• Category Archives Weather +Climate
  • Shadow Mountain. Home.

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The hostages. The empty chairs. Rabbi Jamie. Alan. Cheri. This moment. This keyboard. These fingers. The lev that motivates them. My neshama. Yours. Shards of ohr. Tikkun olam. Home. Eclipse 2024. Aurora, Great Sol lighting the morning. A blue white Sky above Black Mountain. Ruth. Gabe. Mark, leaving Hafir in March. Mary, may the forest and the pythons and the monitor lizards and the monkeys be with you.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Change, our only constant

    One brief shining: The way Black Mountain emerges from the night, slowly with only a dark bulk visible, as Great Sol throws more ohr toward it the Lodgepoles become distinct, Snow on Rock outcroppings bounces the ohr back toward Great Sol white and brilliant, a shade of red orange rests for a moment over it all, then the blue white Sky lights up and Black Mountain stands dominant against my western horizon.


    Increasing. My stay on Shadow Mountain tendency. Only the very occasional night out. MVP. Dinner with Ruth and Gabe. Not even services, maybe once a month. Yesterday a solidarity walk with Denver relatives of the hostages in Gaza. Big Snow Saturday and I found myself not wanting to brave the Mountain roads. So I didn’t. Felt a bit of guilt. Ah, Jewish guilt! Hey, I’m really in now.

    Not sure how I feel about this. There are a number of drivers. At night my reaction time is slower. And even with cataract surgery I still get halos and spikes around car headlights. I go to bed early, though I’ve recently discovered not so early for my chronotype, the Lion. Inertia plays a role, perhaps too big a role. Though. This began long ago when Kate and I first started missing St. Paul Chamber Orchestra nights. A long drive and a late night when going from Andover. At some point the negatives begin to push out the positives. This may be that point for me.

    During the day. Still getting out. Breakfasts. Lunch. Thursday mussar. Getting groceries, medical appointments. That sort of thing. Yet I have not gone into Denver to the Art museums and galleries which I can visit during the day. Traffic. Parking. An hour in and an hour back. I’m grateful for Alan and Cheri’s concerts because they’re on Sunday mornings. That way I can still experience live music.

    Not slowing down physically, still exercising regularly, now up to three sets of resistance work plus cardio. My back though continues to push at me. Noticing now if I turn too quickly to my right with my foot planted my hip tends to drop.

    Guess I’m trying to parse out the real limits of my daily and weekly life. Seasons make a difference of course. When winter is over and Great Sol agrees to light more of the evening, it’s easier for me. I love winter. Snow. Cold. But not ice. And not Mountain roads after a storm.

    Whenever I have these thoughts, I think about RJ Devick, my financial advisor, who once told Kate and me that his clients who hit their eighties tend to do much less traveling and their expenses go down. Could be what’s going on with me.

  • The Crunch

    Winter and the Cold Moon

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

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

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


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

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

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


    45 won. We all lost.


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




  • A Bold Return to Giving a Damn

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

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

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Poetry

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



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

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

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

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

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

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


  • Shadow Mountain Christmas Morning

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Christmas gratefuls: Hanukah. Bright, sparkly Snow. Flocked Lodgepoles. Black Mountain white. My son. Seoah and her family. Murdoch. Christmas in Korea. Shadow Mountain. My support and foundation. Tom and Roxann on Kauai. Washington County, Maine. Robbitson. Max. Paul and Sarah in Burlington, Vermont. Covid. Lingers still. Christmas. Incarnation. Imago dei. B’tzelem Elohim. Saturnalia. Christmas Trees and Yule Logs. Eggnog and Mistletoe. Holly and Ivy. Krampus. Great Sol lighting up Black Mountain

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The almost full Winter Solstice Moon last night

    One brief shining: T’was the night before Christmas and I got up at 2 am before I could get up and go to the bathroom the scene outside my bedroom window caught my eye and in spite of the 3 degree temperature streaming in through the slight opening I left I could not look away as the Lodgepole shadows, the Arcosanti bell’s shadow, the shadow of the shed created negative space around the sections of sparkly snow between and among them. A scene in which, if Santa had landed, I would not have been at all surprised.


    Christmas morning on Shadow Mountain. 8-10 inches of fluffy, twinkling Snow. 3 degrees. Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney might swing by on a sleigh pulled by draft horses. Great Sol throws low angle sun beams at the Trees, lighting us up but not heating us up too much. Though. This is Colorado. We’ll see high thirties and low forties later on this week. Odd how a snowy, cold Christmas has been sold as quintessential for the celebration of a Levantine savior. That manger would not have been a safe place for a baby today in the Rockies.

    I’m listening right now to the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. This King’s College tradition is a staple of the Anglican Church and a Christmas Eve program. A musical entrée into the long fate of a Jewish boy born millennia ago. Irony, too. The Anglican Church hollowed out decades ago though as a state church its clergy still fill its remaining parishes drawing a government salary. Read this week that about 10% of them have formed a union. Godspeed.


    I might go out later today for Chinese food. A Jewish tradition that Kate and I followed for many years even before moving to Colorado. Usually includes a movie, too. My hearing has declined enough that movies are not as much fun as they used to be. I miss a lot of the dialogue, making the whole a muddle. Much better to be at home with closed captions turned on. Thanks to Christmas there are several first rated movies available: Saltburn, Maestro, and Rebel Moon by Zack Snyder to name three. I’ll get takeout, come back to Shadow Mountain. I have the best seat in the house.


    Talked to my boy last night. His morning, Christmas day while I was still in Christmas Eve. Always weird. Learned that the painful tests he had for compartment syndrome last week were diagnostic, not a treatment. The treatment is a fasciotomy, a 30% success rate. And, the surgeon who would perform the procedure is passionately against it. It’s also very painful. Probably not gonna happen.

    Saw Seoah’s sister, Seoah in pigtails. Murdoch. The oldest boy came on the Zoom and looked at me for a long time. Not sure what that was about, though I did meet him briefly in September. A bit of snow on the ground in Songtan. A sorta white Christmas. Seoah’s family wanted to go on base for good tacos at Taco Bell and good pizza at Pizza Hut. Not common foods in the Korean diet. And just as well if you ask me.


  • Prismatic Truth

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Gabe. Legos. Night 2, Hanukah. Lighting the candles. The electric menorah. Snow. lotsa Snow. Spaghetti. That free car wash. Blizzaks. Big O. Starbucks. Evergreen. Ruby in the Snow. Kate of blessed memory. Jon, who would have been 55 tomorrow. Mussar. Books, all books big and small. Stacked and unstacked. Read and unread. Reading. What a joy.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ritual

    One brief shining: That Arcosanti bell Kate got so long ago on a visit to her Dad in Phoenix, the one we decided to use as a memorial bell for all of our dogs which now rings in the high Winds of the Mountains for her, too, and Jon, has a large white cap of Snow in the quiet weather of this morning.


    This holimonth I’ve been getting gifts from strangers. The Thanksgiving meal at Urban Farmer. Yesterday the car wash. An attendant flagged me through saying I didn’t have to pay right then. The owner said, I’m ok with free. However. Just looked up on my credit card and I did get charged. Well, it was nice when I thought it was free.

    Had my new Blizzaks replace the 4 mm tread tires on the back. Good thing. Right now there’s more than 5 inches, maybe more like 8, of fresh new Snow. Have to head over to Safeway for a pickup order which is delayed. I imagine fewer staff with the Snow.


    Spent a lot of time reading yesterday. Finished Zornberg on the week’s parsha, the story of Joseph and his brothers, part 1, in which they toss him in a pit, imply to Jacob that he’s been killed, and he gets sold into slavery, bought by Potiphar. That one. Zornberg’s commentaries lean toward the mythic and the psychoanalytical. She sees themes of dismemberment and the power of blood in these stories. I do, too, after reading her.

    Torah study is very different from the higher criticism I learned in seminary. In higher criticism the aim is to find the truth of a passage using language, history, the history of tradition and ritual, textual comparisons, how a text was originally received, to get at what was originally meant, then using that original meaning to comment on today.

    In Torah study the search is not for the truth, but for the prismatic truth each parsha contains. That sort of truth depends on the interpreter, on what they see or don’t see in the text. Different points of view are not only expected but cherished. Commentators on the Torah argue with each other and their arguments often take on a status equivalent to the parsha itself. The mishnah records Torah commentators since the fall of the second temple.

    In the Joseph and his brothers story for example Zornberg uses some of the mishnah as actual Torah text to make her arguments. And this is not unusual. The result is a playful approach that looks for things hidden, things inferred, things that have meanings because they intersect with the ordinary lives of Jews then and now.

    The patriarchs are far from perfect. Isaac gives Jacob his birthright blessing and underwrites it even after he learns he’s been deceived. Jacob fears his encounter with his now grown brother Esau whom he cheated out of both birthright and inheritance. Jacob’s sons dislike their brother Joseph so much that they try to get rid of him. These are not, in other words, exemplars of truth and wisdom, but people faced with difficult decisions and sometimes, even often, choosing poorly.

    This approach makes Torah study a much more human endeavor, not requiring the power of revealed truth, rather requiring careful and attentive reading done with both living company and the thoughts of long dead Rabbis.

  • A bit of this, a bit of that

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Israel. Hamas. Palestinians. Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia, especially Hafar. Malaysia, especially K.L. Korea, especially Songtan. The Rocky Mountains, especially Shadow Mountain. Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities. Maine, especially Robbinston. San Francisco, especially Lucky Street. The Mikvah of East Denver. The three immersions. Veronica. Becoming a Jew. Molly, the kind Dog at the windshield replacement place.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Lodgepoles Branches flocked with Snow

    One brief shining: Snow drifted down as it often does in the Mountains, white, glowing like Diamonds as it covered the black driveway, the brown deck, the blue solar panels gently accumulating, so light and fluffy it could stuff pillows.


    Yesterday and today are Snow days. Not a big storm, maybe 6-8 inches, but a cold one. 5 degrees when I got up this morning. White dominates the landscape. No Kep to run and investigate in the back. The Snow came at a good time, late Thursday and over Friday, after Thanksgiving dinners had been eaten and guests returned to their homes. I’m reevaluating my practice of putting my Snow tires on in early December. Maybe mid-November would be better.


    A quiet day yesterday. I reshelved some books in the loft, moving towards getting them all back from my Hawai’i move sorting. Then I’ll have Furball Housecleaning clean it again. Right now it’s too messy to clean.

    Had to sort out my internet/router connections because my Starlink subscription ended on November 23rd. Took a little doing. Not much. Wish Musk was not, well, Musk. I liked Starlink though at times it was not superior to dsl. It was a simpler connection for me. And usually faster. Time of day mattered. A lot of work from home types living in the Mountains.


    Thanks to Mary and her exercises my back has receded as an issue. I have to do a set in the morning and evening, plus one I do throughout the day if the back starts to act up. Much, much better. Still don’t know how I would fare on a trip, but I now I have tools to take care of myself thanks to her.


    Getting closer to the ritual moment for my choice to become Jewish. I’m excited and looking forward to having to having it done at the same time. I’m hoping a lot of folks show up for the service on Friday and our oneg afterwards. I’ll see these friends I’ve had for eight years as, as Alan put it, a new Jew.

    Not sure yet if I’ll wear a kippah. Feel like I want to, but I don’t want to look silly either. I know, that’s silly. Still… Part of the issue is that I’ve not worn one all these years and it feels odd to contemplate doing it now. Not everyone does. Probably fewer than half at services. Almost no one other than Rabbi Jamie wears one during the week at Beth Evergreen. Not sure I know why they’re worn. That might help me.

    OK. So I looked it up. No particular reason. Reform Jews have typically not worn them at all, though that seems to be changing. I liked the idea of wearing one for certain times, like for services or when studying, or, on the sabbath. More on this later.



  • The Kindness of Strangers

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Friday gratefuls: The kindness of strangers. Prime rib. Mashed potatoes. Corn bread stuffing. Green salad. Charcuterie plate. Urban Farmer. Downtown Denver on Thanksgiving. A solid workout. Snow and cold. 11 degrees this morning. Flocked Lodgepoles. Black Mountain obscured in fog. Fog last night driving home. Snow falling gently. Good sleeping. BJ and Pammy. Diane. Recovering. Mark in Hafar. Mary in K.L. My son and Seoah in Songtan. Me on Shadow Mountain. A good Winter storm.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow and Snow Plows

    One brief shining: After parallel parking for the first time in a while, poorly, I closed Ruby’s door, looked over at Union Station and walked away from it toward the Urban Farmer which sits at 17th and Wazee, downtown Denver had cars in almost all parking spaces, lights were bright, and folks walked the streets hurrying to this meal or that bar when I went in and said, Buckman-Ellis for one.


    Thanksgiving day, 2023. I had decided a month ago that I wanted to eat a good meal in a fine restaurant downtown Denver. Why? Jon died a year ago and we had Thanksgiving up here with Jen, Barb, Ruth and Gabe. My usual Thanksgiving was with Jon and the kids, sometimes my son and Seoah joined us. I didn’t feel like repeating last year’s meal, but I wanted to do something special. So. Downtown, fancy restaurant.

    Though. Ruth called and invited me to Thanksgiving dinner. Her last at home before heading off for college. She cooked. Mia, my granddaughter from another mother came, too. It was a quiet meal. I couldn’t hear well so I didn’t join the conversation as much as usual. I enjoyed the food and the company.

    Afterward we played a hand of Uno. I said I needed to get home before dark, so I left a bit early. As I walked out, everybody came with me. Ruth gave me a hug. Gabe ran in and hugged me. Reminded me of that awful night when Ruth found Jon dead. Mia gave me a hug. Ruth and Gabe gave me another one. Sweet. Jen watched, much as she had when Ruth and Gabe ran to me when I arrived the night Jon died.


    The Urban Farmer buzzed. Silverware clanked. The hostess asked me if I would be ok with a hightop? No. She led me to a two top down a corridor beyond the bar. In my imagination I sat at a two-top in a quiet corner, eating, reading. Nope. A family on my left, an odd couple on my right. Three tables across the way with families. A busy, busy place. Wait people, bus persons, bartenders, chefs moved in and out of swinging doors. Every table in the place was full and before I left they lifted two sliding doors and opened yet another whole room for guests. Not quite the intimate, secluded meal I had fantasized.

    I did not want Turkey. Why I went to a steak house. Prime rib. Decided on it because I like it and it was Kate’s favorite. I could imagine her being pleased with it as much as I was. Delicious. The Corn bread stuffing equaled any I’d ever had. It was a fixed price meal. $90. Reasonable with all the sides and the salad and the charcuterie plate and the chocolate cake at the end.

    My waitress, a Latina, took good care of me. I noticed a young girl working as a bus person who moved fast, taking plates over here, clearing tables there. Always moving. I gave my waitress a five and told her to give it to her because I enjoyed her work ethic. My waitress smiled, said, “We call her Speedy Gonzalez!” A very sweet part of the evening because Speedy Gonzalez beamed the next time she came past my table. Thank you she mouthed.

    Took out my credit card after the last bite of the cake. My waitress sat down next to me and said, “You’re good. A table already paid your bill.” Wha…? I slipped her a tip and said, “Well. That’s something.” Didn’t say why. Maybe because I was an old guy eating alone on Thanksgiving? Or, just a kind gesture… I’ll never know because they were gone. At least I think so. I was a bit flustered. Left me smiling on Thanksgiving. Something to be grateful for.

  • A chimera, a shadow

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Irv’s Renaissance singers. Joan among them. Marilyn. Snow. 11 degrees. My son and Seoah. Seoah at Crossfit. The only housewife. Murdoch the silly. Kat and Lauren, their Bat Mitzvahs. Rabbi Jamie. The Ancient Brothers. Darkness. Israel. Hamas. Hezbollah. Palestinians. Ruth. Gabe. Kep and Kate. Rigel. Melancholy. How do I feel? Heavy. Weighted down. Snowed in. Icy roads.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Minnesota winter driving skills

    One brief shining: Not so shiny this one, more like one brief pall as the coffee cools beside me, trying to do the heaviest lifting of all to bring my soul out of the darkness, move it toward joy and hygge and a warm fire and a good book, without dishonoring my own inner life.


    War. Spinal stenosis. One more thing to take care of. Mom’s death. Memory triggered by changing seasons. Not SAD. Cancer. Anti-semitism. Israel. Palestinians. Terrorism. So successful this time. All these clatter around, poking sharp edges into a soft soul, making me retreat inward, downward. And the train that follows them. A boxcar of sadness. A tank car filled with liquid doubt. A coal car with chunks of despair. Wish I could pull the pin out at least between the engine and the cars let them go, sail off back where they came from. Not yet.

    I feel trapped. Can’t take Ruth to Dazzle Jazz tonight. Icy and snowy Mountain roads. Haven’t told her yet though I did say it was a concern yesterday. Like an old man too scared to drive in a little weather. Disappointing his granddaughter who means so much. Yet I avoid driving on ice. Just. Don’t. Do it. So I see the ads for Senior Living and I think is that me now? Am I finished with the effort it takes to stay here on Shadow Mountain?

    Put myself in that sybaritic one I saw with luxury cars for appointments, travel clubs, fine dining every meal,  a concierge for appointments and tickets and such. Oh, god no. Too much. Surrounded by people my age. No. Hell, no. Maybe an apartment or condo in the city? No. I’m back to that moving to Hawai’i thing. No. I love my home, living in the Rockies. Being close to CBE, to Evergreen. My wild neighbors.

    Oscillating between hell, no and what if I need it anyway? Don’t be too proud, too stubborn. Guess this is my main challenge right now, that nexus between physical health and independence that can be so fraught. Each insult like icy roads can raise the specter of a truncated life, not independent life.

    When those insults come while others crowd in from other vectors, well…

    Once again though. The magic of writing it down, saying it out loud. Seen for the chimera it is. Still real as a shadow though. Sober reflection, yes. Elder agony? No.

    Drove to Safeway yesterday to pickup some groceries. On the way back I turned left to go up the bridge over 285 and Ruby hit an icy patch, kept going straight ahead, hit the curb with both tires, up onto the grass, missed the light pole, backed up, embarrassed. Might have something to do with how I feel.





  • “Pulvis et umbra sumus.”

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Standard Time. My favorite. DST. Boo. Black Mountain, hidden again in the mist. Fog. Frosted Lodgepole Needles. Big Snow on the way. 10-12 inches. Ruth and Dazzle Jazz. Sunday night, I hope. Cell phones. The time before cell phones. Desktop. Laptop. Computers of all sorts. Batteries. EVs. Climate change. Sea level rise. Greenland and Antarctica. Israel. Gaza. Palestinians. Public opinion. Fingers and toes. Skin and nose. Heart and lungs. The Body. Amazing and wonderful. Kepler and Kate, my sweethearts.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rigel

    One brief shining: The Lodgepoles have a flocked look as I drink my coffee, write, look up and gaze out the window toward Black Mountain, that ten-thousand footer obscured not so far away but invisible as the dew point matches the temperatures here on Shadow Mountain.


    We are but dust and shadow. “Pulvis et umbra sumus.” The Latin poet, Horace. Quoted in a poem sent out by buddy Tom Crane this morning. Brought to mind for me the Plaza del Toros in Mexico City where they sell tickets by sombra e sol. Shade or sun. I bought sombra. Worth it as the afternoon wore on and the dead bulls left the ring for donation to orphanages around the city.

    Spent some time a couple of weeks ago researching the ontological nature of shadows. Surprised that the consensus seemed to be that shadows have no ontological nature since they cannot interact with the world. So why then did I buy a ticket for sombra and not sol? Because sombra would be cooler! To me: Q.E.D.


    Here’s a sensation I forget each year only to have it delight me with its return. That feeling of expectation as the weather changes and big Snow is in the forecast. What will it be like, this Snow? How will it change the landscape? Of my yard? Of Shadow Mountain? of Black Mountain? How cold will it get? I can feel the Fire in my fireplace already. Perhaps some hot cocoa in my hand. Reading a book in one of my three favorite chairs. I suppose this is hygge, or the anticipation of hygge.

    What is hygge? Here’s an explanation:

    “Hygge is about cosiness and surrounding yourself with the things that make life good, like friendship, laughter and security, as well as more concrete things like warmth, light, seasonal food and drink.” scandinaviastandard

    How very Jewish of those Scandinavians. Joy as a religious obligation. Hygge as a facet of shabbat. Ah. The Snow has begun to fall. Crank up the hygge dial here on Shadow Mountain. My workout, then a fire and a book and a snack.


    Meanwhile the world flies Palestinians flags and students wear green bandanas in fealty to their notion of Hamas as a liberation front. While here at Shadow Mountain Home we fly the Stars and Strips and the blue and white flag of Israel. Which does NOT mean I do not care about Palestinian civilians. I do. The rules of war, remember? Proportionate response. Protect civilians. No justification with the why of war can erase these obligations.




  • I see you’re slipping into melancholy

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Alan. Joan. Israel. Hamas. The Palestinians. Iran. Saudi Arabia. Mark in Hafir. Mary in K.L. My son and Seoah in Songtan. Diane in San Francisco. Cold morning. Good sleeping. Mary and p.t. Mussar. An off day emotionally. Kep, my sweet boy. Kate, always Kate. Lauren and Kat, adult Bat Mitzvahs next Thursday. Shadow Mountain Home. Herme. October melancholy. Forgot. Darkness. Snow on its way.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Feeling down

    One brief shining: John Destian my long time Jungian analyst gave me a task for Kate; she was to say when she noticed it, “I can see you slipping into melancholy.”; and, so she did for years keeping me aware when my self-awareness faltered, dead now I’ve lost her physical voice but I heard her voice today when I realized it was October the month my mother died.


    The gentle sadness of turning leaves, cold rains. Combined with Mom’s sudden death in October of 1964. Still often trigger for me-59 years later-an inner sadness, a melancholy often felt first by Kate, not me. Yesterday. You seemed so far away. Yesterday. The two women I’ve loved most both dead now. Mom for 59 years, Kate for two and a half. Hard sometimes to be without that special form of support, of caring, of seeing me for who I am whole. And yesterday was such a time. I see that now.

    A tricky bit. Saying yes to the melancholy while not feeding it, not letting it have all the oxygen in my inner world. Yesterday I danced around it, pushed it away. Denying. Kept coming. I felt inward, shut down, wanting to be away from people. Mussar couldn’t end fast enough. My p.t. session went so long. Felt relieved when I got in Ruby and headed home.

    This morning I can see yesterday more clearly. Hear Kate. Reminded too of joy as a spiritual obligation in Judaism. Asceticism is not a virtue in Judaism. Jews celebrate the body and its pleasures; its enjoyment. Enjoy. Bring joy into the body. What can I do today that will bring me joy? Yes. This does not fight or deny my melancholy. It recognizes that the melancholy is not all I can feel. I can also eat with friends, laugh, donate money to a good cause, enjoy a good book. No shame in melancholy or joy.

    Perhaps, too, the unfamiliar experience of being targeted by simplistic analyses, of being on the railed against side of progressive arguments, of being a Jew when anti-semitism has gained strength among people with whom I share political values. New turf for me.


    It’s a foggy morning here on Shadow Mountain, Black Mountain hidden in the mist. Waiting on Alan to message me about breakfast. I have a few errands. Get a printed copy of the mailing label for the Starlink cable I didn’t need. Get that package to FedEx. Visit Evergreen Market. Do some work in the kitchen. Maybe in the living room, too.