Living

Imbolc and the waning crescent of the Shadow Mountain Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Jen. Who called my attention to a lapse in judgement. King Sooper. Who will load my groceries this morning. Tony’s where I’ll get the pork schnitzel. The crescent moon above Black Mountain. The Storm Glass Ruth got me for Hanukah. Jon home from the hospital.

I reported something here said to someone else about yet another person. That was a lapse in judgement and I apologize to Jen for that.

Past the seventy-three marker and heading into another Aquarian year. Might be a good time to get my chart read again. Sorta put all that away after an initial burst of interest. Maybe an annual thing? Like an oil change and vehicle inspection? Time has slipped by, following the trails of Maxwell Creek, Upper Bear Creek, Cub Creek. Running toward the sea of souls.

In another liminal space, a large one this time. After Gertie. After Murdoch. As the wounds heal. Quieter, solemn. Rigel and Kep both subdued, following us, I suppose. No plans. One day in front of the other.

Even Trump seems far away, perhaps only an orange smudge floating out over the Atlantic. Our little family so dispersed. Atomic. Held together by the weak nuclear force. Yet, held together.

The two feet of snow melted in the warm days. Our roof not as layered. Our driveway almost clear. Another round coming, maybe today and tomorrow. Colorado.

This space between, a sacred place, a holy place. Happening on our mountain top. In the Rockies, in the West, in Colorado. The Midwest a humid memory. We’ll see what comes. Living. That’s it right now. Living.

And, A Day After That

Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: The snow. The three-quarter moon in the clouds. Quiet. Jon and the kids coming up Sunday. Sleep. Still. Rigel and Kep. Kate’s repaired fingers. Tony’s Market. The steer that gave its life for our meal last night. My cast iron skillet. Seoah. A clean house thanks to her.

This is the fourth snowiest start to a February since records have been kept in Colorado. That’s saying something. The snow on our roof is layered like one of the upthrust shelves of basalt or granite, each layer a different snowfall. The snowbank in front where Ted pushes snow is up above the first branches of our aspen. In back the snow has covered the clapper on the Arcosanti bell that Kate bought in Arizona. It’s our dog memorial bell. Each time it rings we think of our departed animals. We’re thinking of Gertie now anyhow.

My grief for Gertie came spilling out over the last week plus. Now that she’s dead I remember her with fondness. Not many tears. A gap though. Only two dog bowls to fill at feeding time. No more pills. Her collar hangs on the lamp next to my computer. She was a loft dog. Those sweet kisses.

The house does have a quieter, less bustling feel. Subdued Rigel and Kep. New routines taking their shape. With Seoah, Kate, and me healing from dog bites, we’ve got reminders of the crazy weeks just past. Quiet is good.

No joy yet on a home for Murdoch. Lots of information to process. No good leads. Not sure where this is headed.

Then, there’s the coronavirus. News to most. Not to my family. Singapore has the most cases outside of China and has reported cases that seem to have originated there. They’ve moved to public health threat level Orange. The next level is Red where everyone would work from home. Joe’s on a military base there, like college dorms a hotspot if an infection occurs. So far he and Mary are both fine.

Mary sent me a picture this morning of her local grocery store. The shelves are bare. Spooky.

As has been true since its emergence from slime or sea vent, life goes on after death, in spite of troubles, doing what life does. Sobering and hopeful.

The Day After

Imbolc and the Full Shadow Mountain Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Sleep, much needed sleep. Resolution for Gertie. A peaceful house. No doggy conflict, no tension. Another six inches of snow. Pho with Seoah yesterday. Murdoch’s happiness at seeing Seoah and me. The kindness of the staff at Bergen Bark Inn. Another heart to heart with Kate. Our life together. My healing. Orchid, beautiful and white, from Tom and Roxann.

The day after. Gertie is at peace. Murdoch in the kennel. For the first time in our married life we have only two dogs, Rigel and Kep. The house is quieter. Peaceful. Gertie is no longer suffering on her bed in the living room. Murdoch is no longer here, creating a constant possibility of violence. It feels, good.

Not glad Gertie is dead, but very glad her suffering and pain has ended. We couldn’t control it and that tore at Kate and me.

On Tuesday night last week Gertie still had enough will power to go outside to pee. She came in through the downstairs door and I decided to lift her up into the bed with us for the night. She slept between us for the whole night. At about 3 AM she woke up giving me lots of kisses. She kept at it for a long time. It was unusual. Now I imagine she was saying good-bye, letting me know how much she loved me. I will treasure that memory forever.

Yesterday lack of sleep and grief had me. Both battered my sense of self. Why did you let Gertie suffer? Why did you bring Murdoch into the house? Why did Kate marry me? Why am I such a screw up? Went down into that place we can all go, that dark place where our fears, our anxieties wait to trap us, hold us hostage.

Again, Kate came out, sat in my chair while I perched on the ottoman. We talked. In the way only those long together, long in love, bonded, can. She saw me. And in her seeing me I saw myself again. She challenged how I saw myself. And, then, so did I. Oh. The grief. The exhaustion. The last two years. Oh. Yeah.

Our talk allowed me to feel the peacefulness, the quiet in the house and to take some of that and put in my heart. The needle probe withdrew from my psyche.

This morning I fed two dogs. Went out for the paper. Not here. Snow always deters this delivery person from her rounds. Made coffee. Shoveled a path to the loft stairs. Came up here and wrote.

Final note. You might be interested to know that it was difficult for me, missing two days last week. Writing Ancientrails is part of my morning meditation, a freeing of my heart, a way to stay connected with a wide community of friends and family. So important. Glad to be back at it.

Family

Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon (full)

Monday gratefuls: A heart to heart with Kate. Seoah’s compassion. Gabe’s, “Getting over Gertie’s death is going to be hard.” Gertie, still with us. Murdoch, in doggy juvie. A full moon lighting the lodgepoles. 2 feet of fresh white snow. Family. So grateful for all of us.

Kate gave Ruth the title, Honorary Doggy ICU Nurse. Ruth hit on crushing the oxy and delivering it to Gertie in sugar water. She also slept the night on the couch next to Gertie, getting up every so often to clean Gertie, move her around. She also brushed Kepler, who’s blown his coat again. Probably anxiety coupled with the warm spell last week.

Her current passion is baking. She made me a white cake with pink frosting. It was moist, sweet. Ruth shoveled the back decks, too. I appreciated it since I threw my back out last Tuesday carrying Gertie outside to pee.

Gabe brought down a quilt and a soft pillow for Gertie. He and Ruth have known Gertie their whole lives. Gertie is 12, Ruth 13, and Gabe 11. Her dying is hard for them in a way I can’t imagine.

I do know that in spite of Gertie’s suffering their opportunity to be with her for two days and nights was important for them. It was true family with many tears, many laughs, consoling of each other.

Seoah has taken the role of night nurse after Ruth went home. We’re downstairs and can’t hear Gertie over the sounds of our oxygen concentrators. We get up during the night and go see her, but we don’t hear her when she starts to cry. Seoah does. And, she comes down to comfort her.

Ruth told me that Seoah would make a great mother. And, she would. I told Seoah and she shyly thanked me. I hope she and Joe have a child. They want one.

Down the hill with Ruth and Gabe, taking them back to Jon. I suggested to him that he take another rest day and I’d take them home. Jon’s feeling better, not well, but better.

On the way home I stopped at the New York Deli and bought Kate two quarts of their chicken noodle soup (CNS). I got a grilled ruben and Seoah wanted a sandwich that would never have occurred to me, a tuna blt. Which she reported, was wonderful. Well…

Our house has a snow roof about 18 inches over the solar panels and shingles. The lodgepoles lost most of their snow in the winds Saturday and Sunday. They sent clouds of snow falling into the forest. At any one moment Black Mountain had several isolated pockets of fresh falling snow as the wind danced among the pines. It is quiet and mountain beautiful here.

Today we plan to take Gertie to the vet for euthanasia. In this case I can understand why, wish I’d seen it as necessary earlier. But, I didn’t. Later in the day Seoah and I are going to Bergen Bark Inn to visit Murdoch. Seoah wants to talk to them about boarding Murdoch for the whole 10 months. Wow.

Thursday and Friday

Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Kate’s surgeon. Her healing fingers. Ruth’s help. Seoah’s help. Joe from Singapore. His help. Jeffco snowplowers. Getting back to the loft. Murdoch in the kennel. Gertie’s pain managed right now. Ted for two pushes yesterday. Jon felt comfortable asking me for help.

As far as I can remember, even when traveling, I’ve never gone more than a day without a post. Let me give you a rough idea of why it happened this time.

Wednesday night Gertie started moaning in pain. SeoAh got up, then got us up. We’re downstairs and can’t hear her very well. Me, not at all. We were all up with here for an hour plus, giving her water, lying with her. She’s on her dog bed in the living room. Comfortable in that way, but the cancer pain came on stronger than we anticipated.

Thursday morning instead of coming up here to write, I went back to bed and slept in until 8:30. Kate’s iPad was in the shop in Denver and finished. I went in right then to get it since we both wanted to attend a potluck at CBE for the artist in residence, Ruth Gendler.

Was hungry so I stopped at Swift’s breakfast place on Santa Fe. Great joint. Formica table tops. Orange. Lots of men my age eating breakfast, many solo, but a group right behind me reminded me of the Woollies in their table conversation. Booths. Two seaters and four seaters extending in a long, narrow room.

My eggs, crisp bacon, American fries, and French toast went down like a gourmet meal. While I ate, I read the NYT about the impeachment trial. Waitresses with plates of pancakes, eggs, waffles sometimes three to an arm, moved between the two rows of booths. My kinda joint. Much like Pappy’s back in Andover.

After the meal, I hobbled back to the car. Threw my back out carrying Gertie outside on Wednesday. Seat heater on high my back felt caressed and I drove the three blocks over to 8th to the Apple repair place. As I pulled into a parking space right in front of it, I got a call from a strange number. I answered.

“Charlie, you have come home. Katie got bit.” It was Seoah. It was about 10 am. I talked to Kate. Kate had let Kepler inside while Murdoch, unbeknownst to her was in the living room. The door to the sewing room was open and he charged in to meet Kepler. A fight ensued in which two of Kate’s fingertips, her right middle finger and the between it and her little finger, got chewed off. “I need to go the E.R.” she said.

I got Kate’s iPad and headed back up the mountain. The roads were clear and I went fast, making the drive in 32 minutes. Kate had the fingertips on ice, had stopped the bleeding by squeezing her fingers, and sat calmly in a chair in the sewing room, right next to where it happened. Seoah got bit, too. A finger and her leg.

Gertie got some water and another pain med (oxycontin), then we took off for the Swedish E.R. once again. Kate went away with an E.R. nurse, so I took Seoah to a Rocky Mountain Urgent Care not far away from Swedish. With finding Seoah’s insurance (a military one, Tricare) and her time with a doctor, we were there until 2:30 pm.

A nurse liaison from Swedish had texted me, wondering where I was. I told her I was with Seoah. Kate was about go into surgery. Oh. Well. I’ll be there when I finish up with Seoah.

Back to Swedish to the Surgery waiting room on the third floor. Knew right where it was. Kate’s surgery lasted for almost three hours. At 5 pm, due to an imminent snow storm approaching the mountains and a house full of dogs that were hungry, plus Gertie with no pain meds, I decided to leave before the surgery finished. Kate would be in recovery for at least an hour if not more and even then not be very aware.

On the way home I spoke to the surgeon. “The fingertips were too shredded. I closed the fingers up.” I asked about her dexterity. “She should have full functionality, even for sewing and quilting.” He paused, went on, “I’m worried about those dogs you have. Somebody else could hurt. Even children.” Yes, I said, I know. We’re concerned about them, too.

By the time we reached Conifer the snow had begun. Once we reached home Rigel and Kep went on into the snow. Gertie moaned in pain. I was feeling guilty about insistence on not euthanizing her. I condemned her to this. Exhausted from the day my emotional reserves fell short. Hard to get back to a stable place. Crying. Feeling guilty. Seoah comforted me.

After Gertie quieted down, I fed Rigel and Kepler while Seoah let Murdoch out through the downstairs. What to do about the dogs? This was on Seoah’s mind and mine.

I fell asleep, not knowing or hearing Gertie’s moans. Seoah got up with her. Kep got me up around 5 or so. We’d already had over 6 inches by that time. How could I help Gertie? How was Kate? I hadn’t talked to her the night before. What were we going to do about Murdoch? How were Seoah’s bites? A lot of stuff swirling around.

Two immediate matters were Murdoch and Gertie. Seoah and I agreed that Murdoch needed to go to a kennel. That would lower the temperature level by a lot, not having to worry about a fifth (!) fight. Called Bergen Bark Inn where we boarded our dogs several different times. Yes, they could take and Akita, even one who’d been aggressive. It might cost extra if he couldn’t be out with the other dogs. Told Seoah. She said, just money. You and Katie be happy, safe.

This decision made me feel bad, since I’d wanted to give Seoah and Joe a peaceful and happy time in Singapore. Not to be. Felt like I was letting them down.

Gertie. I tried to find out what a maximum dose of oxy was for her. Got no help. Grrr. Decided finally to give her two more full tabs. That would eventually quiet her. At one point I had eight in my hand. End it now. I would have done it, but Kate wanted me to know the lethal dose and nobody would tell me. So I went with the two.

Around 9 Seoah and I drove in what was already a big snow storm to Evergreen. We took Murdoch in to the chalet like office of Bergen Bark Inn. I felt sad. He was so happy, bouncy. The staff there were great. They remembered Vega, Rigel, Gertie, and Kepler, so they understood the doggy context.

One of the staff told me about the Evergreen Animal Protective League. They don’t have a shelter, just find new homes or foster homes for animals. I got a phone number. It would be ideal of course to find somebody up here in the Evergreen/Conifer area to take Murdoch. That will be today.

On the way home my sadness shifted to relief. Seoah, too. Hard for her, but she said, Katie more important. Yes. I agreed.

Back home the two oxy’s had soothed Gertie and she rested. In talking with Kate I learned she would come home in the afternoon. Still snowing, another 6 inches or so. 12 by noon or so.

I went to bed for a nap around 12:30. While I napped, I got a text from Jon. Could I come over to Aurora and pick up Ruth and Gabe? He was really sick. Sure. I said.

Still snowing. Around 2 I left for Aurora. On the way down I went full Minnesotan, driving smoothly past the Coloradans with, oh, no, snow! on their minds, driving 40 mile an hour or less in the right lane. Precipitation hits their panic button. Especially snow. Weird, but true.

On the way down 285 northbound looked like a parking lot all the way to Morrison. Two jackknifed semis plus CDOT closed I-70 between Golden and the Eisenhower tunnel. Everybody coming home to Evergreen or Idaho Springs would have to detour up 285. Oh, joy.

Down though, was slick thanks to the hesitancy of folks with insufficient snowy road experience. Made it to Aurora around 3. The snow slowed way down once I passed through the hogbacks and went under Co 470. Picked up Ruth and Gabe on Florence and drove back to Swedish to pick up Kate. A nurse brought her down, we loaded her up, two gauzy fingers, and hit the road back for Conifer.

Once the semi’s cleared, 285 traffic moved. Slowly, but we made it up to Brook’s Tavern about 5 pm or so. Not bad. Had dinner there. By the time we made it back to Shadow Mountain almost 18 inches of snow had fallen.

This morning Ruth’s asleep on the couch, Gabe’s on the futon in the guest room, Seoah’s in the guest room. Murdoch’s in his kennel. Gertie was quiet. I’m feeling better rested and less labile. Kate’s still asleep. More yet do do, but taking Murdoch to the kennel opened up some breathing room for us all.

And that’s what I was doing the last two days.

Surfin’

Imbolc and the Shadow Mountain Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Ted, who plowed our driveway early. The snow. Temps below zero. Almost a Minnesota June afternoon. Delicious meal last night, SeoAh. (Spring onions, enoki mushrooms, eggplant and thinly sliced, fried beef.) Not having to watch Murdoch. A weird short TV series about teens and Norwegian myth: Ragnarok.

When I picked up SeoAh at DIA on Sunday, it was 74. This morning we have over 6 inches of fresh snow and the temp is -2 on Shadow Mountain.

When I sit on the bench with Kate, hugging her, my heart leaps. Yes, she’s bony, her s-shaped spine protrudes and her ribs are palpable, but she’s over a hundred pounds now. She moves with much less effort and her pencil is still sharp for crosswords.

We’ve come to a new place, an appreciation for the fragility of our bodies tempered by the constancy of our love. Two years in we smile and laugh a lot. We plan for the future. Enjoy meals together. Care for the dogs together.

The snow comes down and its beauty is sweet. The occasional deer and elk in our yard are thank you gifts from the mountain spirits. Our house is bright and cheerful. We live in the Rockies and on Shadow Mountain.

Murdoch has proved a pain in the elbow and wrist, but his eagerness, his teen dog energy, his love, like Kepler, of the snow makes him a joy, too. Everything is polyvalent.

Before she left Singapore for Colorado, SeoAh told Joe she was going home. “Your home is here,” he said. “No,” she said, “I have two homes. One here and one in Colorado.” She will come back at least three more times for a month. She is our daughter.

Here’s the takeaway. No matter the challenges our perspective on them is up to us. We can become drowned in a sea of troubles, resenting misfortune, or we can learn how to surf.

This Rumi poem is a gift from Paul Strickland:


Love Dogs by Rumi

One night a man was crying Allah! Allah!

His lips grew sweet with praising, until a cynic said, “So! I’ve heard you calling out, but have you ever gotten any response?”


The man had no answer to that. He quit praying and fell into a
confused sleep. He dreamed he saw Khidr, the guide of souls,in a
thick, green foliage.


“Why did you stop praising?”

“Because I’ve never heard anything
back.”


“This longing you express is the return message.”
The grief you cry out from draws you toward union.
Your pure sadness that wants help is the secret cup.

Listen to the moan of a dog for its master. That whining is the
connection.


There are love dogs no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them.



400 episodes down, 50 or so to go

Winter and the Future Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Kate. Always Kate. The last quarter Future Moon with Mars. Mars. Kim Stanley Robinson and his excellent trilogy: Red, Green, Blue Mars. New hips. Old hips. Brother Mark and the others who teach ESL around the globe. Sushi Win. Evergreen. Shadow Mountain again.

Kate took me out last night to Sushi Win. A thank you dinner after a tough week. Appreciated. Better rested this am. Not fully back, but a long nap yesterday morning helped. By tomorrow or Monday.

The winds were howling, bending the lodgepoles, testing their carefully evolved capacity to withstand the winds without breaking. The aspen, with no leaves, just let the air move through their branches.

Big winds mean changing weather and it’s much cooler here today, 12 this morning. Though. Friend Tom Crane said it was -2 yesterday on the shores of The lake. Snow coming, enough to cover the gopher holes. Conifer doesn’t measure up to Minnesota winter standards except in snow totals. Much, much more snow here. But it goes away. Solar snow shovel.

What do the animals do during the big winds? Hunker down, I suppose. Wind chill affects them, too, though not as much as us hairless apes. Kep seemed unfazed by it, running around outside last night for some time after we got back from Sushi Win.

I’m on the 50th episode of the 5th season of Resurrection: Ertugrul. Yes, it has soapy operatic threads and I enjoy them, too. Will Ibilge ever find a place in Ertugrul’s heart? Etrugrul’s wiliness, Bamsi’s double swords, Turgut’s ax, the battles. I like those, too. The narrative speed varies between fast and slow. Fast when battles or chases or rug weaving or eleventh century medicine dominates, slow when Islamic scholars or imams explain, say, the various names of Allah.

A narrative from the perspective of Islam privileges how Islam works positively in the lives of Turks. I find this fascinating and it’s what’s really glued me to this series. Resurrection weaves Islam together with Turkic tribal traditions and creates a rule bound world where duty and tribal loyalty supersede all.

Some of it makes me squirm, but that’s good. The unquestioned greatness of Allah in matters of war, family, love, justice gives the characters strength and confidence. The main characters share this worldview. The plot gains tension from the firmness of their beliefs.

In an episode yesterday Ertugrul and his Kayi alps (Turkic tribal soldiers, fierce warriors) rode into Sogut, a town and bazaar that Ertugrul established. He and his alps had conquered Sogut and the land around it in battle after a proclamation of Sultan Aladdin identified it as their territory. The Kayi tribes blue and white flag had hung everywhere Sogut.

Another tribe, the Umuroğlu, get Sogut from an ally, Mongol field commander. They put up their yellow flags and take down all the Kayi flags. A Turkic tribal tradition, however, privileges lands taken by the sword over those gained through political means. This means Ertugrul and the Kayis own Sogut.

When Ertugrul takes all of the Umuroğlu flags down, a swords out, lots of glaring battle ensues. Ertugrul admits his actions may cause trouble for everybody, but he’s defending his honor, defined by tradition.

Not for everybody I know, but it has fascinated me since October. Getting close to the end. But. Showing on Turkish TV now is Resurrection: Osman. Fortunately for my time, this is its first year and it won’t be on Netflix until the full season is over. Only one season to watch instead of 5.

Downsize?

Winter and the Future Moon

Monday gratefuls: Ruth and Jon skiing. Gabe peeling potatoes. Kate getting Murdoch upstairs. The picker at King Sooper. Having Sunday free of workout. Cleaning off my table. Organizing and preserving my paintings. Kate paying the bills. Ruth. Murdoch.

My paintings. Whoa. Like my novels and my blog. I’ve done, I don’t know, twenty/thirty paintings since I began. A few end up in the trash because I can’t bear to look at them. A few are standing out so I can look at them, review what I like about them, don’t like. The rest I put between buffered paper and/or cardboard sheets yesterday. Not sure what I’ll do with them. My novels exist in printed form in file boxes and in their revisions on my computer.

Two million words of Ancientrails rest on Kate’s old medical school desk, two thousand plus pages printed out with the wrong margins for binding. Sigh. Going to a bookbinder for an estimate and to be told how or if, if I decide to, I should layout the page for printing myself. Might give them a memory stick with all on it. Or, that might be too expensive. We’ll see.

Gabe stayed here yesterday while Ruth and Jon went to A-basin. I asked Gabe to tell me one interesting thing he’d done last week. I haven’t done much. I did see movies. Oh? Which ones? Lots of them on the Disney Channel.

Clever folks, Disney. They priced their channel, at $6.99 a month, so a kid with an allowance might choose to purchase their own subscription. Both Ruth and Gabe have a subscription.

Stirring inside. Declutter, simplify. Downsize. Example. When we moved, I kept every file I made for my docent work at the MIA. Why? Wanted to keep art as central to my life as it was when I was there. Tried several different things, none worked. And, having the files hasn’t helped either. Out they go. I also want to clean up the filing system (?) in the horizontal file which will mean throwing out yet more files.

The bigger, harder question? What about the books? Is it time to downsize my library? I’m considering it.

Doubt it will stop my book buying. That’s a lifelong habit started, I think, with those book lists from the Scholastic Reader (something like that). Sheets with books, descriptions, and modest prices. We could pay for them at school, then they would come at some other point. Sorta like e-commerce. Oh, how I looked forward to the arrival of those books. I read them quickly, too. I graduated to buying comics and paperbacks at the Newsstand downtown.

My first serious kick was all the James Bond books. I bought them one or two at a time with my paper route money. Lots of others, too. I was also reading books from the Carnegie library, too.

Got into the habit of buying books that interested me, books that followed other books I’d read. Buying books. College was hard in that I passed by the bookstore every day in the Student Union. If I went in, I’d always come out with a book or two.

Later, bookstores. Joseph had been in most of the good book stores in the Twin Cities before he hit first grade. And, finally, Amazon. Oh, right here in my own loft. On my computer. What a great deal.

Over 60+ years I’ve bought a lot of books. My interests have waxed and waned, but the books purchased during my enthusiasms remain. A few: Celtic mythology, fairy tales, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, magic, Jungian thought. An ur religion focused on the natural world, not scripture. Literature of all sorts. Plays. Theology. Poetry. U.S. history. the Civil War. Art. Lake Superior. Latin and the classics. Religion.

Getting rid of them feels like betraying my curiosity. I might finish that book on the Tarot. That commentary on the Inferno? Maybe next year? What about that ecological history of Lake Superior? The work on reconstructing, reimagining faith?

Still, it feels like time to begin paring down. Will take a while. And be hard.

For each of the tags listed here, I have a small or large collection of books.

A Certain Woolly Center of Gravity

Winter and the Future Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Snow, at night. Stefan and Lonnie in Colorado. Having plenty of leftovers. Hugs. Tears. This whole miracle the world. Life. Death. All of it. Again, still the mountains. This nation, tested as it is. This nation, for what it still is. This nation, for what it still can be. My heart which fills up, then flows over.

Three clean, sparkly, sweet smelling dogs: Gertie, Rigel, Murdoch. Gotta love it. Do this more often. Kep on Monday.

Kate went into her sewing room! Yeah! She fixed my gray, alpaca wool scarf. It got damaged in the Akita mixed-martial arts match two weeks ago. Lots of holes.

This scarf was born along the west coast of Latin America as Kate sat on our deck chair, viewing the wide Pacific. She made it for me because, as you go further south below the equator, it gets colder. I had it on when we sailed through the Chilean fjords, a remarkable one-hundred and twenty mile long stretch of mostly uninhabited islands, glacial bays. I had it on when we sailed into Ushuaia, the southern most town on the continent, and, in the world. Around Cape Horn. On the Falkland Islands. Now when I go get the newspaper. Or the groceries.

The dogs. With Murdoch added to the mix they require some Tetris like shuffling all day long. Where Kep is, Murdoch cannot be. And, vice versa. When Gertie is out, Kep cannot be. And, vice versa. Lots of intercom calls between upstairs and downstairs. What’s the disposition of the dogs? Where’s Kepler? I’d like to let Murdoch out. And so on until the moment when Murdoch and Rigel go up the stairs to the guest aka dog room for the night.

The payoff. A happy Joe and SeoAh, knowing Murdoch is safe and loved. Murdoch here with his puppy bounce and energy. Lots of kisses and wriggles and smiles. Life in the house with our life. Full. Good. Tiring.

Was gonna go see Stefan and Lonnie today in Avon, near Vail, but the weather out that way was nasty. No need to do that to myself. Gonna try again Friday. Stefan had a hip replacement at Steadman Orthopedics and is recovering at the Westin Spa and Resort. Why not?

There’s a certain Woolly center of gravity gathering energy here in Colorado. Paul’s daughter Kate and her husband, Michael, moved to Boulder. Scott’s son and daughter are both in Colorado: Pagosa Springs and Carbondale. Warren and Frank both have relatives out here. Tom’s visited several times. Mark and Bill and Paul have come out, too. Lonnie and Stefan come to Colorado regularly, this time for a new hip.

Finished my ninth page of Daf Yomi. As I read, I keep thinking of the 60’s, what a long, strange trip it’s been. Gonna keep at it. It’s alternately boring, fussy, and poignant. At some point I’ll do a post about what I’m learning.