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  • Faith

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Tara. The dark. Gradualism. Getting things done, slowly. Surrender. Emunah. Faith. The Jewish Way. Mussar. Torah. Shabbat. Holidays. Zen. Taoism. Easy Entrees. Kavanah for 2025. Choosing a way forward. Including surrender. On signs and portents. Trash day delay. Mark, mail carrier. Ana and Lita, housecleaners. Vince, handyman and Snow plower. Helping me live independently.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Surrender

    One brief shining: Opening my arms and leaning back, letting 2025 come at me with all its got while I smile and wait knowing this next year is the one I’ve been waiting for, the one when magical and miraculous things will happen, when love will be the only thing left, when I will once again live as I’m meant to with human and wild, life and death, intellect and ignorance.


    I could explain it with cognitive bias. Or whatever it’s called when you have something front of mind and you keep seeing references to it in newspapers, books, hear it come into conversation, happen upon a magazine article that features it. But I won’t.  Let me give an example. Long ago I bought an Anne Rice book featuring angels. This maven of the vampire world decided to write a book about goodness instead of evil, I guess. I liked Lestat and the Mayfair witches so I’d give it a go. It was on my Kindle and I never got around to it.

    This week I picked it up. It has, in the beginning, a heavily Roman Catholic emphasis and if you know Anne Rice that won’t surprise you. What surprised me was the main story line about Jews in thirteenth century England. It would have been a curiosity to me when I bought the book, now it has existential meaning. This is not a great book by any means, though an offhand comment by Fluria, a bright and capable Jewish woman, struck me. She spoke about Jews in Oxford being harassed, their homes burned, “It spreads like a plague,” she said, worrying about her community in Norwich. Oh, just like Israel v. Hamas affects Jewish life in the U.S.

    My inner life has taken a new direction and my mind reinforces it whenever it can. Yes. But why did I pick up the book now? Why did my decision to convert coincide with the Israel Hamas tragedy? I chose emunah, faith, as my mussar evening long before I chose to convert. Now it challenges me, as I wanted it to, in a way much different to what I intended. How did it happen that I would have a bar mitzvah?

    I’m choosing to surrender to the notion that cognitive bias works in mysterious ways its wonders to perform. That my new, dare I call it faith, in a Jewish life comforts and supports me, gives me confidence that my life will grow in purpose and love. That’s what my conversion meant. For me, Judaism evokes faith in a grounded experience, one rooted in the soil of Mother Earth and in the souls of my sacred community, nourished by compost from a rich and varied tradition.






  • Calligraphy and OMG channel

    Summer and the Summer Moon Above

    Sunday gratefuls: The Ancient Brothers. Air. Thin air. Earth. Wind. And Fire. Elemental, my dear Watson. Sherlock Holmes. Perry Mason. Hercule Poirot. Daiglish. Mystery. Mysteries. Books. The written word. The spoken word. Acting. Herme. Han Shan. Whitman. Rilke. Rumi. Oliver. Harrison. Lee Child. CJ Box. Richard Powers. Idris Elba. Ethan Hawke. K-dramas. The lev, the mind-heart. The Moon. The  Sun. Our Home.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Writers

    One brief shining: A Mountain morning blue Sky above Black Mountain curving behind the Lodgepoles in my Yard a cup of coffee and water on the desk my fingers dancing on the keyboard not only an extension of the curves and folds of my brain but of my lev saying things before I think them reading what I have written to know what I’m saying the joy of writing.



    Calligraphy. An art almost unknown to Americans, even more so to millenials who have famously not been taught cursive writing. When Kate, my son, and I went to China, I remember we went to a national museum in Beijing. I was excited because I had always found Chinese art compelling. Disappointed. The exhibits were all calligraphy. Mostly long sheets of rice paper [made from mulberry leaves] with the squiggles and wiggles of Chinese cursive ideograms. Unintelligible. It took a while for me to realize the power of what I’d seen. How I wish now I could return to that exhibit.

    Oddly, many at CBE remember me for a project during one Kabbalah class focused on the Hebrew alphabet. Using sumi-e brushes and black ink from Japan I drew many of the Hebrew characters in a flowing cursive, put a small verse beside them, then signed with my chop I purchased when in Beijing. The small red mark of my name contrasted with the black of the aleph and bet and vav and nuns. I set up tables and had everyone try the experience of using sumi-e brushes.

    Mark Odegard sent me an image of a Han Shan, Cold Mountain, poem he had done by a Chinese calligrapher. What a beauty. Made me want to own a nice piece of calligraphy for my home. Searching for one.


    Had a bad time Friday evening and Saturday morning. I let the worm of anemia enter my omg channel. Usually I get diagnostics back from my blood work the next day on Quest Diagnostics. The result of the latest round of blood draws, taken Thursday, has not been posted. I think some maintenance issue on the Quest website. However, it left me wondering about anemia with no helpful information to counteract speculation. Internal bleeding? Probably not, although not to be ruled out. Low iron or vitamin B? The blood tests will show. So I went to the logical place next: leukemia. I have cancer already, why not two kinds rather than one? With no data my mind went down that road pretty easily.

    Here’s the thing. I’m not afraid to die, but I’d prefer later thank you very much. Still. Could be now? Right? I’m ok with that, yes, but again, not my preference. I went over the legacy such as it is. My writing. Friendships and family. This stand and that for justice. Perhaps a few original ideas not well developed. Got sadder as I thought. The evening was chilly, rainy. Gloomy. Outside mirroring inside.

    Took me a bit of time to right the ship. Not long but not before I’d had a persistent gnawing angst for a few hours. Didn’t disturb my sleep however.

  • Entheos

    Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Curiosity. The Ancient Brothers. Mark and Dennis. Coming May 23rd. Yet more Rain. Even more swollen Streams. Ancientrails as a life project. Tom and his time with Charlie H. Bill and his time with Bella. Mark and his time at the gym. Anytime Fitness. My treadmill. Marilyn. Ginnie. Josh. Jane. Kat. A banker. Vulcan Centaur.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rocket Scientists

    One brief shining: A beautiful woman with a long braid dangling over her t-shirt down to her space themed spandex had, on the back of the blue t-shirt an outline of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, on the front ULA and I asked, I’m too ignorant to know but is that a real rocket ship?


    Yes. She answered. And I was working on it until I quit my job a year and a half ago. What was your area of expertise? Vibration and acoustics. Oh. I see. Not sure why I keep running into engineers. But I do.

    CBE is amazing. All these smart people. This was at the Dismantling Racism class yesterday afternoon. Looked up the Vulcan Centaur and it’s been under development since 2014. Supposed to fly for the first time in July. Had a setback a month ago though with a second stage explosion during preparation for a launch.

    The class has gotten better. Taking a mussar approach to the work. I like it for the inner work though I chose an opponent for my practice this week. Four areas of possible practice each week: with HaShem (God), with Self, with a fellow, especially a victim of anti-black racism, or with an opponent.

    My practice involved an e-mail to a person with whom I’ve had long standing differences. Sent it last night and got a reply this morning. A sweet one. Maybe there’s something to this approach. The middah this week is kavod, or honor. Honoring self and other. The theological idea is the all made in God’s image trope. Said another way, we’re all human, all riding this blue spaceship our only home together with all the other critters and plants. Honor it all.


    During the Ancient Brothers session on curiosity I identified curiosity as my defining characteristic. And naming what I call the valedictory lifestyle. As a valedictorian myself I’ve occasionally become curious (see!) about what happens to others who graduate first in their class academically. Turns out usually nothing spectacular. Sure a lot go into academics. Some have successful careers in business or the sciences.

    But usually no stars. No one off achievements. No amazing inventions. Why? Because we’re generalists. We easily get sidetracked by something new and shiny. If purity of heart is to will one thing, we’re not at all pure.

    I call them enthusiasms. My enthusiasms can last a long time. Religion has turned out to be the longest lasting, but inside that broad category I’ve been all over the place. From existentialist atheist to Christian to Unitarian-Universalist to Pagan and wanderer with the tribe. There’s a piece of each of these, often substantial pieces that remain intact within me. All somehow glued together with Taoism.

    There’ve been many others. Art, my twelve years at the MIA. Politics, lasting almost as long as religion, but again all over the place in terms of action. Islam which I studied after 9/11. Horticulture. Cooking. Heating with wood. Beekeeping. Dogs. World travel. F1. Science. Tarot and Astrology. Cinema. Acting. Writing. Getting degrees. Tea. Korean and now Spanish. Oh, and one that actually has been lifelong, reading. Not sure when I learned but I’ve never ever stopped. Buying books, too. To feed the habit. I’ve dabbled in painting and sum-e.

    Enthusiasms in my life are more than dabbling but less than enough to gain full mastery. But I must admit it’s been, is being, a hell of lot of fun.





  • The Omer

    Spring and Kepler’s Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Easter. Passover. A cool night. Kepler, my sweet boy. Kate, her yahrzeit this Friday. Probate. Some ways through. Snow falling on Lodgepoles. Though not this morning. A Mountain morning feeling its way toward the light. Alan. The Bread Lounge. Counting the omer. Rabbi Jamie, a teacher. The Evergreen Market. Southern Fried Catfish. Broccoli salad.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Gettin’ Old


    And now for something completely different. Counting the Omer is a first fruits practice that celebrates the beginning of the barley harvest. In this way it is similar to the Celtic Lughnasa which celebrates the first corn (wheat in Britain) harvest on August 1st. Counting the Omer starts during passover and proceeds until Shavuot 50 days later.

    I like this practice, though I find it hard to follow, because it adds a thoughtful intention to each day, an intention that helps carry us away from the slavery of culture and history toward the promised land. What promised land, you might ask? Well. What promised land do you need?

    I also like this practice because it is, as are many Jewish holidays, rooted in Mother Earth and her changes.


    Counting the Omer*

    “And from the day on which you bring the sheaf of elevation offering—the day after the sabbath—you shall count off seven weeks. They must be complete: you must count until the day after the seventh week—fifty days; then you shall bring an offering of new grain to יהוה.” Leviticus 23:15-16

    This is a spiritual reenactment of the Hebrew slaves journey of out Egypt, out of slavery toward the promised land. As Rabbi Jamie explains it:

    “Over the course of the seven weeks between the holidays of Passover
    and Shavuot, we are invited to recount the steps of our ancestors. As the first
    three uncountable stars appear on the second night of Passover, we count each
    day of a journey from the shores of the Sea of Reeds, newly freed from the
    constraints of enslavement under Pharaoh’s reign, to the revelatory peaks of
    Mount Sinai. We number the days and weeks to revisit a path that took us from
    a narrow and harrowing escape to a knowing and holy expansion of awareness
    and mission. From Mitzraim [Egypt] we were forced out by plagues, and
    decrees. At Sinai, we stood and freely choose a collective destiny.

    “It is easier to take the people out of slavery than to take the slavery out of
    the people,” it has been said. Mussar is a discipline devoted to shedding a
    ‘slavery mentality,’ increasing the human capacity to freely choose how we act,
    even how we think and feel.”

    Each night, the beginning of the Jewish day, a prayer is said and the omer for that day is counted. Traditionally the counting of the Omer (and naming a
    measurable attribute to practice) happens as soon as possible after the stars
    appear in the night sky, and is preceded by the following blessing: “Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments and commanded us concerning the count of the Omer.

    Today is day ten, which is one week and three days of the Omer.

    Day 10. Association with sages. Sign up for a class. Attend a class. Read a
    book or article by a scholar or writer that you respect – and one you don’t.
    Organize a book club. Remember as you go through the day, that one who is
    wise “learns from everyone.” Consider everyone you meet a teacher sent by the
    universe just for you, and you will always be in the company of the sages…and
    be counted among the wise.

    This thought for the 10th day of the Omer comes from Rabbi Jamie’s fitting of the whole counting of the Omer into a kabbalistic frame.

    *An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering. This grain offering was referred to as the Omer. Judaism 101


    One brief, shining moment: The inner way has many paths, some shrouded in darkness, some pressing against the heart to be felt, others pressing against the mind to be understood.

  • So much to see. To learn.

    Winter and the Wolf Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: 8 years in Colorado. On the Solstice. The long dog ride with Tom. Memories. Challenges. Family. Death. Divorce. Mental and physical illnesses. Beauty. The Rocky Mountains. The Wild Neighbors. Mountain hiking. Deep snow. Sudden. Then, suddenly gone. Living at altitude. Becoming a member of CBE. Elk and Mule Deer visiting our back. Blue Skies. Black Mountain. Vega. Gertie. Rigel. Kep. Kate, always Kate. Who loved the Mountains.

    Sparks of joy and awe: That dog ride 8 years ago. Talking story.


    Back of the car anthropology. Two vanity plates. YAHWEHS. ODACIOUS. The first on a jet black fancy Audi. The other on a Lexus sedan. Also. Stickers. I heart Aging and Dying. No baby on board. Feel free to ram me. Toyoda. With yoda ears on the T and the a. I love the way we express ourselves on the back of our vehicles. So revealing. Full disclosure. I have a large decal of Lake Superior on the back window of Ruby. And, an ADL Dissent is Patriotic on a side window. There are too the cars seemingly held together by stickers like the occupants got started on the project and just. couldn’t. stop.


    On December 20th, 2014 Tom Crane and I loaded Rigel, Vega, and Kep in Ivory. All three trazodoned. Tom drove straight through. We talked the whole way. Talking story. The conversation continues now, eight years later. Gertie rode with Kate in the rental van filled with stuff we didn’t want the movers to take. I remember Kate telling me she bought Gertie a hamburger at one of their stops. A satisfied dog.

    These have not been easy years. No. They have been fulfilling, satisfying years though. Deep intimacy between Kate and me, especially as she began her long decline. Putting cancer in the chronic illness box. Being here for the kids and Jon after the divorce. Now for Ruth and Gabe after Jon’s death. Becoming part of the CBE community. Making friends. Learning from the ancient civilization of the Jews. Kabbalah. The Torah. Mussar. Talmud. Mitzvahs.

    The Wild Neighbors. The Mountains. The Streams. The hiking. Mountain adjustments. Four Seasons. Eight Seasons. The Mountain Fall. Golden Aspens. Against green Lodgepoles. Black Mountain punctuated with gold, then green. Snow flocked in Winter. Wildflowers in the Mountain Spring. Fawns. Kits. Cubs. Elk and Moose Calves. The long Summers. Beautiful in their own right, yet also angsty with the ever present threat of Wildfire.

    Living here has been, is an adventure. In relationships. In deep learning. An immersion in the world of Mountains. After the world of Lakes and Rivers and rich Soil.

    So much more to see. To learn.


    Visited Carmax yesterday. The Jeep. Prepared to sell it, then Uber home. A first for me. But. Can’t take a North Carolina power of attorney. Colorado makes it difficult. Do you want me to get you the necessary papers? Yes. Talked to Sarah while the nice lady in the blue Carmax smock did that. Took fifteen minutes. Many pieces of paper. Post it notes. Sign here stickers. OK. Thanks. Back up the hill.


    Got two calendars as presents.  Aimed at different parts of me. A Zen Calendar from Tom. A New Yorker Cartoons calendar from Sarah and Jerry. Yep. I recognize both of those guys as resident within me. Wonderful to be seen.



  • Creativity. Our birthright

    Fall and the High Holidays Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Prostate cancer. Erleada. Rain. Aspens, golden Aspens. A wet driveway with gold coins. Water. Holy, holy, holy. Tom. Diane. Alan. Acting. Chekhov. Tal. Nikkia. Sight. Hearing. Taste. Touch. Smell. Coffee. Safeway. Vaccines. Flu. Covid. Jen. Ruth. Gabe. Denver Springs. Kate, always Kate. Jon. His memory.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fall Melancholy


    Spoke with Tom. A wide ranging conversation as always. Favorite part. We both spoke to our high school reunions about the things that unite us in spite of divisions. Why we can’t all see that friendships cross political divisions, especially old friendships, saddens both of us.


    Class on creativity with Rabbi Jamie. A flash of inspiration. Hochmah. A plan, a container for a work of art. Binah. The act of human creation mimics/is the same as that of sacred creation. In the far away ayn sof, the realm of nothingness, a desire emerges. It travels down the Tree of Life where it realizes itself in the realm of inspirational wisdom, Hochmah. Hochmah passes the desire, now an idea, to the practical wisdom of Binah, the sefirot of builders and wisdom. Here it takes on form, becomes a possibility.

    Kabbalah and the arts. The ever flowing Tree of Life finds energy moving down and back up in a continuous circuit. Charging and recharging. Pushing desire into limits where it can act as a catalyst for action, for realization. Kabbalah and Tarot and Taoism. Teachers, revealers. Seeing the processes behind life and its boundless diversity. Opening us to the world unseen as it moves through our daily experience.

    No dogma. Nothing but metaphor for the unknown, yet knowable ways the universe changes from invisible to visible, from thought to structure, from vastness to particularity. The path of the sacred as it becomes this holy world in which we live and move and have our being. For a brief time. Until our teshuva, our return to the invisible, the unknown, yet knowable. And our teshuva, our return again, emerging as a desire in the ayn sof, the nothingness, the nirvana, the moksha to which we go like insects toward the ohr, the golden light of holiness. Our chi merged with the tao. Then reemerging as another expression of the tao.

    A tarot card presses us to look, to see what cannot be seen until we look, until we see what we are looking at. The power of teshuva rendered clear in the golden Aspen leaves, the bright colors of a Midwest fall, the birth of a child, a memory of a time never experienced in this lifetime.

    We can learn to feel the power of desire as it passes into us and through us and on into malkuth, the realm where the holy and the sacred become manifest. Where the bride the shekinah meets the malchiyot the king in his kingdom.

    The tree of life not only is a three-d map of the dna of the universe. It also bends back upon itself so that keter, the realm of malchiyot, touches malkuth, the realm of the shekinah. Said another way the masculine, the yang, meets the feminine, the yin, and gives birth to this awful, terrible, wonderful, amazing spot we call reality. Chi and tao. Yin and Yang. Hochmah and Binah. Chesed and Gevurah. Netzach and Hod. Back and forth. Power and desire channeled into containers. The penis and the vagina. The semen in the uterus. In and out. The way of all things.

    Creativity is literally our birthright.


  • Going slow

    Imbolc and the Durango Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tom. The Fort. The trip to Durango. Kep. Susan. Medicated shampoo for Kep. Japanese garbage and recycling rules. Thanks, Mary. Monsoon Rains. Green in the Mountains. The Mountain Streams flowing full, still. Our Aquifers replenished. Tal. The Master Class. Chekov. Kabbalah Experience, a class on creativity.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friendship


    Visit to Dr. Gonzalez. The AM. She apologized for the slow pace of getting my thyroid back into the desired zone of 1-3. Now at 5. Last time 7. The higher the number the less well my thyroid is working. But, she said, we don’t want to make you too speedy so we have to go slow. She explained, too, that the anemia from my proctitis also effects my energy level. Not just about being old, eh?

    After seeing her, I went to Big R and Walmart searching for kiddie pools to bathe the Kep. No joy. Too late in the season. Ordered one from Amazon. The shampoo did not come yesterday anyhow. A task for the next few weeks.

    That wore me out. The problem with the thyroid and anemia. So back home I picked up, cleaned up, took a nap.


    Tom arrived around 3:30. He sat down in the red chair and drank a mineral Water while we talked. He noticed I have Breath, a book he read recently. Discursive, but good, he said.

    We went to the Fort last night for dinner. Thought it would still be under customered. Wrong. So the two hard of hearing guys sat across the table from each other saying, what? And leaning in. Very hard for me since our waiter, Adam, had a falsetto voice pitched in exactly the frequencies I lost some time ago. Tom couldn’t hear him well because the background made him take his hearing aids out. Geez. Not quite as much fun as I’d anticipated.

    We take off this morning for a six hour journey to Durango and the steam train to Silverton tomorrow at 9 am. Breakfast somewhere on the road. Maybe the Cutthroat Cafe in Bailey.


    Took my first acting class last spring with Tal Arnold, Rabbi Jamie’s son. Wanted to follow with another one. I asked Tal which one he would recommend. To my surprise he suggested I take the Master Class which will focus on Chekov. A Master Class after my first class? Guess I’ll have to level up with whoever else is in it. Tal thought the depth of the material would interest me. Bless his heart.

    Also signed up, a bit oddly, with Kabbalah Experience for a Friday morning class with Rabbi Jamie on creativity and the Kabbalah. All Arnold instruction for fall and early winter.

    The Kabbalah piece is a focus on Binah, the third sefirot, the dominant feminine power in the Tree of Life, often called Understanding. Before it comes Keter, the crown and the link to the ayn sof, the great mystery beyond or behind all (Hashem, the unnameable, the ineffable), and Chochmah, the divine masculine.

    Ideas come from Keter but only enter the world through Chochmah, conceptual knowledge and/or wisdom. They are solely in the intellectual realm however until they pass over into Binah. Binah makes ideas into something. Thus, creativity.

    These classes should help keep me here in the Mountains even as I set things in motion to leave for the Ocean.



  • Oooh, a puppy!

    Beltane and the Living in the Mountains Moon


    Sunday gratefuls: Ruth. For whom my heart aches. Gabe. For whom my heart sings. Jon. For whom my heart waits. Rebecca. A kindness. Alan. A fullness of friendship. Seeking the whole lev-the heart mind. Wholeness. Kep, my companion. The Denver Mtn. Parks Trail with Gabe. Covid. Grief. Kate, always Kate. Shavout.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth.

    Tarot: Queen of Stones, Bear


    “Grief is a heart-wrenchingly painful problem for the brain to solve… to live in the world with the absence of someone… ingrained in your understanding of the world… For the brain, [they are] simultaneously gone and also everlasting, and you are walking through two worlds at the same time.” from the Grieving Brain by Francis O’Connor. Marginalia 

    This quote explained grief to me. In a way nothing else has. Since the experience is still fresh, I thought I’d pass it along. Grief lasts forever, grieving does not, O’Connor says. My experience, too. Grieving is over for me. At least in the main. But grief? No. Still sad and wistful. Still missing Kate. Still walking through two worlds. A beautiful phrase.


    Had breakfast with Rebecca Martin yesterday at Parkside. Rebecca is a fellow kabbalah and mussar student. She’s 80, but very vital. Each year  she makes a months long journey to a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery near Dharamshala in northern India.

    She started out teaching English there but has become a part of the community. Though she still teaches English. She had to take a break during Covid and isn’t sure when she’s going back. Have to admire that chutzpah. The plane ride alone. Yeah?

    A good conversation.

    While there, I met a Leonberger/Bernese Mountain Dog mix. A really big dog. Odin. Ten months old, still very much the puppy but almost Wolfhound height and weighing in at 140 pounds. Not mature. He was so funny and loving. Wagged his whole body. Made me want one.


    Realized when Ruth and Jon came up later that my life has shifted again. I’m the Grandpa with a Mountain home and love that needs nothing in return. Which is not to say I don’t appreciate being loved. I do.

    But they feel comfortable here because I’m comfortable here and with them. And with their individual dramas. Most of the time. A role shift from Jon’s mom’s husband and sorta grandpa to a key life figure for all three of them. Not really grandpa, not really father, just a guy who loves them and is willing to hang in there with them.

    I’ve struggled with this, but have chosen to lean into it, make it what I’m here for until the kids are through high school. Doesn’t mean I can’t travel, be other places, but I’m staying here for now. Probably as long as I’m able.


    Dogs have closed minds. As do other humans. We can’t see inside and know what’s going on. It occurred to me a week or so ago that Kep may not have gotten up on the bed with me because it reminded him of Rigel. May have smelled like her, too. The last few nights he’s gotten up on the bed and stayed through morning. I’ve asked him to, and, yes, I believe he understands. It feels like he’s decided to push past his grieving to comfort me. Feels like a treasure.

    I’ve also decided to get a puppy. Gonna do it. Kep will bond with the puppy over time, not be mean to it. A female. And, I don’t care what the breed is. Just filled out an application for Kahlua, a German Shepherd mix. We’ll see out what happens. Oooh, a puppy!




  • The No Strangers, No Contact Which Requires Extra Effort Level

    Beltane and the Beltane Moon


    Monday gratefuls: CBE. Comedy. Tater tots. Alan as an auctioneer. The improv troupe. Luke’s mom. Luke. Mindy. The auction. The Ancient Brothers on travel. Black Mountain. The Solar panels. Warm weather. Cool nights. Last of the back pain beginning to recede. Hamish. Acting Class. Felix. Oscar. Dinner on Friday with Alan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Folks beginning to ask me for favors

    Tarot: Two of Bows, Decision

    “A person standing on top of a hill, in the middle of the night, against the starry sky. His head is surrounded by a halo of fire, the flame of determination. In each hand, he holds a long, incomplete arched bow, which is higher than the top of his head. From the bow, the flames erupted, symbolizing his vitality and authority.

    Awakening the unconscious senses associated with the desire to make decisions. The gate is opened in front of every individual, who is prepared to take the initiative.” tarotx.net


    An interesting back and forth right now. Continue on, stay the course with the life of today. Which I love. And/0r. Add more elements to it so that my every day veers into new territory. The two of Bows suggest I’m trying to push myself toward something different, something new. Acting? Short trips?

    As Ode said yesterday morning, routines are (or can be) deadly. Draining vitality. Obfuscating potential. They can also though be productive. 17 plus years of Ancientrails. An exercise habit. Feeding dogs. Sunday mornings with the Ancient Brothers.

    Excited to feel the stirrings. No idea right now where they incline. Will emerge. And I want to be ready.


    Got the art cart cleared off. Ready to get out my sumi-e brushes and start one-stroke painting. A meditation. Got the coffee table cleared downstairs. My pruning continues. Slow, but steady. Having the Sewing Room dining area created opened space for me to do other fussy stuff. Gonna clear off the table in there today, too. Just washed jars for the pantry and my collection of Rat Zappers.


    Also head down the hill at 8:15 to Stevenson Toyota. Tire swap. Blizzaks for all-seasons. Checking tread depth. Might be time for new Blizzaks. This fall. While waiting on this work to get done, I’m going to work on developing Felix and the lawyer from A View From the Bridge. I have the Odd Couple script, but not the Arthur Miller piece yet.


    Another interesting paradox right now. I’m so at home with Marilyn and Irv, Alan, Ron, Jamie, Rich, Susan, Judy, Tara even Ellen, Mindy, Anne, Sally, Fran, Anshel, Leslie, and Robbie. They’re my CBE. As long as I’m one on one, or in small groups, I feel welcome and loved. There are a few others like Michele and David, Tal, Joan and Rick, Jamie and Steve, Dan and Kristi, the Lehmans that are a smaller, further circle out for me, but I still see them as close acquaintances.

    Yet when I go to a service or to an event like the Funraiser Fundraiser which featured a Jewish comic from New York, I can’t get away fast enough when it’s over. Most of the other folks I don’t know. When Kate was alive, this paradox almost didn’t exist because she belonged there in a way I didn’t and I stood in her acceptance.

    To be fair I always skip out of theaters, movies, concerts first of all the folks if I can. I like to get out and away. I’ve told myself it was because I didn’t want to hassle with other cars in a crowded parking lot. Now I’m wondering if it’s because my social battery has been drained dry during the event.

    As I’m writing this, I’m thinking, hey. There’s your answer. This event yesterday had a long form improv group directed by Tal perform. Afterward, Alan auctioned off Jewish food: latkes, mondle bread, knishes, smoked brisket, rugelach, macaroons, and, of course, chopped liver. The six pound brisket went for $200. My friend Mindy’s knishes brought well over $100 for 16 and her mondle bread went for over $100, too. A fund raiser.

    Then came the comic. Jessica Kirson. Never heard of her, but she was good. “I love doing shows for my people.” Her set went longer than advertised which was good.

    But. I got there 2:50 and scooted out the door at 5:35. Exhausted. I’d been around more people than I had since Covid began. No mask. Double boosted. There was ventilation and it wasn’t a massive crowd though a good turnout for CBE. That’s it. Not that I don’t fit, just that I’d run my battery all the way down to the no strangers, no contact which requires extra effort level. Nearing nobody at all no how. The bottom.

    Thank you for listening. And out.





  • What is truth?

    Spring and Kate’s Yahrzeit Moon

    Kate, back from her hospitalization and rehab, covered in the friendship quilt from Baily Patchworkers. October, 2018

    Thursday gratefuls: Rich. Jamie. Marilyn. Susan. Truth. Emet. Luke and his new haircut. Alan. Pesach. Liberation. Slavery. Myth. Story. Legend. Ovid. Latin. Writing. Ukraine. Climate change. Democracy. Liberalism. High fire danger.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Emet.


    Oh, boy. Tired this morning. I was up until 11 p.m. last night. Could have been New Year’s. When I got back from the mussar group at CBE, a guy was in my driveway. Kep was barking at him. Go, Kep. I stopped and rolled down my window.

    I can’t get any cell service. I’m lost.

    My suspicion meter went up, but he seemed non-threatening.

    Could I use your phone?

    I handed him my phone through the car window. Still suspicious.

    My girlfriend. That’s her in the Jeep. He pointed to car lights nearby, the vehicle idling. She’s been drinking.


    I live at 285 and Sheridan. I need to call a friend to come get me. (285 and Sheridan is in Lakewood, all the way down the hill.)

    He made two calls, both went to voicemail.

    The Jeep moved closer to my driveway. Well, maybe I’ll go talk to her. She’ll give me a ride home.

    Maybe she would let you drive?

    I doubt it.

    He left, talked through the Jeep’s window, got in and they drove away.

    Left me feeling conflicted. I was already past my bedtime. He was a stronger, younger male with a strange story that I couldn’t parse. Why was he walking alone, in the mountains, trying to find cell phone service? Even if his girlfriend had been drinking, what prompted him to leave her house and walk away into a Mountain Night when he lived so far away? He seemed sober and as I said, non-threatening.

    Woke up this morning wondering if he made it home ok. If I should have driven him home. Why didn’t I? Was I too tired? Too unsure of my ability to handle him if he was not as he appeared? Conflicted.



    Last night we talked about emet, the Hebrew word for truth. What a topic. See the above story. What was the truth of it? I didn’t know, couldn’t tell, and it made me nervous. So, lacking a way to discern the truth, I backed away. Afraid of a lie that might do me harm. The truth matters.

    But, as Pontius Pilate said, “What is truth?” That’s the rub. And, in this post-modern age, who’s truth are we talking about? Mine? Yours? This guy in my driveway? His girlfriends? Was this a case of domestic abuse? He didn’t seem harmed. What was going on?

    A lot ink has been spilled on the topic of truth. A lot. We came to no conclusions.

    We always have practices. Things we do over the month that will help sensitize us to the particular middot, character trait, and how it can fit into our day-to-day life. Marilyn came up with “I’m going to tell people how I feel about them more often.”

    I asked her if I could copy her. She said sure.

    Then, after we’d finished cleaning up, Rich and Jamie were back in the kitchen and I was ready to leave. I went back to tell them I was leaving. “I came tonight in person because  I knew you two would be here.” Jamie came over and gave me a big hug.

    As I left, I surprised myself, and I imagine them, too, by saying, “I love you guys. See you later.” I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with this, saying I love you to important people in my life with my Ancient Brothers and I’m glad it’s spilling over. Because. It’s the truth.