiding patients, taking preop folks back, people with canes or walkers stayed at home. On the third floor, patient rooms, only a scattering of folks remained, three that I counted on Kate’s wing.

It’s disconcerting to have Kate in a place that feels emptied of its vitality, just when she’s having trouble. Being in a hospital over a weekend is not something you choose.

Meanwhile, after a full Sunday of lying around stoned, looking pretty damned unpleasant, Gertie’s tail wags furiously (normal) and she ate. Back to normal after a trip to the late ’60’s. Kep sniffs Kate’s side of the bed.

20180323_075536_001On Thursday, the day of Kate’s surgery, I left Rigel and Gertie outside while I was at Ortho Colorado. Staying outside that long, several hours, is unusual for them. When I let Rigel inside, she ran to the couch, jumped up on it, jumped in the air a couple of times, then flopped down into her usual position. Ah.

(Rigel yesterday hunting for voles.)

I hope Kate comes home today. Having her in the hospital, uncomfortable, makes this whole process feel suspended. When she’s home, I know her shoulder will be recovering, right now its her system adjusting to the insults of surgery. Not where we wanted to be right now, but what is.

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Breadcrumbs

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