• Category Archives Reimaging revelation
  • I’m Into Something Good. Oh, yeah…

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Cool night. Elk. Mule Deer. Fox. Great Sol. The Great Wheel. The Great Work. The Jewish Year. Wild Trees. Ancient Forests. Sequoias. Coastal Redwoods. Bristlecone Pines. Kabbalah. Shekinah. The Sabbath Bride. Emergence. Lodgepoles. Aspens. Jewitches. Love. Justice. Compassion. A direction, a purpose. A way to live.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Emergence

    One brief shining: Before the closing of the door and before I even open it, I stand hand over my eyes repeating the shema, declaring that I, god-wrestler, find the one to be all and the all to be one, which we might call god or not, but we can call it for sure the interdependent web of all things, all becoming things, everywhere there is a where, stretching from me in front of my bedroom door to the other reaches of this universe, passing by the Crab Nebula and the Horse Head Nebula on its way to a boundary where there can be no boundary.

     

    I’m into something good.* Said this this morning during the Ancient Brothers. An exciting burst of serendipity, synchronicity, plain old enthusiasm. Heading toward eudaimonia. Wow. Sounds manic as I write it. Has some of that flavor. The shovel that uncovered this new path? A dream. And the Dreamers’ response to it.

    And… Here we go. I’m going back to Wabash College. At least that place I was when I was there. Serendipity note: the Herman’s Hermits song below was released in 1964, the summer before my last year of high school, and before my mother’s death in October. Another serendipity note: Herman’s Hermits.

    When I went to Wabash, I had competing emotions, both so very strong. The first. Grief. Unresolved, not understood, in no way dealt with. Mom was dead. I left home to go to this school, at the time highly competitive, and bare my small town intellect to so many others so much smarter than me. Grief and uncertainty. Toxic at best.

    The second. Finally! A liberal arts education. A chance to get into the cultural deposit of the West. (It would be many, many years before Asia showed up in my life.) Philosophy. History. English Literature. Languages. A chance to grow beyond my autodidact years, guided by professors and stimulated by fellow students. Hard to convey the excitement, even relief, I felt at starting college.

    Then German happened. I wanted to read Hegel, Nietzsche, Kant in the original. So I signed up. And floundered. Bad. Got c’s and d’s on quizzes and tests. Where this headed was clear. Abject failure. I did not do the brave and movie worthy thing. Face up to it and overcome. No. I dropped German like a hot potato masher hand grenade.

    At the end of the year summer jobs were hard to find and Wabash was expensive. I decided to go further. Leave Wabash altogether. I’m not big on regret, but this is one of them for me.

    The dream. Said. Go back. Be who you intended to be. The one that got lost along the way. So who was I going to be, the 18 year old version of this 77 year old. I wasn’t sure of anything but my desire to dive headlong into the deep waters of the liberal arts. Where would I come out? No idea. Didn’t want to know. I only wanted the journey. No destination.

    I’ve made a journey, but got off the path of liberal arts, shunted aside by politics and religion. By alcohol and women. By travel and jobs. All ok, all good. Yet not where I wanted to be.

    Now. The tarot card, the Hermit, hangs rendered in neon over my breakfast table. Herman’s Hermits remind me of the year before college, feelings accelerating, ground speed increasing. I’m also reminded of my first response to Kate’s death. I’m going to be a hermit. Hence, the neon. Last year I wrote a one-act play introducing Herme, the Hermit, and Cold Mountain’s poetry. And the dream says, go. Teshuvah. Return to the highest and best you.

    A semi-hermit, a sometime recluse, a happy loner. But one with the permission to study, to write. To go back into the liberal arts and see if, as Israel: God-Wrestler, I can add to the world my own learnings.  About the Great Wheel, the Jewish liturgical year, trees and plants, about process metaphysics, about religion, about poetry and literature, about transformation and metamorphosis. These are the lenses through which I have learned to see the world.

    Next. Organizing my days, weeks, months, years around this Fool’s Journey. After that. On to the diving board, spring up and down. Out into thin air.

    *


  • Cabin Fever Trip

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Tuesday gratefuls: Great Sol. Brightening our day. Counting the Omer. Begins tonight. Traveling readiness day. Delayed, but happening today. Diane’s great work on setting up an itinerary. Museums, as Ode says, temples of creativity. The Artist’s Way. My Jewish immersion. The Three Body Problem trilogy. Fall Out on Prime Video. High quality television. Kindle.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Artists-painters, writers, playwrights, musicians, poets, actors, sculptors, architects, composers

    One brief shining: With awakening I’m in a new life, a multiverse reality based on the day before yet new as the dew on a spring ephemeral, in that day my many breaths each constitute life breathed out and back in, new lives each breath, how can I keep from singing?

     

    Feeling the welcoming breath of a travel day exhaling from the end of the week toward me. Inspiring my activities today. Finalize packing. Stop mail. Get a pedicure. Collect myself for a journey.

    This is mostly a cabin fever trip. A way of escaping a place I love because the snow and the cold stayed a bit too long. And for most folks I’ve talked to. A way to refresh the joys of home by vacating its presence for a bit. Enjoy the graces and beauties of San Francisco, see Diane. Live in a hotel for 7 nights, 2 nights in a sleeping car there and back. Write. Read. See the Rockies, the intermountain West, the Sierra Nevadas, canyons and deserts.

    I’ve missed seeing good art on a regular basis. I’ve not found the Denver art scene at all comparable to the Twin Cities and I’ve let that attitude, plus the drive, keep me from seeing much at all. That’s on me. This trip will allow me to visit at least three of the country’s great collections: The Legion of Honor, the De Young, and the Asian Art museum. I plan to see them slowly. Taking as much time as I need. Reenter the world of Zhou and Han, Song and Tang, Picasso and Hokusai, Rodin and Giacometti.

    Yes. You could say of me. Religion, politics, and art. The subjective, the debatable, the aesthetic, the aspects of culture not manageable by STEM. Sure I like a good scientific discovery as much as the next nerd, but to examine an ancient text for the message it carries down the millennia to this day, to stand in the street and face down an oppressive economy, to join the conversation of those for whom shape, color, and language create whole worlds and dizzying perspectives, yes. That’s my journey.

    That and one other thing. The wild spots outside my door, up the flank of Black Mountain. Here on Shadow Mountain I can integrate the seeker, the advocate, and the artist with the world around me. My Lodgepole Companion and I see each other each morning. I said hello yesterday to those Mule Deer Does munching grass along Black Mountain Drive. Within them lie the same message as the Torah portion I will read on June 12th, the same spirit of over against oppressive structures, and an equivalent beauty to the best of Monet.

     


  • A person of…

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Shabbat gratefuls: The Morning Service. Bar Mitzvah. Snow. Cold. Moisture. Water. Air. Fire. Earth. Old physics. Physics. String theory. Twine theory. Thread theory. Quilts and quilting. Sewing. Matilda, Kate’s dress dummy. Kate in my dreams. Ancientrails. Diane. Art. In person. Judaism. My year of living Jewishlly. Outside my comfort zone. A lot.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Trains

    One brief shining: I looked out my window today, oh my, and there on the ground lay Snow, on the Branches of the Lodgepoles Snow, on the driveway Snow, and my Snow and Cold loving self looked at it and sighed, the calendar showing in less than two weeks, the fire holiday of Beltane, start of the growing season.

     

    Looking at myself. Some people. A man of money. Of power. Of racing. A woman of medicine. Of writing. Of the 100 meter dash. Of acting. Of music. Of whatever occupies prime location in an individual’s life story. I have to look at my story and be honest. I am a man of religion. Both small r and Big R. Individual and institutional. Can’t say I would have predicted this for me. Nor much of the time been aware of it.

    Yet. The deep questions of our species. Our search for meaning. For how to position ourselves in this, this whatever all this is. The folks and traditions who have explored these questions. My turf. Where I’ve lived much of my life. Oh, yes, their have been other enthusiasms: politics, art, writing, gardening, But somehow I always bounce back to the prayers, the songs, the sacred books. Not as a supplicant but always as a lover, one who presses his hand to the heart of it. Leans his head in and enjoys a quiet afternoon learning of the Greek Orthodox theological framework of reception. The Taoist wu wei. The Jewish Morning Service. Why Jesus prayed at Gethsemane. The Potawatomi writing habit of capitalizing the names of living things.

    One who rides through the Mountains looking for signs. Who walks down Mountain Valleys hearing the voices of the Creek, the Magpies, the wild Strawberries. Seeing in the gentle run of a Mountain Stream swollen by Spring Snows the path of all living things carried by this mystery, vitality. A man who cannot absent himself from the quest for what and why and where.

    Perhaps you, too? Do you read the sacred books and know their definite humanity, yet find within them the human desire to grasp the interconnectedness of things? Feel inspired to have your own moments of revelation? Perhaps, eh? That splash of color. That child’s laugh. The sudden sense that an injustice needs redress. The kisses of a small furry puppy or a three-year old child. A wondering about Buddha nature? About chi? About teshuvah? About Ramadan?

    You see my conviction is this. We are all people of religion. All born with wonder, imbued with awe, fascinated with the mysterious. Sure, some of us make a life of it, but all of us question. All of us see values and linkages. See them and need them. Yes, your path may be all of your own making, yet it can be informed by those who have chosen to retain the paths of their ancestors. As your path, your ancientrail, can inform theirs.


  • In the Weeds. Skip if not interested

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Wednesday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Spinal stenosis. Pain. Writing. Art date. Morning pages. Great Sol blasting us with fusion energy. Green Lodgepole Needles. Black Mountain. Blue Sky. Shadow Mountain strong. Our lives and the challenges we face, the moments that define us. Our favorite places. Earth. Our orbit around Great Sol.  Yod Heh Vav Heh. The ineffable. The unutterable. The necessary name. I was. I am. I will be. YHWH is one.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: the tetragrammaton

    One brief shining: There is a moment, an eternal moment, one still entrained in the vast sweep of eternity, when we find ourselves, know who we were, who we are, and who we will become, in that moment we instantiate the four letter name of God, we are godly, god corporeal, god within the world, god as hands and feet and heart for justice, mercy, and love, this moment is always and long, extending over your whole life.

     

    Feeling theological today. Here’s my torah portion in English:

    19:25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

    20:1 Then God spoke all these words:
    2 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery

    I can now say this in Hebrew, pronouncing it from the Torah text which as I said a few days back has no vowels and no punctuation.

    Will also have to write a brief dvar Torah. An interpretation of these verses. Look forward to that. Going to concentrate on the word translated Lord here, the yod-heh-vav-heh name, YHWH, and which by long custom is usually pronounced in Jewish readings as either Adonai, Lord, or Hashem, the name.

    Plan to refer to Rabbi Arthur Green, Rabbi Jamie’s mentor and former President of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. He suggested a version of the Shema in which the word Adonai is said aloud while picturing YHWH in the mind. Jamie told me about this. This is now and has been my practice since I learned about it. Not sure what Green’s notion is, but here’s what I get from doing it over and over.

     Adonai and Hashem are sort like cover bands for the tetragrammaton. They show a certain level of respect for YHWH, but in fact obscure it and its power. The true name of God, in Jewish tradition, is unpronounceable and unwriteable. Therefore, as Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, or almost said, “Of it we cannot speak.” YHWH can be pronounced and written. Its meaning may be obscure. Rabbi Jamie teaches that it is a mashup of verbs, not a noun, and many agree with this reading. Including me.

    If we follow the verbal idea, the name means something like I was, I am, I will be. Sorta makes sense as a description of the one, the unity that is all things according to Jewish theology. How I view this “name” lies not in its identification purpose-this is God’s name-rather in its process and metaphysical claim. What was, what is, and what will be is in fact the source of Torah, the claim that an interconnected, interdependent whole best expresses the reality in which live, and move, and have our becoming.

    We are bound up in the pastness, the presentness, and the futureness of reality. Inextricable from it, contributing to it, having to interact with it. If we enter into a covenant with reality, saying that we will not separate ourselves from each other or from the world around us, then we act consciously and creatively to advance the whole, not pretending that certain people are different and therefore bad, not pretending that the world outside our homes and offices is not also our home, not pretending that we have a way to wall ourselves off from each other through towers of wealth or knowledge or power.

    Humility and awe. That’s the what all this suggests to me. Live with humility and awe.


  • Eternal Life

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Shabbat gratefuls: Morning pages. The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron. The Socrates Cafe. The Morning Service. Bar Mitzvah prep today at CBE. Parsha Tazria. Lighting the candles. Saying the blessing. Learning my Torah portion. My son and Seoah’s 8th anniversary! Wowzer. Their meal yesterday. I have pictures. Murdoch at the Dog park. Honeybee rides. Scheduled for April 24th. Which, as it happens, is the wrong date. Sigh. I played with different dates. Didn’t check.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Torii

    One brief shining: I look through the Torii that is my back door, seeing the deck and garage beyond, my gaze goes up, to the left and sees the mezuzah placed there by Rabbi Jamie not long after the Hamas raid into Israel, but this day I remember the Shema, that most prayed of all Jewish prayers: Shema Israel, Adonai eloheinu, Adonai echad, Hear O Israel, Our God, Our God is one, tucked into the mezuzah on a kosher scroll and that the mezuzah blesses each going out and coming in as sacred acts so I can look through my own back door from the inside and see a sacred outside, and through it from the outside and see a sacred inside, knowing then that all is one and all is sacred in this moment and in all others.

     

    On this calendar Tom sent me. It is eternity now. Oh, well. That’s true. By definition. We don’t have to wait for our time in eternity. My Lodgepole companion and I exist in eternity, as do the brilliant rays of Great Sol shining on us both. As do all three mezuzahs here on Shadow Mountain. As does Shadow Mountain itself. And Black Mountain, too. All cohabiting in eternity.

    Eternal life is this life, these fingers, this heart beating right now. Will my life as I am go on further into eternity’s vast expanse? Hell if I know. Yet I’ve participated in, been part of eternal life. So, maybe? A little bit of head scratching definitional play here. Sure. But, hey! We created the words and the ideas which they express. We might know more than we think we do. In fact I’m confident we do. Hope this eternal idea is one of those things in which we intuit more than we can express.

     

    Just a moment: Biden creeping up on Trump. Oh be still my political heart. All we need to do is thump this orange tumor clothed in baggy blue with too long red ties. Thump him and his at the ballot box. Then we can get back to politics as forever changed, but perhaps not ushering in the American Empire quite yet.

    Trump is no Caesar. On the basis of competence alone. I doubt he measures up to even Mussolini and Hitler. An inferior autocrat. That’s what he is. And he’s come along when a certain demographic felt hopeless. When all would be dictators arise. Tell me a story, a story in which I’m better than those other guys. Or those other women. Or those others. And I’ll vote for you. Always.

     


  • SEE

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Thursday gratefuls: Poetry. Rodger Kamenetz. Jewish poetry. Irish poetry. U.S. poetry. Resident scholars at CBE. On dreams tonight. At our mussar today. Morning pages. Julie Cameron’s Artist’s Way. Have to claim it. So, here. I’m an artist, a writer. Artist’s date. A cleared out freezer. 13 bean soup with ham hock. Thanks, Tom. The eclipse. Such a peculiar event.

    Sparks of joy and awe: The size of the Moon and the distance of Great Sol

    One brief shining: The Japanese know about gates, about Torii, marking the transition from the mundane to the sacred, those red and orange Wooden portals so familiar from photographs, Shinto saying beyond here the realm transmutes, and yet if you look through a Torii the view beyond it is a continuation of the one in which you stand, like the rain on the night I saw that Elk Bull on the Forest’s edge, he was not in a different realm, yet he could have been a red and orange Wooden portal because what began at his presence was the sacred realm, revealed in all its glory and majesty as nothing more than the stone path leading to the temple, but, and this is crucially important, nothing less.

     

    You see. We all see. But do you see? Do you see what you’re looking at? In all of its mundane grittiness? That ragged line of cloth, where the old coat has begun to fray. The too pitted asphalt of the road, its shoulders cracked. The place on the Lodgepole where the Bark peeled away? Those solar lights now lying on the ground, tipped over by a season’s worth of snow pushed and pushed again by plows and road graders. The all too many Trees, too close together, not a natural Forest, but a clear cut of long ago now replaced with thinner, weaker individuals.

    Do you know that gritty look is a mask, a persona for the world? The road will disintegrate, disaggregrate. The solar lights will get re-placed. The coat will go to a tailor. And the Forest? Well, it will burn, thin itself and the two-leggeds who live within its boundaries.

    Nothing stays as it is in this moment though in this moment, this eternal moment, it is unnecessary to know this.

    And yet if you can see tomorrow through the lens of right now, then you can see the stone path, the one that passes through Torii gate, revealed as sacred on both sides of the gate. The gate’s true purpose. To reveal, to remind, to reconstruct the natures of the mundane and the sacred. Both the same, yet different. The incarnation, yes. That’s it. The capture of the sacred reality in the most mundane, the most gritty of all things. Like Black Mountain Drive. A Forest of thin Trees. A wet and staring Elk Bull. Even, and yes, please hear this as well as see it, even in that hand that types, that clicks the keys and sends these pixels out, these sacred pixels, to you.


  • Seeing what you’re looking at

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Space invaders headset. The future is now. As is, btw, eternity. Diane and San Francisco. Amtrak. BEI Wyndham. Asian Art Museum. Tallit. Joanne. Ruth in adulthood. Gabe reaching toward 16. Kate, of blessed memory. Jon. Rigel. Kep. Gertie. Vega. My Colorado dead. Travel. The World as the Sacred World. Oneness. Metaphors.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Toba Spitzer, her book God is Here: Reimagining the Divine

    One brief shining: Went to Toni’s, my favorite market, parked near the shell of a Bed, Bath, and now gone to the Beyond store which crossed the Bankruptcy Bridge to business hell not long ago, got a cart and moved past some of my favorite things to the deli counter where I ordered an Italian sub and a large tub of tomato and pasta salad for MVP later, moving past the cheeses, and into the pastries, cookies, and candy aisle in which we wait for a cash register to open.

     

    No retinal nerve photos on Wednesday, visual field instead. You may have played this ophthalmologists game. Put your chin on the rest. Cover one eye with a patch. Focus on the light in the center. Hold a clicker and press it as lights flicker off and on in various parts of your peripheral vision. Not any more. At least not at Colorado Eye Consultants. Now a virtual reality headset with a pleasant female A.I. getting you ready, guiding you. Very futuristic.

    Dr. Repine also placed a small glass object she held on a metal rod up against my eyeball. Unpleasant. This to look into my eyeball and gauge the spots where vitreous fluids drain out. Narrow angle glaucoma, my kind, rare, features a blockage of the drains. Dr. Repine pronounced them good. As well as my pressures. Not going blind. Not yet.

    And, in other health news, my PSA doubled since six weeks ago. Back to treatment soon, I imagine.

     

    Here’s looking at you, Christianity. My vision clearer from the base of Mt. Sinai. Wanting to take on a new task, reviewing and reinterpreting my former faith. Not sure I should, but I know I could. Not in a critical way, but in a let’s look at this from a new perspective way.

    For example. Incarnation. Here’s a wikipedia definition: Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and the embodiment of a deity or spirit in some earthly form or an anthropomorphic form of a god. That manger. The three Magi. The Star in the East. God made flesh. Christmas!

    A new perspective. Each birth, each hatched Egg, each Cellular mitosis. Incarnation. Each drop of water or snowflake, each Tree sprouting from a seed, each Grass and Seaweed and Corn plant, each sunbeam. Incarnation. The divine, the sacred embodied in flesh or other form. Creating the World and being Created in it.

    No longer an exclusionary principle but an inclusionary one. Bringing us all and all things, too, both into and as the body. So many Christmases.


  • Alembics

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Diane. San Francisco. Bechira points. MVP. A family. Rich, powerful conversation last night. Blintzes. Joanne. Marilyn. Irv. That wide open Spring feeling. Anything is possible. Blood draw today. PSA and testosterone. Blood pressure. The Iliad translated by Emily Wilson. Formula 1. Baseball’s opening day. Feeling significant.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Deep friendships

    One brief shining: We gather once a month, driving from our Mountain homes beside Streams and through Forests, to the synagogue, arriving as the Hebrew School ends, kids bouncing off walls, sliding on handrails, put down what food we’ve brought, perhaps as I did last night, the material for the discussion, too, and slowly ease ourselves into the presence of the others.

     

                                          Alembic

    Not sure the activity matters. What matters is persistence. Showing up. Listening. Speaking your own story. Even if only between songs, or whacks at the golf ball, or over the sound of crochet needles thwacking. Over and over. As years go by the stories become familiar. Even our own story. The polished versions, the ones we use when unsure of the crowd, fall away and the tarnished ones slowly reveal themselves.

    This is the way of kehillah. Of sacred community. Of friendship. The Woolly Mammoths, for example. Not knowing what we were doing. Well over 35 years in now. No longer needing to know what we’re doing, embracing the becoming, the deepening. All really because of persistence. We showed up. Two nights a month for years and years.

    Could have been a poker game, I suppose. Maybe a print-making co-op. Instead it was a bunch of guys who Velveteen Rabbited themselves into real men, often exposed and dangling from another of life’s precipices, yet still welcome, still seen whole. Gathered in.

    Memories of time together. At Villa Marie. At various spots on the North Shore. In each others homes. In restaurants. At the Nicollet Island Inn in that one room decorated for Christmas. You might call it a form of group marriage, within this meeting I pronounce you man and men. As long as you all shall live. What sacred time has joined together, let no man pull asunder.

    An alembic. That’s what these community choirs are. These sheepshead games. These exercise mornings. These rummy cube games. These gatherings on the first Wednesdays at CBE. Alembics for the soul. A place of transformation, of transmutation, of lasting change.

    I’ve been privileged to be part of several. Where the heat of vulnerability softens and opens a soul. Allows it to see itself anew, or, better, as it truly is. That’s where we’re going in these alembics. Running not away from ourselves but to ourselves. Feeling and getting support for who we most truly are. After the polish wears off. After the achievements drop away as inconsequential. As we do, the journey becomes easier. Lighter. Less burdened with expectations.

    If you’re part of an alembic right now, cherish it. Persist. By staying in you achieve the alchemist’s dream. You can turn lead into gold.


  • The Day After

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Monday gratefuls: And yet more Snow today. Sigh. Yay! The day after Easter. Incarnation. Another big religious idea. April Fool’s day. The Fool in the Tarot deck. April. The cruelest month. Dawn. Spring. Choice points. Choice points that build community. Talking Story. Clan Keaton. San Francisco. Amtrak. Defeating inertia. Lucille’s New Orleans cafe. Alan.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth turning 18

    One brief shining: The day after Easter has a dawn, too, can you imagine that day when the disciples and others gathered around the resurrected Jesus, wanting to touch him, to deny, to embrace, to wonder, to laugh, you’re back, and we thought, well, we thought…

     

    No. Again. Does not have to be a historical event anymore than the story of Persephone and Hades, or the Bremen Town Musicians, or Hansel and Gretel. We can still lean into the story, imagine what it might have been like. Use that imagining to flesh out our own response to the idea, in this case, of resurrection.

    Wouldn’t you want to test resurrection? Kick a tire? Look under the hood? See if the idea could unwrap dead selves, dead gifts, dead hopes? I would. I did. Many years of Jungian analysis found me sifting through dreams, through active moments of my imagination, reexperiencing the traumas of Mom’s death. Of the strained and then withered relationship with Dad. Of that moment when I dropped German for fear of a low grade. Of fear itself trapping me in its silk web, bound and trussed, waiting only for the spider to finish its work.

    Then there came that dream, a big dream, as Jung called them. In front of a large crowd I held a sword, lifted it with both hands above my head. He has the power they whispered. He has the power. And I knew I did.

    Yet this use of resurrection is not one and done. No. Throughout our lives we continue to let fear or regret or guilt or shame wrap key moments in a soft protective shell, imagining it’s better that way. There, there. You don’t have to worry about that. We’ll just put a bow on it and place on the shelf here.

    The Easter story says, hey! Unwrap that box. Roll that stone. Take your shears and cut that web, let it drop away. Though your fear sought to protect you it’s time now to say its work is over.

    This is the work of the day after Easter. Work that can only be done in the light of a day when resurrection has become a settled reality for us.

     

    Just a moment: My Midwestern heart loves basketball of all sorts including the reigning NBA champs the Denver Nuggets and the plucky women of Iowa, especially Caitlin Clark, and it beats strong today as Iowa faces LSU, replaying the NCAAW championship game from last year. Go, Hawkeyes!

    My American heart grieves for the people of Baltimore, an already difficult urban area hit with a one hundred thousand ton body blow.

     


  • Wakin’ up mornin’

    Spring and the Purim Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Spirited Away, my biopic for the Ancient Brothers. Dawn and the longer days. Spring in an adagio, playing slowly toward its late April, early May crescendo. A short season in the Mountains. Each living thing up here, the Wild Neighbors, the Humans, all the Plant life, the Fungi and Lichen, the Soil Microbes, Streams and Rock Faces, Boulders and Talus has begun to respond, to anticipate the changing temperatures, to give birth, to run a little fuller, to find more light and the increased warmth of Great Sol each day.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: That great wakin’ up mornin’

    One brief shining: What in my inner Shadow Mountain needs to have the stone rolled away from its tomb, what dark and hidden fear or regret or failure has lain too long on the stone slab of its occultation, waiting for an Easter morning of the nefesh, a push toward consciousness of that shard of my past buried because its edginess could not be accommodated in a forgotten moment of psychic pain?

     

    Yes, it’s Easter morning. The most famous Jew in the world has his special day. Resurrection. What a splendid piece of mythology, one we need, have always needed. Will always need. It is not blasphemy to recognize that resurrection need not be a historical event for it to be a profound reality. Its mirroring of the vegetative cycle, of course. But also its blatant affirmation of the human journey from inner darkness to enlightenment.

    What do you fear about the course your life has taken? Did you shame your parents? Push down your gifts in service of the material God, Mammon? Hurt the one you loved? Loved the one you never had the courage to talk to? Which death bed in your life shook your inner world, perhaps opened a crack into the abyss? Steal or commit fraud or murder? Sure, it could be that tenebrous.

    All of these and so much more we tuck away, morticians for our own pain, placing rock after rock over the fearful and shameful. Like Jews even when we visit the grave we put yet more rocks on. Can’t let that get out. Gotta keep that crucified part of our past away from the living parts of ourselves. Because it could ruin everything. Couldn’t it? Wouldn’t it? Shouldn’t it?

    That Shadow Mountain of yours, how many sites does it have? Perhaps a mausoleum? Two? The ashes of your past still preserved in small urns of repressed memory.

    Here’s the Easter sunrise service promise. Humanness is glorious, all of it. Even the moments of pain and shame. I left my dreamed of college, Wabash, for a state school. Ball State. A teacher’s college. I drank myself through my early twenties. I had two marriages and a sort of third. Judy. Tina. Raeone. I went to seminary because I needed a trade, a place away from the papermill. I couldn’t bear the sight of Kate’s corpse, of Vega’s pleading look. And so much more. All put away in the mountain that is my Shadow. Yet as I have called these and many others to the light, as I have put my shoulder to the stone once rolled across their tombs, I have become more not less human.

    We are not only good. We are not only the worst things we have done. We are now the result of all those moments pushing against each other, shaping and forcing our growth. All of my previous marriages prepared me for the ancientrail of intimacy I found with Kate. And ensured that I know how fortunate I was. At Ball State I majored in two disciplines, philosophy and anthropology, which had few majors. The result? A close and careful journey through two departments with full professors. Both Kate’s corpse and Vega’s pleading reminded me of the limits of my own ability. An oh so important learning about aging. And death.