• Category Archives Asia
  • Rebels

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Shabbat. Bar mitzvah decisions. Regaining confidence. Purpose. Shekinah. Trees. Great Wheel. Great work. Rabbi Jamie. Zornberg. Mordecai Kaplan. Mah Tovu. Mussar. Luke and his passion. Leo. A long immersion in matters Jewish. Alan and First Watch. Diane and the Sea Lions of Fisherman’s Wharf. Mark and Bangkok. Familiar turf for him.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mordecai Kaplan

    One brief shining: We sat there around his circular table, his library wall filled with texts in Hebrew as well as English, Rabbi Jamie and me, he showed me the Haggadah by Mordecai Kaplan, this one got him excommunicated, oh, my attention piqued, I’ve got to have one I said because I love stories of rebellion and its consequences.

     

    Finished reading all 2,000 plus pages of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. A significant classic of Chinese literature. And a good read. Took a while. One takeaway from it. Rebels are the bad guys. The guys who support the Emperor are the good guys. This was an important learning for me since we Americans valorize the rebel, the American revolutionary. Our country was born in rebellion whereas China’s civilization honors it long, continuous history.

    The mandate of heaven takes the place of the rebel. So long as an Emperor could claim the mandate of heaven*, he could rule. But, if he lost the mandate of heaven**, it became the people’s responsibility to overthrow him and usher in a new dynasty. Even in this case though the rebel served the new dynasty to be born from the old one. No experimentation in political form.

    I admire Mordecai Kaplan and his willingness to follow his own thinking, to de-supernaturalize Judaism and to demote tradition from decider of all questions to a factor with a vote but not a veto. I love the expectation of debate, of doubt, of honoring the other’s perspective. Kaplan and my kind would not fare well in Chinese culture. Either under the old dynastic pattern or under the very similar Chinese Communist Party. Rule from the top down is the Chinese way.

     

    Just a moment: A bit about the Caitlin Clark story. Yes, she’s a whitebread Midwesterner playing in a state, Indiana, that has not been celebrated for its moves towards racial justice. Yes, she’s touted as the next big thing that will push the WNBA higher up in the world of professional sports. And, most important, yes, the media has portrayed her first games as a pro with the breathless and hyperbolic ideas that often accompany writing about a new sports superstar.

    She’s getting knocked around, shoved, posted hard. Many of those playing her like hockey enforcers are black. So villainous? Right? How dare they play hard against the white savior of their sport? Isn’t that self-defeating for women’s basketball as a whole?

    No. The opposite is true. Were Caitlin given kid glove treatment she would never have the chance to mature into a true star. This hazing, some no doubt with malice, shows she’ll get no special favors on the court. That her game has to take over at a high level or she’ll remain a journeywoman player.

    Should intentional fouls be called? Of course. There’s no excuse for casual violence in any sport. Well, ok, MMA. Otherwise, let everybody play their game.

     

     

    *…the Mandate of Heaven was that although a ruler was given great power, he also had a moral obligation to use it for the good of his people. If a ruler did not do this, then his state would suffer terrible disasters and he would lose the right to govern.  World History Encyclopedia

    **The sign that the mandate had been lost would be made evident by all kinds of calamities including natural ones: earthquakes, storms, solar eclipses, floods, drought, famine and plague. Other signs could be a more personal evidence from the emperor’s own behavior: cruelty, corruption, military defeat and incompetence. These were all interpreted as signs of the displeasure of heaven. To rise in rebellion when these signs occurred was justified. ChinaSage


  • Backing Away

    Beltane and the Moon of Liberation

    Monday gratefuls: Shadow Mountain Home. My pillow. My bed. The Rockies. Living in the Front Range. Amtrak. Garrett. Sleeping car attendant. Travel. Diane. San Francisco. Muir Woods. The Japanese Tea Garden. That early transitional Rothko at the De Young. The Thinker at the Legion of Honor. Ukiyo-e prints. Japan town. Bernal Hill. The Mission. 12 Lucky.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Homecoming

    One brief shining: Found my key under the chair arm where I left it for Ana, opened the door, and came home for the first time in eight days, medieval French music played quietly downstairs, a power outage and generator start having turned it on, rolled the Travelpro over to the ottoman and used it like a hotel luggage rack so I could get at what I needed, my meds and the Lidocaine patch, went downstairs and using the remote turned off the music, sinking into my chair. Ah.

     

    Don’t like saying it out loud. Admitting it to myself. However. Traveling has changed for me. Probably permanently. I had all the usual delights in San Francisco. Seeing Diane on her home turf, her home on 12 Lucky, her jogging route up to Bernal Hill, and the small town like neighborhood commercial area which includes Wise Son’s Deli and an $8 haircut. Visiting amazing places like Muir Woods and the Japanese Tea Garden. Seeing great work by artists old-like Hokusai and Rodin-and new like Lee Mingwei’s Rituals of Care. Being driven by a native up one lane, yet inexplicably two way streets angled like steep Mountain roads. Seeing Earthquake shacks, lived in today, but built as temporary housing for the victims of 1906.

    Diane and I visited Japantown, drove through the beautiful Presidio, and I bought some new clothes not far from the Chancellor Hotel across Union Square. Bonobo’s on Grant Street. I would make the journey again (well, probably not, but you get the feeling) just to see the Redwoods. So stunning. So magnificent. So alive. These beings remind me that life’s boundaries are much looser than our often blinkered day-to-day allows us to see.

    And yet. At the start of each day I felt good. Walked over to Sears Fine Foods for breakfast. Met Diane. We went here or there, the Asian Art Museum, the De Young, Muir Woods. After walking any distance or, even harder, standing in one place, hello-museums!, my back would signal me through hip pain, sometimes even neck pain. Not long after I walked bent over, neck awry. Even with the lidocaine patch, the stretches, the very occasional NSAID. Gonna make one more pass through the medical system. See if there’s stuff I’m missing, could use. If not, and I’m not expecting anything, my traveling days have changed.

    I can go for a couple to three hours of sight seeing, after transportation which has its own ouches.  Then. Back to the hotel for the day. I’m done. Either I go somewhere and stay a while or it won’t make sense to go. At my son’s in Korea I can stay in their apartment when I need to rest. I’ll get over there next year for his taking command ritual, maybe stay a couple of months. Might cough and faint in dismay but I might buy a business class ticket so I can arrive more or less uninjured.

     

     

     


  • ah. Art

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Monday gratefuls: Asian Art Museum. Diane. Uber. Street cars clanging on Powell. Good night’s sleep. Sears Fine Foods. Chancellor Hotel. Its lobby with popcorn, coffee, water, apples, cookies. Learning my limits. Travel. Union Square. Fitting at Bonobo’s.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Song dynasty ceramics

    One brief shining: Lunch at the Asian Box in the Asian Art Museum, the old main library transformed into a temple of the arts of Asia, riding its elevator to the second floor, finding the gallery with Chinese ceramics, locating the Song dynasty pieces, falling in love again with the skill and simplicity of that era’s potters, the delicate beauty of their work.

     

    My first destination after the hotel. The Asian Art Museum. Why? I’ve missed wandering from vitrine to case to special exhibits, seeing the mark and choices of ancient hands. Especially the work of the Song Dynasty potters whose work is not only beautiful in its own right but had a lasting influence on Japan, teaware in particular. Temmoku especially.

    Korean Moon Jar

    These Korean Moon Jars represent the same aesthetic, simple, not perfect and in their case not even necessarily utilitarian. Just objects of clay, built on a wheel in two halves then joined. Coated with a white glaze, fired and finished.

    The Song dynasty ceramicist’s influenced artists in Japan and Korea and now influence a new generation looking back at the choices made by these skilled potters. In my own preferences for ceramics the careful glazing, uncluttered designs, and muted colors say well made, well made.

     

    I’m in the fourth day of my trip already. Second full day in San Francisco. The back limited me yesterday. After my morning session with the Ancient Brothers on what does your soul hunger for, I felt sleepy. Emailed Diane that I was going to take a nap. Thought it would be an hour. Nope. Two and a half.

    Compressed our day which had originally included breakfast at Wise and Son’s deli, a visit to Diane’s home and her jogging hill. Instead she came here and I called an Uber.

    After a tasty lunch at the Asian Box cafe at the museum, Diane had glazed salmon and I had pork with noodles, cabbage, bean sprouts, and tiny shrimp, we wandered the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean collections for three hours or so.

    So happy to be there. My soul also hungers for art, needs it. My joy at being in a museum proved that.

    The other hungers I identified were, like the one for art, mostly met on this trip. The others were travel, being in that place I do not know, seeing and experiencing things different from home, and seeing family. Aside from my brother and sister, Diane is my longest continuous relationship. She’s a first cousin on my mother’s side.

    My family is far flung. Diane here in S.F. Mary in Malaysia. Mark now once again headed for Southeast Asia. My son, Seoah, and Murdoch in Korea. Interesting, to be sure, but the logistics of love and caring… Made difficult.


  • Cabin Fever Trip

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Tuesday gratefuls: Great Sol. Brightening our day. Counting the Omer. Begins tonight. Traveling readiness day. Delayed, but happening today. Diane’s great work on setting up an itinerary. Museums, as Ode says, temples of creativity. The Artist’s Way. My Jewish immersion. The Three Body Problem trilogy. Fall Out on Prime Video. High quality television. Kindle.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Artists-painters, writers, playwrights, musicians, poets, actors, sculptors, architects, composers

    One brief shining: With awakening I’m in a new life, a multiverse reality based on the day before yet new as the dew on a spring ephemeral, in that day my many breaths each constitute life breathed out and back in, new lives each breath, how can I keep from singing?

     

    Feeling the welcoming breath of a travel day exhaling from the end of the week toward me. Inspiring my activities today. Finalize packing. Stop mail. Get a pedicure. Collect myself for a journey.

    This is mostly a cabin fever trip. A way of escaping a place I love because the snow and the cold stayed a bit too long. And for most folks I’ve talked to. A way to refresh the joys of home by vacating its presence for a bit. Enjoy the graces and beauties of San Francisco, see Diane. Live in a hotel for 7 nights, 2 nights in a sleeping car there and back. Write. Read. See the Rockies, the intermountain West, the Sierra Nevadas, canyons and deserts.

    I’ve missed seeing good art on a regular basis. I’ve not found the Denver art scene at all comparable to the Twin Cities and I’ve let that attitude, plus the drive, keep me from seeing much at all. That’s on me. This trip will allow me to visit at least three of the country’s great collections: The Legion of Honor, the De Young, and the Asian Art museum. I plan to see them slowly. Taking as much time as I need. Reenter the world of Zhou and Han, Song and Tang, Picasso and Hokusai, Rodin and Giacometti.

    Yes. You could say of me. Religion, politics, and art. The subjective, the debatable, the aesthetic, the aspects of culture not manageable by STEM. Sure I like a good scientific discovery as much as the next nerd, but to examine an ancient text for the message it carries down the millennia to this day, to stand in the street and face down an oppressive economy, to join the conversation of those for whom shape, color, and language create whole worlds and dizzying perspectives, yes. That’s my journey.

    That and one other thing. The wild spots outside my door, up the flank of Black Mountain. Here on Shadow Mountain I can integrate the seeker, the advocate, and the artist with the world around me. My Lodgepole Companion and I see each other each morning. I said hello yesterday to those Mule Deer Does munching grass along Black Mountain Drive. Within them lie the same message as the Torah portion I will read on June 12th, the same spirit of over against oppressive structures, and an equivalent beauty to the best of Monet.

     


  • Species survival

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Fire in the fireplace last night. Talking and laughing with Ruth and Gabe. Mac Nation. Indian Hills. Mountain town funky. The drive back through Kittridge, Evergreen, up Brook Forest and Black Mountain Drive. All the years of visits and sleepovers with these two. Ruth’s college plans. Kate and Jon also present. Family.

     

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Generations

     

    One brief shining: Mac Nation has an upstairs reached by outside wood stairs, crossing a balcony, and entering through a blue door which opens into two rooms one with large industrial tables on wheels and a smaller one with two wooden tables, one overlooking the curve outside which is the one Ruth, Gabe, and I chose for our macaroni and cheese midday meal.

     

    Easy to forget the biological imperative involved in families. What with all the drama, the highs and lows, the tears and laughter. But there is one and from an evolutionary perspective it’s their raison d’etre. Human beings as a species must reproduce and that’s what families are for at their most basic reality.

    Yes, Ruth and Gabe will place some parts of Jon and Kate, genetic parts, into the future, but what they are at the biological level is the next generation of humankind. The species needs them to find partners and reproduce as well. And so on until that Great Sol red giant moment which will end all evolution on this planet.

    You may think this an obvious point, unnecessary to note, yet it isn’t. Ask policy makers in South Korean, Japan, and China. South Korea, at its current birth rate, will cease to exist at all, it’s population halved by 2100 and accelerating toward national extinction.

    South Korea’s birth rate is .72. The replacement rate for any generation of humans is 2.1 births per woman. China is at 1.09 and Japan 1.26. The U.S.? 1.6.

    Much handwringing has ensued. Who will care for the elders? Who will work in the factories and businesses? But most chillingly, who will ensure the survival of the species.

    An odd problem to emerge as past generations of humanity fuel a rocket sled ride to a much warmer future, one with higher sea levels, and more extreme weather.

    Also odd. One of the main factors in the decline of birth rates lies in women’s empowerment. An educated and workplace integrated status for women serves much better than birth control or even government policy to restrict birth rates.

    What we may be seeing is a transition to a world that will be forced to embrace a totally new paradigm for child rearing and family structures, one that takes full advantage of the gifts and talents of women while encouraging more births.

    What would this look like? Not sure, but some sort of communal child care, education and health care and housing provided by the government would probably be required. It just might be that a population crisis finally forces humans to take care of each other.

     


  • Asia

    Imbolc and the Ancient (77) Moon

    Friday gratefuls: New theme. Korea. Fried Fish restaurants. Barbecue and hot pot. The Fish market in Seoul. Gyeongbokgung palace Seoul. Sejong the Great. Okgwa, Seoah’s home village. Gwangju. Hutongs in Beijing. Firewalking in Singapore. Chinatown in Bangkok. Scorpions at Angkor Wat. Asia. Kanji. Hangul. Ideograms.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Asia

    One brief shining: The colorful ceremony of the changing of the guards at Gyeongbokgung palace preceded my unfortunate discovery that I had spinal stenosis; walking across the cobblestones and up steps into the palace buildings, a pain began to take shape, to flare over my lower right back, becoming so fierce that I hobbled, then sat down, willing to stay in that spot except the car was not in the palace but far, far away in the parking lot.

     

    Asia. Long now my focus. Brother and sister living in Southeast Asia for many years. Mary in Malaysia and Singapore, Mark in Bangkok. My son from the subcontinent. His wife from Korea. The Asian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Reading Chinese, Japanese, Korean fiction. K-dramas.

    Funny this Asian pivot. When I married Kate, of blessed memory, we honeymooned from Italy to Austria, Austria to France, France to England, England to Scotland. Seeing the great sites. The Colosseum. The Vatican. The Sistine Chapel. Pompeii. Venice. Florence and the Uffizi. The Vienna Opera and the Ringstrasse, Salzburg. The Louvre. Small cafes. London. Bath. Edinburgh. Inverness. All European, Britain. Not even Scandinavia.

    In the thirty plus years since then, I returned only once, in 1995, to stay in the residential library of Hawarden, Wales. I did write my novels from within the Celtic mythic universe, yet I was even then beginning to spend time with the teaware and bronzes, the Song dynasty ceramics, the mandalas and Buddha’s of the MIA’s Asian collection. Well before that Mary had moved to Kuala Lumpur, then Singapore and Mark taught in Bangkok.

    And that Asian kid grew up in my house, in my life and heart. He then married Seoah, a native of Korea. Kate, my son, and I flew to Beijing in 1998 or 1999. That was my first time in Asia. After Dad died, I used some of my inheritance to visit Mary in Singapore, see Bangkok, then Angkor Wat in Cambodia. In 2016 Kate and I went to Korea for my son and Seoah’s wedding, then onto Singapore where Mary graciously housed us in the largest hotel suite (the only hotel suite) in which we ever stayed. Last year I flew to Incheon, then stayed in Songtan for five weeks with my son and Seoah. Europe has faded from my awareness as a destination, a place I yearn to go.

    I didn’t mention several trips with Kate to Hawai’i, then even more trips there to see my son and Seoah after Kate’s death. Hawai’i, especially Oahu, has a definite Asian inflection.

    Here’s the thing. Obama declared an Asian pivot in our foreign policy and my son’s career has reflected it, but as a nation we know little of Asia. Did you have ever take a class, even have a lesson on Chinese history, Indian history? Outside of Mao and possibly Xi Jingping, maybe Kim Jong Un can you name three other significant Asian leaders. Make it even harder. Asian leaders, any nation, from history? Do you know any works of fiction written by Asian authors? Have you been in any Asian country?

    I know a few of you who read this will answer yes to some or all of these questions, but you are in the minority. This glaring gap in our base knowledge is not our fault. Asia simply didn’t show up in our curriculum at the public school level. Except as exotic enemies. Anti-Asian racism began for us with the Chinese who came to build the railroads and the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Beyond that, we know little of Asians in our own history.

    Why is all this important? Mostly because these cultures are so rich, have figured out ways to be human that have not occurred to us. Also, of course, because Asia especially India, China, Japan, and Korea have begun asserting themselves in contemporary geopolitics. If you haven’t, take some time to learn. You’ll find Asia fascinating.

     


  • Wisdom is where you find it

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tara. Rabbi Jamie. Great Sol, seen again. Taoism. Acupuncture. Needles. Meridians. Jill. Spinal stenosis. Theodicy. All is one. The one is all. Yet I am. Tom. Diane. Ginny and Bo Yi. Fan Kuan. Taiwan. The National Palace Museum. Korea. My son, Seoah, Murdoch. Joanne. The Mountains. Crisis of confidence. The Hazel Miller Band. Alan. Gary. Torah study. Shadow Mountain.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jazz Sax

    One brief shining: Wondering if there’s one place that provides music to acupuncturists and massage therapists that only has one recording which includes whale songs and related noninstrumental music, what I heard while resting face down, torso and feet bare as Jill needled my lower back and feet, the also not to be missed wallpaper image of the Milky Way rising in the desert.

     

    My maiden visit to the world of Chinese medicine. In a small strip mall not far from home just off 285. Near the Snowpack Tap Room. Jill shares an office with a chiropractor who looked like an ex-boxer. In the area that adjoins the restrooms some wag put up a skeleton with a doctor’s white coat. Not sure about the message of that. Bones? From Star Trek?

    Yes, it was an odd visit. And yet. My back feels better this morning. How bout that. Jill got a good sense of what I wanted. Trying to nail down methods to keep me traveling. Acupuncture as one modality. So she had me lie down next to the Milky Way, whale song filling the air, and proceeded to place the needles.

    I went to Medical Acupuncture on a whim, sort of. That is, Sue Bradshaw agreed with me that cortisone injections and back surgery were bad juju. Which leaves, she said, physical therapy, lidocaine patches, acetaminophen and the very occasional NSAID, and acupuncture. The only one of those that was new to me was acupuncture so I decided to try it out.

    In spite of my feelings about the context, a bit too latter day hippie for me, I think the needles will become my friend. Chinese medicine is an ancient art and science with wisdom we Westerners most often ignore. As with most of Asian culture for that matter. As my friend Bill wisely said, if you turn your back on a form of treatment it will do you no good. Well, then again. I turned my back on this treatment. Ha.

    So. P.T. exercises daily. Lidocaine patches, perhaps for touring days when traveling? The occasional pain med. Regular resistance work. And acupuncture. Keeping this old body rolling, rolling, rolling.

    I feel pretty good about this. A problem surfaces in Korea. Gets diagnosed and calmed down. Thank you, Mr. Lee. Western doc refers me to p.t. Mary the adopted Korean physical therapist helps me further along the road. Now Jill the acupuncturist introduces Chinese medicine as a prophylactic. And I have pushed myself back to three sets of resistance work. It takes a village and a couple of different cultures to get me to a good place. Worth it.


  • 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)

     


  • Its All Nature

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Rich. Tara. Jamie. Ron. Irv. Marilyn. Susan. The MVP squad. Tom. Diane in Taiwan. That Desert Eagle Mark saw. Ai Weiwei. Genius beyond genius. Art. Missing art. Missing music. Writing. My life. Shadow Mountain home. Cooking. Problem solving. Life. Death. Faith. Its all Nature. The Sacred. Talk about manifesting. Water Vapor. Clouds. Transience revealing permanence.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Life and death

    One brief shining: Protean a word embedded in the Greek vision of divinity, of gods and powers, able to change shape transform metamorphose Ai Weiwei Protean man building big cabinets and small cabinets, creating a marble toilet paper roll, challenging nations from his spot acquired through doggedness, brilliance, and a love of problems and, oh yeah, Legos.

     

    Wanted to make a black-eyed pea soup for the MVP gathering last night. But. Ordered black beans instead. What to do? In a fateful decision I chose to make a black bean soup with what I had on hand, using as well some of what I ordered for the black-eyed pea soup. OMG. How to make bad choices moi. I think it’s better than I originally thought but I took a bag of clementines to MVP instead. The upside is that I got interested in beans again and soup. Which I know I can make if I have the right ingredients and follow the recipe. So now I’m thinking bean soups, freezing.

    Part of the issue with the soups I looked at it including the black-eyed pea varieties were their use of ham hocks. Fine with me, I don’t share my coreligionists aversion to pork, but I respect it. And, one of our little group, Rich, is a vegetarian. So. Conclusion. I’m going to make some black-eyed pea soup for me with ham hocks and all the trimmings. Figure out something else to take next month.

     

    Coming home the thirty minute drive from the synagogue to Shadow Mountain in the night. Darkness. Trees. The occasional glow of nocturnal evolved eyes on the road side. Hoping for another flashy glimpse into the world of the sacred but fine with the clouds lit up by moonlight, the Lodgepoles and Aspens crawling up the Mountain sides, my own temporary life moving with and through them. Feelings of love for the Forest, the Mountains, Kate who once rode beside me, my friends at CBE, this solitary life I lead now. Some sadness floating up, accepted, yes sad without Kate, without Kep. Without.

    Further on as I make the sharp turn that leads to the top of Shadow Mountain already beyond the sadness welcoming myself back to my home. Enjoying the folks who savor their Christmas Trees and lights so much they can’t part with them quite yet. Enjoying the world I have and am for this time part of. How wonderful it is to be. To open up and let the moonlight in, to feel sad, to shift to feeling at home, to care deeply about friends. In the hospital. Wandering. Discussing faith and wonder.

    How wonderful is to have made bad black bean soup.

     

     


  • It’s a New Day, It’s a New Life, and I’m Feeling Good

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: The Shema. Hebrew. Decoding. Learning a language. Ooph. Sinking into the New Year. Great Sol blazes across another Colorado blue Sky. Black-eyed Peas. Black Beans. Black-eyed Pea soup. Cooking. In my remodeled kitchen. Tom’s poems and his depth. Mario’s optimism and self-confidence. Paul’s will and intellect. Bill’s steadiness and insight. The Ancient Brothers. Five years or so of honesty, authenticity, compassion, and love. Diane in Taiwan. Great photos. Tara and her skill as a teacher. My friends.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Soup in Winter

    One brief shining: Yes oh yes each morning a resurrection, each day a new life, new chances for love and justice and compassion, for leadership in your own heart, for doing what you can, surrendering when you must, for standing out as the unique and irreplaceable one that you are as part of the one that envelops all in its sacred embrace.

     

    Leaning into the Jewish idea that each morning is a resurrection from the one-sixtieth of death that is a night’s sleep. Each day is a new life we could even say a new year since it’s the only time you have this new year, this day. What is your kavanah, your intention, for this new life you’ve been given? Yes, given. You woke up, didn’t you? Grief teaches us about the wonder and awe of this simple pleasure, waking up. And about the opportunity it is. This is not just any day, it’s a new day!

    Perhaps we should set aside New Year’s resolutions. As if we didn’t know that already, right? Instead let’s make new day intentions. Maybe find a bit more joy than yesterday. Imagine if you could find just a bit more joy each day. What could you feel like at the end of a month?

    Perhaps a bit more calmness. Not a lot. You don’t have to wind down, be chill in every moment. No. Take a breath now and then today. Try that 4-7-8 breathing or some other calming technique. At least once. See if it helps.

    In my case. Give focused attention to Hebrew while at Tara’s. Prep that black-eyed Pea soup for the MVP group tomorrow night. Consider driving into Denver to Listenup and buy a new cd player. Smile at that Lodgepole soaking up the heat and energy from Great Sol. Be easy as I do all these things. Not pressing as I might. Not pushing. Flowing with them. Letting the Water of my day find its own path to the gentleness of evening.

     

    And, in other news. In an 8-7 decision Israel’s Supreme Court had its Marbury v. Madison moment and came down on the side of judicial authority. We’ve not heard the last of this one. Also, a Korean presidential candidate got stabbed in Busan. Japan had another quake, a 7.6 with many aftershocks. Tsunami warnings in Japan and Korea. And 45’s star continues to rise among the ranks of the Grand Old Party. May it go nova and turn into a political black hole for all of them.