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  • Happy people say pyt med det.

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: A good, hard workout. Monoecious and dioecious plants. Lodgepoles and Aspens. The Arapaho National Forest. That Yearling Mule Deer eating alongside the road. Rain. Thunder. Lightning. Full Streams. Floods in Minnesota and Iowa. Drought eliminated. Less Fire risk here. Mark in Thailand. Mary in Melbourne. My son, Seoah and Murdoch in Songtan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Totoro

    Totoro

    One brief shining: Thunder cracked over Shadow Mountain yesterday afternoon, rain poured down drenching the shallow Soil, the Granite that sits beneath it, allowing Plants to draw nutrients into their Root systems, send it up by capillary action to Stalks, Trunks, Branches, and Leaves, the coming down going up.

     

    Easy. And, a mistake. The aches, pains, creaks and groans of the aging body. The serious diagnosis. The certainty of death not far in the future. Easy to let these common realities of age bring us down, send us into the place where doubt and fear rule. Not too long a step from there to depression.

    Easy. And, a mistake. Moods. Again. That’s the first sign of trouble. A mood that drags us into the past and what could have been but is no longer. Or, that sends us, heart racing, toward that future day when that same heart or the lungs or the cancer will take over, finish. Or, that simply lets us sit focused on present pain and discomfort. Moods. Transient and manageable.

    Pyt med det. A Danish phrase that means it doesn’t matter. Or, don’t worry about it. Consider this Finnish saying, Some have happiness, everyone has summer. Another Finnish saying: Whatever you leave behind, you will find in front of you. According to this article people in Finland and Denmark, two of the nations ranked at the top for overall happiness, use these phrases as a mental shield against bad moods and spiraling unhappiness.

    Take care of things as they come up. Don’t let them cook. I had to give a friend some news I feared he might take badly. Could have, and at another age, might have delayed the call. Waited until the elusive right time. Sat down and made the call. He was ok with it. Oh. Well. When I say or do something I regret, I deal with it quickly and openly. Whatever you leave behind, you will find in front of you.

    That bum shoulder, the knee pain, a back that ouches, even a terminal diagnosis. Sure. Could bring you down. However, right now, which is the only moment you have, you can choose another frame. They don’t matter. Pyt med det. Easy for the Danes to say, eh? Well, we only die once and even chronic pain has its better times. Some have happiness, everyone has summer. A summer of lessened pain will come. No need to focus on it in this moment then, let the dance of the seasons bring summer to you.

    Death. Not a stranger to me. To you. To all of us. The Tibetan Buddhists work to get a calm, relaxed attitude toward death. They believe the process of reincarnation takes its first cue from how you greet your end. That matters. So. When death comes round too soon, trying to blow your house down, tell her to cease and desist. Because right now is not the time. And promise to show up when it is time.


  • Talmud Torah

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Sleep. The fan. Rain. Vince. Jamie. The dead Lodgepole. Books. Storm Before the Calm. Orgovyx on the way. Juneteenth. Love. Justice. Compassion. Irv. The Ancient Brothers. A dull white Sky. Little Breeze. The Mountains with their green clothes on. Rock outcroppings. Mule Deer. Elk. Fawns and calves. The life of June 21, 2024. Sweets from Durango via Melbourne. Where it is the Winter Solstice.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Low Fire Danger-in late June

    One brief shining: Opened a pocket-knife I bought when the shoe store in Evergreen went out of business, slit the tape on the box from Durango Chocolates, discovered a sealed foil bag, inside it paper shredded insulation, then two cool packs-colder than ice!-and below them a box wrapped in clear plastic announcing chocolates inside, the knife again, the box has yet more shredded paper inside covering a melt in your mouth chocolate bar, sea salt toffee, and Bear balm; a bar mitzvah present I received a day before the Winter Solstice in Melbourne where Mary sat with her computer and ordered it.

     

    Started torah study with Rabbi Jamie yesterday. Once a month we’ll read the parsha of the week and Aviva Zornberg’s commentary. The current torah readings are in the book of Numbers. Her commentary, “Bewilderment” will be what we use for now. Jamie’s also going to share a weekly commentary he gets from Art Green, his mentor and former president of the Reconstructionist Seminary.

    This is a rare privilege for me. He and I decided to continue our monthly sessions that had been focused on conversion lessons and turn them into torah study. When I was in seminary, the classes on the New Testament and the “Old Testament,” now the Tanakh for me, were my favorites. Something about studying source materials, getting to know them and their stories really well. About revelation and its history. About literature, ancient literature. About myths and legends. About adapting their meanings to the contemporary world. That fascination is still there.

    If I remember, I’ll share some from our sessions.

    Yesterday we discussed how to interpret God since neither of us are supernaturalists. How do we make sense of the character god’s role? Didn’t get far with that, but as I’ve thought about it since I found myself wanting to go back to Rabbi Toba Spitzer’s book, God is Here, about metaphors for god. Lowercase god is the way Rabbi Rami Shapiro differentiates the henotheistic deity of the Torah from the One who is all who is us who is becoming new right now and always.

     

    Just a moment: Heat. Across the U.S. Across the world. High heat. Record breaking heat. Don’t hear much, except in Florida, about climate change deniers. Down there in that puzzling state DeSantis has perfected the nah nah nah nah response to Black history, queer life, and climate change. If you don’t talk about them, they’re not real. DeSantis hasn’t passed the object permanence stage of human development. That’s when babies learn that peek-a-boo’s a game, not the way things are. Poor Florida.

     

     

     


  • Wrasslin’

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Marilyn. Irv. Salaam. Slumps. End of the bar mitzvah pilgrimage. A Colorado morning with Great Sol lighting up a blue Sky, wisps of Clouds float above Black Mountain. My Lodgepole Companion’s Branches sway a bit. Primo’s. The view of the Continental Divide on the way to King’s Valley. Mountain roads. Ruby with her summer shoes.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Salaam

    One brief shining: Ruby’s tires whisper as I downshift to fourth for the turn onto King’s Valley Drive, thoughts of breakfast with Marilyn whom I haven’t seen for a while, and wondering whether I’ll talk about the P.E.T. scan results since Salaam will be there, the first time I’ve had a chance to talk to her, or might we talk about the bar mitzvah which Marilyn missed because of a Covid concern, then later I find out Paul has Covid and I check myself out. Feeling ok.

     

    Wrasslin’ over the weekend. With the slump post-bar mitzvah, post the celebration with Tom and Paul, post the new results from my P.E.T. scan. A big push to the finish line and past it always leave me with an emotional vacuum. Inner attention to what must get done in order to reach completion drops away. No little self ignited flares for this task or that one. This reading. That memorization. Emails back and forth. All fade. Spaciousness opens up. All those things set aside bubble up, but not with much force. Wait and see.

    The emotional buttressing I find necessary to work at long and complicated tasks has exclusion as a primary tool. This is not the time to wonder about writing. About what I’m up to with the remainder of my life. About cancer even. About that full inbox. About home maintenance. All set aside. Focus on the Hebrew, on the service, on writing the d’var torah.

    Over. Then, it’s over and the torah portion has been read, the d’var torah presented, the bar mitzvah service is in the past, grayed out of my Google calendar. Tom and Paul have gone home.

    A void of purpose. Of self-motivation. Of something to look forward to, something to bend the will in a particular direction. Feels like an existential abyss. A nothingness which leaves me mildly stunned. I know this abyss will not stare back at me, but the feeling remains.

     

    Added to it. That still. Still manageable. Creating in me a sense of the end. Not imminent but probably closer than I thought. Death. Hearing for the I don’t know how manyeth time those hoof beats. No. Not zebras, but the pale horse ridden by a dark figure. I’ve learned how to stand my ground as she approaches. The horse not breathing as it gallops toward me, dust kicked up behind.

    Here’s what Yamantaka taught me. Have an apple or a sugar cube. Greet the rider. Welcome, friend! Ask, are you sure? If not, then leave me. I’ve got lives to lead.

    This is the life of June 17th, begun around 8 am when I got up. Resurrected from the 1/60th of death. Ready to live this June 17 life as well and fully as I can.

    I’ve already had breakfast with Irv, Marilyn, and Salaam and run these thoughts through my head again. Feeling the feelings but not getting swamped by them.

     


  • Do you feel different?

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Shabbat. Paul. Tom. Veronica. Jamie. Luke. Leo. Irene. Ginny. Janice. Air travel. Travel. Pride. Pride Shabbat. Soul. Lev. Humility. Kavod. Colorado Blue Sky. Old Friends. Friends who are old. Friends who are young. Ruth. Gabe. Kate, always Kate. Money. Having enough. Orgovyx. Cancer. Spinal stenosis. The body as it declines. Sarah and her recovery.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Leo

    One brief shining: Coffee black, chai latte, black tea the cups set down with a light click and thud vapor steaming, do you need a few more minutes, eyes back on the menus, the silence of choice making, the clinking of silverware, plates lifted and carried away, the way old friends ended another time together before disbursing back to Shadow Mountain, the Twin Cities, Robbinston, Maine.

     

    The week of the Bar Mitzvah has been full. A full lev. A full home. A fullness of presence and transformation and initiation. Now it’s fading into memory with only Shabbat left. Paul and Tom came as witnesses, as bearers of memory, as Woolly Mammoths. Veronica came as my partner in conversion and bonei mitzvah. Jamie as my rabbi. All of these relationships deepened. Made more by the ancient ritual of becoming part of a tribe, a tradition, a local community.

    Realized last night at the Pride Shabbat service, that a key facet was oh so simple, perhaps not seen for what it is. The brief conversations after. The turning and moving and encountering one you know only slightly. Saying each others names. Then a longer time, plate of strawberries and humus and pretzels and cookies in hand, talking with those known better. The casualness of it all. Yet really. Seeing and being seen. Knowing and being known. Each time we gather. Layering on the glue of community. Being bound a bit more to each other, casual acquaintance and dear friend.

    Do you feel different? A fair question. Hard to answer. Yes! Not really, no. Oh, wait. Maybe. Rites of passage like conversion and the bonei mitzvah have a critical function for the individual and the community. They test willingness to embrace the other as a full and complete member of the same organism.

    Yes, I do feel different. I passed through the semi-permeable membrane of Jewish identity when I first submerged in the mikveh. When I talked with the beit din about my Judaism. When I studied with Tara for my Torah portion. When I got my new name, Israel. When I read stanzas of Marge Piercy’s poem. And my Torah portion. When I gave my d’var torah. When I listened to Rabbi Jamie talk about me. When we finished the service. When people heard about all this, or witnessed it for themselves.

    Really, the magic of the mikveh. After, I had been Jewish my whole life. And that feels true. I stood at the foot of Mt. Sinai on that original Shavuot, watched Moses come down, received the torah.


  • Rites of Passage

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Retrieving my phone. Smiling Pig Saloon and Barbecue. Irv. Paul and Tom. Mussar. The Perkei Avot. Letting us heal ourselves. Kristie. Prostate cancer. Mets. Radiation and Orgovyx. Gabe and baseball. Ruth’s dinner.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: P.E.T. scans

    One brief shining: Bathing in the presence of friends and family, no not that kind, the kind where folks see you, come to your Bar Mitzvah, give you presents, and say nice things about you, how significant, how important, so appreciated.

     

    Two rites of passage this week. The Bar Mitzvah. Which continues to reverberate in my soul. Wild thought about that. Veronica and I did our conversions at the same time. Now we’ve done our bonei mitzvahs together. She’s 28, beautiful, talented, smart. I’m 77. Together, it occurred to me we represent youth, promise, the feminine, and the elder, maturity, the masculine. A whole person.

     

    Second rite of passage. The drug holiday P.E.T. scan results. Not what I wanted. Three or four new metastases. Spinal column, pelvic lymph node. Which means. Meds. Orgovyx starting early next week. Then, radiation at some point this summer. Yet again. I will glow.

    Kristie, who takes good care of me, said this is still manageable. And that she would tell me if it was not. That’s reassuring. Sort of. Still manageable made me go, huh.

    Each iteration of treatment and recurrence adds up, carries its own weight. Yet I remain positive about the management and care I receive. My cancer seems hardy, able to withstand the best we can throw at it while each time there’s been something to do, something to put it back in quiescence.

    That still manageable though. There may come a time. But it has not come yet.

    So I will not dwell on it. As the rabbi’s say, each sleep is 1/60th of death and each morning a resurrection into a new life. Today is a new life, a chance to begin again. And that will be always true. Until death does me part from this world.

     

    Just a moment: To all those embryo’s resting in cryogenic slumber. The Southern Baptists care about you. Like Alabama’s Supreme Court. Well, that’s what they’d like you to think. Actually ‘Bama and the Southern Baptists want to reach into the culture and impose on it their particular understandings of what it means to be human.

    The Jewish position on this issue is clear and has been for centuries. Life begins with the first breath. Like Adam and Eve. Further. Because of this, if a problem occurs during pregnancy, the mother’s life is always given priority.

     

    Another instance of religious certainty damaging human beings. Noticed Catholic Bishops have apologized for the treatment of Indians in boarding schools. That happened because Catholics of the time believed with certainty in the truth of Catholicism, the necessary dominance of Christianity over native beliefs, and the manifest destiny of American civilization. Very, very toxic confluence.

    The message? Think about those things about which you are certain. Do any of them lead to harm for other people or for the world which sustains us all? Discard them now and learn humility.


  • Now I am a man

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Bar Mitzvah done. Tom and Paul here. CBE. My sacred community. Sarah and the Moose. Maine. Minnesota. California. Tree sex. Rabbi Jamie. Veronica. Rebecca. Joanne. Tara. Mindy. Presents. Finishing. All the Trees in the Arapaho National Forest.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Veronica

    One brief shining: Veronica and I pulled open the doors of the ark, Rabbi Jamie lifted each Torah scroll and handed one  to each of us and we took the Torah scrolls throughout the congregation, prayer shawls in hand or with prayer books, folks touched the dressed scroll.

     

    As you may have noticed, I missed yesterday. A busy day. Up and out of the house at 7:30 am. Over to Evergreen with Paul to meet Tom at the Bread Lounge. Breakfast. Corned beef eggs Benedict. A Cuban coffee. Conversation with two old friends.

    Realized that their presence here added the experience into the long memory of our friendship. How long term relationships remain strong and fresh. It also reveals the limits of Zoom. 3-D, high touch has room for casual interaction, for direct care, for hugs. For meals eaten together. Having said that I’m still a fan of Zoom. It maintains connection in a much more direct way for me than the telephone.

    After breakfast we drove over to the synagogue. It was only 9:30 so we had a half an hour to wait. I introduced Tom and Paul to various folks, we chatted.

    At tennish we began. Rabbi Jamie gave Veronica and me a pep talk. Clumsiness makes it more human. This is a celebration of something that has already happened. Enjoy yourself.

    Because Veronica sings and chants like the music major she is, she and Rabbi Jamie ended up doing most of the service. As agreed, I only came in on the parts I’d practiced.

    Reading my Torah portion had its hiccups, not the best rendering of what I had learned. Not a big deal however.

    I did feel clumsy about when to bow, when to rise up on my toes. And, boy was that Torah scroll heavy. By the time I’d made my circuit my left shoulder let me know it was ready to be done. Rabbi Jamie took it from me when I got back to the bimah.

    We read a Marge Piercy poem at two stanzas each. I introduced the Mah Tovu and the Shema. Veronica chanted her Torah portion which was much longer than mine.

    Our d’var torahs came next. Mine was predictably intellectual, hers much longer and heartfelt. Why the parish was never a good fit for me.

    Veronica might make a good rabbi if she decided to go that direction. Right now she’s a mechanical engineer working for Lockheed Martin on spacecraft.

    I did not realize how much standing would be involved. By the time the service ended, at about 2 hours, I was exhausted. More limitations of the body.

    At this point I’m glad to have this done. Finished. It puts a cap on the whole year. I’m finished with preparation, ready to live as a Jew.

    It was so good to have Ruth and Gabe there. In a way this was a pivotal moment for the three of us. Grandpop now firmly in their tribe. Ruth cried a bit, remembering Jon. And that too was good.

    I did leave my phone at the synagogue. Got some gifts which I’ve not yet opened. Had some deep conversations. A special, sacred day.

     

     

     

     

     


  • I’m Into Something Good. Oh, yeah…

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Cool night. Elk. Mule Deer. Fox. Great Sol. The Great Wheel. The Great Work. The Jewish Year. Wild Trees. Ancient Forests. Sequoias. Coastal Redwoods. Bristlecone Pines. Kabbalah. Shekinah. The Sabbath Bride. Emergence. Lodgepoles. Aspens. Jewitches. Love. Justice. Compassion. A direction, a purpose. A way to live.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Emergence

    One brief shining: Before the closing of the door and before I even open it, I stand hand over my eyes repeating the shema, declaring that I, god-wrestler, find the one to be all and the all to be one, which we might call god or not, but we can call it for sure the interdependent web of all things, all becoming things, everywhere there is a where, stretching from me in front of my bedroom door to the other reaches of this universe, passing by the Crab Nebula and the Horse Head Nebula on its way to a boundary where there can be no boundary.

     

    I’m into something good.* Said this this morning during the Ancient Brothers. An exciting burst of serendipity, synchronicity, plain old enthusiasm. Heading toward eudaimonia. Wow. Sounds manic as I write it. Has some of that flavor. The shovel that uncovered this new path? A dream. And the Dreamers’ response to it.

    And… Here we go. I’m going back to Wabash College. At least that place I was when I was there. Serendipity note: the Herman’s Hermits song below was released in 1964, the summer before my last year of high school, and before my mother’s death in October. Another serendipity note: Herman’s Hermits.

    When I went to Wabash, I had competing emotions, both so very strong. The first. Grief. Unresolved, not understood, in no way dealt with. Mom was dead. I left home to go to this school, at the time highly competitive, and bare my small town intellect to so many others so much smarter than me. Grief and uncertainty. Toxic at best.

    The second. Finally! A liberal arts education. A chance to get into the cultural deposit of the West. (It would be many, many years before Asia showed up in my life.) Philosophy. History. English Literature. Languages. A chance to grow beyond my autodidact years, guided by professors and stimulated by fellow students. Hard to convey the excitement, even relief, I felt at starting college.

    Then German happened. I wanted to read Hegel, Nietzsche, Kant in the original. So I signed up. And floundered. Bad. Got c’s and d’s on quizzes and tests. Where this headed was clear. Abject failure. I did not do the brave and movie worthy thing. Face up to it and overcome. No. I dropped German like a hot potato masher hand grenade.

    At the end of the year summer jobs were hard to find and Wabash was expensive. I decided to go further. Leave Wabash altogether. I’m not big on regret, but this is one of them for me.

    The dream. Said. Go back. Be who you intended to be. The one that got lost along the way. So who was I going to be, the 18 year old version of this 77 year old. I wasn’t sure of anything but my desire to dive headlong into the deep waters of the liberal arts. Where would I come out? No idea. Didn’t want to know. I only wanted the journey. No destination.

    I’ve made a journey, but got off the path of liberal arts, shunted aside by politics and religion. By alcohol and women. By travel and jobs. All ok, all good. Yet not where I wanted to be.

    Now. The tarot card, the Hermit, hangs rendered in neon over my breakfast table. Herman’s Hermits remind me of the year before college, feelings accelerating, ground speed increasing. I’m also reminded of my first response to Kate’s death. I’m going to be a hermit. Hence, the neon. Last year I wrote a one-act play introducing Herme, the Hermit, and Cold Mountain’s poetry. And the dream says, go. Teshuvah. Return to the highest and best you.

    A semi-hermit, a sometime recluse, a happy loner. But one with the permission to study, to write. To go back into the liberal arts and see if, as Israel: God-Wrestler, I can add to the world my own learnings.  About the Great Wheel, the Jewish liturgical year, trees and plants, about process metaphysics, about religion, about poetry and literature, about transformation and metamorphosis. These are the lenses through which I have learned to see the world.

    Next. Organizing my days, weeks, months, years around this Fool’s Journey. After that. On to the diving board, spring up and down. Out into thin air.

    *


  • A Summer Evening. Dreams

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: A summer night. My Lodgepole Companion swaying gently, soaking up Great Sol’s singular gift. A Light Eater. (just got this book) Dreams. Dreams suppressed but not forgotten. The dream group with Irene: Irv, Sandy, Jane, Clara, Susan. Zoom. Chinese food. Evergreen. Its evolution. Changing demographics. Felonious guilty, guilty, guilty.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Hush Money Jurors

    One brief shining: Like you, I imagine, I looked at the headlines, typefaces bold and big, pressing up from the mast head, yes, yes, yes, at last a verdict, a consequence for this man, one venal, shallow, desperate man, who has been my President but never my President, and yet, and yet, a man nonetheless, one with the same generous gift granted us from the long arc of evolution, this body and mind, this ensouled flesh.

     

    OK. As much fun as it is to chart the long voyage of Felonious Sinsbad, I’m gonna stop. For now.

     

    Most of all I want to acknowledge a summer night. Last night. I drove over to Evergreen for a meal at the Coal Mine Dragon restaurant with Joanne, Rebecca, and Terry. A good time was had by all. Around 8 pm we finished and I drove home in the uneven light of a Mountain evening. The temperature hovered in the mid-60’s, gradually declining as I went up in altitude from Evergreen on Brook Forest, then Black Mountain Drive.

    Green Grass, Aspens lit up with chartreuse leaves not yet mature, Willow’s golden with new branches, Red Osier Dogwood bright against them both. The various Creeks and Streams flowed peacefully, calmer now following the powerful runs from last week’s rain. The Lodgepoles of course as backdrop for them all, climbing each Mountain I drove past. The trees of the Arapaho National Forest all well-watered and ready for a season of growth.

    Dusk finds Mule Deer and Elk out for a late meal though I saw neither on the way home.They were enjoying the evening, too, somewhere else in the Mountains.

    Driver’s side window down I drove my usual speed, slower now than in the past, what I consider a speed safe for my Wild Neighbors. The muted light, Great Sol already obscured by the Mountains, but not gone, the comfortable temperature, the Mountains climbing above me, the Creeks and Streams flowing beside the road.

     

    Earlier. Another session with those Irene calls The Dreamers. A collection of folks spread out: Santa Fe, England, Half Moon Bay, Evergreen, Conifer. This time only Sandy and I had dreams. Irene put them in a bowl and drew my name so I started. This one was old, May of 2021, but one that has never left my consciousness. I had never discussed it before yesterday.*

    Not gonna say a lot about it here except to note that the conversation about it has, I think, pushed me much further along the trail. Feeling the latter day purpose of my life growing clearer. I have been trying to give myself permission to lean into study, serious study. And more writing. Perhaps in an Ancientrails style, perhaps fiction. Both? Yes, lifting the veil. Seeing a rich and powerful next chapter emerging.

    Will require more thought, organization. Some decisions about focus. Yet I can feel all of that beginning to surface. At last.

     

    *”The Dream. This was at Wabash, my first college: Several women, including a dean, asked me to return, finish my studies. The men in the dream were rigid, angry. In general and at me. Following the lead of the dean, I said yes. I remember calculating in the dream, “Yes, even now after 56 years.” I can still study, write, learn.

    At a gateway out of the administrative offices a German Shepherd lunged at me from beneath a cloak and proceeded to lick my face. After passing through the gateway, I was put in a fiery chair with some other men. It burned them but was cool to me.

    I had a strong sense of longing, a keen desire to go back, be a scholar/student again. A writer.

    This dream feels important, more so than many of the others I’ve had recently. Not gonna conclude much about it right now. Any ideas, impressions: welcome.”

     


  • Visits from Wild Neighbors

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Diane. Ginny and Janice. Luke. Domo. Corvids. Ravens. Crows. Magpies. Those Mule Deer young ones. Working out. Learning Torah, reading Hebrew. That strange veil over my mind for a couple of months. Rural Japanese food. The gardens of Domo. Wild Neighbors. Black Bears. Mountain Lions. Great Sol. Shining.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Mule Deer yearlings lounging in my back yard

    One brief shining: Got up, still a bit sleepy, upstairs, looked out the window and saw trash in the driveway, Bears, when I went to the kitchen window, not Bears, two huge Crows flew up and out of my recycling bin, could not leave it open anymore, Crows do not forget, outside, picked up the spilled coffee filter, the plastic bag from my online pharmacy, a book’s packaging, tossed it all back in the bin, and closed the lid.

     

    In my defense. I only put recyclables in this trash bin that I place conveniently in front of a low kitchen window. However. When my housekeeper comes, she often throws garbage bags in this bin. I’ve never told her otherwise so she’s not at fault. I take what I think are the garbage bags and put them in the garbage bin in the garage. I missed a garbage bag-they’re opaque.

    Bears. Will find and displace garbage over a wide area. Never thought about Crows and Ravens.

    Gonna have to tell Ana to leave the trash bags inside. I’ll put them in the right bins. Could have done this a while ago, just didn’t.

    So. Wild Neighbors #1. Crows in my trash.

     

    Wild Neighbors #2. Since I no longer have dogs, I leave my front fence gates open, hoping that some Wild Neighbors will find their way into my back yard. Yesterday when I went up to work out, there were four yearling Mule Deer Does with coats matted a bit, not yet mature and sleek. All eating Grass and Dandelions. This made me happy.

    Even happier later on in the afternoon when I came downstairs and saw two of the Does lying down, chewing their cud, peaceful in every respect. Surprised at how happy I was. Having a space where these Wild Neighbors felt comfortable enough to dine, take a nap, enjoy a relaxing afternoon. I felt fulfilled, oddly. Though I did nothing but open my gates.

    Read up a little bit on Mule Deer. They can run over 40 miles an hour. That’s pretty fast. When chased, they sometimes engage in totting. Jumping on all four legs at the same time. Not sure about the adaptive advantage, but it must be there.

     

    Went into Domo again. This time dinner with Luke. Of Leo and Luke. He could not believe I’d come in just for him. But I had. Relationships require nurturing.

    He had Chicken Katsu and I had a Cabbage, Rice, and Beef dish. Domo serves food typical of rural Japan. Some sushi, but a lot of Udon noodles and other dishes like the one I had.


  • Memorial Day

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Cool night. Memorial Day. Decoration Day. Parades. School’s over and summer starts. The World. Its many Wild Neighbors. Mountains. Lakes. Ponds. Tides. Tidal Pools. Forests. Trees. Plains. Rivers. Streams. Creeks. Meadows. Valleys. Cultures. Long evolution. Its oneness. Its holiness. Its sacred nature. Our Hullian needs. Our need for fulfillment and satisfaction.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Warriors

    One brief shining: Those parades when heat softened the asphalt on Harrison Street so it could accept treads laid down by the tank from the National Guard Armory, when the guys carrying the colors insisted on wearing their old uniforms, pale stretched skin showing where the buttons held, only just, when last year’s homecoming queen sat prim and straight on the folded convertible top of an impeccably restored 1957 Chevy, when we would stand along the parade route enthralled.

     

    Memorial day. Mom and Dad. Veterans of WWII. Uncle Riley, too. That generation that gave so much. War. A human horror engaged too often for too little reason. Though WWII was not one of those. To have had that great world spasm followed by the never finished Korean War and the unnecessary Vietnam War, then Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya has sullied the warrior class, making them too often pawns of geopolitical maneuvering by oligarchs, dictators, and short sighted politicians.

    Yet. They persist. Often frustrated and hemmed in by those who misunderstand their role. As I once did. Warriors and priests. Old, old roles in human cultures around the globe. Both often abused. Both in my immediate family.

    Easy to forget the purpose of the Lt. Col. who is my son. The USAF. Defense. Not offense. Oaths taken to defend the U.S. against all enemies domestic and foreign. Obedience to civilian authority delivered through the Commander in Chief, the President.

    The military does not define who the enemies are. That’s a civilian responsibility. Often lacking in both reason and ethical justification, yes. But it is the civilian authority who aims and then empowers our military. Only then can they engage.

    Warriors place themselves in harms way to defend their tribe, their people, their nation. This is an ancient and honorable role. Indigenous people in the U.S., in spite of their history, sign up in disproportionate numbers because the warrior class holds such high esteem in their cultures.

    Yes, war is terrible and often, perhaps most often, wrong. That is, engaged not for defense but for seizing land, control of another people, for vengeance. For reasons of profit and misguided fears. For this last think the domino effect.

    The warriors themselves continue on. Learning, training, readying themselves for what might be, for what even they hope may never be. Yet when called they will respond and respond with all that they have.

    I’m not thrilled to have a warrior son. Though I recognize the selflessness of his choice. And the values which led him to choose service to country. I wish he could have become a social worker, a lawyer, a physician. He was pre-med before turning to the Air Force after 9/11.

    Yet over the years I’ve come to appreciate the sacrifice in life-style, income, and personal freedom. I’ve met many of his colleagues and to a person they are warriors, too. Global politics are anarchic and still ruled by might makes right in the minds of many. We need a military, citizens willing to defend us.

    They are who we honor today. Especially those who died as a result of their service.

    All year after the parade we would drive over those tank treads, hardened into a feature of our main street. The slight rumble would remind us.