• Category Archives Travel
  • Cabin Fever Trip

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Tuesday gratefuls: Great Sol. Brightening our day. Counting the Omer. Begins tonight. Traveling readiness day. Delayed, but happening today. Diane’s great work on setting up an itinerary. Museums, as Ode says, temples of creativity. The Artist’s Way. My Jewish immersion. The Three Body Problem trilogy. Fall Out on Prime Video. High quality television. Kindle.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Artists-painters, writers, playwrights, musicians, poets, actors, sculptors, architects, composers

    One brief shining: With awakening I’m in a new life, a multiverse reality based on the day before yet new as the dew on a spring ephemeral, in that day my many breaths each constitute life breathed out and back in, new lives each breath, how can I keep from singing?

     

    Feeling the welcoming breath of a travel day exhaling from the end of the week toward me. Inspiring my activities today. Finalize packing. Stop mail. Get a pedicure. Collect myself for a journey.

    This is mostly a cabin fever trip. A way of escaping a place I love because the snow and the cold stayed a bit too long. And for most folks I’ve talked to. A way to refresh the joys of home by vacating its presence for a bit. Enjoy the graces and beauties of San Francisco, see Diane. Live in a hotel for 7 nights, 2 nights in a sleeping car there and back. Write. Read. See the Rockies, the intermountain West, the Sierra Nevadas, canyons and deserts.

    I’ve missed seeing good art on a regular basis. I’ve not found the Denver art scene at all comparable to the Twin Cities and I’ve let that attitude, plus the drive, keep me from seeing much at all. That’s on me. This trip will allow me to visit at least three of the country’s great collections: The Legion of Honor, the De Young, and the Asian Art museum. I plan to see them slowly. Taking as much time as I need. Reenter the world of Zhou and Han, Song and Tang, Picasso and Hokusai, Rodin and Giacometti.

    Yes. You could say of me. Religion, politics, and art. The subjective, the debatable, the aesthetic, the aspects of culture not manageable by STEM. Sure I like a good scientific discovery as much as the next nerd, but to examine an ancient text for the message it carries down the millennia to this day, to stand in the street and face down an oppressive economy, to join the conversation of those for whom shape, color, and language create whole worlds and dizzying perspectives, yes. That’s my journey.

    That and one other thing. The wild spots outside my door, up the flank of Black Mountain. Here on Shadow Mountain I can integrate the seeker, the advocate, and the artist with the world around me. My Lodgepole Companion and I see each other each morning. I said hello yesterday to those Mule Deer Does munching grass along Black Mountain Drive. Within them lie the same message as the Torah portion I will read on June 12th, the same spirit of over against oppressive structures, and an equivalent beauty to the best of Monet.

     


  • 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.

     


  • Out. And, all aboard!

    April 7, 2024

     

    Spring and the last crescent of the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Generator. High winds. Lodgepole companion ok. Calm now. Travel plans in place. Art and San Francisco. Diane and her town. Internet down. Starlink available but no way to access it. Great Sol illuminating Black Mountain. A certain immediacy blocked. Another immediacy heightened.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Generator

    One brief shining: Charging, charging, the docking station for my medical guardian said, going off and on twice, the oxygen concentrator quit, then turned back on, twice, I heard the rumble of the generator’s engine through my wall, those winds that chilled the house yesterday and last night stopped the free flow of electricity from the grid and the internet connection made through Centurylink, glad to have the Kohler generator doing its emergency service.

     

    Rare. The DSL is down. So are my mini-splits. If it was colder, I’d turn on the gas heat. Not sure why the mini-splits are down but so are other electrical services on the west side of the house. Irony: the Starlink installation would bypass this problem, but I can’t access it without the internet.

    Change of weather systems can be brutal up here, bringing high winds that break electrical transmission lines and sometimes the telephone lines as well. Apparently what happened last night.

    Might make me reconsider Starlink. If you recall, I dropped it right after I had it installed because of Elon Musk’s anti-semitism. Still, if it’s the only way to have reliable internet…

     

    An odd moment when I realized the Centurylink connection was down. How could I host the Ancient Brothers? I can’t. What’s going on in the world? No NYT or WP. Are others up here also without power? Can’t check Nextdoor Neighbor. It’s on the internet. Felt as if a sensory organ had gone quiet.

    There is an apparent immediacy to the internet, one we rely on, one I rely on.

    Yet it is only apparent. It is instead highly mediated, requiring electricity, servers, available transmission modalities. Even Zoom or Skype, the video phone calls of Dick Tracy’s wristwatch, take place in cyberspace with no skin in the game.

     

    Odd. And telling. I can walk outside as I did a moment ago to get the mail. The Lodgepoles and the Aspen. The Granite and Gneiss. Right there. Great Sol warms me without need of electrical wires or gas piping. I move through space. While in the cyberworld no matter how it might appear we’re always seeing a two-dimensional screen. Even virtual reality doesn’t change that. The only movement for me is fingers on a keyboard or my hand on a computer mouse.

     

    Just a moment: On April 24th I board Amtrak, find my roomette and settle in for a 34 hour overnight journey to San Francisco. There I’ll settle in to the Chancellor, a boutique hotel on Union Square.

    Diane has a comedy night and a trip to Muir Woods planned. We’ll also avail ourselves of a fine restaurant or two. She also has memberships in the Asian Art Museum and two others.

    My main intention, my kavanah, for this trip is vacating Shadow Mountain for a bit. After that. Spend time with Diane. Spend time with art, something I feel starved for. See some sights. Test my back.

    Bon Voyage to me!

     

     

     

     


  • Matters Astronomical

    Spring and the waning crescent of the Purim Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Joanne. My blue silk tallit that she made. With the shema on it. Lunch at Nana with her. Parsha Shimini. Kate’s Creek. High Winds today. My Lodgepole companion dancing. New workout. Going well. Zornberg on the Golden Calf. The Navajo. The Beauty Way. Joanne among the Navajo. Cernunnos. Candle lighting for shabbat, for writing.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mountain Winds

    One brief shining: Joanne handed me a blue silk bag with a drawstring, opening it I found neatly folded a tallit, a prayer shawl with tzitzit, knotted fringes, which I removed and unfolded, the shema hand-embroidered on its collar, but I did not know how to put it on and she showed me, a quick pull with the right hand crossing over the left shoulder so the shema turned inward against my neck.

     

     

    Shabbat has changed with Great Sol. When I began observing it, the candle lighting ceremony, which happens eighteen minutes before sundown, took place around 4 pm. Yesterday it was 7:11 pm. Shabbat then extends until 8:11 pm on Saturday. Shabbat lasts 25 hours. I had not expected shabbat observance to ground me in seasonal change, but now I see that’s an inevitable and welcome part of it. Rosh Chodesh likewise. This is a monthly ritual which observes the coming of a new moon and with it a new Jewish month.

    The three pilgrimage holidays of Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot also have seasonal significance. Pesach, which celebrates the Exodus, the liberation of the Hebrew slaves, corresponds to planting season. Shavuot, which celebrates the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai, is a first fruits holiday with loaves baked from new grains offered for sacrifice. Sukkot, the festival of booths, is a harvest celebration. Pilgrimage festivals were the high points of the Jewish year during the Temple periods when all Jews came to Jerusalem to offer sacrifices at the temple.

    There is a profound resonance in Jewish festivals and our lunar calendar with the Great Wheel. One this pagan appreciates as a Jew.

     

    Just a moment: Hawkeyes win! In a nail biter. Two close games in a row for Iowa. Now on to the championship.

    On August 20th of 2017 Kate, Ruth, Gabe and I drove north to Driggs, Idaho in a motorhome. Kate’s favorite mode of travel. On the 21st we sat on BJ’s porch eyes covered with Great Sol strength dark lenses and experienced the last total eclipse in the U.S. One arrives again on Monday, almost seven years after our wonderment in Driggs.

    Last one I can see here in the U.S. Unless I live another 21 years and make it to 98. Not impossible, but not at all probable. Glad I got to the one in Driggs. Good friends Tom and Bill will have a chance to see it in Dripping Springs, Texas at Bill’s daughter Moira’s home. Weather forecast does not look friendly.

    I checked it out, but the local Holiday Inn wanted $859 for room rates on and around the eclipse. Nope. If I hadn’t been to Driggs, maybe. But I had.

     

     


  • 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.

     

     


  • New Identities

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Yet more Snow! Today. Blue Colorado Sky with scattered white Cumulus Clouds. The Ancient Brothers. Hafar. K.L. S.F. Maine. Minnesota. Jackie in Bailey. Aspen Roots. Kissing Frogs. Movies. Nights. Days. Resurrection. A new life. The Shema. Full days. Travel. Dogs. Marilyn and Irv. The Socrates Cafe. Meeting new people.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Questions

    One brief shining: Each month I drive eight minutes from Shadow Mountain to Aspen Park, going by the new bakery the Wicked Whisk and my old personal trainer at On the Move Fitness, past the physical therapists who got me through knee surgery, to the never in my time up here full suite of offices and business that contain the Pinball place, the massage folks, a live theater, Thai 202 which makes the wonderful Crying Tiger, and hop up the stairs to Aspen Roots where Jackie cuts my hair and tells me she loves me which I say back.

     

    Long enough now. Long enough for relationships to have come and gone. And for some to remain. My tenth year on Shadow Mountain, begun last Winter Solstice. This is where I live, a Coloradan, a Westerner, a Mountain dweller. All distinct identities created by geography and geology and the human imprint on both.

    As a Coloradan I inhabit a former red hate state, transitioning to a blue progressive state. As a Westerner, I have heeded Horace Greeley and gone west though not as a young man, but as an older one. Greeley, Colorado* is named after him. The Western identity has a good deal of complexity to it as does Mountain dweller.

    To be a Westerner means to enjoy the benefits of manifest destiny, of the push west of the frontier, the railroads, those seeking gold, those fleeing law or custom or poverty in the the East. Of those who slaughtered the bison and the indigenous populations who lived here before we arrived. Those who clear cut the Front Range to build Denver and the many, far too many, hard Rock mines that pollute the Creeks, Streams, and Rivers here. The Western U.S. We who arrived later are not innocent. Yet no one is innocent. Either here or there.

    What happens now. What we do today. Who we are in this moment matters, too. We are the stewards, the fellow travelers in this magical wide open place. We are responsible for what happens here as are the Wild Neighbors, the Forests and Streams. The descendants of all those who lived here long ago and all those who altered the landscape not so long ago. We must build the sustainable way for humans to live here for as long as human beings can live.

    The Mountain Dweller is the most personal of these three identities and the most narrow, representing that place where I live and love and have my becoming. Each day my eyes open to the top of Shadow Mountain, to the taller prominence of Black Mountain, to the Lodgepoles and Aspens that cover them both. My lungs take in the scarce air of 8,800 feet as I set aside my nighttime oxygen canula. Often Mule Deer will be around, hunting for grass.

    To go anywhere. To see Jackie at Aspen Roots. To get groceries at Safeway. To breakfast with friends. To the synagogue. To the doctor. I drive on Mountain roads. Two lanes, blind curves, sudden changes of altitude, vistas opening and disappearing.

    Mountains whose names I do not know rise on either side, the Streams that drain them flowing often near the road itself. Sometimes I am up high and able to see for miles, then I go down into constricted views of only Rock and Trees. All the while, not far off the road Wild Neighbors living their wild lives. Beavers damming Streams, their Ponds. The Mountain Lion on a rocky shelf waiting for Elk or Mule Deer to walk below. In my own way I appear and disappear from view around curves, into a valley, only to suddenly reappear in Evergreen.

    How have these three identities changed me from the sea level view of life that was my birthright as a Midwestern boy? I’ve become more of a spectator of life outside of the Mountains. Back east. Or on the coasts. They are not close to me, and their struggles seem far away. My world has become more focused. There are fewer people out here, less urbanization, less agriculture. In those senses the Colorado/Western/Mountain world was unfamiliar to me.

    I live within a smaller world altogether. My fourth new identity, that of a Jew, makes this world, this more narrow and circumscribed world, a friendly and friend full one. As has the nine years plus of living here, making connections like Jackie. And now the Socrates Cafe. This is important because, like most of us who live up here, going down the hill is not appealing. And that’s where the bon vivant of urban life plays out. Even for those things I enjoy I have to factor in a long drive in and a long drive back. Most often the positive gain is too weak to justify the hassle.

    For me. Today. This Colorado guy, this Western guy, this Mountain Man has found his spot and become one with it.

     

     

    *Greeley began as the Union Colony of Colorado, which was founded in 1869 by Nathan C. Meeker, an agricultural reporter for the New York Tribune as an experimental utopian farming community “based on temperance, religion, agriculture, education and family values,” with the backing of the Tribunes editor Horace Greeley, who popularized the phrase “Go West, young man”.[7][8][9] wiki


  • Not so Ancient rails

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Jackie. Purim Spiel. Socrates Cafe. Those ski runs on Black Mountain. Maxwell Creek running free. Kate’s Creek. Her Valley and its trail. Bechira points. Kehilla, community. Choosing others. Starlink. DSL. The Internet. Leviticus. How to sacrifice and why. John Connolly. Kindle. Phonak. Better hearing through science. The Roger.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Shabbat candles

    One brief shining: Moods, swinging to and for like pony tails, like jump ropes, like Lodgepole Branches in a wind, switching from side to side, up to down, occasionally twirling like a Dog’s tail, almost able to achieve lift off, then settling down between the legs in a sulk.

     

    I’ve settled now on two sources for my less than buoyant inner weather. First, cabin fever. Too long in the Mountain Winter. Second, lack of exercise. Gonna remedy the second one first.

    Alan encouraged me to go somewhere by train, offering, no insisting that he would chauffeur me from Shadow Mountain to Union Station and bring me back home. I’m giving that serious thought. Where I go matters less at this point than whether I go. Barriers: all those pills. Having to deal with my supply of Depends. Extricating myself from my not very confining schedule. Packing. Money. And the least of these is money. The biggest of these is inertia. A body that sits in his chair is most likely to remain in his chair. Get up, old man! Get up.

    Drifted off there for a moment. Over to Amtrak. Here to San Francisco. San Francisco to points south, maybe New Orleans, circle back to Denver? Roomettes are pricey but they do include all meals. Of course, cabs and hotel rooms when staying overnight somewhere. Meals. Still. Traveling by train. I really like it. Would take me away from all this and into a different reality for a while. Worth it.

    Or, Denver to Chicago. Chicago to New Orleans. New Orleans to LA. LA to SF. SF back home. Or. Denver to SF. SF to Seattle. Seattle to Minneapolis. Minneapolis to Chicago. Back home. Mmmm. ?How to achieve lift off.

     

    Never thought I’d feel in synch with the Royal family, but hey! Cancer. Doesn’t matter your station in life, the body rules. And what happens to it is what’s happening to you. This earthly, better earthen, vessel is heir to this shock and that, this moment of joy and that one of despair.

    I understand the shock and awe of a cancer diagnosis. The ripple effect such news has on the psyche, on family, on friends. Cancer not only impacts an individual but also a kehillah, a community of concern. Even though cancer no longer means a death sentence, at least not always, that message has not settled in. The big C.

    Perhaps not a death sentence, or at least not as sudden a death as in times only recently past, it still pulls you into a long, often upsetting series of treatments and wrangles with insurance companies. I suppose the Royal family may be spared that last one. Good for them.

     


  • 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.”


  • 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.