• Category Archives Health
  • We’re All Just Walking Each Other Home.

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Life. Living. Death. Dying. Leo. Luke. Tara, a good friend. Sleep. Exercise. Red Beans and Rice. Chicken wings. Apples and mandarin Oranges. This July 20th wakin’ up mornin’. A new life, a new day. Great Sol. Blue Sky. Uncle Joe Biden at a crossroads. Recovering from Covid, but not from his debate performance. Our United States.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: 2024.

    One brief shining: Two Tanakhs open on Rabbi Jamie’s round office table we roamed back and forth through the book of Numbers, from the spies and their devastating report on the promised land to Moses striking the rock at Meribah and Balaam’s donkey explaining there was an angel in the road that would have done Balaam harm.

     

    Restored inner calm. Had breakfast with Alan and Joanne, then lunch with Tara. Just being in relationship with them, talking about usual matters like oh my god the election 45 Joe turnout and a positive story from Alan. Alan read that Joe has been waiting until the Republican Convention is over to step down. Maximum impact. Joanne talked about the conflicts and troubles of early CBE history after Rich’s sunny recollections last Wednesday night. Joanne and I traded stories about Japan and Korea. Ate. Saw each other.

    Alan has the role of innkeeper in Ovation West’s upcoming Man of La Mancha. He even has a solo. He’s also getting into directing, taking up a work of the Executive Director of the Evergreen Players who is a playwright as well. Joanne’s new book on extreme mental states, written with two Buddhist therapists and edited by Marilyn Saltzman, is done. The Bread Lounge.

    Lunch with Tara at Brook’s Tavern. An emotional one. We talked about my cancer news. Tara is so empathetic. And honest. She got me to commit to a visit to Taipei on my next journey to Korea. No excuses. She also invited me over to their house on Wednesday afternoon to meet Arjean’s brothers visiting from the Netherlands. Marilyn and Irv, Susan and her daughter will be there.

    Talking to Tom at 8 this morning. Diane at 3 this afternoon. I am not alone, now, or in the future. This journey has companions, as I am a companion on the journey of others. Ram Dass: We’re all just walking each other home.

     

    Just a moment: So. How bout the folks wandering around the Republican Convention with bandages over their ear? Eh? Like the orange one, their hero. Their avatar of Yahweh Sabbaoth, Lord of Hosts. Only the orange one’s hosts are the Proud Boys, the 3 percenters, and the KKK. 45 is, for sure, satan, the Hebrew word for adversary. He’s a thug with a gold plated toilet.

     

    Downy Woodpeckers have attacked my house. Again. A problem with a cedar sided house. When I have it stained, I also have the painters patch up the holes the little buggers leave in their search for a meal. I’m mentioning this because someone’s going at the house right now in the back. It’s loud.

     


  • The Next Day

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Friday gratefuls: This July 19th, 2024 life. Life. Neshama. Nefesh. Being a Jew. Studying with Rabbi Jamie. Balaam’s ass. The power of speech. Kristie. Dr. Leonard. The Ancientrail ahead. The Mule Deer Doe that comes to my back yard. Furball Cleaning. Stevinson Toyota. Ruby. Her faithfulness. Cancer. Mortality. Orgovyx and Erleada. Living while dying. All of us.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Honesty

    One brief shining: Poached eggs with creamy yellow hollandaise sauce sitting in a bed of red Beans, a small dam of cheesy grits keeping the Beans separate from the white grits, a cup of black coffee, a large biscuit, and a glass of clear water, the buzz of other diners and the clink of silverware, as the three year old girl looked back at her parents, heard them call, turned and in a fast walk went away from them, exploring the restaurant as her mother got up smiling.

     

    Serious gear turning still clanking and whirring. How do I feel? Anxious. How do I feel? Uncertain. How do I feel? Calm. How do I feel? Grounded. How do I feel? Happy. How do I feel? Gifted. How do I feel? Aware. How do I feel? Here.

    Slept fine. Went to bed thinking about a defined outer limit for my life, woke up still thinking about it. The world has a different flavor now. Not bitter though. Sweeter. A wrap my arms around it and smile for the privilege sweetness. Yes, I am jangly and wobbly, sure. But. I am. And I will be.

    Are there uncertainties that loom? Oh, my.

    For example. Dr. Leonard (radiation oncologist) suggested not doing any radiation. Because he believed medical intervention should have a positive purpose. Oh? It becomes, he said, a lot like whack-a-mole. The very phrase I’d been using for my radiation. What he wants to do is put me back on Erleada, follow me as usual with the PSA and testosterone assays. If my PSA goes up, as it might, we’ll reconsider. Same with the testosterone. Otherwise he wants to repeat the P.E.T. scan in four to six months to see how the cancer progresses. Or, doesn’t.

    He wants, I think Kate would say, for the cancer to declare itself. Then we could radiate the spots where it seems strongest. Along with other, lesser spots. This could be an off again, on again process as I move forward.

    I have another blood draw next week and I speak with Kristie again. Where this is going should be clearer then. I’m eager to get yet better clarity because there are matters I’d like to decide or at least start the process for deciding. Like travel. Like what to ask of my son and Seoah. Like, oh, I don’t know.

    Don’t need to get my affairs in order. They’re pretty much there. Will. Advanced medical directives. Estate plan.

    Might consult my financial advisors. See what if anything this news means for money management.

    As for the rest? Continue living in my usual way. Write. Read. Visit with friends. Take in the Mountains and greet my wild neighbors.

     


  • The Finished Line

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: This July 28th, 2024 life. Castration resistant prostate cancer. Me. Dr. Leonard, a poetry major at Vanderbilt. Kristie. Lucille’s Littleton. That independent, bright three year old. Those up after the Baby Boomers. Great Sol. That tiny living layer of each Tree, the Cambium. Sell by dates. Joanne. Wallace Stevens. Ovid. New translation.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: This moment

    One brief shining: A radiation oncologist, Dr. Leonard loves T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and Auden and once spent a year reading only those three, he said to me as we were parting; he had just told me I had castration resistant cancer and have five to seven more years ahead of me, “Not a death sentence.”

     

    Hit me hard though. Not an immediate death sentence, no. Yet. Having a stop sign ahead felt, in that moment, like it was one. Not three hours ago, this news. Still echoing in my inner world. These sort of thoughts. Oh, my money’s going to last. Easy. That cute little girl. Always death, birth, growth. Always.

    When I left Rocky Mountain Cancer Care, I’d found the route to Lucille’s Cajun Cafe for breakfast. Then I thought, no I want to go home. Go to Aspen Perks. Shook my head. Drove to Lucille’s instead. Right call. An interesting place for breakfast, good food, and that little girl. Set my phone down. Looked out the window, past the group of young Latino men in a serious business conference, to a sunny blue Sky Colorado morning.

    This is the life of July 18th. Up and out to the doctor. Over for a cheesy grits, red beans, and poached eggs breakfast. To go order of red beans and rice. The drive back home. A slight daze haze. Serious gear turning. Bouncing foreground: the Hogback, Hwy 470. Background: Dying before 2030. Does it matter? Not really. Though of course it does.

    Mortality. A finished line ahead in the mist. Now the mist has lifted and the track seems shorter than I’d imagined.

    Other thoughts in no priority or order: Want my son and Seoah here. Don’t want to leave my house. Want to go on a long cruise. See somewhere new. Does this mean I don’t need to diet? Exercise? No, it does not. How much fun is this. Relief. Ready. How will it play out?

     

    Just a moment: Economic populism. The American Compass

    JD Vance loves these folks. I looked up their website and found this paragraph*. I agree with most of it. Without getting into the weeds let me say I would underline the idea that markets are a means to the end of human flourishing. That the economy should empower workers, their families, and communities. And that public policy plays a vital role in advancing those goals.

    We would not, I’m confident, agree on our definition of family, of empowered workers, what strengthening the social fabric means in practice. I’m not an economic nationalist either.

    I’m an economic agnostic. Whatever economy encourages justice, fairness, healthy families and communities I’m for. That makes me feel hopeful when I read this because there are grounds here for common direction and policy.

     

    *”Conservatives rightly value free markets, but we also recognize that markets require rules and institutions to work well, that they are a means to the end of human flourishing and exist to serve us (not the other way around), and that larger televisions and fancier cars are not what people value most. Rather than evaluate the economy by how much stuff it allows everyone to consume, conservative economics asks whether the economy empowers workers to support their families and communities, whether it strengthens the social fabric, and whether it fosters domestic industry and innovation. Public policy plays a vital role in advancing those goals.”

     

     

     


  • The Great White Whale

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Brakes. Stevinson Toyota. CBE annual meeting. CBE history. Rocky Mountain Cancer Care. Tomorrow. Shirley Waste. Rolling, Rolling, Rolling. The trash containers. Sounds like Thunder. Rain yesterday. Great workout. Faster. 2X resistance. Farmer’s carry added. A short trip to the hallucination store. Great Sol, steady friend.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: New front brake pads for Ruby

    One brief shining: Knife cutting through tape, flattening cardboard, cleaning out the trash compactor, that ritual of this American life-trash day-requires plastic bins, plastic bags, throwaway plastic, lots of cardboard since we’ve disaggregated receiving docks, turning our front porches into the truck bays of used to be stores, dispersing the burden from corporate trash bins to local residences and local landfills.

     

    Got in 105 minutes of exercise yesterday. With 40 minutes on Sunday that means I only need another 5 to hit my weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate exercise. Beginning to move faster these days so I’m up in the cardio zone more and more. Started doing a farmer’s carry to improve my grip strength. If Anthony Hopkins can stay fit at 86, why can’t I?

    Cousin Diane has an every other day jog from her home on Lucky Street to Folsom and onto Bernal Heights Park. Buddy Mark and his wife Elizabeth have memberships at Lifetime Fitness, same as my old gym in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Alan hits the elliptical and the weights every morning at the Spire Condominiums where he lives in downtown Denver. Marilyn does jazzercise at 77. Exercise moves the needle on health span. Worth the effort.

     

    American Renaissance II:

    Been thinking about this more and more. Realized last night that the gang who put I heart the constitution stickers on their cars, who fly American flags from the beds of pickup trucks, who venerate the “founders”, who focus on the second amendment as God’s gift to domestic terrorism have a truncated version of American history. Stuck they are (thanks, Yoda) on a faux legalistic path from the first colonies right down to the streets of Washington, D.C. and January 6th. The history that matters to them is rebellion, not revolution. The golden tablets handed down to Wynken, Blynken, and Nod guide them towards. What? Amurica? A land of guns, liberty, and Christian white folks handed back the reins.

    Where in their journey is Rip Van Winkle? The Knickerbockers? The Scarlet Letter. Thanatopsis. Thoreau. Emerson. Mary Fuller. Emily Dickinson. Herman Melville.

    Perhaps we can see our time as a hunt for the great White whale. Will it bind us as a nation to its watery flanks, entangling us in harpoons and ropes, sending us all on a Nantucket sleigh ride? Will the great White whale then dive and take us, like Ahab, to a deep ocean grave? Seems possible to me.

    We need a fuller, richer understanding of the time when this country came to be. Not only about systems of governance. No. There was poetry. Literature. Broad discourse on the rights of human beings. Benjamin Franklin. How can we lift up the complex, messy, beautiful reality of pre and post revolution early America?

     


  • Killer Robots

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Kristie. Orgovyx. National Geographic, October 2009. Learning basic botany. Harder than I thought. Resilience. Zen. Chan. Tibetan. Vedanta. Avatars. Shiva. Brahma. Vishnu. Ganesha. Lakshmi. Zoroaster. Lao Tze. The old man. Zhuangzi. Exoplanets. Exudates. Exdates. Today’s date. This July 5th, 2024 life. Great Sol. All planets.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Periodic Table

    One brief shining: Cancer has the same flavor as the tale of the Scorpion and Frog, your own cells growing growing growing until they sink along with the rest of you.

     

    PSA cell

    N.B.: Yesterday I referenced castration resistant prostate cancer. Castration resistant is a metric, no longer part of the treatment. That is, the standard of androgen deprivation therapy-a very, very low amount of androgens, male hormones, in the body-is the amount equivalent to that of a castrated man. In fact, even for sex offenders chemical castration, which is androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) used off book, is the norm. If prostate cancer grows in spite of ADT, then you are said to have castration resistant prostate cancer. It requires new treatment.

    Wanted to make that clear. And, I do not have it.

     

     

    Taking a basic botany class on Coursera, as I mentioned. Only the second class session and I’m in over my head. This session focuses on how plants see. Turns out plants see more than we do, more of the electromagnetic spectrum. How a plant grows, when it germinates from a seed, when it stops growing, when it folds up for the night or opens up for the day, all controlled by phytochromes in the photochromic receptor system.

    I’m used to taking a class, then a test, and doing better than well. In this case I took the test right after the session. I did not do close to well. Thought I understood when I obviously did not. So today I plan to study before I retake the test. You have multiple tries to better your score.

    Not a big surprise, really. This is science and it has right and wrong answers. I’m more of a big picture, relativistic, let’s consider the opposing perspective guy. In case you just said, wait a minute, science insists on the opposing perspective through the experimental process. Well, ok. Not quite the same, but similar.

    Madras Courier

    Just a moment: Here’s how we end ourselves. The Era of Killer Robots is Here. NYT, The Daily, July 9, 2024. Guess a dystopian writer got this part first. Imagine a technologically advanced but smaller nation confronting a brutal, much larger rival who is fine with using its citizens as cannon fodder. Imagine that smaller nation loses access to sophisticated weaponry already designed and under manufacture. What does it do?

    Yes. The Ukraine has tapped its significant technology sector to automate its weaponry and create new weapons using drones and other high tech, easily available machines. That, in and of itself, is not the problem since a lot of weapons have high tech components.

    So, what is the problem? Ukraine has lost many of its fighting age citizens and faces a shortage of soldiers. In that situation and willing to do whatever it takes to fend off the Russian Bear, it was inevitable that they would produce weapons that not only have high tech killing potential, but weapons that can make the decision to fire on their own.

    That’s SkyNet territory. Without a human mediator it’s all about the algorithm and the sensors. The deeper ethical concerns get set aside when survival is at stake. Understandable, but very dangerous. For us all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • Living. While dying. All of us

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Durango’s Animas River chocolates. Mary down under. Mark in Phnom Penh. Seoah and my son in Songtan. Diane in the Mission. Me on Shadow Mountain. Here comes the Sun. Great Sol feeding us all. Vanquishing the night. Warming us. The Beatles. Led Zepplin. The Doors. Buffalo Springfield. Bob Dylan. The Who. Jefferson Airplane.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Wide World

    One brief shining: Slipping into a favorite chair, a book nearby with its flap marking forward progress, turning on the reading light, finding a pair of glasses, I open the book to the spot behind Jupiter where the Bunker World has taken up residence, and travel the last few centuries with the strange world of the Three Body Problem.

     

    Full transparency. Cancer worries. Not following Kate’s advice. Been reading research again. Metastases. Castration resistant prostate cancer. Lethal. Readying myself for those words: there is no more we can do. Opening my heart to the final days. How will I react? With grace and good humor is my intention. Then. Full stop! No. Today is the life of July 8th, 2024 and the only life I have. Live it.

    O.K. But first. I’ll run a time limited check on that research. Just in the last year. Ah. Many more options available now. Extending life. Better outcomes. Yes.

    Mind. I don’t have castration resistant prostate cancer yet. I’m just trying to wreck my day to day composure with imagining that it’s coming. Even so I did calm myself by learning that there are other treatments beyond androgen deprivation therapy.

    It’s a delicate balance between living the life of this day, this brand new wakin’ up mornin’ life granted to me, and staying in touch with the cancer, staying alert to what my treatment demands. Denial and suppression are not workable strategies for me. Yet, neither are depression and despair.

    So I go weeks without paying much attention to this fell beast living in my body, then a few days of reading research, prepping myself for what may never happen. Though cancer is an obvious candidate it may well be something else that carries me off to the surprise after life.

    And on that cheery note, I’ll just ask: How was the play?

     

    Just a moment: The flipside. Herme’s Pilgrimage. Herme took a Wildwood World Tree reading yesterday and found, again, that the cards show a positive, strong context for his journey.

    The tarot itself is part of the pilgrimage. A way to move past stuckness, to gain energy, to foresee challenges and strengths. So as Herme works into his soul for the meaning behind, within, and adjacent to Trees, he feels buoyed up, supported.

    Here’s a poem Bill Schmidt found. It resonates.

     

    When I am Among the Trees by Mary Oliver

     

    When I am among the trees,

    especially the willows and the honey locust,

    equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,

    they give off such hints of gladness.

    I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

     

    I am so distant from the hope of myself,

    in which I have goodness, and discernment,

    and never hurry through the world

    but walk slowly, and bow often.

     

    Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.”

    The light flows from their branches.

     

    And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you too have come

    into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled with light, and to shine.”


  • Transitioned

    Summer and the Mountain Summer Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Lengthening nights. Warm days. Spanish food for the Fourth. Judy Sherman. Kate. All those who suffer, yet are strong. Resilience. Workout yesterday. Joanne. Responsibility. Seeing, being responsive. Kavod. Honor. Teshuvah. Botany. Cambium. Phloem and xylem. Heartwood. Photosynthesis. Carbon Dioxide in. Oxygen out. Creating food for us all.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Energy into matter

    One brief shining: Got a thick cardboard box, heavy, filled first with crenelated paper, opened the larger box inside and removed the slices of acorn fed Iberian Jamon ham, of chorizo, of other ham slices, churros and xocalate, then the smaller box which contained Olives, grilled Peppers, nuts greeting my Fourth of July feast.

     

    Every once in a bit. I’ll see some food offering. In a grocery store, especially one like Tony’s. Or, online, maybe Wild Alaska or at the Spanish food site, La Tienda. The Store. My imagination gets caught by the marketer’s guile and visions of a scrumptious meal dance before my inner eye. Not real often. But on occasion.

    Less often, my eye’s dance, my inner tongue tastes the delicacies on offer and I reach for my money. The anticipation never matches the reality. Oh, if it only could. Sure the Jamon ham is tasty, but not in a lift off, send me to the moon way. The Olives are good as are the Peppers. Good, not amazing. I know. You’d think at 77 I would have learned. And mostly I have. But on occasion…

     

    Still no word from Rocky Mountain Cancer Care. Not sure why getting in to see these radiation oncologists is taking so long. Kristie put me on the Orgovyx to tamp down the cancer while I wait to get in, but it’s been almost three weeks and I don’t even have an appointment. I’ve jiggled Kristie and Rocky Mountain. Nada. I’m a bit frustrated. Ready to have these metastases radiated.

    I’m assertive about my care. In general and especially so with cancer, yet moving medical bureaucracies is no easier than moving corporate or governmental bureaucracies. Sometimes you have to wait.

     

    Back to the tarot deck. Pulling cards each day. Tarot tickles my inner compass, puts a probe down below my consciousness. Yesterday from the Wildwood Deck I turned over a five of vessels for the second time in three days. Ecstasy. Happiness. Realization of a dream. And from the Woodland Guardian deck, the Bee and the Pomegranate. Productivity. Hard work.

    Herme’s Pilgrimage has legs. Learning botany basics in a Coursera class from Tel Aviv University. Finished the Tree communication class from the New York Botanical Garden. Am reading my way through a book on Tree myths and one on old growth forests. Did a Google arts and culture search on Trees and got thousands of hits. This pilgrimage has a wandering path with Trees as a lodestar. For now. Plants, too.

    I have transitioned from the days of learning for my conversion and bar mitzvah to a new field of knowledge.

     

     

     

     


  • The Squeeze and the Elevation

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Yesterday’s immersion in Herme’s Pilgrimage. Drawing the Queen of Bows and the Cayman with the Poppies. Finishing my Tree Communication course. VOC’s. Volatile Organic Compounds. Released through Stoma. An important mode of Tree messaging. The hundreds of millions year old relationship between Tree Roots and Fungi. A cool Mountain morning.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Lodgepoles and Aspens of the Arapaho National Forest

    One brief shining: Clicked on the link and Annie Novak of the New York Botanical Garden showed up on Zoom, reminding me of MJ Hedstrom, an old flame of the Grand Marais Hedstrom’s, thin and bright, well spoken, passionate both though Annie had knowledge about Trees and Tree Communication whereas MJ knew Minnesota politics. I learned a lot from both of them.

     

    orgovyx

    A week plus back on Orgovyx. A bit of hot flashes. Not bad. Otherwise ok. Since Orgovyx took me on as a charity case, I don’t have to pay seven hundred and fifty-three dollars a month for it. Though that seemed paltry compared to Paul’s friend who has leukemia and has treatments that cost seventeen thousand. She’s getting money from the Assistance Fund as I did a year or so ago for both Orgovyx and Erleada until the Prostate Cancer wing of that fund drained all of its assets.

    Sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? And, of course, when you get that treatment paid for, the one that keeps you alive, your gratitude seems like the least you can offer. Sort of. Until you learn, as I did last year, that the folks who fund the Assistance program are the very pharmaceutical companies charging the exorbitant fees. That means that the Fund is a way to keep the political waters cool by paying off the cohort that would otherwise go screaming to their Congressperson. It is, then, a tradeoff, you help me with my treatment and I have no need to raise the burdensome expense. Because you’ve covered it. Imagine how much money these companies spend on this. A lot. But cheaper I imagine than losing a battle with Congress.

    I admit I’m a little scared to publish this since I may need the Assistance fund again. But this is the sort of bind that a capitalist economy forces on all players. Those of us who are sick need the meds. In these cases just to survive. The pharmaceutical companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their board and shareholders to maximize profits. Congress hears from these companies often. How expensive new drug development is. How it will fall off a cliff if they can’t charge these very high prices. How many people they employee. How much they pay in taxes. And now they have a Supreme Court that is business friendly. Can you feel the squeeze?

     

    Just a moment: And, as the DJ used to say, The hits just keep on coming.* His lawyers, his judges, his arrogance and cowardice have combined to wrench apart the levers of balance in our system, slowly ratcheting the Presidency into rarefied, autocratic air. Soon our Presidents may have a throne in the Oval Office, an eagle-headed scepter, a crown of diamonds, rubies, and sapphire stones forming bunting around the base and a raised Gadsen flag with platinum surround at the peak. All Hail, the one who rules now by divine right. Not constitutional designation of powers!

     

    *”…more than one lower-court opinion addressing novel legal issues raised by Mr. Trump’s norm-breaking behavior observed that presidents are not kings. But suddenly, they do enjoy a kind of monarchical prerogative.” NYT, 7/2/2024


  • Happy people say pyt med det.

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

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

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Totoro

    Totoro

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

     

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

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

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

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

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

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


  • The Longest Days

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Orgovyx support. Alan. Joan. Irv. Marilyn. Jamie. Luke and Leo. Covid. Paul. Tom. The life of June 20, 2024. Summer. Solstice. The growing dark. Dogs. Toby. Findlay. Gracie. Leo. Licks and Lila. Zeus. Boo. Thor. The Soil. Cancer. Growing season. The Full Bar Mitzvah Moon tomorrow. The asteroid belt. Mars. Io. Europa. Callisto. Ganymede. The Galilean Moons.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Yin and Yang

    One brief shining: After learning that my insurance company would charge me seven-hundred and fifty three dollars a month copay for the drug Orgovyx, which stops my cancer while the plan and execution of the new radiation take place, I ceased to live in the moment, in the life of each new day, and projected out a depleting bank account, old old age with limited resources; as Jack Benny said when the robber put a gun in his back, “Your money or your life!”. And after a pause from Jack Benny, “I’m thinking about it!” (thanks to Tom for this bit of comedic history)

     

    Learned yesterday that Orgovyx support looked upon my credit report and pronounced it adequately inadequate to pay for the drug. Yay! So, I’ll get the drug for free. Hot flashes here we come.

    As I’ve written here, this has been a harder encounter with cancer news. Again, I’ve been projecting more metastases, more radiation, more hassles with insurance. And, at the same time trying to stay in this day, this new life, the moments of it as they come and go, talking of Michelangelo. Will I wear my trousers rolled?

    That may be the real learning. The wrestling back and forth with cancer has brought me to a new appreciation for the rabbinic ideas of each morning a resurrection, each day a new life. The more I live into them, with them, the better I am at isolating this day as the only life I have. Each moment in this new day as an ichi-go, ichi-e moment.

    What about tomorrow? There is no tomorrow, only a new life on the day you rise up from the grave, wipe the sleep from your eyes, and start life over. A day fresh with possibility and time and precious experience.

     

    Just a moment: The Summer Solstice. The holyday polar opposite on the Great Wheel from the Winter Solstice. Light and dark. Heat and cold. Growing season and fallow season. Summer and Winter. T-shirts and down vests. Working and resting.

    I’ve long rejected the Summer Solstice as an overly exuberant presentation of Great Sol. This year I’ve begun to, are you ready for this, see the Light. Sorry. Anyhow, I emphasized the Winter Solstice in my heart and diminished Summer. Perhaps necessary to rebalance what I see as a too strong embrace of Summer days and too little appreciation for the joys of a Winter night. Yet the gardener in me always celebrated Summer, the season of vegetables, of bees hard at work, of evenings with Kate by our Fire pit.

    So today. In this June 20th, 2024 life I dance around the bonfires, too, joyful about chlorophyll and photosynthesis, about the growth in all the Lodgepoles and Aspens, about Elk Calves and Mule Deer fawns, about the Light which streams down on us, Great Sol’s beneficence granted to us all, the just and the unjust.