Planetary Defense

Fall and the High Holidays Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Jon. Kate, always Kate. Jen. Ruth. Gabe. Joe. Sarah. Seoah. BJ. Sam. Shannon. Craig. Waxing High Holiday Moon. Beautiful Sunseen on Black Mountain, highlighting the golden Aspen and making the Clouds blush a Reuben’s pink. Though not wilderness, certainly affected by humans, these Rocky Mountains remain wild at their heart. Steep, Rocky, forbidding even in areas close to home.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Joe


Jon died on September 4th, 23 days ago. Joe came on the 6th with Seoah. Sarah came the same day. Since then it’s been everyday, some new aspect of handling Jon’s oh so chaotic affairs. And far from done. No personal representative yet.

Probate is a strange and murky process, hidden from view after submitting paper work, well, digital work. Depending on a judge and their considerations. The slow pace of the judicial work means we face some deadlines now with no real clue about how to handle them.

Jon’s mortgage comes due again on October 1st. His utilities, too, around that time. Do we, can we, pay them? That is, can I pay them? And get reimbursed later?

Joe’s worked hard over the last week plus lining up cleanout crews and interviewing them. Same with realtors. We’re close to final decisions on both. He goes home tomorrow, but should have the necessary dominoes in place so that once an appointment of a personal representative gets made, the work on the house and grounds can begin.

He’ll manage all this from Hawai’i. Signing documents electronically.

Meanwhile here in Colorado, the kids will have a final visit to the house to claim things from their rooms. After that, we’ll wait for the cleanup process to begin. A trailer and a Rav4, both gifts from us to Jon, need to be gone before the cleaners start.

At the end of that process there will a storage unit to rent and the cleaners will move items to be saved into the unit. When the house is empty, we’ll decide whether to do a thorough cleaning of floors, walls, bathrooms or leave that to the purchaser. At that point, too, we’ll decide when to get the house on the market. Hopefully right away.



Other impactful news:

I watched this. Stunned by the science and dismayed by the weakness of the news commentators who covered it. They were not Walter Cronkite.

Every 8 year old now residing in a surprised old person’s body hears the words planetary defense and conjures up alien’s approaching our small blue world.

The actual Planetary Defense office is in D.C. Man, can you imagine having cocktails and being asked, so what do you do, and you say, oh I’m head of Planetary Defense. How cool would that be? I feel more Buck Rogerish just knowing we have an office of Planetary Defense.

The science here is subtle. The DART mission only plans a 1% impact on Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos. It’s proof of concept. If we ever find a planet threatening asteroid, kinetic redirection could be the solution to avoid a collision with earth.

There are others. One involves putting an ion engine on the asteroid. Another exploding a nuclear bomb nearby or several right on the surface of a planet ending asteroid. Lasers to melt the asteroid. Magnets to pull a metal rich asteroid out of its orbit. If this topic interests you, here’s a link to a podcast and its transcript:   Deflecting Disaster.


Posted in Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Hawai'i, Science | Leave a comment

Not Over

Fall and the High Holidays Moon

Monday gratefuls: Cleaning today. Rice and Chicken. Korean style fried chicken. The house. So much art. Jon created. A lot. 9 large boxes of slides from Merton. The kids. Sad. Taking things from their rooms. Joe. Organizing, planning, keeping the process moving. The overall sag of despair and depression. Joe’s time winding down. Seoah golfing, going to see Jersey Boys. Her Korean friends. Korean.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: A clear mind at work


Talked with the Ancient Brothers about books. River of the Gods. The Cartographers. CJ Box. A book about family farms. Breath. So many books. The Time of Our Singing. Don’t remember them all. A Buckminster Fuller book. Wayfinding. Paul talked about a book by Margaret Wilkerson, I think. The Revisioners.

Some talked about their reading habits. An hour or two before bed time. Always in the evenings. My habit is I read when I can. Often in the evenings, but in the afternoons, too. At the doctor’s office. Anywhere while waiting. Like the others I imagine.

Bookish. Book worms. Tsundoku. “Tsundoku (Japanese: 積ん読) is acquiring reading materials but letting them pile up in one’s home without reading them.[1][2][3][4] It is also used to refer to books ready for reading later when they are on a bookshelf.” wiki 

As in, Tsundoku could be the name of my loft. Gonna do more pruning this morning.


Geowater comes to take care of my Water filter and the acid neutralizer. I could have left this, but I feel guilty about it. I let it slide for three years! I know. I know. I didn’t like Geowater and wanted to get another company, but never did. Now with only months to stay here, I’m not going to start over. They installed it.

Probably will be pricey.


Booking my October/November flight to Oahu today. Prices are down. I can get the same nonstops I had before for $800 rather than a $1000. Too old to sit at the gate interminably. Not to mention Covid. Will celebrate Joe’s 41st, his promotion, and look seriously for places to stay. Also, and here’s an interesting wrinkle. Raeone will be staying at their home for a week of that time. Probably good to have a chance to reconnect after 32+ years. Probably.

Hunting for housing. Something I have not done in a long, long time. Kate found Shadow Mountain. How I wish I had her for this move and for the home finding. Going to rely on Seoah and Joe to help, mostly Seoah since his work load is heavy. I need a woman’s perspective.

Windward Oahu. Since I switched my fantasizing to the more wild part of Oahu and left urban Honolulu as a faint impression, I’ve felt easier. Not sure why. Maybe because apartment tower living was a stretch for me after 30 years in Andover and on Shadow Mountain. Feels more like me though I was ready for an urban adventure. At least I thought I was.

Kep is the driver. His weight makes it nearly impossible for me to find an apartment in Honolulu. On the Windward side the weight restrictions give way for larger dogs. I might trade my Rav4 in for a Tacoma pickup before I move. No need for four wheel drive on Interstate Hwy 1 or 2. Besides, a lot of Hawaiians drive pickups.


Jon’s death and the handling of his estate has not impacted forward motion on the move. That’s only because Joe and Sarah did and have done so much work. Love for Jon. He was, in his heart, a sweet guy with a gentle touch on the world. His end was too soon and too bleak.

It has impacted me quite a bit in spite of all the work Joe and Sarah have done. Grief. Being part of the mix on handling the estate in spite of not doing the heavy lifting. Family dynamics. Hard to get it out of my head. Find myself being shallow in some respects. Getting through the days. Just getting through them. Not my usual way. Like Joe and I imagine Sarah, I’m tired. Not exhausted like I was that first week, but it’s still been a long haul.

And, it’s not over yet.


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Moving on…

Fall and the High Holidays Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Jon. Ruth. Gabe. The estate. Probate. Jen. Kep, the very sweet boy. Kate, always Kate. The Ancient Brothers. Joe, the maker of products, hard worker, loving son. Ruth’s homecoming/prom. Last night. Life flows right around death. The Mountains. That Mule Deer Buck and his Doe in the front yesterday. The Rings of Power. Troutdale. Rosh Hashanah. Shana Tova to all. And to all a good day.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth and Gabe


Joe and I spent the morning yesterday creating a very large pile of opened envelopes, thrown away circulars, and envelopes with those little cellophane windows. Trying to reconstruct Jon’s finances over the last few months. Hoping to find some pearls. The Tabor check was there. $750. Three or four from Allstate. Minor amounts under $50. Maybe not pearls but sparkly nonetheless.

Mostly it was cutoff notices for his water, his garbage service, his gas and electricity, his phone, his security system. Followed by some resolution, often temporary. His mortgage he paid. Letters from debt collectors both for credit card and medical debt. Must have caused him great distress. For months.

There were more positive items, too. His PERA account. An IRA and a mutual fund. All with Jen as the beneficiary. She’ll need the money plus the money from the house. The money for which she is beneficiary she’ll receive directly. The money from the house will be in an estate account controlled, if probate ever appoints him, by Joe. That way it’s not part of the consideration for college financial aid.

Joe has begun to sort through the realtors and cleaners. A plan may take shape soon. I hope so, because he has to return to Hawai’i on Wednesday.

No toxicology report for a few more weeks.


Robin comes on Tuesday. Three hours of sorting, deaccessioning. We’ll also work with Marty’s staging recommendations which I should get Tuesday as well. One Tuesday task is a preliminary marking of items I plan to take with me, ones I plan to sell or donate, ones that can be discarded. Especially furniture, larger items this go round. None of the Stickley. Which is most of my furniture. No tables. Not the bed. Not Kate’s chair.

The new coffee table, the rocker, the Tiffany lamps, Herme, all going to Hawai’i. More art than I probably should take, but, hey. It’s art. My computer desk, the desktop and the laptop plus accessories. The Korean cabinet.

I’m taking an older computer to a tech person to retrieve documents and pics from an old hard drive. It failed on me a few years back before I could transfer them to the new computer. Maybe the IKEA reading chairs. The Herman Miller office chair.

Books. I’ve started. Yes, Diane. I’ve gone through three shelves and with gritted teeth selected those to take, eleven so far. Plan to keep at it. A shelf a day. Brutal, difficult. Freeing.

All of my tea supplies. Including my many teapots and tea brewing accessories. My Zojirushi. I’ll be back at sea level! My adventures with Chinese tea can pick up where I left off with them in Andover. Of course my high altitude coffee maker. It’s fast and will work well at sea level. Tea cups and coffee cups. Only a few of the latter.

What should I do with the two Karastan rugs? Expensive and beautiful. Not sure yet on them.

Clothes. Well. Hawai’ian weather goes a long way toward narrowing my selection. Will make the choice about that down coat easy. All my dress up clothes. Haven’t worn them in years anyhow. Except this May for the Scene Study showcase. Out they go. Jackets and vests. Most will go. Dress shirts, too. Different definition in the Islands. Sweaters? Only the Kaffee Fasset. It has sentimental value.

All of Kate’s quilts. The ladder for displaying them.

Art will for sure include Love is Enough, Jerry’s smaller winter scene, Warhol Campbell Soup Cans, most of Jon’s work that I have. That big map of the Big Island. Statues from Cambodia. Stone. The Dancing Prophet. The Thoreau poster. Various articles of Judaica. Other pieces, too. Ode’s Ford Parkway Bridge and the Boundary Waters print. Probably more, too.

Pruning has its high points. And low points. Many to come.


Posted in Art and Culture, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Hawai'i, Judaism, Shadow Mountain | Leave a comment

Shana Tova

Fall and the last crescent of the Harvest Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Joe. Sarah. BJ. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Seoah. Kate, always Kate. Secrets. Held too long. Meth. The House. The estate. Shana Tova. Starting a new year. With all the hope and cleansings it offers. Joe’s amazing focus. Decisions ahead. The housing market. Will be what it will be. That 10 point buck.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rosh Hashanah


My bedroom window is about 20 inches from the ground. Last night at 2:30 I got up, looked out the window, and found staring back at me a 10 point Mule Deer Buck. We looked at each other in the eyes for several seconds then he went back to munching grass and I went ahead to the bathroom. A startling and marvelous moment.

Spent some time trying to imagine the significance. Nothing settled. Still waiting for it to surface. Was it Jon, come back for a moment as a Mountain Spirit? Had the Mountain Spirit returned eight years later to wish me well on my journey to Hawai’i? Was it the call of the Wild, reminding me to search for my own Wildness, here and in Hawai’i? Maybe a message I’ve not yet felt? All of those?

Whatever it was, it is a memory that will seal my time on Shadow Mountain as remarkable and spiritual.


The imaginative faculty. Within our reach, but beyond our grasp. Abraham Heschel. Transcends the distinction beyond subject and object. Could be that field beyond good and bad where Rumi wants to meet. Not the executive, frontal lobe, rational functioning part of our brain. How we dive into the vastness of our inner world Ocean to find its treasure.

Second class on creativity with Rabbi Jamie. As I hoped, spinning the wheel on the air supply for my diving suit. Going down, in. As I’ve done since leaving Christianity behind, now so long ago. I want, need to write again, either on Reconstructing Faith or a new novel, be it fantasy or one about the Colorado years which continue to spin further and further into unreality.

I need this and the acting class. Will continue to need this kind of interaction in Hawai’i. Stimulation, prodding to find the Holy Well within.


This month’s practice for mussar is for the middot of cleanliness. I chose to consider each time I use Water as use of Holy Water, focusing on both its cleansing and purifying power. That inner World Ocean qualifies, it occurred to me. The Water there is Holy Water for sure. The sacred inner depths that merge with the Collective Unconscious.

So is the Well Water I just drank from my Water bottle. Pumped from the fractured Granite Aquifer about 80 feet down. So is the coffee I drink. Water. The shower. The sink. Yes, even the toilet bowl. Kep’s water. Rain. Purifying, cleansing Rain. Lake Superior. Filled with Holy Water. Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Water.


It is the start of the High Holidays for my Jewish friends. I don’t have the patience for the long services, though I went with Kate when she still did. I also don’t have the family history of these holidays. No nostalgia. No boost to go. Yet, I find them meaningful to me. A time of reflection, of making amends, of finding that connection with the Holy that makes us alive, our Souls reach down into our depths.

So I say to all of you, Shana Tova!



Posted in Acting, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Great Wheel, Hawai'i, Holidays, Mountains, Mussar, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain, Writing | Leave a comment

Make a will…today!

Fall and the Harvest Moon

Friday gratefuls: Sarah. BJ. Joe. Rich. Kep. Blue Colorado Sky over Black Mountain. A few Cumulus Clouds. Still all green from my window. Cancer. Still there (me, t00). Kristie. Dr. Simpson. Jamie. Tara. The Law. Probate. Ruth and Gabe. Jon’s house. The estate. The messiness of family. The joy of family. Love. Award Winning Pet Grooming.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Love


The state of the estate. Probate grinds on. Mostly in absence of result. No appointments of personal representative yet meaning we can sign no contracts, hire no cleaners or realtors. Fix anything.

Some movement in spite of. Joe’s contacted four realtors, interviewed all but one and that one is today. Same with bio-hazard clean up crews. Four. Lots of information. Anywhere from $12,000 to $6,000 to clear out the house, haul the trash away, move stuff to a storage unit, then clean the house from top to bottom. Realtors. Some not interested. Flippers? Might be a good choice.

Sarah introduced having Thomas and/or Max work on clean up/renovation. Will try to work their generosity into the process. Probably after cleanup, but perhaps before. So many balls in the air.

Joe got Jon’s mail out of the house. We sorted it, started going through it to get a sense of his finances. Chaotic. Varied. Mortgage paid on time. Many other bills waiting a check that did not get deposited. Like many, a lot of medical care debt. Damned US health (deny care) system.

More finance related work to come. Joe wants to begin triage today. This stays, is valuable or sentimental. This is trash. This, ? We can’t take anything like that out of the house in case creditors sue the estate later claiming we interfered before we were legally able to do so. Softly, softly.

Family links. Zoom last night with BJ and Sarah. Hard to deal with all this from faraway. All invested in getting a good result for the kids, i.e. as much cash in the estate’s account as possible. The frustration of the probate process creates confusion, intersecting expectations. Nothing unusual there. Will get sorted. Whether late or soon rides on a Judge in Arapahoe County Family Court.

Seoah wants her husband back. Now. The General for whom Joe works has been more than kind. Take as long as you need. And means it. Joe feels supported by his workplace. Even so it’s a long time to be gone.  A lot of his colleagues have donated to the go-fund me account setup by Thomas Thorpe for Ruth and Gabe.  Here it is again:

Occupying a lot of emotional and mental territory for all of us: Joe. Me. Sarah. BJ. But most of all Ruth and Gabe. Jen, too. Progress, yes, but much slower than anyone wants.

Also. Still waiting on the toxicology report. That will give us, we hope, a definitive cause of death. Still six weeks or so away.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned. If you don’t already have one, make a will. Today!


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Welcome Perspective

Fall and the Harvest Moon

Thursday gratefuls: The MVP mussar group. Cleanliness. Purity. Modesty. Rabbi Jamie. Marilyn. Sarah. Joe. Jon. Kate, always Kate. Kep and the nudge. A cold Rain gonna fall. And, it did. On track for exercise goal this week. Chekhov. Diane. A fun retreat for her. Mary, making it through her second Japanese Typhoon. Mark and the Amazon warehouse. Ruth, homecoming and prom this weekend. Gabe and the Rockies game last night.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Family


Fall has come. Foggy and wet. Waiting for the gold rush when the Aspens take over the Mountain scenery for a few weeks. Leaf peepers will be on the roads along with bugling Elk and Cows ready for the winners of rack clashing contests.

Mountain Fall is different from the slow and varied changes of a Midwest Fall. It comes suddenly and leaves abruptly. Bitonal, gold on green, running up and down Mountainsides and into the Valleys. Less cozy than the Midwest Fall. Not a hot chocolate and Fire in the fireplace phenomena. The Mountain Fall is a bold statement of contrast. The Midwest Fall more an impressionist extravaganza of colors and the browning of the fields.

No real harvest here, either. A few fields of Alfalfa and Timothy. The scattered gardens of the intrepid high altitude gardeners. In the Midwest Fall the cornpickers are out. The combines. Hay’s getting rolled up. Gardens are full of late season vegetables, apple orchards receive paying visitors, raspberries weigh down the canes.

I love both of them and will experience neither when I move to Hawai’i where the seasons are more subtle, less colorful. (I think.) There the Surf rises to epic swells along the Banzai Pipeline and Oahu’s northshore becomes Surf central for the world. Whales come in their seasons. Sea Turtles lay their eggs. Getting a chance to learn more of the wild world’s rhythms excites me. Makes me eager to complete the liftoff process here and make it to a new home.


Neptune. Its Moons. Especially Triton. That Webb. Here are a couple of photographs that took my breath away.






The wide field photograph of Neptune and its largest moon, Triton, (looks like a star with blue rays) positions a Planet like our own, captive to Sol, in its context out nearer the edge of our solar system. And, in the wider field of galaxies visible in the background. Somehow that spoke to me of the vastness of our universe, of the intimacy of our own tiny collection of planets, yet an intimacy characterized more by distance than proximity. We share orbiting Sol and movement through the outer arm of the Milky Way, but otherwise, with the exception of Mars, we keep our distance.

Love these reminders of the wonder through which we move and of the Mayfly lives we pursue here on Earth. Helps me put current struggles in perspective. Needed perspective.


Posted in Beyond the Boundaries, Dogs, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Garden, Great Wheel, Hawai'i, Mountains, Science | Leave a comment

The Weight

Fall and the Harvest Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Fall. Changing Aspen Leaves. Willows. Dogwood. That little furry Animal scurrying into the Woods last night. Chekov. Acting. Emotion. Truth. The waning Harvest Moon. Joseph. Bio-hazard cleaners. Abandoned property realtors. Jon. His ashes. Kate, always Kate. Ruth, a good day yesterday. Jen. Gabe.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Acting


Over to Evergreen Mortuary. Second time in two years to pick up the ashes of a loved family member. On the way home Joseph said, Don’t make this an annual thing. Yeah.

Heavy. The gravity of that small box. Once in my living room, wondering about retirement on disability. Once in his studio cleaning up some discarded metal. Once on the slopes of A-Basin, on skis he had made. Where he most felt himself. Once at the birth of children. Now in a plastic container in a small paper sack along with certificates of his death.

Neat and tidy. Yet a definitely, defiantly messy and untidy life. The artist. The father. The stepson. The teacher. The friend. The man who dreamed and failed to execute. The sick man, troubled by illnesses both mental and physical, serious ones. The angry man who raged against injustice. Who sought to right it in his chosen world, teaching art to a diverse elementary school in a poor neighborhood.

That small box. So weighty. Held in his brother’s hands as we left the mortuary. Jon.


Marty came. The stager. A porkpie hat and a Range Rover. Upbeat. Task focused. Taking pictures with her phone. Running commentary on this. Love the industrial look. Oh, Stickley. I have this, too. What a great space. Let’s move that bookcase up to the formal dining room. Maybe that chair back upstairs. Yes. Love that painting. My eyes keep being drawn to it. Can those strips come up?

She’ll send me a staging sheet by Monday. Joe came along for the tour. He just sold his house in Georgia. Flush with real estate knowledge. Engaged now with Jon’s house and Dad’s.

Hawai’i moving closer. Still distant, but pieces of the project coming to life. Robin comes next week for our first three hour session. Pruning. Deaccessioning my life in stuff. Purging. Suppose it’s sort of like constipation, all this stuff. Can’t move on until it clears out.

I can hear the waves of the Pacific beating on the North Shore of Oahu. Aloha Rocky Mountains.


Acting. So tired last night when I went. Almost didn’t go. Maybe just leave it. No. Signed up. $325. Loved the last class. And Tal’s teaching. In the car headed down Black Mountain Drive toward Evergreen. Mule Deer out along the road. The Arapaho Forest. Upper Maxwell Falls and the few cars left at 6 pm. Denverites most likely. A pre-fall hike, after work.

Following the curves I know well. Seeing the Mountains rise, Maxwell Creek still full from late rains. The occasional gold flecks in the pannier of the Mountain side.

Tal cut his hair. Shaved. Importance of Being Earnest at Stage Door. Nikkia. An East Indian like Joe? So young. 25. Tal only 27? That woman from the performance for the old folks. The one who took the sword and danced around the bodies. A timid woman. I’ll remember their names after next time.

Tal starts and ends his classes with a question. The first one, after reading Chekov’s 8 characteristics of a civilized person, what is a civilized person. Expected, safe responses. Respect for the other. Care in relationships. Me: I don’t want to be a civilized person. Look at what the civilized people of Chekov’s day did to the world. Imperial Russia. I’ll go with Whitman’s barbaric yap.

Clapping together. Harder than it looks. My reaction times, a hair off. 75 year old eyes? Distractions? Got better. Walking. Feel the soles of your feet. Your ankles. Your calves. How they move. Make the hips act. Change your gate.

A Strasberg warmup. How do I feel? You stand up and say How do I feel and answer honestly. My turn. I feel sad. I feel exhausted. I feel weary. I feel bored. I feel relieved. I feel angry. I feel loved. I feel…and I let out a big sigh.

After the clapping and the walking and the tightening and releasing work I’d begun to loosen. Emotional knots becoming untied. The Strasberg work put me at last in the room, attentive.

A Tal lesson on the Five Questions. Learned these in scene study this spring. The answers are in the script and they determine how you approach the character. Who am I? Where and when am I? What do I want? What do I do when I do or don’t get what I want? Distilled by the director of the Yale Drama program. Which is three years long and starts with a year of Chekhov, then a year of Shakespeare, and finally a year of new work in collaboration with the playwrights program there.

After that our first acquaintance with the scenes Tal has chosen for us. Reading. The fun part. Speaking the words of another. Sending them out there. Trying to know what the character wants. Who he is. Where and when he is. Early. Fun.

Last question as the evening came to an end. What gets in the way of love? Fear. Lack of vulnerability. Judgment. Ego. I wanted to dive in with the work the Ancient Brothers had done, but resisted. Taking up the right amount of space.


Home late. A sweet conversation with Joe. Then bed. So nice to have him there when I got back.



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Fall and the Harvest Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: That 8 point Buck in my back this morning. Cool morning. Legal wheels grinding, spilling ink and bytes as they go. A little blood, too. Joe. Working hard. Carol and Susan and Tara. Food bearers. Robin and Doncye. Rich. The realtor team. Jen, thawed. Me, too. Love.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Love


Each morning I wake up and look out my window. Lodgepoles and one Aspen, tufted Grass, Wildflowers. I hold a wish each morning. To see a Deer or an Elk there, too. This morning. An 8 point Mule Deer Buck dining on the Grass. He fled when Kep when outside.

I have not yet gotten enough of the wild Creatures here. Will not. No one does. Each time they come as emissaries from that World before us. And the World without us. The one when the Beavers dammed the Creeks; the Mountain Lions lay on rocky overhangs for 8 point Mule Deer Bucks; the Bears found Bee Hives hung from Trees; the Fox snatched Voles from their dens. There were no cars. No chimneys. No stray Coke cans or plastic water bottles. No roads. No humans anywhere in these Rocky Mountains. Yes, even before the folks who were here before us engine users, we builders of power lines, and fellers of trees.

It’s beautiful here, Joe. Last night coming back from Brook’s tavern. Yeah, I miss the Mountains, too, Dad. But you’re going to another beautiful place. Beauty is an unsung virtue so often when it comes to choosing where to live. Essential to me. Like Air.


The house. Joe went there with a realtor/property manager. Military guy and his wife. May be tough getting much out of it. Some structural damage they think. I’m not sure how significant. Cleaning is a major project. But we knew that.

Made me clench a bit. I’m dumping cash into Jon’s death sequelae. I hope to get it back from the sale of the house. What if I can’t? Will have to spend some more before we even know the most probable answer to that question.

We have to have the house cleaned. Might be covered by home insurance. Fingers crossed. Also, Jon was required to maintain life insurance according to the divorce decree. But. Did he? And how will we discover where the policy is?

Then there’s the legal fees. Mounting as the true complexity of this situation becomes apparent. Still, necessary.

Not to mention death certificates and his cremation. Ready now.

Joe’s already been here almost two weeks and may stay now through next Wednesday. He wants to be sure the house work is on a path he can manage from Hawai’i. That would be three weeks away from his XO job with the General in charge of plans and strategy for the Indo-Pacific Air Force Command.

All this pales of course in relation to the currents of grief coursing through Ruth and Gabe. Joe takes Gabe to a Rockies game tomorrow night. I’ve reached out to both of them, no response from Ruth. Need to get a new rhythm established with them. Easier now that Jen and I are speaking. Still hard. They live a very long drive from here and Jen’s not likely to drive them up here like Jon did.


Meanwhile Marty, the stager, comes today. That Hawai’i project still on track, moving forward. Nothing happens without changes, obstacles, challenges. Expected. Even so, Jon’s death? Not expected.


Posted in Colorado, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Hawai'i, Hermitage, Judaism, Shadow Mountain, The Move | Leave a comment

I reasoned like a child

Lughnasa and the Harvest Moon

Monday gratefuls: Joe. Such a sweet guy. So competent. A lot of Tolkien lore as well as sports card and comic book knowledge. A lot. Not to mention all that Air Force stuff. Rings of Power. Old photographs. Old stuff. Pruning. Preparing. Waiting on the legal process. Waiting. Jon, r.i.p. Kate, always Kate. Ruth and Gabe. Acting class. MVP. Marti. Robin.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Life. And Death.


More food. Carol brought winner, winner chicken dinner. Rice, chicken, vegetables, desert. Joe and I heated it up and watched the Tolkien series on Prime Video, Rings of Power. Very, very well done. This was our prize after an afternoon of sorting through photographs, mostly photographs yesterday.

Laughing again. A few look at this! Can you imagine? Where was this taken? Who is that? You know. The way it goes.


More back and forth with Rich’s office on the court filing. Not in yet. Hopefully today. So much work. Pricey, I imagine, even though Rich is always more than fair with me. Even so, it’s our ticket to ending the barricades erected against selling off Jon’s estate.

Getting estimates for cleaning. Valuation. Those can now happen, but no signing of contracts until the Personal Representative has been appointed by a judge. Joe has an appointment today with a potential property manager who could handle the work needed once the court acts.


Got to thinking about a phrase, old man. No. I’m a man who is old. Not an old man. Important difference. I am still who I have become on my Soul journey, who my Self has evolved to become. My body is old, yes indeed. How well I know. But not my Soul. Not my Self.

I want to be clear. Neither am I forever young or any of that trite bullshit. No. I am who I have become, the complicated sum and synergy of 75 years of dreams, loves, fears, deaths, work, good and bad luck, decisions, choices, conclusions, reading, all those things that carom off the inner world, shaping and making who I am.

Sometimes I have clarity about who that guy is. This man who is old. Sometimes not. But in all cases now I love him, my Self, my Soul at this point on its path. I decided a while ago I needed to apply to myself the forgiveness and compassion I so easily offer to most others in my life. Maybe it’s not love your neighbor as yourself, but love yourself as you love your neighbor.

We talked about this yesterday in the Ancient Brothers.  Paul asked us to talk about love. Most of my conversation was about the wonderful and amazing family, constructed by so much love, that has emerged after Kate’s death. Not as the only family I love, have loved, but as an example of what this remarkable, this remarkable what?, can do.

What is love? Ah. A question for the ages. Corinthians. Sure. If you notice, in the Corinthians passage, love does indeed look like a verb. Not something static, created once and then in place forever, rather an ongoing series of actions and choices: kindness, patience, humility, peace making, joy inducing, enduring. Not sure who said love is a verb, but it seems right. (Buckminster Fuller did say God is a verb.)

Here’s an insight I just had while re-reading the Corinthians passage below. “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” What if we lifted out that phrase I reasoned like a child and understood it to mean: As I child, I reasoned, but as a man I gave up reason for love. Interesting twist, I think.




“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” First Corinthians, 13:1-13



Posted in Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends, Judaism, Mussar, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant. | Leave a comment

The Past Is Not Even Past

Lughnasa and the Harvest Moon

Sunday gratefuls: The past. In photographs and maps and military documents. Birthday cards and notes left behind. Report cards and receipts. Ticket stubs. Scrap books. Awards. Buttons and tokens. Foreign money and stamps.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Notes from Kate, saved


Moving stirs up the debris of the past. Joe and I spent several hours yesterday going through boxes of photographs and other memorabilia from the time streams of our family. He found Mom and Dad’s military papers and photographs especially fascinating. He could read the purpose behind Dad’s saved orders. I bet I could reconstruct his whole career from these, he said.

Dad also had maps of air corridors across the U.S. Joe’s an Air Force guy. Dad was in the Army Air Force.

Mom had many photographs, one of her in uniform in color. She had shots from Algiers, Capris, Rome. Even a hotel brochure from Switzerland. She traveled Europe during the war. Working in Signal Corps offices. Joe said she did what he’s doing right now. Reading mail. Editing drafts of documents. Answering the phone.

His grandma and grandpa have a special connection for him even though he didn’t know Mom at all and knew Dad very little.

We laughed at some of his early baseball pictures. Him swinging the bat, using his hips, extended well. Good form at 8 or 10. He laughed at my Amish beard. No mustache. What were you thinking? I had no idea.

Programs from concerts throughout his school years. Joseph Buckman-Ellis, baritone, for example. A cross-country photograph with him on the ground, pulling his legs close to his head. I couldn’t do that now!

Cards from Kate as our relationship began to grow serious. A couple that made me tear up. Others that made me laugh. Letters from another woman I’d been dating at the time, Carolyn. Women’s Theater Project. Another Jewish woman. There were three Jewish women in my life at the time.

A very cute picture of my sister Mary. First grade! A handsome football uniformed picture of my brother Mark. Dad’s journalism awards for best column. Two times.

Photographs from my early visits to Hawai’i with Kate. A lot of very bad photographs. It was harder to learn with the cameras of that era. You shot the photograph, but didn’t know how it turned out until weeks, sometimes months later. How did we ever handle that time before cameras in our phones?

Photographs of our honeymoon. So many sweet and important memories.

A few twinges, too. Carolyn loved me. And I ended our relationship to be with Kate. Sad. I wasn’t good at ending relationships. Too abrupt. Too black or white. Reminded me of another relationship I ended before I started dating Raeone. 75 year old me wishes I’d been braver, more caring in those times.

Going through all this stuff with Joe was sweet and precious. Building and reinforcing memories of family. Of our own past together.


Posted in Anoka County, Family, Feelings, Fourth Phase, Friends | Leave a comment