• Category Archives Politics
  • Dissonance and its troubles

    Spring and the Passover Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Steve, Cyndi, Hoosier woman. Heidi. Salaam. Kathy. Patrick. Gil. Seder at  the Saltzman’s. My permanent seat at Tara’s seder. And, Marilyn said, hers as well. Belonging, not believing. Judaism. An Ancientrail of debate, song, justice. The Passover Moon last night. Mountains. Forests. Wild Neighbors. Good food.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Palestinians. Israelis.

    One brief shining: When the chatter grows loud and the hearing aid fails, the world recedes and I sit there, an observer wishing I was elsewhere, sort of engaged, hearing the headline words, wanting to add something, get in there, talk, yet both functionally unable, too little signal, and emotionally unable, I need to get away from here, from these people.


    Passover last night at Marilyn and Irv’s. Wonderful. Frustrating. My first passover as a Jew. Now my story in a different way than metaphor, though it is too metaphor. My ancestors who stood up to Pharaoh. My ancestors fled into the Sinai, wandered there for forty years eating manna, grumbling, receiving the torah, making a golden calf. That’s the difference. The lineage. Whether Hebrews were slaves in Egypt or not, this origin story conveys how and who we are even now, thousands of years later. The we there is the difference.

    No longer do I sit at a seder table as an interested observer, rather now as one whose attention and person has direct links with the maror, the haroset, with the seder plate. Profound for me. And, oddly dissonant.

    As I sat through my first seder as a Jew, I was with people who waved “organized” religion away with a Buddhist shrug or a spirituality makes more sense wave from the back of a parade convertible. I wanted to say, well, ok, but for me I find wonder in the torah. In the blessings. In the community of Beth Evergreen. But my hearing issues and my sense of the chasm between me and religion’s cultured despisers kept me quiet. And in that quietness I judged. Judged.

    Shallow. Timid. Fearful. Seeking the pablum of the inner life. Baby food. The reason our politics are so screwed up. Bright but so caught up in their white privilege they can’t see the world as it is.

    Oh, I was superior. Better than them. And in that very feeling of course reduced myself and my own observations to a sideshow. I felt defensive, but not willing to talk about it. To challenge, to step in the water. I stewed. Wondering how I could extricate myself. I couldn’t.

    It was my first passover as a Jew. I wanted to be there. To hear the four questions, to sing Dayenu, to taste the bitter herb and the haroset. To listen to and participate in my story.

    Later, this morning, I found myself. Collected the Charlie from the table last night. Sat him down and said, “Look. These are people trying their best. Wanting to live well. To be loving and kind. As are you.” They don’t share your radical politics, very few do. They don’t share your fascination with the ancient ways of a desert people. And why should they? You are the one being judged when you judge. Lighten up and enjoy these folks.

    And here’s the thing. Outside celebration of a holiday focused on liberation I could have found each of these people to be interesting interlocutors. Good for a breakfast or lunch time heart to heart. Passover, and my first as a Jew, revved up my political and religious engines. I ran too hot for the evening.

    That is the other thing. I’m a man of religion and of politics. What are the two things folks agree not to discuss at Thanksgiving? Yep.

  • Soon to be on the road

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Friday gratefuls: Pesach. Counting the Omer. Tarot. Astrology. Luke and Leo. Rebecca. Marilyn. Irv. Ginny, Janice. Rabbi Jamie. Conversion. Bar Mitzvah. Hoarfrost again on my Lodgepole Companion. And as far as I can see on other Lodgepoles, too. My son. Seoah. Murdoch. The Ancient Brothers. Alan. Joanne. My tallit. The morning service. The Shema.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Lidocaine patches

    One brief shining: Using scissors, I cut open the thin pouch that contains the Lidocaine patch, pull it out of its airtight container, taking care to remove only half of the covering of its working side, place the open half on my lower back, then peel back the rest of the covering, letting it settle into place over the spot where my back hurts.


    The road so far. P.T. and sitting help my back. Acupuncture. Not feelin’ it. However, the lidocaine patch. It definitely helps. 12 hours off, 12 hours on. So can use for a day of touring, being out and about. Then take it off at night. If I need to, I can try the ibuprofen at night. Suppose I could use the ibuprofen and the patch. Don’t want to. Minimal treatment. Local if possible, not systemic. Beginning to see a path forward here. Most of the time I don’t need the patch or meds, but when I do. I have them. Comforting.


    This weekend. Travel planning in serious mode. Try packing my carry-on as my one bag. I.D. all the must take with me like meds and electronics. Clothes. Go over Diane’s comprehensive list of possible things to do and establish some priorities. Must does are easy: Asian Art, the de Young, and the Legion of Honor. The Japanese Tea Room. Chinatown. Muir Woods. Eating out fancy at least once. Other museums, tourist sites, maybe Japantown, I’ll have to sort through, put on a list of if we get to it. If not, another time.

    I’m no longer an I’ve got to tick off this sight and that one to feel like the trip was worth it. I prize much more these days quality time with a place. I also know that life is short and I’ll never see everything. Mostly in that stance anyhow, by nature and inclination. I’m the guy that reads the plaques in the museum. Listens to the audio. Stays in one place awhile.

    Getting excited for the trip. The journey will be an important part of it. I love traveling by rail, going slower and at ground level, being able to saunter up to the dining car, the snackbar car, the viewing car. Or, sitting in my roomette watching the terrain go by. (unintentional) Maybe reading, maybe writing. Doing nothing at all.


    Just a moment: Looks like Israel at least for now has not screwed the pooch in its response to Iran’s flight of the drones. Thank yod-heh-vav-heh. Maybe the calculus of the Middle East can change. Maybe Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE, Jordan, even Egypt can make a pact of some part. An anti-Iran coalition similar to NATO. One for all and all for one. Probably unlikely, but any joint presence that stiff arms Shia Muslims operating in the Middle East would be quite an advance over the current reality.


  • The Artist’s Way

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Thursday gratefuls: 25 degrees. Frost on my Lodgepole Companion’s needles. Rain on the driveway. Probably slick out. Coffee. Sardines. Salmon. Roasted vegetables. Mussar. Rabbi Jamie. Joanne. Marilyn. My tallit. With the Shema embroidered on it. Made by Joanne. Kate’s quilts and other gifts. Out in the world. Her presence with them. Blessed memory.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Travel

    One brief shining: Each morning now I sit down with a yellow legal pad and black pen, writing from the top of sheet one to the bottom of sheet three, cursive, the curse of the millennials, what Julie Cameron calls morning pages, expressing whatever is on my mind, complaints and thoughts and random ideas, some times I feel like I’m cheating on Ancientrails, but this writing serves a different angel, the one who writes fiction, imagines worlds, paints in imitation of Rothko and Buddhist monks.


    As my year of living Jewishly heads towards a climax on Shavuot with the bar mitzvah, I’m beginning to look beyond it, to the point where I’m living as a Jew and not learning new things with such intensity. That guy, also living now, has decided to take the Artist’s Way challenge and focus twelve weeks on reengaging creativity. That is, in my case, writing novels and painting. Right now I’m at the very beginning and I may hold off on starting the course itself until I’m back from San Francisco.

    The two aspects of the process I am doing are writing the morning pages and having artist dates. An artist date is two  hours set aside for nothing but nurturing my artist self. My first one on Tuesday found me writing a thousand words on a Lycaon novel that I’ve been here and there on over the last couple of years. That was about an hour and a half. The last half hour I took out my large Phaidon book on Hokusai and read some of his life story, but mostly looked at his wonderful ukyio-e prints. He was the master of the wood-block prints of the Floating World.

    Engaging the creativity of master artists nourishes my own. Doesn’t have to be writing. Could be a play, a walk in the Forest, a jazz evening, taking the train to San Francisco, seeing art in its wonderful museums. All artist dates. Feels like time to come back around to writing and painting. Even though I’ve said this over and over, rather, because I’ve said this over and over, the Artist’s Way is a path I haven’t tried. Similar in some ways to the Ira Progoff work though I’ve tired of that.


    Just a moment: Gee, many jurors say they can’t be impartial. Imagine. You would have had to be in underground storage for the last seven years to not already have a strong opinion about 45. Granted he’s entitled to a jury of his peers, says so somewhere, but I’m not sure we have enough people that low on the morality scale to fill a twelve-person panel.

  • Eternal Life

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Shabbat gratefuls: Morning pages. The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. The Socrates Cafe. The Morning Service. Bar Mitzvah prep today at CBE. Parsha Tazria. Lighting the candles. Saying the blessing. Learning my Torah portion. My son and Seoah’s 8th anniversary! Wowzer. Their meal yesterday. I have pictures. Murdoch at the Dog park. Honeybee rides. Scheduled for April 24th. Which, as it happens, is the wrong date. Sigh. I played with different dates. Didn’t check.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Torii

    One brief shining: I look through the Torii that is my back door, seeing the deck and garage beyond, my gaze goes up, to the left and sees the mezuzah placed there by Rabbi Jamie not long after the Hamas raid into Israel, but this day I remember the Shema, that most prayed of all Jewish prayers: Shema Israel, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad, Hear O Israel, Our God, Our God is one, tucked into the mezuzah on a kosher scroll and that the mezuzah blesses each going out and coming in as sacred acts so I can look through my own back door from the inside and see a sacred outside, and through it from the outside and see a sacred inside, knowing then that all is one and all is sacred in this moment and in all others.


    On this calendar Tom sent me. It is eternity now. Oh, well. That’s true. By definition. We don’t have to wait for our time in eternity. My Lodgepole companion and I exist in eternity, as do the brilliant rays of Great Sol shining on us both. As do all three mezuzahs here on Shadow Mountain. As does Shadow Mountain itself. And Black Mountain, too. All cohabiting in eternity.

    Eternal life is this life, these fingers, this heart beating right now. Will my life as I am go on further into eternity’s vast expanse? Hell if I know. Yet I’ve participated in, been part of eternal life. So, maybe? A little bit of head scratching definitional play here. Sure. But, hey! We created the words and the ideas which they express. We might know more than we think we do. In fact I’m confident we do. Hope this eternal idea is one of those things in which we intuit more than we can express.


    Just a moment: Biden creeping up on Trump. Oh be still my political heart. All we need to do is thump this orange tumor clothed in baggy blue with too long red ties. Thump him and his at the ballot box. Then we can get back to politics as forever changed, but perhaps not ushering in the American Empire quite yet.

    Trump is no Caesar. On the basis of competence alone. I doubt he measures up to even Mussolini and Hitler. An inferior autocrat. That’s what he is. And he’s come along when a certain demographic felt hopeless. When all would be dictators arise. Tell me a story, a story in which I’m better than those other guys. Or those other women. Or those others. And I’ll vote for you. Always.


  • The Good Boy. Again.

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Monday gratefuls: Power back on! Internet back up! Exclamation points available! Only a bit over 24 hours but felt longer. Bleed appointment reassuring. Working on the Good Boy and his fears. Finishing Three Body Problem book. Reading There, there. And The White Road. A beautiful, calm day in the neighborhood. C.O.R.E. linefolks. Good work.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sparks of electricity

    One brief shining: Not sure what your triggers might be, here are a few of mine: must, should, have to, no choice, get on it now which of course reveal an underlying trigger too often tripped by those with imagined authority over me, my life, my choices, you know, you’re not the boss of me.


    Wanted to unveil an inner dialogue I had at 7:00 am today on the way to an appointment with a G.I. doc. While driving I rehearsed, “I’ve been without power and internet. I couldn’t have signed in.” “Are you even in the service business? Where do you get off telling me I must sign in?” “My late wife retired because she was so tired of this sort of medicine.” And other similar phrases.

    I wasn’t sure I’d make the 7:30 appointment. The first trigger. One of my own. Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology text saying: You must sign in for your 7:30 appointment. Second trigger. Internet down and power out. Third trigger. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, late, angry, defensive. Ready to go to battle with the evil empire of capitalist medicine. For about 20 minutes of drive time.

    And, I knew I was being this way. Tried to talk myself down. Failed. Finally got to a point where I could walk in and say, “Hi, I have a 7:30.” The folks behind the desk coudn’t have been nicer. They helped me get signed in, were solicitous, kind.

    Ashley, the P.A., was sweet. Knowledgeable. The bleed. Scary, but not life threatening. Might happen again. Good to be prepared. She had a sensible plan that includes checking my anemia, considering then whether to do a more invasive exam. I liked her.

    This was all about the Good Boy. The part of me that wants always to slip through authoritarian gates unnoticed. Neither defensive nor obeisant. Not sure why I’m so conflicted about authority, so eager to avoid its grasp. Might be Dad. Might be a more generalized angst about being trapped because of someone else’s rules.


    Just a moment: Iowa lost. But Caitlin. Ah, Caitlin. “I never sit and sulk about things that didn’t happen.” NYT

    This young woman is the complete package. Skilled, persistent, determined, sound work ethic, and now with inner calm. Be like Caitlin.


    In other news: Wars and rumors of war. Elections and rumors of denial. An eclipse with a prediction of clouds. And it has ever been so. The immediate, the happening causes us to gaze into the future, dragging it with us as we look. Ukraine and Gaza. Can WWIII be far behind? Biden and Trump. Who will claim to have won? Totality. What does it look like under cloud cover? Might be easier to live with what is and not wonder what will be.



  • Back to Travel

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Alan. Lucille’s New Orleans cafe. Down the hill. Visiting Spring. The Three Body Problem. Reading and forgetting. MVP. Colorado Eye Consultants. Talmud Torah with Gary. Working through Bereshit, the first parsha. Slowly. Clean house and loft. Snow in the back still high. Travel. Amtrak. BEI Wyndham. Asian art. Art.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Railroads

    One brief shining: Feels like I have lifted myself up from my inertia, almost done with first phase of planning, booking Amtrak and San Francisco hotel, Diane suggesting other things to do, including Muir Woods, looking forward to challenging myself, seeing how this physical therapied, accupunctured, physiatrist scrutinized back holds up with lidocaine patches ready for the times when everything else fails.


    Yeah. Finally. Money from my IRA plumping up my travel fund. And my fund for Ruth’s 18th birthday, graduation. Grease for the rails.

    Frustration with myself, my reluctance fading. A long winter? Sure. Back issues? Yes. Homebodiness? Of course. Reasons to stay stuck? No.

    As my friend Ode observed after his trip to Nice with Elizabeth, “Travel is hard work.” Yes, it is. Especially when stamina and various ailments intrude on the journey. Yet. We know hard work. And we know it’s worth the  end result. At least some of the time. In this case the hard work lies in lifting and walking and hurrying. In being on your feet more than in a normal day at home. In confronting challenges with food, sleeping, lodging in unfamiliar places. You know what they are. All amplified in magnitude by a weaker body.

    The hard work of travel has always been worth it for me. I’ve faced times since Korea when I doubted whether it was still worth it. I’m not sure. If my back seizes up on me after a day out and I can’t sleep. If its pain brings me up short during a day like it did in Korea. If the exercises and the lidocaine patches don’t calm it down. Well. Then I’ll know and have to readjust. Reconsider. But if, as I imagine, I now know how to handle my back, not let it get away from me, then I’ll start looking at flights to Taipei and Incheon.


    My taxes are done. That feels good.

    I have MVP tonight. I’m presenting on bechira, choice points, and kehilla, community. What in your world creates a choice between this appetite and that virtue? How do those choices affect the people with whom you live?

    Eye doc today. Glaucoma. Photos of my retinal nerve. Seeing Dr. Repine. Thorough. Quick. With cataracts and glaucoma I could have gone blind twice. Thanks for modern eye care Jane West and Dr. Repine. Easy to forget the things that haven’t happened as a result of good medical care. I’m not functionally deaf either. Nor am I dead from prostate cancer.


    Just a moment: Israel. Digging itself deeper and deeper into everyone’s bad graces. When you’re in a hole, stop digging. Still pro-Palestinian. Still pro-Israel. Anti militarism as the only solution to Israel’s security. Sad beyond measure. So conflicted. Angry. Worn down. A troubled place.




  • No Loyalty

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: My Lodgepole companion, Needles again covered with Snow. A cold Mountain morning. Remembering Andover (see header image). Being where you are. Wendel Berry. Regenerative Farming. Loving the place. Knowing the place. Where the Mule Deer come. Where the Creek blasts down the Mountain in Spring. Where the Dogwood blooms. Where Fawns and Calves move up and down the Mountains on wobbly legs.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Moisture on the Mountain and the Forest

    One brief shining: You know I looked out at the Snow yesterday, falling sometimes gently, sometimes vigorously, and I thought beautiful, then when I saw the same Snow coming down on my driveway I screamed enough, no more, we’ve had plenty thank you very much, however; I did not mean it, I meant bring as much moisture as long as you can and I will be grateful.


    Yes. Cabin fever time. That moment when what looked serene and beautiful a few short months ago now scrapes across the seasonal blackboard like bad chalk. Up here it produces a split personality. One tired of the cold, the Snow, driving on Ice, huddling up all about hygge. Wanting to run outside in a t-shirt, arms spread wide, soaking in Great Sol. The other remembering summers past when the Smokey the Bear sign pegged Extreme Fire Danger. Snow as far into April, hell, even May as you want. In fact, Snow until the Monsoons return. Please.

    I’m cutting a middle ground between these two. Gonna take off for San Francisco at the end of the month. See a lot of art, maybe a Redwood or two, visit my cousin in her native habitat. Eat. Sleep. Test my back in a safe environment.

    Of course. I would for sure wear Flowers in my hair if I had enough left. Gonna ride the Amtrak route between Denver and SFC. Really, Oakland, then a bus. Or, Diane. With a roomette. See the Rockies and the intermountain West without having to drive.

    A way to discover if I can travel, probably back to Korea again. Maybe to Israel if this war ever ends. Perhaps this year for both.


    Just a Moment: Caitlin Clark. Wow. 41 points. Final Four. Iowa! Once more, with feeling: Go, Hawkeyes! Iowa feels like Minnesota’s younger sister. Which would make Caitlin our niece? Always nice to see family doing well.

    45. His $175 million dollar bond. His legal peril. Or, from the MAGA perspective, the persecutions not prosecutions.

    Brother Mark asked if Trump won how would I be the loyal opposition?

    I wouldn’t. Be loyal. Though I would be in opposition. Loyal opposition as an idea implies mutuality, a framework in which political opponents serve as testers of ideas, as citizens of a shared form of government. A form of government which all sides agree has the best interests of a nation as its true purpose.

    Trump is not a politician in that sense. He is a politician though, one of the oldest kinds. A brute seeking total power. Power with which he can punish his enemies and reward his sycophants. Kings, Queen, Pharaohs, and Emperors, autocrats and dictators all are this sort of politician.

    Loyalty has as its sister virtue respect. No respect for pussy grabbers, for those who provide safe harbor for white supremacists, misogynists, anti-Semites. No respect for insurrectionists, for anti-constitutionalists. No respect for frauds, for payers of hush money, for election deniers. Therefore. Q.E.D. No loyalty.



  • I sense you’re slipping…

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Bill and Carol. Lea?, Lila? and Rider. Covid booster. The Morning blessings. The Shema. Snow. Slowly sublimating. (Which, I just learned, takes 7 times the amount of energy that boiling water does!) Knife handling at Evergreen Market. Rebecca. Safeway. John Connolly. Books. Still arriving. Breakfast. Waking up.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dogs

    One brief shining: Wandered in to the Safeway, past the Ugli fruit and the Dragon fruit, past the eggs and the dairy case, walked up to the counter, I have a 10:30, all we have is Moderna, that’s fine, off to the small waiting area with chairs, ten minutes later a quick oddly painful jab, thank you.


    Still wrassling a sense of diminishment, a sullen colored mood that feels like a slight weight on my shoulders. Thrashes my self, my soul leaving them tired, exhausted even at the start of the day. Dawn does not come up rosy fingered, but scratching against the darkness, bleeding into the Forest, silhouetting Black Mountain rather than revealing. Makes me want to sit down, lie down. Go back to sleep.

    Might be my long exercise drought. Two weeks ago I stopped because I didn’t want to irritate my bowels while they healed. Then the snow came and I can’t get up to the loft. Sleep is not as good. Not bad, but not good either. Or anemia. Or some mysterious dark haired revenant from my shadow. Could be cabin fever, too. Lot of staying in over the last couple of months. Might need a vacation. Probably do. Almost certainly do. So what’s stopping me?

    Inertia. My back. Winter’s tenacious though now tentative grasp. In other words, nothing.

    Whatever it is, I feel like that guy in the old Pogo cartoons who walked around with a rain cloud over his head. Not. Much. Fun.

    I also know this will not last. If Kate were here, she might be telling me, “I can sense you’re slipping into melancholy.” Guess she is here in my heart, telling me that, isn’t she?


    Just a Moment: Could also be the steady fall of disappointing rain from America’s election 2024. Friends are going to Costa Rica to check out land. In case 45 turns into 47. Intelligent, rooted friends. Don’t want to live out their sunset years under an autocrat. Not hard to understand though I feel no pull in that direction.

    Or, maybe the politics of Israel, the U.S., Palestinians. When was the last time a majority leader of the Senate spoke for regime change in a country that has been and is our ally? I agreed with Schumer, btw. Netanyahu bought and paid, literally, for this disaster and sustains his time in office only through the cheapest of political maneuvers.

    Might it also be articles titled like this: Why we shouldn’t give in to climate despair.

    Sure these everyday on the frontpage news items are not Zoloft for my mood.


    And yet. I’m not my reactions to the news. I’m not my fatigue. I can choose a different path. So. I will.



  • Big Storms

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Snow. A lot. More on the way. The generator. Good sleeping. Mountain late winter. The cold. Still there. Tired. Less sneezy. Mostly fatigued. Reading. New Joe Pickett novel. Jewish holidays. Come and Get It by Kiley Reid. Politics. So consequential, so out of whack. My storm larder. Bean soup. Pork steaks. Plenty of food for body and soul.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A Winter Storm

    One brief shining: Sure enough, around noon Snow started off and on, tailing off around three, coming back an hour later in a steady, straight down imitation of a good drenching Rain, continuing all night with today predicted to add 9-13 inches and tonight another 6-10 both on top of the overnight last night total perhaps putting us past even the predicted three feet.

    Nota bene: At 7:30 am I took a yardstick out to my deck. I measured 21 inches of Snow.


    Around 3 am I awoke to jazz and my medical guardian announcing that it was “charging”, something it does each time I put it in its charging cradle at night. The rumble of the generator going off told me what had happened. Power had gone out, perhaps twice, and when it shifted this time back to the grid the guardian figured it had just been plugged in and the cd player with a Dave Brubeck disc in it somehow turned on. Late Winter/early Spring Snow storms with their wet, heavy snow often take out Mountain electrical lines. Not unexpected.

    Even so, the cool sound of Brubeck’s jazz confused me as did the mechanical voice repeating, “charging.” It took me a minute to orient myself to the storm and the generator.

    We’ve been prepped for this storm since last weekend. A big one. At first, maybe 2 feet of Snow! Then, no, more like 3. Giving what I’ve seen so far and what’s predicted we might exceed that. So many of the Snow forecasts this season have busted or been underwhelming. Not this one. We’ll remember where we were on March 14th in 2024.

    Big Snow Storms are like irregular holidays. Anticipated with either eagerness or dread. Often preceded by trips to the grocery store. A reason to stay home from work or school. The bigger they are, the more memorable. That Halloween blizzard in 1991. Minnesota. If you were in the state then, you remember that one. Over 2 feet of snow. The arc of this storm is far from over so just how big it will be is still unknown. But it seems well on its way to the history books.


    Just a moment: Well, my plea for Joe Biden to step aside fell on deaf ears. Mine included. He cinched the Democratic nomination. As has 45. We’re getting our dream matchup for the election that may determine the fate of democracy in the U.S. That dream, BTW, is, yes, a nightmare. A repeat of 2020. And the third time 45 has been on the ballot. Three times too many if you ask me.

    My nudge to the President did come before his State of the Union speech. He caught some air with that. Still not sure he’s the right one to carry us past the golden haired boy. But I gotta hope so.

  • Ontario

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: DST. MST. Songtan time. Hello, darkness. Stratford Festival. Mark’s reprieve until April 16th. Seoah and Murdoch and my son. Zoom. Janice and Ginny. Scott. Shabbat. Adar II. Leap years Gregorian and Jewish. Aspen Perks. Kat and Travis. Reading. My great joy. Computer glitches. Ancient Brothers. Mario and Babette on the road.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Stratford, Ontario

    One brief shining: Those trips to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario involved camping on the shores of Lake Huron, listening to the long trumpets with banners blare out a fanfare for the start of each play, Shakespeare on the stage, the lovely Avon wandering near by and the Black Swan Coffee House where I first encountered criticism of the U.S. role in Vietnam.


    When having breakfast with my friends Ginny and Janice, both theater folk, we discovered our mutual affection for the festival in Stratford, Ontario. I haven’t been back since my honeymoon with Judy, my first wife. 1969. A long time. But in talking with Ginny and Janice I reignited my interest. Much as I did last week with my passion for creating a sustainable presence for humans on our only Planet. Guess I should start paying attention. The psyche is a changin’.

    Those were highlights for me with our family. Driving into Canada, a foreign country! Crowns on top of the speed signs. Familiar cars with unfamiliar grills and looks. Colorful money. Crowns again. It all felt very exotic to me. The farm houses in distinctive shades of blue and yellow. Kincardine. A Scottish town. Ipperswich Provincial Park. Provincial. Not state. Provinces. When our time in Stratford finished, we would drive on north to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

    There we would motor on to the Chi-cheemaun, a car ferry run by the Owen Sound Transportation Company, and cross the Georgian Bay. The Flowerpot Islands in the distance. No car ferries in Alexandria, Indiana. It was all wonderful. Strange. Not in the U.S. We traveled to a foreign country. I didn’t know anybody else at home who’d done that.

    Until the War. The Vietnam War. That bastard child of anti-communist fever dreams. Classmates began to disappear overseas. Dennis killed. Richard Lawson wounded. The Native American guy whose name I don’t recall right now killed. A few of us. Very few went to college. Exempted. The rest. Fodder for the meat grinder of an unnecessary war.

    This was the early 1960’s. They all blended together. Shakespeare. Coriolanus. The Black Swan. Lake Huron. The cranking sound of the Chi-cheemaun’s open maw closing. The quiet vanishing of young men my age. The end of high school. Mom’s death. The start of college. So long ago. So far away in time as to be of another century. Even another millennia.

    Which all segued into the movement. The anti-war movement. The days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Which describes my experience well. As the Grateful Dead said, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”