We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

And life goes on, in endless song

Samain                                                                  Bare Aspen Moon

hebrewFinished chapter 1 in the Hebrew text, about half way through chapter 2. My plan is to keep working on the chapters until I’ve finished. The Hebrew class itself is a bit chaotic, lots of great information, but they’re teaching Aleph and Bet, beginners and next level, together. I’m out to sea at least part of the time. OK. Most of the time. Still, I can now recognize shabbat in Hebrew and pronounce five letters. Slooooowwww. Next class with Joann Greenberg at 4:30. Two weeks ago Bill and Tom were here for the class.

Nut, similar to this

Nut, similar to this

We hung some art in the guest room. Two batik pieces that Mary brought us from
Bali and an image on papyrus of Nut that I bought on the sidewalk outside the British Museum. Kate’s thinking a gray blue for the guest room. She’s beginning to get her interior designer on.

More Jennie’s Dead. Last two scenes were in Selma, Alabama and Denver. High intensity cardio yesterday, slow and long today. New workout tomorrow.

Centurylink comes today to install our new 60 Mbps service. This one requires some work between the box and the house, then a new modem, plus some inside changes at the jack, too. Faster is better and it’s much stronger wifi. That’s good because I bought the grandkids a tv for Hanukkah and it will get its reception with a Roku stick inserted into its USB port.

20171027_161725Kate and I have begun an ongoing effort to help her manage the fatigue which Sjogren’s, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcopenia and reduced available oxygen cause her. We have to be smarter about what mix of activities she does and what ones I do, yet we can’t set up a situation where she becomes housebound. Not good. A delicate balance. Right now we’re looking at the week ahead and trying to imagine how the week will challenge her, then planning for that. A transition to a new phase of life for us.





Samain                                                                        Joe and SeoAh Moon

hebrewI’m taking Hebrew. It’s hard. For me. Even after several years of studying Latin I only achieved a modest level of proficiency. Can I learn a language? Yes, I proved that to myself with Latin study with Greg Membrez. Is it really %$!&ing hard? Oh, yeah. So, is it worth it? Again. Oh, yeah.

Why? Well, in the instance of Latin it allowed me to peek behind the curtain of translation, see the alchemy that has to occur when converting something written in one language into another. It also allowed me, and this was my primary goal, to embed the stories in Ovid’s Metamorphoses deeply into my psyche. As I grappled with Latin and translated the stories of Medea, Lycaon, Baucus and Philemon, Diana and Actaeon, I learned Ovid’s version of these myths word by word, conjugation by conjugation.

Studying Hebrew is different in purpose for me, but one thing remains constant. I want to challenge my capacity to learn, to move outside my comfort zone. And, I’m well outside my comfort zone here. So what’s the point? Well, as I continue to immerse myself in mussar, a Jewish system of thought for character development and kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, and attend shabbat services and holiday services, I encounter lots and lots of Hebrew.

kabbalah2Studying the language and, right now, its alphabet, will allow me to recognize Hebrew words, not having them blur together as odd squiggles and shapes. This is the level at which I’m learning right now. I already recognize many Hebrew words in transliteration: chesed=loving kindness, ohr=light, hochmah=understanding, keter=crown and many others, but I would not recognize these words when written using the Hebrew alphabet. That’s a first step.

A second step will be to peek past the curtain of translation, though in admittedly modest ways. Because much of the focus of adult Hebrew instruction is for reading the prayer book and from the Torah scrolls, the first emphasis is on pronunciation, but even in those instances there will be a certain amount of learning about how translators of Hebrew into English tend to think. This loops especially back to the kabbalists who, it turns out, were very influential in shaping the Jewish ritual tradition.



December 2017
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