• Category Archives Fourth Phase
  • Life

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon, now waning

    Monday gratefuls: Life. Familiar sounds as Shadow Mountain folks go off to work. The Sky like a polished katana. My buzzy body. Taking in our insults, regathering. My lev healed. For now. Rest days. Bereshit. Television. Soothing. Taking care. Of myself. Annie. BJ. Sarah. Phone call from Ruth. Gabe and his learner’s permit test. Taxes. Tis the season.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Steroids

    One brief shining: Our body carries the after effects of our lousy night, a bit shaky, thrown off, yet also eager to move on, get fed, go back to the usual diet and exercise routine, yet not yet, for the lingering sense, a drained out, hollowed feeling, goes back and forth, up our back and gut, into the shoulders, and thence directly to the mind where memory traces its account in blood.


    Blessed cessation. Oh, yes. When something not happening takes on an outsized significance. A quasi-normal day after a horrible night. Quasi because not confident in the not happening. Will this start up again? God, I hope not. Likelihood seeming less and less as the day wore on. Confidence increasing. This flare has ended. Still some laundry to do, but yes. Moving past this to healthy life again. Oh, thank you to the miraculous body who is me, who is our physical presence in the world. Who in spite of our troubles finds our center again, rushes to healing. Our journey together, my lev and my body, is the most ancientrail of all.

    As I learned, again, after Kate’s death, Great Sol appears anyway, throwing the bright light of fusion driven energy on the peak of Black Mountain. The Lodgepoles still reach toward Great Sol, eager for their daily nutrition. Maxwell Creek flows on down the Mountain, Kate’s Creek feeding into it not far from from Hwy 73. Neighbors get up and brush their teeth, eat breakfast, go to work. Our journey is brief, our significance most likely little. We sink quickly from sight and memory.

    Why then do we live? Why do we greet a return from illness or problems as a resurrection? A return to normalcy. Why? Because life is all we know. These cells of our humanness, so few compared to the others-just checked this out and turns out it’s not true. The best estimate, cited in this article: 1.3 microbiome cells to 1 human cell. Even with this estimate the reality is that our human cells are less than half of our body’s constituent cells. And, BTW: there are also viruses, fungi and archaea in addition to the microbiome’s bacteria. What even is “our” life? We have had no say in creating this astounding organism, this host-self, that wants most of all to continue to live. That is the existential imperative. We gasp for Air. We find Water. We eat each day. We do these things not out of choice, but habit, instinct. The lungs must have oxygen. Our cells must have Water and nutrition. So we organize ourselves around those needs. We live.

    Of course we can fancy this up with philosophy and religion. We can come to an awareness of living that raises our continued existence to the level of choice. Yes. But even then the biological imperatives must be met while considering this. What we do with this strange and momentary glance at reality depends on our learning, our choices, our dreams, of course. But deprive the body of air or water or food and no dream, even one of justice, will come first.




  • A lousy night

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Blood. Radiation. Prostate cancer. Great Sol. Joan. Alan. Cheri. Francesca. Shabbat. Conifer Medical. Movies. Returning to Seoul. 2:22. Going nova. Odysseus on his side. After having passed through the Scylla and Charybdis of Lunar landing. Space above and the Moon below. Scientists. Engineers. Space travel of all kinds.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Bleeding stopped

    One brief shining: In June of 2019 I spent thirty-five sessions under the mechanical dinosaur shape of the Cyberknife, lying quietly as it jerked and twisted its away around my abdomen, sometimes to jazz sometimes the blues sometimes Mozart all my choice; the trips to Lone Tree stopped in August but some of the side effects might come even years later Dr. Gilroy said. How right he was.


    A lonely night last night. One of those side effects, radiation induced proctitis, an inflammation of the lining of the rectum, kept me up last night. A lot of blood. I mean, a lot. My first thought was: this is where Kate’s decline began. And she had less bleeding than I had. Didn’t help. After the first session I called Conifer Medical. What should I do?

    Wait it out, use the suppositories. If you go to the emergency room, they can’t do anything for it, so they’ll put you in the hospital. Yep, that’s what happened with Kate. Don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. I didn’t. The oncall doc said I might have two or three more episodes but that it should quiet down after that. If not, call again.

    And so it did. Nothing since 2 am.

    If that’s TMI, sorry, but I wanted to give you the context for the real difficulty I had last night. I handled the bleeding and talking to the doc just fine. Didn’t want to, but I had to. I was calm.

    The real problem was this. I felt alone. Because I was alone and having a real crisis. When Kate had her bleed, I was there to talk to her, take her to the emergency room, stay there, wait. No Kate. The burden felt very heavy. Handling the crisis and handling the emotional weight of it. Having to make the decisions alone.

    I did go back to bed and got a good night’s sleep. That has helped this morning. I had to contact Alan and Joan to tell them I couldn’t make the concert this morning. Didn’t like that. I keep my commitments. And I couldn’t.

    This morning those feeling are gone, replaced by my usual alone but not lonely. Still. They happened, opened a hole in my life situation. Made me consider the downsides of living alone. At 77.

    Doubt anything will change. Don’t know what kind of change I could make short of living in a senior care setting and I don’t want that. Maybe consider who to call if such a thing happens again. Maybe talk to a couple of people.

    BTW: the radiation accomplished nothing positive.

  • Travel, Dreams

    Imbolc and the full Ancient Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Bereshit. Tetzaveh. Rashi. Creation stories. Becoming not being. Seeing things as they are. Finite. Decaying. Impermanent. Loosely tethered. Entropic. Dreams. Dreamers. Irene. CBE. The Socrates Club. Tom, feeling better. PSA. Testosterone. The truly ancientrail of cancer. Shabbat. Relaxing. No agenda. Reading, always reading.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dreams

    One brief shining: Buddy Mark as Mario and Elizabeth as Babette in Nice for Carnival, a bawdy parade with barbed floats critiquing world leaders, later a trip to a Picasso pottery museum, and an archaeology museum with a generous estimate of human habitation in Provence, taking Mark says calculated risks, for instance, a portrait class next week. Go, Mario and Babette!


    I admire my friend Mark’s travel jones. Every once a while he has to get up and get outta here. Road trips. Trips to Asia. Mexico. The Caribbean. Nice. I have some of the same urges, yet I mostly let them rise and fall away. Hoping once the possibility of snow passes that I’ll get on my pony and ride, ride, ride. Guess that’s up to me, eh?

    My son may make a short visit to Arizona in the next month. If he does, I’ll get down there to see him. I can motivate myself for family. I’ve driven from Arizona to Colorado before. Doable.


    Yesterday got back into the dream group that Irene has run for years. She’s a member of CBE and coordinates an online dream group and an in person dream group at CBE. Often has dreamers (as Irene call us) from far away. Yesterday Jane in England and Scott in Harlem. Marilyn and Irv are in the group, too. They introduced me to it.

    A session runs two hours. Irene puts the names of those who have dreams in a hat and pulls one out. One dream per hour so two folks get a chance. The dreamer reads or tells their dream then we discuss it using the conceit of saying “In my dream I…” This means we’re not interpreting the dream for the dreamer, but offering insights as if the dream were our own. Sometimes someone will say, “My projection is…” Jungian influenced. As you might expect.

    I find it both fun and psychologically intense. A chance to go deep into yourself and into another person’s dream world.


    Two other stories I’m following. The Alabama supreme court’s designation of all embryo’s as children. Wowzer. Trump and the Senate Republicans all of a sudden all over IVF. As a good thing! This underlines my observation yesterday that Roe v. Wade’s demise will play a significant role in the Presidential election. GOP bad. Democrats good. C’mon. Nobody’s fooled by those attaboys for IVF.

    Odysseus. The moonlander. On its side, antennaes not pointed toward home, but still broadcasting. Alive, but injured in the landing. We can all relate, right? Reminded me of Bella the sushi delivering robot at Sushi Win. Endearing to think of a compromised machine struggling valiantly to complete its work.

    We’re entering a new phase in our relationship with machines. Uncharted. Strange. Not to mention, A.I.






  • 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

  • The Future is, again, Now.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Old friends and newer friends. CBE’s beginning and its flounders. Sushi Win and Bella, that cute robot waitress. Tom. Happy Camper. Conifer Cafe, 80 decibels. Yikes. Naps. New Mexico. Arizona. Utah. Colorado. Short trips. Israel. Hamas. Gaza. Two-state solution. The Moon in the Sky like a big pizza pie. Amore! Love.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jews

    One brief shining: Hold your phone up to the bar code, press the link, up pops the menu, consider it while using the physical menu, order, then enter credit card data, press send, and a bit later Bella comes trundling out from her charging station with plates, Water, and glasses, wait a while longer and here comes spring rolls, tempura shrimp, and a pot of green tea, followed after another short wait by Bella’s return with a sushi roll, my hamachi carpaccio, press finish on Bella for the third time and she rolls away, her fetching backside complete with an LED sign reading Sushi Win that flashes across her darling metal shoulders.


    The future rolled up on Tom and me not in Silicon Valley or the tech wise Denver suburb called Tech Center, but in a sushi place trying to continue surviving. I met Bella last week on Valentine’s Day when I ate at Sushi Win with Luke. Tom and I share a fascination with scientific and technological breakthroughs, so we had fun meeting Bella, considering her potential future impact. We both took videos.

    As I wrote a week ago, many restaurants have experimented with new ways post-pandemic. Covid was hard on people, yes, but on restaurants, too. Fountain Barbecue has computer screens where you order and pay, wait until your order is done, then pick it up yourself. So last millennium.

    Each of the three times Bella came to our table, I found myself wanting to say hello, thank you, and good-by at the appropriate times. And, I did. This cued me in to a robotic future where our responses to the new machines in our lives vary by context. I responded to Bella as I was familiar to responding with a waiter. But a robot in my living room serving tea or cleaning floors would probably elicit a different response. Oh, excuse me. Could you be sure to get that area where the dog hair is? Thanks. Could you get me a beer and a hot dog? Yes, you can clear this up now. Different yet again. Could you hand me a 3/16th? Hold the car up here while I work on the tire. Sweep out the garage and return to your charging port. We’ll cut the grass tomorrow.

    Oh, the wonders we’ll see. The future rushing, leaping into our lives, coming soon to a restaurant table near you.

    Of course, A.I. Shifting the workplace yet again. Hitting some knowledge workers this time. Maybe covering school board meetings, reporting on last night’s football game, making travel plans and reservations, polishing or even writing that essay or think piece for work.

    Not to mention our machines headed to the moon, to low earth orbits and high. DNA editing. Zoom. Smart phones. Dumb users. Electric and self-driving vehicles. Gee whiz, Buck Rogers.


  • 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.


  • The Alexandrian’s Library

    Imbolc and the almost full Ancient Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tom. My Lodgepole companion waving their branches with an early Morning Breeze. That faint blush of Great Sol on the peak of Black Mountain. Senate Navy Bean soup. Pretty good. Famous Dave’s cornbread. My kitchen. Dr. Jill and her needles. Acupuncture. Mourning and grief. Evening and Morning, the first day. Safeway pickup.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My Lodgepole companion

    One brief shining: Stripped down to my underwear I crawled up on the massage table, stuck my face in the small ring jutting out from it, and lay there as Dr. Jill placed needle after needle after needle after needle, most with barely a prick, some though a bit more, as Dr. Ma says, she must have forgotten to sharpen those.


    Yes, another round of needling with no laughter. No Whale noises, thirty/forty minutes of lying down being one with the Chinese way. Dr. Jill felt up and down my spine, pushing here and there, then inserting a needle, a few in my leg. Sounds like something I will do every two weeks for a while, then maybe once a month. Stenosis doesn’t get better, the only treatment for it outside of surgery is symptomatic relief: physical therapy, acupuncture, NSAID’s, Lidocaine patches, steroid injections. Though I’ve ruled out that last one.


    Ana came yesterday, spiffed up the house. Having my house cleaned helps me in ways beyond sanitation and hygiene. Self-care. A clean house concentrates the mind, removes a distraction. An anxiety prophylactic. Same thing with organizing, re-organizing. Going to have Ana and Lita do my loft next time. I’m ready to get back up there for more than workouts.

    Had an interesting experience up there yesterday morning. I decided to look at my library as an outsider, what did it say to me about me? I started on the shelves devoted to Minnesota, the Great Lakes, natural history, glanced at my Civil War collection. Onto Hawai’i and the U.S.A. Biographies of Tesla. Oppenheimer. Einstein. Atomic era history. American history, the West. A shelf of books about the Enlightenment, natural theology, emergence, the American Renaissance. A few on Astrology. So many books. Plays. Emerson’s complete works. A few Russian novels. Reference books including the OED and the Grove Dictionary of Art.

    Of course there’s poetry, religions, especially Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and philosophy. Roman and Greek works. Latin texts. A shelf of Ovid related books. Celtic history, mythology. Magic. Great Britain. Novels, a whole bookshelf. Travel guides, military history, gardening and horticulture. Meteorology. And, of course, Art.

    As I walked slowly around the perimeter of the loft, I began to feel my self emerging, the one knit together over all these years, all those interests. Yes. This is me, or the tapestry of selves that through memory constitute my ever changing identity. A koan. If all these are my self, who now am I?

    This felt good, warm, self-acknowledging. Whether they have any practical benefit, my books, my passions have enriched my life, taking me to places I would not have been able to go alone. They have nourished my soul.

  • 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.


  • Still Here

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: My birthday. Waking up. Soul returned. A new life ahead of me. 77. Made it. Whew. Friends and family greeting me. Cards in the mail and in email. Jacquie Lawson cards are so great. All the ones I got were different. Valentine’s Day. An odd holiday, but one near and dear to my heart. (ha) Being alive at 77 is its own present. One I am grateful for. Thanks to all of you.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Living

    One brief shining: My sister reminded me of early birthdays when our mom would make me a heart-shaped cake and decorate it with red-hots; poignant since this year will be the sixtieth anniversary of mom’s death at 47.


    No. No. I don’t have anything to say. What? Oh, well. If you insist.

    Birthdays, eh? Seen one you’ve all of a sudden seen 77 of them. Not a big deal to my Octogenarian and Nonagenarian friends, but to me? A big deal for some reason.

    77 has a certain je ne sais quoi. Two sevens to begin with. Threes and sevens. You know. Sacred numbers. Sevens doubled. So, 14! And my birthday is on the 14th. Think of that.

    My fellow super septuagenarian (anyone past 75) Paul did some research and found 77 was a special birthday in Japan.* I’m liking the age of happiness idea. Squares with my experience. Yes, in spite of this week’s slightly downer posts. Rabbi Jamie says that in Nepal when a person reaches 77 the whole village has a parade for them. After that birthday, the village takes care of you. Fine with me, but I’ve not gotten notice of any parades in my honor. Maybe it’ll come in today’s mail.

    Of course surviving is the main thing to celebrate at this phase, the fourth phase, of my life. Or, maybe not. I mean sure, survival is the sine qua non of reaching any age, but maybe the lessons on offer? Maybe that’s the point? Or, maybe finally having learned some lessons long available? For me, surrender is the key lesson making itself known right now. At 77.

    Surrender. Acceptance. Ceasing to strive. Suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Taoism. Wu Wei.

    Here’s a definition of wu wei that resonates for me:

    Concept in various Chinese philosophies, referring to a…state of unconflicting personal harmony, free-flowing spontaneity and savoir-faire

    Not sure how that French snuck in there. a bit jarring, neh? Still, helpful.

    Wu wei is often translated as inaction or nonaction, but this captures its spirit much better for me. Perhaps it’s not surrender that is the key lesson for me at 77, but wu wei in this definition. Inner calm, a willingness to go with the currents in my life, and a certain knowing about how to exist in any situation.

    I’ll finish with this. Whether 77 or 7, 80 or 8, we’re all living lives of forced isolation in a body and with an inner life which cannot be shared. For this very reason we need each of those around us to be kind, understanding, accepting. It is only in relationship that the true beauty of our isolated selves can grow and bloom. So be kind to yourself. Love yourself. That’s where love for the other must begin.


    *The seventy-seventh birthday is the occasion of kiju (喜寿), “happy age”, because the kanji 喜 is written in a way similar to seven-ten-seven or seven-seven-seven in the sōsho calligraphic style. (See Handwritten styles)

    In Japanese culture, turning 77 is also a cause for celebration. Because this is the “joyous year” or “age of happiness.” It is a rare occurrence for someone to live to this age. It’s known as ga no Iwai, or rite of passage.

  • It’s a New Day. It’s a New Life. And I’m feeling good.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tara. Hebrew. Snowless Lodgepoles. Those ski runs on Black Mountain. Hubris. Who can own a Mountain? Mark in Saudi. Mary in K.L. Diane in San Francisco. Tom in Shorewood near the lake. Shadow Mountain. Irv and Marilyn. Rabbi Jamie. Torah. Parsha Bereshit. Aleph. Mem. Shin. The Mother letters. Blizzaks. Mountain roads. Sue Bradshaw. Health. Energy. Past values.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Great Sol lighting up Black Mountain as Dawn breaks

    One brief shining: Been gradually clearing and organizing books, piles of papers, the way I have to do it now since my energy and my back bail out on me sooner than in former times; in defense of myself I’ve learned to pick up things when they fall, put things away in their place when they’re out, even so books and documents and magazines continue to appear in stacks, placed there to be read or consulted, both habits of long standing, ones I don’t seem to want to break, so I gradually clear and organize. You know?


    As I approach 77 tomorrow, I admit to breaching my own commitment to surrender. Several times. Most recently this morning after saying the shema and before I got out of bed. Since each day is a new life and each waking a resurrection, early breaches like this can impact my whole new life.

    Here’s the breach. It started in the usual way. What am I doing with my time? I write Ancientrails. I study. I go out to eat and to the synagogue. I watch TV. I read. I buy groceries and make myself meals. These thoughts came up like a pilot’s checklist. Oh, there’s medical stuff and working out. Taking care of the house. Yes. And. Well, that’s it. Or 99% of it.

    Next step toward the breach. What am I not doing? I’m not working on any political efforts. (though there may be a bit going on) I’m not volunteering for anything. No docent work. No work on hospice like my buddy Paul. No Sierra Club or other climate focused work. I’m not writing a novel. I’m not hunting for a relationship. (don’t want too, either)

    Critical moment. Still lying in bed as I do my personal inventory. So. What could I be doing? No. Let’s be honest here. What SHOULD I be doing?

    And the barrier wall of acceptance of my life as it is cracks. A cascade of possibilities. Become a docent at DAM. Accept the educational committee chair at CBE. Write that novel about Lycaon that keeps surfacing. Get back to work on Charlie’s list. Do more research on regenerative farming, innovative ways to adapt to climate change. Organize the neighborhood around wildfire mitigation.

    The problem here is not with the possibilities. Sure, I could do one or all of them. That’s not the breach. The breach is feeling I’m not enough if I don’t. The feeling is that if I don’t do at least one of these then I’m wasting my life. And honestly? What does that even mean? Wasting my life would be not having lived my life; yet, I have. As well and powerfully as I was able. Sure I stumbled and followed wrong paths, but so what? That’s life as a human being.

    That’s no way to start a new life. What was I resurrected today for? Not to find myself as less than. But to accept myself as fully human, fully alive, fully loving. To accept others in the same way. If I want to write a new novel, then I will. If I want to do more work on Charlie’s List, then I will. And if I don’t. Then I won’t. And that’s it. Enough.

    Now I’m ready to start this new life. This day. Tomorrow inshallah I will resurrect as a 77 year old man with friends and family. A life, a long life, fully lived and still underway.