• Category Archives Mountains
  • Staying Out of the Kitchen

    The Mountain Summer Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Alan. Tom. RMCC. Rocky Mountain Cancer Care. Radiation Consult. July 18. CBE. Donating money. Great Sol. My Lodgepole Companion. Ruth and Gabe. Paddleboarding and kayaking on the Lake in Evergreen. Barb. Memory Care. Heat. Altitude cooling. Mini-splits. Parkside. Breakfast. Evergreen. Shadow Mountain

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Human Experience

    One brief shining: Saw a squib about a guy with a frying pan and an egg on the sidewalk in front of the Death Valley Visitor center in Furnace Creek, California which sent me to the weather app I use, Willy Weather, to see what local forecasts were and found Denver at 102 for the next three days, sending our 13-16 cooler temps into the mid-80’s, hot for us, but that guy with the frying pan was counting on close to 130, hotter even than Palm Springs at 124.

     

    I can’t imagine living in those conditions, in hot places, any of them. Phoenix. Death Valley. Palm Springs. I like extreme weather, but I like extreme cold and lots of Snow, high heat makes my soul shrivel. Don’t imagine I’m very different from any other human in that regard.

    Of course we’re temperate creatures, evolved for seventy degrees, sea level, and shaded environments at this point, but the norm has never appealed to me. Why I live in the Mountains always hoping for colder than normal. No matter the season.

    The problem though. Climate change. Already sea level rise. Already migrating plants and animals. Already extreme heat. Already more and stronger hurricanes, typhoons. Life will look and feel different in the near term future. As it already does along coastal areas, in unshaded areas, in large cities, in the Caribbean and the western Pacific.

     

    Just a moment: Biden digs in. Biden says he’ll beat 45. Biden says he’s all good. I say, humbug. An extraordinary moment that requires an extraordinary response. Not a pull in the foxhole over my head, fingers in my ears, saying nah nah neh nah nah response. We need a transfusion of political energy and will. I don’t know if Kamala Harris is that transfusion. Don’t know if she isn’t. This is meet the devil at the crossroads time, Robert Johnson might have a clue. We’re all of us on the left singing the I don’t know what happens next blues. Imagining the thin red line of MAGA wrapping itself around our flag and squeezing like a boa constrictor. There is still time. Yet how might we use it? Throws hands in the air. Shakes head.

     

    A slow weekend approaching. Shabbat. Reading. Eating. Talking with the ancientbrothers. Just right.

     

     

     

     


  • Tree Time

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Flonase. Tree sex. Grass sex. Make me sneezy. Leo the gentle. Luke. With family in Florida. Mark dealing with loss in Hua Hin, Thailand. Seoah turning 46 this July 4th. Murdoch. My son, who cares for those who work for him. The unconscious. The collective unconscious. Archetypes. Dreams. Depth Psychology. Rollo May. Marie von Franz. James Hillman. Robert Johnson.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Sleep

    One brief shining: A mystery this slipping into the unprotected, vulnerable hours, extinguishing the busy scanning of the everyday for a nighttime swim in the inky waters of just our Self, a time for only you, only me, rummaging through the storehouse hunting matters that need healing or celebration or acceptance, speaking the language of symbol and emotion, of the deep you, attending to your Self in the inner cathedral.

    On my Lodgepole Companion the yellow male Flowers, catkins, have disappeared. The female ovulate Cones, red and swollen, fertilized, now dot the Branch ends, beginning the transition from female Flower to Pine Cone. These serotinous cones require fire to open them, a hot fire like one produced when the Crowns burn. Crown Fires burn fast, destroying acres of Trees at once. Stopping them tests the mettle of current Fire suppression techniques. Often the Crown Fires burn until they burn themselves out. As once they did always.

    Fire does not destroy the Lodgepole; rather, it opens their seeds to newly fertile soil. One Forest dies that another may be born. Not a lot different from the way death burns through a generation of humans, one generation dying, the other growing up in its stead.

    Annie Novak, the instructor in my Tree Communication class, cautioned us to notice our anthropocentric tendencies when talking about Trees, Plants. An example. We consider seconds, hours, months, years, decades, as important measures of time. How does a Tree experience time? Or, does a Tree experience time?

    Dendrochronologists may use Tree growth rings to accurately place an individual’s life span in our human history. The Tree growth rings themselves? Dead. The heartwood of a Tree functions as a Tree’s columnar support essential to support the Crown as it grows up and up. A key Tree strategy for access to Great Sol’s Light.

    Trees do move, up from their Seed toward the Sky, out toward the space around them, and down into the soil beneath them. But they do not move from their chosen location. They also grow in girth, expanding as the cambium produces xylem cells which push the width of the Trunk out as they die and form the heartwood.

    (NB for the Ancient Brothers. I misspoke about xylem cells. They die and become the strong support for the trunk. In the center of the heartwood xylem cells transport water from the roots to the leaves through capillary action.) The phloem cells, between the bark and the cambium (growing part of the tree), take sugars down from the Leaves and Branches to other parts of the Tree. It is the phloem and cambium that measure only a few human hairs in width.

    Since the heartwood and bark are dead (bark not always, see Aspens for example, but mostly), and the living part of the tree-phloem and cambium-have only a few hairs width presence in the huge structure of the Tree, what of the Tree might experience time? Do we consider the whole organism, which consists of mostly dead tissue, or do we consider the living cambium and phloem only? Perhaps the whole Tree and its growth rings simply are time itself measured in a Treecentric way?

    Lots to think about and I’m only one or two strides into Herme’s Pilgrimage. Where will Herme go?

     


  • The Tree the Realtor said to cut down, Tree #7

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

     

    Too close to the house, she said. And, not growing straight. That was nine and a half years ago. I cut down forty or fifty Lodgepoles for fire mitigation. Another few for the solar panels. Shading them in the crucial hours of the day. But I cut down no Aspens. “Trees like aspen naturally have a higher water content and do not usually contain the volatile chemical compounds that can make trees like pine so flammable.” International Association of Fire and Rescue. The title of the article refers to Aspen stands as natural firebreaks.

    Not why I left it alone. I felt sorry for him/her. Looked like it had had a tough life.

    Aspen Trees are dioecious, meaning male and female reproductive organs grow on separate Trees. Not educated enough yet to know which is which. Though. If it has no catkins, it’s a male. We’ll see. I think he’s a guy. Don’t recall catkins.

    Pando Aspen Clone 2017 photo by Lance Oditt

    Whichever is not too important because reproduction by seed does not drive Aspen increase. Aspen Seedlings do not do well in shade and since Aspen grow in clonal Groves, usually within and around Coniferous Forests, they rarely grow very well. Populus tremuloides, the quaking Aspen, and other species of Populus like big-toothed Aspen (Populus grandidentata) common in the Eastern U.S., reproduce mainly through their root system. It throws up suckers around a Mother Tree and produces clones of Her. You may have heard of Pando, the Utah Aspen Colony cited often as the world’s largest Tree.

    The more closely I examined him my affection for him grew. I wondered why he had this big scar, dead heartwood exposed. Looked like burn scar with all the black Bark around it, but that same coloration existed in many spots on the Trunk. Then I moved around the tree and found this pattern of discoloration on the side opposite the scar. What was that?

    Oh. I see. An Elk, maybe a larger Mule Deer, scratched themselves here. Wait. Yes, the probable explanation for the big scar and maybe for his angled growth. An Elk or Mule Deer dining on his tender and nutritious Bark when he was young. Makes sense to me.

    That’s not all of the insults. Two years ago his Leader cracked off and fell during high Winds. This in spite of the adaptive advantage of quaking Leaves which reduces the force of Wind gusts. I worried it might kill him, but no. He continues to grow. Sadly, I may have to cut him down sooner rather than later. He’s leaning too close to the house in the same direction from which the Winds come.

    I admire Trees, Animals that take injury and accident and disease yet do not give up. Three legged Dogs, for example. Vega. And this crippled Aspen. I hope that when I do cut him down that suckers will grow further from the house. I’d be happy to see him live again in a different spot.

     


  • Herme’s Journey

    Summer and the waning Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The Ancient Brothers. Great Sol. Shadow Mountain. TV. Books. CD’s. Jazz. Mozart. Telemann. Bach. Coltrane. Monk. Parker. Gregorian Chants. Rock and roll. CD player. K-dramas. Netflix. Amazon Prime. Mhz. Starlink. Conversation. Listening. Seeing. Really listening. Really seeing. The Aspen out my bedroom window. The dead Lodgepole.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The lesser light-the Moon

    One brief shining: When I go now to an airport, when I even imagine going to an airport, I recoil, seeing the old Native American punishment, running between rows of TSA employees, airline boarding agents, and crabby fellow sufferers all diminished by the experience, yet needing to pass along, like some fraternity hazing ritual, the same misery to the pledges not yet seated in their too narrow and too jammed together seats. And paying often thousands of dollars to do it.

     

    Still enjoying a post bar mitzvah push sense of opening, of new possibilities. Herme’s Journey, which I imagined after the dream workshop last month, got sidelined a bit by the week of the ritual, guests, celebration, and the week of physical recovery that followed that one. Though. Kavod for the Trees (Honoring the Tree) has kept it alive.

    Herme’s Journey followed thoughts and feelings triggered by my Wabash dream. That dream encouraged me to reenter the life vision I had when I started college almost 60 years ago. To embrace that dream of a long period, lifelong in my hopes of those years, as a student, then a scholar. With libraries and writing instruments my primary tools. With ideas and their expression as my life work.

    Herme, you may recall, is the name I gave to the neon sign I had made of the Hooded Man Card* from the Wildwood Tarot Deck. The name I gave to myself in the wake of Kate’s death, of a mourner then a griever, then… I wasn’t sure what.

    Herme’s Journey blends the Hooded Man Card with the first card of the Tarot Deck: The Fool. The major arcana of a tarot deck tells a story of the Fool’s journey, begun blithely, a bindlestaff over one shoulder, a dog alongside, stepping off into the unknown. In the Wildwood deck** the Wanderer’s journey is through the Wildwood. Yes. My journey, too.

    The Wanderer is a beginner, the beginner’s mind at play in the fields of the psyche. Herme’s Journey is my Wanderer’s path, a beginner’s path, but one begun with the age and experience of an old man. So, Herme’s Journey.

    What lies along this path? Still unclear though Trees play a central role. As does the Great Wheel of the Year and the Jewish Lunar Calendar. As the pilgrimage unfolds, I plan to explore Kabbalah, my long period of work with Ovid’s Metamorphosis, poetry and literature, myth and legend, fairy and folk tales, religion, and the arts: music, painting, sculpture, theater, dance, opera.

    What will come? Again, unknown. It will be the path, not the destination. What I will do is read a lot, write, travel, think, listen, see, taste. Talk.

     

    *The Hooded Man stood at the winter solstice point on December 21, along with the earth and the sun in the night. This is the time to be alone and contemplate life. This card describes the gates of death and rebirth, deep inside the Earth.  Hooded Man

    **A central theme of the Wildwood Tarot is the interconnection of humans with the wild, with animals, and with the calendar cycle.


  • A Doubled Trunk, Grown Over Tree #6

    Summer and the Bar Mitzvah

    Tree number 6 grows near the dead Lodgepole. Like the Lodgepole Companion it lacks Branches at certain points on its trunk. The most notable feature of this tree though is what appears to be two Trunks grown together, fused now, and joined as one.

    Around the Trunk opposite to this photo another, less obvious obtrusion suggested to me that my hunch was correct. When Splintered Forest came through and marked Lodgepoles for Fire mitigation, they always marked those Trees with two Trunks. They have a tendency to split apart under the pressure of high winds.

    I also found several instances of what looked like Fungus, maybe Lichen. I didn’t see this on other Trees nearby and it made wonder what about this Tree attracted them.

    Tree number 6 grows in a small cluster of other Lodgepoles though at some distance from its neighbors. While it is similar to the other Lodgepoles it, too, has distinctive features-Fungus, double trunk grown together, its location.

    As I’ve worked on this project, somewhat episodically, a strange thing has begun to happen to me. As I drive down the hill toward Evergreen, I don’t always see the Forest. Now I see its individual Trees. Not always, but often.

    I love photographs of Animals that show their distinctive personality, their uniqueness. Yes there are Dogs. But only one Kepler, Gertie, Rigel, Vega. Cattle, Horses, Sheep, Mule Deer, Elk, yes, but each one has their own history, their own unique way of being in the world.

    There is an interesting foreground and background awareness going on related to this. Individual Lodgepoles. Individual Aspens. Individual Willows and White Pine and Ponderosa. That Mule Deer, curious about me, who looked in my bedroom window. I find identifying and appreciating unique individuals a good balance to the tendency to lump members of a species together.

    Yet. There is a deeper oneness in which all individual, unique beings participate. We are constitutive of that oneness even as we are unique and identifiable. Our change and growth is the change and growth of the one. We are, at a deeper level, part of each other in a profound, yet too often invisible way. Somewhat like the Root system of the Trees I’ve met.

    Honoring ourselves can lead us to honor what appears to our limited senses to be an other.

     

     


  • Penultimate

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Friends. All of them. Near and far. Family. Ruth and Gabe. My son and Seoah and Murdoch. Mark. Mary. Diane. Tara’s help with some additional Hebrew I got for tomorrow. Tara. Irv. Tom. Paul. Marilyn. Heidi. Alan. Jamie. Veronica. Mindy. Kat. Lauren. Elizabeth. Kate and Mike. Kate’s Creek. Kate, always Kate. Great Sol. Exuberant this morning.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Completing a long journey

    One brief shining: The Shema in the morning, I cover my eyes: Listen, God-Wrestler. YHWH is our God. YHWH is one, touch the mezuzah, still sleepy I pick up my phone, take my morning pills, put in my hearing aid, check for dishes and empty cans of mineral Water, try to remember when I took my synthroid, then upstairs to see Herme still lit from the night and turn him off. A new life has begun.

     

    Bar Mitzvah day tomorrow. Today is penultimate, one of Kate’s favorite words. I’ve practiced. A lot. I’m as ready as I can be. Within one year I have converted, completed the studies necessary for conversion, learned my torah portion in Hebrew so I can read it with no vowels and no punctuation from the torah scroll, practiced leading portions of the morning service, gotten my tallit from Joanne and learned how to use it. Tomorrow the Hebrew meets the scroll as we say. Ha.

    It’s not been easy. At times I felt I might founder under the expectations, the constant study. Like learning a new language. The religious language of an ancient people. Yet each step has deepened my conviction about becoming a Jew. Even with the whole Israel/Gaza mess and the aborted trip to Israel.

    Each time I go in the synagogue, if I remember, I wear my kippah. I say we when discussing matters Jewish. My lev, my heart-mind, has shifted allegiances to this oddly rigorous, yet undogmatic spiritual path. My inner pagan remains intact, nurtured now by Rosh Chodesh, the Jewish lunar calendar, Sukkot, Passover, Shavuot, Tu Bishevat as well as the Great Wheel and the unitary metaphysic I claim every morning and evening when I say the Shema. Reconstructionist Rabbi’s like Jamie, Art Green, Toba Spitzer, Rami Shapiro, and Michael Strassfield continue the radical project of Mordecai Kaplan. In doing so they have, for me anyhow, opened my lev to the intimacy of teshuvah and the world-embracing power of tikkun.

    Yes. But that’s not where it started for me. First with Kate. The convert. A slumbering Judaism that got reignited when we moved to Shadow Mountain and found Congregation Beth Evergreen. Rabbi Jamie made it easy for us to be there, even pagan me. Friends that we made made it home.

    It was those friends who engendered the aha that decided me. Those who enter the sanctuary, the mah tovu implies, make the sanctuary sacred. Our friends. Now, after Kate’s death, my friends. My sacred community. Here in the Rocky Mountains. Among the Mountain Jews. Which now include me.

     


  • Taller than its neighbors at Elk Meadow Park, Tree #3

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Occurred to me today that I can honor any tree I want. Doesn’t have to be in my yard though I imagine the bulk of them will be.

    Today I had a blood draw in Evergreen so I drove up Stagecoach Road to one of the many trailheads for Elk Meadows Park. Got out of the car and walked over to the main path. On the left side of the main path was a stand of Lodgepole Pines. Though the elevation was only 7,700 feet they seemed to be doing fine.

    Probably influenced by reading Wild Trees I chose the tallest of those in the grove for my honoring.

    A sense of the Park
    The tallest in this shot

    This Tree grows in a small Grove on a slightly sloped area. A Colorado Forestry website says Lodgepoles prefer a slight slope and this Tree has found one. Like my Lodgepole Companion most of their Branches push out from the Trunk toward the Southeast. Also like my Companion this tall Lodgepole has almost no branches toward the Northwest.

    Its lower Branches contained fewer male sex organs than my Companion, but shared this characteristic with its neighbors. Further up they began to proliferate. About two thirds of the way up a row of Branches had female Strobilus that were taller and fuzzier than the others. Don’t know what that means, but some of Tree #3’s neighbors had the same pattern.

    The softer, yellowish pine cones are the male organs. The more erect one in the middle is female which will transform over time into serotinous cones. Serotinous cones have heavy pitch sealing the precious seeds inside. Only the heat of a Forest Fire will cause the pitch to melt and allow the seeds to disperse onto the scorched earth.

    When you live in the Mountains, it is so easy to drive past the Trees, seeing them only as a barrier to accessing the slope of the Mountainside. Or, to see them and think they’re all alike. If you’ve seen one Lodgepole, you’ve seen them all. They do share many characteristics. Altitude and soil preferences. Monoecious reproduction. A thin bark. A susceptibility to Fire, especially Fires that advance from Crown to Crown. The hardest for smoke jumpers and hotshots to control.

    Yet they are all different. All unique individuals expressing their full potential in that one spot where they grow, adapting their Branching strategies to the microclimate of other Trees, position on a Mountain, shelter or not from Storms, the nutrient value of the Soil.

    The bark of Tree #3

     


  • My Lodgepole Companion, Tree #2

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    My Lodgepole Companion

    This Tree, a Lodgepole, a Pinus contarta latifolia, stands first in the view out of my window where I write. I can see other Trees and Black Mountain, but over time I’ve developed a fellow feeling for this Tree. Watching Snow sag its Branches. Then how they slough off the Snow. How its Leaves (needles) change color with available moisture. Right now, at the end of a wet Spring, intense green. How it waves gently in a breeze, sways from its base in strong wind gusts. How it remains in its spot, committed and content. I feel it as a literal companion, there when I need it. Always steady and strong.

    My Lodgepole Companion is the center Tree in front closest to the house

    On close examination I noticed it has few Branches spread toward the northwest. Other Trees in its small Grove block the sun from that direction. Its Branches have multiplied on the southeast. Right now they seem to be agreeing with my writing, nodding vigorously as a breeze contacts them. This Tree also has Branches near the ground. Due to fire mitigation needs I trim those off unless, as here with my Companion, the surface is rocky, not flammable.

    These Trees grow close together. Lodgepole Forests have evolved to burn in crown Fires, then reestablish themselves anew when the high heat melts the pitch holding their serotinous cones tight. This evolution might make you wonder, why live in a Lodgepole Forest? As I do. Well. Gee. Shuffles shoe in the dust. Don’t really have a good answer to that outside of beauty and the Mountains.

    I’ve got get to down to the main Denver Public Library which has a special internal library holding of books on Colorado History. The Colorado History Museum, too. I want to chase down the logging history of the Front Range, especially along what is now the Front Range corridor. An arborist I know told me, and I’d already suspected, that the whole area on either side of what is now Hwy 285 was clear cut to build the city of Denver. 285, also according to him, follows the route of the logging railroad built out as far Kenosha Pass, almost to South Park.

    Here’s a map of Lodgepole stands in Colorado. I’ll later post one for North America.

    I want to put the Arapaho National Forest, Conifer, Evergreen, our chunk of Jefferson County in perspective. Who lived here first? The Utes, I imagine, but I don’t know that. Why did they leave? When did the first white folks settle here? When was the clear cutting? How long did it last? What did it ruin? Enhance? When was 285 built? Our small communities, when did they come to be? Why?

    My Lodgepole Companion represents a contemporary Forest grown up, I think, to replace the one clear cut at the turn of the last century.

    Their (I’m using binary pronouns for the Lodgepoles since they have both sex organs on the same tree. Monoecious.) growth has a reason here in the montane/sub alpine altitude range, 8,000-10,000 feet. Not sure what it is.


  • Kavod. Honor.

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Eleanor, Tara’s new dog. What a cutie! Tara. The last practice with Tara. Using a Yod. MVP last night. Joanne’s new tooth. Rich’s weight loss. Honor. Seeing the Buddha nature in another. Seeing the sacred image in another. And in yourself. Honor the other and your self with complete attention. Early finish for my 150 minutes this week.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Going down the Forest path

    One brief shining: Reach out a hand, feel the roughness, the curvature, perhaps put a finger into one of the fissures, sap or resin may stick to it, may have the scent of a Pine Tree, a Pinus contarta perhaps, or one of the Ponderosa Pines a bit lower down the Mountain, their Bark their persona their face to the world, a point of contact between the inner and the outer Tree.

     

    My mussar practice for this month: honor as many of the trees growing around my house as I can. That is, see each of them as an individual, stand with them, look up, feel their trunks, note the marks of their individuality, their uniqueness. Honor the journey of that Tree from seed to maturity. Honor the work they do above and below ground. Remain in their presence. Listening. Smelling. Touching. Seeing. Hearing.

    The Branches as they wave up and down in a morning breeze. Their rampant Strobilus ready to send pollen out to the female flowers. The green Leaves (I know, needles. But this is what botanists call them.) growing in brush like clusters up and down each Branch. Their stillness. Their occupation of one spot for the duration of their life. The Bark, protecting. How the Branches may stretch out only in one direction. The Trunk sways in the Wind. Their height. Even the Lodgepoles are taller than my house, my garage.

    Working on my new purpose. Reading. Observing. Thinking. Not sure where it all will lead. The fun in it.

    Noticed last night driving home late from my MVP group at the synagogue. Trees. The same Trees that were there on my drive down. The Arapaho National Forest. Mostly Lodgepoles. Realized how difficult the density of the Lodgepoles would make a night time hike. How instead of welcoming they became menacing. Barriers to easy travel. Trees change character for Forest dwellers depending on the time of day.

     

    Just a moment: I’ve made a couple of decisions. First, I will sell this house when I’m 80 and move to an apartment somewhere close to Joe and Seoah. Why? They finish up in Korea the year I turn 79. I want to be close to them as I head further into the thicket of aging.

    Second. No more doom and gloom about the orange one. Or MAGA. Or the convinced. No. I’m 77. Life’s gotten a lot shorter. I’m going to continue living my life no matter what happens politically. I may engage or I may not. What I will not do is succumb to despair, constant anger, bitterness.


  • P.E.T. Scan

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: P.E.T. Scans. Radioactive tracers. Bar mitzvah. Torah portion. Service prayers and blessings. Thyroid blood draw. Euclid, a wide sky deep space telescope. James Webb. Hubble. Our local cluster. The Milky Way. Its outer arms. Our home there. Three Body Problem. Wild Trees. Trees as my way in. Colorado Trees. Shadow Mountain Trees.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Universe. (and, thanks for all the fish!)

    One brief shining: Sometimes my mind wobbles when it considers the Universe, this vast interconnected web of all things to which we are intimately yet often over unimaginable distances connected, then I have to turn to the Lodgepole out my window, those Mule Deer munching on Dandelions, the astonishing human body, this Mountain on which I live and my mind says, oh, I see, and steadies itself.

     

    June 2019

    P.E.T.* scan today. An injection sends a chemical that binds to prostate cancer cells and carries a radioactive signal readable by the positron emission tomography machine. Where it lights up. Metastases. If it finds some, a new treatment plan will follow. Possibly back on the familiar Orgovyx and Erleada. Possibly radiation. Depends. Might find nothing right now though we know some cancer has begun to grow again due to my rising PSA. If nothing lights up, I’ll stay off the drugs for now. Probably another scan if and/or when my PSA goes up further.

    Scanxiety. Who knew? It’s a real thing. Any cancer patient is familiar with it to some extent. That tingle that comes with another lab draw, waiting for the results. Or, imaging. Hunting for tumors. Mets. Like I’m having today. I have scanxiety. It’s mild. But not feeling something would seem weird to me.

    Who wants to have metastases confirmed? Sure, it helps identify treatment modalities that will extend my life, but… Who wants to need treatment to extend their life? My rational self knows ignoring my cancer would bring certain death. Not soon, but certain. As a result, I’ll get in my car and drive to Sky Ridge Hospital once again. Wait 45 minutes for the tracer to circulate throughout my body. Lie down and let the highly sophisticated machinery take a look.

    A week from Thursday I’ll talk to Kristie, see what the results mean. Whatever the scan shows, it will not result in a cure. That’s settled. But prostate cancer is manageable. And this is the way that happens.

     

    June 4th Kilauea eruption and the Milky Way

    Just a moment: Kilauea erupts! Again. It’s one of the most active Volcanoes on Earth. Kate and I stayed at Volcano House for two weeks, a National Parks Hotel in Volcanoes National Park. We became acquainted with this vast Shield Volcano, with Halemaʻumaʻu, the caldera home of Pele, the Hawai’ian goddess of fire, with the offerings native Hawai’ians left on its rim. Flowers. Alcohol. Shells.

    May I say that this photograph soothes my scanxiety. This vastness and our living Earth. Together. As they and we are.

     

     

    *How does it work? PSMA, short for Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen, is a protein found on the surface of prostate cancer cells. The “imaging agent” consists of a chemical that binds to PSMA, honing in on prostate cancer cells wherever they are in the body. Attached to this binding chemical is a radioactive “reporter.” Patients are given a one-time injection of this combination molecule into the bloodstream, “tagging” prostate cancer cells. The patients are then given a scan with an imaging camera that “lights up” areas where the molecule has accumulated—i.e., sites of prostate cancer (see photo above).

    PSMA PET imaging may help guide your treatment plan.