• Category Archives Feelings
  • The pit

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Sunday gratefuls: Gabe, turning 16 soon. Ruth, already 18. Art. The Artist’s Way. Morning pages. Rabbi Jamie. Vulnerability. The Morning Service. It’s depth. Alan. Lunch today. My Lodgepole Companion. Friend of Great Sol. The Eternal Moment in which I write this. My breath, each one a new life. The morning of this new life almost finished. The lev.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Cheesecake Factory

    One brief shining: Sat there the red covered book with its pages facing left, turning them trying to follow Rabbi Jamie as he chanted prayers, moved from Blessings to the Shema, then on to the often silent prayers of the Amidah, worrying that I could not match his prayer shawled ease, kissing the tzitzit at the appropriate time, building up a wall of anxiety that held the world of this ancient liturgy at bay.


    Oh my. Went down into the pit of anxiety. One I don’t visit often these days. But I fell into it with a thump, a real downward spiral. Haven’t worked out the inner fragile self that grabbed hold of me and belying its thin arms and legs dragged me into a fog of I can’t, I won’t, I’m not able, I’m not competent. Beside me as Rabbi Jamie guided us through the Morning Service lay the color coded sheet with its yellow slots for Student. That’s me. Those slots needed names, either mine or Lauren’s or Kat’s or Veronica’s. Too many slots with Hebrew or singing attached to them. Too many.

    When I fessed up to my anxiety, I felt diminished by it. Less than. Unworthy. Of what I don’t know. But unworthy for sure. If I were not me, I’d want to talk about this. Find out the trigger. Give compensatory ballast by pointing out the stuff he can do. Has already done. And that this is a moment in time. Which will come and go. Yet this is me I’m talking about.

    So I find that conversation difficult. Perhaps self serving. Definitely not objective.

    Yet here we go. Oh, I’m sorry that happened to you. Must have felt awful.

    Yeah, it did. Pretty bad.

    What do you think caused it?

    Not sure. For sure it was putting myself in Rabbi Jamie’s place, trying to imagine myself doing any of what he was doing. Any of it. Yet facing a situation where I would yes in fact have to do just that.

    I get it. Could it be the old clergy in you?

    Hmm. Hadn’t considered that. Don’t think so, but…maybe? Some of it. Holding myself to a higher standard? That listens.

    Any other possibilities?

    Well, my Dad once said to me that knowing how to get along with people mattered more than my grades. True that, but he didn’t mean it in a kind way. He was demeaning my competency by saying well, so what, here’s this other thing that’s more important. I might have learned from that competency is my way of getting along with people. If I’m not competent, no one will like me.

    Ooff. That’s convoluted. But I get it.

    Could be a generalized fear of being foolish. Wanting to avoid that. I don’t want to foreclose on the Fool’s journey though. What if that’s where I need to be right now? Foolish and brave.


  • Eternal Life

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Shabbat gratefuls: Morning pages. The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. The Socrates Cafe. The Morning Service. Bar Mitzvah prep today at CBE. Parsha Tazria. Lighting the candles. Saying the blessing. Learning my Torah portion. My son and Seoah’s 8th anniversary! Wowzer. Their meal yesterday. I have pictures. Murdoch at the Dog park. Honeybee rides. Scheduled for April 24th. Which, as it happens, is the wrong date. Sigh. I played with different dates. Didn’t check.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Torii

    One brief shining: I look through the Torii that is my back door, seeing the deck and garage beyond, my gaze goes up, to the left and sees the mezuzah placed there by Rabbi Jamie not long after the Hamas raid into Israel, but this day I remember the Shema, that most prayed of all Jewish prayers: Shema Israel, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad, Hear O Israel, Our God, Our God is one, tucked into the mezuzah on a kosher scroll and that the mezuzah blesses each going out and coming in as sacred acts so I can look through my own back door from the inside and see a sacred outside, and through it from the outside and see a sacred inside, knowing then that all is one and all is sacred in this moment and in all others.


    On this calendar Tom sent me. It is eternity now. Oh, well. That’s true. By definition. We don’t have to wait for our time in eternity. My Lodgepole companion and I exist in eternity, as do the brilliant rays of Great Sol shining on us both. As do all three mezuzahs here on Shadow Mountain. As does Shadow Mountain itself. And Black Mountain, too. All cohabiting in eternity.

    Eternal life is this life, these fingers, this heart beating right now. Will my life as I am go on further into eternity’s vast expanse? Hell if I know. Yet I’ve participated in, been part of eternal life. So, maybe? A little bit of head scratching definitional play here. Sure. But, hey! We created the words and the ideas which they express. We might know more than we think we do. In fact I’m confident we do. Hope this eternal idea is one of those things in which we intuit more than we can express.


    Just a moment: Biden creeping up on Trump. Oh be still my political heart. All we need to do is thump this orange tumor clothed in baggy blue with too long red ties. Thump him and his at the ballot box. Then we can get back to politics as forever changed, but perhaps not ushering in the American Empire quite yet.

    Trump is no Caesar. On the basis of competence alone. I doubt he measures up to even Mussolini and Hitler. An inferior autocrat. That’s what he is. And he’s come along when a certain demographic felt hopeless. When all would be dictators arise. Tell me a story, a story in which I’m better than those other guys. Or those other women. Or those others. And I’ll vote for you. Always.


  • SEE

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Thursday gratefuls: Poetry. Rodger Kamenetz. Jewish poetry. Irish poetry. U.S. poetry. Resident scholars at CBE. On dreams tonight. At our mussar today. Morning pages. Julie Cameron’s Artist’s Way. Have to claim it. So, here. I’m an artist, a writer. Artist’s date. A cleared out freezer. 13 bean soup with ham hock. Thanks, Tom. The eclipse. Such a peculiar event.

    Sparks of joy and awe: The size of the Moon and the distance of Great Sol

    One brief shining: The Japanese know about gates, about Torii, marking the transition from the mundane to the sacred, those red and orange Wooden portals so familiar from photographs, Shinto saying beyond here the realm transmutes, and yet if you look through a Torii the view beyond it is a continuation of the one in which you stand, like the rain on the night I saw that Elk Bull on the Forest’s edge, he was not in a different realm, yet he could have been a red and orange Wooden portal because what began at his presence was the sacred realm, revealed in all its glory and majesty as nothing more than the stone path leading to the temple, but, and this is crucially important, nothing less.


    You see. We all see. But do you see? Do you see what you’re looking at? In all of its mundane grittiness? That ragged line of cloth, where the old coat has begun to fray. The too pitted asphalt of the road, its shoulders cracked. The place on the Lodgepole where the Bark peeled away? Those solar lights now lying on the ground, tipped over by a season’s worth of snow pushed and pushed again by plows and road graders. The all too many Trees, too close together, not a natural Forest, but a clear cut of long ago now replaced with thinner, weaker individuals.

    Do you know that gritty look is a mask, a persona for the world? The road will disintegrate, disaggregrate. The solar lights will get re-placed. The coat will go to a tailor. And the Forest? Well, it will burn, thin itself and the two-leggeds who live within its boundaries.

    Nothing stays as it is in this moment though in this moment, this eternal moment, it is unnecessary to know this.

    And yet if you can see tomorrow through the lens of right now, then you can see the stone path, the one that passes through Torii gate, revealed as sacred on both sides of the gate. The gate’s true purpose. To reveal, to remind, to reconstruct the natures of the mundane and the sacred. Both the same, yet different. The incarnation, yes. That’s it. The capture of the sacred reality in the most mundane, the most gritty of all things. Like Black Mountain Drive. A Forest of thin Trees. A wet and staring Elk Bull. Even, and yes, please hear this as well as see it, even in that hand that types, that clicks the keys and sends these pixels out, these sacred pixels, to you.

  • Apres la psilocybine

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Up early. Cleaning out the freezer. Two weeks from today, Amtrak. Shadow Mountain Home. Rebecca. Wild Alaskan. Black Mountain Drive. Brook Forest Drive. Shadow Mountain Drive. How I get down the Hill. Kate’s yahrzeit approaching. Eight Track Day. My transistor radio of long ago. Ruby. Will need summer shoes.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The generator

    One brief shining: Could be the morning rises with a hint of darkness reluctant to let go, with a slow and lazy illumination spilling like molasses first over the base of Shadow Mountain, then up up up defying gravity, turning on the lights as it goes, until Black Mountain, my Lodgepole companion reappear, and another Colorado blue Sky day has begun.


    Gotta leave this writing a bit early, but will return. Biweekly trash day and I’m clearing out my freezer, getting ready for Spring and for a less hoarding way of using the freezers -21 degree temperature. Trash has to be out by 7 am in case the routes have changed. Mostly ready but the freezer clean out had to wait until just before I move the clunky plastic bins. Bears. As I long I put the freezer contents out still frozen, their scent should not become a problem. Bears have just begun to wake up and they’re hungry. Long, long nap.

    Life is different in the Mountains. In any rural area with Forests and Wild Neighbors. The back and forth between humans and their environment never disappears in a cloud of bus exhaust or the twinkling of store lights. Here we have to travel within the Wild Neighbors’ domain. They are not relegated to alleys and basements, parks and open spaces by streets and acres of buildings, apartments and factories and businesses, hospitals and schools. We two-leggeds are the interlopers here. Exactly. Interloping. Loping along in our metal noisy contraptions.

    Careful now. Weeks old Mule Deer and Elk and Moose wandering the Arapaho National Forest. Fox Kits and baby Porcupines, Marmots, Albert and Red Squirrels all waking up to their first Mountain spring. We must lope with attentiveness. With care. Bear Cubs. Mountain Lion Kits.

    Not green here. Not yet. Still plenty of Snow in the back. On the ski runs of Black Mountain. In the shaded parts of the National Forest. Occasional scents of thawing Soil. The hurried babble of Mountain Streams draining rocky heights. (Gone for about 15 minutes. Finished. Freezer clear. Trash bins rattled out to the driveway’s edge. Waiting for the truck.)


    Just a moment: Apres la psilocybine. Surrender. Not resignation. Not aimlessness. Definitely not submission. Perhaps openness. Acceptance. Wu wei. That moment while watching the Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphs scroll across the ceiling of Heidi’s therapy office. That moment when in response to an inner doubt. I’m not using this trip well. I’m having too much fun. Very Calvinist inner dialogue. That moment when I wondered what I needed now. Up came the word surrender.

    And it lodged in my consciousness. Where, to this day, it filters moments and conversations. Finding evidence. That woman I know with stage 4 breast cancer. Who said cancer had clarified life. Distilled it to its essence. She asked me if I’d had the same experience. Not quite. But that crisp December morning on Crooked Top Mountain. Yes. Clarity.

    All of us over 75 are in stage 4 life. We’re terminal and we know it. Clap your hands. Life did not end abruptly for us. As it did for my mom, for example. No. We have the chance to pass through the last of the gates, the one that opens to eternity, knowing. If we surrender ourselves. Accept death for what it is. A final mystery. One that hides its truth even now.

  • Thin Air

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Tuesday gratefuls: Diane and her town. Tom and the eclipse. A Mountain morning slowly appears. Black Mountain and my Lodgepole companion emerge from the dark. Ashley. Good doctoring. The end of the power outage. Internet outage. Making plans for San Francisco. Judaism and paganism. A good fit. Talmud Torah. Reading. More and more. Spring.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Power

    One brief shining: Walking out the door my hand reaches up, touches the mezuzah, a jolt of tradition turns the threshold into a sacred place, the act of leaving home a pilgrimage no matter I’m going to the grocery store, to get a haircut, to fill the car up with gas, and while I travel those pilgrimage holidays might come to mind, especially Pesach since it’s less than two weeks away making me wonder what needs liberation in my life, what needs to rise up and leave the soul’s Egypt, then I put the credit card in the reader and buy gas.


    Frustrating. Having no internet. I could get and make phone calls, texts, but that was it. Verizon is its own network. I could see a Nextdoor post but not access it. My county, Jefferson, had the highest Wind gusts in the state at 96 mph. Downed Trees took out power lines and internet service. Could have been bad. Or, worse. A downed Tree hits a power line, sparks. Then, Fire driven by the Wind.

    Due to having no internet I was not really sure what was going on. I imagined it was downed power lines, but had no way to know for sure other than calling my electricity utility, C.O.R.E. Would have been on hold so. Pass.

    Kohler generator kicked in when the power went out. It’s a whole house generator, but due to altitude its efficiency is compromised. So my mini-splits did not work. Not a big deal in April. I did eventually turn on the hot water heat for the walkout level, but only for half a day. The stove, an induction stove, was out, too. But the air fryer and other appliances worked.

    It’s been a Mountain time of late with the three and a half feet of Snow followed by high Winds and power outages. Both isolating, both not unusual. Just uncommon. Spring in the Mountains.

    Today the mini-splits distribute heat gathered from the Air outside. The stove works again. Shadow Mountain Home has returned to its normative state. Good to have reminders of how fortunate we are.


    Just a moment: How Thin Air and Summer Snow Can Heal the Soul. NYT, April 8. Found this title yesterday with a beautiful shot of Mt. Whitney luminous in Great Sol’s early morning light. Haven’t read the article yet, but the title. Well. Living at 8,800 feet. Snow visible on certain Mountain peaks throughout most of the Summer. Hmm. Could have been the tagline for the days and months and now almost three years since Kate died.

    April 12th. She’s gone. Thirty-one years of marriage dissolved not by a court, but by a last breath. Ooff. Mourning lasted a month or so. Grief still has its moments. As Joanne and I acknowledged last week, often when we see a loving relationship on TV or IRL. Missing that with Kate. Or, in her case, Albert. And, also, missing it in our lives right now. Ooff, again.

    Yet. The thin air here. The vestiges of Winter serving as a reminder of grief’s long visit. The people I love here. The Wild Neighbors. The seasons changing. Life continues. So does death.

    Kate, always Kate. Of blessed memory.

  • The Good Boy. Again.

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Monday gratefuls: Power back on! Internet back up! Exclamation points available! Only a bit over 24 hours but felt longer. Bleed appointment reassuring. Working on the Good Boy and his fears. Finishing Three Body Problem book. Reading There, there. And The White Road. A beautiful, calm day in the neighborhood. C.O.R.E. linefolks. Good work.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sparks of electricity

    One brief shining: Not sure what your triggers might be, here are a few of mine: must, should, have to, no choice, get on it now which of course reveal an underlying trigger too often tripped by those with imagined authority over me, my life, my choices, you know, you’re not the boss of me.


    Wanted to unveil an inner dialogue I had at 7:00 am today on the way to an appointment with a G.I. doc. While driving I rehearsed, “I’ve been without power and internet. I couldn’t have signed in.” “Are you even in the service business? Where do you get off telling me I must sign in?” “My late wife retired because she was so tired of this sort of medicine.” And other similar phrases.

    I wasn’t sure I’d make the 7:30 appointment. The first trigger. One of my own. Rocky Mountain Gastroenterology text saying: You must sign in for your 7:30 appointment. Second trigger. Internet down and power out. Third trigger. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, late, angry, defensive. Ready to go to battle with the evil empire of capitalist medicine. For about 20 minutes of drive time.

    And, I knew I was being this way. Tried to talk myself down. Failed. Finally got to a point where I could walk in and say, “Hi, I have a 7:30.” The folks behind the desk coudn’t have been nicer. They helped me get signed in, were solicitous, kind.

    Ashley, the P.A., was sweet. Knowledgeable. The bleed. Scary, but not life threatening. Might happen again. Good to be prepared. She had a sensible plan that includes checking my anemia, considering then whether to do a more invasive exam. I liked her.

    This was all about the Good Boy. The part of me that wants always to slip through authoritarian gates unnoticed. Neither defensive nor obeisant. Not sure why I’m so conflicted about authority, so eager to avoid its grasp. Might be Dad. Might be a more generalized angst about being trapped because of someone else’s rules.


    Just a moment: Iowa lost. But Caitlin. Ah, Caitlin. “I never sit and sulk about things that didn’t happen.” NYT

    This young woman is the complete package. Skilled, persistent, determined, sound work ethic, and now with inner calm. Be like Caitlin.


    In other news: Wars and rumors of war. Elections and rumors of denial. An eclipse with a prediction of clouds. And it has ever been so. The immediate, the happening causes us to gaze into the future, dragging it with us as we look. Ukraine and Gaza. Can WWIII be far behind? Biden and Trump. Who will claim to have won? Totality. What does it look like under cloud cover? Might be easier to live with what is and not wonder what will be.



  • Alembics

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Diane. San Francisco. Bechira points. MVP. A family. Rich, powerful conversation last night. Blintzes. Joanne. Marilyn. Irv. That wide open Spring feeling. Anything is possible. Blood draw today. PSA and testosterone. Blood pressure. The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson. Formula 1. Baseball’s opening day. Feeling significant.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Deep friendships

    One brief shining: We gather once a month, driving from our Mountain homes beside Streams and through Forests, to the synagogue, arriving as the Hebrew School ends, kids bouncing off walls, sliding on handrails, put down what food we’ve brought, perhaps as I did last night, the material for the discussion, too, and slowly ease ourselves into the presence of the others.



    Not sure the activity matters. What matters is persistence. Showing up. Listening. Speaking your own story. Even if only between songs, or whacks at the golf ball, or over the sound of crochet needles thwacking. Over and over. As years go by the stories become familiar. Even our own story. The polished versions, the ones we use when unsure of the crowd, fall away and the tarnished ones slowly reveal themselves.

    This is the way of kehillah. Of sacred community. Of friendship. The Woolly Mammoths, for example. Not knowing what we were doing. Well over 35 years in now. No longer needing to know what we’re doing, embracing the becoming, the deepening. All really because of persistence. We showed up. Two nights a month for years and years.

    Could have been a poker game, I suppose. Maybe a print-making co-op. Instead it was a bunch of guys who Velveteen Rabbited themselves into real men, often exposed and dangling from another of life’s precipices, yet still welcome, still seen whole. Gathered in.

    Memories of time together. At Villa Marie. At various spots on the North Shore. In each others homes. In restaurants. At the Nicollet Island Inn in that one room decorated for Christmas. You might call it a form of group marriage, within this meeting I pronounce you man and men. As long as you all shall live. What sacred time has joined together, let no man pull asunder.

    An alembic. That’s what these community choirs are. These sheepshead games. These exercise mornings. These rummy cube games. These gatherings on the first Wednesdays at CBE. Alembics for the soul. A place of transformation, of transmutation, of lasting change.

    I’ve been privileged to be part of several. Where the heat of vulnerability softens and opens a soul. Allows it to see itself anew, or, better, as it truly is. That’s where we’re going in these alembics. Running not away from ourselves but to ourselves. Feeling and getting support for who we most truly are. After the polish wears off. After the achievements drop away as inconsequential. As we do, the journey becomes easier. Lighter. Less burdened with expectations.

    If you’re part of an alembic right now, cherish it. Persist. By staying in you achieve the alchemist’s dream. You can turn lead into gold.

  • The Day After

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Monday gratefuls: And yet more Snow today. Sigh. Yay! The day after Easter. Incarnation. Another big religious idea. April Fool’s day. The Fool in the Tarot deck. April. The cruelest month. Dawn. Spring. Choice points. Choice points that build community. Talking Story. Clan Keaton. San Francisco. Amtrak. Defeating inertia. Lucille’s New Orleans cafe. Alan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth turning 18

    One brief shining: The day after Easter has a dawn, too, can you imagine that day when the disciples and others gathered around the resurrected Jesus, wanting to touch him, to deny, to embrace, to wonder, to laugh, you’re back, and we thought, well, we thought…


    No. Again. Does not have to be a historical event anymore than the story of Persephone and Hades, or the Bremen Town Musicians, or Hansel and Gretel. We can still lean into the story, imagine what it might have been like. Use that imagining to flesh out our own response to the idea, in this case, of resurrection.

    Wouldn’t you want to test resurrection? Kick a tire? Look under the hood? See if the idea could unwrap dead selves, dead gifts, dead hopes? I would. I did. Many years of Jungian analysis found me sifting through dreams, through active moments of my imagination, reexperiencing the traumas of Mom’s death. Of the strained and then withered relationship with Dad. Of that moment when I dropped German for fear of a low grade. Of fear itself trapping me in its silk web, bound and trussed, waiting only for the spider to finish its work.

    Then there came that dream, a big dream, as Jung called them. In front of a large crowd I held a sword, lifted it with both hands above my head. He has the power they whispered. He has the power. And I knew I did.

    Yet this use of resurrection is not one and done. No. Throughout our lives we continue to let fear or regret or guilt or shame wrap key moments in a soft protective shell, imagining it’s better that way. There, there. You don’t have to worry about that. We’ll just put a bow on it and place on the shelf here.

    The Easter story says, hey! Unwrap that box. Roll that stone. Take your shears and cut that web, let it drop away. Though your fear sought to protect you it’s time now to say its work is over.

    This is the work of the day after Easter. Work that can only be done in the light of a day when resurrection has become a settled reality for us.


    Just a moment: My Midwestern heart loves basketball of all sorts including the reigning NBA champs the Denver Nuggets and the plucky women of Iowa, especially Caitlin Clark, and it beats strong today as Iowa faces LSU, replaying the NCAAW championship game from last year. Go, Hawkeyes!

    My American heart grieves for the people of Baltimore, an already difficult urban area hit with a one hundred thousand ton body blow.


  • Wakin’ up mornin’

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Spirited Away, my biopic for the Ancient Brothers. Dawn and the longer days. Spring in an adagio, playing slowly toward its late April, early May crescendo. A short season in the Mountains. Each living thing up here, the Wild Neighbors, the Humans, all the Plant life, the Fungi and Lichen, the Soil Microbes, Streams and Rock Faces, Boulders and Talus has begun to respond, to anticipate the changing temperatures, to give birth, to run a little fuller, to find more light and the increased warmth of Great Sol each day.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: That great wakin’ up mornin’

    One brief shining: What in my inner Shadow Mountain needs to have the stone rolled away from its tomb, what dark and hidden fear or regret or failure has lain too long on the stone slab of its occultation, waiting for an Easter morning of the nefesh, a push toward consciousness of that shard of my past buried because its edginess could not be accommodated in a forgotten moment of psychic pain?


    Yes, it’s Easter morning. The most famous Jew in the world has his special day. Resurrection. What a splendid piece of mythology, one we need, have always needed. Will always need. It is not blasphemy to recognize that resurrection need not be a historical event for it to be a profound reality. Its mirroring of the vegetative cycle, of course. But also its blatant affirmation of the human journey from inner darkness to enlightenment.

    What do you fear about the course your life has taken? Did you shame your parents? Push down your gifts in service of the material God, Mammon? Hurt the one you loved? Loved the one you never had the courage to talk to? Which death bed in your life shook your inner world, perhaps opened a crack into the abyss? Steal or commit fraud or murder? Sure, it could be that tenebrous.

    All of these and so much more we tuck away, morticians for our own pain, placing rock after rock over the fearful and shameful. Like Jews even when we visit the grave we put yet more rocks on. Can’t let that get out. Gotta keep that crucified part of our past away from the living parts of ourselves. Because it could ruin everything. Couldn’t it? Wouldn’t it? Shouldn’t it?

    That Shadow Mountain of yours, how many sites does it have? Perhaps a mausoleum? Two? The ashes of your past still preserved in small urns of repressed memory.

    Here’s the Easter sunrise service promise. Humanness is glorious, all of it. Even the moments of pain and shame. I left my dreamed of college, Wabash, for a state school. Ball State. A teacher’s college. I drank myself through my early twenties. I had two marriages and a sort of third. Judy. Tina. Raeone. I went to seminary because I needed a trade, a place away from the papermill. I couldn’t bear the sight of Kate’s corpse, of Vega’s pleading look. And so much more. All put away in the mountain that is my Shadow. Yet as I have called these and many others to the light, as I have put my shoulder to the stone once rolled across their tombs, I have become more not less human.

    We are not only good. We are not only the worst things we have done. We are now the result of all those moments pushing against each other, shaping and forcing our growth. All of my previous marriages prepared me for the ancientrail of intimacy I found with Kate. And ensured that I know how fortunate I was. At Ball State I majored in two disciplines, philosophy and anthropology, which had few majors. The result? A close and careful journey through two departments with full professors. Both Kate’s corpse and Vega’s pleading reminded me of the limits of my own ability. An oh so important learning about aging. And death.



  • Tradition

    Spring and the Purim Moon

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

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

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Taxes

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Skiing bonded Jon and Ruth. As did art.


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

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