• Category Archives Music
  • 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.


  • Shtetl Life

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: The Ark of the Covenant. The Tabernacle. The very detailed instructions from Hashem for it. Hoarfrost on the Lodgepoles. Thousands of flocked Trees within my field of vision. My companion Lodgepole glistens as Great Sol reappears on this cold Mountain Morning. Kai, Seoah’s nephew. His writing. Asia. Fan Kuan. Taiwan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Hoarfrost

    One brief shining: Family reaches across oceans, over national boundaries and time zones, does not diminish with distance: Mark writes from Hafar in the desert of the Arabian Peninsula, Mary from Kuala Lumpur, I see Seoah and my son, their dog Murdoch, in their 12th floor apartment in Songtan, Korea, I talk to Diane once a week from San Francisco, all these precious people so, so far away.


    Breakfast yesterday with Alan and Joanne. Always a treat. I handed over Lamb to Joanne. She’s also reading, she says carefully, my copy of Emily Wilson’s Odyssey. We discussed Joanne’s upcoming warts and all early history of CBE which she presents next Wednesday night. She’s well known in the congregation for her wit and rightly so. Should be an entertaining experience.

    Alan’s daughter, Francesca, who lives and works in Manhattan, returns to Denver Monday. She’ll be doing some work here, schmoozing donors for the Jewish charity she works for. I can’t remember its name. Something to do with organs and organ transplants, I think. Then on Sunday she will perform with a trio in the second of Alan and Cheri’s Inspire concerts held in their penthouse apartment on the 38th floor of Inspire Towers. All of the condos from the 38th floor to the 42nd received the appellation, penthouse. Marketing, eh?

    Joanne and I will head down to what she calls the pandemonium for a second time to hear Francesca. Joanne tutored Francesca for her bat mitzvah and loved working with her. These are the sort of intricate and intimate ties that make synagogues so personal, more like a village. Or, a shtetl.

    That may be, come to think of it, what appeals to me so much about CBE. It has characteristics familiar to me from growing up in a small town. I know some of the people very well. I know a larger number casually, some on sight only, yet there are times when see each other, acknowledge each other. The total number is not so big that I feel distance, at least not much.

    Very similar to walking downtown in 1950’s/60’s Alexandria. I’d see folks I knew well. I’d wave at the parents of kids I knew. Some store owners, clerks. We were important to each other whether we knew it or not. Our faces, our bodies, even our repeated locations added stability and confidence to our day-to-day lives. We lived embedded lives, lives where we were seen and known. Sure, this has its downsides, too. Folks gettin all up in your business. Having to interact with folks you despised or, worse, that despised you for some reason. Perhaps forgotten. Never feeling off stage. Yet I’ve found over the years that I gravitate back to contexts that provide this sort of experience.


  • Music to My Ears

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Names. Old names and new ones. Yisrael. Adonai. Names and concealment. Lobster pots. Humor. Hazel Miller. Her band. That parking ticket. Alan and Cheri. Their condo concerts. The 38th floor. Their balcony. Where are all the green roofs? The Front Range in the distance. Snow covered Blue Sky Mountain. The couple I met whose names I don’t recall. Surrender. Music.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Driving down the hill and back up again. With Joanne.

    One brief shining: Joanne gave me a precooked Rock Cornish Game Hen and revealed something that shook me; there are no such things as Rock Cornish Game Hens, instead we buy immature chickens of a cross between two breeds, the Cornish and the White Plymouth Rock, so you can think of them as the veal or the lamb of poultry.


    You probably knew that. I didn’t. Not sure why it shocked me but it did. In spite of an interesting day that news will stick me.


    Over to Joanne’s place and picked her up at 10 for a trip down the hill to Alan and Cheri’s condo smack in downtown Denver. Joanne’s driveway is well known at Congregation Beth Evergreen due to its one way, curvy final approach to her house. You drive up and back down a fair way to a turn around. Alan got hung up in the snow there three weeks ago and had to call a tow truck. Marilyn Saltzman has implored Joanne to make it a turn around. Joanne told me yesterday, “I’m going to fix this.” Many people will be happy, including, I imagine Joanne.

    We drove down I-70 and took 6th into the belly of the Denver urban jungle. Turned left on Santa Fe and drove through the arts district where I sometimes go on the first Friday of the month. Food trucks. All the galleries are open. Up to Speer Avenue, left toward the Convention center with its iconic blue Bear poised against it, then right on 14th to the Spire.

    Joanne is a delight to be with. So quick. And funny. We both laughed at the same time when, just as I finished grousing about I-25, my GPS said, “Take I-25 north on your right.” Her husband of many years, Allen, died a year and some months ago. May I reach 92 and be as with it as she is.

    The in-home concert, first in a monthly series, featured Hazel Miller. She’s in the Colorado Jazz Hall of Fame and a friend of Alan and Cheri’s. Cheri booked the Evergreen Jazz Festival for many years. Thirty people attended. Met some interesting folks.

    Back on Shadow Mountain after coffee at Joanne’s. Not till 2:30 pm. Out of the house at 9:15. One tired puppy when I got home. Also had my required maximum of human interaction for the week. But the week’s just gotten started.


    Ancient Brothers this morning. Workout. Acupuncture appointment this afternoon.

    When Kate and I went on cruises, my appreciation for the days at sea surprised me. Restful, focused on the Ocean. Realized this morning that I now have the same appreciation for days alone on my calendar. Restful, focused on being in the Mountains. Surrender.







  • Aural Prompts

    Samain and the Summer’s End Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Val. Who I think may have been hitting on me. Bless her heart. Zojirushi rice cooker and its first brown rice. Equanimity. Silence. Faith. Middot. Mussar. Emunah and Clouds. Hearing the Voice of the Wind, of the Snow, of the Wild Neighbors, of the Storm. Life in its immediacy. Life as a temporary gift. To cherish. Renaissance music. Cool nights. Gregorian chants. Chiropractors. Ellen and Dick. Heidi. Mountain Jews, my community

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Right now

    One brief shining: The crucifix, bronze and distressed, hung high above the five singers dressed in white tops and black bottoms, two good friends, Irv and Joan, both Jews, joined I learned later by at least one other Jew, as they sang, paradoxically, a high mass from the time of Queen Elizabeth the First, the haunting medieval music somehow transcending time and faith to place us all outside the Episcopal Church in which they performed and in that pure realm of music’s ethereal and ephemeral reality.


    Went to St. Laurence Episcopal yesterday to hear the 27 minute performance of Irv’s Renaissance singers. One of its members referred to what they did as serious fun. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy medieval music, early music. Reminded as they sang evoking both a time long ago and yet a time relevant to the present moment. This music is, to my ear, sparer than most later music, focused on a spirituality, not only tonality. I could feel as I listened the voices of the thousands, millions perhaps, that had sung and will sing about the world we rarely see because we know not what to look for. Tibetan and Buddhist chants. Throat singing. Jewish services. Black choirs. Voices raised in cars and at home. We need these aural prompts to sharpen our sight, to encourage us to see what we are looking at.

    Afterward a wine and cheese reception at Marilyn and Irv’s. I got there a bit late because I went home to pick up a book for Joan, a contemporary Korean writer’s short story collection. When I walked in the crowd had already been hitting the wine, so the first hello Charlie got taken up by others, then everybody. Hi, Charlie! I felt well welcomed.


    And, no. No news on the testing front. Still “in progress.” I’m prepared to live into any result, continuing my life until it comes to an end, either soon or late. No, not resignation. The opposite. I’m not letting go of this gift until it decides to leave my body.


    Looking back a bit. Joan and Albert’s first yarhzeit. Seeing Lauren and Kat, the two bat mitzvah’s from Thursday. Their bat mitzvah service would have been on Masada, as my conversion would have been in Jerusalem. I missed it because of my appointment with Dr. Gonzalez. I gave them chocolate bars from Sugar Jones where I buy my weekly truffles. Ruth at the Blue Fin, smiling and laughing, caring. Irv and Joan singing. A buzzy happy crowd at the reception. A good weekend. A very good weekend. Not in spite of my lagging test results, but because of my life already under way.

  • Gloomy inner weather

    Winter and the Wolf Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Safeway pickup. Safeway pharmacy. Urology Associates. Prostate cancer. Metastases. Erleada. Orgovyx. The Post Office. Kep, who finds his way. Slowly. Diane. Tom. Interlocutors. Alan. Tomorrow. The Ancient Brothers. Early rising. 5:30 am. Omicron booster. Writing over a thousand words a day. How To Become A Pagan and Ancientrails. Snow on its way. Dropping temperatures. My new weather station.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Erleada, keeping the metastases in check.


    Read the clinical notes of my radiation oncologist, Dr. Simpson. Starts out: patient with metastatic prostate cancer. Not sure why but it nicked me this time. That phrase. Especially metastatic. That’s me. I have a cancer that has metastasized. A bit later I got the bill for the P.E.T. scan. $1,000 bucks. Then, tried to roll up the rug in my new home office. Too much. I’d waited too late in the day. Result: gloomy mental weather.

    After that I went to Safeway. Pushed outside my comfort zone ( my mussar practice this month) and went inside to get an omicron booster and pick up a prescription for a drug that had run out early. You have to make an appointment for a booster. I didn’t have to the last time. We’ve always done it this way. I’m here; can’t you just go ahead? No. Sigh. Got in line, 8 people. When I got there. Can’t fill it. Your insurance company says not till January 2nd. Well, fuck it.

    So much for pushing past the comfort zone. By the time I got home with my groceries. Which I was able to accomplish. In a funk. Box breathing. Unclench jaw. Damn it. None of this is a big deal. Well, the cancer. Yeah. But that’s not new.

    Made myself some eggs, sopped them up with French bread. Righted the ship after a no good, but not really very bad day.

    I write this to illustrate how easy it is to get off course with a nick here, a nick there. Good to have some tools. Forgot the How do I feel exercise. But. I did do notice five things. A traffic sign. The Grass. Conifer High School. The pavement. Lovely clouds. And my version of box breathing. Breathe in four counts. Hold for seven. Blow out for eight. Repeat. Activates the vagus nerve. And, take some action. Made myself dinner. Calmed down.

    Chesed. Loving kindness. Not just for the other. For yourself as well. Equanimity is a middah, too. Bringing oneself back into balance. I try to remember to show compassion for myself when I get in these spots. Don’t always remember because the feelings, the downer ones, can dominate. For a while. I also try to bring myself back into balance, realize the context, get a perspective on my mood. Can take as long as a day. Sometimes only a few minutes. Yesterday was in between.

    This drag happens much less these days. Hardly at all. Yet. When the blues strike ya, you gotta do somethin’.


    Which reminds me. If you haven’t seen the Muscle Shoals documentary on Netflix, I recommend it. Highly. A small town in Alabama with a big influence on popular music. Who recorded there? Percy Sledge. Wilson Pickett. Aretha Franklin. The Rolling Stones. Duane Allman. Lynyrd Skynyryd. Bob Dylan. Bono. Etta James. Clarence Carter. Bobby Gentry. Kris Kristofferson. Steve Winwood and Traffic. Alabama. Paul Anka. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. Bob Seger. Leon Russel. Otis Redding. Rod Stewart. And a whole lot of others.

    Worth it for the inspiration.

  • Oh, the Wonders We’ll See

    Beltane and the Beltane Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Deb. Robbie. Tal. Gretchen. Alan. Terrence. Jill. Nights. Lunar red. The full red Moon. Cloudy skies. Skipping Sefer Yetzirah. Learning things in astrology. Not enough. Reading plays. Loving it. Art is not only sculpture, prints, paintings, metal work. Literature. Theater. Music. Oh. Remembering.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Alfieri and Felix

    Tarot: #8, The Stag


    “The Stag shows our connection to the universe and…organic life on this planet. The hatchet is a symbolic image of the human will to alter the environment. In order for the environment to change more positively, we need not only more effective actions but also (to accept) our responsibility to nature. On the shield, the picture of a great Oak tree reminds us that we must preserve and protect natural resources.” tarotx.net


    Wow. Up at 9:22 am this morning. To bed at 10:30 pm. Acting class and pre-bed routine. Woke up and felt great. I went, huh? No time to write Ancientrails before Astrology class. No time to exercise so I skipped Sefer Yetzirah. Skipping class. For me? Hardly ever. I loved doing it this time.

    Had brunch, then exercised. Felt and feel great. Pay attention to accidents. Like the fall, yes, but in this case a late night, late morning. Well. I could do this, I guess. Just because for the last 30 years I’ve gone to bed early and gotten up early does that mean I still have to? No. It doesn’t

    If my acting lessons take me anywhere, which I’m not expecting, but if they do, rehearsal? At night. Performances? At night. Services at CBE? At night. It would open up a different lifestyle for me.

    On that note. I got stuck. My Minneapolis Institute of Arts experience led me to a Johnny-one note approach to the arts. Painted. Sculpted. Printed. Sewn. Splattered. Photographed. Videoed. Yes. If I couldn’t regularly see high quality art of this kind, well…

    Then my buddy Alan suggested I take an acting class. Sure. Why not? At the very least a reminder of a different art form. One I’d engaged in the long ago far away. Whoa. Heart work. Body work. Get the mind out of the way work. Reread some contemporary work like The Odd Couple, View From the Bridge, next American Buffalo. Act scenes from them. Develop the Self in a new way.

    I mean. Like the proverbial 2×4. Oh. Yeah. And music, too. Gotta get somebody, maybe Alan, to help get my audio world turned on here on Shadow Mountain. Will begin again to read classical literature. Metamorphosis first, I imagine.

    As Ode said, routines. The only difference betweeen a rut and a grave are the dimensions. Yeah.

    So I may become a later to bed, later to rise guy. For art’s sake.


    Here’s a realization I had today. When I take something from Taoism, I take it as a Taoist.When I take something from Christianity, I take it as a Christian. When I take something from Judaism, I take it as a Jew.When I take something from Islam, I take it as a Muslim. When I take something from Hinduism, I take it as a Hindu.

    Furthermore. When I take something from Japanese culture, I take it as a Japanese. From Colombia as a Colombian. From the Celts as a Celt.

    Syncretism and appropriation are dirty words in most intellectual circles. I’m not trying to create a new, smashed together religion, nor am I lifting ideas from their living culture to reorient in mine.

    Nope. When I say I’m a follower of Shiva, which I am, I mean I’m aware of and beholden to the cosmic dance of creation and destruction and Shiva is its name. When I say ichi-go ich-e is important for me, I’m saying this moment, this one while I’m typing on the keyboard, throwing these ideas out into the cyberether, will never happen again. And, is precious for that reason. When I say I follow the Great Wheel, I’m an ancient Celtic thinker noticing the stars and the changing of the seasons, tying them together in a long, yet repeating spiral.

    I don’t pick and choose. Nope to that either. Some ideas and concepts that come to me as I read, listen, see change my way. When they change my way, they become part of me, part of my ancientrail.

    Neither striving for nor hoping for a neat package tied up with a bow. Nicely systematized. Not important to me. Insights into life and how to live it? Very important to me.

  • The Lady and the Hermit

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon


    Saturday gratefuls: Bonnie. Sefer Yetzirah. Rebecca. The Guardian. The New York Times. The Washington Post. The Denver Post. The Alexandria Times-Tribune of blessed memory. Kate, always Kate. Alan. Judy. Joan Nathan. Rigel, the sweet girl. Kep, the independent thinker. Ruby. (even though she is an internal combustion anachronism.)

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: These Rocky Mountains

    Tarot: Four of Arrows, Rest. Wildwood


    The rhythms of our lives. A fascinating question posed by Ancient Brother Mario Odegard:

    “The topic comes from one of the opening lines that Robert Bly said at one of his retreats that has stayed with me for many years. He talked about the absence of an inner rhythm in many men. He referred to this as not paying attention or listening to your inner flow. He asked what kind of “music” are you making with your life: 

    What is the inner rhythm deep inside you, that guides you, that swings you, that keeps you dancing with life? Do you need to create a new rhythm?”


    Thinking about this sent me over an edge into the many rhythms that form the backbeat to our daily lives. Day and night. Heartbeat. Blood pressure’s rise and fall. Breathing in and out. Hunger and satiety. Thirst and refreshment. Weeks. Months. Years. Millennia. Birthdays. The Great Wheel’s seasonal changes. As it leaves, so it comes back.

    There’s another rhythm in and down, out and about. That curious dance between introspection and agency.

    Sleeping and waking. Punctuations. Semi-colons.

    Music, too. Of course. Paradiddles. When I took to the inner rhythm that guides you, swings you, I went somewhere else. To the percussive driving beat of a snare, a fast and steady kick to the big bass drum. Justice. Always. A pushing rhythm, one to thrust me out of my inner fuzziness, my inner doubt and fear. Get out there. Boom. Boom. Boom. Crash. Whish. Go. Go. Go.

    So here’s this archetype, the lady and the scales. The sword. Pillars of authority. A veil between her and the world. Let’s say she’s the one playing the drum set in my soul.

    At the barest hint of unfairness I hear a faint brush of wire on cymbal. Attenhut! Is there more to this? Example. Got my haircut on Tuesday. Jackie. I’ve mentioned her before. A very sweet lady. Kate’s friend first, now mine, too. Jefferson County instituted a mask mandate last week for inside businesses. Jackie had her mask on. I did, too.

    But. “Some of my clients just won’t wear a mask.” Puts her in the position of possibly alienating otherwise regular paying customers. And, does an omicron layoff lie just over the horizon? The combination of alienated customers and the financial cataclysm of a shutdown could ruin her financially.

    Not. Fair. Jackie’s in her sixties I imagine. She’s worked hard, on her own, for forty years. Yet she now has to enforce a sensible, but to some, very unwelcome government rule; or, go ahead and cut their hair. Which is what she chooses to do for business and personal reasons. Some of these folks, outside the anti-vax madness are her friends.

    Then my mind goes to other hair stylists, nail salons, barbers, mom and pop shops, shoe repair stores, anywhere one or two folks are both work force and proprietor. Lots of people. Especially in lower income communities, yes, but not only there.

    I play out in my head the steps it would take to organize enough of these folks to demand some simple JUSTICE. Why? Because this rhythm has ruled my life since I was young. I let most of the situations I discover like this, and they are legion, go. Can’t be all things. Too tired and old. Don’t want to anymore. But there’s always the chance, in the operetta that is my inner life, that one will snag me, draw me in past the oh, I wonder what would happen stage.


    It’s time for a new rhythm. One more to the tune of the Hermit. See what I did there? I’m thinking lutes and harps. Renaissance notes. Quiet. Seeking silence and contemplation like the drummer seeks justice. Justice has had at least 65 years to develop a presence, so I don’t imagine she’ll leave. But the Hermit has been around a long time, too. The guy on retreat. The guy who sought Christian mysticism, who studies Kabbalah and tarot. Astrology. The guy wanting to go in and down, not up and out.

    Herme may be the balance to Justice, which pushes me up and out. Into the world. Maybe a battle of the bands?




  • Back in the Mountains Again

    Summer and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Franny and the Jets. Alan, proud poppa. Jon, calmer. Downtown Denver. The 16th Street Mall. The new breakfast place. Beignets. Feeling a bit lost yesterday afternoon.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Front Range last night with the Sun setting behind it as I drove home.


    June, 2019, our backyard

    Back now, reabsorbed into the Mountains. Surprised yesterday to see a for sale sign on Holly and Eduardo’s house. They’re moving to Palm Springs, close to it. Eduardo got a new job with the same company, a commercial laundry. Sad to see them go.

    Holly told me that Jim and Roberta, who live next to them, got divorced and their house will be up for sale, too. We’ll find out how accurate the (seemingly) inflated estimates are for our house prices.

    Drove over to Evergreen yesterday AM and had breakfast with Alan. Cheri, his wife, has organized a big July 4 music festival for Evergreen. She also did one for Memorial Day. A lot of work. Good for the town.

    The continuous rains we’ve had have greened up the Mountains. All the Plants look happy, watered, vibrant.

    Elk Meadow, which I passed on the way to breakfast yesterday, was the first tract of land protected by a community land trust based in Evergreen. It’s big. The namesake Animals lay down in the grass, others wandered, eating. Highway signs say Watch for Elk. Scan the Roadside.

    Got my x-rays back. No cancer, at least in these views. Whew. In the dry and matter of fact way of these reports: “X-rays show no acute changes; just old degenerative changes to lumbar spine and right hip.

    That’s me. An old degenerate. P.T. starts next week.

    Still busy with this and that. Mostly. Yesterday afternoon though I’d paid all the bills, had breakfast with Alan, napped. Nothing really to do until 5 pm when I would leave for Dazzle Jazz in downtown Denver. Got to feeling displaced, a bit down. X-ray findings, while not terrible, reminded me of my own mortality. Which seems more real now with Kate’s death.

    Also, Dr. Thompson told me not to take anti-inflammatories because of “your vascular disease.” Oh. I haven’t taken them for years, but that was because of kidney disease. I have atherosclerosis, my Midwest U.S. diet hasn’t helped. Since mom and dad both had strokes a reminder of the vascular disease sent me down a short rabbit hole.

    Steadied. Sure, I’ll die. When? Don’t know. Today? Well, if so…

    Jon and Kate in his new house. The kitchen looks very different now.

    Alan’s daughter Franny is a jazz singer with a band called the Jets. They played an Amy Winehouse set yesterday. Dazzle Jazz @ Baurs. I saw her there three years ago when she decided to give up music and had a farewell show. Felt like I’d seen the end, so I wanted to see the beginning. She’s young.

    Invited Jon. We had dinner, enjoyed the show. The band took a while to gel, but when they got there, it was good. Being there was therapeutic for me. Saw a lot of CBE’ers and had time with Jon. He’s on a beta blocker now which seems to have calmed him down. A good thing.

    I can now find my way out of Denver without GPS. That feels good. It’s taken a while since I’m not in Denver often. The Mountains, as Jen pointed out long ago, line the western horizon. Angle toward them and you get outta town.

    As I drove home last night, the setting sun backlit the Front Range, giving it a paper cutout look with jagged peaks in black against a blueblack and white sky. Beautiful, poignant.

    When I turned off 470 onto 285, my favorite sign shone up ahead: Watch for Rocks and Wildlife. That’s home.



  • Music

    Samain and the Moon of the New Year (with the great conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter)

    Friday gratefuls: 1:00 am this morning. Time to think about things. Mark and Riyadh. The Winter Solstice. The Green Knight. The evergreen Trees with lights. That big log that burns this year and next. Presents. Holiday cheer. Diane and her Easy Entrees gift. Yum. CD’s. Music. Especially Chamber Music. And, jazz. And, Janis Joplin. Vaccines. 33 days. His moving van. His moving carcass. Climate Change. Covid. And all of its many blessings.


    A few years ago, copying Charlie Haislet, I bought a cd carousel. We put as many in it of ours that would fit. It took a long time and we created an elaborate system for knowing where each cd was in the system. Never used it. Moved it out here. It’s big and clunky. Why did I do that, I wondered? We decided to take them out, replace them in their clamshells. Underway, maybe fifty percent done. As we’ve sorted them, I’ve begun to yearn for more music in my life. Again.

    Kate and I met at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as you probably know. I went for seventeen years, Kate even longer. When we moved to Andover, driving in became less and less attractive. We would want to go. Mean to go. And sit at home anyhow. I love Mozart, Haydn, Faure, Chopin, Ives, Barber. I love hearing them live. Chamber music, after all. Without the big, to me often overwhelming sound, of a full orchestra. So many memorable evenings at the Ordway in Rice Park. In particular, of course, the one where I finally found the courage to ask Kate out for coffee.

    Next. Figuring out a way to connect cd player to the inhouse speakers. Folks before had an elaborate sound system, but we’ve never made it work. Chicken soup? I can do. Wiring? Oy vey. I’m gonna give it the old college try, then hire geek squad or somebody like them if I can’t get it.

    It has given Kate and me something to do together twice. putting them in and taking them out. Oh, well. Best laid plans…

    Awake last night. Spent a few minutes wondering why I eat so much red meat. Result: I like it. An addictive personality I guess, but I can’t quit. Moved on as anyone pondering matters at 1 am is wont to do. Imaging the ending of Jennie’s Dead. The twilight of the gods. A deomachy. Want to write it. Covid. Vaccines.

    Glad for Covid. Got trump on his way. Making us consider our nation and democracy at their core levels of meaning. Sad about the deaths, the isolation from friends and family. Yes. But nothing is only one thing.

    Very glad Biden picked Deb Haaland to run the Interior Department. A Native American in charge of the Cabinet department most implicated in crimes against them. Should make for a very interesting four years. “ … I’ll be fierce for all of us, our planet, and all of our protected land.” WP And Michael Reagan as head of the EPA. Brenda Mallory will head the White Office of Environmental Quality. Both Black. The Sierra Club has had environmental justice at the forefront of its work for years because communities of color are disproportionately affected by dirty water, polluted air, and toxic waste. So, bout time.

    Now we have to win those two Senate races in Georgia. If I were younger and Kate healthier, I’d go to Georgia to work on the campaigns. So, so important.

    What a fucking year.

  • The Plastic Hour

    Fall: RBG Moon, Mars, Orion, and Venus in the morning sky

    Friday gratefuls: Savannah, nurse at Cherry Hills. Dr. Gustave. Sandy, the nurse anesthetist. Right eye cut and healing. Zeiss. Alan. The intraocular lens. Those who invented, designed, and made it. Annie and Sarah. Kate, her wrist calming down. Carne asada from Tony’s.

    Right eye patched. I see Dr. Gustave today at 10:30. A familiar routine. Even with the right eye still dilated, I can see the words I type with clarity. Not before, not without glasses. And, even then, fuzzy,

    I feel younger. Silly? Yeah, but I feel it anyhow. I’m ready for a bonus round with life.

    Wondered what it meant to have Johnny Nash, the singer of “I Can See Clearly Now”, die in between the surgery on my left eye and the right one.

    Checking on the idiot. Give me a sec. OMG. He’s worse. Prosecute Biden and Obama. A rally in Florida on Sunday. Won’t debate virtually. Going out in public when he should still be in quarantine. No boundaries. No sense. Aarrggh.

    George Packer writes for the Atlantic. In the Plastic Hour, he wrote himself into hope after dispirited articles: “We are living in a failed state”, “Failure is a Contagion”. and, “The President is winning his war on American institutions.” He’s brilliant and has a feel for this time we’re in. Recommended. And, if you read it, what do you think?