I love these people

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb?  98% of the way to L2. 16000 miles to go. 465 mph. Cold side: -344. Hot side: 128. Mission day: 29. The last day of the trip. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!

Sunday gratefuls: Susan and her organizing. Jamie, Rich, Irv, Marilyn, Ron, Tara. Judy. Jewish caroling. The Tree of Life. Jon. In need. Ruth, in crisis. Gabe. Being Gabe. Rigel’s meds. Not helping so much. Kep’s either so far. Abraham Lincoln, in the back of Rich’s Volvo. That dying dog look. Tears from me. Safeway pickup. Ali Baba and their gyros. Ruby, chugging along, a petrol burning antique.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Abraham Lincoln. His journey ending.

Tarot: later


Went Jewish caroling in Golden. Up on Meadow Run Drive where Judy lives. I hum. Besides, I didn’t know the words. They were in Hebrew. Judy has ovarian cancer and is in yet another round of chemo. The MVP Mussar group, gathered by Susan Marcus, sang to her and delivered a Tree of Life silver scarf pin. Judy had made cookies and tea, so we went in and sat around her lovely dining room table, teak, I think, and chatted for a half an hour.

I love these people. That’s what came to mind as I drove back up the hill to Conifer. We’re in this crazy thing called life together.

most of Gertie

Ron had Abraham Lincoln in the car with him because Kim had come home via DIA and he had to pick her up. Abraham Lincoln accepted the attention as we leaned in the  back to pet him. His face alone would have told me he’s in serious trouble. Seeing him took me to tears with no stopping go. Dogs are so stoic. They do, I realized, live until they die. That could easily be a quote from Abraham Lincoln, or Gertie, or Vega.

Before Judy’s I had lunch with Jon at Ali Baba’s, not too far from Judy’s house. Ruth had a mental health crisis yesterday in school. Not sure exactly what happened but she got very anxious and lashed out at an administrator. She went home to Jen’s house to cool down. They’re with her this week.

ballgame with Jon

Jon’s still running short of money. I helped him a bit this month. He’s in a better mental place. Sarah may come out in the Spring and help him clean up his house. “If I get a bed, things will be closer to normal.” He’s lived in his house for five years with no bed. He sleeps on an old couch.

On the way back from Golden I stopped at Safeway and picked up my grocery order. A full day for me. Driving. Human interaction. Dog interaction. Wu wei-ing my way along. Feeling it all. Glad to be where I was. At Ali Baba’s with Jon. At Judy’s with the mussar group. At Safeway picking up groceries. Here at home with Kep and Rigel.

alchemical marriage

I can feel the Hooded Man and the Queen of Vessels leaning in to each other. Listening. Applauding each other for the actions and feeling they bring to interactions. Soon we may have a hand-fast marriage. A trial for a year and a day. Often entered into on Beltane in auld Ireland.

Here’s an old Christian hymn  lyric: I’ve got joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, down in my heart to stay. I would say that’s where I am now. And grief. And love. And patience. All down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.


Posted in Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Health, Judaism, Mountains, Mussar, Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

The Wonder of Strangeness

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Saturday gratefuls: Jon and lunch tomorrow. Judy and the gang tomorrow, too. Snow. Fire danger dampening Snow. Falling. Falling. Falling. Brian. Slow and unsure. Not a great combination. Kep coming in with Snow all over. Rigel wobbly from her new meds. Learning more astrology. Snow coming straight down, like a Midwestern rain. Still odd to me.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow



Another bit of Japan. He loves the Snow, too

With Lodgepole Pines covered with Snow. With Snow falling rapidly. With a Forest outside my window, I’m struck by how often the scenes I see remind of Japanese U-kiyoe prints. Pine Limbs weighted down. The cinnamon red of the Lodgepole’s Bark. An Akita wandering happily. I have the same feeling often at Congregation Beth Evergreen where the narrow windows at the top of the sanctuary walls frame Ponderosa Limbs. Wabi-sabi. The Snow is impermanent, but beautiful in its moment with us, with the Trees. This snow fall. Ichi-go, ichi-e.

There’s just something about Asia. Or, was it Mary? Chinese and Japanese art, history, philosophy. Korean culture that I’ve learned from Seoah and her family. From K-TV. Cambodia and the wonder of Angkor. Bangkok and its temples. Its monks. Singapore and its quilt of Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures.

Brasov, Romania

Not to say that Italy and Germany and Austria and France and England and Scandinavia and Eastern Europe don’t have their charms. Constanza, Romania. The Uffizi. The Vatican. The Kunsthistoriche. The Vienna Opera. Salzburg and its 9th century Irish monk restaurants. The British Museum. Inverness. Conway Castle. But that stuff is so in line with what I’ve already learned. So, well, Western. It doesn’t give the shock of the new to see Botticelli’s Prima Vera. It’s a wonderful, unique, soulful experience, of course, but its roots are known to me.

To sit at Wat Bayon as the sun sets over Angkor, the howler monkeys screaming, monks chanting in a newer temple across the way. To ride the maglev train from Gwangju to Incheon. Hopping a  water taxi on the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. Walking the Great Wall outside Beijing. These are experiences alien to the world of Renaissance artists. Of German Romantic poets. Of the Enlightenment. And boy do I love them.

If I had to live out the rest of my life in Asia, especially Korea, I could do so happily. With Seoah and Joe, my little segment of nuclear family, my family is two-thirds Asian and one third Western.

Pre-wedding meal at Seoah’s home village. Her parents house.

The foods. Different. Hotter. Lighter. Ingredients like Hanwoo beef, raw fish, rice, fruits. Jack fruit. Delicious in a plastic baggy bought from a street vendor. That meal Mary bought us at Violet Oon’s Peranakan restaurant. Korean barbecue near the base at Osan. Seoah with her scissors snipping, snipping.

The depth of history, too. Sure that restaurant built by 9th century Irish monks in Salzburg is old. Yep. But not as old as the ancient tombs on the Mountain slopes of Korea. The wonder that is Rome and was Rome. Old. Yep. But compared to the tomb of Qin Shi Huang Di. The terracotta army. A new thing under the sun.

Egypt. That’s old. Sumer. Mesopotamia. Nineveh. Yeah. Parts of India, too. Persia.

Guess I have a jones for the old and the unfamiliar. Think of all the political upheavals, empire wrecking moments, governments that fell after long years of successful governance. Ephesus. Carthage. Angkor. X’ian. Ayutthaya. Helps me as I look at the screaming mess here in our own land.

Oct. 2021, looking toward Evergreen from my driveway

And, yet. The Rockies. The North Shore. Two places of natural wonder I know well. They match any places I’ve seen around the world. Human culture may be a passing moment in the long history of our planet, our solar system. May be. But the Rockies and Lake Superior. Wolves and Moose and Bear. They will outlive us. Probably grateful to see us go.

Life is so filled with wonder. Here. There. Everywhere. I’m glad I was born in an era when I could experience its manifold expressions.


Posted in Art and Culture, Asia, Cooking, Fourth Phase, Great Work, Hawai'i, Memories, Minnesota, Mountains, Plants, Tarot, The West, Travel, US History, Weather +Climate, World History | Leave a comment

How do I let wu wei guide me?

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Tarot: How do I let wu wei guide me?   Avoid-Present-Future     Knight of Vessels, Eel.  Queen of Bows, Hare. The Hooded Man, #9.









The Eel, the Wildwood says, is a symbol for a spear. The Gae Bolga, a spear named after the Eel, was a weapon of the ancient Celtic warrior, Cuchulain. In this spread I’m taking the knight of vessels as my warrior spirit, the part of me that wants to wield my Gae Bolga and skewer my enemies, especially the enemies of my people. I cherish this energy. It has guided me through much of my life and I’m loathe to lay it down. But. As I consider the fourth phase, this last ancientrail in Malkut for me, I’ve begun to let go of the spear, to put it away, perhaps forever. Avoid picking it up if you can, this card says. It interferes with the journey.


The Queen of Bows, a sacred Hare, brings alert female maternal instincts to the surface. She is my present. I choose to see her and the Hooded Man as anima and animus, my present and my future. Together.


The Hooded Man and the Hermitage bond. Focusing on home, on being here. Letting my writer and my chef and my painter and my host and my student out to play. I want to boogie toward the Last Dance. Twirling the Hare and the Hooded Man to a Riverdance tune.

While also sitting beside Mountain Streams, under the bows of Pines and Aspens. Following the Water Course Way.

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How to be Useless

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb: !96% of the way to L2! Only 27000 miles to go. Once around the equator or so. Mission day 27. Cold side: -340 Hot side: 134


Friday gratefuls: Luke, a sweet man. Rabbi Jamie. Tears. Smoking. Quitting. Drinking and sobriety. Rigel’s new meds. Bowe. Jodi. Brian. The cabinets. Allmmmooossst done. Singing to Judy, taking her a silver tree of life scarf pin. Rabbi Jamie, Rich Levine, Ron Solomon, Marilyn and Tara Saltzman, Susan Marcus and me. I’m lending moral support. No choral moments for me. Abraham Lincoln, the dog. Leo, the dog.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Coming together for a member of the tribe in trouble

Tarot: How do I let wu wei guide me?   Avoid-Present-Future     Knight of Vessels, Eel.  Queen of Bows, Hare. The Hooded Man, #9.


Kep and Rigel

Bowe came around 9:30. Just as Rigel and I got back from Sano vet. Decided to take her in. Arthritis is a bugger. Turns out she also has a slipped disc. Came away with a muscle relaxer and Oxycodone. Gonna see how it works. If they help her, I’ll get more of it. Tomorrow Kep. His nose has swollen a bit and Palmini wants to rule out a dental problem. We’ll see.

This is an important part of my life. Taking care of the dogs. Having to decide when they need to be seen without Kate’s intelligence and knowledge to guide me. Buying and dishing up their food, their treats. Their meds. An important part of their life is taking care of me. Symbiotic. In a healthy way.

A glimmer. Sent out this interesting article How to Be Useless to a couple of my very useful friends. I did that because it broke a logjam in my own thinking about how to live my life. Example. The dogs are important. Being with them, caring for them, being cared for by them is a joy, a respite from being useful. Example. Writing. I love writing and I intend to do more. My Werewolves in Ancient Times book came today. Gonna read it. Take notes. Go back to Ovid. Do a Superior Wolf prequel. Lycaon’s life. Exercise is important, too. As are the things I do on Domestic Duties Day.

That was also a part of the insight. On Wednesdays I devote myself to the quotidian. Insurance. Food. Bills. Money. Taxes. That sort of thing. And, I do it willingly, not ducking it because I have something else to do. Wednesday is a day set aside for that work. If I get done early, I can write or exercise.

After I get the kitchen reinstalled and the living room/furniture moving done, I plan to set three days for exercise. And only three days. I will focus on writing on the other three days and when I have time on exercise and D3 days.

But, and here’s what I learned from Chuangzi, the focus of the Psyche article: it’s all important. Relaxing. Exercising. Reading for pleasure. Reading for knowledge. Learning. Paying the bills. Taking care of the dogs. The goal is not being useful, but to live the life that presents itself. My life and its useless moments will be different from yours. The key is to live the life without the kind of head fogging chaos I created when only certain things had precedence: writing, exercise, domestic duties. Sitting around petting the dogs, watching TV, reading. Going to museums. Important not because they’re useful, but precisely because they’re not.

Puts the humanities and the arts in a very different perspective. That Chinese scholar alone in his hut in the mountains learned to play the Qin, write poetry, do calligraphy. Not for posterity but for his own development and appreciation. That’s me.

The Hermit. In the Hermitage. Living my life. As it has appeared after 74 years.

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Remodeling, Dogs, Family

Yule and the New Year Moon

Where’s the Webb: On Mission day 26 all the primary mirror segments have deployed and the Webb continues to slow as it heads toward L2. 515 mph. Hot side: 134, Cold side: -340.

Thursday gratefuls: Under cabinet lighting! Drawer organizers. Getting closer to the finish line. But, Brian… Sigh. Rigel’s arthritis. Seeking help. Ruth wants to go to Greeley to a museum. Jon and I have sushi plans for Friday. Gabe’s getting his Hanukkah present, books from Amazon: Frankenstein. Swiss Family Robinson. Fahrenheit 451. 1984. The Godfather. Snow and wintry weather ahead. At least some. The Wind.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Toddlers and dogs riding with their heads out of car windows

Tarot: The Wanderer, 0 in the major arcana


The remodeling update. Bowe installed under cabinet lighting and I love it. I like clear light when I’m prepping and cooking. He’s also going to install a magnetic knife/utensil holder so I don’t have to have the large wooden block on the counter. I’m working on a minimal plan for things actually out on the counter top. I think right now toaster, coffee grinder, coffee maker, probably a cutting board, but maybe not. I want a clean top for easy working.

Kep and Rigel have kept close watch on Bowe, making sure he doesn’t have any stray treats. Also they have opinions about the remodeling. Like, why isn’t it done, Dad? Brian, I tell’em. It’s all down to Brian.

Right now I’m looking at drawer organizers, containers for staples. Other things like standard spice bottles. This is fun. I’m excited about putting everything away in an orderly fashion. I know! Weird, eh? But, there you go.

The first meal I cook in the new kitchen for others will be for Jon, Ruth, and Gabe a week from Saturday. Tenderloin roast. Mashed potatoes. Vegetable salad from Tony’s. Something fancy to kick things off. Get a good vibe in the new space.

Another view. Not sure why this gives me joy, but it sure does.

Once I get well into the kitchen reinstallation I’ll have, as my mother would say, beaucoup boxes. They’ll have to be broken down and stood up in the recycle bin. Lots of different tasks. I’ll also be organizing the pantry as well.

When all the boxes that have held skillets and plates, silverware and storage containers, serving dishes and pots and olive oil and cooking oil and rice wine no longer clutter the floor in front of the fire place, I’ll call Modern Bungalow and get my shipment set up. Also have to find a couple of strong guys. Gonna go on Nextdoor Shadow Mountain. Moving furniture.

Taking Rigel to the vet tomorrow. Her arthritic back leg worries me. She moves so well with it. Still hunting critters, digging under the shed, prancing when she comes in from outside, but she sometimes slips on the stairs going up to the living room. I put down grippy strips on all of our stairs for my two unsteady females: Kate and Rigel. Doesn’t seem to do the trick all the time. Not sure if Palmini (the vet) has any tricks. I hope so. She eats well. She’s eager to go here and there. She barks and whines. She’s a living treasure, as the Japanese would say.

Ruth sent me a note about a model railroad museum in Greeley. She wants to go. So do I. Part of our thing has always been museums, zoos, the planetarium in Boulder. Makes me feel good when she asks to do something. Not all 15 year old girls want to be seen with their Grandpop, let alone go somewhere with him.

Was gonna take Jon to a jazz joint this month. But. Omicron. Too crowded and breathy. We’ll do sushi at a less crowded venue.

This is, a meme I saw on Facebook, the winter of our discount tents.





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Canaries in the Coal Mine of our Democracy

Yule and the Moon of  the New Year

Where’s the Webb? 95% of the way to L2. 847000 miles from home. Only 52000 miles to go. Mission day 25. According to the graphic all mirror segments are now deployed.

Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Bowe. The grout and the backsplash. The farm sink. Inching closer. Closer. CORE. Generator. Kohler. Solar panels. Juice in the house. Computers. Induction Stove. Lights. Televisions. Mini-splits. Baseboard heat. Fans. Treadmill. Rigel’s stiff leg.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Electricity (lol)

Tarot: Queen of vessels, Salmon


The hostage taking in Colleyville, Texas. Congregation Beth-Israel. A Britisher who believed Jews controlled the media, the banks, the government. Old tropes from The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Yes. Propaganda has affect. Even after all its creators are long dead. Want to understand some of the white supremacists? Read The Turner Diaries. Words have power. Ideas have power. And, conspiracy ideas can kill.

My shoulder next to Alan’s. Next to Marilyn’s. Next to Jamie’s. Next to Luke’s. Next to Ellen’s. Together. Solidarity challenges hate. Love challenges hate. Compassion challenges hate. As Beth Israel congregant Jeffery Cohen, one of the hostages, said:

“(He) said he didn’t regret the generosity the congregants had initially shown the stranger who showed up at their synagogue.

“I don’t like what happened. I wish it hadn’t. I wish this guy hadn’t been that way,” he said. “But where would we be in a world if we didn’t welcome the stranger? That would not be a world that I want to be in.”” Washington Post, 1/18/22 

Not a world I’d want to live in either.

If you’re not Jewish, or closely aligned, you may not be ticking up the number of assaults on Jews and synagogues. If you are, though, each incident seems like one more finger pulled out of the dike behind which lies a lake of venom. I think Jeffery Cohen had Never Again on his mind; he refused to kneel when the hostage taker demanded it. As the anti-semites become more emboldened, as white supremacists increase their attacks on Americans of color, the fabric of our Republic has begun to tear. Sometimes I wonder, Jose? Is that flag still there?

Max Beckmann

I find myself thinking about the Weimar Republic. Of the world after the Spanish Flu. About the flourishing world of the Incas and the Aztecs just before the conquistadors arrived. About the Moors in immediately pre-inquisition Spain. About those doomed civilizations. Those who loved and laughed and danced among them. How shocking the rise of the Nazis. How shocking the world’s morality weakened in the aftermath of a long plague. How entrancing the pleasures of Germany after WWI. How vibrant and colorful the indigenous empires before the plumed helmets and arquebuses.

It is vanity of the most naive and dangerous kind to think all these were abberations. That Rome falling has nothing to do with 2022 America. That Kublai Khan’s vanquishing of the Song Dynasty does not have lessons for us. The Song dynasty was a high-point in ceramics, painting, of literature and song. The Yuan dynasty which followed it in 1271 had a steppe Mongol as its emperor.

I hope, without much conviction, that the Trump era brought in the clowns and we voters packed up their tents and hurried them off to the long time home of American circuses, Florida. Yet as the anti-semites pull themselves out of their darkened rooms, as the Klan and the Proud Boys and the 3%’rs and their enablers in the GOP take politics into a muddy, mucky, bloody brawl, as climate change bears down on us, I wonder how many it will take to pack up the tents and the menageries and the sideshows this next time?

I don’t want to live through the demise of American democracy. I’m guessing you don’t want to either. What’s the priority right now? I guess I’d fall back on this old chestnut: the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good folk do nothing. Spoken by noted British conservative, Edmund Burke.

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Change is hard

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb? 92% of the journey is done! 560 mph. Barely moving. Coming in slow. Hot side: 133. Cold side: -340. Like Colorado. The difference between the sun and the shade, sol et sombra.

Tuesday gratefuls: The full Moon of the New Year low in the West this morning, hiding among stands of Lodgepole Pines. MLK. The arc of Justice. And the rushing Mountain Streams of Love and Compassion. All skin colors and ethnicities. All religions. All Lands and Waters and Skies. This blue ball, spinning through the Heavens with all of us aboard.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Black Lives Matter

Tarot: How do I continue on the ancientrail toward alchemical marriage?    Avoid. Present. Future.

Page of Arrows: Wren.  Eight of Stones: Skill   Eight of Bows: Hearthfire*


The arc of history may be long but it bends toward justice. Reverend Theodore Parker, Unitarian. (1810-1860) Parker kept a loaded pistol on his desk while writing sermons in case he would be called to defend an escaped slave. My kinda guy.

The history of liberal religion, the Transcendentalists, the Unitarians, and the Universalists captivated me when I switched my credentials to the UU in 1996. Howard Thurman and the Quakers, too. It was a revolution in thought, in metaphysics, in political will.

The social gospel, a strain of socially active Christianity, had its moments, too. Mostly in the years preceding and shortly following 1900 it moved into poorer communities, insisted on reading the whole gospel, including, for example, Luke 4:18-20:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
        to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
    and recovery of sight to the blind,
        to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.


Back in 1971 I preached a sermon at the Brooklyn Center United Methodist Church. As an intern, this was my one chance to be in the pulpit. It was the year of Me and Bobby McGee, Cherokee Nation, Joy to the World, and John Prine’s sad song about the Vietnam Vet, The Ballad of Sam Stone. Brown Sugar, too.



My message did not go down well with the middle class, white parishioners at Brooklyn Center. I stood at the back of the church as they filed out, splitting around me, avoiding my outstretched hand. At the time I saw it as vindication of the power of my words. Now, in long retrospect, I imagine I was angry, righteous, and blaming. Sort of a trope for me in those days. I was 24. And, still drinking.

50 years ago. Now at 74 I’m writing this on a Federal holiday honoring the work of Martin Luther King. He had the gift of eloquence. Of mining U.S. theological and political history for nuggets like Parker’s and finding just the right spot in which to use them.

Finished Jonathan Franzen’s Crossroads last week. Set in 1969 and among the family of a Reformed church clergy, it sent me back to those days.

Kate after election day 2026

It’s been, as the Dead said, a long strange trip. Which turned stranger and darker two years ago as the first reports came out of China of a new virus. In the ensuing two years Trump would be defeated, George Floyd killed on video. Black Lives Matters protests would sweep the nation and the world. Gertie and Kate died.

Where are we now? Hell if I know. Biden looks increasingly like the second coming of Jimmy Carter without his charisma and political intelligence. We needed a lion and got a pussycat. Covid’s still running the show, inflation has made a run for our money, and MLK’s holiday seems like any other. An extra day off for the working stiff.

Always been more of a Malcolm X sort than a non-violent resistance one. Not necessarily pro-violence, not at all, but pro not foreclosing on tactics.

The day here on Shadow Mountain is gray, wet, warm. About the way the United States feels to me.


*The three card spread

Avoid                          Present                         Future








“In the middle of winter, in Ireland and South Wales, the Wren represents the old year…” TarotX

“Any skill necessarily has the element of acquisition, of understanding that in order to be a master of anything, one must first learn to broaden oneself to fully receive from others and from…Awen… Above all, mastery is also true humility.” TarotX

“Fire element. A sincere desire for celebration. Security. Harmony. Companions. Kindred spirits. Attainment of innermost peace. Feelings of personal well-being…” TarotX

Arrows=Swords in traditional Tarot. Element of air, the intellect. The intellectual response I’ve had to a year of death, of disappointment (in politics), of hard emotional work, of continuing plague. That was the old year.

North Shore of Oahu. Joe, Mary, Seoah

Stones=Pentacles. Element of Earth, this worldly, practical. In the present I’ve focused on remodeling, on building a new life as a widower, as a man alone, as a man with dogs and friends and family, as a man vulnerable and open to the gifts and love of others. This all takes skill. And I was lucky enough to have sufficient skill to make it into this new year.

But. What does the future hold? How can I advance toward unifying my divine masculine and my sacred feminine? Which I want. Hang with friends and family. On zoom and in person. Celebrate at Beth Evergreen. On holidays and birthdays. Yes, Hermit. Yes, companions on the ancientrail.

Yes to the African proverb: If you want to travel quickly, go alone. If you want to travel far, travel with companions. I want to travel far. Further. With you who read this.

Celtic symbol for Awen

Bows=fire. The element of inspiration, or Awen, in the Celtic. I will find inspiration for unifying myself in the midst of others so long as I attend to my Hermit needs as well. By being true to my need for alone and creative time, by being true to my need for companionship, by being open to celebration, gladness, joy, Simcha, I will move even more toward a holy androgyny .

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A Busy Weekend

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb?: 91% of the way to L2. Big news now. Each hexagonal mirror segment deploys. And, they deploy at different rates to ensure a good fit. They will keep slowly moving, at the rate of 1 mm a day until Mission Day 28.

Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Brothers on right and wrong. On friendship. Alan. Whom I’ve told something I’ve told no one else. Gabe coming up to the loft to get coffee for his dad. The kitchen is warm. Jon said. I agree. Gabe couldn’t remember what it used to look like. Not surprised. Gray and white. Ruth loves therapy. And, psychoactive drugs. Prescribed ones. Gabe had a sleepover so they left around 11. Linda, the realtor who came by. Inflated house prices. Joe’s DNA results. He’s from India! Whaddya know.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Critters, my wild neighbors

Tarot: Knight of  Vessels, Eel


Linda, from down the road, stopped by. She’s a realtor! She heard from a couple of other neighbors that I might be moving. She sold a couple of houses up here already and I could see her salivating. These inflated prices have the odd effect of making owners and realtors both happy. Let’s say the other homes doubled in value like mine has. That would mean she could make 4 times the fees with just half the effort. Hell, I might be out on Sunday afternoon peddling my wares. Rumors. She seemed to take it in stride when I said I planned to stay.


Well. How ’bout that virus? It just keeps on. Mutating. Spreading. Killing. Screwing up life in general. Like you I’m tired of it. Bored. Masks. Forestalling trips because, well, omicron. But also because, well, inertia. Been inside so long, I don’t know what outside looks like. Seems safer to stay here, remodel the kitchen, redo the living room. Put in mini-splits. Read. Workout. Watch TV. Sleep.

Not long ago I drove back up the hill and remembered a coffee shop that had opened off N. Turkey Street. I had my blinkers on when sitting down in a small, stuffy room with strangers, all with their masks off, drinking coffee flashed across my mental billboard. Drove on. Probably would have been ok. But. Who wants to die stupid? Not me. Death not an option. A stupid death is at least somewhat in our control.


Over the weekend I had a class with Rabbi Jamie on Saturday morning, picked up groceries at noon. Went to Evergreen to pick up pizza around 4. Jon, Ruth, and Gabe got here while I was in Evergreen. This morning the Ancient Brothers at 9 am. Then Alan at 10:45. Saw the kids and Jon to say goodbye. They had to leave at 11 because Gabe has a sleepover. This constitutes a busy weekend for me. Tiring.


at full deployment on mission day 15

The Webb fully deployed on Mission Day 15. Yesterday, Mission Day 22 finds it a week away from its orbit Lagrange #2. Still excited. Ready to see what has not been seen. Learn what lay behind the veil of distance, of time. Maybe a Burma Shave sign sequence?


Biden and the Democrats are in full disappointment mode. Wish things were going better, but they’re not. Glad I’m on the Mountain.


Knight of Vessels: Eel

“With purity of intent, your destiny defined, you are able to bring wisdom and maturity to your tasks. Embarking on a quest of personal revelation, your vision leads you onward. Your deep feelings are expressed at every turn.” WW Book

Another card focusing on one direction, purity of intent, a defined goal. That last sentence. Your deep feelings are expressed at every turn.

Realized I’ve been living with emotional vulnerability, an open heart, for months now. And, that might explain why I’m having trouble focusing. I’m not used to heart of sleeve days and nights.

Part of the alchemical marriage, I imagine. The anima and the animus both claiming rightful spots in my Self. Over balanced right now toward the emotional, receptive. Need that over balance since logic and knowledge long ago established themselves in my psyche.

That’s the Wanderer’s ancientrail right now. Gonna be confusing since it’s very new territory for me.

Also occurred to me that it’s tough on priorities. Emotions take me one way, logic another. Both good, dependable pointers, but in conflict with one another for now.



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One Clear Path

Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb: 809000 miles from home; 90000 miles to L2. 90% of the distance. Mission day: 22. Arrival at L2: Mission day 29.


Sunday gratefuls: That the hostage situation at Congregation Beth-Israel ended. Anti-semitism. Bias. Racism. White Supremacy. All flavors of the human heart, bitter though they may be. Ruth and her vibrancy. Gabe and his willingness to help. Jon feeling much better. Josh for plowing my driveway. The Snow. And, ta day, the Fire hazard warning sign finally dipped into moderate for the first since I got back from Hawai’i in early July.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, even the hostage taker liked him

Tarot: Five of Arrows, frustration

“Look at where your own impatience and frustration have prevented you from reaching your goals. Do things differently. Moving forward focus your energy in one clear direction. Let go of your frustrations. Stay the course. Listen to your intuition.” TarotX


Oddly, this card, the Five of Arrows, speaks to me. In a way I might not have recognized; but, I finished reading Jonathan Franzen’s new novel, Crossroads, yesterday. I sat down with the intention of finishing and I did it. I felt more like me at the moment I turned the last page than I have for a long while.

Oh. That was strange. What was it? I’m a reader. I like to lose myself in books of all kinds. But. I’ve not been doing that, staying with reading long enough to finish whole books. Which I used to do all the time. And. I’d forgotten that.

Over the last several years, even before Kate got sick, I had begun to torture myself. Only of late have I begun to realize it. My self-torture comes like this: write a new novel, or finish the current one, Jennie’s Dead. OK but right now I have to exercise, because illness and death. Or, I need to exercise right now, but buying groceries. I could paint, right now. In a bit. After I vacuum. I had so many high priority things to do: lunch or breakfast with Alan. The grandkids coming up. Zoom with the Ancient Ones. With Diane.

Everything became important. Necessary. Valuable. I’d shucked off the useless and the frivolous. Pared my life down to the critical.

Then Kate got sick. And her needs trumped everything else. I hung on to the exercise because I needed the strength and stamina. Let everything else jangle together in a constant cage match for my attention and time and resources.

As a result, I rarely feel easy. Like I’m not in this moment. That’s not to say I’m highly anxious, not that either. Sort of a netherground between anxiety and languishing. When I’m writing, I feel grounded. When I’m reading, I feel grounded. Sometimes when I’m cooking. When I’m in a class. Too often, though, something always seems just out of reach, dealing with the insurance company. Getting the dishes back into the kitchen. Sleep. Workout. Follow the news.

I’m not describing this well because I don’t mean I’m constantly bombarded by a to-do list. The things that clash for me now all seem important, good, necessary. And I have trouble figuring out a way to include all of them. That’s the rub. That’s the frustration. That’s the four arrows missing the ram. What about that fifth arrow? If he keeps it where it is, it’s gonna miss. Well off the left rear hoof.

“Moving forward focus your energy in one clear direction.” I want to do that. I need to do that. But only one direction? Just not sure I know how.







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Yule and the Moon of the New Year

Where’s the Webb? 791ooo miles from home. 108000 miles to L2 insertion. 88% of the way. .1769 mps. Sunshield: 131 F. Primary Mirror: -328 F.



Saturday gratefuls: Snow. Fresh and white. A friend’s Dog, cancer. The house changing, transforming. The Hermitage. Brown. Color. Kep’s abundant, luxuriant, always growing fur. The Mountains in Winter. The Lodgepoles with heavy bows. The Arcosanti bell has a white fairy cap. The outdoor table has a round, snowy table covering exactly its size. Medical Guardian. Uncertainty.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The love we have for our Dogs. And the love they have for us.

Tarot: Page of Arrows, The Wren


Frantisec Kupka: The Path of Silence

A friend’s dog diagnosed with inoperable cancer. A friend on her third or fourth round of chemo for ovarian cancer. Kate dead. My own, more tractable cancer. Life. Then death. The way of the animate world. It says something about our need, our lust for permanence that disease followed by death exacts such a toll. But it does. Death is no more, no less prevalent than birth and life; but, it insults us, destroys our fabricated lives.

When the snow fell today, all day, as it hasn’t in a while, it covered the driveway, my solar panels, this Shadow Mountain. Even our daily views are impermanent, changing often in the temperate latitudes where I’ve lived all my life.

Ichi-go, ichi-e. Every moment, every encounter is once in a lifetime. The tea ceremony is a beautiful expression, a reminder of this oh, so important truth. Kate will never be here on this plane again. Unique and significant in her quick intelligence, her dry wit, her chesed, her love for me, for Jon, Ruth, Gabe. My friend’s dog, whom I’ve met many times, likewise. Stolid. Built low to the ground. Attentive, but mostly arranging himself near Rich. Each time I met him was a whole moment. Complete and wonderful. As was each day with Kate.

This summer my friend with ovarian cancer made home-made strawberry ice-cream and we shared it at a table in Mt. Falcon Park, near Morrison. We both had the brand of the impermanent burned into our bodies with blood draws, sleepless nights, worry, treatments. If we could, as the Buddhists I think recommend, lean into the impermanence, grant it the piquancy it brings, the poignance of ichi-go, ichi-e as a home truth, if we could, we might still mourn and grieve, but we might also find room to celebrate the passing of each once-in-a-lifetime instance.

Kate may 2013

Each spring in Andover plants would push up from the cold, cold Earth. The Grape Hyacinths, the Daffodils, the Crocus, the Anemones. The Spring Ephemerals. Those plants whose strategy is to store food during a burst of growth before Leaves on Trees and Bushes, taller Flowers block them out. Such a joyous, brilliant, hopeful life. Yet, brief. Ephemeral. Gone in a couple of weeks, three, four at the most.

Oh, how I miss those delights of the cold, wet days of late Winter, early Spring. I no longer miss caring for the Gardens, but I miss them nonetheless. Those gardens were an immersion, like foreign language immersion, in the ongoing lives of plants, in the dance of life and the inevitability of death. Each fall we composted the dead stalks that delivered food to the roots of vegetables and flowers. They had more to give even though they were now lifeless.

The Earth gives us daily lessons in impermanence, but we rationalize, smooth over, just don’t see them. I’m writing this now in the 10th month after Kate’s death. Her memory blesses me every day. Her lessons, the things she taught me. The same. I leave the door open on the washer so it won’t mildew. I trust my doctors. I love Judaism and the Jews that I know. Impermanence has permanently changed me.



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