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  • Flip the Kayak

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Snow already falling. 3 feet! predicted. Whoa. Jackie and Rebecca, both canceled. Haircut and a friend lunch. March in the Mountains. Tom. The tire pressure sensors. The cold. Making a come back. Sleep. Naps. Tired. Anemia. Snow plows and their drivers. The roadgrader, too. Shadow Mountain and Black Mountain. Storm.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Lotta Snow

    One brief shining: Illness and its changing of the inner atmosphere, like a cloud scudding across the fearful ego; moods altered by digging down below to find dirty gems, sad regrets, remnants of life, of past mistakes, of old fears, a comprehensive muck raking that can destabilize the heart sending it spinning out, out, out faraway from its real home.


    Guess I didn’t pay attention when Kate was alive. 7-10 days for the common cold. Tom knew that. I thought I was getting better yesterday. But no. Still tired, sneezy, and drippy. (guess I’m one of the 7 dwarves) Fortunately I have almost no obligations right now, especially over the next few days. Should see me through this insult.

    Went to the doctor yesterday to talk about my bleed. She prescribed more of the suppositories because they seem to help. Having them on hand gives me a bit of security when my situation turns ugly. I went to a Walgreen’s to pick them up and experienced an oh my I’m old moment.

    As I got ready to pay, a phone number popped up on the card reader’s screen:  303-674-xxxx. Tell me the last four numbers for security purposes. Nothing. It simply wasn’t there. I was sick anyhow and this task overwhelmed me. I don’t have that phone anymore, I said. I lied. And regretted that, digging my hole deeper. The clerk put in my cell phone number, which I know. The minute she did what popped in my head? 5398. Yes, those four x’s.

    I recount this to show how, instead of going from strength to strength, we can, when old, go from weakness to weakness. Already sick I doubled down by freezing on that phone number. Which I instantly read as a sign of senile brain. Only later did I realize that the unexpected nature of the request combined with a number I already had trouble remembering (address-9358. last four numbers-5398) was the issue. Not memory.

    My reaction time when surprised has declined significantly. It’s not my mental capacity which continues vigorous and strong. It’s about capacity to adapt quickly to the unexpected. Don’t give me command of anything that requires sudden decisions. It’s also part of why I don’t like to drive at night anymore. My reactions are already compromised and the darkness amplifies them.

    How we can turn on ourselves, give ourselves short shrift. I needed some time and some distance to sort all this out. A fortunate aspect of aging is our capacity to see things for what they are, to not be fooled by momentary or unusual circumstances. To be able to flip the kayak underwater, then flip it back up to the surface where there’s oxygen again. Can’t say it always happens instantaneously though.

  • 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.”

  • Not Taco Tuesday but Peopled Thursdays

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Quiet in my body. Beauty out my window. Calmness in my soul. Great Sol brightening a Shadow Mountain Morning. A day filled with friends and family. First, Diane and all the news from San Francisco. Then Tara and her happiness in Costa Rica. Mussar. Then, Luke and Leo. Finally, Joanne. Home as Great Sol disappeared behind this spinning World.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Conversation and its power to heal, inspire, deepen

    One brief shining: Drove past the Alpine Rescue Team and its museum, over I-70 and past the County garage until the hand made sign warning of a hidden driveway, turned right onto a one lane dirt road with shoulders eroded from its steep incline, went on to a left turn, drove a bit more but not all the way up the driveway to avoid having to back down any further than I had to, got out, walked up to Joanne’s door and knocked.


    Thursdays have morphed into my busiest day of the week. I start the day with one of my longest relationships, Diane, my first cousin, who lives on Lucky Street. Always a good way to start the day. She’s well informed about the world and our family. A good source of practical information, too. I learned a couple of weeks ago that she makes a mean lasagna.

    For lunch I met my Hebrew teacher and friend, Tara, at the Marshdale Burger joint. We had lunch and discovered that my audiologist, Amy, has been her friend since she and Arjean moved up here over 25 years ago. Tara and Arjean came back a week or so ago from Costa Rica. She had pictures. Riding horses on the beach. Sunsets. A gated ex-pat community.

    From Marshdale I drove to CBE for mussar. We’re beginning to wrassle with the strange, yet obvious to me idea that nothing is static, everything always becomes something new. The book we’re reading challenged us with Alfred North Whitehead’s idea of God as the creative advance into novelty. Not omnipotent. Not omnipresent. Not even necessarily sentient. Rather God as the impulse toward novelty in all things, always making all things new, always and everywhere. A God who must by definition change as the creation changes, becoming new, different in each moment with each “drop of experience.” His phrase.

    Yet. Still a God in whom we can place our faith. We can hold in our lev confidence that this, too, will change and that if we work with it, we can help guide that change, maybe call it the moral arc of the universe, leading us toward justice, love, and, yes, Downtown Council of Minneapolis, compassion.

    Think of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Before they could leave Egypt, they had to have faith that their situation could change. If they did not have that faith, Pharaoh did not need to use power to keep them to stay. They were unable to imagine, to dream, to feel a possible future free of Egypt’s oppression.

    When this conversation finished up, Luke and Leo and I sat for an hour and caught up. Luke had planned to come up last Sunday but I had to say no after my lousy Saturday night. Luke was on his way up to Granby for a weekend at Rabbi Jamie’s place there. He had all of his art materials with him. Gonna be creative.

    At 4 I went to Joanne’s and we had the usual far-ranging, deep conversation about the world and Judaism and liberalism and the slave trade and molluscs that spit out purple in the Aegean Sea, blue in Israel, and green in South America. She’s making me a tallit, a prayer shawl, and its fringes, called tzitzit, will be of blue yarn dyed with the recently rediscovered haustellum, a species of snail (actually a different species than the Indo-Pacific murex. New data.) that created the Tyrian purple of Roman and Greek fame and tehkelet in the waters off Israel, a sky blue. The murex of South America produces a green dye. It takes 120 pounds of snails to produce one gram of dye. So, precious.

    As the sun disappeared and the always present night returned to visibility, I drove home, back up Brook Forest to Shadow Mountain.



  • Rustin

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Tom. Cold night. 10 degrees this am. Canceling online subscriptions. Black Mountain, still 10,000 feet. Altitude. And, attitude at altitude. Dan. His gifts. Life. While it lasts. The Rights of Nature. Youtube. The Law. To whom it applies and to what. Rocky Mountain Land Library. Rustin. MLK. Civil Rights Movement. The March on Washington.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fighting for what you believe in

    One brief shining: Watched Rustin last night, the story of Bayard Rustin’s role-he conceived and organized it-in the 250,000 person March on Washington at which Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, while navigating not only internecine warfare in the Movement and the myriad challenges of organizing an unprecedented, and still unmatched, gathering of African-Americans and their allies, but his own life as a gay man in an unforgiving time.


    Movies that move me. Rustin tapped me in a deep place. My heart responds to people who choose to fight. Rustin fought for his sexuality, against war, for socialism, and against racism. This movie accurately displays the toll of a life devoted to justice no matter where or when. My admiration for the depth of Rustin’s commitment couldn’t be greater.

    Some of you know the story of the Leadership Minneapolis moment in which I participated. Here’s the short version. Leadership Minneapolis was (is?) a program of the Downtown Council, a Chamber of Commerce for downtown Minneapolis. Somewhat like Rotary each year’s class picked young leaders from specific fields: the police, religion, banking, medicine, corporate life, the arts, education, civil rights. Not sure I’m remembering this exactly right but I think we met monthly with an expert in some field of leadership. The idea was both to hone our skills and create a network of folks we could tap as we continued our careers.

    My then close friend, Gary Stern, and I headed up a committee, a committee devoted to the vision for us. With consultant and now long time friend, Lonnie Helgeson, we created a definition of leadership. Leadership we said was love, justice, and compassion. Not sure at this remove, this was the mid-1980’s if I recall correctly, how we differentiated love and compassion.

    This effort and its full acceptance by those of us who created it led to the firing of the entire Leadership Minneapolis board. Goes to show you. A nationally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post, Neal R. Pierce, wrote a column on our effort, a positive one. So there Downtown Council.

    OK. He said a bit chagrined. Enough about me.

    My point? Rustin epitomized leadership as love, justice, and compassion. So did King. Watching this movie reignited my passion, at least for a moment, made me cry. At what? At the power of the powerless gathering themselves and pushing for change. At the power and working without a net nature of political organizing. At my memories of those times, of the times that came later. At the slow but certain bending of the arc of the moral universe. So slow. Too slow.



  • Loneliness

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Dan. Alan. Joanne. Snow. My companion Lodgepole greeting the Snow. Much as they greet Great Sol. Home. Sue Bradshaw. Josh. Proctitis. Feeling vulnerable. Alone. A white Snow Cloud filling the Sky. Electricity. Fitbit. My desktop and laptop. The internet. What a joy. A.I. Senate Navy Bean Soup. Corn bread muffins. Health

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Waking up

    One brief shining: We need the windows in our homes like we need our eyes, so we can see outside, right now my eyes turn to this computer screen, but every so often they turn up and look toward Black Mountain, see only the Clouds bringing the Snow, of course, too, my hands typing and the file cabinet and the wall, like the window view we see only a portion of the World around us, yet it is enough for the moment.


    With my visceral world calmed down, as it has been since Sunday morning after that no good, horrible night, I want to revisit my feelings of loneliness. They stemmed not from the bleed itself, but from the feeling of vulnerability it sent cascading through my soul. Looked at from today’s perspective that makes sense to me. What else is loneliness than a feeling of vulnerability in a world populated by over ten billion other humans? And none available when life gets scary, hard.

    I feel fortunate that for me the feeling was temporary, exacerbated by the depth of the night and the severity of my situation. Several folks have reached out since then, confirming what I knew-once that shock passed: there are many who would take my call, even come. I’ve returned, strengthened by those responses, to my usual alone, but not lonely. Visiting loneliness for an hour or so was a brusque shock; however, it gave me a window, see one brief shining today, into that narrowed and insecure experience.

    I’ll see Sue Bradshaw on March 12th and I’ve sent a note to Kristie, my oncology P.A. I want to be aware and ready if this happens again.

    Mentioning Kristie reminds me I’ve not remarked about my latest lab results. My PSA rose slightly, as did my testosterone. That may mean my cancer has begun to wake up from its chemically induced slumber. May not. Another round of labs-I’m a phlebotomy regular!-in six weeks rather than three months. If it’s rising again, we’ll wait until it hits .3 and then I’ll have another PET scan. That will determine a new course of treatment.

    Kristie tells me that even since I went on the Erleada and Orgovyx, now some two and a half years ago, other treatment protocols have been found. The ever pushing forward of prostate cancer research produces results helpful to me in real time. As a result, I’m not worried, more curious about what happens next.


    Just a moment: A friend from CBE recently returned from her months long stay in a Buddhist nunnery in India sent me a note. Since I was officially a Jew now, she said when I replied to her I had to kvetch about at least one thing. Kvetch=complain in Yiddish. I sent her a note with this.  My kvetch: Election year 2024. That one should be good for some months.

  • Travel, Dreams

    Imbolc and the full Ancient Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Bereshit. Tetzaveh. Rashi. Creation stories. Becoming not being. Seeing things as they are. Finite. Decaying. Impermanent. Loosely tethered. Entropic. Dreams. Dreamers. Irene. CBE. The Socrates Club. Tom, feeling better. PSA. Testosterone. The truly ancientrail of cancer. Shabbat. Relaxing. No agenda. Reading, always reading.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dreams

    One brief shining: Buddy Mark as Mario and Elizabeth as Babette in Nice for Carnival, a bawdy parade with barbed floats critiquing world leaders, later a trip to a Picasso pottery museum, and an archaeology museum with a generous estimate of human habitation in Provence, taking Mark says calculated risks, for instance, a portrait class next week. Go, Mario and Babette!


    I admire my friend Mark’s travel jones. Every once a while he has to get up and get outta here. Road trips. Trips to Asia. Mexico. The Caribbean. Nice. I have some of the same urges, yet I mostly let them rise and fall away. Hoping once the possibility of snow passes that I’ll get on my pony and ride, ride, ride. Guess that’s up to me, eh?

    My son may make a short visit to Arizona in the next month. If he does, I’ll get down there to see him. I can motivate myself for family. I’ve driven from Arizona to Colorado before. Doable.


    Yesterday got back into the dream group that Irene has run for years. She’s a member of CBE and coordinates an online dream group and an in person dream group at CBE. Often has dreamers (as Irene call us) from far away. Yesterday Jane in England and Scott in Harlem. Marilyn and Irv are in the group, too. They introduced me to it.

    A session runs two hours. Irene puts the names of those who have dreams in a hat and pulls one out. One dream per hour so two folks get a chance. The dreamer reads or tells their dream then we discuss it using the conceit of saying “In my dream I…” This means we’re not interpreting the dream for the dreamer, but offering insights as if the dream were our own. Sometimes someone will say, “My projection is…” Jungian influenced. As you might expect.

    I find it both fun and psychologically intense. A chance to go deep into yourself and into another person’s dream world.


    Two other stories I’m following. The Alabama supreme court’s designation of all embryo’s as children. Wowzer. Trump and the Senate Republicans all of a sudden all over IVF. As a good thing! This underlines my observation yesterday that Roe v. Wade’s demise will play a significant role in the Presidential election. GOP bad. Democrats good. C’mon. Nobody’s fooled by those attaboys for IVF.

    Odysseus. The moonlander. On its side, antennaes not pointed toward home, but still broadcasting. Alive, but injured in the landing. We can all relate, right? Reminded me of Bella the sushi delivering robot at Sushi Win. Endearing to think of a compromised machine struggling valiantly to complete its work.

    We’re entering a new phase in our relationship with machines. Uncharted. Strange. Not to mention, A.I.






  • Shabbat and Political Optimism

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Tom. Alan. Diane. Marilyn and Irv. Ginny and Janice. Janet. Luke and Leo. Rabbi Jamie. Jewish prayer and liturgy. Wild Neighbors. Shadow Mountain. Black Mountain. My Lodgepole companion. Great Sol. Odysseus gone to the Moon. Living alone. 77. Blood pressure. Prostate cancer. Riley. Ginny. The next generation. Mark and Saudi. The MIA and its troubles.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Arts)

    One brief shining: Sat there in my serious reading chair, my long time buddy Tom on the newly reupholstered couch, both of us with a can of seltzer water, both engaged in that mutual investigation of our inner lives that typifies our relationship, enjoying seeing and being seen.


    Already looking forward to shabbat. Interesting. It beckons me, the sabbath bride waving, coming closer. She is the Shekinah, a feminine metaphor for the godliness of becoming. She represents malchut, the manifestation of becoming that we experience each day, the destination sought by all the sefirot on the tree of life. Once reached the destination changes to teshuvah, return, return to the crown of creation, the keter. That cycling of sacred energy, of thought becoming plan, plan becoming actions, actions flowing into this world, making it and keeping it vital, is the One. The one is becoming. The becoming is one.

    Once again those words from a post earlier this week: prana, chi, life force, breath, soul, love, the sacred, the divine. That buzzing, blooming mix in which we all live and move and have our becoming. No wonder ancient healing technologies want to find and direct that energy, turn it toward wholeness rather than destruction. Whether it can be found through the instrumentalities of scientific inquiry does not matter. Empiricism has its limits. And one very clear one is its understanding of life itself.

    Whew. Well. That took a dive into the deep end. Let’s swim back toward the middle depths.


    My inner pollster/pundit/analyst has begun to smile. I know, we’ve all been there before and gotten burned. However, hear me out. Listened to an Ezra Klein podcast, “The Strongest Democratic Party that any of us have ever seen.” Came away from that feeling hopeful.

    Been considering these several things: First and foremost, the vacating of Roe v. Wade. A decision against precedent, against stare decisis*. This will mobilize women in red and blue states, their allies, too. It will be a mobilization against not just Trump, but against the Republican party because red states have pushed quickly into the no abortion ever under any circumstances zone. And, of course, the most recent and perhaps the most egregious post-vacating instance (though there are many from which to choose) in the discovery of the Alabama Supreme Court that all embryos are children. Because God said so.

    Second, the evidence in the Ezra Klein show of a solid and working political party ready to dive into the most consequential election of our history. A good organization is the sine qua non of electoral victory.

    Third, the orange one who in addition to ironically selling clown shoes has gone further into the weeds of his fever swamped mind than ever before. A dictator for a day? Really? Punish enemies using the Justice Department? Sic the Russians on NATO countries that don’t meet his criteria? Not to mention all those criminal and civil actions against him. I know all this only makes his base love him more, but it will not play the same way in the hearts and minds of independents and Republicans who have not lost their sanity.

    Fourth, the evidence in Heather Cox Richardson’s book, Democracy Awakening, about the many times we’ve faced authoritarian threats and overcome them. She shows that though we cannot be complacent, the historical view finds we can rally and defeat the enemies of democracy. May it be so.


    *”Stare decisis is a legal doctrine that obligates courts to follow historical cases when making a ruling on a similar case.” Stare decisis

  • The Future is, again, Now.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Old friends and newer friends. CBE’s beginning and its flounders. Sushi Win and Bella, that cute robot waitress. Tom. Happy Camper. Conifer Cafe, 80 decibels. Yikes. Naps. New Mexico. Arizona. Utah. Colorado. Short trips. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. Two-state solution. The Moon in the Sky like a big pizza pie. Amore! Love.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jews

    One brief shining: Hold your phone up to the bar code, press the link, up pops the menu, consider it while using the physical menu, order, then enter credit card data, press send, and a bit later Bella comes trundling out from her charging station with plates, Water, and glasses, wait a while longer and here comes spring rolls, tempura shrimp, and a pot of green tea, followed after another short wait by Bella’s return with a sushi roll, my hamachi carpaccio, press finish on Bella for the third time and she rolls away, her fetching backside complete with an LED sign reading Sushi Win that flashes across her darling metal shoulders.


    The future rolled up on Tom and me not in Silicon Valley or the tech wise Denver suburb called Tech Center, but in a sushi place trying to continue surviving. I met Bella last week on Valentine’s Day when I ate at Sushi Win with Luke. Tom and I share a fascination with scientific and technological breakthroughs, so we had fun meeting Bella, considering her potential future impact. We both took videos.

    As I wrote a week ago, many restaurants have experimented with new ways post-pandemic. Covid was hard on people, yes, but on restaurants, too. Fountain Barbecue has computer screens where you order and pay, wait until your order is done, then pick it up yourself. So last millennium.

    Each of the three times Bella came to our table, I found myself wanting to say hello, thank you, and good-by at the appropriate times. And, I did. This cued me in to a robotic future where our responses to the new machines in our lives vary by context. I responded to Bella as I was familiar to responding with a waiter. But a robot in my living room serving tea or cleaning floors would probably elicit a different response. Oh, excuse me. Could you be sure to get that area where the dog hair is? Thanks. Could you get me a beer and a hot dog? Yes, you can clear this up now. Different yet again. Could you hand me a 3/16th? Hold the car up here while I work on the tire. Sweep out the garage and return to your charging port. We’ll cut the grass tomorrow.

    Oh, the wonders we’ll see. The future rushing, leaping into our lives, coming soon to a restaurant table near you.

    Of course, A.I. Shifting the workplace yet again. Hitting some knowledge workers this time. Maybe covering school board meetings, reporting on last night’s football game, making travel plans and reservations, polishing or even writing that essay or think piece for work.

    Not to mention our machines headed to the moon, to low earth orbits and high. DNA editing. Zoom. Smart phones. Dumb users. Electric and self-driving vehicles. Gee whiz, Buck Rogers.


  • This. That.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon (92% Waxing)

    Wednesday gratefuls: Mario and Babette go to France. Tom goes to Evergreen. Mark (brother) may leave Hafar. New Mexico. 5 hours away. Marilyn and Irv. Primo’s. The Cutthroat in Bailey. Happy Camper. Jamie the phlebotomist. Blood draws. PSA and testosterone. Murdoch. Kep of blessed memory. Rigel, too. Gertie and Vega. Kate, always Kate.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mario and Babette at the airport, ready to travel

    One brief shining: Unbutton my sleeve, roll it up above the elbow, set the elbow on the front rest of the phlebotomy chair, I’ll use a smaller needle she says to preserve that vein, little pinch, the needle is in and blood spurts out into tube number one, then tube number two, there you’re a tablespoon and a half less of a man.


    Yeah. Three months are up again. And this blood draw is significant. My testosterone should be up and as it goes up the likelihood that my PSA goes up rises along with it. Dr. Simpson told me, when we finished the second round of radiation, that there was a small chance I was cured. This is the test that might cancel that idea. Or, support the possibility if I get another undetectable PSA while my testosterone goes up. Not counting on either one. Results should be back this morning.

    On Friday I telehealth with Kristie. Assume I’ll have a new urologist/oncologist. As you may recall, my old one, Dr. Eigner, retired in December. Kristie and I will discuss what happens next in light of the results of the surveillance labs. Another step along this path.

    A bit of anxiety, peering into the unknown again. Between here and there.


    Breakfast with Marilyn and Irv yesterday. Always good to see them, get caught up. Primo’s. We were going to try the new Conifer bakery, Wicked Whisk, but it’s closed on Tuesdays. Driving to Primo’s on 285 there is a grand display of snow-capped Mountains in the distance, beyond the Platte River Valley.


    Going to be some folks here for my bar mitzvah. Some Ancient Brothers. Probably Pamela and BJ. I hope Gabe and Ruth can come. No real plans for an after party yet. The service is at 10 am so it would be way early for anything but a lunch or an enhanced oneg. The four of us haven’t gotten together yet and discussed what we might do. Whatever it is, it will involve food.


    I seem to have misplaced or outright lost a book. You might think this would not be unusual at my house, but you would be wrong. I have an excellent memory of where I last had a book. This one though, the Rights of Nature, which I’m reading for a Rocky Mountain Land Library book club has vanished from my sight. Frustrating because the book club meets on March 3rd.

    I’ve exhausted the possible places it could be and still not found it. I like to complete my assignments. Hard if I can’t find the book. Oh. Looked it up on Amazon. Bought it on Kindle. No hard copy to find. Guess that explains it.


  • Shtetl Life

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: The Ark of the Covenant. The Tabernacle. The very detailed instructions from Hashem for it. Hoarfrost on the Lodgepoles. Thousands of flocked Trees within my field of vision. My companion Lodgepole glistens as Great Sol reappears on this cold Mountain Morning. Kai, Seoah’s nephew. His writing. Asia. Fan Kuan. Taiwan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Hoarfrost

    One brief shining: Family reaches across oceans, over national boundaries and time zones, does not diminish with distance: Mark writes from Hafar in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula, Mary from Kuala Lumpur, I see Seoah and my son, their dog Murdoch, in their 12th floor apartment in Songtan, Korea, I talk to Diane once a week from San Francisco, all these precious people so, so far away.


    Breakfast yesterday with Alan and Joanne. Always a treat. I handed over Lamb to Joanne. She’s also reading, she says carefully, my copy of Emily Wilson’s Odyssey. We discussed Joanne’s upcoming warts and all early history of CBE which she presents next Wednesday night. She’s well known in the congregation for her wit and rightly so. Should be an entertaining experience.

    Alan’s daughter, Francesca, who lives and works in Manhattan, returns to Denver Monday. She’ll be doing some work here, schmoozing donors for the Jewish charity she works for. I can’t remember its name. Something to do with organs and organ transplants, I think. Then on Sunday she will perform with a trio in the second of Alan and Cheri’s Inspire concerts held in their penthouse apartment on the 38th floor of Inspire Towers. All of the condos from the 38th floor to the 42nd received the appellation, penthouse. Marketing, eh?

    Joanne and I will head down to what she calls the pandemonium for a second time to hear Francesca. Joanne tutored Francesca for her bat mitzvah and loved working with her. These are the sort of intricate and intimate ties that make synagogues so personal, more like a village. Or, a shtetl.

    That may be, come to think of it, what appeals to me so much about CBE. It has characteristics familiar to me from growing up in a small town. I know some of the people very well. I know a larger number casually, some on sight only, yet there are times when see each other, acknowledge each other. The total number is not so big that I feel distance, at least not much.

    Very similar to walking downtown in 1950’s/60’s Alexandria. I’d see folks I knew well. I’d wave at the parents of kids I knew. Some store owners, clerks. We were important to each other whether we knew it or not. Our faces, our bodies, even our repeated locations added stability and confidence to our day-to-day lives. We lived embedded lives, lives where we were seen and known. Sure, this has its downsides, too. Folks gettin all up in your business. Having to interact with folks you despised or, worse, that despised you for some reason. Perhaps forgotten. Never feeling off stage. Yet I’ve found over the years that I gravitate back to contexts that provide this sort of experience.