• Category Archives Memories
  • A Great Wheel look at Easter

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Friday gratefuls: That white Water Buffalo in Bangkok. The museums of San Francisco. Amtrak. Ruth and Gabe. Mussar. Ginny and Janice. A week of meals with friends. Upcoming. Warmer weather. Still plenty of Snow on Shadow Mountain. Korea. Birth rates. Climate change. Dawn. Bechira and Kehillah. Jesus. Good Friday. Easter. Pesach.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Resurrection

    One brief shining: Mussar yesterday with Ruth on my left and Gabe on my right both participating, Gabe read, Ruth said you had to choose among your expectations of yourself and the expectations of others, not let either one have authority over the other, out of the mouths of teenagers.


    Brother Mark asked if I had any reflections on Good Friday.* Made me wonder what was good about it. See below. Not sure why I didn’t know that already, but I didn’t. The crucifixion. No thoughts on the crucifixion make sense without consideration of the resurrection. Related by blood.

    Let me put this out there, then go on. Good Friday and the New Testament account of it has led to most of the anti-semitism experienced in history. Jews in these accounts, the High Priest in particular, not only participated in the crucifixion but caused it. The crowds want Barabbas. Jewish authorities ask Pilate to crucify Jesus for blasphemy. These stories have shaken Jewish communities throughout Europe and the West. Deicides. God killers. Unfortunately the history of Jews in the West has taken place in parallel with the history of Christianity, so Jews have always been considered over against the Christian story. Wonder what the cultural reception of Jews could have been without this.

    OK. Bracketing those thoughts. It’s a profound and important religious mythology, the story of the dying and rising God. Osiris. Inanna. Dionysus. Jesus. The vegetative cycle writ in mythological tales. The death of the fallow time. The rising to new life of Spring. The growing season and its devolution toward harvest and the next fallow time.

    In other words all those good Friday services with the sorrow, the black cloth over the crosses, the recollection of the crucifixion itself, can be read as a ritual reenactment of plant death as winter approaches. Then, like Persephone Jesus descends into the fallow time, into death, into the soil, only to have a glorious waking up morning in late March or early April just as Spring arrives in the temperate latitudes.

    I find it interesting to see these holy days for Christians through this lens. Why? Because it underscores the powerful hold the cycle of vegetative life has on both our bodily life and on our mythic imagination. This is “real” religion, of course, not the pagan Great Wheel. Right? But what if it is the same story told with different actors?



    *’Good Friday’ comes from the sense ‘pious, holy’ of the word “good”.[10] Less common examples of expressions based on this obsolete sense of “good” include “the good book” for the Bible, “good tide” for “Christmas”… wiki

  • Makes me sad

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Vince and his helpers. Jill the needler. Acupuncture. Safeway and pickup. Furball Cleaning. Mailing taxes. The Equinox. Spring. A good Winter. Ruby in the deep Snow. The occasional frozen dinner. TV. Young Sheldon. True Detective with Jodie Foster. Deadly Tropics. Bull. The Furies. Alexandria First Methodist. Hometown memories.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The calm after the Storm

    One brief shining: Take off all my clothes, get up on the table with the clean sheet, stick my face in the round bit built for it, wait for Jill, soon needles go in on my feet, along my legs, clustered on the right side of my back, this time some of them connected to an electrical device that sends current into my body, twitching and tapping my muscles greet it.



    The church I grew up in. Sold as a venue for events and making art and whatever else occurs to the new owners. Makes me sad I wrote to Mary and Mark. Sister and brother. Don’t expect the video will interest too many of you, but the very first part does show the church as it was before this woman and her husband bought it. The sanctuary is still mostly intact. My family sat in the third pew about halfway in under the large stained glass window of Jesus at Gethsemane.

    Another mid-America tale this one not so much the rust belt apres the foreign cars story as an older one of faith and sexuality gone toxic. Used to be the big church in town. The woman in the video says it has 24,000 square feet. I believe it. Alexandria First Methodist had the largest church building in town and probably the largest membership while I was growing up in the 50’s and 60’s.

    It survived Rev. Clayton Steele’s oh so stereotypical fleeing to California with the organist or choir director. It survived the tumult of the late 1960’s and early 70’s. But it did not survive the question of ordaining queer folk. Ironically one of the key supporters of LBGTQ+ ordination was the son of Clayton Steele, a local dentist. The entire Methodist church, once the biggest denomination in the U.S., fractured, too. So not odd that Alexandria’s franchise went as well.

    As a result, the church was on the market.

    I had Boy Scouts, Sunday School, Sunday worship in this building for the years I lived in Alexandria. Which were all but the one and a half I lived in Oklahoma as an infant. Through 1965. When I left for college. My mother had her stroke in that building. While helping serve a funeral dinner. Confirmation. Communion. Tenebrae services. Christmas Eve and Easter. Regular, weekly attendance. As significant a part of life as school.

    Once a month we had a church supper in the basement. To this day I remember Mrs. Stafford’s grapes. Green grapes coated first, I think, with egg white then rolled in sugar. Of course, fried chicken and mashed potatoes and peas. Jello, too, with a variety of foodstuffs embedded. My least favorite? Olives.

    Now that I see this video I understand for the first time desacrilizing a church building. The building is not the church. No, it’s the people. However. Over time, like the Velveteen Rabbit, if enough people love a building, worship and pray in it, experience weddings and funerals there. the building becomes real, too. And when discarded, as Alexandria First now is, its reality continues adhering to that pew, those lights, those night time immersions in darkness during the Tenebrae services.

    Protestants, with the exception of the Episcopalians, don’t desacrilize, but I wish they did. It would make this easier on my heart.




  • Coulda. Shoulda.

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Clogged sinuses. MST darkness. The Night Sky. Orion. Aquarius. Betelgeuse, ready to go Nova. James Webb. SpaceX. Odysseus, tilting on the Moon. That day in July when Neil Armstrong stepped off the Moon lander. JPL. Caltech. MIT. Engineering. Putting science to work. Tom. Bill. Helen. Veronica. Arjean. Tara. Hebrew.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Old movies on the Criterion Channel

    One brief shining: Put on my old guy velcro Snow boots, gathered up one of my Leki hiking poles, and set off on a Snowy adventure, would I make it all the way to the garage, lifting my feet, then setting them down in Snow to my waist, up down up down until I reached the door, yes, made it!


    I will not be able to go to the garage for a while through the sewing room door. I went out to it yesterday to retrieve the garage door opener so I can get in and out through the sliding garage doors. Shouldn’t be too long since we have 50’s in the forecast this week.

    Feeling a bit diminished by not being able to handle the Snow myself. That silly guy thing. I wouldn’t have been able to do it even if the snowblower worked. Heavy, wet spring snows clog it up. Not to mention my SOB issues. No, not that. Shortness of Breath=SOB. Besides, I already have a snow plow guy. So why?

    Oh, you know. What I could do. What I used to be able to do. I used to be able to run. I used to be able to power all the work in my garden with my legs and my upper body. I used to be able to handle a chain saw. Move slash. Buck trunks. I was a guy in the still strong days. So why not now? I don’t want to be only a mind on two legs. My self critical self wrecker says, nah. You coulda. Shoulda.

    Guess this is one with the questions I posed the last week or so. I need to flip the kayak. Get back to the oxygen in my life as it is. Right now. Here and now. A life filled with friends, ideas, wild neighbors, a willingness to go down that unexpected path all the way.

    Yes. Because. That guy, that strong younger guy, is my past. I’m not weak, not since I got back to resistance work, but I’m no longer that guy physically. That guy is the past. This guy with the yarmulke, reading the parsha, observing Shabbat, he’s my present. This guy who sees the yearling Does, feels the companionable presence of the Lodgepole out my study window, loves Great Sol torching the top of Black Mountain each morning. He’s my present.

    This guy, the one who plows through books about politics, about Jewish holidays, about the Rights of Nature, about Animal Wisdom. He’s my present. And this particular guy is a through line from the young one who like the deceased author David Wallace might get in a taxi and say, “To the library. And step on it!”

  • Big Storms

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Snow. A lot. More on the way. The generator. Good sleeping. Mountain late winter. The cold. Still there. Tired. Less sneezy. Mostly fatigued. Reading. New Joe Pickett novel. Jewish holidays. Come and Get It by Kiley Reid. Politics. So consequential, so out of whack. My storm larder. Bean soup. Pork steaks. Plenty of food for body and soul.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A Winter Storm

    One brief shining: Sure enough, around noon Snow started off and on, tailing off around three, coming back an hour later in a steady, straight down imitation of a good drenching Rain, continuing all night with today predicted to add 9-13 inches and tonight another 6-10 both on top of the overnight last night total perhaps putting us past even the predicted three feet.

    Nota bene: At 7:30 am I took a yardstick out to my deck. I measured 21 inches of Snow.


    Around 3 am I awoke to jazz and my medical guardian announcing that it was “charging”, something it does each time I put it in its charging cradle at night. The rumble of the generator going off told me what had happened. Power had gone out, perhaps twice, and when it shifted this time back to the grid the guardian figured it had just been plugged in and the cd player with a Dave Brubeck disc in it somehow turned on. Late Winter/early Spring Snow storms with their wet, heavy snow often take out Mountain electrical lines. Not unexpected.

    Even so, the cool sound of Brubeck’s jazz confused me as did the mechanical voice repeating, “charging.” It took me a minute to orient myself to the storm and the generator.

    We’ve been prepped for this storm since last weekend. A big one. At first, maybe 2 feet of Snow! Then, no, more like 3. Giving what I’ve seen so far and what’s predicted we might exceed that. So many of the Snow forecasts this season have busted or been underwhelming. Not this one. We’ll remember where we were on March 14th in 2024.

    Big Snow Storms are like irregular holidays. Anticipated with either eagerness or dread. Often preceded by trips to the grocery store. A reason to stay home from work or school. The bigger they are, the more memorable. That Halloween blizzard in 1991. Minnesota. If you were in the state then, you remember that one. Over 2 feet of snow. The arc of this storm is far from over so just how big it will be is still unknown. But it seems well on its way to the history books.


    Just a moment: Well, my plea for Joe Biden to step aside fell on deaf ears. Mine included. He cinched the Democratic nomination. As has 45. We’re getting our dream matchup for the election that may determine the fate of democracy in the U.S. That dream, BTW, is, yes, a nightmare. A repeat of 2020. And the third time 45 has been on the ballot. Three times too many if you ask me.

    My nudge to the President did come before his State of the Union speech. He caught some air with that. Still not sure he’s the right one to carry us past the golden haired boy. But I gotta hope so.

  • No Brass Ring

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Cold already receding. Tired. Hebrew homework. This new day. This new life. Resurrection from 1/60th of death. Ramadan. Mary and Mark both in Muslim countries, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia. Reading the Quran. Fasting from sunup to sundown. Breaking the fast at the mosque. The Soul. You. You as only you. Taxes today.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Taxes

    One brief shining: The tax preparer resides in its envelope, questions and boxes to fill in with numbers from the various reports: Vanguard, Presbyterian Pension, Social Security, the oil well proceeds, mortgage at Wells Fargo, you know the paths and the pencil pushing: I approve of taxes, of sharing responsibility for my county, my state, and my nation.


    Sometimes the heart, or better, the lev wants to splash itself on the path of my life, say somethings happening here, but it’s not exactly clear. Don’t mind the fog. Don’t mind the man with the sign over there. Listen to that wisp of she’s not afraid of sadness. The jiggle of Jeff Koons’ work on Odysseus. The casual bump of Joe Pickett’s latest well written adventure. Those moments when encounters speak to the pilgrim soul in me, the one that sets out on paths with no particular goal, no particular rationale. Except something lightly felt that struck deep anyhow.

    These moments have changed my course many times. Over decades. There was that ill-fated one where I saw the Manhattan skyline in a movie and decided I had to move there. 1968. Draft eligible. Did it anyhow. Lasted three months when no one would hire me. I might get called up. Or a bit later that time when I took care of a young girl named Judy, she was sick. And I married her later on an Indian Mound to the sound of the Cream’s “I’m so Glad!”

    Even ending up studying Anthropology and Philosophy. Because they piqued my interest. The common thread to these moments is no goal, no real agenda, acting on impulse yet seeing things through at the same time. That feeling when I turned 32 that I had to have a child. Be a dad. Wowzer. That was a life changer.

    Going to seminary to escape the rag cutting floor at Fox River Paper. Ending up in the ministry. Gosh.

    Meeting Kate. Writing novels. Earning an AA degree in horticulture. Keeping Bees. The whole Andover experience over twenty years.

    Ira Progoff workshops. Listening to my lev, not in terms of what I’d like to accomplish but in terms of what I needed to do next. That one in Tucson, Arizona that opened me up. Followed by a visit to Colorado on the way back to Andover. Ruth running from the surprise of me at the door. Oh. We need to move to Colorado. On the Winter Solstice of that year we did.

    Living in the Mountains. Tuning into the Jewish signal from the heart of the universe. The Wild Neighbors. The Mountains ever changing nature. Friends. Never a real goal for my life. Following the chi as it flowed. At least I like to think that’s what I’ve done.

    This has been my life. No grand plan. No brass ring. Odd I never noticed this until recently.

  • Ontario

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: DST. MST. Songtan time. Hello, darkness. Stratford Festival. Mark’s reprieve until April 16th. Seoah and Murdoch and my son. Zoom. Janice and Ginny. Scott. Shabbat. Adar II. Leap years Gregorian and Jewish. Aspen Perks. Kat and Travis. Reading. My great joy. Computer glitches. Ancient Brothers. Mario and Babette on the road.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Stratford, Ontario

    One brief shining: Those trips to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario involved camping on the shores of Lake Huron, listening to the long trumpets with banners blare out a fanfare for the start of each play, Shakespeare on the stage, the lovely Avon wandering near by and the Black Swan Coffee House where I first encountered criticism of the U.S. role in Vietnam.


    When having breakfast with my friends Ginny and Janice, both theater folk, we discovered our mutual affection for the festival in Stratford, Ontario. I haven’t been back since my honeymoon with Judy, my first wife. 1969. A long time. But in talking with Ginny and Janice I reignited my interest. Much as I did last week with my passion for creating a sustainable presence for humans on our only Planet. Guess I should start paying attention. The psyche is a changin’.

    Those were highlights for me with our family. Driving into Canada, a foreign country! Crowns on top of the speed signs. Familiar cars with unfamiliar grills and looks. Colorful money. Crowns again. It all felt very exotic to me. The farm houses in distinctive shades of blue and yellow. Kincardine. A Scottish town. Ipperswich Provincial Park. Provincial. Not state. Provinces. When our time in Stratford finished, we would drive on north to Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula.

    There we would motor on to the Chi-cheemaun, a car ferry run by the Owen Sound Transportation Company, and cross the Georgian Bay. The Flowerpot Islands in the distance. No car ferries in Alexandria, Indiana. It was all wonderful. Strange. Not in the U.S. We traveled to a foreign country. I didn’t know anybody else at home who’d done that.

    Until the War. The Vietnam War. That bastard child of anti-communist fever dreams. Classmates began to disappear overseas. Dennis killed. Richard Lawson wounded. The Native American guy whose name I don’t recall right now killed. A few of us. Very few went to college. Exempted. The rest. Fodder for the meat grinder of an unnecessary war.

    This was the early 1960’s. They all blended together. Shakespeare. Coriolanus. The Black Swan. Lake Huron. The cranking sound of the Chi-cheemaun’s open maw closing. The quiet vanishing of young men my age. The end of high school. Mom’s death. The start of college. So long ago. So far away in time as to be of another century. Even another millennia.

    Which all segued into the movement. The anti-war movement. The days of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Which describes my experience well. As the Grateful Dead said, “What a long strange trip it’s been.”

  • Bullfights.

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Snow. Big Snow. Cold night. 13 this morning. A fine Shabbat. My reupholstered couch. Ackerman’s. Reorganizing, again, those books that have infiltrated the living room. Feels so good. Getting facile with my bar mitzvah Torah portion. Wild Mountain Ranch. Regenerative farming in Boulder County. Bullfighting and its cultured despisers. Great Sol. Dependable.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: El Toro

    One brief shining: In 1995 I bought a ticket at the Plaza del Toros in Mexico City, sombra, and went into the largest bullfighting arena in the world, most notable initially were the steeply sloped stairs leading up and up, the entrance to each row of seats marked with tin Corona cerveza buckets loaded with ice awaiting thirsty patrons, blue and white emblems on them, I sat down, only four rows from the arena itself, unsure what to expect.

    Found my notes from the bullfight. It was 1993, not 95. And the cerveza buckets were more toward the bottom of the arena, fewer toward the nose bleed seats.

    The Plaza del Toros is circular with a large ring in the center where the bull’s lives play out. The concrete rows of seats go up steeply from a wooden fence that separates the first row from the ring. Inside the ring itself wooden fence like structures provide protection for bandilleros and even toreadors. A gate on the side of the arena furthest from my seat opened for the march of the toreadors.

    Writing about this because an article in the New York Times announced that the Plaza del Toros reopened last week on January 28th after a two-year hiatus. Animal rights groups succeeded in a temporary ban and have cases before the Mexican courts now to ban bullfighting all together. Until those suits play out the largest bull ring in the world will continue offering bull fights.

    This dovetails with a book I started reading yesterday, The Rights of Nature: a Legal Revolution That Could Save the World. I’m in a bookclub out of the Rocky Mountain Land Library that will discuss this book in March. In the first chapter I read the author, David R. Boyd, writes about how it takes time for cultural change to occur. His references reminded me of Thomas Khun’s Theories of Scientific Revolution. Slowly. Slowly. Then all of a sudden Great Sol replaces Earth as the center of the Solar System.

    Boyd believes that the animal rights movement, a Mexican contingent of which shut down Plaza del Toros for two years, will occasion such a cultural shift about animals and that that could undergird the movement to finally give the rest of the Natural World legal rights. Ecuador has already done this as has New Zealand and 22 other countries to varying extents. May it be so.

    Will finish up about the bullfight but wanted to underscore here the Rights of Nature movement. It’s a really big deal and coming soon to a state or national constitution near you.

  • Days of Yore, Days of Chips

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Great Sol. The Middle East. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. The West Bank. Hezbollah. Lebanon. Iran. Iran proxies. Soldiers for the U.S. in the Middle East. The Ukraine. Russia. Yes, even Putin. The Black Sea. Brother Mark and Saudi sunrises. Mary and 9 foot long Monitor Lizards and 10 foot reticulated pythons. Monkeys, too. North Korea. South Korea. Japan. China.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A new friend, Gary

    One brief shining: When Tara came on my Zoom window for our Hebrew lesson, I saw large tropical Plants in the background, yet she lives, I know, on Kilimanjaro Drive, just off Jung Frau and the calendar still says January; I had my lesson beamed from Shadow Mountain to somewhere in Costa Rica, my halting Hebrew sent to a Spanish speaking country while I took my teacher’s notes in English spoken in Central America. Gosh.


    Our world is so much more complex than the world of my childhood. Only the telephone, the dial telephone, connected my small hometown of Alexandria, Indiana to friends and family in distant places. And the further away the more expensive. Remember person-to-person calls?

    Sure we got Ed Sullivan and the Lone Ranger and I Love Lucy on often finicky TV screens. And, yes, there were those moments of catastrophe: the death of John Kennedy, the shooting of Jack Ruby when the breathless commentators came on interrupting regular programming. Or, the moments of glory, especially the U.S. race to put a man on the Moon. One small step, one giant step.

    Those special televised experiences united us. We saw one news anchor, often Walter Cronkite, with one view of the facts, no MAGA, no chest thumping yellow backs. And when they faded away we went back to our lives in towns and cities and countrysides.

    Now I can take something so mundane as a Hebrew lesson in real time even though my teacher and her husband decided to fly to Costa Rica and work remotely from there for a few weeks. In a few minutes I’ll go online with my buddy Tom. He’ll be in his home near Lake Minnetonka and I’ll be here on Shadow Mountain. I follow the war in Israel through Israeli newspapers that I can access with the click of a mouse button.

    The oddity of all this connection by fiber and phone line and satellite, the irony of it, lies in its isolating effect. Go into any coffee shop anywhere and you’ll instantly know what I mean. Most of the people in the coffee shop will not be in conversation with a person near them, but they might be speaking to a friend on their phone. Laptops will be open. Phones in front of faces. An electronic rapture has lifted the souls in the room up, up, up into clouds of whizzing electrons and packets and i.p. addresses.

    We find news sources, information sources now that meet out preexisting biases. We silo our knowledge on web pages devoted to whatever interests us.

    No. I’m not a technophobe. I’m posting this, aren’t I? And no I’m not even really complaining. Our world is not worse, simply different and infinitely more complex, so much more connected than the quiet days of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. How has this changed us? God, I don’t know. But the impact is profound, that I do know.






  • “Higher” Criticism

    Winter and the Cold Mountain

    Shabbat gratefuls: Parsha Beshalach: Exodus 13:17-17:16. Shabbat candle holders. Shabbat. Joanne. Alan. His BMW in Oxnard, Ca. Breakfast with Marilyn and Irv next week. Irv and his recovery. Jazz concert tomorrow at Alan and Cheri’s in Denver. Snow yesterday. 52 on Wednesday. Colorado. The Rocky Mountains. The Atlantic Ocean. The Pacific. The South China Sea. The Yellow Sea. Sailing.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A day of joy

    One brief shining: A millennia ago I lived in student housing at United Theological Seminary in New Brighton Minnesota and walked through the then still fierce Winter to the classroom building a block away where I would go through the cafeteria, down past the mailboxes collecting anything to me on the way and the bookstore to the small stainless steel elevator, get in, push 3, get out on the top floor of the library, head to my carrel, sit down and sink into both the expansive view and my intent to learn. Ah.


    That was 1970. There were electric outlets at each of our outdoor parking places so we could plug in our engine block heaters. I recalled these memories because I added Parsha Beshalach to my gratefuls this morning. A through line between seminary and this Jewish life I’m now living is my excitement about study of scripture. I loved those “Old Testament” classes with Art Merrill and the New Testament classes with Henry Gustafson. A month or so ago I asked to have Torah study added to the adult education program at CBE. Of course, I ended up in charge of it. That’s the way of religious institutions. If you volunteer, you lead.

    You might think the several classes I took at UTS would give me some expertise for Torah study, but you would be mostly wrong. Not sure if I wrote about this before, but here are the big differences. First, Jews focus on the Torah, the first five books of the Tanakh which also includes the Nevi’im, the prophets, and the Ketuvim, writings. T for Torah. N for Nevi’im. K for Ketuvim = TaNaKh. The Tanakh has most of the same material as what Christians insist on calling the “Old Testament.” My education at UTS covered the whole of both Testaments, “Old” and New. So much, much less attention to the Torah itself.

    Second, the exegetical methods I learned, that is, the methods of getting at what the text meant and its interpretation (hermeneutics), differ significantly from the Jewish approach to exegesis. I learned redaction criticism, how the texts were edited; form criticism, whether the text had liturgical or other formal construction; textual criticism, how did the variant editions and translations differ; how to translate from the Greek and Hebrew for myself though mine was a limited introduction; historical criticism, what was happening at the time the text was written; and, reception criticism, how had the text been received and interpreted over church history.

    We learned two steps. First, exegesis using the best tools we knew, the various critical methodologies and any other analysis we could bring to the text. Second, the hermeneutical task, taking our best understanding of the meaning of the text, exegetical work, and applying that meaning to a contemporary situation. This usually meant writing a sermon.

    Third, a lot of what I learned about the “Old Testament” had a definite Christian inflection. That is, finding those parts of the Tanakh which prophesied the coming of Jesus, the Messiah.

    The Jewish approach is much different and I’ll go into that in a later post. Tomorrow if I remember.

  • Neither Trump nor Biden

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Lila and Liks. Ryder. 12 degrees this morning. A good Snow overnight. Spelling Bee. Black Mountain not visible. Still Snowing. The Ancient Brothers. Aleph. Lamech. Bet. Tav. Mem. Nun. My torah portion. Unboxing my cd player. The Brothers Sun. El Ninõ. Furball Cleaning. Ana and Lita. Music. Black-eyed peas. Soup. Crackers. Sardines and Salmon, Tuna.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The waning crescent Winter Solstice Moon

    One brief shining: If Kate and I were still in Andover, we would be sitting at our long kitchen table, pages opened in many Seed catalogues, discussing planting for the upcoming year should we try Leeks again, what was that Iris you saw, pages riffle, oh, that’s a beauty, look at this Garlic, these heirloom Tomatoes, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and wondering if the Bees survived the winter so Artemis Honey could fill up more jars and bottles.


    I ordered a couple of Seed catalogues this year. Maybe Harris and Seed Savers. They came. I looked at them briefly, but without the promise of planting, tending to the plants, harvest. I put them away. No regret. It was time to let the Gardens and the Orchard pass to other younger hands. And they did.

    The memories and photographs of those times though. Rich and lush like the early May Flower beds, the late August Garden beds, a Tree weighted down with Honeycrisp Apples. Like a hive humming with Bees, flying in and out, making honey and propolis and wax. Like an Irish Wolfhound at play. Tor gently reaching through the Garden fence in September to pluck golden Raspberries straight from the Cane.

    Cool fall evenings around the firepit with Kate, hot chocolate, some Oak or Ironwood crackling with orange and blue. A good life.


    Yesterday the Ancient Brothers made four predictions each. Perhaps unsurprising in one instance. We all predicted Trump would lose. Two of us predicted unrest and chaos. I hadn’t thought of that but, yes, I imagine so. 45 has dominated and shaped an ugly era of American politics and civic life. You know that. Yet my final prediction was that, even if the worst happens, ordinary life will go on. People will get up in the morning. Go to work. Raise children. Buy assault rifles. Probably at Walmart.

    Will those predictions about the election come true? Hell if I know. Our poor political system has had the stuffin’ kicked out of it. The primaries hold little suspense. The choices already seem self-evident. Old and older. Though of course that can change. I hope it changes. I would prefer neither Trump nor Biden on the ticket in the fall.

    I say that because I want Trump gone and I can see several different scenarios where he gets knocked aside by a health issue or legal peril. I say that because Biden, who has performed way above expectations, guiding the ship through turbulence of all sorts, does not have what we need. Youth. Energy. Vision. A statesperson who can lift us all up, remind us of the ideals that have made this flawed nation a great nation. TBD.