• Category Archives Wild Neighbors
  • 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.

     

     

     


  • Mountains

    Winter and the full Cold Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Cold Moon. The night landscape through my bedroom window when the Moon is full. All dogs, everywhere. All Wild Neighbors. The Lodgepoles of Shadow Mountain. Its Rocky presence and its height. Living on Shadow Mountain. Gary and the Torah. Bereshit. Zornberg. Hevruta. Lamb by Christopher Moore. Tinned Albacore. Bartlett Pears. 34 degrees Rosemary crackers.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The night landscape with a full moon

    One brief shining: Hard to miss the steady confident support of Shadow Mountain yet it can fade into the background of the trash and the dishwasher and the television and the sleeping through the night though when on occasion I awake I do look outside and see the Lodgepole shadows thrown against the white Snow by the gentlest of lights and somehow Shadow Mountain rises up, gentle himself, to receive the Moon’s gift.

     

    We tend to think of Mountains as rugged stony prominences, all yang in their stolidity, their solidity. Yet live with one long enough and its mellow side emerges. It wants to cradle you, support you as a mother does her child. It says yes to the Trees that wish to grow on its flanks. The Mountain greets the Waters as they run down its side whether Rain or Snow Melt or Hail. Even though Water carries away part of the Mountain itself. The Mountain provides nooks for weary Mule Deer and Elk. Ledges on which Mountain Lions can rest while waiting for supper to walk by. Dens for hibernating Black Bears. Dens, too, for the Fox. The Mountain also shares its height with those who climb it for the long view possible at the summit.

    Mountains prefer the company of other Mountains. Sometimes in huge family gatherings we call ranges. Though self-contained Mountains share Roots, Passes, Valleys with their companions. They have similar origin stories with their companions, too. Geologists call it orogeny, Mountain building. Which of course is not building at all, but a rude thrust from an eon or two spent happily beneath the Earth’s crust, cracking the surface and slowly mounting into the Air and the light of Great Sol, feeling the Wind and the Rain, the Ice and Snow.

    Mountains will surprise you. They change their appearance. Sometimes suddenly as when Black Mountain disappears in the Fog. Or more slowly as Great Sol rises, dispersing the darkness of a Mountain night. In the Mountain Fall the gray-white Aspens leaves turn gold, creating a contrast with the green Needles of the Lodgepoles and the darkness of exposed rock. The Elk bugle then, too, and the Black Bears go into hyperphagia needing 20,000 calories a day. In Winter Snow flocks all the Trees and the Creeks freeze up. While in the Spring, the Snow melts and the Creeks run full, often overflowing their banks. Fawns and calves and kits and pups abound on the Mountainside.

    But Summer. Summer has a red flashing light. Danger ahead. Here in the arid West the Lodgepoles become desiccated, their needles dull. Sometimes the grasses turn brown, only a lightning strike away from Wildfire. All of us Mammals in the Mountains have to pay attention, be aware.

     

     


  • Mountain names and places

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Shabbat. Lighting the candles. Quiet. Rest. Irv. Marilyn. Tara. Ariane. Vincent. Eleanor, the all black Puppy and her white friend. Lots of kisses. Hebrew. My bar mitzvah aliyah, Exodus 19:25-20:2. Kilimanjaro. Annapurna. Zugspitz. Silverhorn. Jungfrau. All roads leading to Tara and Ariane’s house on Kilimanjaro. Apple and Peanut butter, an easy supper. Hearing aid. Oxygen concentrators. Oximeters. Living at altitude.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends

    One brief shining: Ariane, an engineer, has made 38 loaves of bread in his bread machine; he has a record of each loaf which includes machine settings, ingredients, and results; he held up a slice of his 38th loaf yesterday morning and told me that the bread inside the crust is called the crumb.

     

    The names up here. I’ve mentioned Troublesome Creek and Troublesome Gulch before. To get to Tara’s yesterday I took Shadow Mountain Drive to the Evergreen Road, turned right on North Turkey Creek, then left on Silverhorn to Jungfrau, Jungfrau to Kilimanjaro. I live on Black Mountain Drive which turns into Brook Forest Drive while passing through the Arapaho National Forest.

    Tara and Ariane live in an upslope house with a wonderful view. Yesterday Mt. Blue Sky and others near it were covered in Snow. Black Mountain is visible from their house, too. Just looked at a map and our homes are not that far apart in straight line distance, but there are no straight line roads here. Mountains in the way.

    When I drive down Shadow Mountain Drive, I follow North Turkey Creek along the flank of Shadow Mountain. Shadow Mountain itself is long and slopes down from the top where I live to the Evergreen Road. I can only see it from the parking lot of the Safeway several miles away otherwise I’m on it or too close to it to make out any of its features. An oddity of living in the Mountains.

    The road to Evergreen goes through a Valley, Evergreen Meadows, a long Valley that runs from Shadow Mountain Drive and Evergreen Road intersection for several miles. While driving through, I pass a couple of smaller Horse ranches, a suburban like development, and a still intact ranch with lots of Horses and a collection of pioneer cabins, all in disrepair.

    Closer to home Black Mountain, at 10,000 feet is 1,200 feet taller than Shadow Mountain and I can see it plainly. Right now. Great Sol has begun to light up the stands of Lodgepoles on it and a blue Colorado Sky. But the massif of Shadow Mountain, huge and over four miles from my house to the Evergreen Road? I live on it and see it as my land, my neighbor’s land, but its shape? Not visible to me.

    A good metaphor for the sacred. We live in it, see it when we can nearby, but its shape and expanse? Not visible to us.

    This is my place. The place from which I see the world most often. What I see are Mountains and Valleys, Mountain Streams and Wild Neighbors like the 8 point Elk bull I saw yesterday on Jungfrau while headed to Tara’s. It has become my home and I would like to stay here until I die.

     


  • See Beyond a Dystopian Future

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: New Snow. Cold. Christmas Eve. Ancient Brothers on Christmas. Animism. Joseph, his brothers. Jacob/Israel. Steel gray/blue Sky. Flocked Lodgepoles. Bears in hibernation. Elk and Mule Deer resting. Fox and Mountain Lions hunting. All wild neighbors adapting to the Snow and cold. Paul and Max. Kate, of blessed memory. Kep. Rigel. Gertie. Vega. Who left Shadow Mountain. Jon, too.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fire

    One brief shining: Diane gone to Taiwan, Mary and Guru traveled south to Melbourne, my son and Seoah dress for the cold in Songtan, Mark remains in Hafar, while I look out my window for Black Mountain, it’s not there.

     

    Asked the folks at the National Autonomous University of Mexico to send me a photograph of my adopted Axolotl, Gabriella. They obliged. She’s a beauty. In an Axolotl sort of way. When I get my phone cord up here to transfer pictures, I’ll post it here.

    This project has my attention, the reintroduction of Axolotls to the chinampas canals in Xochimilco. Next I’m going to support one of the chinamperos who farm the chinampas in the traditional way. As I wrote before, this kind of work prepares the World for what comes after climate change. I feel a need to support folks willing to see the future beyond dystopian writings and fever dreams. And my lev, my heart/mind, seems to always land on folks caring for the land, for wild creatures, exchanging the old ways, the bad ways for Earth friendly farming, for chinampas canals clean enough to host again the Axolotl.

    This work, a necessary part of the Great Work of our time-creating a sustainable presence for human beings on Planet Earth-does not push back against carbon emissions or try to change the minds of politicians. Though that’s so important and critical for Ruth, Gabe, Imogen, Max and all the grandchildren. It imagines a world once again attuned to the rhythms and needs of the soil, of Plant life, of Animal life, including but not privileging, human life.

    At this age I want to say Yes instead of No. I’m weary of the struggle against greed and exploitation, oppression and entrenched bigotry like racism and anti-semitism. Though again that struggle is so important for Ruth, Gabe, Imogen, Max and all the grandchildren. I’m searching, scanning for projects and ideas that will last, that will ensure food and healthy ecosystems, that have faith in the future, that build that future starting now.

    I can’t support them all and I can’t support the ones I do very well, but I want to have a link, a real connection to them. Money is one way. Making their work known is another. Finding those committed to this work and celebrating them is another.

    We can learn again to farm with the Land, not in spite of it. We can clean our Waters, protect Mountain Biomes, seed Ecosystems with Animals and Plants eliminated by human activity in the past. Five Oregon Wolves have dispersed this week here in Colorado, for example. This work happens on all continents, among all peoples. I love them for it.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


  • I Could Have Said, Hallelujah

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Word to Deed. Rabbi Jamie. The dark of a Mountain Winter morning. Good sleeping. Darkness and Fog. Obscurants. Leo. Here again. Luke. Tal. Sofers. Scribes for Torah scrolls, ketubahs, and mezuzah scrolls. Evenings out. Alan. His BMW. Dispatched from the factory. Not yet at the port. Kabbalah. Talmud. Midrash. Faith and its cultured despisers. Including me? Learning. Bread Lounge. French Sourdough. A Cuban.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Christmas Cactus, Alan as assistant director

    One brief shining: The Bread Lounge inhabits a second floor space over Nelly’s General Store in a small upscale shopping center in Evergreen and is at least for now the place to go filled all the time with young lovelies, retirees, the occasional tourist, and the friendly cash register lady who asked Alan and I yesterday morning, “What are you two fine gentlemen up to this morning?”

     

    You know you’re a regular when the cashier not only greets you but on occasion gives you the military discount just because she wants to. Or a waitress leans out from the kitchen, “Hi, Charlie!” Or when the Sugar Jones folks put together a box of 8 creme brulee truffles just for you because they’re selling out their Christmas orders and want to be sure you have your weekly fix.

    My address says Conifer but I spend much more time in Evergreen. CBE is in Evergreen and many of my friends. Though. My precinct is actually an Evergreen precinct. I live between Evergreen and Conifer, a bit closer to Conifer but not that far from Evergreen either.

    As a small town boy, I find these sorts of interactions grounding. I’m known. Not well, but as a person who belongs here. That was the way of life in Alexandria, Indiana as I grew up. Many folks knew who you were, well enough to greet you on the street or in a restaurant or shop. Those greetings said, yes, I know you and I know you know me. The relational glue that made a small town function.

    We also knew when Art got caught again playing poker in the backroom while on duty as an Alexandria policeman. When a local teacher got caught stealing a cup of quarters at a casino in southern Indiana. Who died. Who had a wreck. Who was sick. Who got pregnant with no husband. But we also knew who the father was. Small town life had its definite pluses and minuses, especially in the golddust covered years of the late 50’s and early 60’s.

    Plus or minus my 76 year old person still responds with warmth to situations that remind me of days spent at Bailey’s Drug Store or the Bakery or at the County Fair. 12 years of education with the same kids. Paper routes on the same streets. All those stories involving the same people. A real place, a real there there.

    I want to be clear. These are not conscious triggers. Rather, they are subtle, below awareness until they begin to mount up, hit a critical mass. And I realize, oh, I feel comfortable here. Part of not apart from.

    Had a related feeling yesterday as I drove to Evergreen. Driving through the Arapaho National Forest, familiar with the curves, the houses, the terrain up and down. The sacred began to be visible. Those Lodgepoles growing in the rocky crevices, life powerful and insistent. The wavy brown stalks of Grass covering a Meadow like a beard on a face. The Red Osier Dogwood and the Willow Trees outlining the Mountain Stream from which they drink. Those two Mule Deer crossing the road in front of me. All sacred, all part of the one. Suppose I could have said, hallelujah.


  • 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.

     


  • The Animal Shall not be Measured by Man (sic)

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Snow. Cool night. Gray-white Sky as Snowflakes glide past the Lodgepoles. The three Mule Deer Bucks in the yard yesterday. One with a magnificent rack. Thanksgiving week. Urban Farmer. Ruth and her new (to her) Subaru. Gabe. Mia who calls me grandpa. Mezuzah hanging tomorrow. The Iliad. Hector and Paris and Menelaus. Helen. Agamemnon. Ajax. Odysseus. Achilles. Troy. Reading. Sangfroid. Veronica. The mikveh. Canceling Starlink.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow

    One brief shining: On Snowy days I’ll load a fire in the fireplace, get a cup of coffee, and pick up the current book, right now the Iliad, and take off into the world of Troy, of men who lived for war, of women so beautiful they were worth fighting and dying for, of the wine-dark sea and the rage of Achilles.

     

    No more Starlink. In my reason for cancellation I quoted Musk’s comment on X.* Back to DSL and Centurylink.

     

    Those three Mule Deer Bucks in the back yard yesterday reminded me of the three who greeted me on Samain 2014. I had come to Colorado for the closing. They were in the back, like these three, grazing calmly. I walked out of the lower level, not sure what to expect. I was brand new to the Mountains. We stayed a respectful distance from each other while staring intently into each others eyes. After a few minutes, we broke off. They returned to grazing and I went back inside. Altered.

    As I reflected on it later, and as I’ve said, I came to believe they were three Mountain spirits come to greet me, say it was all right for me to live here. That began my ongoing experience of my Wild Neighbors, of their world in which I’m just passing through. They come and go on their own schedules, according to their own needs and desires. Sometimes I am fortunate enough to see them, usually not.

    I’ll finish today with a quote that if I ever had a tombstone big enough I’d want to include on mine.

    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
    Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life On The Great Beach of Cape Cod

     

    *”An X post Wednesday afternoon said: “Jewish communties (sic) have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post also referenced “hordes of minorities” flooding Western countries, a popular antisemitic conspiracy theory.

    In response, Musk said: “You have said the actual truth.”” CNN.com


  • The Forest after dark

    Samain and the Choice Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: The Blues Shabbat. Ron and Jamie, the Blues Brothers. Veronica. The oneg. Thanksgiving. The Forest at night. Orion. The Pleiades. Scorpio. The night Sky on Shadow Mountain. The half crescent Choice Moon. Driving at night. Tara helping me get ready for my aliyah on December 1st. The torah blessings. Alan and Adrian. Helen. Evergreen at night. Israel ben Abraham and Sarah. Word to Deed today on prayer. Studying the Parsha. Making a sabbath.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Orion rising

    One brief shining: At the service last night Elizabeth announced Veronica and I would sponsor the oneg (after service food and drinks) on December 1st, people turned and smiled, greeted us afterward with genuine joy, reeling us both in closer.

     

    Last night I drove home from the Blues Shabbat, which was wonderful. Back up Brook Forest Drive which becomes Black Mountain Drive. A fat crescent moon hung in the southern Sky, stars twinkled, coming into sight and disappearing among the trees of the Arapaho National Forest.

    Two different realms. The daytime Forest and the nighttime Forest. We diurnal animals can navigate the Forest with relative ease during the day. Rocks and Trees, Valleys and Creeks. A trail going up or down. If there’s Snow or Ice, we can plan how we want to approach it. Or, turn back. The colors of the Grass, the Trees, the Granite and Gneiss show up. Green Grass or dead Grass, dusty brown, reddish bark, the gray of Boulders and other Outcroppings of Rock. We can cross the Creek on the fallen Tree, or those hopefully not too slippery Rocks.

    At night? Not so much. Our eyes, like all diurnal animals, gather light, but not as efficiently as nocturnal animal eyes. Our body temperature tends to be lower since we have the heat of the day. We sleep at night while the nocturnal animals sleep, or rest, most during the day. Nocturnal animals’ senses of smell and hearing also tend to be more acute that us day lovers.

    The Forest at night for a diurnal animal. Not our world. Even when our eyes adjust to the dark we don’t see well. Much more likely to trip, run into something, miss the patch of Ice or deep Snow. Nocturnal Predators have the upper hand over diurnal animals once darkness falls.

    As a result, when I drive through the night time Forest, an atavistic fear or at least caution arises as I imagine myself having to make my way through that dark landscape. Vulnerable. Uncertain. Certain species memories arise from the collective unconscious saying beware, there may be monsters. Not difficult to see how folks of say, the Middle Ages, created folk tales and legends around the Black Forest, Sherwood Forest, or even the Big Woods that used to stretch from the East coast to the Midwest.

    That’s in part why the Bull Elk I saw in the Rain and at night had such a powerful effect on me. He roamed the night time Forest, had a presence there I could not imagine.

     


  • Consider Oneness

    Fall and the Harvest Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Fat Bear Week. See this link. Rebecca in India. Mary in K.L. Mark in Hafir, Saudi Arabia. Me on Shadow Mountain. My son and Seoah and Murdoch in Songtan. Israel. Gaza. West Bank. Korea. Divided nations. Night Sky. Stars above and around the Lodgepoles. The coming darkness. A Mountain Morning. Aspen Torches, Trees of Ohr. The Tree of Life. Malkut to Keter. The Wildwood Tarot. Luke. Ginny. Jimmy. Murdoch, the silly. My son, the silly. Kate, who was also silly. Jon, who was not. Ruth. Gabe.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fat Bear Week

    One brief shining: A bear stands on a rock facing downstream, salmon climb the ladder of flowing water headed to their clan home to spawn, one tight powerful snap and the journey ends.

     

    War. A son whose life lies in preparation and readiness for war. A nation, Korea, divided and still at war. Israel, my coreligionists fighting a war of their own creation. Oppression has a heavy price, paid too often, most often, in blood. Consider the violence of a nation that still relegates its native peoples to lands not wanted, depriving them of the lands that once sustained them. Consider the violence of a nation that systematically denies the vote, a decent education, good housing, well-paying jobs to persons descended from the enslaved. Consider a nation that denies an entire people, the Uighurs, even the crumbs of citizenship. Consider a nation, any nation, that allows its majority to wreck havoc on its minorities without conscience or care. Most nations.

    Consider all these things. We are human after all, all too human. Jealous of what we already have, greedy for what we might get. Israel did not invent oppression. Nor did China. Neither did the U.S.A., even when slavery was legal. No. We humans find love, justice, and compassion often beyond our grasp even if in our individual hearts we might feel it. Collectively we protect our families, our clans, our regions, our skin color fellows, our nations. And in protecting, a noble and worthy action, deny others what they need, a base and evil result. This is the original sin of our species. To love those we prefer and exclude those who fall outside of our love’s sphere. A sad, pitiful narrowness to our vision.

    Then consider the human body. Consider what the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead called the fallacy of misplaced concreteness. The often unfortunate result of a reductionist science that separates the heart as a consideration of medical care from the liver, from the gut, from grief and joy and stress and despair. That separates the teeth from the pancreas. The blood from the lungs. The thyroid from the feet. Treats each one as a thing sui generis when no. Cortisol bathes each organ, blood moves through and into and out of the lungs, the gut, the feet, the brain and into the kidneys. We are one.

    Of course we can learn and know about the heart when we dissect it, image it, palpitate it, treat its actions with chemicals of our own devising. Of course. But how did the heart come to have that blocked vessel? That flapping valve? That enlarged chamber? How does the heart function as part of the oneness that is homeostasis? How is that homeostasis affected by the smile of a child? The sound of a jackhammer? The death of a loved one? The denial at every turn of opportunity?

    More. Yes. My body is one. Yes, it is. But. It is one within a community, within an atmosphere. My body so individual and precious to me can last no more than a few breaths without the oxygen exhaled by plants nearby and faraway. My body so individual and precious to me cannot live more than a few days without food grown by farmers, caught by fisherman, sustained by healthy soil and oceans and skies. My body so individual and precious to me cannot last without the touch, the warmth, the smile, the greeting of others.

    Our original sin. To misplace the apparent concreteness of our skin color, our tribe, our class, our nation as worthy of dominance over others. No. We are one. The Eternal One only knows unity. Only sees togetherness. Insists in its nature on love, justice, and compassion. It has ever been so, and has ever been denied. Our fault, our most grievous fault.


  • This and that

    Fall and the Harvest Moon

    Monday gratefuls: A pink Cumulus Cloud over Black Mountain. The start of a new Day. A new life resurrected from the 1/60th death of sleep. Each Day a full book in the library of life. The vast wing dedicated to each life. Yours. Mine. The Mule Deer and the Butterfly. Rain. Fall weather this week. My son and his sweet note. Gabe. The Rockie’s game that wasn’t. Twins playing last year’s winner of the World Series in the playoffs. House cleaning today.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Life, the wonder and the miracle

    One brief shining: Small drops of Water hit my deck this morning, taking the Mouse trap outside to make  an offering to the Ravens, the dead mouse would not come out.

     

    Yes. When I got back it was late September and the Mice had made a new incursion. When I went to get my electric Mouse trap out, I noticed a blinking red light. The sign of a killed Mouse. ? Sure enough, in the worst decision of its short life, this particular Mouse had chosen the Mouse trap as its home.

    I don’t like killing mice. It makes me sad, feel guilty, puts me in a category of human behavior I never aspire to. Yet my team that came to help me clean a couple of years ago made me get over it. Too much of a health risk. And, I know. I know. Hamburgers. Bacon. Chicken wings. Who ever said contradiction was not a part of life? Even so.

     

    Slept well the last two nights. Colon less vigilant. Yay. Jet lag waning, as it will. Perhaps today, maybe tomorrow I’ll shake free of Korea’s Sun and return to the one under which I now live. These transitions go unremembered after a journey is over. Their price part of the experience like airfare and taxis.

     

    Fall in the Rockies. A distinctive time here, one I’m glad I didn’t miss. The bugling of the Elk Bull’s searching for mates. Hyperphagic Bears tipping over garbage cans, raiding cars, going into houses after a portion of the 20,000 calories a day they need before their long nap. The Aspen’s gold, muted this year, against the evergreen of the Lodgepoles. Signs for snowplowing, ads. The Mountain Lions hunting for the straggling Mule Deer, the startled Rabbit. Skies as blue and as pure as new born Fawns, reflected in Mountain Streams and Lakes. The weather becoming more unstable, veering between heat and cold, changing. Nights that go into the electric blanket zone. Days that feel warm in the sun, cold in the shade. All of us, humans and wild neighbors, making sure we’re ready for the cold season that follows.

     

    If you read the NYT, you will find in this morning’s edition an article about Bishop Joseph Strickland: A Texas Bishop Takes on the Pope. It’s rare that I have a personal connection to any stories featuring Catholicism coming of good Protestant stock and about to become a Jew. In this case though. Paul Strickland, Joseph’s older brother, is and has been a close friend of mine for over thirty years. He’s one of the Ancient Brothers who meet by zoom each Sunday morning.

    Paul and all of us Ancient Brothers have a very different take on the world than Joseph. Yet. Not a surprise that Joseph is articulate, strong, and determined. Like Paul. Not a surprise that Joseph has catalyzed others. Like Paul and the 10,000 Friends of the Maine Coast which prevented a huge LPG terminal from taking over the tiny Maine town in which he lives. Even folks in the news have families.