Friday gratefuls: Mussar. Rabbi Jamie. Luke. Bear. Kohler generator. Maintenance. Kaspersky. I still trust them. Helped me recover my password manager. Why I couldn’t post earlier. Rain and a cool down. Pride Shabbat tonight. View from the Bridge. Learning lines. Tal. Hamish. Sunday. Kep.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Buddies
Tarot: Knight of Bows, the Stoat
“In The Wildwood Tarot, Stoat is associated with the sovereignty of the land. This is because, during the summer months, his coat is a burnished copper, but in the winter, the coat turns white – still with his small black tail. The color combination of red, white, and black has an ancient and sacred connection to the land we encountered in The Wildwood Tarot.
The sovereignty of the land means the ground below our feet is sacred. When we separate ourselves from the land, we lose touch with an important and ancient part of ourselves – and our journey through Wildwood will reunite ourselves to the land.” tarotx.net
A need to connect to the land could not be more important on this a sad, sad day for America. At least America as I have understood her and still understand her. Guns and abortions. Talk about virtue signaling. These are decisions that play to a base and do not reflect the constitution or even the vast majority of Americans. You’ve seen the numbers, I presume. It’s not a reach to call them The Extremes.
America has become a fantasy land bred on 4Chan and nourished in the annals of the KKK. Evangelical Christianity married white supremacy and its bastard child is the reckoning in all the news outlets today. Oh, Trump. Yeah. He seems almost like a side show. This is inexcusable. Villainous. Wrong. Evil.
Making children come into a world where their elementary school will be a place they fear? That’s absurd. Feeding both sides of this shitshow. Remarkable. Absolutely fucking remarkable.
Burning women at the stake? Is that where we’re headed? A Scarlet Letter. A for abortion. Feels like it. I’m so angry I could, I don’t know what. At least not yet.
Gonna make this a short one because my rationality has been overcome by sheer disgust and rage.
Thursday grateful: Running lines with Alan. The Campfire. That pastrami sandwich. Feeling conflicted. Money. Trips. Axumin scan. Long term care insurance premium. Maybe a new (read expensive) hot water heater. Friends. Family. Travel. A need for rest, time away. How to reconcile. The synagogue. Luke. Rebecca. Jamie. Marilyn and Irv. Kep. So excited in the morning. Food, dad, food!
Sparks of Joy and Awe: It’s a ladle (not a spoon, you dumb ignoramus!) a line from the Odd Couple
Tarot: The Seer, #2 of the major arcana
“With the innate ability to balance emotions and the power of will and source of knowledge, The Seer encourages us to change the ordinary material world. She uses all of The Wildwood’s natural resources skillfully. She nurtures positive changes in people’s minds, expressed through emotions and commitment to life. Her magic is one of the purest and most revered things on earth.” tarotx.net
Androgyny. Quite a ways back Kate paid me a compliment, one I’ve treasured. “You’re the most androgynous person I know, Charlie.” I value the balance of yin and yang, of the feminine and the masculine. In me. I love being a sensitive man who will knock down injustice. I love cooking, raising kids, keeping a nice house. The chainsaw and I were one. Back when I could still hold one. The axe, too. I loved gardening, the labor of it and the nurture of plants. Raising dogs and caring for them when they’re sick. I loved being in relationship with Kate.
The Seer and I are old friends. Her feminine intuition, her link to Mother Earth. I feel them. Honor them. Honor her. She was the one who told me, “You need to be a Dad.” And, I listened. She was the one who told me, “You need to write.” And, I did. She was the one who told me, “Marry Kate. Right now.” I did. I listen to her as often as I can, as closely as possible. She was the one who told me, “Move to Colorado. Be close to Ruth and Gabe as they grow up.” And, we did. I have never regretted hearing her voice.
Drawing this card today reminds me to collect the information I’ve gleaned over the last year and two months since Kate died. To listen to the Seer once again. Hear her advice on what happens next. What I need to do now. Listening.
I’ve put myself in a box. One of my own making, one that expresses deep desires but may not conform, right now, to my reality. I really want to go to Durango with Tom. I really want to see the Redwoods with Diane. I really want to extend my reunion trip and visit Sarah and Jerry at Belews Creek. But. In August I have my Axumin scan. Over a thousand bucks. Then in September my long term care insurance comes due. Three and half times that. Plus I may need a new water heater. Maybe more than the two combined.
Money. I have enough. Yes. But not more than enough. I so want to go places, see other people. But. I may have to settle for Hawai’i until I’ve seen my way through these big expenses. Adulting. Bah, Bah. Gonna have to count my pennies again. Stay tuned.
Wednesday gratefuls: Computers. The James Webb Telescope, aligned to the nanometer and performing better than expected! Rigel and Vega, beloved dogs and now memorialized by their stars in the sky. Kate. Beloved. Always. Seoah in Korea with her mom. Korea is hot, she says. Running lines with Alan, Hamish. The Showcase.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Joe, my boy
Tarot: Nine of Vessels, Generosity
Key words: “Give and receive love. Kindness, Wisdom, Grace, Openness. The blessings of the Divine in any form without expectations. Brave enough to let go of results. Stay aware of one’s boundaries” tarotx.net
Using Audacity, an app for recording, I laid down Eddie’s speeches in Hamish and mine’s scene. View from the Bridge. It took me a bit to learn how to use it. Not surprising. New software. Quite a lot of tools and screens, not super intuitive. Got there though.
Hamish’s lines are now in discrete boxes and I can click on them, hear his lines, then recite mine. Not perfection yet since the clicking and starting introduces a lag between cue, response, and the next cue. That’s not good for this material since the back and forth between Eddie and Alfieri often involves interrupting the other. I’ll figure out a better way.
A good tool going forward though. Once I get a new scene in the future I can put it into Audacity and I can do home sessions with live cues. Technology. Our friend. Sometimes.
Filled the Rav4 yesterday. It uses the middle grade of gas. $5.09 a gallon. $51. I’ve got it good since I drive little compared to anyone who commutes. Each time I gasp what comes right behind is, oh, this is good. Using fossil fuels should hurt. Then, but not the poor.
Also occurred to me. If I were running a company in a major global industry, one that I knew now had time limits on its existence, I would take every opportunity to push the shekels into my Scrooge McDuck swimming pool. Do you suppose this is happening right now? Ooh. Inflation. Think what we can do!
On my third Richard Powers book, Plowing in the Dark. Virtual reality as a world changer. Published in 2000. Interesting exploration of the interplay between art and software. Not quite as good as Bewilderment or Overstory. Still well-written and engaging.
Fatigue, especially later in the day, still an issue. Bah, humbug.
I’m back to my more normal reading patterns now. That is, a lot. TV in the evenings. Acting preparation filling a lot of the other time. Still not writing. A bit of sumi-e, but not really back to that either. An ennui settled over me a couple of months ago after pushing, pushing, pushing to get the house redone, a few left over administrative matters from Kate’s death. And, grief, too, I suppose. Feels appropriate and will disappear, I imagine, after Hawaii, Durango, and the road trip to my 57th high school reunion and Belews Creek, N.C. Or, at least transform.
No rush. Life moving as it can, as it will. Living it.
Weather patterns hold severe fire weather in check though the danger is still high. Looks like we may get some monsoonal moisture this year. Would be welcome.
Tuesday gratefuls: Learning. Acting. Felix. Alfieri. The Black Box. Low friction theater. Tech night. Showcase. Summer Solstice. Beltane, leaving. Growth. Green. Pollen. Mountain trails. Black Mountain green, Lodgepoles and Aspen. Very cool morning, 43. Blue Colorado Sky. Pure yang. Today only. Ichi-go, ichi-e. Needing to work harder at learning lines.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Our Showcase on the 27th, all scenes go up
Tarot: Two of Arrows, Injustice
“Two of Arrows, Injustice, encourages us to be less judgmental and critical of the motives of others. We rarely know what is going on and why someone is doing what they do. Today the Two of Arrows asks us to step out of time for a moment. Orientate ourselves with the Wildwood: question our beliefs and seek out the truth of a situation.” tarotx.net
How about that Summer Solstice? See Deng Ming Dao’s comment below.* I love the feeling of growth and abundance that shows all around me. Lush Grasses in the Meadows. (the pollen, meh) Green Pine Needles make the Lodgepoles look Spruced up. (lol) The Aspens sway in the wind, their Catkins beginning to emerge. The Mountain Streams have slowed as the Snow melt and Spring Rains have receded.
Coming home last night I saw a young Mule Deer Buck, his small rack still in velvet. He dined on the tall grasses growing up from the edge of Brookforest Drive. Munching as I drove past, he looked up for a moment to acknowledge my passing.
The sun had set but still cast light on the Western horizon. The longest Day. As Deng Ming Dao notes though, this marks the apotheosis of Yang for the year. From this point on it declines until we reach the Yin moment of the Winter Solstice.
Beltane to Lughnasa. The growing season in its most vigorous, summer marking its middle. Corn has long since jetted past the old cliche of knee high by the Fourth of July. New hybrids grow faster, yield more. But? Better? Well…
The Midwest throws a party for the Summer Solstice. Corn and Beans pushing toward harvest. Cows in the fields and in the barns. Pigs getting fed. Chickens roosting, finally, at home. Farmers hard at work from sunup to sundown. The remnants of the Big Woods in full leaf and flower. Grasses green and plentiful. Alfalfa. Timothy. Almost to first cutting.
Without this season the whole world goes hungry. Celebrate, celebrate, dance to the music!
Acting. Alan and I met for breakfast then went over to the synagogue where we ran lines for the Odd Couple. Four times. And screwed them up at tech night. Tech night means final blocking and working on the lights. Tal said this was low friction theater. Minimal stage dressing.
Learning lines has proven more of a challenge than I expected. I’ve not put in enough time and plan to remedy that this week. I’m going to learn how to read my partner’s lines into the computer so I can toggle it on and off while repeating my lines. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat. As long as it takes.
At this point I do know the lines for both The View from a Bridge and the Odd Couple. What’s hard is remembering them on cue. Odd Couple is 97% there. View from the Bridge maybe 40%. One of my big ahas from this first acting class is to start learning lines earlier and put more time in run throughs with my acting partner. After 50 years it makes sense that I’d have a few things to learn. Oooh, boy.
I’ve got Macbeth down. 100%. I’m the announcer. I say at the beginning, “The Tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. Act One.” Then I go out four more times announcing act two, so on. That’s it.
This is a much shortened version of Macbeth. The script is two pages long. To give you the flavor, the final lines are: Alan as a soldier: Stab, Stab, Stab. Macbeth: Ow, Ow, Ow. Macbeth dies.
I’m excited for the showcase, but still have a bunch of work to do. Starting with the computer work today. Alan and I are going to run our scene again. I go to Hamish’s on Sunday to work on View from a Bridge.
Turns out acting lessons require real work.
*”The Daodejing speaks of the valley spirit, of the importance of the female character, and of Tao as the mother. That doesn’t negate the opposite: pure yang. It is also a concept in Tao.
Today is a time of great yang. The daylight is longest.
As we contemplate that, we can see that it took a year to get here, it lasts a day, and the time will move toward darkness and yin.
Therefore, as much as we might want to celebrate pure yang, it is a brief state. The rest of the time, everything is far more mixed.” Deng Ming Dao, a facebook post
Monday gratefuls: That breakfast cooked by Ruth and Gabe. The card for happy Father’s day/Grandparent’s day. Talking with Joseph. Seoah on her way to Korea. Seoah’s mom, still in the hospital. The Air Force. Technology. The Ancient Brothers. Elmo, Jonas, Charlie. Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Grandfather. Being a father and a grandfather. Family and friends. Dogs. The world in its small totality.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth driving
Tarot: Knight of vessels, the Eel
Sarah took off for points north yesterday, up to Idaho to spend time with BJ. The classical sisters. Working, as the Johnsons do on vacation. This family never rests. Get a lot done. But, geez.
BJ’s house is in a small Idaho town, Driggs. She and Schecky have been working on it, making it more what they want for the last few years. Since BJ still plays the Grand Teton Music Festival in August, Driggs makes for a convenient place to be, just down Teton Pass from Jackson Hole. Convenient to Yellowstone, too.
Later in the morning Jon, Ruth, and Gabe drove up from Aurora with Ruth at the wheel, her brand new beginner’s permit tucked into her wallet. When they got here, she ran up to the loft, “Guess what, Grandpa! I drove up here. All the way.” Remember that feeling? We spent a good while unpacking the experience before she and Gabe headed back down to cook the breakfast they’d promised for Jon and me.
Eggs, bacon, lox, cream cheese, bagels. In the Sewing Room. The new destination for meals at our house now. Where we ate the meal of three salads Saturday night when Sarah was here. Glad Joe, Seoah, and Diane put in the work to get it decluttered and looking good. Thanks to all of them.
On Saturday Sarah plopped down in the red leather chair in the common room and said, “This is so comfortable, I love it here!” Changes. There was also room enough for two salad makers in the new kitchen. Well, three. Sarah and Gabe, Ruth.
It’s a changed interior, but one still deeply Kate’s with the art she bought from Jerry (Sarah’s husband) on the walls. Jon’s too. Her quilts on the beds in the guest room, the kid’s room, and my bedroom. Smaller works of hers, too. On her old sewing machine table now repurposed as a side table where we deployed the salads on Saturday.
A family gathering place. For family from near and far. When I get a bit more comfortable, for friends, too.
It was good to make the revisions I did to the space. It’s mine, yet also still Kate’s. As I want it.
Later in the day I talked to Major Joe. Seoah left Honolulu for Korea at 9:30 island time. Here’s something interesting. She had to get a tourist’s visa to enter Korea! One of the sequelae to citizenship. Her mother is still in the hospital. Joe thinks they may be keeping her there so she won’t go back to the farm during spring planting and go back to work. Koreans work hard. All the time. From centuries of poverty I imagine.
Joe and Seoah’s future is up to the Air Force bureaucracy right now. Joe got a command offer from Osan his old Korea post as well as the one he already had from Ramstein AFB near Munich, Germany. He’s ok with either one though Seoah would prefer to be in Korea. The question is whether some Air Force process I didn’t understand is too far along for the Germany posting to halt. Seoah understands this and will be ok either way.
This next week should clear that up and their future come into clearer focus. Joe’s in his first weeks as an XO to a one-star. Getting his sea legs (to mix metaphors).
We talked geo-politics for quite a while. China. Taiwan. The Philippines. Ukraine. He’s knowledgeable and engaged directly in the mix.
Murdoch’s going to have go many hours with no human in the house. Ooff. We’ll see what happens with that. He’s already checking for Seoah’s return. She’ll be gone three weeks.
A family focused weekend. Good. Tiring. Did get better sleep last night after going to bed at 8:30. May switch back to that time. I think my body prefers an earlier bed time.
Sunday gratefuls: Family making salads. Eating in the Sewing Room. Remembering Kate as her memorial Iris bed blooms. Sarah. Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Laughing at the dead battery after leaving the lights on. Ruth and Cord. Rabbi Jamie on lighting candles as rituals. Why. Cool mornings. Clouds. Rain. Pine Pollen. Pollen plan working so far.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Shrimp salad, Melon salad, Quinoa salad
This Synthroid. Has complicated my pill taking. Missed yesterday’s morning meds. Not good. Includes my Erleada and a blood pressure med. Used to be I’d take my morning meds as I got up. NBD. Now I have to wait an hour. So I moved my meds up here to the loft, in front of the computer. I set an alarm on my phone. But yesterday I was getting on Rabbi Jamie’s presentation about lighting candles, getting a burrito, and some coffee, also dictated by the Synthroid, and I missed the pills. Gotta get this figured out.
Also, my fourth later evening of the week last night with Jon, Ruth, Gabe, and Sarah up for the meal of three salads. I bought this great book, A Salad a Day, and it provides salad recipes by day and month. That way it focuses on what’s fresh. The shrimp salad, which I made, not so much, but the Melon salad featured fresh Watermelon, Crenshaw, Honeydew, and Cantaloupe with a yummy citrus dressing, lemons and limes. The Quinoa salad had roasted Bell Peppers, Red and Yellow.
Gabe and Sarah made the Melon salad. Ruth the Quinoa because she’s vegetarian now and I made the Shrimp salad earlier in the afternoon. Mostly so the kitchen wouldn’t get overcrowded. We ate in the dining room created from Kate’s sewing room, her decor still very evident. A fun evening for all of us.
Talking with Sarah made me start a few times. She’s as quick as Kate and her conversational mannerisms were very familiar. Sweet. I told her so. The Johnson sisters are now my sisters. I’m considering extending my 57th reunion trip in September (Covid delayed) to include Bellews Creek, North Carolina where she and Jerry have their wonderful home. I’ve never been.
That would mean scotching for this year a trip to see the Redwoods in the fall. Maybe in the Spring? Considering.
A busy, busy week. Acting class and acting! Sarah’s visit which included a late Tuesday night, a late Friday night for the Beatle’s Shabbat, and the family salad meal last night. She helped Jon clear out a lot of his house, got him some steps closer to a more typical home.
Mussar. A lot of hiking. Meals out with Alan, learning lines.
Unsure whether I’m tired because of the (relatively) busy week or my meds. Many of them can cause fatigue. Almost zero testosterone. The Erleada. The Synthroid will (has?) combat the fatigue when I get my tsh right, but until then my thyroid is a culprit, too. So, I have to husband my energy for use when I need it. Not always easy. Especially when working out also has to get in there, too.
For closing, the Texas Republican Party Platform for the Year of our National Shame, 2022:
“…delegates to a convention of the Texas Republican Party today approved platform planks rejecting “the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and [holding] that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States”; requiring students “to learn about the dignity of the preborn human,” including that life begins at fertilization; treating homosexuality as “an abnormal lifestyle choice”; locking the number of Supreme Court justices at 9; getting rid of the constitutional power to levy income taxes; abolishing the Federal Reserve; rejecting the Equal Rights Amendment; returning Christianity to schools and government; ending all gun safety measures; abolishing the Department of Education; arming teachers; requiring colleges to teach “free-market liberty principles”; defending capital punishment; dictating the ways in which the events at the Alamo are remembered; protecting Confederate monuments; ending gay marriage; withdrawing from the United Nations and the World Health Organization; and calling for a vote “for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation.” Heather Cox Richardson post for today, Sunday, June 19th.
Saturday gratefuls: Sarah. Jon. Gabe. Ruth. Jamie. Luke. Cheri. Laura. Alan. Steve. Sally. Kep. The Beatles. All You Need Is Love. Imagine. Hey, Jude. Shabbat. Evening in the Mountains. The Yellow Peril, Lodgepole Pine Pollen. The Mule Deer and the Dandelions. Acting. Oscar and Felix. Knocking them dead.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Laughter
Friday. Let me go backwards. When I left before oneg a social moment after the evening service and the saying of kiddush a blessing over wine to welcome the sabbath, I told Sally, “I go to bed at 9:00. You know, these services starting at 7:30…” Sally, of my age or so, nodded yes, she understood.
When I got home, there was no Kep at the door. He usually greets me when I come home. I called to him. No Kep. It was a bit past 9. Downstairs I looked through the bedroom door and Kep looked up at me from the bed, tail thumping. It’s bedtime, Dad. Made my heart melt.
Jon, Ruth, Gabe, and Sarah came up for the Beatles Shabbat. It was a sweet moment. Sarah the classical violinist loved the CBE band and the vocalists. “I feel Kate here,” she said. I don’t get those sensations, at least not very often, but I knew what she meant.
Kate inhabited CBE. She wasn’t just a member. She lived, in her last seven years, the full Jewish life that she had dreamed about since converting at 31. If her presence would be anywhere, it would be at CBE or home. Her presence was there in the flesh of Jon, Ruth, Gabe, and her sister Sarah. And my love for her.
Continuing toward morning, I took a short nap. Picked up food to make three special June salads at Safeway. A melon salad. A shrimp salad. And, a quinoa salad for vegetarian Ruth. Took all that home and put it away.
I drove to Safeway directly from treading the boards again for the first time in 50 + years. For the Senior Wellness gathering at the Church of the Transfiguration. Alan and I as Oscar and Felix from the Odd Couple. A lot of laughs. We had good chemistry and the audience could feel it. Forgot the rush when an audience responds to something you’ve done. In person. Right then, in the moment. Oh, my, ichi-go, ichi-e.
There were four other scenes and they were all well received. One solo performance by a woman dressed as a fiery Greek with a sword. Rebecca. She looked like an actress with some experience. She was from the class for more experienced actors working on solos.
Back home that morning, we performed at 1:00, I did another hour and a half with the script. Learning that I need to work harder than I have been at this. Memorization feels harder than I remembered. Maybe it is. Maybe I don’t recall the past accurately. Whichever I now see that I have to put in more time to do well. To flourish at acting. And, I want to.
The usual early morning. Ancientrails and a workout, hitting my goal for the week in terms of minutes.
Friday. A new day, a resurrected self, ready for what presents itself.
Friday gratefuls: Alan. The holy trail. Kate, always Kate. This grand wakin’ up mornin’. Each morning a resurrection and a new promise. Ichi-go, ichi-e. Increasingly my life mantra. Mussar. Moses. Leo. Luke. Better rested. Dressing up for the first time in years. Acting for an audience today. Oh, my. Still lotsa things to learn.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Being able to learn
Tarot: Ten of Vessels, Happiness
“..the water from the lake plashes down joyously, crashing against the rocks, filling and spilling over Ten of vessels that sit in the cascading waters. The air vibrates with negatively charged ions – We are energized. This is happiness, joyous and alive: ever-changing and yet always to be found.
We acknowledge our relationships. We honor the universal flow of energy between all forms of life. We celebrate the child’s hand on our own. We expose the vulnerable soft throat of ourselves as we allow ourselves to love. We accept the ecstasy and grief.” may it be so, tarotx.net
Let me say a word for happiness. And then a word against it. I am a happy guy, joyous even. Although in a subdued way that some might miss. When I experience the momentary delight of a breakfast with a friend, an intellectual exchange, a meeting with friends of over 30 years, Kep’s warm presence, I’m happy. And these happen a lot so I experience happiness a lot. But. It’s a by-product rather than a goal.
As I’ve often written here, I’m a eudoimaniac.* “the condition of human flourishing or of living well.” see link below. Aristotle focused on reason and political action as the characteristic human activities and therefore the source of eudoimania. OK. That’s one take. I mean, I know, Aristotle, but still…
I’d throw in love and compassion. Also. honesty and vulnerability. Living well, or flourishing, which I like a lot as a description of my own aims, does include the application of reason to life. No need to look further than the January 6th hearings to understand the value and virtue of applying reason. And, political life is the life of the common good. Care for the neighbor and the stranger. Oft cited as a high religious good.
Yes, and. As I learned in my political years, it’s easy to divide the world into them and us. To go after them with all the tools in the political tool box. Yet, love suggests living with the fuzziness of a word more complicated than binary. So flourishing comes when we put away the sword, use other means. Perhaps love?
My flourishing does include working for yours. Working for the flourishing of others seems like a worthy human goal. A worthy life goal. As I said in the gratefuls above, ichi-go, ichi-e has become a life mantra. That is, I flourish in this unique, never to be repeated, and precious moment. Right now you, my neighbor and friend, or you, a stranger to me, are not present, but I’m reaching out to you anyhow. Making myself visible and vulnerable. As I wish to do in each moment.
Flourishing for me also includes time spent reading, listening, thinking. Cooking for myself. Living the Herme life. Living in the Mountains. Hiking. Listening to the Trees. The Mule Deer Does who visited yesterday evening. The Rain and the Snow and the Heat and the Drought. Exercising. Sleeping well.
Here’s where Aristotle and I differ, at least as much as I know about his work. He applies the unique or characteristic function to every instance of a living or human-made thing. To the class of these things. So. Tables flourish when they’re solid and balanced, able to function well. Mule Deers when they eat, reproduce, and provide prey for Mountain Lions. That’s an aspect of it, yes.
And. Each Mule Deer, each Table is also unique not just a member of a class of beings, but an individual sui generis. Gertie was a much different Dog from Vega. Vega again different from her sister, Rigel. Rigel quite different from her boyfriend, Kepler. Yet, all dogs.
Rigel’s flourishing included escaping from the yard and taking Vega with her. Instigating digging holes which Vega helped with. Rigel was a predator. Vega was not. Unless Rigel took her on a hunt. Vega’s flourishing was a big and dynamic personality, chewing on shoes, and claiming chairs.
Just so with humans. My friend Tom’s unique characteristics include a certain Vishnu-quality, holding the world within his purview steady so that others can find their way. Friend Alan a joi de vivre that infects other. Friend Paul a seriousness and compassion that reaches across species and causes. Friend Ode a willingness to challenge his own preconceived notions, to see the world, really see it. Friend Bill to live in the moment with others regardless of their station in life, their beliefs.
Flourishing requires being not only a member of a unique class of living things, but a unique member of that class. As all living things are. None is repeatable, each precious. And each has gifts the whole needs which can be give only when they live fully in their uniqueness.
“According to Aristotle, every living or human-made thing, including its parts, has a unique or characteristic function or activity that distinguishes it from all other things. The highest good of a thing consists of the good performance of its characteristic function, and the virtue or excellence of a thing consists of whatever traits or qualities enable it to perform that function well” Brittanica
Thursday gratefuls: Acting. Hiking. Sleeping. Wondering. Black Mountain. Ski runs. Lodgepole Pines. That other trail. Kep, the patient boy. Heat. Air conditioning. Left over Chinese. Sarah helping Jon, Ruth, Gabe. Waking up late. Late. Dressing myself for tomorrow. The dream with Ron Solomon. Talking with Diane yesterday. Our roots. Sadness and wistfulness.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Myself
Tarot: Nine of Stones, Tradition
Golly. This morning? 8:45 am. Beginning to think late nights sap more out of me than I thought. And, I thought they took out a lot before. One more to go. Friday night and the Beatles Shabbat.
Meeting with Allen to run lines again. At the Parkside. I’m facing an existential crisis with acting at the moment. I know. I know. It’s just me. The way I grapple with the world. I didn’t do well yesterday and it made me want to run away. Because. I like to do things WELL. Tal said something however that stuck with me: Short-term memory is best in acting. That’s like sports. You can’t focus on the mistake, but on the next take, the next pitch, the next run through. Oh, but I can.
That’s the existential crisis. How can I push myself past the need to do well and accept mistakes as part of the process? I know it’s a soul journey thing for me. Probably a middah though I don’t know which one. Yes, I do. Savlanut. Patience. Not only with others but with myself. Also still practicing ichi-go, ichi-e. This moment, the only moment, is unrepeatable, unique. Therefore precious and valuable as it is. Not as I wish it to be.
So, my mission if I should choose to accept it is to recognize several things. First, I’m 75 and I haven’t acted in over 50 years. Second, I’m learning a new method and an almost new art form (for me). Third, I make mistakes. Of course, I do. And they do not diminish me as a person. Fourth. This is community theater. Not Broadway. Fifth. Come on, dude. Get over yourself. I mean…
Well. That’s enough for today. I have to get ready to go run lines with Alan. Wish me many mistakes from which I recover gracefully and learn lots.
Wednesday gratefuls: Sarah. Gabe. Chinese food. Richard Powers. Jerry. Jon and Ruth. Tom. Durango. The railroad. Winds. Heat. Sealed driveway. Susan Taylor. Alan. Tal. Working on the Odd Couple. Kep. Mini-splits. Kate. The redoing of the house. My health. Evergreen Medical Center. They give a damn.
Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sarah
Tarot: Page of Stones, Lynx
There are the seven seals in the Book of Revelations and one petroleum based seal on my driveway. John came by yesterday and worked for three hours. Cleaning, then putting a rubber based liquid in the cracks. Spraying a black sticky coating of some sort of petroleum over the whole driveway.
John had a Louisiana phone number. I asked him about that. Oh, we’re seasonal. We work up here during the summer and early fall, then back to Louisiana. When I asked what he misses about Louisiana, he says, quickly, “The food.” He recommends Pappadeaux’s. No No’s is ok, but Pappadeaux’s is the real deal. I’ll try it soon.
Sarah (sister-in-law Sarah) came up with Gabe last night. Stayed until ten. Another late night. Late nights being defined as any night I can’t get to bed by nine. I tried going to ten but my body wouldn’t put up with it.
Sarah is here to help Jon get some necessary work done and items for his house. Sarah retired a few years back from a long and successful career as a classical violinist. She did solo work, trios and quartets, and taught for several years at Congress College in South Carolina.
Now she has become a key figure for the Johnson clan. I think she was third after Annie. Kate being the first born. I gave her a couple of books: Orfeo by Richard Powers, and I’m OK, You’re Not OK by Linda Budd, itself a gift to me from Tom.
On her death bed Kate and I finalized her bequests. Sewing stuff to Ruth, the Bailey Patchworkers got her stash, Ruth got most of her jewelry, but I remembered the jewelry she’d put in the safety deposit box. “Give it to Jerry.” That would be Jerry Miller, Sarah’s husband and a painter of landscapes in his version of the Group of Seven tradition.
Somehow boxing them up and getting the rings, necklaces, and raw gems mailed became a chore I couldn’t get done. I also had a moment when I thought. Hey, this stuff could be valuable. I should keep it. That didn’t last long. Kate was clear. And I have plenty of money thanks to Kate. So, no greed, please.
Glad to hand them over to Sarah and get them out of the house.
This morning I rolled out of bed at the crack of 7:30. About an hour, hour and a half after my usual time. A bit groggy. Two long nights and a third, the Beatles Shabbat this Friday still to come.
At 9 I talked to Cousin Diane of Clan Keaton as I do each week. This morning we veered into family territory. Could Grandma and Grandpa have been married after Grandma became pregnant? Gosh, gee whiz. This conversation started around a baby who died in his first month, Kenneth, and included a gold ring engraved 1905, Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding in 1910 (or, did they have a secret wedding).
The Keaton Clan, my mom’s family, had a lot of secrets and tragedies. Some engendered by manic-depression, some by rigid mid-century values about pregnancy, some by early death, and still more by genial criminal behavior. It’s a rich story that could fill a novel with ease. One spanning the Belle Epoque to Y2K and beyond. Family, eh?
At ten I drove to Evegreen Players for a meeting with Alan and Tal. Tal wanted to help us with our scene. Read: we’re not ready for prime time just yet. It was a difficult hour plus for me. I felt I was letting the side down. I kept dropping lines. Alan and Tal both reassured me that this was part of the process. Oh. Well. O.K.
In the end we got close to a finished scene. That is off book, blocking, scene dressing all working together. Still, I left with a headache. Feeling low.
Found a trail I haven’t used in a while and hiked it. Thought it would hit refresh for my spirit, but I spent too much time on it worrying about sunburn. OK, guy. This is getting silly.
An hour plus nap did hit the refresh button and I’m feeling much better as I write this around 4:30 pm. Yeah.