• Category Archives Judaism
  • Shabbat and Political Optimism

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Tom. Alan. Diane. Marilyn and Irv. Ginny and Janice. Janet. Luke and Leo. Rabbi Jamie. Jewish prayer and liturgy. Wild Neighbors. Shadow Mountain. Black Mountain. My Lodgepole companion. Great Sol. Odysseus gone to the Moon. Living alone. 77. Blood pressure. Prostate cancer. Riley. Ginny. The next generation. Mark and Saudi. The MIA and its troubles.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The MIA (Minneapolis Institute of Arts)

    One brief shining: Sat there in my serious reading chair, my long time buddy Tom on the newly reupholstered couch, both of us with a can of seltzer water, both engaged in that mutual investigation of our inner lives that typifies our relationship, enjoying seeing and being seen.

     

    Already looking forward to shabbat. Interesting. It beckons me, the sabbath bride waving, coming closer. She is the Shekinah, a feminine metaphor for the godliness of becoming. She represents malchut, the manifestation of becoming that we experience each day, the destination sought by all the sefirot on the tree of life. Once reached the destination changes to teshuvah, return, return to the crown of creation, the keter. That cycling of sacred energy, of thought becoming plan, plan becoming actions, actions flowing into this world, making it and keeping it vital, is the One. The one is becoming. The becoming is one.

    Once again those words from a post earlier this week: prana, chi, life force, breath, soul, love, the sacred, the divine. That buzzing, blooming mix in which we all live and move and have our becoming. No wonder ancient healing technologies want to find and direct that energy, turn it toward wholeness rather than destruction. Whether it can be found through the instrumentalities of scientific inquiry does not matter. Empiricism has its limits. And one very clear one is its understanding of life itself.

    Whew. Well. That took a dive into the deep end. Let’s swim back toward the middle depths.

     

    My inner pollster/pundit/analyst has begun to smile. I know, we’ve all been there before and gotten burned. However, hear me out. Listened to an Ezra Klein podcast, “The Strongest Democratic Party that any of us have ever seen.” Came away from that feeling hopeful.

    Been considering these several things: First and foremost, the vacating of Roe v. Wade. A decision against precedent, against stare decisis*. This will mobilize women in red and blue states, their allies, too. It will be a mobilization against not just Trump, but against the Republican party because red states have pushed quickly into the no abortion ever under any circumstances zone. And, of course, the most recent and perhaps the most egregious post-vacating instance (though there are many from which to choose) in the discovery of the Alabama Supreme Court that all embryos are children. Because God said so.

    Second, the evidence in the Ezra Klein show of a solid and working political party ready to dive into the most consequential election of our history. A good organization is the sine qua non of electoral victory.

    Third, the orange one who in addition to ironically selling clown shoes has gone further into the weeds of his fever swamped mind than ever before. A dictator for a day? Really? Punish enemies using the Justice Department? Sic the Russians on NATO countries that don’t meet his criteria? Not to mention all those criminal and civil actions against him. I know all this only makes his base love him more, but it will not play the same way in the hearts and minds of independents and Republicans who have not lost their sanity.

    Fourth, the evidence in Heather Cox Richardson’s book, Democracy Awakening, about the many times we’ve faced authoritarian threats and overcome them. She shows that though we cannot be complacent, the historical view finds we can rally and defeat the enemies of democracy. May it be so.

     

    *”Stare decisis is a legal doctrine that obligates courts to follow historical cases when making a ruling on a similar case.” Stare decisis


  • This. That.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon (92% Waxing)

    Wednesday gratefuls: Mario and Babette go to France. Tom goes to Evergreen. Mark (brother) may leave Hafar. New Mexico. 5 hours away. Marilyn and Irv. Primo’s. The Cutthroat in Bailey. Happy Camper. Jamie the phlebotomist. Blood draws. PSA and testosterone. Murdoch. Kep of blessed memory. Rigel, too. Gertie and Vega. Kate, always Kate.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mario and Babette at the airport, ready to travel

    One brief shining: Unbutton my sleeve, roll it up above the elbow, set the elbow on the front rest of the phlebotomy chair, I’ll use a smaller needle she says to preserve that vein, little pinch, the needle is in and blood spurts out into tube number one, then tube number two, there you’re a tablespoon and a half less of a man.

     

    Yeah. Three months are up again. And this blood draw is significant. My testosterone should be up and as it goes up the likelihood that my PSA goes up rises along with it. Dr. Simpson told me, when we finished the second round of radiation, that there was a small chance I was cured. This is the test that might cancel that idea. Or, support the possibility if I get another undetectable PSA while my testosterone goes up. Not counting on either one. Results should be back this morning.

    On Friday I telehealth with Kristie. Assume I’ll have a new urologist/oncologist. As you may recall, my old one, Dr. Eigner, retired in December. Kristie and I will discuss what happens next in light of the results of the surveillance labs. Another step along this path.

    A bit of anxiety, peering into the unknown again. Between here and there.

     

    Breakfast with Marilyn and Irv yesterday. Always good to see them, get caught up. Primo’s. We were going to try the new Conifer bakery, Wicked Whisk, but it’s closed on Tuesdays. Driving to Primo’s on 285 there is a grand display of snow-capped Mountains in the distance, beyond the Platte River Valley.

     

    Going to be some folks here for my bar mitzvah. Some Ancient Brothers. Probably Pamela and BJ. I hope Gabe and Ruth can come. No real plans for an after party yet. The service is at 10 am so it would be way early for anything but a lunch or an enhanced oneg. The four of us haven’t gotten together yet and discussed what we might do. Whatever it is, it will involve food.

     

    I seem to have misplaced or outright lost a book. You might think this would not be unusual at my house, but you would be wrong. I have an excellent memory of where I last had a book. This one though, the Rights of Nature, which I’m reading for a Rocky Mountain Land Library book club has vanished from my sight. Frustrating because the book club meets on March 3rd.

    I’ve exhausted the possible places it could be and still not found it. I like to complete my assignments. Hard if I can’t find the book. Oh. Looked it up on Amazon. Bought it on Kindle. No hard copy to find. Guess that explains it.

     


  • Prepping

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Pan-psychism. The Sacred. The Divine. Consciousness. Chi. Prana. Ruach. Neshama. Soul. Life force. A Mountain Night. The Moon casting light on the Snow, shadows of Lodgepoles. The neighbor’s security light. Cassiopeia. The Great Bear. Pleiades. Orion. My friend. The Mule Deer and the Magpie. Love.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Shadow Mountain Night Sky

    One brief shining: Each night I arrange my cache of blankets just so, switch on the electric one, wiggle in and wait for everything to warm up, while doing that I look up out my window to the northern sky and see Cassiopeia peek out from behind the same Lodgepole and find that comforting, some stability, predictability before entering sleep when, the rabbi’s say, your soul is taken from you which is why we Jews pray a prayer of gratefulness when we wake up, thanks for returning my soul. Resurrection.

     

    Preparations for the B’nai Mitzvah service began yesterday. The four of us studying the morning service together, the liturgy we will use on Shavuot. I attended by Zoom, wish I’d gone in person. Everybody was there but me: Rabbi Jamie, Kat, Laura, Veronica, and Laura Berman. Kat, Laura, Veronica, and I will celebrate our b’nai mitzvahs together. B’nai mitzvah = children of the commandments. Reflecting of course its more usual occurrence at puberty.

    At 77 I’m the oldest of the group by a good 10 years I’d guess. We’ve not exchanged ages. Initially, each of us would have had our ceremonies in Jerusalem, Veronica and me our conversions, Kat and Laura their bat mitzvahs. Now Veronica and I have been through the beit din and mikveh so we can proceed with our b’nai mitzvah.

    My torah portion is coming along. I’ve gotten reading it down. With vowels. On the day of though the torah has no vowels, so there’s more learning yet to do. How to read the same text without the pronunciation aid of vowel markings.

    Part of the preparation will involve choosing parts of the service we each will do in addition to our torah portions. I’m more than a bit nervous I might have to chant, or god forbid, sing. Not. My. Thing. I hope we can find a work around for me.

    This preparation fit well into my shabbat practice which includes torah study and reading for my conversion classes with Jamie. Last night I lit the candles at 5:16 pm, five minutes later than the week before. I’ll have the blessing memorized by this week or next.

    It may seem surprising that I’m as focused on ritual observance as I am, which is not very compared to what it could be. I find ritual does what it’s designed to do. Establishes a mood, separates a time or an event out from the mundane. After I light the candles, shabbat has begun for me. I settle into a quieter, more relaxed space. Immediately after I light the candles I go to my chair and read the week’s parsha. Perhaps some commentary. My shabbat has begun.

     

     

     


  • 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.

     


  • Shabbat

    Shabbat post. Wrote one I decided to keep private, but I’ll be back later today with a new post.

    Imbolc and the 77 Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Snow. Cold. Winter Storms. Bringing Water we need. My own tiny Aquifer. A steel blue overcast Sky. Black Mountain gone. (I suspect it’s still there, though) Lodgepole Branches gathering Snow. The Supreme Court. Alan. Relationships. My life’s focus these days. Including with myself. Bereshit. Mishpatim. Parshas I’m studying now. That Shabbat feeling. Candles.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Eye

    One brief shining: The Lodgepole out my window has Branches focused toward the east, toward Great Sol’s return appearance after a Mountain night; on Their west side, where Their colleagues grow, the Branches never emerged, the same true for Others who face out toward the open air with an eager reach, why waste energy where it’s all shade anyhow?

     

    Shabbat once again. Interesting for me since the shabbat rules focus so much on not working, on relaxing from the daily grind, on staying home. Gee, sounds every day of the week for me. That does create an odd problem. How can I keep the spirit of shabbat if its traditional focus no longer seems appropriate. What does it mean to me to rest from my “regular” obligations? Or anyone retired, for that matter.

    So far I’ve focused on a few aspects of shabbat, like lighting the candles at the time indicated by Chabad. That does have an interesting grounding effect. The time, 18 minutes before sundown, gradually moves, during this season, later and later in the day. Yesterday it was 5:11 pm for the Denver area. Saying the prayer, reconstructing its meaning, and lighting the candles makes for a defined starting point for shabbat. Ritual.

    Reading the parsha for the week is another aspect. This week it’s mishpatim or Exodus 21:1–24:18 which contains many rules and regulations plus Moses’ ascent into the cloud on Mt. Sinai. My favorite commentator, Aviva Zornberg has a commentary, The Particulars of Rapture, which analyzes and interprets each parsha. In weeks past I’ve read her commentary after reading the parsha.

    This week though I’m also reading the very first parsha, bereshit, or beginning. Genesis 1 through the story of Cain and Abel and the lives of those who preceded Noah. Also reading Zornberg’s commentary, The Beginning of Desire.

    A nap has been part of most of my shabbat’s so far. For those of you who know me well, I’ve stopped taking naps for the most part. I also watch some TV. Eat breakfast and lunch. Workout.

    This week, yesterday, I also attended a torah study on reproductive rights online. Rabbi Jamie. The Jewish position is clear, a fetus does not become a person until the first breath or, according to some rabbi’s, when the head crowns. In most cases of pregnancy it is an obligation to save the mother’s life first if an emergency occurs.

    Shabbat has a different texture from the other days of my week. The priority on not doing worklike activity does color it for me. So does the candle lighting ritual and the emphasis on torah study. It is harder for a single person, retired and living alone, to fit into even a modest version of the traditional shabbat with its focus on family and nearby friends. Not my goal, though I appreciate the feel of that one.

     

     


  • The Very Deep End of the Pool

    Imbolc and the 77 Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Valentine’s Day. Alan. Joanne making me a tallit. Marilyn and all the fire. And, candles. Irv. That Cow Elk on the side of the road between two firetrucks. The smashed SUV. Mussar yesterday. Closing in on a new way of understanding the sacred. Torah study. Amber. Tom. Ellory. Wild Neighbors. Rabbi Jamie. Luke. Leo. My dreams last night. The world of dreams. Sleep last night.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The injured Cow Elk

    One brief shining: I came up the slope from Evergreen Lake, past the Conoco Station on my left, saw flashing lights, and with the usual curiosity wondered what had happened, oh, two firetrucks angled out into the right hand lane, cars alongside none damaged, then in a flash of sorrow between the two firetrucks, a Cow Elk lying on her side, still alive, but down, and beyond the second firetruck an SUV with its hood angled up toward the windshield. Oh.

     

    At mussar Ginny started crying as she recounted seeing the injured elk. I was upset and sad, too. Rabbi Jamie offered a prayer for the Elk, for all those others involved. Wild Neighbors lives matter.

    Seeing this healthy animal struck down gutted me. Senseless death. Elk cross the road all the way from Evergreen Lake to about the turn for the Hiwan Golf Course, a distance of maybe three miles or so. Evergreen puts up road signs to watch for Elk. And often has an LED caution sign about where this accident occurred.

    We tend to speed along this stretch of highway, too. Yes, I do it. Gonna stop. The slower speeds are for the Elk. If I think about it that way…

    When I’m on my better behavior, I remind myself that it’s a privilege to need to take care for our Wild Neighbors. I recently slowed down my speed on the Mountain roads for the same reason. Complacency and familiarity breed carelessness. Can breed carelessness and has for me. We moved in on those Animals. Not the other way around. We’re responsible.

    When you consider the interconnectedness and oneness of all things, the sacred nature of all things, life becomes more and more precious. For desert Pigeons, for Camels, for Monitor Lizards and Pythons, for Elk and Mule Deer and Mountain Lions. For us, too.

     

    Here’s the new way of thinking about the sacred that’s beginning to surface for me. Whitehead’s advance into novelty puts creativity at the very core of reality and could suggest that God emerges from the becoming with each instance of creativity. I’ve always felt that a process metaphysics makes the most sense, that is a metaphysics that honors as primary the necessity of ongoing change and creation, nothing just “is”, everything is always becoming something new.

    What’s new for me about the notion of the sacred adds a filigree, well, maybe more than a filigree to the notion of creativity as the primary descriptor for the motor behind a process metaphysics. I’m thinking of adding a Jungian notion to the engine of creativity, an impulse toward individuation, a creativity that drives each instantation of its impulse toward its highest and best possibility. In this way of understanding creativity is the motor for process, yes, but the sacred adds a direction to the change, one toward the rock being as good and sound a rock as a rock can be. For a daisy to be the most functional flower for the continuation of daisies that it can be. For a Cow Elk to be the best Mother and Elk she can for the furtherance of Elks as a species. For all of the diverse realities created and decaying to work together to create the best possible Mother Earth. The best Solar System.

    No, this is not Voltaire’s Candid. This does not mean that best of all possible worlds will emerge. It does mean that even war and climate devastation could work to further the creation of the best of all possible worlds. But might not either.

     

     

     


  • A day with texture

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: New candle holders. Memorizing the prayer. Alan. Joe Mama’s. Rocket Bar. Wild Mountain Ranch. A dozen eggs and two beef tenderloins. New blinds. John Ellis. Evergreen Shutter and Blind. Shabbat. Parsha Yitro. Snow. Maybe in feet! Good sleeping. Israel. Hamas. U.S. Iran. Hezbollah. Saudi Arabia. Korea: South and North. Japan. Taiwan. Ukraine. Russia. U.S.A.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Wild Mountain Ranch, regenerative farming in Conifer

    One brief shining: Wouldn’t have found Joe Mama’s, again, if I hadn’t seen Alan sitting at a table near the window, and wouldn’t have thought it was a breakfast place anyhow since it had a pool table, not to mention the bar where three Wheatridge stalwarts sat each with a drink in front of them, one a yellow mug of beer, the others I couldn’t tell, at 9 am.

     

    Don’t usually go to bars. At all. Certainly not at 9 in the morning. But Joe Mama’s had moved from its ten foot wide spot on west Colfax to a new place in Wheatridge. Alan and I liked it, the food was good. We decided to try the new spot.

    They’ve become, I think, the kitchen staff for the Rocket Bar. A no frills spot which looks like the owner took over a small building that maybe housed a barbershop and a small bodega like grocery store. Four separate rooms. Pool table room. The room where Alan and I sat, larger and with tables, the bar room, a narrow area that might have been a wide hallway, and a fourth room with tables. The latter two rooms seemed to constitute the main working spaces for the Rocket Bar.

    Alan and I will not be going back. For one thing the politics of the place had a certain MAGA like feel. For another this alcoholic doesn’t like to eat breakfast while old guys belly up for their first shots of the day. Their choice, not disputing that. But my choice is not to be with them when they do that.

    Always good though to spend time with Alan. We discussed his and Cheri’s first in-home concert. Cheri floated after the morning. She loves music, loves playing, and arranging for others to hear music. And this time, at home. We also dissected the current state of Israel, Hamas, Gaza, the West Bank. Way complicated. But perhaps with a solid solution if Biden stays in office.

     

    Came home to be here when John Ellis, no apparent relation, came with my new blinds. They’re double honeycombed and have a slight green tint. The ones in my office will allow me to work in the morning without Great Sol in my face. The new blinds on the living room/kitchen floor improve on the faded ones that were there before. The blinds downstairs will reduce glare in the afternoons and early evening. It took John less than hour to install all of them. I paid him the balance due.

     

    After John finished, I hopped in Ruby to go find Wild Mountain Ranch, a local regenerative farm I discovered a week or so ago. Not an easy find. Had to turn left on a downhill slope of 285 onto a narrow dirt road. I needed to find Red Hawk Trail. Found it but it didn’t look like it went very far. Just behind Tucker’s horse training and riding facility. Drove past it, then noticed that it took a sharp right that I hadn’t seen. Turned around and went back. Down a steep slope on a muddy narrow road to the right hand turn.

    Drove a long ways on a one lane dirt road muddy from thawed Snow. All the while going up, a gentle rise. No signs for Wild Mountain Ranch. I had an address but I hadn’t paid attention since I imagined there would be a sign. The road ended in the driveway of the last house on Redhawk Trail. A man roughly my age came outside to see what I was up to. We chatted and he said,”Oh, yeah. You’re buying beef?” I nodded. “Turn around and go back down. It’s on the right and you’ll see some cattle, some big ones. A radical right hand turn.” Thanks, dude.

    Sure enough maybe a half mile further back from his small orange home I saw some Highland Cattle lounging in mud. I took a radical right turn, maybe 240 degrees, and found the parking lot. Rang the bell. Nothing happened. Rang it again. Still nothing. I went back to the car, found my phone and called. No answer. As I wondered what to do next, Brittany came out. “Have you been out here long?” No, not that long. She got my name went back in the house, got my dozen eggs and two tenderloins.

    Marketing and customer service are not Wild Mountain Ranch’s strong suit. At least not yet. I wanted to talk about their farm but Brittany seemed distracted. I’ll wait.

    Gonna go downstairs now and have a couple of their eggs before I workout.

     


  • Fire

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Alan. Snow incoming. Joanne. Marilyn and Irv. Rabbi Jamie. Leo and Luke. Mindy. Ginny. Janet. Ellen. Carol. Thursday mussar. A steel gray Sky. The yellowback running for President. Old Joe Biden. Democrats. Those who used to be Republicans. The Electoral College. To its demise. Mountain roads. Wild Neighbors. My Indiana home. The Sycamores.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: New Harmony, Indiana

    One brief shining: Luke asked me if I had gotten my extra ear back off the table from Thursday mussar, the Roger he meant, the small flying saucer like device that glows green when it’s on, taking in speech from my left or across a table in a noisy restaurant, cleaning it up and delivering it via Bluetooth to my fancy schmancy hearing aid; Amy my audiologist says it reduces fatigue from straining to hear and understand. Believe she’s right.

     

    I’ve written before about collecting my medical guardian, my hearing aid, my phone, my fitbit before I head out. Old age and technology add accessories to wallet and keys. Now I have to remember my Roger, too. The watch pocket on my jeans. Perfect fit. I also have to remember to pick it up, too, since I lost my first one at Gaetano’s with Alan. Getting more used to using it when I’m out. Especially since my ability to filter ambient noise has deteriorated.

     

    The metaphor we’re discussing in Thursday mussar is fire. We began with a general conversation about fire itself, how humans have, uniquely among all living creatures, learned to use it. How it requires destruction. How it takes three things: fuel, spark, oxygen.

    The most interesting aspect of Thursday’s session focused on the burning bush. This episode in Exodus occurs fifty years after Moses left Egypt, having killed an Egyptian overseer. Moses has become a shepherd and has herded his flock into the desert around Midian. He notices a fire burning off to the side of his path. Curious about it he turns from the path he was on to take a look. At some point he realizes the bush is on fire but not being consumed. God notices that he has turned aside to look and calls to him from the bush: Moses, Moses. Moses replies, “Here I am.”

    If you recall, I wrote earlier about the difference between the higher criticism I learned in seminary and the Jewish approach to the Torah. The conversation yesterday at Beth Evergreen highlighted that difference. The question was not where was Mount Horeb, near which the bush burned. Or what was the history of Midian, beyond what the Torah offers as the place where Moses met his wife Zipporah while in exile from his homeland, Egypt. We didn’t examine the form of the text or its history at the hands of redactors or in the various historic texts of the Book of Exodus.

    No. We discussed what was going on first. Moses turned and looked. He noticed the bush was not consumed. A messenger of God appeared to him, then God himself. In this episode Moses receives his call to return to Egypt and confront Pharaoh. To initiate the liberation of the Hebrew slaves.

    Here’s what fascinated me about our conversation. We went from Moses observing a burning bush to the burning bush as metaphor for Moses’ own enlightenment. Moses had been on fire since leaving Egypt with a passion for his enslaved people. But he didn’t know what to do, if anything. Suddenly, while in the desert alone, in a place of solitude, it comes to him that he has to return to Egypt and do what he can to liberate them. Even though he feels inadequate to the task.

    We then discussed the nature of revelation and how metaphor gives us a language to speak of our own experiences of revelation and the capacity to more deeply and personally understand the Torah as revelation. This is it. Emerson’s a religion of revelation to us in our time.

    With this twist and one with which I agree. That the Torah and the Upanishads and the Tao de Ching and the New Testament and the Quran are not the dry bones Emerson found them to be, but a history of others who have walked the path of openness to the vast and sacred reality in which we live. They are our spiritual ancestors who have much to teach us about how to recognize and integrate those mystical moments when our own Reed Sea parts, when we stop from herding the sheep of our life to look at our bush that burns but is not consumed.

     

     

     

     


  • The Fortress of Solitude

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Ackerman Furniture. My couch now back home with its William Morris designed fabric. The two guys who moved it out, then back in. A finished downstairs. Mostly. Rabbi Jamie. Leo. Luke. Moses and the burning bush. Fire. A mystery. Water.  Air. Earth. Elementals. Fountain Barbecue. Ribs. Mac and cheese. Baked beans with jalapenos. Bolognese Sauce. The Cold Moon.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Revelation

    One brief shining: Went into the synagogue, kippah in place, and there was Leo, wagging his tail and greeting me, I said hi to the other humans of course but Leo had my attention being my occasional buddy.

     

    Busy morning. Up a bit late, on with Diane, then a workout. After I waited on the Ackerman folks to return my couch. When it got here, I felt relief. It did go ok with the painting. If it hadn’t, well, I would have sucked it up and waited until it did. Not gonna repeat that journey. Too expensive.

    Left for mussar in Evergreen when they left. An hour and a half discussing fire, what it is, how it can be a metaphor, how it can be a metaphor for God. Or, as I prefer, a metaphor for the godliness in each of us. That is, how we each burn with the flame of sacred desire, of passion for truth and justice, of purity and cleansing. Of knowledge and insight. Of life itself.

    My solitude beckoned right after though. I needed to get home, back to Shadow Mountain. It was 55 in Evergreen, 46 here when I got home. Snow has melted back off the roads, off my driveway, cleared from my solar panels. In true Colorado fashion we may get 8 inches of new Snow tomorrow night and Saturday.

    Human interaction, deep and meaningful, grabs me, holds me while I’m in it. Afterward though. Whew. My every pore turns toward not only solitude, but solitude at home. That balance is a delicate one, one I can overshoot more on the interaction side than the solitude side. Oh, yes. Friends, classes. Oh, even more yes. This place. This Mountain. My home.

     

    Swifties. MAGA crazies. The NFL. The Kelce brothers. Travis and Taylor. Her Era tour. His Superbowl. Gosh.

    Not to mention. How about them Houthi’s? Screwing up shipping, playing the short, short game for their fans in Iran. What if the U.S. decided to land on you with both boots? Uh-oh.

    Course it wouldn’t be an election season in 2024 without the many trials of the Yellow-Haired Hercules. Can he clean out the Aegean stables of fraud uncovered in New York? Can he tame the Nemean Lion of a Supreme Court that could bounce him from the presidency? Will he destroy the many headed Hydra of prosecutors after him for meddling in elections? When will he pay his struck by Aphrodite in the dressing room price, $83 million dollars worth?

    The election, the most important election in our history, with two candidates nobody wants. Oh, it’s so good to be an American.


  • 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.

                                                                                  Yisrael