• Category Archives Woolly Mammoths
  • Alembics

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Diane. San Francisco. Bechira points. MVP. A family. Rich, powerful conversation last night. Blintzes. Joanne. Marilyn. Irv. That wide open Spring feeling. Anything is possible. Blood draw today. PSA and testosterone. Blood pressure. The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson. Formula 1. Baseball’s opening day. Feeling significant.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Deep friendships

    One brief shining: We gather once a month, driving from our Mountain homes beside Streams and through Forests, to the synagogue, arriving as the Hebrew School ends, kids bouncing off walls, sliding on handrails, put down what food we’ve brought, perhaps as I did last night, the material for the discussion, too, and slowly ease ourselves into the presence of the others.



    Not sure the activity matters. What matters is persistence. Showing up. Listening. Speaking your own story. Even if only between songs, or whacks at the golf ball, or over the sound of crochet needles thwacking. Over and over. As years go by the stories become familiar. Even our own story. The polished versions, the ones we use when unsure of the crowd, fall away and the tarnished ones slowly reveal themselves.

    This is the way of kehillah. Of sacred community. Of friendship. The Woolly Mammoths, for example. Not knowing what we were doing. Well over 35 years in now. No longer needing to know what we’re doing, embracing the becoming, the deepening. All really because of persistence. We showed up. Two nights a month for years and years.

    Could have been a poker game, I suppose. Maybe a print-making co-op. Instead it was a bunch of guys who Velveteen Rabbited themselves into real men, often exposed and dangling from another of life’s precipices, yet still welcome, still seen whole. Gathered in.

    Memories of time together. At Villa Marie. At various spots on the North Shore. In each others homes. In restaurants. At the Nicollet Island Inn in that one room decorated for Christmas. You might call it a form of group marriage, within this meeting I pronounce you man and men. As long as you all shall live. What sacred time has joined together, let no man pull asunder.

    An alembic. That’s what these community choirs are. These sheepshead games. These exercise mornings. These rummy cube games. These gatherings on the first Wednesdays at CBE. Alembics for the soul. A place of transformation, of transmutation, of lasting change.

    I’ve been privileged to be part of several. Where the heat of vulnerability softens and opens a soul. Allows it to see itself anew, or, better, as it truly is. That’s where we’re going in these alembics. Running not away from ourselves but to ourselves. Feeling and getting support for who we most truly are. After the polish wears off. After the achievements drop away as inconsequential. As we do, the journey becomes easier. Lighter. Less burdened with expectations.

    If you’re part of an alembic right now, cherish it. Persist. By staying in you achieve the alchemist’s dream. You can turn lead into gold.

  • A Man of Constant Sorrow. And Ecstasy.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Birthdays. 77. Big Snow. Cold. All the Wild Neighbors hunkered down somewhere. Great Sol brilliant against the new Snow. Rain in the Desert. Brother Mark and the Storm near Hafar. Diane and the Atmospheric Rivers. L.A. and Southern California. Creating a sustainable human presence on the Earth. Thomas Berry. The Great Work. Shadow Mountain. Torah.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow, bright white new Snow

    One brief shining: Velcroed Snow boots, check, Leki hiking pole, check, watch cap, check, phone, vest, coat, gloves check and I’m ready to head out across my backdoor deck, take the few steps to the garage, then head up the stairs to the loft where it’s time to workout.


    A quiet river has flowed beneath my waking hours this week, a river of sorrows and modest angst. Not sure the genesis, the bereshit, of it. Has colored my moods when inner life calms down and the river touches consciousness. Enough to make me feel glum at times, off. Not enough to send me into melancholy, but a sea anchor on any up, energetic feelings. I don’t like it. Yet I can’t ignore it.

    I’ve not gotten serious with it though. By that I mean, welcomed it as a visitor, a guest worthy of hospitality if not affection. Perhaps that’s why it’s stuck with me. Going to put out the welcome mat after the Ancient Brothers call.

    I suppose it could be the ghost of birthdays future. At 77 their number is fewer than at 20. Or, it might be the looming lab test, PSA and testosterone I take next week. Well, enough. I’ll wait until we’ve sat down in the tent with our hookah, reclining on pillows on a brilliant rug.

    Gonna invite Rumi to the conversation.


    Just finished a conversation with the Ancient Brothers on what it means to be a man. These conversations increase my positive energy, buoy me up. This one pushed my mood up a lot. I think because the topic was one we had not explored before. And yet it was one around which we formed ourselves as a men’s group. I am going to post my private post here, the conversation convinced me it was an important part of this long running river of words.

    Perhaps it was my thinking about being a man that raised the river of sorrows close to the surface. Pardon this cliche, but there is agony and ecstasy in being human and the particular agonies and ecstasies are often meted out according to gender(s). When I think about being a man, I have to consider both. The agony of my shortcomings as a cisgender man, as a white man, as a white educated man, as an American white educated man. As husband, father, seeker of justice, as a seeker of the sacred. Then, too. The ecstasies. As husband, father, seeker of justice, seeker of the sacred.

    As I write, and this often happens for me, I’m certain thoughts about what it means to be a man caused this river of sorrows and angst to approach the surface from its usual stream bed deeper within my psyche.



  • A bit more on conversion

    Summer and the Summer Moon Above

    Monday gratefuls: Out of thin Air. The Ancient Brothers on the elemental. A good nap. Nights growing longer. Living in the temperate zone. Allergens. Itchy eyes, runny nose.  Peripheral vision. Vision. Taste. Hearing. Touch. Smell. Building our own personal reality. Rabbi Jamie. Dick. Tara and Arjan. The many folds and valleys, neurons and synapses of our brains. The wonder of the whole nervous system. Cancer. Prostate Cancer.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The mind-heart. The lev

    One brief shining: This morning the Lodgepoles exude health needles green bearing new green cones alongside older light brown ones shooting into the blue Sky with puffy white Cumulus drifting through and Black Mountain’s gentle presence not far away my home world.


    The Ancient Brothers talked through the four elements: air, earth, fire, and water. A week for each. Five different perspectives on each element. Paul, the careful researcher. Mark, the personal with a creative twist. Bill, often the religious or poetic. Tom, literary and scientific, poetic. Myself, the personal with a religious twist. Our differences are what make these Sunday mornings. Same topic through different lenses. All valid. All interesting. All enriching. A lesson here about the nature of the human community. We need you to show up as you. You’re the only one who can.


    Also a clue here about my reason for converting. In the Word to Deed class Jamie gave this past Saturday we discussed the Ma Tovu, a prayer said upon entering a synagogue or other house of worship:

    How lovely are your tents, O Jacob; your encampments, O Israel!
    As for me, through Your abundant grace,
    I enter your house to worship with awe in Your sacred place.
    O Lord, I love the House where you dwell, and the place where your glory tabernacles.
    I shall prostrate myself and bow; I shall kneel before the Lord my Maker.
    To You, Eternal One, goes my prayer: may this be a time of your favor.
    In Your abundant love, O God, answer me with the Truth of Your salvation.    Wikipedia

    While discussing the first three verses, I offered a slightly different reading than the others. Jacob represents the individual, Israel the collective. Or, said another way, the personal and the communal. As for me I take as the individual who, through the abundant grace of a collective or community (Your in this case referring back to the first line) enters with awe into a place made sacred by the community itself. This made me think of why I love CBE, the sacred nature of the connections I’ve made there. I now had a horizontal rather than a vertical view of sacred community. Not infused with holiness from above or without, but created from within the magic and mystery of human connection, human relationship.

    To go on. O Lord I read as a Self, a Soul. The rest is an inner prayer. I love this body and this community in which I dwell. The place where glory tabernacles. I am a humble member of this community which makes me who I am. To you, the Eternal soul/Self, I pray, hoping this is a time of your favor. In the abundant love I feel in this community I find the truth of your salvation. [salvation=healing, wholeness]

    As Bill said yesterday morning when I recounted some of this, he said, that’s what makes the Woolly’s special. And, it is. We find the sacred, the mysterious, and the grace filled not in some dogmatic prison but in the everydayness of our lives. With the people we come to love, with the people we come to trust with our most intimate selves. And with the places that give us the same feelings.

    So converting is not really about a religion per se, it’s making a claim about who my people are. I have at least three religions by this count: Judaism, The Woolly’s/Ancient Brothers, and my family.




  • Guests

    Summer and the Summer Moon Above

    Monday gratefuls: Tom. Roxann. Lodgepoles. Aspens. Sunlight. Another blue Sky day. Ruth and Gabe in North Carolina. Joan. Tal. CBE. Israel. Trip payments. Fixing the wireless keyboard. Dead hearing aid. Marilyn and her award. The Bread Lounge. Quiet days, cool nights.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Guests

    One brief shining: Sentences can run from harsh to gentle, grating along the tongue of the mind or softly caressing it, making the tongue recoil or roll over in delight sentences can be funny or serious delighting the mind or causing it to work carefully and sentences can confound the mind throwing it into utter confusion what power sentences have!


    Tom’s visit comes to a close with our final breakfast out this morning. It’s been a real delight to have him here, continuing our Colorado conversation begun on December 19th, 2014 when he drove Kepler, Vega, Rigel, and me out here. We slept on the floor in sleeping bags that night. Gertie came with Kate in a packed rental van. She fed Gertie cheeseburgers along the way.

    He returns to the heat and humidity of a Minnesota Summer. Different from the arid West.

    It’s been a season of visits for me. Ode and Dennis in May. Mary a week ago Saturday. BJ and Sarah that Sunday night. Tom last Thursday until today. Nice to have folks in the house for a bit.

    Tom has noted it feels strange for there to be no welcoming dog here. And it’s true. I’m dog identified. Yet I don’t feel their absence in the same way. I would love to have another dog, but I’m also enjoying having no one to care for but myself. So easy to contemplate travel, staying longer somewhere in the afternoon. Getting up at any time. Perhaps it’s the memories of so many dogs that keeps me company. Iris and Buck. Celt and Sorsha. Scot and Morgana. Tully and Tira. Bridget and Emma. Tor and Orion. Hilo and Kona. Rigel and Vega. Gertie and Kepler. 18 dogs. All still alive in memory, each one’s memory a blessing. As is Kate’s.


    How bout those Russians, eh? Can’t fight a war, didn’t stop a rebellion. Putin’s looking a lot less like a strong man since the weekend. Instead of putting down the Wagner group when it seized a military HQ in Rostov-on-Don he allowed Prigozhin to slip away into Belarus and Prighozhin’s troops to stand down with no penalties in either case.

    May they both get what they deserve.


    Lots of ideas still floating around for Herme and Cold Mountain. Enough for a one act play? I won’t know unless I try to write one. The idea gives me energy. I like the idea of a one person play: Herme and Cold Mountain.

    I also like the idea which resurfaced as Tom and I talked about cooking yesterday afternoon. A serious class in cooking basics and maybe one on a particular cuisine. At a cooking school. Realized I’ve taken all these other classes, why not one that will positively affect my daily life?




  • Entheos

    Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Curiosity. The Ancient Brothers. Mark and Dennis. Coming May 23rd. Yet more Rain. Even more swollen Streams. Ancientrails as a life project. Tom and his time with Charlie H. Bill and his time with Bella. Mark and his time at the gym. Anytime Fitness. My treadmill. Marilyn. Ginnie. Josh. Jane. Kat. A banker. Vulcan Centaur.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rocket Scientists

    One brief shining: A beautiful woman with a long braid dangling over her t-shirt down to her space themed spandex had, on the back of the blue t-shirt an outline of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, on the front ULA and I asked, I’m too ignorant to know but is that a real rocket ship?


    Yes. She answered. And I was working on it until I quit my job a year and a half ago. What was your area of expertise? Vibration and acoustics. Oh. I see. Not sure why I keep running into engineers. But I do.

    CBE is amazing. All these smart people. This was at the Dismantling Racism class yesterday afternoon. Looked up the Vulcan Centaur and it’s been under development since 2014. Supposed to fly for the first time in July. Had a setback a month ago though with a second stage explosion during preparation for a launch.

    The class has gotten better. Taking a mussar approach to the work. I like it for the inner work though I chose an opponent for my practice this week. Four areas of possible practice each week: with HaShem (God), with Self, with a fellow, especially a victim of anti-black racism, or with an opponent.

    My practice involved an e-mail to a person with whom I’ve had long standing differences. Sent it last night and got a reply this morning. A sweet one. Maybe there’s something to this approach. The middah this week is kavod, or honor. Honoring self and other. The theological idea is the all made in God’s image trope. Said another way, we’re all human, all riding this blue spaceship our only home together with all the other critters and plants. Honor it all.


    During the Ancient Brothers session on curiosity I identified curiosity as my defining characteristic. And naming what I call the valedictory lifestyle. As a valedictorian myself I’ve occasionally become curious (see!) about what happens to others who graduate first in their class academically. Turns out usually nothing spectacular. Sure a lot go into academics. Some have successful careers in business or the sciences.

    But usually no stars. No one off achievements. No amazing inventions. Why? Because we’re generalists. We easily get sidetracked by something new and shiny. If purity of heart is to will one thing, we’re not at all pure.

    I call them enthusiasms. My enthusiasms can last a long time. Religion has turned out to be the longest lasting, but inside that broad category I’ve been all over the place. From existentialist atheist to Christian to Unitarian-Universalist to Pagan and wanderer with the tribe. There’s a piece of each of these, often substantial pieces that remain intact within me. All somehow glued together with Taoism.

    There’ve been many others. Art, my twelve years at the MIA. Politics, lasting almost as long as religion, but again all over the place in terms of action. Islam which I studied after 9/11. Horticulture. Cooking. Heating with wood. Beekeeping. Dogs. World travel. F1. Science. Tarot and Astrology. Cinema. Acting. Writing. Getting degrees. Tea. Korean and now Spanish. Oh, and one that actually has been lifelong, reading. Not sure when I learned but I’ve never ever stopped. Buying books, too. To feed the habit. I’ve dabbled in painting and sum-e.

    Enthusiasms in my life are more than dabbling but less than enough to gain full mastery. But I must admit it’s been, is being, a hell of lot of fun.





  • I’ll report back

    Spring (ha) and the Mesa View Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Vince. Dave at Anytime Fitness. Jose with United Health Care. Creeping my way past balance billing. A foot or so of Snow. More coming down and more on the way. Go Colorado! Fill those aquifers, plump up that Snow pack. Tom and Amber. Warren’s new knee. Kep, my sweet boy. Spring ephemerals waiting. Here. Spontaneity. Like my boy suggested. Israel.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow

    One brief, shining moment: Late spring Snow falling, falling, falling while the cracked Rock beneath my home drinks it in, filling up ready for the pump when summer dryness emerges, when the Grass turns brown, the Lodgepole Needles lose their lustre, and the Wild Neighbors come to the Mountain Streams hoping to find Water.


    Signed up for the MAPS conference. Not cheap. Yet. It is. Because. Don’t have to fly to get there. Might check into a hotel for the three days. Just for fun. June. That’s big event one already prepared.

    Plan to put down a deposit on the Israel trip next week. Want to wait a bit because of travel insurance. Gather a bit more information.

    Checking out Kayak for Korea and Israel. Not too bad. Gonna spend some money on travel this year and next. Maybe as long as I’m able. Not having dogs frees me up. No leaving them behind. No kennel or house sitting fees.


    I’m seeing the threshold more clearly now. Cancer managed. Fit. Healthy by the AARP definition: mobile, independent, cognitively sound. House painted and the art will get hung in May. Money available. Grief calm, never gone, but calm. No dogs. A chance to lean back into Korean and calculus. Write more. Love more. CBE. Ancientbrothers. Family. Live. A last, hopefully long chapter lies no longer ahead, but is present. Right now. I’m in it.

    Want to celebrate this threshold. But how? Not sure yet. Considering.


    Spent a long time on the phone yesterday. My very favorite thing. I’ve stamped out the $420 bill and the $5100 one has been elevated. Meaning the insurance company will deal with Centura Health. Not convinced it’s over yet. We’ll see.

    I did learn that my insurance will pay for my gym fees at Anytime Fitness. Means I’ll join when I go over to checkout the machines today. Having that as a backup for my resistance work will make the difference I think.


    After I finish Pogue’s Chosen Country, I plan to re-read Why Liberalism Failed. A rare thing for me. However I believe Deneen’s diagnosis of our woes makes sense on one level. That is, why many of our problems today turn on the question of individualism. And, I believe his explanation of the roots of those problems probably makes sense. That’s one reason I want to re-read it. History of ideas is a strength of mine and I can trace thought like he can.

    Where I don’t believe I agree with him is on his understanding of liberty as the key. It feels too pat, too reductionistic. I’ll report back after round two.

  • A Festival of One Act Plays

    Winter and the Valentine Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Alan. The Mislaid Wife. The Festival of One Act Plays. Evergreen Players. Tal. Deb. Lisa. The audience. Jill. The Ancient Brothers on space. Between us. Within us. Center cut pork chops. Brining. Marilyn and Irv. Breakfast today. Aspen Park Dental. Cleaning. Also today. Grocery pickup. How to Become a Pagan. Learning Korean. Mary’s last days in Japan. Brother Mark in Oke city. Frozen vegetables.

    Sparks of joy and awe: Theater


    A medical week. Oh, joy. Teeth cleaning today. Kristie tomorrow. And the Vascular Institute on Wednesday. That should be plenty of body parts for one week.

    Gonna go through the active metastases site with Kristie, then lay it to rest one way or another. Treat or not treat. Get a Prolia injection today, too. For ma bones. This is a treatment because of my other treatments which weaken my bones. Geez. Want to move the Prolia injections to Evergreen Medical Center. Closer.

    Not sure what to expect at the Vascular Institute. They’ll do an ultrasound of my left leg. Looking for a spot of restricted blood flow. If they find one, I’ll probably have a stent put in which will allow the blood to flow normally. Kate had a blocked superior mesenteric artery. Putting the stent in was not a big deal.

    Next week my birthday present to myself is a pulmonology exam. Big fun. Specifically asking the question about continued living at 8,800 feet.



    February is Black history month and I’ll say one last time that Imani Perry’s South to America is worth the read. It lagged a little near the very end, but up till then it was charming, sensitive, and challenging. Taught me many lessons. Would be interested to hear her on the Memphis situation.


    The Festival of One Act plays. Alan directed The Mislaid Wife. Precis. A man calls the police to report his wife missing. She was funny, made me laugh. Lots of energy. And she was sexy. Conceit. His wife has not gone missing. She’s aged. And still in the house. Funny and sad.

    A woman sat next to me. Older. Gray hair, a long flowing plaid dress. Gray vest. She seemed interesting. I wondered, as I occasionally do. Still no energy to pursue anything. We even chatted for a bit with Deb, the woman I took to my first acting class, after she finished her role as God. Maybe if I run into her again.

    Joan Greenberg, member of CBE, and author of You Never Promised Me a Rose Garden wrote a country version of Orpheus and Eurydice. Highly stylized presentation. The best script of the batch by far.

    Talked to Tal. He mentioned the acting class starting next week at the Synagogue. Jewish playwrights. Part of me would like to take it up, but I’ve told myself I’m focusing this semester on How to Become a Pagan. Though I’m not. At least not right now. Saying that out loud to him made me take a look at the way I’ve been doing my schedule. I really want to write this book. Not sure why I’m blocked on it. I have lots of research, years of thinking about the topic, and it matters to me. Maybe this was the jolt I needed?


  • New Labs

    Winter and the Valentine Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: The Ancient Brothers. Alan. Housing matters cleared up. Mostly. Ron. Luke. Bread Lounge. Evergreen. The ice fisherfolk on Lake Evergreen. The 8 outdoor ice hockey rinks on it. Those 30 or so Elk hanging out. The drive down. Rocks. Mountains. Ice covered Streams. Lodgepole Pines. Ponderosa. Aspen. Chinook Salmon toast and that Dulce le Lecha croissant. Coffee.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jew with Guns


    Going to Evergreen Players today to see one-act plays directed by Tal’s last directing class as an employee of Evergreen Players. Alan has one in the showcase. Ron Solomon’s coming, too. Looking forward to that. A matinee. That magic word in my world of the performing arts.

    Ron sat down with Alan and me at the Bread Lounge yesterday morning. He’s a screenwriter cum entrepreneur. He was part of the writer’s room for Saved By the Bell, but he didn’t like L.A. He wrote a book about Navy Seals published three or four years ago. Now he’s running a company that helps wholesalers make sure their retail prices hold up in the marketplace.

    Ron’s also in the MVP group. He’s a very smart guy. Been around CBE for  years. He mentioned that later in the day he and Dan Herman, past president of the Synagogue, had an appointment at a gun range in Golden with a group called Jews with Guns. I’m not getting on a train. The Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh pushed him over the edge.

    I told them that if it came to it I’d get a rifle and help them defend the Synagogue. Friends are worth dying for. Family, too. A silly misadventure in Vietnam dreamed up by anti-communist old white men? Not so much. I’m no pacifist. Though Kate was. Thorough going. Miss her.

    Alan’s house is sold. He was going home to pack after breakfast. They close on both deals next week. Move in February. Glad for him. Moving stresses. Not easy.


    Glad I dropped back to learn Hangul. Still working at it, but when I get done learning Korean will be easier. Hope to get over there for a month next October. Though. CBE’s got an Israel trip planned at the same time. Always wanted to see Israel. This could be a good opportunity. Will clarify as we get closer.


    The what will I pay for my cancer drugs circus still has its tent up. No word yet on the foundation the nice lady from McKesson told me about. I’ll have to pick up some more Erleada samples if I don’t get a call before Tuesday afternoon when I see Kristie.

    Good news though. PSA still undetectable. Lab results came early this morning. Testosterone at 11. Low testosterone is 287 at which point fatigue becomes a factor. Alan’s getting his testosterone boosted for that reason. As for me. Well, I tire easily. But. My cancer doesn’t get its food. That’s the concept.


    Ancient Brothers topic this morning is space. The space between and among us. Is it too far? Too close? Mussar has a lot to say about this.



  • Aging and its good news

    Samain and the Holimonth Moon

    Monday gratefuls: BJ and Sarah. Kep at 4:30 am. David Olson. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. Gabe’s Hanukah wish list. Ruth in her dad’s sweater. The Ancient Brothers on the assets of aging. Morocco and Croatia. The World Cup. Ruby and her AWD failure notice. Clearing the way for some moving. Sleeping in. Hard reset on my hearing aid worked. Phonak. SpaceX to the Moon. Elon Musk. Sort of. The clear, clean days of Winter.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Moon as it changes


    Yesterday after the Ancient Brothers identified the assets of aging I took a rest day. Saturday was too much driving. Although Kep seemed to like it. Read, watched TV.

    In the early evening I talked with BJ and Sarah. What different lives we all have. Sarah and Jerry and their self-built gardens and buildings in rural North Carolina. BJ and Schecky who biked 5 miles to New York Cake and back from their home in the Hotel Beacon on Broadway. Me on Shadow Mountain with the Elk and the Mule Deer.


    The assets of aging. Too often aging = kvetching. Aching bones. Tired from driving. (see above) This knee, that hip or shoulder. Maybe replaced. Friends and family members dying. The stock market. The bowels. Care taking. Cancer. Arthritis. And the list goes on, seeming to grow a bit with each added year. BTW: not diminishing the reality of any of these. Or the disruptions they create in daily life. But. It is easy to get lost in the obligations and ailments. Forget the wonderful gift still daily available. Life.

    So Tom asked the question. What have we gained as older folks? What are our assets now? Knowledge accumulated through the days and months. Having seen things fail and things succeed. The ability from that to put life events, even dire ones, in perspective. Including death.

    The bonds of friendship. As one of us pointed out, it does take forty years to have a forty year friendship. Or, with family it take decades to enjoy grown children and have them enjoy you.

    We often have some money squirreled away and with it the ability to help in modest ways when necessary. A real joy.

    Love. Its necessity and its travails. Its various focii. From partners to brothers and sisters to friends and pets to Mountains and Trees and moments in time, special places. That it can be lost and regained. Its mystery and its beauty. Long experience with how love can enter and transform lives can give us old folks a certain softness, a way of being with another more easily so love can seep into the cracks. This is a great and wonderful gift.

    Loss. We’ve seen death up close. Know its horrors and its mystery. It is no longer far off. We also know the death of loved ones can be survived, even when everything within says they can’t. We also know the death of a pet is the loss of a companion, a friend of many years. Not to be diminished.

    Though there are many other assets I’ll only mention one more. We have seen our culture change from the closed in, materialistic immediate post-war years to the thousand flowers blooming of a counter-culture and a reaction against it that has not yet run its course. Here Philip Slater’s little book, The Chrysalis Effect, suggests that the integrative, democratic culture of the anti-war, back to the land, civil rights era remains ascendant in the face of stubborn and even violent responses to it. Women have still gained power. African-Americans and Latinos have more power. First Nations people have begun to feel their influence grow. The LGBTI+ community has blossomed. Globalism has won the day as trade interleaves nations with other nations.

    We remain to support the rise of integrative, democratic culture in whatever ways we can. Loving our GenZ grandchildren. Donating money. Acting politically. Giving our validation to these changes. Pressing back against what Slater calls the Controller Culture. Being imaginal cells for the changes birthing themselves as I write.

    Assets indeed.

  • Elder on the Bench

    Imbolc and the Durango Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Early workout. Kep. Realtors. Diane. Tom. Paul. Richard Powers. Dermatology. Clouds in the Sky. Rain yesterday. Hail, too. Looked like Snow. 64 on Shadow Mountain, 92 in Denver. Jon, Ruth, Gabe at the fish and chips place. Ruth has her own money now. Her job. Jon’s waiting for a disability severeness determination. Gabe starts high school today.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Medicine


    Ancient Brothers yesterday. Elder on a bench. My topic. A young man on the bench asked us to give him some thoughts on how to flourish in life. Each of us was to give 3 things that lead to flourishing for us.

    It was a fascinating hour. You are enough. Always. Let no one take that from you. Be clear about your work life, lean into it. Floss. Which meant take care of your body as well as your mind. Love the one you’re with. Love all the time, all you can. Take from everywhere, don’t look for wisdom only in the walled gardens of religion or political ideology or received ideas from family. Get a hobby, develop mastery. Seek and keep a few very good friends. Maintain presence in a community. And much more. Wish I’d videoed it. A good Youtube piece.

    These guys Mark, Paul, Bill, Tom were there for me through the agony of Kate’s last days and death. With such grace and love. We’ve been there as others have gone through surgery, covid, joys like the birth of Max and Moira’s entry into Texas politics. We know each other at an intimate level. Rare for a group of men our age. Or, any age. I cherish and love each one of them.


    At noon I drove into the furnace that is now Denver. A fish and chips place on Broadway. Ruth and Gabe’s favorite place. I hadn’t seen them in a month or so. Ruth’s shift at Rocketflash started at two so they couldn’t come up.

    Gabe did not seem enthused about his first day as a freshman in high school. Ruth was every bit the upper classman. Only talk to me if you have normal people with you.

    Jon’s waiting for PERA to define his degree of disability. This will determine what work he can do and probably the level of his monthly payments.

    We had a good time together. I gave them the photographs I bought for them in Hawai’i. Chatted outside, on a bench, eating fish and chips. A good meal.

    When I drove back up to Shadow Mountain, a thunderstorm with hail cooled the temps way down. Another 28 degree temperature spread. So glad.


    How bout those classified files, eh? I’m the president and I can do what I want when I want to whatever I want. There is a dogged consistency in Trump’s venality. It lacks vision and strategy while depending on taking today’s problem and creating a tornado where there could have been a waterspout. It’s an odd play, but one he uses so often.

    What will happen? Who the hell knows. Trump’s post presidency reminds me of a Shriner convention with all those little cars filled with clowns tooting their horns and throwing confetti.