• Category Archives Hermitage
  • Surrender Charlie

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Heidi. The Dragonfly Sign. Colorado Supreme Court. Psilocybin. Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphics. Surrender. Irv. Rider. Mt. Logan. Crooked Top Mountain. The Grandfather Tree. Park County 43. Buggy Whip Road. Hangman’s Road. Washington County Maine. Climate change. Shadow Mountain. The Rockies. The Front Range. Alan. Bastien’s Steak House. The Winter Solstice. Holimonth.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Colorado Supreme Court

    One brief shining: A cloth with Native American colors marking the four directions, circular, laid on it cut white Roses, small Pine Tree Branches, red Roses, Cinnamon, Coffee beans, Star Anise, Aspen Leaves arranged for a Peruvian gratitude ceremony in which I picked up a small Branch of Pine Needles, inhaled its essence three times and exhaled my love and gratitude before placing the needles gently in the center.


    OK, nation! See Colorado go. I loved living in Minnesota and in the Twin Cities for forty years. The North Woods. Wolves. Lake Superior. So many Lakes. Liberal to radical politics. Not perfect, no. Witness George Floyd. But no place is. And Minnesota seemed as close as they come while I lived there. Then Kate and I moved to Shadow Mountain.

    As the Dead said: What a long, strange trip it’s been. Many of you know my story over the now 9 years exactly since my buddy Tom and I drove straight through from the Twin Cities with Kepler, Vega, and Rigel in the back. And, yes, that story has its definite peaks and valleys. But that’s not my reference here.

    No where else in the country, this divided and often pitiful land of ours, could I have had a legal psychedelic journey on Crooked Top Mountain then come home to Shadow Mountain and read the wonderful news that the Colorado Supreme Court had called a crook a crook, an insurrectionist an insurrectionist and kicked Trump off our ballot. I mean, whoa! What a day.

    I shifted my inner identification a few years back from Minnesotan to Coloradan, my Mountain home become just that. Home. Yes, we elected a gay Governor. How bout that. And of course the wild Neighbors and the Mountain Streams and the Black Bears. The Snow and the spectacular Autumns with gold and green. Over the time I’ve lived here Colorado has shifted from red to blue. Not without some Western weirdness along the way, but that makes it interesting. All that’s true.

    But in one day to take a psilocybin journey with a good friend on property so evocative of a sixties commune and then learn we Coloradans had taken a firm stand, saying what all clear eyed non Trump bedazzled folks already know but somehow cannot communicate, that insurrectionists should not, in fact,cannot hold office. Well, I’m busting with state pride right now. Colorado is the California of the new Millennia. OK. Enough local chauvinism. Still, pretty damned cool. Gives this aging radical a boost.


    Short note on the psilocybin journey about which more later. Ate the mushroom after the gratitude ceremony. Mixed with a little lemon juice supposed to make it come on quicker and go sooner. Sat outside in the glass enclosed shelter where we held the gratitude ceremony, the others going inside. Watched the curved Snowy Bowl of Mt. Logan as my inner weather shifted under the power of the mushroom.

    Went inside and lay down on a heated pad. Soon Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphics began to move across the ceiling. Sometimes two dimensional sometimes three almost down to my face. I love hallucinations. So fun. I told my guide I might be under utilizing the experience; it was so entertaining.

    Turned out no. I hadn’t. I had two intentions going in, the one I wrote about yesterday, how to live fully, and the second to continue my exploration of the sacred.

    During some brief conversation after being asked if we had any insights I said, yes, I had one. In living more fully I’ve pushed, thought about things to do, about acting in my life to live more fully. Answering Shakespeare, I have always chosen to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. Now I need to learn surrender.

    To live fully I need to open up, accept what’s coming. Greet the new year with arms spread wide for what it brings rather than what I can make happen. Well, not rather than. I mean, I’ll still take up arms, of course I will, but I learned yesterday that I have another option. To embrace, to wait, to listen, to let the world and its wonders come to me. As the Wicked Witch of the West might say, “Surrender, Charlie!”



  • Traveling

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Shrooms. Heidi. Irv. Psychedelics. Colorado. The West. Wolves and ranchers. Mountain Lions and Bears, oh my. The Rockies. Shadow Mountain. The Atlantic. Washington County Maine. Lake Superior. The North Woods. Wolves and Moose there always. The Wolf exhibit by Ode in Ely. Ely. The Boundary Waters. Voyageurs. Mt. Blue Sky. Grass along the shoulder of the road. The road itself. Cars. Bikes. Feet. Buses. Subways. Light rail. Heavy rail. You who read this.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Psilocybin

    One brief shining: A certain coolness headed toward warmth, humidity rising and the dawn approaching, another new life redolent of travel those early mornings getting out the door to the yellow taxi cab, the ride to the airport, that buzz of anticipation making all my senses quiver with quiet joy.



    Going on a trip today. Traveling to the inner reaches of my mind. And heart. The whole lev. Psilocybin. With a friend and his daughter. In Bailey, the Platte River Valley. Turn right at the Dragonfly sign she says. Bring a pillow, a blanket, a water bottle, snacks, and a journal. I’m ready. And, it does have the same feeling, oddly, of going on a trip.

    A little bit anticipatory last night. Not anxious. Not calm either. First time with a guide. She’s a Ph.D. psychologist and a remarkable woman. Went skydiving to celebrate her 50th. Her parents are both good friends so I feel very comfortable with her.

    Judaism emphasizes kavanah, intention, when engaged in prayer or action. I’ve been considering why I am doing this. The reason is simple. I’ve done mushrooms several times, as recently as this summer, but I’ve never done any psychedelic with a guide. After reading Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind, I decided I wanted to try that, too. That’s why.

    But. What do I want to focus on, consider? Right now I’m at living life fully. However. I feel I’m doing that. Maybe not, though? Or, maybe I could go in a different direction or emphasize something more? What could I be leaving out of my life? A relationship? More travel? What else could I choose?

    The more I mull this on the page, right here in real time the more I like this question. I have no need for career motivation or advice, nothing to prove. I love my life as it is yet I’m willing to enhance it. Excited to do it.

    Unless I change my mind on the drive to Bailey. That’s it. Living life fully.


    Yesterday Luke came to take Leo home. Luke comes in without knocking now and I like that. Makes him and me feel more like family. We love each other, all three of us. Nice to have that relationship with a guy Luke’s age. Could be my son from another mother.

    Great Sol has stayed in place while Shadow Mountain whirled around to our location in the Solar System where he can see us. Light breaks on Lodgepole Branches, on Black Mountain, on the milky blue Sky.



  • Neverending Story

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Good friends. Tom, always a good conversation. My son and compartment syndrome, the bloody treatment. Seoah shooting a 90 at screen golf. My son an 85. Two athletes. Plus Murdoch. Hamas. Israel. Palestine. The diaspora. The Joseph story. The Jacob/Israel story. The Abraham story. Bereshit, Genesis. Beginnings. Ganesha. Krishna. Vishnu. Shiva. Snow plows and their drivers. My mail carrier, Mark.

    (N.B. I capitalize words associated with what I consider the living world, a practice of honor I picked up from the Potawatomi in Braiding Sweet Grass. [except for humans] Also, I include in my gratefuls the dark as well as the light since both make up our whole life and contain a seed of holiness. I learn this from the sacred nature of reality as One. It does not mean that I love, say, Hamas.)

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Breakfast with Marilyn and Irv

    One brief shining: At Primo’s Cafe I scooched between a diner’s chair and a giant Santa, right hand raised in what I imagine is a greeting gesture though it looks more like he’s waving to other outsized folks like Johnny Inkslinger, Paul Bunyan, Babe the Blue Ox, or perhaps very large Reindeer, a Rudolf with a nose the size of a softball.


    Conversations. Tom. Marilyn and Irv. Diane. Alan and Joan. Luke. My life requires time alone the most, yet it also requires conversation, connection, the intimacy of knowing and being known. Yours too I’ll bet. The second one, I mean. Most don’t need as much alone time as I do.

    I’m lucky enough to have regular folks to meet over eggs, potatoes, and bacon in the breakfast spots available here in the Mountains. And others I meet in the cloud, that mysterious realm just on the other side of my computer screen that contains people I know. Like Tom and my cousin Diane, my Ancient Brothers: Paul, Mark, Tom, Bill. The Thursday mussar group. A blend of the cloud and IRL.

    Judaism contains its own cloud. What Christians often called that great cloud of witnesses, referring to the dead. In Judaism the Rabbis speak over the ages through the Talmud, the Midrash, and the stories of their lives.  The rituals and traditions of Jewish life, the Torah, the Kabbalah, even the blood of the ancestors carry their own message. As well as the history of the Jewish people. That great cloud of witnesses places my temporary life in a broader and longer context. Comforting and challenging.

    Each book I pick up becomes a dialogue between the author and me, between the story and me. In this way my life might be said to be a constant conversation with interlocutors living and dead.

    Then there is the world of my wild neighbors and the planets, Great Sol, and other galaxies. A conversation exists between that very young Mule Deer Doe that comes to eat grass in my yard and me. She looks at me through the window with gentle, puzzled eyes. Among those three Mule Deer Bucks who welcomed me here. That Elk Bull watching from the side of the road in the rainy night. Black Mountain and its changes. The running Streams and the Arapaho National Forest. Crows, Ravens, Magpies. The Snow as it marches across Mt. Blue Sky to Shadow Mountain.

    A neverending story you might say.


  • A chimera, a shadow

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Irv’s Renaissance singers. Joan among them. Marilyn. Snow. 11 degrees. My son and Seoah. Seoah at Crossfit. The only housewife. Murdoch the silly. Kat and Lauren, their Bat Mitzvahs. Rabbi Jamie. The Ancient Brothers. Darkness. Israel. Hamas. Hezbollah. Palestinians. Ruth. Gabe. Kep and Kate. Rigel. Melancholy. How do I feel? Heavy. Weighted down. Snowed in. Icy roads.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Minnesota winter driving skills

    One brief shining: Not so shiny this one, more like one brief pall as the coffee cools beside me, trying to do the heaviest lifting of all to bring my soul out of the darkness, move it toward joy and hygge and a warm fire and a good book, without dishonoring my own inner life.


    War. Spinal stenosis. One more thing to take care of. Mom’s death. Memory triggered by changing seasons. Not SAD. Cancer. Anti-semitism. Israel. Palestinians. Terrorism. So successful this time. All these clatter around, poking sharp edges into a soft soul, making me retreat inward, downward. And the train that follows them. A boxcar of sadness. A tank car filled with liquid doubt. A coal car with chunks of despair. Wish I could pull the pin out at least between the engine and the cars let them go, sail off back where they came from. Not yet.

    I feel trapped. Can’t take Ruth to Dazzle Jazz tonight. Icy and snowy Mountain roads. Haven’t told her yet though I did say it was a concern yesterday. Like an old man too scared to drive in a little weather. Disappointing his granddaughter who means so much. Yet I avoid driving on ice. Just. Don’t. Do it. So I see the ads for Senior Living and I think is that me now? Am I finished with the effort it takes to stay here on Shadow Mountain?

    Put myself in that sybaritic one I saw with luxury cars for appointments, travel clubs, fine dining every meal,  a concierge for appointments and tickets and such. Oh, god no. Too much. Surrounded by people my age. No. Hell, no. Maybe an apartment or condo in the city? No. I’m back to that moving to Hawai’i thing. No. I love my home, living in the Rockies. Being close to CBE, to Evergreen. My wild neighbors.

    Oscillating between hell, no and what if I need it anyway? Don’t be too proud, too stubborn. Guess this is my main challenge right now, that nexus between physical health and independence that can be so fraught. Each insult like icy roads can raise the specter of a truncated life, not independent life.

    When those insults come while others crowd in from other vectors, well…

    Once again though. The magic of writing it down, saying it out loud. Seen for the chimera it is. Still real as a shadow though. Sober reflection, yes. Elder agony? No.

    Drove to Safeway yesterday to pickup some groceries. On the way back I turned left to go up the bridge over 285 and Ruby hit an icy patch, kept going straight ahead, hit the curb with both tires, up onto the grass, missed the light pole, backed up, embarrassed. Might have something to do with how I feel.





  • Starlink, Internet Bright

    Fall and the Samain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: My back. Its complaints. Mary’s solutions for managing them. First thing in the morning after the Shema. The beauty of fall transitioning to winter. The skeletal Aspens. The yellow leaved Willows and the red barked Dogwood. The Asters blooming in my back yard. Kurt Bohne. Starlink. Shadow Mountain Home2. Download: 105. Upload: 20. Elon Musk. Shadow Mountain. The drive into Evergreen. The Mountains and Valleys along the way. CBE. Israel at an inflection point.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: really fast internet

    One brief shining: Kurt and Shawn put a ladder against the gutter, carried a Little Giant ladder up the roof and got to work first installing the mount, then the Starlink rectangular antenna on the mount, running Starlink’s cable down the side of the house and into the router and connecting the ethernet ports, while with my phone I created a new router address, plugged in a password, and after that things were just fast, fast, fast.


    I know. I know. Supporting Elon Musk. Yes, he’s a reprehensible person politically, but boy does he engineer good products. The Tesla. The Boring Company. SpaceX. And, my only personal connection to his empire since I don’t use the X formerly known as Twitter, Starlink. For years I’ve had ok service from Century Link, using two DSL lines to get around 40 mbps. The price difference between the two services is $14 a month. Worth it for 80-100 mbps. Also, when the phone system goes down in a storm my internet will not. Happy to be with them. Kurt and Shawn who installed it for me were great guys. Would use them again if another need arises.


    Laid in logs and firestarting materials after adding the rest of my firewood to the stack next to the fireplace. If we get snow over the weekend, I’ll be in my chair reading about Jewish life cycle events or the new Jessamyn Ward book, watching the fire. Gotten used to burning pine. Would really like to get some oak or maple though. It’s available down the hill where they have a variety of deciduous trees, but I’ve never sought it out. Maybe this year.


    Israel. Hoping Thomas Friedman’s words, Biden’s, Blinken’s, Austin’s convince the Israelis to slow roll, if not eliminate a ground invasion of Gaza. And that Israel can show its humane side to the world, not just its bristly, never again ferocity.

    The court of public opinion has turned against Israel. My sister Mary says there are pro-Palestinian rallies in Muslim Malaysia where she now lives. There is, too, sentiment that the U.S. has it right in the Ukraine, opposing Russia, and wrong in Israel, supporting the oppressor. The situation in Israel is so much more complicated than that. Neither side covers themself in glory. A solution has long been stiff armed by both Arabs and Israelis.

    I would have left tomorrow for Israel.


    Seoah and Murdoch celebrated my boy’s 42nd birthday last night. Party hats, cake. Murdoch sat on the bench at the table. Very cute.


  • Learning my lesson. Again. And, yet again.

    Summer and the Summer Moon Above

    Monday gratefuls: Tal. Lid. Luke. Leo. Dick. Ellen. Rabbi Jamie. Laura. Lisa. Sagittarius Ponderosa. Roaming Gnome Theater. Aurora. Bad memories. Not blessings. Angry Chicken. Korean hot pot. Sundays. Shabbat. Seoah. Murdoch. Storms coming. The wettest June on record here. Keeping that Fire risk low. Traveler’s insurance. Allianz long term care insurance. Kristen. Travel medicine. Travel. Welcome to the journey.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Shakespeare

    One brief shining: Read some of the Tempest and Midsummer Night’s dream this morning reminded of the packed and punchy nature of Shakespeare his plays and his poems words all tight ricocheting off each other building meanings until like a Han Shan poem one line changes the meanings of all that came before a genius so luminous I feel like kneeling down before him to say, Master!


    Ooh boy. I keep learning and relearning the same lesson. Which I suppose means I’m not learning at all. Anyhow. Drove into Denver yesterday, then into Aurora near Jon’s old house. Left here about 11:45. My plan. Go to Stanley Market, eat at Rosenberg’s deli, then make the short trip from there to Roaming Gnome theater for the matinee performance of Sagittarius Ponderosa.

    About half way down the hill on 285 I saw all the cars streaming west, latecomers to the usual Friday boat and camper show headed to South Park and the interior of the Rocky Mountains. What’s this? Oh. July 4th traffic. Folks taking the week, leaving late to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic jams so common here. Wait. July 4th weekend.

    Oh. Stanley Marketplace. Will be packed. I might not get served in time. I had given myself an hour to eat after arriving. Began to run through alternatives. The Bagel Deli just past I-25. That could work. Pulled into their parking lot. Nope. Folks waiting outside. Confirmed my hunch about Stanley Marketplace. Well. New York Deli not far from that spot. Will be too busy, too. A holiday weekend.

    I had wanted to eat lunch at Rosenberg’s, then pick up some dinner at the Angry Chicken after the play. I love their Korean fried chicken, but it’s way too far to go unless I’m close by. Turned north as 285/Hampden became Havana. An Asian inflected part of the Denver metro. H-Mart nearby. Lots of pho shops. A Korean hot pot and barbecue restaurant. Hmm. May not be as invested in the holiday weekend. Could be easier to get in and get out.

    It was. I had never had hot pot before though it’s similar in nature to Khan’s Mongolian barbecue in the Twin Cities. Tables with induction coil wells over which a pot of broth sits. You pick up soup ingredients on your own, take them back to the table, and put them in the heating broth. Waitress delivers the meat in thinly sliced rolls on long platters. Spent more than I wanted to but I learned how to do it. Will be useful when I hit Osan. Could have been tasty but I was in a hurry and didn’t really realize the potential of the hot pot.

    Got to the theater a bit late. They had waited for me. But not long. Sag was already underway. In the small darkened space I fumbled my way toward a seat. Dick and Ellen Arnold were seating in the same four chair row.

    The play itself. Can’t tell whether my hearing made it difficult to follow or whether it was the script. Or, the direction. Anyhow it had funny moments, tender moments, and commentary on the difficulty of communicating our selves as we know them to others, especially family members. Perhaps my expectations were too high?

    Anyhow I left quickly after the play was over at 3:30. Not before greeting Luke, Leo, Tal, Dick and Ellen, Jamie and Laura. Realized I leave things early because the hubbub afterward makes it impossible for me to hear.

    Drove to the Angry Chicken on Havana. Blessedly on the way home. Put in my to go order. Ten wings and some corn salad. Waited twenty minutes. Plastic bag in hand I left.

    Then drove back across the south Denver Metro in 90 degree heat, AC blasting. This is the lesson. I left the Angry Chicken at about 4:30. With the hard part of the drive ahead of me. I’d already been gone from home for almost five hours. Exhausted. Still in the city. The drive wasn’t torture. Not exactly. But it was uncomfortable, unpleasant. I was worn out, wanted nothing more than to be home. In my chair. At 8,800 feet. Cooler. Quieter. Way less busy.

    I can’t drive that far anymore for that long and not get exhausted. Just can’t. I know it. But not well enough. Not sure what to do about it either. Stay home? Nope. Need human connection, some out of the house moments. Go with others? Maybe.

  • Life in its brilliance and in its everdayness

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: My passport. The post office. Kristie today. Acting class tonight. The Heat and the Nuggets. The Monaco Grand Prix. Max Verstappen. Fernando Alonso. Esteban Oco. My son and his wife. Fever in the Heart Land. Thanks, Ode. A quiet, restorative Memorial Day. A good workout. Korea on the schedule. Israel getting closer to dialed in. Ecuador still in the planning phase. All the poems coming in from the Ancient Brothers. Ritual ideas.  Acting class tonight. Diane in Indiana.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Great Sol, lighting up a Shadow Mountain Morning

    One brief shining: Or, the Great Soul, Sol, source of light, source of power, source and sustainer of life itself why shouldn’t the Human soul, the Animal soul, the Plant soul, the Mountain soul be like their progenitor brilliant, a source of sustenance and warmth, a source of chi, a source of energy, yet every so often eclipsed by the turning of our inner lives, still there yes, waiting only for what Jews call teshuvah, a return to the ohr, the light of the sacred within us and to our sacred path, this orbit around our true God.


    Got to get going, pick up my passport from its safe spot at the Ken Caryl branch of Wells Fargo. Safety deposit box. In case of fire, down the hill. Going to eat breakfast out, come home and try to take down the last outstanding bill, then talk to Kristie, my oncology P.A.

    I’ve succeeded in reducing $14,000 worth of medical bills to $240. A victory although one I shouldn’t have had to win. One refractory $429 bill. Turned over for collection. Nope. Have disputed it, am disputing it, will dispute it until they back down. Could tell you the story, but trust me it’s only about one hand not knowing what the other one is doing.

    A day of life chores. You know the kind. They come up like whack a mole. As you finish off one round of them, another few arise. By 76 you’ve seen them come and go, talking of Michelangelo. Even the most persistent and troublesome of them get dealt with, fade into the blob of things past no longer necessary to consider. I wear my trousers rolled while whacking each mole.


    I’m loving the Sunshine, the blue Sky, the warmth of approaching Summer. Thought  yesterday though. Would I love the summer without the backdrop of winter? Could I tell the good without the bad? Would I know beauty without the ugly? I know we wouldn’t need a word for justice without injustice. Rasputin belonged to a Russian sect that believed the more you sinned the more God was able to bestow grace upon you. That’s the sort of rationalization that makes for a strange life.


    Nuggets versus the Heat. I’m excited. Might try to find a tv package that will let me watch the NBA finals. I love basketball. And F1. Watched the whole Monaco Grand Prix yesterday. Wow. That Max Verstappen. Is. A. Monster.


  • Introversion. Remembering.

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Monday gratefuls: The Indy 500. The Monaco Grand Prix. Grandsons. Granddaughters. Kate, missing her this Memorial Day. May be for those fallen in war, yes, but I take it too for those fallen from that most terminal of diseases: life. A second bright blue Sky in a row. The thirst quenched Lodgepoles green and healthy. Aspens beginning to Leaf out. The Iris emerging from the Soil. Kate’s Lilacs have bud’s. Korea. A high apartment. Moving day for my son and his wife. Baseball, America’s game, like basketball, now played all over the world. Neither though as big as soccer.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Gabe, his sweet smile

    One brief shining: Sometimes I doubt my introversion since I enjoy being with people, talking, listening, laughing, learning then I have a week like last week Dismantling Racism, lunch with Marilyn and Irv and Heidi, dogsitting Leo, getting Kep’s remains, Rabbi Jamie, then Rebecca, Leslie’s funeral, Ode and Dennis that night, a missed massage due to traffic delays in Evergreen, mussar, breakfast with Alan in Denver, three hard workouts, and then baseball with Gabe even with some down time interspersed the emotional intensity of last week drained my social battery, left me with no charge and I thought oh I see yes you introverted guy.


    Glad to have a full day here on Shadow Mountain with nothing to do. Saturday the same helped but baseball wore me out all over again. The driving. All the people. Those hard seats. Dealing with parking. Yeah. Fun, sure. But also. Oh, my.

    Days with nothing on the calendar shine for me. I can work on Ancientrails, cook for myself, maybe do some chores. Read. Watch a movie. Hike. I’ve begun too putting these on my calendar: go anywhere days. Also days with nothing in them but days I can get up in the morning and drive to Gunnison, see the Black Canyon. Stay overnight somewhere if I want. Short trips, beginning to see Colorado. None yet but coming up this summer.

    Today has these elements: breakfast, workout. Watch the Monaco Grand Prix on F1 TV. Recorded. Make some lunch or not. Dinner if not. Start reading Fever in the Heartland. Thanks, Ode. Get outside some.


    A word about Memorial Day. Imagine all the graves, all over the world. The dead from wars of all kinds. Colonial wars. Wars for land, for slaves, for God and country, blood and soil. Wars of liberation. Wars between Kings, between countries, between tribes. Economic wars where the winners scoop up all the wealth and leave hardly any for the gleaners who work in filling station convenience stores, bag groceries, run the cash register at Walmart, Petsmart, Subway. We speak here of lives cut short, lives worn down death coming from exhaustion and depression.

    Dennis Ice. Richard Lawson. Others from my high school killed in Vietnam. So. Damned. Senseless. Those WW I and II veterans who lie in Europe in the fields of Normandy, in the Argonne Forest, along the Maginot line, in Germany and Italy and northern Africa. The victims of the Holocaust. Also memorialized here this day.

    We remember of course to acknowledge sacrifice, yes, but can we also remember to learn? I hope so.



  • Laying-In

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Leslie. Her laying-in. CBE. Steve and Jamie Bernstein. Rebecca. Joann. Tara. Irene. Rabbi Jamie. Mark and Dennis. Good conversation last night. Prostate cancer. Liver cancer. Breast cancer. Aging. Stents. Psilocybin. DMT. Bufo Frogs. Mescaline. The 60’s.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Human composting

    One brief shining: Ode thinks my work needs on occasion more juice the trail of droplets not so easy to follow as the short sometimes terse words of my main voice and he’s not wrong but this kind of sentence takes more more of what I’m not sure but more and I do not always have more just what I say and that’s that and I write on.


    Leslie’s funeral in addition to the usual kaddish and eulogizing by the Rabbi and memorilization by family and friends had on the title of the service a laying-in ceremony which sounded to me like something for babies you know putting one in the crib for the first time or beside the mother for nursing. Obviously not it. So what.

    After the service had concluded and Leslie’s wonderful life had brought smiles and tears and laughter the two young attendants from Feldman’s mortuary went over to the pine box that held Leslie’s body and took off the top. Inside Leslie had a covering of silk on which those at the service poured wood chips and compost. The laying-in. Human composting.

    Judy Sherman died of ovarian cancer earlier this year. She chose aquamation and had the liquid result poured around a special tree at Seven Stones Cemetery. Body disposal practices have begun to change and change dramatically. Two years ago I did what Kate wanted and had her body cremated. I’ll choose one of these alternatives. Not sure which. Research. The thing they have in common is less to no pollution.

    I found the laying-in ceremony at the same time thoughtful and affecting. Given a paper cup we all dug around in sacks of the wood chips and compost for enough material to fill the cup. Moving to the Pine box we chose where we wanted to distribute the material. I chose what I imagined was her head. Each in turn passed the cup to the next person in line.

    Instead of dust to dust which has an evanescence about it this felt more like earth to earth, a return to the Mother in the way of all animals and plants. It was typical Leslie. A pioneer and in a way that had a certain political edge but a gentle one.

    I dressed up. Sport coat. Gray slacks. Blue shirt. Silk tie. Panama hat. First time in nine years. I knew Leslie and wanted to respect her life. Still felt weird. More like costuming. I remarked to Irene, the dream lady, that it came from a past life.


    Dennis and Mark came last night around five. We talked about drugs and art and Mark’s road trip. The upcoming conference in Aspen. I’ll buy them breakfast this morning and send them on their to Paonia where both Dennis and his brother Terence are from. Also where the High Country News is published.

    Good to have Mark here in the flesh. It’s been a while. Dennis is an unassuming guy, bright and like the rest of us hearing aided and surgically restored. In his case six stents thanks to a recent stint in the hospital.

    Massage later this morning, then on to Mussar.

  • Well. That Sucks.

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Leo. Marilyn and Irv. Heidi and Rider. Primo’s. Kep, his ashes and paw print. Another beautiful day in the Mountain hood. Rabbi Jamie talking about ritual. Rebecca. Ode and Dennis. Luke picking up Leo. Blood draw for PSA and testosterone. A good workout. Resting heart rate down to 61. Weight at 145. 5.5 inches tall, down from 5′ 7″. 76. Being alive.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Heidi

    One brief shining: Picked up Kep’s ashes yesterday the receptionist remembered them all she said Rigel was a star as her voice broke when I came back to the car Leo wagged his tail happy to see me in my hand a bag with cloth cord handles, a bamboo box in a blue cloth sack and a small box with silver that held the imprint of Kep’s paw.


    When the doctor blurted out Leslie’s diagnosis including that she had less than a month to live, she said, well. That sucks. I won’t be going to Poland. You had to know Leslie but it was in character and a solid way, imho, to meet the guy in black with the sickle. Acknowledgement. No bargaining. Reality. A bit of humor.

    Her service is tomorrow. I’ll be there. And at her shiva tomorrow evening. How we do it.


    Left 15 minutes early this morning for an appointment with Rabbi Jamie. Why? Downtown Evergreen is a must see now thanks to a summer long detour away from the lake. On Sunday it took me twenty minutes to get from my side of Evergreen to the synagogue side. Today. No trouble at all so I ended up 15 minutes early rather than 20 minutes late. Sunday was with tourists. Today not so much.

    Rabbi Jamie and I discussed a ritual for crossing the threshold.  A mezuzah hanging will be part of it. Something also about being an elder and a male. We’ll discuss it over time. October 8th at ten am. He told me of a delightful ritual in Nepal. Apparently at 7 a boy becomes a man expected to participate in family and village life in a positive way. That phase lasts for 70 years. Then at 77, the man becomes a child again. On his 77th birthday the man leads a parade through the town where everyone greets him, blesses him. I like that idea, too. We’re going to discuss a late life ritual for men as well for my own situation.

    Also his dad may go on the Israel trip and we could room together. Save us both $1,100. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.


    After breakfast with Rebecca. Rebecca teaches ESL at a nunnery in northern India, one related to the Tibetan Buddhist diaspora. She’s 80 and travels there once a year for four months or so, living in the same quarters as the nuns. We sat outside at the Parkside in lovely 67 degree and sunny weather Colorado dogs and their humans coming back and forth through the tables.

    Rebecca believes Leslie got a good result with a healthy life up till two weeks before her death. Probably right about that.

    Life in the Mountains. And death.