• Category Archives Travel
  • Herme’s Journey

    Summer and the waning Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Brothers. Great Sol. Shadow Mountain. TV. Books. CD’s. Jazz. Mozart. Telemann. Bach. Coltrane. Monk. Parker. Gregorian Chants. Rock and roll. CD player. K-dramas. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Mhz. Starlink. Conversation. Listening. Seeing. Really listening. Really seeing. The Aspen out my bedroom window. The dead Lodgepole.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The lesser light-the Moon

    One brief shining: When I go now to an airport, when I even imagine going to an airport, I recoil, seeing the old Native American punishment, running between rows of TSA employees, airline boarding agents, and crabby fellow sufferers all diminished by the experience, yet needing to pass along, like some fraternity hazing ritual, the same misery to the pledges not yet seated in their too narrow and too jammed together seats. And paying often thousands of dollars to do it.

     

    Still enjoying a post bar mitzvah push sense of opening, of new possibilities. Herme’s Journey, which I imagined after the dream workshop last month, got sidelined a bit by the week of the ritual, guests, celebration, and the week of physical recovery that followed that one. Though. Kavod for the Trees (Honoring the Tree) has kept it alive.

    Herme’s Journey followed thoughts and feelings triggered by my Wabash dream. That dream encouraged me to reenter the life vision I had when I started college almost 60 years ago. To embrace that dream of a long period, lifelong in my hopes of those years, as a student, then a scholar. With libraries and writing instruments my primary tools. With ideas and their expression as my life work.

    Herme, you may recall, is the name I gave to the neon sign I had made of the Hooded Man Card* from the Wildwood Tarot Deck. The name I gave to myself in the wake of Kate’s death, of a mourner then a griever, then… I wasn’t sure what.

    Herme’s Journey blends the Hooded Man Card with the first card of the Tarot Deck: The Fool. The major arcana of a tarot deck tells a story of the Fool’s journey, begun blithely, a bindlestaff over one shoulder, a dog alongside, stepping off into the unknown. In the Wildwood deck** the Wanderer’s journey is through the Wildwood. Yes. My journey, too.

    The Wanderer is a beginner, the beginner’s mind at play in the fields of the psyche. Herme’s Journey is my Wanderer’s path, a beginner’s path, but one begun with the age and experience of an old man. So, Herme’s Journey.

    What lies along this path? Still unclear though Trees play a central role. As does the Great Wheel of the Year and the Jewish Lunar Calendar. As the pilgrimage unfolds, I plan to explore Kabbalah, my long period of work with Ovid’s Metamorphosis, poetry and literature, myth and legend, fairy and folk tales, religion, and the arts: music, painting, sculpture, theater, dance, opera.

    What will come? Again, unknown. It will be the path, not the destination. What I will do is read a lot, write, travel, think, listen, see, taste. Talk.

     

    *The Hooded Man stood at the winter solstice point on December 21, along with the earth and the sun in the night. This is the time to be alone and contemplate life. This card describes the gates of death and rebirth, deep inside the Earth.  Hooded Man

    **A central theme of the Wildwood Tarot is the interconnection of humans with the wild, with animals, and with the calendar cycle.


  • Teshuva. Bar Mitzvah. Earth Rise.

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Shabbat: Shavuot. Moses. Torah. Rain. My Lodgepole Companion. Great Sol. Photosynthesis. Chlorophyll. Trees. Ruth and Gabe. Tom and Paul. Joanne. Clouds. The West. Less than 20 inches of Rain a year. Climate change. The Great Work. The Great Wheel. Shekinah. The Sabbath Bride. Caitlin Clark. Angela Reese. Sports. Election 2024. Reading

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Narrow mind, spacious mind

    One brief shining: Fear leaked out of some antediluvian part of my subconscious, reminding me with the certainty born of angst and nail-biting that no you can not sing, you can not chant, you will never learn the Hebrew, you are not able to, remember that time, what time, oh you know that time.

     

    Still turning over the toxic combination of cabin fever, melancholy, and little boy acculturation. It had me. For maybe March and April. Did not lift until I rode the train to San Francisco and back. Finally, like a dog shaking off water after a swim, I woke up.

    Teshuva accomplished. I had returned to the confident, can do it Self. The one I had moved away from in a subtle way, missing the mark of who I really am. This is a constant cycle for most of us. Forget, Turn away. Sink down. Somehow submerge the gift that you are to this world. Then, a moment of felt love, of self compassion, of changing perspectives and there. you. are. Welcome home prodigal Self. Here is a feast for you!

    Perhaps today is a teshuvah day for you.

     

    Practice for the Bar Mitzvah. This morning at ten. A run through for us all. The whole morning service. After meeting with Rabbi Jamie on Thursday, I now know what my parts are. And I’m able to handle them.

    I have a couple of introductions to make. One to the Mah Tovu. A prayer said on entering the sanctuary. It was a lesson about the Mah Tovu that prompted my conversion. I’ll read it in the transliterated Hebrew. The second to the Shema. The daily prayer said on rising and on going to bed. Also the prayer said when you are dying. Each mezzuzah contains the text of the Shema. Here’s one way of saying it in English:

    Hear, God-Wrestler. What was/what is/what will be is God. What was/what is/what will be is one.

    The four of us: Veronica, Kat, Lauren, and I will read two stanzas each of a Marge Piercy poem. I will read Psalm 118 as translated by Rabbi Jamie and another poem of my choosing.

    I’m glad for the practice. I need a rehearsal. Going to wear my new clothes from Bonobo’s. Why I bought them.

     

    Just a moment: Bill Anders is dead. Who, you may ask, is Bill Anders? An astronaut who took a photograph during the Apollo 8 mission. This is the photograph:


  • P.E.T. Scan

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: P.E.T. Scans. Radioactive tracers. Bar mitzvah. Torah portion. Service prayers and blessings. Thyroid blood draw. Euclid, a wide sky deep space telescope. James Webb. Hubble. Our local cluster. The Milky Way. Its outer arms. Our home there. Three Body Problem. Wild Trees. Trees as my way in. Colorado Trees. Shadow Mountain Trees.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Universe. (and, thanks for all the fish!)

    One brief shining: Sometimes my mind wobbles when it considers the Universe, this vast interconnected web of all things to which we are intimately yet often over unimaginable distances connected, then I have to turn to the Lodgepole out my window, those Mule Deer munching on Dandelions, the astonishing human body, this Mountain on which I live and my mind says, oh, I see, and steadies itself.

     

    June 2019

    P.E.T.* scan today. An injection sends a chemical that binds to prostate cancer cells and carries a radioactive signal readable by the positron emission tomography machine. Where it lights up. Metastases. If it finds some, a new treatment plan will follow. Possibly back on the familiar Orgovyx and Erleada. Possibly radiation. Depends. Might find nothing right now though we know some cancer has begun to grow again due to my rising PSA. If nothing lights up, I’ll stay off the drugs for now. Probably another scan if and/or when my PSA goes up further.

    Scanxiety. Who knew? It’s a real thing. Any cancer patient is familiar with it to some extent. That tingle that comes with another lab draw, waiting for the results. Or, imaging. Hunting for tumors. Mets. Like I’m having today. I have scanxiety. It’s mild. But not feeling something would seem weird to me.

    Who wants to have metastases confirmed? Sure, it helps identify treatment modalities that will extend my life, but… Who wants to need treatment to extend their life? My rational self knows ignoring my cancer would bring certain death. Not soon, but certain. As a result, I’ll get in my car and drive to Sky Ridge Hospital once again. Wait 45 minutes for the tracer to circulate throughout my body. Lie down and let the highly sophisticated machinery take a look.

    A week from Thursday I’ll talk to Kristie, see what the results mean. Whatever the scan shows, it will not result in a cure. That’s settled. But prostate cancer is manageable. And this is the way that happens.

     

    June 4th Kilauea eruption and the Milky Way

    Just a moment: Kilauea erupts! Again. It’s one of the most active Volcanoes on Earth. Kate and I stayed at Volcano House for two weeks, a National Parks Hotel in Volcanoes National Park. We became acquainted with this vast Shield Volcano, with Halemaʻumaʻu, the caldera home of Pele, the Hawai’ian goddess of fire, with the offerings native Hawai’ians left on its rim. Flowers. Alcohol. Shells.

    May I say that this photograph soothes my scanxiety. This vastness and our living Earth. Together. As they and we are.

     

     

    *How does it work? PSMA, short for Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen, is a protein found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. The “imaging agent” consists of a chemical that binds to PSMA, honing in on prostate cancer cells wherever they are in the body. Attached to this binding chemical is a radioactive “reporter.” Patients are given a one-time injection of this combination molecule into the bloodstream, “tagging” prostate cancer cells. The patients are then given a scan with an imaging camera that “lights up” areas where the molecule has accumulated—i.e., sites of prostate cancer (see photo above).

    PSMA PET imaging may help guide your treatment plan.


  • Desiderata Days. Mountain Nights.

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Desiderata days. Cool, good sleeping nights. Colorado. Guanella Pass. That jerky store. The Cutthroat Cafe. Happy Camper. The Waterfall. Geneva Creek. The Continental Divide. The Shaggy Sheep. Jefferson Lake. Ruby and her new shoes. Taking a day. Letting it just be. Mountains. Forests. Streams and Creeks. Bridges and trails: The Abyss and Burning Bear Creek Trails. Square Top Mountain. Mt. Blue Sky. Mt. Rosalie. Square Top Mt.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Rocky Mountains, my home

    One brief shining: Great Sol, my inner ohr, has begun to peek over Mt. Grief and Mt. Inertia, encouraged by the trip to San Francisco where we/I/us let go of the Lilliputian ropes with which we’d bound ourself to one place, Shadow Mountain, and to one journey, becoming a Jew, and to the dark arts with which death enthralls our psyche, let go of them and got out, on the train, let go of them and went on a trip.

     

    Yesterday. Ah. Well.

    At last. After too many years. Too much thinking and sitting. Yes. I did it. I went on a short but profound adventure, never leaving the familiar confines of Jefferson and Park Counties. Here’s how it went. With pictures.

    Before. A while ago. I named Tuesdays as desiderata days. Go anywhere days. Let the day unfold. Rather than directing it: Write now. Eat now. Study Torah and bar mitzvah portions now. Sleep now. Watch TV now. Workout now. Do work-a-day things to manage my life. Pay bills. Write e-mails. Contact my docs. No. Not on a Tuesday. On Tuesdays I would set aside all that, get in Ruby and head out.

    Problem was. I never did it. Oh, I went on a few hikes last year. But not on Tuesdays. Just never let myself experience the freedom I put in my calendar. I even have the Tuesdays named on my Google Calendar: Desiderata Days.

    Until. Talked with Tom. The Florida Panhandle has a different understanding of Mountain than we do here. They even put up this mural and named a road and businesses after Blue Mountain:

    64 feet. The highest point on the Gulf of Mexico. Photo Credit: Tom Crane, retired.

    After I finished talking to Tom the day could have devolved into a usual Tuesday. But it didn’t. I put on my jeans, my LL Bean vest, got my car fob and tiny wallet, a hat, got in Ruby, and left the house. First to King Sooper for the ATM. Cash for the Happy Camper. On to 285 headed south and west toward Pine, then Bailey.

    Bought some edibles. Still can’t believe this is legal. Always feel a bit furtive.

    Down Crow Hill and it’s 7% grade into Bailey and the Cutthroat Cafe. Passed the Smiling Pig Saloon and Smokehouse where I hope to take Tom, Irv, and Paul in a couple of weeks. Breakfast outside. Oatmeal and Italian sausage. Coffee, sourdough toast. Over for a look at the Sasquatch Outpost. They’re all in on Sasquatch tourist items. From t-shirts to action figures, signs and blankets. Plus footprints.

    Faced a decision. Go home or go to Guanella Pass? A desiderata day. Guanella Pass. On Highway 285 through the Platte River Valley, past Shawnee, the Orvis ranch and fly fishing destination, Villa Marie, the Shaggy Sheep, and onto tiny Grant. Turn right.

    The Continental Divide
    Upper Geneva Creek
    Turned Around here

    I only drove part way up the 11,700 foot Pass which leads to the old mining town of Georgetown, also accessible from I-70. I had gone on a whim with no water bottles or camelpak. No sunscreen. Plus, it rained much of the time. No raingear. No such thing as bad weather only inadequate gear.

    On the way back down I stopped at the jerky place I’ve driven past many times. The owner, a luxuriantly white bearded old man with an oxygen canula, said, “It’s a tiny shop. Just look.” He pointed to the signs above the racks: Salmon jerky, Beef jerky, Alligator jerky, Buffalo, Elk, local beef. I paid with cash and when I did he pointed to a sign, no tax with cash. Cheating the taxman, I imagine. Especially since above this sign was a $1,000 bill with a head shot of our criminal ex-president. The Mountains.

    Back home I rested. Thinking. Yep, about a half a day’s energy. That’s my limit these days. Most important. I smiled. Desiderata days. After the bar mitzvah, a desiderata week. Off to Taos.


  • Donner Party Picnic Area

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Ruth. The class of 2024. Denver University. High School. Still high school. Sarah. My son. Seoah in pink. Helping with the Rice planting in Okgwa. Graduation ceremonies. Rites of passage. Alan. His new Beemer. Electric. Venturing into adulthood. Airmen and women. My son as uncle or para-father.  The USAF. Radar. Islands.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Seeing and hearing my son

    One brief shining: Stepped up to the cash register, ordered Bolognese Sour Dough Toast, a Lemonberry tart, a fancy pastry with a melted sugar halo, and a Cuban coffee, gathered in the number, 47, for the order and went back to the table in the Bread Lounge overlooking the Mountains west of Evergreen including the completely Snow covered Continental Divide.

     

    Speaking of the Continental Divide. On my train ride to San Francisco the conductor, who came on speaker from time to time with historic or geographic points of interest, indicated the River flowing beside the train. The Colorado. I’d crossed it before on a long ago trip to Colorado from Phoenix, but never had a chance to really see it. Muddy with Spring runoff it flowed fast and full, a River of so many dreams. Las Vegas. Tucson. Phoenix. Even far away Los Angeles. Then. Wait it a minute. It’s going the wrong way. Jumped to the first time I crossed the Red River near Fargo. Same sensation.

    What? Oh. The Continental Divide. This mud roiled river flowed west and south, toward the Baja, toward the great Pacific Ocean, not the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Even though I got this intellectually my brain kept feeling tricked each time I looked at the Colorado. My limbic system was not sure what to do with this fundamental change. One it did not understand.

    Another odd point of interest. The Donner Party Picnic Area in the Tahoe National Forest. I mean, they had to know what they were doing when they named that, right?

    At midnight on the 28th of April I woke up and wandered down stairs. The train, the California Zephyr, had stopped, and I wondered where we were. There in the distance was Salt Lake City. The Mormon Tabernacle. The angel Moroni. Twinkling in the intermontane night. A cool breeze came in from the open door of my sleeper car.

     

    Just a moment: Alan, yesterday, said rather than being in a long Pause that I had moved into the inner Charlie. A student. A scholar. A friend. Living alone and loving it. Hmm. I think both are true. I have privileged my introverted, scholarly side, no doubt. And, as he pointed out, he and I have taken many acting classes together. So I was engaged. True. However, it’s also true that my life has had mostly external guide rails in spite of that. In the last year especially Jewish immersion, mikveh, sure, but Jewish home life, too, for example. Shabbat. The Shema. The mezzuzahs. And the classes with Jamie.

    The Pause is a time of collecting experience, integrating it, letting it change me. Then, living the change. I feel like I’m moving toward that moment. Perhaps this year.


  • Back

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. San Francisco. Waymo. Ruby. Kate, her Creek and Valley. Ruth, the graduate. Gabe. Jen. Sarah. Mia. Mia’s mother. Kep. His yahrzeit last month. A foggy cap on Black Mountain. Blue Sky above. Must be cloudy to the east. Great Sol. Muted. See’s chocolate. Michael Strassfield. His 3rd Jewish catalog. Mary in Melbourne. Guru.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fog

    One brief shining: This morning Fog creeps down Black Mountain obscuring its view from my window, the Lodgepoles have a mysterious, shrouded, yet also illuminated look, the interplay of Great Sol and the dewpoint, which my in-home scientist, Kate, explained to me so I understood.

     

    Kate was so quick with math, with scientific knowledge, and medical knowledge of course. She could explain difficult ideas so I could understand them. I miss that part of our relationship. Along with many others. She was also my cooking consultant. My cribbage partner. Traveling companion. Garden planning and maintaining co-worker. Dog lover. Bee work assistant. Grandparent and parent. Most of all, a soulmate whose life meant as much to me as my own.

    In this photograph, taken in Songtan, Kate’s continuing her three years of work on a counted cross-stitch I bought for her in Washington, D.C. It says Love is Enough. Hangs in my lower level now. Also had t-shirts made with a print of it for her birthday celebration the year she died. An amazing woman on so many levels.

     

    Weird, looking back over the last two or three months. It’s like there was a shroud over my sense of self. I felt overwhelmed by the work for my conversion and bar mitzvah. Enough that I had real anxiety about it. Something I’m free of most of the time these days. I also reached into my bag of oh what a bad boy am I memories and ongoing concerns. Especially health and aging wise. Nope. You’re no longer able to take care of the house. Of feeding yourself. Too lazy. Too weak. Too inattentive. The back. Ouch. I’ll never travel again. That food poisoning. Showed how weak I am. Cancer. PSA blood draw yesterday. Probably mets everywhere. I’m in my tenth year after all.

    Gosh. Gee whiz. How am I able to get up in the morning?

    Then, much like the Fog slowly burning off Black Mountain as I write, the shroud faded away and I found myself back. Exercising. Confident about my daily life. My Torah portion down. Learning parts of the Morning Service that I can offer as my contribution on June 12th. Reaching back out from myself toward others.

    Another thing. My trip now has a golden memory. Gone are the stretches where my back taught me its lessons. Gone is the lingering emotional and physical residue of the food poisoning. Left in their place are time at the Asian Museum. The Redwoods. Japantown. Buying chocolate at See’s. Laughing and eating with Diane. Meals at Sears Fine Food and nights at the Chancellor Hotel.

    Why did this change occur? I think it was the trip. I needed a break from the seriousness that had become life. I needed some fun. A lesson in there. I’m pretty sure.

     


  • Oh, the Times We Had

    Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

    Monday gratefuls: Great Sol now lighting us up earlier and earlier. My Lodgepole Companion happy, Needles up, swaying a bit in Mountain Breezes. Inner weather. Internet returns. Learning about halakah, how to live a Jewish life. Learning my Torah portion. Learning how to pronounce parts of the morning service. Ancora imparo. Ichigo-iche.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Exercise

    One brief shining: Years ago in the casino on the Amsterdamm, somewhere between New York City and Ft. Lauderdale, I got on a winning streak, blackjack, a game which I played every afternoon five days a week as long as I carried newspapers in Alexandria, thousands of hands, this time in honor of Merton’s brother, Kate’s uncle who had died just before we left on this post-retirement cruise around Latin America, dedicating any winnings to a charity he would have approved, not much, maybe $150, still, and the folks crowded around me, brushed my back, wanted my luck which was more leavened by skill than in most gambling.

     

    Oh the times we had. Seeing Europe by Eurail. The Sistine Chapel. Red checkered tablecloths in Vienna. The Botticelli’s in the Uffizi. The Grand Canal from the rail terminal. That first view of the Pacific when entering the lobby of the Mauna Kea. Dinner at Mama’s Fish House. Going twice through the Panama Canal. Harvesting honey. Swatting off bees as we ran the honey harvester. Kate in her bandana, trowel in hand, Ninja Weeder! Quiet evenings with the dogs around the fire pit. Doing our laundry in Paris. Seeing heather and tartan making in Inverness. Cooking together. Holding hands.

    We went to Greece and Turkey, Korea and Singapore, most of the way around Latin America, enjoying each other, laughing and having frustrating moments. We worked together as a team, making Andover a spot better than it was when we got there. A place fruitful with Apple Trees, Cherry Trees, Plums, Pears, and Currants. A sweet place with hives of Honeybees working hard. A place filled with fresh Vegetables and beautiful Flowers all season long. A place we nurtured that nurtured us back.

    We cared for, played with, and cried over so many Dogs. Over Jon and Joe. Over Mark that one year. And finally we uprooted it all and carried the festival of our life to Shadow Mountain. Where life became merged with Mountains, Wild Neighbors, Judaism, and the grandkids. Yes, she’s been dead for three years. But neither gone nor forgotten.

     

    Just a moment: After the food poisoning and for much of last week, I fell into a slump. I mentioned this when I talked about how my psyche can suffer when my body feels bad. After some self therapy, literally, after the nausea fading not even into memory but away, after reengaging the bar mitzvah work yet to be done and prepping for my final conversion session with Rabbi Jamie, my strong self has returned. Able. Caring. Dedicated. At work and at play. Wish I had a way to alert myself when I head off the rails since the self I condemn then is in fact the same self I now applaud.

     


  • A bit more on the City by the Bay

    Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

    Sunday gratefuls: Halakah. Mishne. Mitzvot. Talmud. Torah. Morning blessings. Mah Tovu. Socrates Cafe. Kate’s third yahrzeit. Snow. Thunder. Lightning. Cold. Steel gray Sky. Water. Coffee. See’s chocolate. Powell Street. Cable Cars. My son and Seoah. Murdoch. The Ancient Brothers. Home. Amtrak. Vacation. Back. Learning. Going beyond pain. Vitality.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My son

    One brief shining: Lightning flashed, my Midwest Self braced, counted one thousand one, one thousand two, BLAM, right over my just awakened body, the earth rattled, and my Mountain Self hoped the Lightning came with Rain, flash, one thousand one, one thousand two, BLAM, no longer directly overhead, moving away so I got up, looked out the window and lo what to my wondering eyes should appear, Snow not Rain, a couple of inches of heavy, late Spring Snow.

     

    No. I’m not in San Francisco anymore. There I had seven days of sun and warmth. My cabin fever trip came at a good point. Winter has begun to reassert itself. Reluctant to let go of the Front Range, of Shadow Mountain. Yes, I’m tired of it, tired of the Snow and the Cold, but not tired of the extra fire repression. A good setup for a short Fire season then the Monsoons. May it be so.

    Totoro

    A few more San Francisco pics and notes. Diane told me about the many women in San Francisco who go dancing in gay bars to avoid having to hassle with straight men. It’s a San Francisco thing, she said. Made sense to me.

    The Japantown mall has an immersive feel, a sort of English speaking extension of the homeland. When we found the bookstore Diane remembered, I saw a plush Totoro and the Cat Bus from Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro. This store had about half English and Japanese titles.

    San Francisco has old street cars from both its past street car lines and other world cities refurbished and in use. Makes for intriguing sites on a random basis. There were many Waymo driverless taxis roaming the streets. They’re distinctive with their sensors and no one occupying the driver’s side seat.

    Last note: Friday at City Hall. Diane wanted me to see City Hall. And, it is magnificent. But I was lucky enough to see it on Friday. On Friday there are many, many weddings thanks to the promise of two days for a honeymoon. I have pictures.

     


  • Awe

    Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

    Shabbat gratefuls: Kate’s yahrzeit. Lighting the yahrzeit candle. Frost on the Lodgepole’s at Black Mountain’s peak. May 15 in Minnesota. Planting ok then, in days past. Self-care. Nuggets win in Minneapolis. Coastal Redwoods. Sequoias. Bristlecone Pine. Douglas Fir. White Pine. Fraser Pine. Ponderosa Pine. Kate’s Creek. Maxwell running full. Bear Creek.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Kate

    Songtan, 2016

    One brief shining: The boardwalk felt soft, welcoming as morning Sunshine filtered onto it through the Forest, its planks took shade and sun alike, filling it with gentle magic while not revealing the wonders rising only feet from its sides, where the Coastal Redwoods, which can reach over 300 feet toward the sky, with trunks requiring many hands for a complete hug, soared up from the Valley soil with grace, power.

     

    Awe. Wonder. Amazement. In my belated but so appreciated first contact with these giants of the Forest. Each one with the presence of a meditating Buddha. Still, rooted to their place, focused on their wooden dreams. Diane told me of the efforts firefighters went through to save the Sequoias, putting aluminum fire resistant blankets around their bases to protect them. I would help. The majesty of these Trees made me want to weep with joy. That we share the Earth with such entities.

    This is a possible outcome of travel. Transport to a place unexpected, even unimagined. Oh, I had an inner picture, an expectation about how it would be to see these Trees. Nothing prepared me for the sight of them. The unique and powerful sense of self they project. Wild neighbors are so precious because they show us the limits of artifice, of bending the world to our will. Wild neighbors are natural Taoists, accepting the world as it comes, adapting to its changes.

    Of course, I’m most familiar with Lodgepole Pines, Aspen, Mule Deer, Elk, Black Bears, Foxes, Mountain Lions yet the Coastal Redwood and its near relative the Sequoia are my wild neighbors, too. Just further away. How bare, spiritually, would be my world without them. Can you imagine? A world with no Wild Neighbors?

     

    Just a moment: Been thinking about the purpose of universities. Came up with three to start with: 1. Collect, curate, and conserve the deposit of human culture. Imagine and execute ways to keep it available to generations yet unborn.  2. Foster a culture of critical thought. 3. Provide those moratorium years for each generation where life becomes exploration and adventure.

    What other purposes underlie this grand social experiment?

     

    It took me until yesterday to get my Mountain legs back. To once again be here, in my life. Some psychic pain over the last few days occasioned in the main by back stress + food poisoning. When my body’s not right, it’s easy to spiral, confusing a wounded body with a wounded soul. I became febrile, fragile. Old. In need of assisted living. Foolish for living this long alone, high in the Mountains. My judgment compromised by a younger self’s commitment to the Rockies.

    Yet this morning, as I feel my way into shabbat, my new Jew soul smiles. You’re where you belong, Yisrael. And not too old. Not yet.


  • Photos

    Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

    Thursday gratefuls: Peanuts. Oxygen concentrators. Fences. Kohler generator. Bonobos. New clothes. Being alive. That snapped Lodgepole. High Winds. Home. Shadow Mountain. Its long, sloped flank. The Aquifer. The Well. The leech field. The septic tank. Sewer and water. Moods. Their fungibility.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Better body

    One brief shining: Moods flutter in and out of my psyche like scared birds, not sure where to roost, where to go, how long to stay, often unnoticed until just before they exit, hey sadwinged, hey joyous smile, oh not you again self doubter, unwelcome voice, fly away, here again deep attention, welcome back, come ahead shy one, bring it on feisty mood and all the others throughout the day lifting me up, crashing me down, changing me. Mood.

     

    Picture show. San Francisco

    My roomette
    Before Winter Park
    On the Bay Bridge
    The Chancellor Hotel
    Japanese Tea Garden
    Legion of Honor
    Cable Car
    Driverless Waymo Taxi
    Earthquake Shack