• Category Archives Fourth Phase
  • 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.



  • I’m Scared!

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Those two kids who wanted to shovel my driveway. Snow. Cold night. A Mountain Dawn. Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce. Oh, my. Those Chiefs (sic). Mahomes. Football. Still a danger to so many. The Ancient Moon. Being a man. Men. White men. Black men. Red, yellow, and brown men. Cultural influences on manhood. Testosterone. Women. Sure. Women, too. And all other spots on the gender and sexuality spectrum.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Genitals

    One brief shining: A soft knock on my front door, a boy and his sister stood there in winter coats holding red plastic snow shovels, we do driveways, the boy said, how much I said, thirty dollars, ok, and they got started.


    One of the more human moments. These two kids started on my driveway with their plastic shovels. Worked hard. Older than his sister the boy, ten, got more done. Both stayed at it until I noticed them walking away. She has to go the bathroom, the boy said. Well, she can come in here. They were headed home. She did. At the top of the stairs, reminding me of Kate, she said I don’t remember which way is right. I showed her and signaled the way to tell with her hand.

    As she went back outside, I told them both they could come inside if they got cold. They got back to work. I got more money. Wouldn’t pay them less than Vince gets if they finished. Which I doubted they would. Vince was on a remodel in Bailey and forgot to plow me. Otherwise I would already have had a cleared driveway.

    I sat down to finish reading Lamb. Which if you haven’t read it. OMG. LOL.

    A bit later the girl came inside, softly opening the door. My brother went away to get my sister and he said he’d be gone 10 minutes and he hasn’t come back and I’m scared! Her eyes were wide. I want to go home!

    All right, I said. Where do you live? I don’t know. OK. Do you know your phone number? No, sobbing.

    You know. I get scared when I get lost and can’t find my home. Do you know the street you live on? Chalet. Pronounced Cha-let as in let go of my eggo. I looked it up. Not too far away. What’s your last name? Estrada. I had her sitting down at the table with me.

    I felt so sad for her, wanted to hug her. But. Well, old man living alone. Eight year old girl. Damn I hate what these times have done to men.

    I put the blind up so she could she if her brother came back. I was prepared to drive her down to Chalet, sure she’d know her house if we were on her street when her brother showed up. She ran out to him and he hugged her. Big brother. Everything ok now.

    They worked a bit longer, got maybe a quarter of the driveway done. We have to go home. We have to take a shower. I gave them $15 for their work and waved good-bye.


  • A Man of Constant Sorrow. And Ecstasy.

    Imbolc and the Ancient Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Birthdays. 77. Big Snow. Cold. All the Wild Neighbors hunkered down somewhere. Great Sol brilliant against the new Snow. Rain in the Desert. Brother Mark and the Storm near Hafar. Diane and the Atmospheric Rivers. L.A. and Southern California. Creating a sustainable human presence on the Earth. Thomas Berry. The Great Work. Shadow Mountain. Torah.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow, bright white new Snow

    One brief shining: Velcroed Snow boots, check, Leki hiking pole, check, watch cap, check, phone, vest, coat, gloves check and I’m ready to head out across my backdoor deck, take the few steps to the garage, then head up the stairs to the loft where it’s time to workout.


    A quiet river has flowed beneath my waking hours this week, a river of sorrows and modest angst. Not sure the genesis, the bereshit, of it. Has colored my moods when inner life calms down and the river touches consciousness. Enough to make me feel glum at times, off. Not enough to send me into melancholy, but a sea anchor on any up, energetic feelings. I don’t like it. Yet I can’t ignore it.

    I’ve not gotten serious with it though. By that I mean, welcomed it as a visitor, a guest worthy of hospitality if not affection. Perhaps that’s why it’s stuck with me. Going to put out the welcome mat after the Ancient Brothers call.

    I suppose it could be the ghost of birthdays future. At 77 their number is fewer than at 20. Or, it might be the looming lab test, PSA and testosterone I take next week. Well, enough. I’ll wait until we’ve sat down in the tent with our hookah, reclining on pillows on a brilliant rug.

    Gonna invite Rumi to the conversation.


    Just finished a conversation with the Ancient Brothers on what it means to be a man. These conversations increase my positive energy, buoy me up. This one pushed my mood up a lot. I think because the topic was one we had not explored before. And yet it was one around which we formed ourselves as a men’s group. I am going to post my private post here, the conversation convinced me it was an important part of this long running river of words.

    Perhaps it was my thinking about being a man that raised the river of sorrows close to the surface. Pardon this cliche, but there is agony and ecstasy in being human and the particular agonies and ecstasies are often meted out according to gender(s). When I think about being a man, I have to consider both. The agony of my shortcomings as a cisgender man, as a white man, as a white educated man, as an American white educated man. As husband, father, seeker of justice, as a seeker of the sacred. Then, too. The ecstasies. As husband, father, seeker of justice, seeker of the sacred.

    As I write, and this often happens for me, I’m certain thoughts about what it means to be a man caused this river of sorrows and angst to approach the surface from its usual stream bed deeper within my psyche.



  • 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.




  • Movement forward

    Imbolc and the 9% crescent of the Cold Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Brother Mark. Great Sol spotlighting the Lodgepole who is my companion each morning. Snow and Cold on the way. North America. Canada. Mexico. USA. South America. Colombia. Ecuador. Peru. Chile. Argentina. Uruguay. Brazil. That cruise in 2011 with my sweetheart. Kate, always Kate. Of blessed memory. February birthdays. Aquarius. Harmony and understanding. Hair.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Long hair

    One brief shining: In 1969 the draft lottery tumbled and my number came up 4 in the very year I graduated from college, losing my draft deferment and necessitating that trip to Indianapolis to the site for my physical where I took off my clothes down to underwear and t-shirt, walked from station to station, hoping for the magic of 4F, never in ever, but had to settle for a 1Y due to psoriasis which gets aggravated by wool and humid climates.


    Not sure why that memory popped up this morning. The further I ride the wave of time, especially in this oh so twisted electoral year, the more distant and surreal become the 60’s. I loved it then, but would not go back. Too much contingency. Every day a shift a turn a new idea a new drug a new woman a new threat from the government a new way of ordering the mind. I don’t have the energy for that sort of maelstrom. I did then. Barely. But what a time. As the Dead said, a long strange trip.


    Been thinking about religions, the religious life. A dominant thread for me. Somehow I need to have a religious idea as core to my day to day. Not sure why about that either. But it’s undeniable. Even in those times when I have been outside of a religious institution the questions of deep meaning, of the nature of existence, of my relationship to it all have remained. A resolute pagan for well over twenty years. A Christian until 17. A UU for 7 or so, longer in some ways. An existentialist always. A sort of Christian for another twenty, but more a radical political activist.

    Now a Jew for a few months or for my whole life thanks to the magic of the mikveh. I’m inclined, btw, to believe in the magic of the mikveh. That the seed of a Jewish identity came with me when the obstetrician pulled me from my mother’s womb.

    I realized the other day I’ve always wanted to be in a religious tradition, but one that allows me to think freely. Come to my own conclusions. Judaism is such a tradition.

    I want the thousands of years of history, the longue durée of revelation and tradition, it feeds something in my soul. Perhaps a need for order which I reject if imposed but embrace if allowed to consider its meaning on my own. Perhaps a need to belong. Perhaps a desire for community, but community based on wrestling the angels of human nature and destiny without a certain conclusion.

    We want to know the mystery, to tunnel into the darkness for the richness there; yet we fear the path. Unknown. Uncertain.

    One response to that uncertainty, to the mystery, is to foreclose it with dogma, with conclusions. Another response enfolds mystery and darkness and uncertainty, knows them as essential to the religious journey, the ancientrail of animal life, allows them to fertilize the imagination, the heart, the movement forward into…


  • Folks I know

    Imbolc and the waning Cold Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Chamber music. Marina Harris. Ana. A clean  house. A gift. Jazz. Coltrane. Brubeck. Mingus. Monk. Davis. Mozart. Haydn. Telemann. Pachebel. CD’s. Music. Books. Lamb by Christopher Moore. Biff. Mitch Rapp. Marilyn and Irv. Breakfast today. Tara watching Whales off Costa Rica. My son. Seoah. Murdoch. Missing them. Jackie and Ronda. Aspen Roots. Aspen Perks. Primo’s.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Irv out of the hospital and rehab

    One brief shining: Hit power on the treadmill, 15 minutes of cardio, off to the kettlebell for goblet squats, the TRX for lunges and rows, dips, dumbbells: chest fly, bench press, skull crushers, bicep curl with shoulder press, body weight: marches, ab crunch, crossovers, ab crunch on ball, and dead bug, then some balance work. repeat three times, another 15 minutes of cardio and one day’s worth done.


    Got a surprise Valentine’s gift from Marina Harris who owns Furball Cleaning. She likes me as a customer, as she says often. Kate found her and I’ve used her since Kate died. Ana and sometimes Lita come to clean every two weeks. They do a good job. They’re dependable and no fuss. Same with Marina. Could see having someone clean as a luxury, a good place to save money. Nope. A clean house gives me a good feeling. Self-care.


    My Hebrew lesson today got canceled since Tara, my teacher and friend, found an available Whale watch excursion, and headed off into the Ocean. What a great reason to cancel. Whales! Made myself sick on a similar excursion off Maui. I had binoculars. Neglected to give my stomach a rest from the magnified messages the lenses sent to my eyes. Ooof.


    Brother Mark, whom some of you know, has had a glitch in his current Saudi gig. His company has apparently lost their contract and will have to suspend operations in mid-March. Beware the ides of March, eh? Although. The new company has to recruit 115 teachers in the next two weeks. May not happen. If they can’t, then Mark and his colleagues would stay on until August. Saudi ESL companies come and go as do their contracts and the teachers. Mark’s done well this last year and a half so I imagine he’ll land on his feet. If not, he’s resilient.


    Meanwhile sister Mary and Guru live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the same country where she started her expat life now so many years ago. I’ve not been there but based on Mary’s reports it must have a close relationship with the jungle. Lots of Wild Neighbors like the Elk and the Mule Deer, the Black Bear and the Mountain Lion. And they come to visit. Lizards. Pythons. Monkeys. I’m sure there are others. IMO nice to have them in a large urban area though I’m not sure that’s how Kuala Lumpurites feel about them.


    And one more. Cousin Diane and her adopted home state of California. Atmospheric rivers. Too. Much. Rain. Not as bad in the Bay area as in L.A., southern California. But bad enough. Especially when you consider this is climate change driven. In other words, not going to diminish, rather more likely to increase.


  • Shadow Mountain. Home.

    Imbolc and the Cold Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The hostages. The empty chairs. Rabbi Jamie. Alan. Cheri. This moment. This keyboard. These fingers. The lev that motivates them. My neshama. Yours. Shards of ohr. Tikkun olam. Home. Eclipse 2024. Aurora, Great Sol lighting the morning. A blue white Sky above Black Mountain. Ruth. Gabe. Mark, leaving Hafir in March. Mary, may the forest and the pythons and the monitor lizards and the monkeys be with you.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Change, our only constant

    One brief shining: The way Black Mountain emerges from the night, slowly with only a dark bulk visible, as Great Sol throws more ohr toward it the Lodgepoles become distinct, Snow on Rock outcroppings bounces the ohr back toward Great Sol white and brilliant, a shade of red orange rests for a moment over it all, then the blue white Sky lights up and Black Mountain stands dominant against my western horizon.


    Increasing. My stay on Shadow Mountain tendency. Only the very occasional night out. MVP. Dinner with Ruth and Gabe. Not even services, maybe once a month. Yesterday a solidarity walk with Denver relatives of the hostages in Gaza. Big Snow Saturday and I found myself not wanting to brave the Mountain roads. So I didn’t. Felt a bit of guilt. Ah, Jewish guilt! Hey, I’m really in now.

    Not sure how I feel about this. There are a number of drivers. At night my reaction time is slower. And even with cataract surgery I still get halos and spikes around car headlights. I go to bed early, though I’ve recently discovered not so early for my chronotype, the Lion. Inertia plays a role, perhaps too big a role. Though. This began long ago when Kate and I first started missing St. Paul Chamber Orchestra nights. A long drive and a late night when going from Andover. At some point the negatives begin to push out the positives. This may be that point for me.

    During the day. Still getting out. Breakfasts. Lunch. Thursday mussar. Getting groceries, medical appointments. That sort of thing. Yet I have not gone into Denver to the Art museums and galleries which I can visit during the day. Traffic. Parking. An hour in and an hour back. I’m grateful for Alan and Cheri’s concerts because they’re on Sunday mornings. That way I can still experience live music.

    Not slowing down physically, still exercising regularly, now up to three sets of resistance work plus cardio. My back though continues to push at me. Noticing now if I turn too quickly to my right with my foot planted my hip tends to drop.

    Guess I’m trying to parse out the real limits of my daily and weekly life. Seasons make a difference of course. When winter is over and Great Sol agrees to light more of the evening, it’s easier for me. I love winter. Snow. Cold. But not ice. And not Mountain roads after a storm.

    Whenever I have these thoughts, I think about RJ Devick, my financial advisor, who once told Kate and me that his clients who hit their eighties tend to do much less traveling and their expenses go down. Could be what’s going on with me.