We all walk ancientrails. Welcome to the journey.

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.

Food and Animals

Lughnasa                                                                   Waning Summer Moon

Bailey Patchworker chief foodie buying supplies

Bailey Patchworker chief foodie buying supplies

Yesterday was a big day. Kate did an “…awesome job on the food.” I heard this from the Bailey Patchworkers lead, a woman with a great and commanding presence. (the IW breed standard). To do this she got there around 8 am and didn’t leave until 3 pm. She was still in good shape, considering the amount of time she’d spent on her feet and in charge of the kitchen. They sang happy birthday to her, too. She did take a 45 minute nap in the very car I binged on Friday.

20180818_082613Gabe went with us, helping to carry stuff. On the way back from Baily we stopped for “cow watch.” We try to see the cows feeding on the grass in a mountain meadow about half way down Shadow Mountain Drive. They were out and close to the fence so Gabe and I got out for a look. He wanted to go pet them, but wouldn’t brave the tall grass to get close enough to the fence.

Meanwhile, back on Black Mountain Drive, Rigel the wonder dog, was busy. Ever since she dug for, caught and ate a vole last year she has resumed her predator ways. I’ve found shallow holes, often more like trenches, in many spots in the yard. She spends a lot of time with her head under the shed. But yesterday she out did herself.

Her are a few pictures of her exciting adventures ruining our back deck.

With Vega dead, Gertie steps in to help

With Vega dead, Gertie steps in to help

I'll huff and I'll puff

I’ll huff and I’ll puff

Considering next options

Considering next options

Jon picked up Gabe at noon, after a 30-45 minute delay for a pro-bicycle race that had a leg along Hwy. 73. Gabe came up last Sunday. He starts school this Monday, so he’s gone down the hill. Ruth didn’t come up yesterday with Jon because she was with a friend, Eva, watching softball. The pulling away begins.

Fear and Honor

Lughnasa                                                                 Monsoon Moon

After a swim, from September, 2015

After a swim. September, 2015

Yesterday and today are about reentering mountain world. Tired yesterday, probably today, too, from the journey. The electric panel needed a gentle push to return power to the eastern wall of Kate’s sewing room. E-mails needed to be sent back to the auld home, thank yous and follow ups. Pushed Superior Wolf out the door to an agent, the biggest toe I put back in the world of daily life, save one.

The biggest. Mussar Vaad Practice (MVP) group last night. I have three clusters of commitments in Colorado: family/home, Beth Evergreen and the Sierra Club, my writing. The time last night with the MVP was a return to the world of Beth Evergreen. Both Kate and I had significant matters to share.

The practice this last month focused on bitachon, trust. We placed bitachon on a continuum with trust at one end and fear on the other. I chose to concentrate on fear, specifically the fear that has held me back for almost thirty years, fear of submitting my work for publication. While on the Durango trip, I read an essay about setting a rejection goal and, as I said before, I set 100 rejections as my goal for the year. Pushing that article together with my commitment to practice facing my fear resulted in my first organized and disciplined approach to submitting my work.

Aboard the lucky dragon

Aboard the lucky dragon

In group last night I admitted/confessed/shared the results. Each rejection I’ve received, two so far, hurt, made me ashamed of my Self in such a deep way that I can’t describe it. Like the grief I experienced at the MIA last week the shame in this instance came unexpected. Why shame?

At one point last night I buried my head in my hands to emphasize both that searing feeling from the rejections and the less searing, but still real, shame of not facing this fear before now. After I talked, I didn’t disappear, melt down like the Wicked Witch of the East. No one ran out of the room, too disgusted to still talk to me. In fact, the reception of my experience was careful and kind. As I like to think I would be to someone sharing something similar.

Now, in the way of these things, the angst drained out by exposure, I imagine submitting work will become a routine matter. These dates, this agent, that magazine, following up. Writing more work. Continuing the work of writing.

20180725_171404

At the ICE protest. July, 2018

Kate shared an even more profound realization. While it’s really hers to share more publicly, I can report that after she spoke, her confidence level rose and I could hear, see a lighter Kate. Both of us helped ourselves change our own lives. That’s a powerful result for an hour and a half.

Kate remarked that kavod*, honor, is not only person to person, but can be applied to a community. We both regard Beth Evergreen with great respect. That’s the character virtue, soul trait, for next month.

My practice is seeing the holy soul. At the meeting I said my practice would be seeing the holy soul in others, but on reflection, I want to see it also in myself and in animals and plants. This broadening of the practice came when I realized last night that I have a gift for seeing the holy soul of dogs. I relate to all dogs as if they were presenting their most sacred self. I see cows and horses, mule deer and elk the same way, though with much less experience. And, can I treat my own holy soul, my own most sacred self as respectfully as I treat that of others. This last may be the key challenge for the month. We’ll see.

Rigel, being beautiful, July, 2018

Rigel, being beautiful. July, 2018

The term meaning honor and respect is very important in any society, but even more so in Middle Eastern societies. The English word “respect” means “look back (again), regard”; honor means “regard with great respect, dignity.” The Hebrew kavod is related to kaved, meaning “heavy.”* Indeed, until not long ago, the heavier a person was, the more respectable he or she was, for rich people could afford to eat whatever they wished, whereas poor people were undernourished, eating very little and looking light, unimportant. A related word is kibbud, meaning “honoring (parents, teachers)”; as well as “(serving the guests) refreshment” (thus showing them respect).

*Also related to kaved “liver,” the bodily organ assumed to be the source of dignity, just as the heart is the source of emotions and intellect.Jewish Journal

Building a Self

Lughnasa                                                                           Monsoon Moon

The basilica, Minneapolis. From my hotel room.

The basilica, Minneapolis. From my hotel room.

Morning, Black Mountain out the loft window, cool air, dry. Home. Made supper last night. Pork cutlets, tomato, onion, cucumber salad, hash browns from left over tater tots. Put the dogs to bed. Fed and pilled the dogs a half hour ago. Took out the trash and retrieved the Denver Post from the newspaper tube. Sitting down at my desktop, ergonomic keyboard under my finger tips. Checked the calendar for the week and month ahead, plenty to do. Reinserted into mountain life. On the daily level it’s as if I never left. The stuff I do.

But. There’s now the 2018 trip to Minnesota. The one where I went to every place I ever lived in the Twin Cities metro. The one where I saw Tom, Mark, Bill. The one where Mark had his no good, terrible, very bad week. The one where I spoke at Groveland for their Covenanting Community celebration. The one where I discovered a profound grief about art, Asian art in particular. The one where I went into a funky basement room and listened to jazz. You remember. That one.

JazzCentral, Minneapolis

JazzCentral, Minneapolis

This slow accreting of memories is the essence of building a self. The same 4-year old boy who flinched when the dragon in the apartment building on Lincoln called for more coal has been collecting these moments for over 67 years. Throughout, of course, the strange fact of never leaving the present, never able to go back to any of those moments, yet holding them in reserve, as clues available right now about living.

Our Self is the internal agglomeration of that particular, that ultimately particular, set of memories, but not as static moments. No, they are the data we use to respond, to grow, to cry, to laugh, to plan, to hope, to learn what it means not only to be human, but to be the unique human that we are.

Have to go create a new breakfast memory. Gertie says so.

 

 

Home(s)

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.

 

 

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/

 

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

 

Oh, say can you see…

Summer                                                                    Monsoon Moon

20180722_061438

A Mountain Summer

Summer                                                                         Monsoon Moon

Coming back up 285 from visiting Dr. Gidday yesterday there was one of those temporary l.e.d. signs with orange cones around it. It read: High Bear Activity. Secure trash and lock cars. It was just after the big overhead l.e.d. sign saying fire ban in Jefferson County. Its usual message is: Watch for Wildlife and Falling Rocks. Summer in Colorado. In our now three and a half years here this is the first time I’ve seen the High Bear Activity sign. Those redlined fire danger signs are stuck at Very High, one notch below extreme.

Red sky in the morning. That's my weather station in the lower left.

Red sky in the morning. That’s my weather station in the lower left.

Dawn tints

Dawn tints

 

Different sort of cougars up here from the ‘burbs

Summer                                                            New (Super) Moon

Guy near us posted this photo from last night. Reminder. Wild, wild life here.

mountain lion july 12 2018

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