Sannyasa

Lughnasa and the Lughnasa Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: HVAC mini-splits. Tom. His HVAC guy. Diane. Cousins. Family. Extended and virtual. Claire and her new life. Social Security. Cool morning. Allergies. Ragweed. Chenopods: amaranth, pigweed, waterhemp, russian thistle, lamb’s quarters. Washing machine. Dishwasher. Stove. Refrigerator. Sink. Well. Pump.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The trouble small bits of plant sex can cause

Tarot: Justice, #11 of the Major Arcana

 

Beginning, slowly. Sensing. Too much time in the afternoons. I take this as a good sign. I’m getting what I need to get done in the mornings, my best portion of the day, then I have a larger chunk of time in the afternoon where I feel a bit aimless. Over the last three years, the afternoon and evenings involved caretaking for Kate. So, filled up, always something else to do.

The pruning, the planning for the 18th, the administrative side of taking over all responsibilities, have all begun to yield. Hardly finished, but none of them weigh on me, pushing me, as they had even this last month.

The Musician and the Hermit – Moritz von Schwind

In my life change often comes because I’m bored. Oh, I’ve got time for this, now! Or, what could I be doing with this time? I have a few go to’s: reading and writing at the top of the list every time. Travel, especially close to home. Hiking. Museum going. Eating out. More time with friends.

There is, too, a niggling sensation that I could be doing more. Something more in a justice/climate change/political activism way. And, yes, I could.

But. I’m trying to lean into the life of the sannyasa, the fourth stage of Hindu life, a stage of renunciation, of pursuit of spiritual matters. And, the life of a mountain recluse in the shan-shui tradition of China. Perhaps, for now, a semi-hermetic life. Focused on reading, learning, writing. Self-awareness. Deepening my inner journey.

I’m going to mark September 29, Michaelmass, as a time to focus on whether this will remain my path. A retreat, perhaps. Three days somewhere in the mountains. Seems like a good idea.

Drew the justice card. No big insights today.

But. I did get a letter from Social Security yesterday explaining why they can’t pay me right now. My mistake. I didn’t give a new routing number after I closed the Health Care Credit Union account.

However, I have a call with them on Thursday, long awaited. This will be the one where I claim survivors benefits which will bump my social security up a grand plus. I started this process in April when I informed them of Kate’s death. Lots of getting put off, turned over to someone else.

 

 

*”It can also suggest a frustrating encounter with bureaucracy. If it shows up in your reading in this context, be prepared to navigate some red tape. Get help or advice from someone within the system you’re working in. Stay patient and persistent. This card in a positive position and upright indicates a good outcome.” tarotluv

Posted in Aging, Art and Culture, Asia, Fourth Phase, Great Wheel, Holidays, Mountains, Myth and Story, Our Land and Home, Reimagine. Reconstruct. Reenchant., Shadow Mountain, Tarot | Leave a comment

It Means the World To Me

Lughnasa and the Lughnasa Moon

Monday gratefuls: Jon, Ruth, Gabe. The dinner they made. Their visit. Jon donating his Subaru to CPR. His management of his glucose levels and his depression. School starting for him this week. The kids in two. Kate, always. Rain. The Monsoon’s! Flank steak salad. Today.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rigel’s indignant bark.

Tarot: The World, #21 of the Major Arcana (on the right), Druid Craft*

 

The Fates

Ancient ones in the morning. The thread that runs through our lives. Mine = curiosity. Another’s: leadership and service. Another’s: being in the experience. Anothers: being unconventional. Anothers: agency. What thread appears throughout the tapestry of your life?

Breakfast. Laundry. Nap. Jon, Ruth, and Gabe came up. They brought pasta salad, pasta with pesto, and steak. Not having to cook? Yeah. We ate a meal together. Jon and Gabe went out to remove items from the Subaru. Ruth went into the sewing room to sort out what she wants of Kate’s various quilting, sewing tools and cloth. I cleaned up the kitchen.

BJ

At 3 we all gathered round electronic rectangles to talk with Sarah and Annie in North Carolina. They were in Annie’s spacious two-bedroom apartment in a Winston-Salem assisted living spot. Annie’s been there a couple of weeks now.

We talked about the 18th, our plans as they have modified to accommodate Ruth and Gabe’s back to school day. Continental breakfast or brunch here. Cooking during the day for a meal after scattering Kate’s ashes. Family time. Collective grieving. A lesson from Judaism.

Jon and the kids left to return to their mom’s, for their week with her. The energy level in the house dropped back down to normal.

Love you all, I shouted out the door as they climbed into the Jeep gifted to them by Annie. We love you, too!

Kate in Rehab, 2018, with the quilt made for her by the Bailey Patchworkers.

The World. Stepping outside my comfort zone. See below. Grief wrenches you way outside your comfort zone, destroys it altogether for a bit. Pushes you beyond it because you have to go somewhere brand new and starkly different.

It’s almost four months now since Kate died. Funeral. Shiva. Family. Food. Anguish. Fussy administrative stuff. Picking up Kate’s ashes. Six weeks in Hawai’i. Overdoing my right leg. Coming back to a Kateless house. Settling back in. Groceries. Cooking. Jon, Ruth, Gabe. CBE. Rigel and Kep. The house.

Still moving with a bit of the slows. Not anguished anymore, but distracted. Pruning Kate’s closets, dresser, jewelry chests. Reorganizing her sewing room for Ruth and the Bailey Patchworkers. Tom’s help. Most of this accomplished from my end.

Donating to Mountain Resource Center and the consignment shop in Bailey await Marilyn’s return. August 11th. On August 13th Laurie and Jamie will come to retrieve what Ruth does not want. Ruth has already begun to move things. Still targeting the 18th, a couple of days before, as the point when all of Kate’s left behinds will be gone.

Seeing Jon and the kids pull away after a pleasant visit. Yes. P.T. still loosening up my I.T. band. A full freezer. The Tarot and Kabbalah class. Kep’s allergies resolved. Rigel eating well. House staining scheduled. The mini-split identified.

The World card suggests that I’ve passed through an initial, and difficult phase of grieving. It feels true to me. Life with Jon and the kids seems set for a smoother, loving future. The most dramatic aspects following Kate’s death have come close to resolution. Pruning. All the administrative details. Living day to day without her physical presence. Taking charge of my own, independent life.

“Right now you can rest in having achieved closure and the lessons you needed from this phase of your life.” Not sure I’d go quite this far. Closure has always been a suspect idea. I don’t want closure with Kate’s death. I want integration of my life with her and my life without her. Learning the initial lessons of grief? Yes, I believe I have.

Leaving for Hawaii

And, yes, there is a sense of satisfaction. I’ve not gone crazy, nor has despair put me down. But. I did not achieve these things alone, far, far from it. One of the lessons learned is the necessity of beloved community to weather hard times. So evident. Another lesson. Keep moving. Another. Keep Kate close. Always. Another. Work at transforming yourself and the relationships you have with others.

And more, I’m sure. These are the ones evident right now.

Yes. I’ll admit. I feel good about the months since Kate died. Not because they have been easy, but, to paraphrase JFK: because they have been hard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*”This represents a moment to acknowledge the hard work that got you where you are now. Along with this achievement is a sense of deep satisfaction.

Right now you can rest in having achieved closure and the lessons you needed from this phase of your life.

In a practical sense, the World can suggest pushing yourself to explore the world with confidence —especially if you have issues stepping out of your comfort zone. It can hint at adventures found traveling or overseas.” tarotluv

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Feelings, Kabbalah, Our Land and Home, Shadow Mountain, Tarot, Third Phase, Travel | Leave a comment

All That Dies Shall Be Reborn, Lughnasa 2021

Lughnasa and the Lughnasa Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Resurrection. Love is enough. Kate, always Kate. Allergies. Rain. Rain. Cool. Cool. Ruth. Jon. Gabe. Rigel and Kep. The Druid Craft Deck. The Wooden Tarot Deck. Introspection. Introspective cues. Steak salad.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: That bulldog I waved to yesterday. He had his head out the window of the car.

Tarot: Nine of Cups, Druid Deck  Reversed

 

On a cold, rainy Sunday morning here on Shadow Mountain the Great Wheel turns. Lughnasa. 8,800 feet mutes its traditional significance as a first fruits holiday, a day to celebrate the first gathering of crops from the growing season. Not much agriculture up here. Six Angus feeding out on grass in a meadow half way down Shadow Mountain Drive. A once mown field of grasses and flowers at the base of the mountain. A few vegetable gardens here and there.

In my home region of the Midwest however Lughnasa has not waned much. The direct ancestor of county and state fairs, Lughnasa found the early Celts in villages, selling vegetables, perhaps chickens, eggs, crafts. Dancing.

Lughnasa got the absorption treatment by the Roman Catholic church who named the mass around August 1, Lammas. On this holiday mass parishioners would bring loaves of bread (lammas=loaf mass) made from the first harvest of wheat or, corn, as the British call it. Corn there included all grains. The corn grown in the New World, actually a plant called maize, looked like an ear of wheat to early settlers and the name stuck.

Some Wiccans call this holiday Lammas in what I consider a confused nod to the Roman Catholic attempt to wipe out the auld religion.

If you’ve ever been to a 4-H country fair, or one of the Midwestern state fairs, especially Minnesota, Indiana, or Iowa, you’ve seen proud displays of honey, tomatoes, stitchery, pigs, and fancy chickens. The very things Celts might have collected for sale during a Lughnasa market week.

Today you might look at the garden of your life. Perhaps you have tended it well since Beltane, the beginning of the growing season. What’s available right now for a first harvest of your work? A few chapters of a book? Several pages in a sketchbook? Phone calls or other messages from relationships you’ve nurtured? Or, you could have ripening beans, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, onions. Perhaps your bees have had a good summer. Is it about time for a honey harvest?

Kate. Standing up for what she believes. Confident.

As for me. Kate died April 12th, only eighteen days before May 1st, the first day of the growing season on the Great Wheel. My life went into a sudden winter, a winter from which it has not yet emerged, in spite of the outer turning of the Wheel. Not a bad thing. A natural, normal immersion in the darkness of death, isolation, loss. A needed immersion.

I’ve had plenty of support. Of particular importance has been Joe and Seoah, the Ancient Ones, and Congregation Beth Evergreen. A spirituality based in Taoism and the Great Wheel sustains me on my journey underground. None of these can eliminate sadness, grief, nor should they.

It does mean that I come to this Lughnasa, this 2021 first fruits holiday, with a heart still in a shroud.

This last week has had tough moments, unexpected triggers for grief’s charioteer, sadness. Coming up Shadow Mountain Drive I remembered our first drive up here, in the dark. Four mule deer jumped out and ran across the road as we rounded a corner. We were both so happy to see them

Love

When I dropped off Kate’s wheelchair and rollator at CBE, I recalled a picture I have of her on Rosh Hashanah 0f 2018, sitting on the green (her favorite color) rollator in the social hall. A week or so later she would have her bleed which signaled the true start of her decline.

No first fruits for me this Lughnasa. This year I’m out of sync with the Great Wheel, though try me again on September 29th, Michaelmas. Rudolf Steiner’s springtime of the soul. I might emerge like the groundhog, see the sun lower in the fall sky, and declare myself in a new spring of a transformed life. Could happen.

The reversed nine of cups speaks to me of this. It says, look for sadness, loss of pleasure. A struggle to achieve goals. Frustration that wishes have not come true.

All of these are true for me right now. I don’t see them as anything other than a normal reaction to Kate’s death. I am sad. Sometimes. I’ve not found my g-spot for this new post-Kate’s physical presence life. Any goals, short term especially, get bogged down when I lose energy. And, yes, I’m frustrated that I’m not further along in something I cannot hurry.

Grief. The process of realignment, of realization, of transformation. Not easy. Not impossible. Difficult.

 

 

Posted in Family, Feelings, Great Wheel, Holidays, Judaism, Memories, Minnesota, Mountains, Shadow Mountain, Tarot, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment

Kindred Spirits

Last day of Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Mini-split air con units. Thanks, Tom. Mark’s suggestion for a topic on Sunday. Lotta sleep last night and this morning. Feeling good. An excellent meal with Jon yesterday evening. Rain. Cooler weather. Smoky on High. Lush mountain meadows, filled with waving stalks of pollen.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sashimi. Japan.

Tarot card: Ace of Wands, Druid Craft Deck

 

Good news. At dinner with Jon we talked about our new relationship, one with Kate no longer physically present. Though she remains a psychic presence for us both in powerful ways. We agreed we wanted to continue, be family. Over sushi, sashimi, and crab wontons. Uplifting.

I spent yesterday handling various matters. Groceries. Bills. Emails. Workout. The dinner with Jon. Must have worn me out because I slept 9 hours +. Also, rain and a cool night helped.

Tom helped me find the mini-split air conditioning system. It will work for my downstairs. Just have to find a contractor and get it installed. Too late, unfortunately, for Kate.

Taking this Saturday as a rest day, a travel day as Kate and I called it. We always took a rest day after long travel.

It was a big week. Ruth and Gabe here Sunday night through Tuesday evening. A lot  of pruning work with Ruth. House cleaners on Tuesday. Kep into VRCC for his allergy shot. P.T. on Monday and Wednesday. Tarot and Kabbalah on Wednesday. Alan for breakfast, Jackie for a haircut, and mussar on Thursday. Donating the wheelchair and the rollator. Errands yesterday and the time with Jon and the evening. Not to mention laundry, folding clothes, cooking, feeding the dogs. You know, all that ordinary homestuff.

Pruning goes well. I’m on a hiatus from it until Ruth makes up her mind about all the sewing related things. Still hoping to have it complete, or almost, before the 18th. Get furniture moved around over that time period. Try to get a new feel for the house sorted out by Thanksgiving.

Have had to modify the 18th because we learned this week that Ruth and Gabe’s first day of school is the 18th. Shifted activities to late afternoon and evening. Only possible wrinkle? The Delta variant. If it continues to rage, as it has of late, it may interfere with travel. If that happens, we’ll push this out to 2022. See this from this mornings Washington Post:

“The newly resurgent coronavirus could spark 140,000 to 300,000 cases a day in the United States come August, fueled by the highly transmissible delta variant and the widespread resumption of normal activities, disease trackers predict.”

Thomas Cole and William Cullen Bryant, Kindred Spirits Painting by Asher Brown Durand

Ace of wands. Rather than go to the Rider-Waite interpretations, I’m going to read this one on my own. The Druid Craft deck speaks to me as one grounded in Celtic lore and myth.

A bull elk with an 8 or 10 point rack stands on a rock that reminds me of the Pulpit Rock in Strand, Norway. It also reminds me of a painting by Asher Durand.

A steep cleft in the mountains separates the bull from another precipice, one shaded by an autumnal aspen grove.

Above the mountains the blazing sun sends fire to the tree, the elk, the mountains, the sky while a full moon hangs, almost invisible in the fiery presence, above a small spire of rock behind the elk.

Bull with water lily, 2015, Lake Evergreen

The wand lays itself over the sun, perhaps having summoned its energy. Or, in the process of summoning it? The wand has reddish bark that seems still living, as if the wand had only recently been cut from a tree, or somehow remains alive anyhow. Perhaps a rowan? The wand as alive seems confirmed by the green leaves, eight in all, mysteriously falling away from it.

The whole scene is peaceful. Some key words that come to mind: majestic. natural. communal. creativity. fire. determination. mountainous. lone elk. aspen grove. single wand.

Black Mountain, 2015

Perhaps the wand has become a conduit between the sun and the natural world at its fall change. The push of the sun’s fire has caused the wand to send its green leaves, which it needs to continue living, on a mission, as angels, messengers of the sun’s creative power.

The elk and the aspen grove, animal and plants, both salute the sun. A bull elk with a rack like that is ready for the rut, the annual fertility rite for all elks. The aspen grove, with its just turning toward gold leaves, has begun to prepare for winter, a time when it will have to live off foods stored in and around its interlocked root system.

The positive session with Jon last night, the on pace pruning, Tom’s visit a week ago, the Tarot and Kabbalah class have me feeling grounded, yet still transforming. Moving toward the creative energy of the sun, soaking it in with the Bull and the Aspen Grove. In the mountains. On my Pulpit Rock, where I stand with my kindred spirits, the river and mountain poets of Chinese history.

Life on a different, yet familiar ancientrail.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Friends, GeekWorld, Great Wheel, Kabbalah, Plants, Tarot, The West, Third Phase, Weather +Climate | Leave a comment

Thursday

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Friday gratefuls: Cool morning. I really like cool mornings. And afternoons, too, for that matter. Evenings? Yes. Nights. Them too. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Kate, always Kate. Tarot. Kabbalah. Lodgepole Pines. January 6th investigation. Hawai’i. Joe. Seoah.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Kate

Tarot card: Seven of Swords

 

tesla in colorado springs

A busy day yesterday. Breakfast with Alan at the Conifer Cafe. Afterward he charged his Tesla. It only needed a bit of a charge. Tesla charges a dollar a minute for any time you’re connected to a charger, but already fully charged. Always good to talk to him. Learned some things about commercial real estate. Office real estate bad. Small business real estate, better.

Haircut after breakfast. Jackie. Such a sweetheart. She asks about my health, about how I’m doing. Including, what are you doing today? What kinds of things are you doing? Gentle, not probing. Did make me think. She and Kate were good friends and I came to her shop on Kate’s advice. Glad I did.

Home for a short nap. Over to mussar. Dropped off Kate’s brand new wheelchair and her green Rollator at the synagogue. Donation. Hope some folks get good use out of them.

The pruning got a lift the first of the week with Ruth finishing the jewelry and going through Kate’s clothes. Ruth was too wiped out though to go through the sewing room. I get it. She was very close to Kate and this work drains the psyche, the heart. She’s coming back on Sunday.

Weird problem with paying bills. I’m new to this since Kate liked to pay the bills, handle the money-for the last 30 years. I’m using bill pay through my checking account. It allows me to set a date when a bill will be payed. I thought (still think) that I set dates for the gas, electricity, and phone/internet bills.

But. Apparently not. I ended up late on all three. Not sure what I’m missing here, but I have to get a better handle on this. I will, too.

Jon leaving the Double Eagle

Tarot class. There’s a lot of information about the cards, decks, suits, major arcana, relation to kabbalah. Sometimes my head spins with the amount of knowledge Rabbi Jamie can squeeze into an hour or so. Fun learning.

The seven of swords I take as a cautionary note about my dinner with Jon tonight. I hope we can gain some insight into each other, prepare a path that works for both of us. This card says, maybe. A good reminder that intention is not the same as result.

 

 

 

“In a reading the 7 of Swords tells of the possibility of tension, arguments, disagreements and misunderstandings within a current situation.

The Seven of Swords can carry a message that something you thought lost will be returned to you. This may include the rekindling of friendships and old ties.”  The Royal Road

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What Got the GOAT?

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Rebecca, p.t. My IT band, gradually, slowly loosening. Cool morning. Allergies. Oxygen. Good O2 saturation. Rigel eating well. Kep’s response to the cytopoint. Supper with Jon tomorrow night. Ruth. A fine young woman.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Muscles and fascia

Tarot: Six of Pentacles

 

What if top athletes turned out to be human after all? I think the notion of GOAT overused and awfully confident, given we can’t know the future, or, even weigh the present accurately against the past. In a post career world, like, say, Michael Jordan, being the GOAT might gild the sunset a bit; but, for a working athlete like Simon Biles, a weight too much.

Simon Biles has transformed what it means to be a woman athlete, what it means to be great and confident. And, I love her for it. Legends live authentic lives, not lives dictated by the restrictions of stereotypes or expectations. Biles is on her way to legendary status.

How bout that infrastructure deal? From what I’ve read so far, a timid and inadequate piece of work in its content, yet a marked improvement in bipartisanship. I’m gonna applaud the optics of Democrats and Republicans working together on anything. I do think it’s important for our democracy that the two parties work out a deal now and then.

But. I also think the work ahead will include at least two very important legislative items that need to be “muscled” through with the help of budget reconciliation: the remaining infrastructure work; and, the voting rights bill, by any means necessary. Including eliminating the filibuster.

In politics the word for GOAT is statesperson, one able to view political dynamics from above the fray and able to bring others to their side in spite of disagreements. Don’t see any of those out there right now. None.

Tarot and Kabbalah. I know. How woo-woo can you get? I mean… Yet. In both I find meaning, new places to stand as I see myself and others against the big, big tapestry of spacetime. There are plenty of examples over the last few days. The Tarot cards I’ve drawn have illuminated present situations, giving me a perspective I would not have gotten elsewhere. I’m grateful for them.

Kabbalah itself works as a metaphor for the complex interplay between malkut, this physical, material world, and keiter, the crown of creation. How energy travels up and down the Tree of Life. How virtues, midot or character traits, like wisdom, understanding, loving kindness, justice, beauty, facilitate the transmission of power from the ayn soph, the nothingness fecund and distant, through yes and no and pleasure to create the place where we live our lives. Before birth, we were in the fecund, distant realm of the ayn soph, after death we return there.

What or where is it? Don’t know. Don’t care. But. A place or a state of becoming exists which holds us before and after our turn in malkut. We participate actively in the creation and transformation of reality. The Way of transformation and creation has identifiable attributes, attributes we can nurture? Yes, that I care about.

Example from today: the six of pentacles. Here’s one possible interpretation:

“The Six of Pentacles is a card of giving and receiving. Sometimes, you are on the giving end; other times, you are on the receiving end. It’s an ongoing cycle of life, and this card serves as a reminder that the balance can change at any time.” biddytarot

I’ve been on the receiving end of so much love, comfort, concern since Kate died. My gratitude mirrors my need. I needed a lot of holding, a trust fall into the arms of my support system. Held up! So many gifts of time, of hugs, of lodging, of food, of visits. Of respect and care. Tom’s visit. Joe and Seoah’s generous offer of their home. The Mitzvah committee and the food. Rabbi Jamie and the services around Kate’s death. The Ancient Ones holding me as I fell into the well of sorrow. Rigel and Kep, always there for me. And more, so much more.

Now that I’m stabilized, it’s becoming my turn. I like the concept of generosity the figure in the six of pentacles exhibits, but I resonate most with this observation from the kasamba website:

“Another perspective holds that this type of aid is fake or not enough. It isn’t from the heart. When there is so much abundance in the environment, why should people suffer at all? It points at class differences and the inherent inequality in our lives…In a perfectly equal world, all three people in the card would be standing up, having one another at eye level, regardless of how much money they have. They would have equal worth as humans.”

Yes. Let generous inclinations support the broader initiatives of President Biden where childcare, eldercare, healthcare are seen not as profit centers, but as infrastructure as or more important than bridges, roads, and railroads. If we help this sort of legislation become law, we might alter this card, stand up all three into a community of caring. Yes.

 

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Planting a Flag

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Septic. Ruth, and her emotional honesty. Jon, gaining some traction. Gabe, lover of animals. Joe, coming on the 14th. Seoah and Mary. Diane. Tom, his trip out here still resonating. Gnome, sweet Gnome. Rebecca at p.t.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Family

Tarot: Justice, #9 of the Major Arcana, reversed

 

Ruth and Gabe came up Sunday night. Late, around 7. We had a couple of good days. Sweet ones with conversation, meals, time with the dogs, and especially for Ruth, pruning. This house will be a memorable spot for them as they get older. Grandpop and Grandma’s house in the mountains.

Lots of memories. Ruth learning to cook. Kate. Sew. Kate. Be a woman. Kate. Gabe finding antlers. Losing his toys in the backyard. Loving the dogs. Putting together puzzles. Watching TV. Sleeping in the painted room, the kid’s room. Hanukah. Thanksgiving. July 4th. Birthdays for Kate, me. Their Dad’s residence here for a year.

In my life it was the farm. The place where my cousins Diane, Richard, and Kristin lived. Uncle Riley and Aunt Virginia. Summer weeks spent there. The humidity high, corn, too. The cattle. The gravel driveway. The bedroom that smelled like cedar. Collies. Fireflies. The Blue River.

This was the point of our move. To be in Ruth and Gabe’s lives. We’ve achieved that, planting our flag in their developing psyches. Justice. Love. Compassion. (Leadership, eh, Paul?) Love and respect for animals and the natural world. Creativity. Writing, painting, sewing, cooking. Stability and calmness. As they grow, they will know their grandparents stood for a full life, an engaged live, a creative life, but most of all, a loving life.

My job. Continue. Create new memories, new days and weeks, and holidays, and special moments. This is a task of the third phase, helping prepare the next generation. I feel lucky to participate in it.

Drove over to Bailey yesterday to get hot dogs at the hot dog spot shaped like a hot dog. Closed. Boarded up. Well, damn. Had to get Subway instead. A let down. But. Liks has its second outpost here in Conifer. It’s the number one spot for ice cream in Denver. Yumm.

Justice reversed. Point taken. Reeling back in my frustration, taking into account depression, grief, general dysfunction. Still need to have a talk, but perhaps a different focus. I appreciate the nudge.

 

 

 

*”Ask yourself if you’re judging a situation or person unfairly? Do you fully understand all sides of a story? Don’t jump to conclusions too soon. There could be big gaps in your knowledge of what’s really going on. Take the time to listen to both sides carefully and without judgment.” Tarotluv

 

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What a Woman

Summer and the Moon of Lughnasa

Tuesday gratefuls: Ruth. Gabe. Jon. Pruning. Proceeding. Oyama, sushi. Shadow Mountain. My foundation. Hawai’i. Joe. Seoah. Mary and Diane. Mark. Allergies. Pollen. Kate expressed in her jewelry, her clothing, her stash, her tools for quilting and sewing.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The growth of children. Dogs sticking their heads out of vehicle windows.

Tarot: The Emperor, #4 of the Major Arcana

 

Friend Tom Crane found this perfect expression of the state of my grief:

Separation

by W.S. Merwin

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

A dress Kate mad from Ruth’s sketch

Apropos. So much thread, so many needles, so many colorful pieces of fabric. Three sewing machines. Kate as a thread in the needle of my life. Oh, yes. No action is without her influence, her touch, her memory. In Kate’s instance? Green thread. The thread of plant leaves, of Iris stalks, of Hosta, of Lodgepole Pine needles. The color of the Great Work, creating a sustainable human presence on this earth.

She created quilts, wall hangings, shirts, healthy children, loving grandchildren. All with the quiet intelligence, the empathy, the wry humor, the keen ear I loved in her. I am proud to carry her memory forward, to dye the remainder of my life green in her honor.

What a woman.

More p.t. with Rebecca. She’s quick, helpful, supportive. She’s modified my workout, suggested three 10 minute hikes a week, massaged my I.T. band. “I think we’ve found the culprit,” she said. Ouch. Yep. Must be it.

Working out is important to self-worth. When I work out, I honor my body, my daily needs for strength, agility, flexibility. And, I feel strong. When I neglect it, I feel irresponsible and therefore weaker.

With reasonable justification my life has grown chaotic, arrhythmic. Grief disorders the self, its way. Searches down this path and that one, trying to find a new way, one fitting the drastic reality of death, yet sustaining life. Looking for the greenway that would keep Kate’s concerns alive in my life, fold them into my future.

The living room has Kate’s clothes hung up, packed in bags, bag bulging with shoes, t-shirts, pants, socks, shorts. Downstairs Ruth has sorted through the jewelry, taken what she and Gabe want, left behind items I can donate. Out in the sewing room the two piles: Ruth’s and the Patchworkers will get sorted today. Final decisions made.

Ruth has agreed to get the t-shirts underway, the Love is Enough t-shirts I’m having made for August 18th, Kate’s 77th birthday. She’ll get it done. Tan, she thinks. With the screen print of the counted cross stitch on the back and Love is Enough as a single line of the front.

Ruth, baby Gabe, and Grandma

The 18th’s schedule has to change now. Ruth and Gabe discovered last week that the 18th is their first day of school. The first day of in-person school for Ruth in over a year. Missing the first day is not really an option though we’re hopeful they can get out early. I’ve got to sit down and look at the plan, change it to accommodate both their schedule and those coming from far away.

Ruth, Gabe, and I had dinner last night at Oyama, a sushi place in Aspen Park. Tasty, but pricey. I love having the kids here. They’re new, fresh, innocent. And, family.

The Emperor card. Recognizes the unstable, uncertain, yet transformative life I have. Reminds me that I need to claim my power, refocus my energy, put some order back. And, that I have adequate, more than adequate, personal resources. An inflection of confidence.

 

 

 

*”The Emperor can signify a need for more structure, disciple, and systems. This is especially true if you are experiencing issues from a lack of self-discipline in your life. Take responsibility for things that have been neglected. We tend to think of discipline as a form of punishment. Instead, reframe it as an act of self-love and self-care. Draw on images of benevolent father-figure archetypes to visualize positive discipline.” tarotluv

*”The Emperor, in his positive aspect, symbolizes law, structure, order, stability, financial viability through budgeting and planning, disciplined relationships, being well-organized and realistic about your life. He stands for the concrete actions you take, the tangible results you receive, and the visible signs of success you achieve.” Kasamba

 

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Besties

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Monday gratefuls: Ruth. What a sweetheart. Gabe and his puzzles. Jon. Rigel and Kep. The three of swords. Rain, hail. A cool wind and a cool night. Good sleep. Rebecca and p.t. Pruning. Facing front. Kate, always Kate.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth

Tarot card: Three of Swords

 

The Ancient ones. The best decisions in our lives. Easy top two: Kate and Joseph. No doubt. Kate for love, for mutuality/intimacy, for discovering the best selves of two injured souls. Joseph for love, for nurturing, for satisfaction of a need to parent, for his wonderful life.

After that came one you might not consider. I decided early on with Kate’s illness that I would do for her what she could not do for herself. And, that I would greet each task with yes in my heart, with love. The depth of that decision was, I think, clear to me at the time. It was a choice to live that part of our lives primarily for her.

The fourth best decision, at least as I ordered them yesterday, was our mutual decision to move to Colorado. We did it to be part of Ruth and Gabe’s life in a meaningful way and to have an adventure in the Rocky Mountains. In unexpected ways, like through the long arc of the divorce and through Kate’s illness, we realized both dreams.

Black Mountain

If you find this idea intriguing, you can help research on big decisions by looking at this website: The Ten Biggest Decisions.

After the Ancient ones (9 am Sunday mornings for me), I worked on pruning. Got almost all of Kate’s jewelry gathered together for Ruth to go through. Did a bit more work in the sewing room, dividing things between the Patchworkers and Ruth. She’ll go through both over the next couple of days, decide what she wants. The rest will go to others: the Patchworkers, Mountain Resource Center, and a consignment shop in Bailey.

In Korea, as Seoah told me, the equivalent is taking the deceased’s clothing and other belongings outside and burning them. I understand this. There is a need to purge the personal items like clothing, jewelry, hobby material. They carry an emotional weight, for some survivors heavy, for some not so much, but there nonetheless. Donating them, burning them. Both honor the significance of the deceased and their choices about what mattered to them in the realm of the very personal.

Later, Ruth and Gabe, Jon, came up. Around 7 pm. Ruth and Gabe will stay today and tomorrow. Ruth has work to do, figuring what she wants as her legacy from her grandma. Gabe, not so much that, but he loves being up here with the dogs and his Grandpop.

I spent a half-hour or so with Ruth, catching up, figuring things out with her for today.

The Three of Swords. Not a happy card. How could it be? A heart pierced with by three sharp blades, rain, and storm clouds. This from Labyrinthos: “This card comes at a time when you need to prepare yourself for this next stage in life. While the grief may be extremely hurtful, it enables you to forget your past and focus on your future knowing that you have control of what actions you take afterwards.”

You might imagine, given Kate’s death, that this card reflects turmoil in my life as a result. Nope. Just not where I am with my grief. I’m in a solid place, integrating Kate into my life without her presence. Working at tasks that move my life forward without regret or shame. I feel good there.

No, this card represents the family member I mentioned earlier. “A harder day yesterday later. A family member and I got crosswise. Yet again. Disturbed me before I got to sleep. Will have to get more clarity about this. Say my piece. Not let it drag me down, too.” This was Saturday.

My upset after the anger this person let out troubled me. A lot. Got in the way of my sleep, left me restless in my heart. I decided to face front with it and scheduled a lunch where I said we would have “…a serious talk.”

This is not easy for me. Something I’d rather avoid, but circumstances demand that I lean into the pain. Some resolution is necessary for life here on Shadow Mountain to retain one of its primary purposes. Wish I could be more specific, but I can’t.

 

 

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Friends and Family

Summer and the Lughnasa Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Jon. Rigel. Tom. Seoah. Joe. Kate, always Kate. Decent sleep. Family. Heirloom Tomatoes. Filet and mashed potatoes. Rebecca, the p.t. Pruning. Big decisions.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Empathy

Tarot card: Ace of Swords

 

Tom and I had breakfast at the Parkside in Evergreen before he left for DIA. Friendship of this length and depth is rare, a blessing and a joy. The night before we ate at the Bistro, a favorite spot of Kate and mine’s also in Evergreen. A funky sort of place in a log-cabin like structure of some age. Piano player, upscale clientele, expensive menu, good food.

A harder day yesterday later. A family member and I got crosswise. Yet again. Disturbed me before I got to sleep. Will have to get more clarity about this. Say my piece. Not let it drag me down, too.

Kate and Seoahs mother, April 10, 2016

The work Tom and I did, along with work I did prior to this point, has gotten me 85% of the way to having Kate’s stuff ready for donation or give-away. That means when Joseph comes I can begin moving furniture where I want it. Moving the project of creating a renewed space along.

Hard not to be intrigued by the Covid turn. That Delta variant. The scourge of Red States. A changer of minds among conservative/reactionary windbags. Can they reverse their course and convince their base to get vaccinated? Or, will their mendacious, evil earlier stances continue to kill the very people they rely on for votes? Schadenfreude is inappropriate for those who trust their leaders and take their views to heart, but for those leaders themselves who contract the virus? Well…

How bout those Olympics? Eh? The anger Olympics. The pandemic Olympics. The crowdless Olympics. The asteriked Olympics. Maybe the beginning of the end for the Olympics?

The Ace of Swords. Cuts through bullshit. Moves life forward. Suggests that I’m ready to make a transformative leap. It seems, yet again, to be a progressive reading, one continuing the string of reflections about my recent life. I am ready. Let’s do this.

 

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