• Category Archives Health
  • Health

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Monday grateful: Traveler’s Insurance. Car and House. I’m grateful I still have it. Deaf old guy t-shirts. The Ancient Brothers on healers and healing. Sue Bradshaw. Annual Physical this morning. Great Sol lightening the morning Sky. The shema. Hashem in letters of fire. Getting laundry done. Groceries in the house. Self care. Agency. Independence. Cognitive awareness. Physical mobility. Healthy.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth, Gabe, Mia

    One brief, shining: These days I often peel back the metal lid of a can of Wild Caught Sardines, put them on a plate, open up my current package of #34 crackers, this week they’re Rosemary, reach in the fruit compartment of the refrigerator to select a cold Pear or maybe a Tangerine, prepare the fruit by slicing or peeling, add it to the plate, pour myself a cup of coffee, place it all on the table and start to read my breakfast book, right now Democracy Awakening by Heather Richardson, while enjoying a protein rich morning meal.

     

    Annual physical today. My PCP, Kristen Gonzalez, retires next month for medical reasons. Apparently very bad headaches. As a result, I’m seeing a nurse practitioner, Sue Bradshaw, who has worked with Kristen for over twenty years.

    Kristen may have been the best doctor I’ve ever had. She and Charlie, whose last name I can’t recall, were about the same, but she’s older and wiser. Which I imagine he is at this point, too. She’s kind, empathetic, put me first always in our encounters. And she’s medically humble. Says when she doesn’t know. I trust her, trusted her, completely.

    Her retirement makes me sad on two levels. First, that such a competent physician and decent person has something so wrong that she must leave her work. Which she clearly loves. Second, I’ll miss having her in my corner, the backstop for my health.

    As I scan myself at almost 77, I don’t have anything that jumps out, says Tell Your Doctor About Me. Yes, prostate cancer. But it’s being managed. New labs next month. Yes, altitude and funky diaphragm induced shortness of breath. Yes, slacker thyroid gland. All part of the world for me, nothing that causes me worry. Well, maybe one thing. This damned back. It’s been flaring. Yet I do my exercises, take some acetaminophen and it behaves. Sort of.

    It bothers me not so much because of the pain itself, which most of the time I don’t notice, but because of the limits it puts on exercise and travel. Exercise I need to maintain my overall health. And travel. Well. I want to travel.

    I think.

    I say I think because I’m not getting out and doing it. I have nothing planned and don’t know what I could do if I did. Which is partly why I have nothing planned. A combination of physical discomfort and inertia. Some days I imagine this is my life. Here on Shadow Mountain. Out some during the day, reading, meals with friends and family. Staying in at night. Sometimes I push against that idea; sometimes it feels like what I want.

     

     


  • Choose

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Friday gratefuls: TGIF. Ha. No hump day, no Friday as the last day of work. Just life. Sleeping in. Perfect sleeping weather. A good and difficult day yesterday. Luke. Leo. Anne. Gracie. My Roger. Mindy. Rabbi Jamie. The classical texts of Judaism. Including the rabbinic codes. Those two Does in the road. Driving Mountain roads. Alan and Joan. Dandelion. My son and Seoah. Sick. Murdoch’s ok.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Korea

    One brief shining: There is an exquisite pain knowing your child has run a fever over a hundred for three days in a row yet lives 9000 miles from your front door, a squeezing of the lev that makes the body want to find cold wash clothes, advil, blankets, maybe even stuffed toys though you know he is long now a man, it is the pain of belonging and longing, one for which there is no pill, just that moment when you send your body, by astral projection, to his sickbed.

     

    Now Seoah, too. We miss and love you they write, explaining symptoms. My son’s fever has broken and he took Murdoch out for some fresh air. I asked Seoah to give him a hug for me. He wrote that he got it. Now I’ll have to send the same request to him for her. Family, close close family. Joy. Concern. Love.

     

    Meanwhile I’m over reading signals. Coloring my soul a pastel purple. Do those crossed arms mean he’s annoyed with me? Why does he want to wait until he sees how his next two month’s money does? I didn’t want to leave the house yesterday. Felt like ducking mussar and the Rabbi Jamie time.

    Two reasons. Monday was so cold that I chose not to go upstairs and workout before a one p.m. doctor’s appointment. That meant I had to workout on Wednesday and Thursday and Saturday to get my 150 minutes in. I felt bad about that choice. So I already had a one down feeling about myself. Not terrible, knew I could have chosen differently and I didn’t.

    Then on Thursday morning I pushed myself to get my workout in. Can’t miss because of Monday. I wanted to do thirty minutes. As I wrote yesterday though, my back nixed that plan. That meant I was not only behind on my minutes for the week, but that I had a possible barrier to my next workout in my back pain. It also meant that my back was not going to go gentle into that good night but would rage, rage, rage against the moving of the feet. Which in turn meant that my vain hope for a less restrictive travel barrier was that, a vain hope.

    The two together made me want to stay home and favor my psychic and physical upset. I chose not to. However, when I first got to the synagogue I carried that bruised, purple sense of self with me. I sought out and found further evidence that I was somehow doing it wrong. I spoke over someone. My comment landed flat. I felt distanced from the group like the Jews distanced themselves from the pillar of smoke. That was the day’s topic.

    Then I realized I was no longer concerned about my back. It was quiet. And, I had chosen to exercise. And, to come to mussar. The tint in my sense of self faded from purple to a dull yellow not far from the vibrant yellow of joy. Choices. Eh?


  • Asia

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Diane home from Taiwan. Fan Kuan. Travelers Among Mountains and Streams. Japan and Taiwan. The Dutch and Taiwan. How little we Americans know about Asia. Bo Yi and Ginny. Taipei. Songtan. My son. Seoah. Murdoch. Seoah’s family. Gwanju, Osan, and Okgwa. A personal stake in the fortunes of South Korea. Great Sol and Cloudy and blue Colorado Sky.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Diane

    One brief shining: Hoo boy that 24th minute on the treadmill this morning my legs were moving, not very fast, a brisk walk and my back began to say hey up there, I’m here and I don’t feel good, really wanted to hit 30 minutes but those narrowed spinal processes said, no I don’t think so, not today anyhow, so I turned off the treadmill, did some apres workout stretches and went back downstairs.

     

    Yeah. Facing front. I can manage the stenosis, but it will kick up much sooner than I want. A definite factor in traveling from this point forward. Not much to be done about it either. My p.t. exercises are the best treatment. I don’t want to go to the next two levels: cortisone shots into the vertebrae or spinal fusion surgery. Saw that with Kate and it did not look good. Plus. My experience with cortisone shots in my knee? No help. Spinal fusion? Nope. Sets up other problems and I’ve seen them. Leaves me with p.t. and avoiding the long walks while traveling that do what I just did on the treadmill. I can do that. Takes a different sort of planning.

     

    I have folks I love and folks they love in South Korea. So these two articles upset me this morning: As if We Didn’t Have Enough to Frighten Us … and the one its author, Nicholas Kristof references in his January 17th article, Is Kim Jong Un Preparing for War?   Not to mention that my son works at and lives near a spot most likely already programmed in to a North Korean nuclear missile. Made his dad wince to read this.

     

    Talked with Diane this morning about her trip to Taiwan to see her niece and my first cousin once removed, Ginny, get married to Bo Yi, a Taiwanese national. Actually this was the Chinese version. They got married two years ago in Ohio where they live. Culturally appropriate in two cultures now. Along with a nine month old son. I have pictures and when I get them downloaded I’ll post a few.

    Diane, the lucky duck, has achieved my one item in my bucket list. She’s been to the National Museum of China. I’m gonna get there on my next trip to Korea. If the North stays quiet, that is. She did me a favor and got a museum gift for me of Fan Kuan’s famous work, Travelers Among Mountains and Streams.

     

    Conversion session with Rabbi Jamie today. Focused on Judaism’s classic texts. Torah. Nevi’im. (prophets) Ketuvim (writings). Mishnah (writing down of the Oral Law). Talmud (mostly rabbinic commentary on the Mishnah. Midrash. (rabbinic commentary on the Torah)

     


  • The Crunch

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tara. Irv. Marilyn. Ginny. Janice. Alan. Cold, cold weather. Snow. A Mountain Winter. The Ancient Brothers. Cernunnos. Hashem. Adonai. Echad. Judaism. Reading. 2024 election. Football lurching toward yet another Superbowl. Mini-splits grabbing heat from below zero Air. Diane returned from Taiwan. Science. Hebrew. First Watch in Wheat Ridge. Iowa. -45.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Resilience in my Wild Neighbors, in our country, in myself

    One brief shining: The weather station readout said -10 when I went to bed, up five degrees from the mid-morning low of -15, a layer of cold air hung around mid-calf, leaking through the two pane windows, the northern wall of my house, and challenging the technomagic of the heat pump finding (no, I don’t know how.) active warm air somewhere in between the quieter molecules of this bitter Mountain night.

     

    Forgot the crunch. That crisp sound Snow makes when the temperature goes below zero. As I made my way to the garage yesterday, memories of Minnesota Winters flooded back. Earlier I had found and put on my down vest. This weather I understand. It requires attention. It was soon after I moved to Wisconsin when I learned the weather in the upper Midwest could kill you. Layers protected against the worst of it, but stopping, being still in below zero weather? Not recommended.

    Several Andover (Mn.) Winters I strapped on Tubbs snowshoes, put on hiking boots, gaiters and a balaclava. There was a trail through some Woods behind the Anoka County Library near us and I would fast walk it even in -20 weather. Back then I had a meditation ritual I used, one I’d created, that moved through the four directions, the center, up and down. Each point had a person like Jesus or Lao Tze or a god like Shiva or Cernunnnos. When I moved to their point, starting in the east, I would consider how that person or god’s energy, truth, wisdom informed me on that particular day. Just enough time in two or three circuits of the trail to go all the way through the orientation points. Crunching the whole time as my snowshoe’s metal grips kept me steady. I loved to exercise outside and did so as often as I could in whatever weather, even rain.

    Don’t meditate now. Don’t exercise outside. I miss both of them. Not enough, however, to reengage. At least not right now.

     

    45 won. We all lost.

     

    So glad to have this morning ritual. I get up, do my nerve glides (though I didn’t this morning), hit the head, grab my phone, my hearing aid, and that help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up device. Up five steps to the kitchen for coffee and mineral water. Another seven steps takes me to the home office. Sit down, roll the ball on my mouse to wake up my desktop computer, curve my fingers onto this split keyboard which both of my grandkids hate, and get to work. Usually an hour and a half, sometimes two. About 500 words. Then breakfast.

     

     

     


  • Trust

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Rabbi Telushkin. Avivah Zornberg. Shemot. The Dark. The quiet of a Mountain night. Luke. Leo. Edgewater Market. Amy, my audiologist. Hearing mostly the same. Hearing tests. Ruby. Cold weather. Some Snow. CBE. Snow Plows. Mark, mail carrier. Mark, brother. Mary, back from Oz. My son back from Nellis AFB. CDOT. 285 not looking good. Pablo Casals. The cello. Bach. Mozart.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends

    One brief shining: Amy opened the door, watch your step, I went in to the small room all black with noise dampening small pyramids on all the walls and sat in the chair, she came in and wired me up to her console from which she sent out beeps I was to hear and raise my hand, I did, then we switched to sentences said with ambient noise in the background and I was to say the sentences back and only got a couple.

     

    Hearing about the same. Which is good from the perspective of progressive loss, but not good in that it was bad to begin with. I am somewhat more sensitive to background noise and my ear drum had some sort of problem. I may be able to fix the ear drum with nasal saline spray. Aids the Eustachian tube which in turn reduces pressure on the ear drum.

    Amy lives in Conifer and coaches girls soccer at Conifer High School. She went to New Zealand this summer to see the U.S. Women’s soccer team play in international competition.

    She adjusted and reprogrammed my hearing aid, but encouraged me to use the Roger more. I’ve let it become an expensive TV audio setup. Why use it more? It helps with the ambient noise problem and frees up my brain for memory, cognition. Without it in noisy situations or even in some quieter ones I’m still straining to hear. It tires me out trying to understand and distracts my brain. People with my sort of hearing loss, she said, often avoid noisy places.

    I had an immediate instance of what she meant when I went to see Luke for lunch at the Edgewater Market. These markets are in several spots in Denver. Sort of mini-malls with a focus on interesting food choices and hip stores. Aimed at millennials and GenZ I think. I enjoy them, too.

    Except. Noisy. Luke and I were trying to decide where we’d get some food. He pointed out several places, but said he liked the Euro King. I had no idea what kind of food that might be until we got to the stall. I trusted that I understood him when he said Euro King. That sent me down a path of imagining what sort of food the Euro Kings might offer. Fancy appetizers? Elegant finger food from gay Paree? Some other European delicacy? When we got there. It was the Gyro King. Oh. I see.

    It’s those moments when I trust my hearing but am shown to be wrong in that trust that are the most confounding. Why? Because we trust our senses to give us accurate information about the world around us. I have to trust my hearing because it’s my hearing. But it’s not always right and I have no way of knowing if I’ve misunderstood. Until I do.

    The most dangerous instance of this effect occurred in Bogota in 1989. I already had five years of living with my deaf left ear but I encountered another assumption there that could have killed me. I crossed a road with a boulevard of grass between two streets. I assumed the traffic on the next road would be coming from the opposite direction, my right. When I started to cross, a horn sounded and I jumped back on the boulevard. Both streets had traffic coming from my left.

    In England I knew to be careful because of the driving on the left. But in Bogota I assumed their traffic patterns matched ours in the U.S. Wrong. In that instance, wrong. And could have been fatally wrong.


  • It’s Insurrection Day!

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Shabbat. A Mountain night. Cold. 12 degrees. Good sleeping. My bed. My medical guardian. My aleph necklace. Black Bean soup. Great workout. 180 minutes this week. Prolia delivered. Energy level better. Probably rising testosterone. Prostate cancer. Lower oximeter readings. Low blood pressure. Life at altitude. CBE. Parsha Shemot. The first in Exodus. People of the story.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Torah

    One brief shining: Mice are a problem for me though perhaps not in the way you think, they’re a moral hazard because others want me to kill them as does sensible medical advice and I don’t want to do that because hey mice gotta live too and yet I have four Rat zappers which do the job quite well, electrocuting the cute little buggers.

     

    Yeah. I still eat meat, though less and less, yet I do not like killing anything myself. No, that’s not strong enough. I hate killing anything. And I know that that aversion makes me an oughta be vegetarian, maybe even a vegan, but I’ve never been able to go there. Yes, I contradict myself. I know it.

    I finally looked up whether Mice are actually bad and yes in fact they can carry salmonella, hanta virus, and chew through electrical wires. I know one chewed through the plastic water hose that connects to my dishwasher. I guess that means-he cringes at the thought-deploying the Rat zappers yet again.

    The Rat zappers have to be emptied of course. No ducking responsibility. I throw the little corpses over the fence. Ravens come and take them away. At least the Rat zapper does not introduce poison into the ecosystem. And the Ravens like the food. A cycle of nature, yes, but one I’m artificially aiding. At the expense of Mouses lives.

    So. In the end self care trumps Mouse lives. A first world issue for sure.

     

    And other sad news. 2024 is an election year. Maybe, THE election year. Maureen Dowd in a column today invoked Oscar Wilde about fox-hunting: “the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible” to describe the two likely candidates for President. Too close to true. I’m either an optimist or simply deluded but I cannot, will not believe that Trump will win. I know he can, that’s pretty damned obvious; but I believe that the true beating hearts of America will not allow it. Evidence? Not so much.

     

    Well, it’s Insurrection Day again. A day that, like Pearl Harbor and 9/11, lives on in infamy. Right? Well, no, not according to Republicans who swallow lie after lie after lie. There was an interesting article in the NYT the other day. 1,240 people have been arrested over January 6th. 350 cases are pending. 170 have been convicted at trial while on 2 have been found not guilty. 710 plead guilty and of those 210 plead to felonies. More than 450 0f those have gone to prison for various lengths of time ranging from a few days to 20 years. And, the article says, those 1,240 may be only half of the eventual arrests and indictments in an ongoing investigation. NYT, January 4, 2024.

    How anyone can conclude that with only 2 out of 1,240 found not guilty, and with that number likely to double in the coming months, that nothing bad happened when “patriots marched at the capital” I don’t know. All those courts, judges and lawyers at work affirming time after time the larger crime that happened one perpetrator by one perpetrator. 170 juries.

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • A Bold Return to Giving a Damn

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Tara. Her new puppy. Cold. Snow. Sleep. Gabriella. A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm. Amazon. New Phone. Wallet. 2024 on the way. Poetry. Road Less Taken. Lines Written at Tintern Abbey. Kubla Kahn. Notes on a Supreme Fiction. Circles. Leaves of Grass. Ozymandias. The Raven. Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. The Wasteland. Song of Myself. The Second Coming. And so much else.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Poetry

    One brief shining: The end of another year approaches, our penchant for deciding calendar dates as the always orbiting Earth’s journey around Great Sol continues, brings us to Pope Gregory XIII who chose in October of 1582 in his well known Papal bull: Inter gravissimas to change the rules for leap years to prevent the Julian calendar’s drift away from the solar holidays, oh you didn’t know, well neither did I but Wikipedia did.

     

     

    Gabriella. My adopted Axolotl. She’s swimming in the chinampas canals along with other wild Axolotls who will repopulate the ancient waterways of Xochimilco. I get excited about this project because it’s both the reintroduction of a wild species into its former habitat (see the five Timber Wolves released a week ago in western Colorado) and a project that supports indigenous farming methods healthy for the chinampas themselves. This kind of work will enable our grandchildren to have their best chance to adapt to a warming World.

    A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm, Six Generations, and the Future of Food relates the story of Will Harris and his disillusionment with Big Ag 30 years ago. The successful transition of his family’s farm to regenerative farming makes compelling reading if you care about the source of your food. This farm is in southwestern Georgia, but it’s an example, not singular.

    The USA Regenerative Agriculture Allliance, Inc trains farmers in regenerative practices. Yes, it’s about good food, food raised without pesticides, fertilizers and other “inputs” that defy the natural cycle and deplete the soil. But, it’s also about how to live in a warming World. Someday regenerative agriculture will use the perennial grains and other crops under development at the Land Institute.

    Want to volunteer in the work of Ecosystem restoration? Look at the Ecosystems Restoration Communities website. They do restoration projects all over the world. The expertise and practical knowledge developed as these organization go about their own individual missions will become the Seedstock for a World that can no longer afford any depletion of natural capital.

    What’s natural capital? An accounting method. That’s right. Accounting. The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University develops accounting methods that define the value of Ecosystems, Oceans, the Water cycle, Forests. Why is this important? Regenerative agriculture is a good example. Corporate farming, by far the dominant model in the U.S. and in most of the World, treats Soil, Crops, and Animals as so many widgets to be manipulated for increased profits. Their accounting methods do not have to take into account the value of the Soil, the Rain, the need for dna diversity in both food Crops and Animals. They don’t have to reckon with the future costs of ruined Soil, the dangers of monocultures in such critical crops as Corn, Wheat, Rice. Maybe they’re not as profitable as they think.

    OK. I’ll stop. For now. But I will return to these adaptive approaches that will help Ruth and Gabe survive in a much changed world.

     


  • Surrender Charlie

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Heidi. The Dragonfly Sign. Colorado Supreme Court. Psilocybin. Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphics. Surrender. Irv. Rider. Mt. Logan. Crooked Top Mountain. The Grandfather Tree. Park County 43. Buggy Whip Road. Hangman’s Road. Washington County Maine. Climate change. Shadow Mountain. The Rockies. The Front Range. Alan. Bastien’s Steak House. The Winter Solstice. Holimonth.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Colorado Supreme Court

    One brief shining: A cloth with Native American colors marking the four directions, circular, laid on it cut white Roses, small Pine Tree Branches, red Roses, Cinnamon, Coffee beans, Star Anise, Aspen Leaves arranged for a Peruvian gratitude ceremony in which I picked up a small Branch of Pine Needles, inhaled its essence three times and exhaled my love and gratitude before placing the needles gently in the center.

     

    OK, nation! See Colorado go. I loved living in Minnesota and in the Twin Cities for forty years. The North Woods. Wolves. Lake Superior. So many Lakes. Liberal to radical politics. Not perfect, no. Witness George Floyd. But no place is. And Minnesota seemed as close as they come while I lived there. Then Kate and I moved to Shadow Mountain.

    As the Dead said: What a long, strange trip it’s been. Many of you know my story over the now 9 years exactly since my buddy Tom and I drove straight through from the Twin Cities with Kepler, Vega, and Rigel in the back. And, yes, that story has its definite peaks and valleys. But that’s not my reference here.

    No where else in the country, this divided and often pitiful land of ours, could I have had a legal psychedelic journey on Crooked Top Mountain then come home to Shadow Mountain and read the wonderful news that the Colorado Supreme Court had called a crook a crook, an insurrectionist an insurrectionist and kicked Trump off our ballot. I mean, whoa! What a day.

    I shifted my inner identification a few years back from Minnesotan to Coloradan, my Mountain home become just that. Home. Yes, we elected a gay Governor. How bout that. And of course the wild Neighbors and the Mountain Streams and the Black Bears. The Snow and the spectacular Autumns with gold and green. Over the time I’ve lived here Colorado has shifted from red to blue. Not without some Western weirdness along the way, but that makes it interesting. All that’s true.

    But in one day to take a psilocybin journey with a good friend on property so evocative of a sixties commune and then learn we Coloradans had taken a firm stand, saying what all clear eyed non Trump bedazzled folks already know but somehow cannot communicate, that insurrectionists should not, in fact,cannot hold office. Well, I’m busting with state pride right now. Colorado is the California of the new Millennia. OK. Enough local chauvinism. Still, pretty damned cool. Gives this aging radical a boost.

     

    Short note on the psilocybin journey about which more later. Ate the mushroom after the gratitude ceremony. Mixed with a little lemon juice supposed to make it come on quicker and go sooner. Sat outside in the glass enclosed shelter where we held the gratitude ceremony, the others going inside. Watched the curved Snowy Bowl of Mt. Logan as my inner weather shifted under the power of the mushroom.

    Went inside and lay down on a heated pad. Soon Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphics began to move across the ceiling. Sometimes two dimensional sometimes three almost down to my face. I love hallucinations. So fun. I told my guide I might be under utilizing the experience; it was so entertaining.

    Turned out no. I hadn’t. I had two intentions going in, the one I wrote about yesterday, how to live fully, and the second to continue my exploration of the sacred.

    During some brief conversation after being asked if we had any insights I said, yes, I had one. In living more fully I’ve pushed, thought about things to do, about acting in my life to live more fully. Answering Shakespeare, I have always chosen to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. Now I need to learn surrender.

    To live fully I need to open up, accept what’s coming. Greet the new year with arms spread wide for what it brings rather than what I can make happen. Well, not rather than. I mean, I’ll still take up arms, of course I will, but I learned yesterday that I have another option. To embrace, to wait, to listen, to let the world and its wonders come to me. As the Wicked Witch of the West might say, “Surrender, Charlie!”

     

     


  • All We Can Absorb, Hear

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Phonak. Aimee. Mile High Hearing. Good workout. Luke and Leo. Leo’s food. Zornberg. Joseph and his brothers. The seven fat years and the seven lean years. Not-being. Catastrophe and hope. Parsha. Hanukah, night 5. Jeffco Snow plows. Trash pickup people. Mail carriers. Schoolbus drivers. Essential Mountain services. Dangerous jobs. Mountain Nights. Clear, clean, cold. A new moon. Pipe Creek. A Desert Eagle in Saudi Arabia. That Monitor Lizard in K.L.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Hearing

    One brief shining: In the dark of tomorrow night the Geminids will appear, motes of dust flying through thick atmosphere, heating up, becoming meteorites, flashing across the sky in the universe primeval language of formation and destruction a reminder message to us all that our lives, our planet, our Great Sol will all burn out on some other starry night.

     

    Hearing test next month. I suspect my hearing has declined. Missing things in conversations, can’t understand Gabe when he’s in the passenger seat and I’m driving. The Phonak gives me a relatively normal hearing experience, as good as I can get I imagine with only one good ear and that one on the wane. Even so. When I take out my hearing aid now, the world around me quiets way down. Good for reading, sleeping. Not so good if I forget to put in my hearing aid.

    Jeff Glantz, of blessed memory, and I talked only once before his sudden death. He told me Long Island was a hundred miles long. That’s long. Not the point here though. Jeff’s hearing aid dangled out of his ear. Ever since that conversation I’ve been aware that the only thing we old folks need to look demented is our hearing aid dangling out of our ear.

    Do we accept the changes of age or rail against them like Dylan wanted his father to do? Rage, rage, rage against the dying of the light. Or, perhaps the dying out of sound? There is a third option, the one I choose. Know the changes, do what you can to ameliorate them, accept what you can’t. Applies to hearing, sight, cancer, sarcopenia in my case.

     

    The chaotic chatter of our time has grown, to continue from the above, deafening. Perhaps that’s what going on with my hearing. My brain no longer wants to absorb thoughts about a second Trump term (I can’t call it a presidency because, well…). About A23a floating its way toward South Georgia Island bearing 1 trillion tons of ice formerly resident in Antarctica. About the Israeli Defense Force bombing, shelling, shooting persons and buildings in the Gaza strip. About the Chinese wanting to wreak havoc with our infrastructure through cyber warfare. About Ukraine’s failed offensive. About the dysfunction of the House of Representatives and the Senate. About the many trials of the Orange one. About sexual abuse in women’s soccer and gymnastics.

    Here’s what I want. A visit to the Rothko show in Paris. Rothko and me. Except, crowds and Covid. A midrashic hermeneutic for the Torah study group I’m starting. Breakfast at Primo’s tomorrow and at Aspen Perk’s on Friday. Marilyn and Irv, then Tara. Zoom time with Tom and Diane. My son and Seoah. More Snow for Shadow Mountain. Calm days for Ruth and Gabe. A gentle Winter with Snow and cold, flocked Lodgepoles and that very young Doe eating Grass in my front yesterday. Yet more books. Some good movies and TV. Quiet sabbaths unless filled with family and friends. Then noisy and upbeat.

    Happy Hanukah!


  • Post Conversion Let Down

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Leo. Doggy presence. Luke in Florida. Tom in Atlanta. Paul’s birthday. 77. Whoa. He old. Great Sol brightening a Shadow Mountain morning. Last warm day for a while. Snow coming. Over spending on Snow tires. For safety. Giving myself the best odds. Living high. Colorado. The Rockies. The Himalayas. The Appalachians. The Smokies. The Atlas. The Alps. The Dolomites.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mountains

    One brief shining: Leo lies on my rug, legs sprawled out, head down, sleeping or resting, while I sit here typing, hitting key after key with the automatic movements learned first in typing at Alexandria-Monroe High School, perhaps the class I’ve used the most in terms of daily activity, odd to contemplate though paws on the keyboard, a million dogs would not produce the Britannica.

     

    I slept in this morning. On purpose. Because I liked the feel. An oddity for me, yes, but fun in a I don’t have to so I won’t sorta way. Bright eyed and bushy tailed. Ever hear that one? Don’t think I’ve felt that way since I hit 70. Awake and alert, ready to go about the day, yes, but bushy tailed? Can’t recall the day. Maybe a feeling reserved for the get up and go ages of the twenties and thirties?

     

    MVP tonight. Rabbi Jamie on trust/compassion with the metaphor of rock. This small group at CBE supercharges my month. We’ve been meeting for years now, lost two members to death: Judy and Kate, and have gotten as close as a group can get. Figuring what I can make since we always bring food.

     

    So. An odd, kind of silly deal with my Snow tires. Jesus told me two of my Blizzaks were at 4 mm tread. I knew it, too. I took them back last year when a tech said they could go a little further. Nope. So Jesus offered me a deal. Salvation for two Blizzaks. I don’t know how they get away with that name even in Latino circles. Too many jokes, I’d think. Anyhow. He would give me a deal on two new ones. But. I’d have to leave the car until 1:30 pm. This was at 9:30 am. Nope. Put’em on.

    Drove home, ordered two new Blizzaks from Tire Rack.com. About $20 more than what Jesus had offered. Shoot. Going to big O in Evergreen on Friday to have them put on. I know. But I brought this on myself. Having good tread and good winter tires for Mountain roads? Perhaps not necessary, but prudent. And damned if I don’t have a real strong prudent streak. Always surprises me, too.

     

    Post conversion let down. Had such a buzz going the last month or so. Getting ready, making schedules, preparing myself for transformation. A peak on Tuesday in the mikvah. Slowly. Like air going out of a balloon. Life deflates. Not depressing, but a daily normal state over against a time of heightened anticipation, excitement. Maybe like the time after opening presents on Christmas morning. Gathering energy for the long haul now, a Jewish life until death.

    Although. I do have an inner calmness now. As if some vibratory mechanism in my inner world got turned off. That is the opposite of an excited state and I’m still getting used to it. Feels like I have enough time now, as if the future has gone quiet, not clamoring for a piece of me right now.

    Changes.