Enough

Imbolc and the waning Megillah Moon

Friday gratefuls: Kate. Rigel. Kepler. Fresh snow. Vaccines. Sleep. Books. This computer. Dexterity. Psalms. Rabbi Jamie. His buddy, Justin. 45 gone. 46 at work. Lisa Murkowski’s vote in the Senate energy and natural resources committee for Haaland.

Sparks of Joy: Bright Sun on white Snow. The letter A. The Mountains.

What a long, strange trip it’s been. The Dead’s second compilation album and the title for life over the last four plus years. How I love the stable, unexciting presidency of Joe Biden. He’s pushing a stimulus for a wounded nation. He has police reform and a voting rights bill moving through the House on their way to the Senate. And, he’s putting together an infrastructure bill. Go, Joe.

Taking 45’s chaos off the table, reducing the news to policy analysis, political odds, the normal functioning of our democracy has lifted that everyday burden. Even a golden calf simulacrum of 45 can be laughed at, an oh my god moment. Head shaking, yes, but the burn of such a statue aloed by electoral defeat.

I’ve never been proud to be a Democrat because my politics fall on the left side of its consensus. But I’m close to pride now. Working on the pandemic, unemployment, protecting the vote, changing the field for policing, building a national policy to refit our nation. Put a minimum wage, a wealth and a carbon tax. Put teeth behind our rejoining of the Paris Accord and I’m gonna fly a blue flag over the blue lights we already have.

Who is this Ron Johnson anyhow? Send him back to Wausau or Shiocton or Baraboo. This last Wisconsin town has a circus museum. He could be an exhibit there, with the other clowns. Or, maybe he could go to the cranberry bogs around Tomah. Get a wooden paddle and earn his living as a harvester. Anything but an obstructionist asshole asking for the whole bill to be read, 628 pages.

I’m 74. The days of youth long gone. I no longer expect a fair world, but I hope for a just one. I no longer expect a peaceful world, but I hope for a stable one. I no longer believe in a three-story universe, but I love this actual one, even more mysterious.

Give me my Tolkien, my Psalms, my Oxford English Dictionary. And, faeries. Give me my family, my ancient friends, this amazing life. Give me the Mountains and the Snow and the bright Sun and blue Sky. This is enough. Always has been.

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Yesterday’s Politics and Today’s

Imbolc and the quarter waning Megillah Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Getting sleep back. Kate’s full bore on the feeding tube nutrition. Snow. Gray sky over Black Mountain. Flowers from Tom, especially the Star Gazer lilies. Flight. The Air Force. Major Joe. Jon and his new insights.

Sparks of Joy: Writing poetry again. Email from Ode. Living in the Mountains.

Glad my friends turned me on to Heather Cox Richardson. Her daily newsletter of political analysis digests what’s important. If you’re interested, you can find her on Substack.

Today she’s talking about yesterday’s politics, as in Texas and Mississippi governor’s eliminating their mask mandates and the Texas governor accusing Biden of unleashing Covid bearing immigrants on Texas, and forward looking politics as in Biden’s initiatives declaring domestic policy and foreign policy inextricable intertwined: climate change, vaccinating against the pandemic, promoting democracy with soft power. She’s right. I hope.

She points out, as do articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times, that March 4th has special significance for the Q-anon crowd. Why? Because it was the original inauguration day. However, after 7 states seceded from the Union after Lincoln’s election in 1860 and before March 4th, the date got moved up. Q-anon apparently believes that, like the second coming, Trump will magically become president today. As if. But still. What?

Kate’s folded all the laundry, paid the bills, and has put us on lists for the vaccine. She’s also pushing the higher calorie feeding and is up to 82 pounds. May it continue. And, her spirits remain good. Which is amazing considering the various insults her body takes every day. Go, Kate.

Meanwhile I have an appointment with a pulmonologist next Tuesday. Dr. Thompson wasn’t sure about my diagnosis of COPD and felt I needed a specialist’s exam. Actually looking forward to the visit. Want to be sure I’m managing whatever lung problem I have in the optimum way.

A tough week for me this week. No exercise. Various stuff. I don’t feel good when I don’t exercise. I’m also habitual about it. Which sounds like a good thing, yeah? Well, it is, but if I get thrown off my days and times, it also means I tend to wait until I can get back to the usual days. Making up exercise is very difficult for me as a result.

In other, very undramatic news, I decided to end the tyranny of our many varied containers for storing left-overs. I purchased a Rubber-maid set and a set of 8 oz. round containers. Finished washing them last night and will replace all of our old containers with these new ones.

Part of the impetus for this was the need to freeze soups and things I make in smaller quantities. That way, when we unfreeze them, we’re not thawing more than we need. Makes sense, no?

 

As the weather shifts, I’m thinking about various projects. Getting the house siding stained. That five foot ignition free zone around the house. A new flower bed. Changing out the various air vents on the outside of the house to prevent embers from getting inside. Finding a new water treatment person.

Spring comes late in the mountains. March is our snowiest month. The spring forecast from Weather5280 insider doesn’t look good though. We may go into the drier summer months with less snowpack and recharge for our aquifers. This means the Arapaho National Forest will be stressed. Not a good thing for forest fires.

See you tomorrow.

Posted in Aging, Coronavirus, Dogs, Family, Friends, Health, Mountains, Painting, Politics, Shadow Mountain, Third Phase, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment

O Sullen God

Late Wednesday. My Psalm of healing. For Friday’s class

 

A Psalm. A Prayer. A Theology.

 

O sullen divinity of my youth

You took away my legs

O silent god you made me lie down,

Unable to walk. You imprisoned me.

Lord of theft you stole my mother,

Left us without her. Crying without hope.

The abyss swallowed me.

 

And you let me disappear, fade away.

A blanket held in the depth’s chill.

I shuddered, unable to throw it off.

No joy. No walking with others. I stood alone

Trickster god, wielder of sacred bewilderment.

You had me. Oh. You had me.

 

And, I knew you not.

 

After the fallow time had drained the world.

That spring rhizomes, corms, bulbs and tubers awoke.

Shook off winter cold and threw green up, up, up.

Up toward the sky. Crowned it in colors so bright.

Purple crocus, yellow crocus, Grape hyacinth.

Stories of joy. Time to play!

 

The bees flew in and the bees flew out,

Out to the flowers, into the hive. Out to the flowers.

That ground hog high in the tree. The turtle on pilgrimage.

The dogs. Always. Barking, running, bowing, chasing.

 

On the garden bed: purpled beets, white onions, green leeks.

Curved beans, firm tomatoes, potatoes, carrots.

Soil clinging to them. The womb.

How could I not hear the sacred music? Take part.

Twirling as a dervish, ecstasy and freedom. Dance.

 

And you, silent god, still I knew you not.

 

But the one crowned with flowery garlands,

Tasting of sweet food made in the honeycomb,

This god, fried in my skillet and served with eggs,

Not silent. Not dark. But sacred, yes. Divine.

Posted in Commentary on Religion, Judaism, Kabbalah, Poetry, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant. | Leave a comment

The Other World. My True Home.

Imbolc and the waning Megillah Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Easy Entrees. Kate on the vaccine hunt. Vaccines. Covid. Diane. Mary. Mark. Changing Kate’s bandage. Psalms. Poetry. Writing. Leaning into Kate’s changes. The Sun. The Blue. Black Mountain. Shadow Mountain. The road. The Creeks.

Sparks of Joy: Kep eager to eat. Rigel throwing herself on the bed, back next to mine. Vaccines and the vaccinated.

 

Forgot this. So back at it today, Wednesday. Gratefuls and joys will stand.

Kate had a better day yesterday.

I told her I don’t know what to say when folks ask me how she’s doing. “She’s holding her own,” she replied. There you have it. True.

We spent a long time talking about death. It’s our turn, soon enough. What do we want? How will we live if the other dies first? What do we need in that case? We’re not finished with the conversation. Perhaps we never will be.

Next to me right now I have a stack of books. No surprise. On the bottom of the stack is my yellow Westminster commentary on the Psalms. A gift from Bethlehem-Stewart Presbyterian church where I interned for a year. Above it is Emerson’s Etudes by Cavill. Above Cavill is the Murmuring Deep by Avivah Zornberg, a brilliant Jewish commentator on the Torah. Above that, the Tanakh. On the Tanakh, the Viking Spirit, a new book on Norse Mythology, and a very good one.

I mention them to illustrate what keeps pulling me back in, what is never far from my consciousness. The Other World. That place where the human mind goes when it tires, grieves, no longer knows any answers. Or, when it feels buoyant and joyful. A place that can seem hidden and faraway. At other times so close.

Next to these books are two small collections I purchased recently. Both of JRR Tolkien’s work. One is familiar: The Hobbit. The Fellowship of the Ring. The Two Towers. The Return of the King. The other less so: The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Farmer Giles of Ham, Smith of Wooton Manor, and Roverandom.

See what I mean? My heart swings toward the fantastic, the religious, stories of the sacred, of gods and men and women and boys and kings and faeries. Where I live when not doing other things like cooking and taking the trash out.

Guess I’m not gonna get on with adulthood. Too late. Somehow though. I’m glad.

These places are not escape for me. That Other World gives us all, has given me, so much. What justice is and why it’s important. What love and loyalty and duty are and why they matter. What adventure and risk and danger offer. How humans transform into creatures and creatures into angels.

They even explain 45 and all his bullshit. Why he’s so unimportant, yet so damned troublesome. Think Sauron. The one ring. There will always be a Bilbo and a Gandalf, a Frodo and a Samson. A Joshua and Jesus. A Thor and an Odin. So much more than the darkness that always threatens to engulf us.

In my own way I write about and inhabit that Other World as much as possible. Not because of its metaphysics, not because of its promise about what we cannot see. No, not that. But because of its impact on the heart, my heart and yours.

Posted in Family, Health, Literature, Myth and Story, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Writing | Leave a comment

Half the Sky

Imbolc and the waning Megillah Moon

Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Friends: Paul, Tom, Mark, Bill. Women. Diane, Mary, Kate. Marilyn. Tara. Eve. Sarah. Anne. BJ. Women’s History Month. Chili. The writers for Billions. And, Vincenzo Cassano, Sisyphus. The golden age of television. Covid. Covid relief bill.

Sparks of Joy: Dr. Thompson. Rigel snuggling. Vaccines.

Women’s History Month. Starts today. Women hold up half the sky. Mao. Without women there would be no humans to hold up any portion of the heavens. At all. Glad to know this month exists. A lot we don’t know. Read The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner. 1986, but still explosive.

Hard to imagine today, but a central issue of the student revolution of the early 1960’s involved the doctrine of in loco parentis. A college or university would act in the place of parents. But, only for women students. Sexually segregated dorms, curfews, clothing restrictions. Got rid of that one at Ball State.

So much. Women expected to take all the responsibility for the consequences of sexual activity. Whether it was a reasonable decision or not, I took this seriously at the age of 26 and had a vasectomy. It did not seem then, nor does it now, that only one partner bore responsibility for reproduction.

As a direct result of that decision, Joseph entered my life, so for me it was a resounding success. I did try to have the vasectomy reversed, my first time ever in the hospital after polio. And, it worked. Sort of. My little guys were not very energetic. It had been 7 years of r&r and I guess they didn’t see any point in going back to the hard work of swimming all the way to the goal.

So many fronts. Child rearing. Domestic chores. Glass ceilings. Internalization of the oppressor. Domestic violence. STD’s. Unwanted pregnancy. Ratio of men to women in so many professions, workplaces. Or, in lower paid jobs, women to men.

The work far from done. The U.S. still has not had a female President. The Denver Post reported yesterday that the number of women on corporate boards in Colorado has moved toward the national average. Not far enough.

I see hope in our granddaughter, Ruth. Smart, politically aware, no bullshit. Yet, knows how to sew, cook. Women have come much further than men in this ongoing revolution. We males have so much work to do.

Generation Z, Ruth’s generation, has come of age in 45’s despicable term in office. They’ve seen the patriarchy in its unapologetic form. At its ugliest. Will they remember? I believe so. The country almost took a turn, may still, toward a crude reversion to male dominance. Reactionary politics, MAGA, always include returning to an era of privilege. For men. For white men in the U.S. For those who believe only a special minority can rule, should rule.

Every male heart needs close examination, by men. Especially those of us lucky enough to be born white. We need to peer into the dark recesses of our assumptions about women, about people of color, and put them aside, forcefully. I do not believe we can purge them, that is become pure feminists or anti-racists, but we can know them and choose not to act on them. We can do that.

Posted in Family, Myth and Story, Original Relation, Politics, US History, World History | Leave a comment

80

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Chili. Chex mix. Rigel’s head on my pillow. Kate. 80 pounds. Vaccines. Covid. 46 at work. AOC. Ilhan Omar. CBE Purim spiel.

Sparks of Joy: The almost full Megillah Moon shining over Black Mountain this morning. The cold. Getting things done downstairs.

 

Kate after election day 2016

 

Kate has had a tough, tough week. Her weight is down. 80 pounds. She’s a bit wobbly. Which is more of a concern than that might convey. She had severe neck pain yesterday and last night. Eating is hard.

We did see Dr. Thompson on Friday. She’s a keeper. Kate’s situation, which has complications along with the complications, has her concerned and hard at work. She’s found a nurse case manager for Kate and a dietician who handles feeding tubes.

She also feels Kate may do better in a University health care system where all the docs are in one place and get together to consider her needs, form a unified plan. This would involve a switch in insurance plans. Don’t know whether that’s even possible at this point in the year.

Dr. Thompson plans to consult with the head of New West Physicians to see if exceptions can be made, either in the way New West cares for Kate or in our insurance so she can move to the University of Colorado health care system.

Dr. Thompson believes malnutrition is the chief problem right now. Again, I agree. It’s not possible for other things to calm down if the body doesn’t have enough nutrition.

A lot.

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Boo. It’s Haman. Boo.

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Dr. Thompson. Kate. Always Kate. The Karma, her wheelchair. Psalm’s class. Kabbalah Experience. Earth. Animacy. Flying through space, yet with friends. Perseverance. Mars. The asteroid belt. Rockets. Satellites. Math.

Sparks of Joy: Odin. Ecstasy. The Moon.

 

 

What’s a megillah? A scroll. The third division of the Tanakh, the ketuvim, the Writings, has five books: Lamentations, Esther, Ruth, Song of Solomon, and Ecclesiastes, that are read from scrolls during certain Jewish holidays.

The scroll of Esther is read aloud on the holiday of Purim, which ended yesterday. Purim celebrates the story of Esther. Esther has risen to Queen of Persia through the advice of her guardian, Mordecai. The King, though, does not know she is of the Jewish minority in his kingdom.

Haman, the grand vizier, announces a campaign to rid Persia of Jews. Mordecai encourages Esther to reveal her ethnicity and foil Haman. She does this. Haman and his compatriots pay for their hubris and the Jewish community in Persia survives.

The first Purim I attended at Congregation Beth Evergreen the President of the congregation carried cases of beer and bottles of wine into the sanctuary. What?

Purim shares elements of medieval Christmas revelries, especially its Lord of Misrule. Conventions get upended. Drinking more than usual and during a worship service, for example. Folks dress in costume and often laughter, even derisive laughter accompanies the worship.

The whole megillah means reading the entire scroll out loud. On Purim that means Esther and it is read from a handwritten scroll, though often truncated. Whenever the evil grand vizier’s name, Haman, occurs, the congregation shouts, laughs, cranks on groggers, mechanical noisemakers. It’s fun.

Another part of Purim is the Purim spiel. A member of the congregation writes an entire play, always a musical at Beth Evergreen. In it is a retelling of the Purim story, but also moments that make fun of synagogue leadership. The Lord of Misrule idea.

I’m including a link to this year’s Purim spiel at Congregation Beth Evergreen. My buddy, Alan Rubin, his daughter Francesca, and his wife, Cheri play prominent roles.

The megillah of Esther is the only book in the Tanakh which doesn’t mention God. And, it’s a story of Jewish liberation from persecution. As such, over the centuries it has given hope to Jewish communities, almost always a minority of the nations within which they found themselves.

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Psalm for a Wednesday

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Friday gratefuls: No lupron. Good PSA’s. Dog warmth, cold night. Kate and her sisters. Pickup at Safeway. Bright Snow. Lodgepoles. Black Mountain. Bunch Grass. Wild Rugosa. Mushrooms. Friends, old and new. Covid. Purim today.

Sparks of Joy: Vaccines. Purim shpiels. Dr. Thompson.

 

 

The Days Are Gods.

(attr. Ralph Waldo Emerson)

 

A Psalm for Mittwoch

 

Woden. Odin. Ooinn, Master of Ecstasy. How do you fill our mittwoch?

Ecstasy. Fill our poetry with heat, intensify our lives.

Days swelling with your power. Ours, too. Our days. Oh. Ooinn.

Never quit us. Never again hang from the great tree, never again die for knowing.

Ecstasy. Learning flames within our hearts in your honor.

Shaman, seer. Poet, warrior. See with the empty socket. Let me.

Dance with Mimir who slaked your thirst. And took your eye.

And water the great tree Yggdrasil with your blood

You, Odin. One-eye. Trickster. Seeker of knowledge. On this, your day, we let you in to quicken our lives.

 

yggdrasil

 

This was gonna be my megillah post, but I’m going to have to do that tomorrow. I needed the time this morning for my assignment for Psalm’s class. We had to write a psalm for a day of the week.

Makes me want to go through all the days, seek out their divine names and powers, honor them as they seep into us, over and over and over again. Not sure I will, but the idea’s there.

 

 

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Wednesday

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Alan. Kate. Purim. Kaballah Experience. Congregation Beth Evergreen. Plowed. Snow. 45 gone. Adults in charge. Not only adults, but some with at least common sense. Dr. Thompson. Life in the mountains.

Sparks of Joy: Masks for Purim. Hamantaschen. Seeing Tara at CBE. Lots of fresh, white Snow.

Lost the zip I had on Tuesday. A bit of a slacker on Wednesday. Back at it now.

Chatted with Joe on Facebook yesterday. He pointed me to a youtube video commenting on valuable sports cards. #4 was a Michael Jordan rookie card in #1 condition: $95,000. When he was much younger, he begged me to go in with him and buy a Michael Jordan rookie card. Jordan was still playing. Just $200, Dad. C’mon. Nope. Too much money. Well…

Feeling sorta smashed up against Covid, Kate, winter. Why I lost my zip. Still feeling it, but back in the groove where that’s life. Not struggling against it, going with it, staying in it.

Workout yesterday. Ooof. My right shoulder tells me those pushups worked my upper body. The general feeling of mild exhaustion is welcome, proof of concept when it comes to exercise. The shoulder not so much.

Kate’s on the job. Finding a vaccine for us. The state has a hotline that seems to have real information. She’ll get’r done.

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Yesterday

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Trash. Covid. Vaccines. Kate’s wakeful, but good night. Sleep. Me. Sushi Win. Their Special roll. Spring rolls. Purim box from CBE. And, one from the Kabbalah Experience. Memories of Covid. Early ones. Seoah among them. Cold. Blue Sky.

Sparks of Joy: Rigel prancing. Kep lying on my legs. Kate excited. Vaccines.

 

Kate, costumed for Purim

 

Spent yesterday, some of it anyhow, moving and rearranging and tossing. Stuff that has needed doing but I’ve not felt the energy for. Found that energy. Felt good. Not done, but will finish this week.

Drove over to Congregation Beth Evergreen to pick up a Purim box. Each member has one. A mask, groggers, and I don’t know what else. Got another box from the Kabbalah Experience with masks and paints for Purim. Will explain all in the Friday megillah post.

In the same direction as Sushi Win so I got takeout. Sushi Win is an above average sushi joint. A special treat that it’s up here at all, so we order takeout every once in a while. Big tips, too. We want to see them survive the pandemic. Us, too.

Couple of Sheriff’s vehicles at Derek’s yesterday. No idea why.

Kate woke up with an idea about how her terrible bout of herpes might be involved with her current condition. She’s going to get her medical records from Abbott-Northwestern, see if they can help. I sure hope so.

A meme from Facebook: Mars is the only planet we know inhabited entirely by robots.

News of the strange: Saw an article in the Washington Post about an Oklahoma man who killed a neighbor, cut out her heart, cooked it with potatoes, and served it to his uncle and his family to get the demons out. Apparently didn’t work because he then killed the uncle, the uncle’s four year old grand-daughter, and stabbed his aunt in both eyes. WP, 2/24/2021

 

Posted in Cooking, Coronavirus, Family, Health, Holidays, Judaism, Shadow Mountain, Third Phase | Leave a comment