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  • Rites of Passage

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Retrieving my phone. Smiling Pig Saloon and Barbecue. Irv. Paul and Tom. Mussar. The Perkei Avot. Letting us heal ourselves. Kristie. Prostate cancer. Mets. Radiation and Orgovyx. Gabe and baseball. Ruth’s dinner.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: P.E.T. scans

    One brief shining: Bathing in the presence of friends and family, no not that kind, the kind where folks see you, come to your Bar Mitzvah, give you presents, and say nice things about you, how significant, how important, so appreciated.

     

    Two rites of passage this week. The Bar Mitzvah. Which continues to reverberate in my soul. Wild thought about that. Veronica and I did our conversions at the same time. Now we’ve done our bonei mitzvahs together. She’s 28, beautiful, talented, smart. I’m 77. Together, it occurred to me we represent youth, promise, the feminine, and the elder, maturity, the masculine. A whole person.

     

    Second rite of passage. The drug holiday P.E.T. scan results. Not what I wanted. Three or four new metastases. Spinal column, pelvic lymph node. Which means. Meds. Orgovyx starting early next week. Then, radiation at some point this summer. Yet again. I will glow.

    Kristie, who takes good care of me, said this is still manageable. And that she would tell me if it was not. That’s reassuring. Sort of. Still manageable made me go, huh.

    Each iteration of treatment and recurrence adds up, carries its own weight. Yet I remain positive about the management and care I receive. My cancer seems hardy, able to withstand the best we can throw at it while each time there’s been something to do, something to put it back in quiescence.

    That still manageable though. There may come a time. But it has not come yet.

    So I will not dwell on it. As the rabbi’s say, each sleep is 1/60th of death and each morning a resurrection into a new life. Today is a new life, a chance to begin again. And that will be always true. Until death does me part from this world.

     

    Just a moment: To all those embryo’s resting in cryogenic slumber. The Southern Baptists care about you. Like Alabama’s Supreme Court. Well, that’s what they’d like you to think. Actually ‘Bama and the Southern Baptists want to reach into the culture and impose on it their particular understandings of what it means to be human.

    The Jewish position on this issue is clear and has been for centuries. Life begins with the first breath. Like Adam and Eve. Further. Because of this, if a problem occurs during pregnancy, the mother’s life is always given priority.

     

    Another instance of religious certainty damaging human beings. Noticed Catholic Bishops have apologized for the treatment of Indians in boarding schools. That happened because Catholics of the time believed with certainty in the truth of Catholicism, the necessary dominance of Christianity over native beliefs, and the manifest destiny of American civilization. Very, very toxic confluence.

    The message? Think about those things about which you are certain. Do any of them lead to harm for other people or for the world which sustains us all? Discard them now and learn humility.


  • Sex and babies!

    Beltane and the Shadow Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Sarah. Healthy salad. BJ and Pamela. Ruth and Gabe. Pollen. Tree sex. Shadow Mountain. Working out. Staying strong. PSA. Testosterone. James Webb Telescope. Writing. Painting. Learning torah. Rabbi Rami  Shapiro. Rabbi Michael Strassfield. Rabbi Toba Spitzer. Breaking new ground.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Life, mystery and miracle, ordinary

    One brief shining: The season of rampant sex in the Plant kingdom has begun, trees leading the way up here Elm, Juniper, Maple of which we have few, but when it comes time for the yellow dust to settle all round the house, to line the puddles when it Rains, to coat the furniture and make housekeeping hard, then it will have well and truly begun for us above 8,000 feet, and my windows will have to close so I can sleep.

     

    This is also the time of birth. Wild Neighbor nurseries filled with Mule Deer Fawn, Elk Calves, Mountain Lion and Fox Kits, Black Bear Cubs. A lot of youngsters learning the way of things in the Mountains. Plenty of water for them right now with Streams still full and fast. Fresh young grass and new plant shoots. Prey, too, for the Predators as the cycle of life offers no free passes in the Arapaho National Forest.

    Easy. Too easy to drive down the hill toward Evergreen, passing Maxwell Creek Trailhead, Cub Creek, Black Mountain, Shadow Mountain, Kate’s Creek and Valley and forget the busy and wonderful community of Wild Creatures living, thriving just out of sight. Their lives as palpable and momentous to them as ours are to us, as wonderful and fraught.

    I found new grass! Good water! Let’s go back to the den. I want to play. Be careful. See, you hide here and wait. Where are my babies?

    In short or long lives the gathering of molecules and atoms into sentient beings brings to our Planet joy and diversity and playfulness. As we all move through this world with eyes, bodies, feathers, fur, wings, legs, we participate in a bacchanal of sensory stimulation. Gaia showing herself to herself. Gaia celebrating the multiple inventions, mutations, and transformations she can engender. What a show.

     

    Just a moment: Then of course there’s a helicopter crash in the foggy Elburz Mountains of northern Iran. There is, too, the International Criminal Court seeking warrants against Netanyahu and the Hamas leader Sinwar. Makes sense to me.

    Here in our benighted republic the election of 2024 grinds on in its caricature of a Presidential election year. The good President reviled and unloved; the bad President on trial in many courts, still the nasty racist son-of-a-bitch he’s always been, yet somehow leading in the polls. I can only shake my head, then stop and put that same head in my hands.

    That ship, the Dali, that took out the Francis Scott Key bridge has headed back to port.

    Meanwhile war continues in the Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip.

    I could go on, but you know, too. May you live in interesting times.

    BTW*

     

     

    The Phrase Finder website says: “‘May you live in interesting times’ is widely reported as being of ancient Chinese origin but is neither Chinese nor ancient, being recent and western.”

    According to the site, the phrase was originally said by the American politician, Frederic R. Coudert, in 1939. He referred to a letter Sir Austen Chamberlain wrote to him in which he stated:

    . . . by return mail he wrote to me and concluded as follows: “Many years ago, I learned from one of our diplomats in China that one of the principal Chinese curses heaped upon an enemy is ‘May you live in an interesting age.’”

    Despite this, it does not appear to actually come from China and is not clear to have existed before Sir Austen Chamberlain allegedly said it.

    grammarpartyblog

     

     


  • Tradition

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: My son and Seoah and Murdoch. Kathy. Cancer. Morning darkness. Taxes done. Ruth and Gabe. Barb. Alan. Joanne. Tallit. 77. Blood pressure low. Ruth’s graduation on May 18. Surrender. Dreams. Irene. Mountain melting. Slow. Snow. Graupeling.* Yesterday. Spring. The scent of Soil, the odor of sanctity. Mountain Streams ready for their big show.

    *A precipitation that forms when supercooled droplets of water condense on a snowflake.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Taxes

    One brief shining: Heated up the simple Pinto Beans, got out some crackers and a mineral Water, peeled a Tangerine, carried them downstairs, and sat down weary from a day of writing, working out, dreams, and rituals. Ah.

     

    The days of our lives. Three days with Ruth and Gabe. They come, deposit their various shoes at the door. Gabe purple Converse tennies. Ruth oxblood boots. Go to their respective rooms, designated by long habit. Gabe in the mural painted “children’s” room. Ruth in the guest room.

    Ruth drove them up in her Subaru, the official car of Colorado. They stopped at King Sooper’s to buy groceries. I thought they’d buy food for meals. Forgot they’re teenagers. Mostly snacks. In addition vegetarian corndogs, a box of mac and cheese.

    Gabe is an early riser; Ruth a night owl like her dad. We talk. Laugh. Go out to eat.

    At the 202, a Thai spot in Aspen Park, I ordered a spiciness level of 1. They both went with 4. Jon would have, too. Ruth remembered and wanted the Sticky Rice Custard. Oh, so good.

    The two of them have been coming up here since Kate and I moved here in late 2014. Ruth was eight and Gabe six. Jon brought them up here frequently, often to avail himself of our washer and dryer, but we got to see the kids.

    When Jon and Ruth went skiing at A-Basin, many times Jon would drop Gabe off with us and pick him up later that night after a full day of skiing. Ruth told me she finished her first Harry Potter on those trips.

    Skiing bonded Jon and Ruth. As did art.

     

    Just a moment: Timber framing. Traditional carpentry. The route of an American Jew to the restoration of one of Roman Catholicism’s most well-known cathedrals, Notre Dame. Found this article fascinating. Timber framing is a traditional form of carpentry that any one familiar with Japanese or Chinese woodworkers would recognize. It uses mortise and tenon joints, wooden pegs to hold joints together. It was also the most advanced form of construction available when Notre Dame was built. The restoration of this Paris landmark has focused on original materials and methods, meaning work for timber framers, stone masons, stained glass artisans, sculptors, and metal workers focused on techniques of the high middle ages.

    Hank Silver’s story fits in with Charlie’s List. These pre-modern building technologies could reduce the currently heavy carbon footprint of contemporary construction. Let’s build homes from stone and timber framed roofs. Stores and office buildings, too. Let’s employ, at a living wage, those folks for whom college holds no interest, but working with their hands does.


  • Not so Ancient rails

    Spring and the Purim Moon

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

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Shabbat candles

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

     

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

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

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

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

     

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

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

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

     


  • Flaco, liberated

    Imbolc and the waning Ancient Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Rocky Mountain Land Library. Colorado Humanities Council. Flaco. Wild neighbors. Arapaho National Forest. Black Mountain. Conifer Mountain. Bergen Mountain. Evergreen Meadow. Maxwell Creek. Kate’s Creek. North Turkey Creek. Shadow Mountain. Shadow Mountain Meadow. The Moon and its phases. Lunar calendars.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mario and Babette on the road

    One brief shining: My high altitude coffee maker has a reservoir with always hot, coffee pot sized amounts of water ready to go when I pour in more water and close the lid; so I have a routine, turn on the coffee bean grinder, empty the old coffee filter, fill the coffee pot with filtered water, take the ground coffee basket and the now full pot back to the coffee maker, turn off the grinder, measure the ground coffee, put a new filter in the basket, the basket in the coffee maker, pour the water, close the lid, and in less than five minutes I have fresh coffee.

     

    photo by BJ before Flaco’s escape

     

    Flaco. In case you missed the story of Flaco, here’s a recent NYT article. Sister-in-law BJ wrote this:

    “Flaco was a magnificent Eurasian Eagle Owl that found a free life after someone cut open a hole in his Central Park zoo cage last year. He could have stayed put but his innate curiosity made him venture out. He somehow wandered to the busy sidewalk on 5th Ave and 58th street. People gawked and police stood guard over the animal carrier that the zoo brought to recapture him. In one amazing moment you saw Flaco the owl look at the people and the cage, turn his head and then take flight going into Central Park.”

    He lived on his own for a year in spite of having been in captivity his whole life. Flaco died crashing into a window on the Upper Westside. New Yorker’s loved him, seeing in him a symbol of freedom. But I think the truth of their love lies deeper than that.

    Yes, freedom. Of course. Why won’t the caged bird sing? Whether vandal or liberator the person who slit the screen holding Flaco created a story of escape, of choice, of survival in spite of the odds, and of tragic death. A compelling narrative. Let freedom ring.

    From my vantage point in the Rocky Mountains I wonder if at least part of the freedom story is about urban life itself. Wonderful and stimulating as it can be, city dwelling comes with the price of distance from Forests, Lakes, and Mountains, Oceans. Sure, they can be near by, as the Atlantic is to NYC, but to visit the Atlantic where it abuts a major city or where it is carved up into ports and docks, is to visit Ocean used as a tool for human commerce, not the wild Atlantic of Washington County, Maine for example.

    In Songtan, Korea as in many Korean cities, there are Mountains inside the city limits. In fact one rises behind Seoah and my son’s apartment building. Crisscrossed with trails, small parks, and outdoor exercise equipment it long ago gave way to domesticity.

    Flaco, I think, gave New Yorkers a taste of Wild Neighbor life. His escape, his refusal to return to his cage, his survival meant he made the rare transition from captivity to wild life. How many New Yorkers carry in their briefcases and quick strides a desire to make just such a transition themselves?

    One last note. Wild Animals live shorter lives than their captive specie’s mates. So Flaco’s death, while tragic, was in fact typical of an Owl’s in the wild. Not in its manner, no, but in its suddenness.


  • Defy Tradition and Religion

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Brothers. Cold. 3 degrees this morning. MLK. The Civil War. The new Civil War.  Heather Cox Richardson. Writing. Iowa. GOP primaries.  Wild Neighbors in the cold. Lodgepoles and Aspen, too. Built for it. A warm house. The mini-splits. Snow. Brother Mark’s ideas for warm places. Miami. New Orleans. Los Angeles. Upset stomach. Coffee. Water.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Gastrointestinal System

    One brief shining: Look up and Snow falls driven by a western Wind coating the Lodgepole Needles, raising the lev to  Snowy memories of Winters past, a smile and a gratefulness for all memories settle in for a beautiful January day.

     

    Wonder how the Texas grid is doing? It be cold outside almost everywhere in these disunited states. Even, especially, in Iowa. Brother Mark sent me a link to a video based on an old Paul Harvey story called And God Made a Farmer.  In this one it’s And God Made Donald Trump. I wrote back to my brother, as one of His former employees I call bullshit. Sure even 45 was made in God’s image but like any well-made product venality and hubris will invalidate the warranty. (OK. OK. Not really invalidate. I mean. You know. Teshuva. The return. Sort of the Jewish equivalent of redemption. Always possible.) But he whispered, highly unlikely.

     

    MLK. Malcolm X. So glad we have this holiday and now Juneteenth, too. Even in these benighted political times they shine a spotlight on where we still could go as a people, as a nation. Reading Heather Cox Richardson’s Democracy Awakening. She makes a strong case that today is a direct extension of yesterday. Both in terms of the populist racist anti-semitic tone of our era and in terms of the liberal consensus that lies just beneath the surface, one that agrees government needs to regulate business and support the commonweal.

    The most telling part of her book for me has been her recounting of the through line from William Buckley to Trump.  Buckley pushed tradition and religion rather than fact based decision making. I had not made that connection and it’s pretty damned obvious when you read her.

    His creation, Movement Conservatism, gained momentum after Kennedy through the machinations of a storied cast of characters including Roger Stone, Lee Atwater, Pat Buchanan, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and other political operatives. With their strategic help Newt Gingrich, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan, especially Reagan, took Movement Conservatism into the realm of government policy. George W. Bush pushed the ball forward too.

    We are now reaping the whirlwind of Buckley’s insistence that tradition (think white, wealthy, and racist) and religion (think evangelical Christian and rightwing Roman Catholicism) are the only anchors for a stable society. Ironic, isn’t it, that those very forces have created the most unstable and chaotic society I’ve known in my lifetime.

    It remains on us to join hands with MLK and Brother Malcolm. To defy the tradition and religion held close to the heart by those who would gut our democracy.

     

     

     


  • Oh, Colorado

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Ancient Brothers. Rat Zappers. Predictions. Black Mountain. Gray white Sky. Cold. Good sleeping. Reading. Zornberg. Pendergast. Tanakh. Will Harris. Adaptation to climate change. Fiction. The Sun Brothers on Netflix. Antisemitism. 45 loses. Goes to jail. Brothers. Beef. Fish. Vegetables. Fruit. Chicken. Salads. Soups.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sharp knives

    One brief shining: With reluctance the Rat Zappers all four came out of their comfortable resting place after slathering a bit of peanut butter into each one they deployed to the kitchen counter top and the two runways of note in the lower level not long before red lights started blinking signaling an electrocuted mouse and I had to shake them out dropping dead mice in the snow.

     

    Yes. A Mouse assassin. The night of the long knives for Shadow Mountain mice. What tipped me over? Salmonella and hanta virus. At my age? Not a good thing. Chewing through electrical wires. Also not good. So. A small electrocution chamber for each and every one. Also, a commitment to put the Zappers out at the first new sign. Type to act like a responsible home owner and less like a sensitive guy. Reality. Bah, humbug.

     

    Shabbat yesterday. Saw Ginny and Janice for breakfast at Primo’s. Read Zornberg on the first parsha in Exodus and the introduction to her commentary, The Particulars of Rapture. Began the shabbat with lighting the candles yesterday at 4:30. Saying the bracha, the blessing. Still not in the rhythm of shabbat. The old restrictions seem/are outdated, yet a certain mix of expectations and behaviors set shabbat apart from the other days of the week. Haven’t gotten mine fully figured out yet. It will come.

     

    Not taking classes right now, self-guided reading and the reading for conversion. Don’t want even the gentle prods of classes, regular times. I’m not a recluse though I have my Herme/hermit qualities. Seeing friends or family on zoom and in person is important to me. Not a cloistered dude high in the Mountains. Yet if I can have whole days alone, maybe most of my days alone, I smile.

     

    Getting ready to go pick up groceries. Worked out this morning after the Ancient Brothers zoom.

     

    Paying attention, brief attention to two weird news stories. That Alaska Airlines Boeing that popped open a door shaped hole in its fuselage. I mean, wow. Minimal safety standards include no holes in the airplane while it’s in flight. A lot of clenching going on in the fearful flyer group. Also, Boebert. Punching her husband while out to eat? He called the police. She says nothing happened. Oh, Colorado passing strange you are at times.

     


  • Love mercy, do justice and walk humbly

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Monday gratefuls: My son and his 42nd birthday. What a delight he was, is. A golfer, a scholar, a warrior,  a husband, a canine companion, a kind and honest man. Korea. Israel. Hamas. Palestinians. Gaza. West Bank. Hezbollah. Iran. Carrier strike groups. The rules of war. Love mercy, do justice, walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8. Gabe. And the donkey he met. Jen and Barb. Ruth. A family. Shadow Mountain fireplace. Shadow Mountain beneath me. The blue Sky above me. Lodgepoles and Aspens beside me.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My son’s new left-handed putter

    One brief shining: Gabe came back from his walk, I met a donkey, oh, yes and here’s a picture he showed me his phone in the now familiar gesture of one sharing records of their life and there was his hand on a donkey’s long nose, brown and white, eyes looking happy to be greeted by my grandson, a lover of all animals. Except mice. Because they squeak.

     

    I want to say clearly. Hamas-no! Murder and hostage taking of civilians-no! Israel defending itself-yes! America helping Israel-yes. Israel killing Palestinians not part of Hamas-no! Israel eliminating Hamas-yes! While always watching out and caring for Palestinian civilians.

    If Hezbollah and/or Iran come into the war-no! Then America helping Israel-yes! World War III-no! Second coming-no! Armageddon-no!

     

    When I wrote the word Armageddon just now, the Rapture Index popped into my head. Think the nuclear clock of the Union of Concerned Scientists only run by a strange and lonely guy from the Pentecostal Church down the street. The rapture index today is 185. On the handy scale of the website-which goes from 100 and below for slow prophetic activity to 160 and above, Hang onto your seat belts!-you can see our friends in the woo-woo wing of Christianity are getting excited.

    Checked the nuclear clock, too. Set in January of 2023 at 90 seconds to midnight (nuclear apocalypse) it references the Ukraine war as the most troubling matter then. Now two U.S. carrier strike groups: The Ford and the Eisenhower have positioned themselves in the Middle East near Iran and Israel while the war in Ukraine continues. I’d push the hands of that clock forward, wouldn’t you?

    Since the secular and the nutty eschatologists line up, it might be time to reconsider that bomb shelter. Or, heading over to Survivalistboards.com.

    A troubled world with weapons too powerful for humans to have. God help us all.

     

    All of this seems so remote from my spot here on Shadow Mountain. Down the hill stuff, not issues for us who live with the Bears and the Elk and the Mountain Lions. Sadly it is not so. My contribution these days perhaps lies in these words I spit out every morning. Helping myself understand what I understand, what I can understand and what I can’t. Hopefully leading at least a handful of others to try to understand what they understand. Then choose what actions seem available and important to them.

     

     

     


  • Life remains

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Israel. Hamas. Hezbollah. U.S.A. Germany. Ukraine. Great Britain. Jordan. Lebanon. Saudi Arabia. Iran. Iraq. Kuwait. The Emirates. War. Peace. Restraint. The world in trouble. Tom. Diane. Mark. Mary. Great Sol spotlighting the Lodgepoles at the peak of Black Mountain. Mice. Fox. Mule Deer. Elk. Bears of all sorts. Mountain Lions. Maxwell Creek. Bear Creek. Cub Creek. North Turkey Creek. Starlink. Creative Audio. British Airways. Traveling. My back. Mary, my physical therapist.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Rules of War

    One brief shining: Black Mountain sets its curved body against the Colorado blue Sky, accepting Great Sol as the light and warmth pour onto its Lodgepoles, it provides a way for Moose and Elk to cross from Staunton State Park to Shadow Mountain and back again without human interference.

     

    And here’s another, perhaps more important truth. Life goes on while Israel masses tanks and soldiers and other instruments of war at the Gaza Strip. The Mountain Lion waits on an ailing Elk to pass under its ledge. The Marmoset skitters quickly back into its rocky den. A Raven lands in my front yard. The schoolbus picks up students. I get in my car and go to Evergreen, another appointment with Mary.

    I learned this after Kate died. My world shaken to its core traffic went by on Black Mountain Drive. The Mule Deer wandered into the yard eating bunch grass. CBE had its services. Netflix streamed movies and TV dramas. Even the same ones Kate had watched as her time came to an end. We wink out and are gone. The same with nations. Where now is Rome? Carthage? Akkadia? Persia? The Greece of Alexander the Great? Even Yugoslavia. Czechoslovakia. The USSR. Gone.

    There is a difference here though. Israel and its existence represents so much to Jews around the world. Hamas attacking it is an iteration of other attacks throughout the centuries. Attacks Jews have weathered, come out of stronger and more determined. If Israel were challenged with defeat, it would not slide easily into the dustbin of time.

    Ran into Ellen Arnold after my physical therapy. We talked for a bit. Shaking our heads. No easy or obvious solutions. So little understanding of the complex history of Israel and Palestine since 1948. Nobody comes out of it with laurels. All are implicated. Jews and Arabs alike.

     

    Back to my old pattern with cardio and resistance, balance work. Felt good to get past one set of resistance. Up to two. Three next week. What I need. Going to consider setting specific goals for cardio, resistance, balance. Interesting advice from a primer on how to extend healthspan suggested this improves performance and healthspan.

     

    Not traveling now. In spite of British Airways refusing to refund my ticket. I could still go since so far they are flying into Tel Aviv. No group tour now so makes no sense. Doesn’t matter to BA. May have to reschedule for May if they don’t stop flying to Tel Aviv by a week from tomorrow.

     


  • No. Easy. Answers.

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: My boy. A sweet man. Seoah in her cream outfit. Murdoch looking happy and fit. Zoom for the far away, a real gift of technology. Israel. Hamas. Hezbollah. Lebanon. Egypt. Iran. Saudi Arabia. Shiites and Sunnis. Jews and Christians. War. Jus in bello. Divided nations. A world on the brink of too much. Fighting. Warming. Fear mongering. Hatred. Let’s turn it around, make it a world overflowing with too much love. Blinken. Biden. Thousand and One Nights. Bereshit. A dawn coming.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Love

    One brief shining: Those photographs burned out cars, children being carried into a Gaza hospital, the bloodied sheets in a kibbutz home, tanks cranking forward, bodies of Israeli’s and terrorists held in bags, missiles painting the air with white trails, and I sit here on Shadow Mountain watching the sun outline Black Mountain for another morning, a new day, a new life, another chance to live and love.

     

    Sadness. Grief. For all of us. For Israelis and Palestinians. For the oh too delicate fabric of order, a thin veil now in the Middle East. What happens if Ukraine and the Middle East stay in conflict for weeks, months, years? How thin will that same veil become not only in the Middle East but in Europe, in the Far East? How long will it take for the veil to turn into a shroud? These are dangerous, dangerous times not only for those poor folks in Israel and Gaza and Kyiv, but for all of us.

    What are the steps toward a world at war? Are we seeing them right now? With Russia and China standing with the Arab countries, against the Ukrainians? The world order, new or old, always bears the potential for large scale conflict.

    Talked with my boy last night. Thank god he’s in a nation at war, but one with an armistice in place and a relatively calm current situation. Strange to think of Korea and the Far East as a safer place right now, but it is. Could change of course. And, in a moment, like Israel, but that seems unlikely.

     

    As to my conversion. Which will not happen in Jerusalem this Samain. Made more real, more certain, more actual in spite of no ritual by the sudden immersion in what it means to be a Jew in the Middle East. And in the U.S., Europe. In an existential way new to me I feel the buzzing, blooming confusion of anti-semitism engaged by other Semites. Of the desire for a safe haven after the horrors of the holocaust so often challenged by vandalism, by speech, by acts of violence, by murder, by terrorists. This is not the first war Israel has fought. Nor, I’m sure, will it be the last.

    What is new to me is not the moral bifurcation of Israel as victim and Israel as occupier, oppressor. No, that bifurcation a source of tension and uncertainty has existed since 1948 and the formation of the nation. What is new to me is the recognition that anti-semitism will not just die away with that political solution or that military intervention or that expression of good will. Which makes me see Israel’s defense of itself in a different light, a burden of strength in a world that still wants to kill Jews, does kill Jews for being Jews. How can it be both a bulwark against anti-semitism and a peaceful neighbor to folks who want to see it erased from the world map? No. Easy. Answers.