• Category Archives Aging
  • Apres la psilocybine

    Spring and the Moon of Liberation

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. Up early. Cleaning out the freezer. Two weeks from today, Amtrak. Shadow Mountain Home. Rebecca. Wild Alaskan. Black Mountain Drive. Brook Forest Drive. Shadow Mountain Drive. How I get down the Hill. Kate’s yahrzeit approaching. Eight Track Day. My transistor radio of long ago. Ruby. Will need summer shoes.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The generator

    One brief shining: Could be the morning rises with a hint of darkness reluctant to let go, with a slow and lazy illumination spilling like molasses first over the base of Shadow Mountain, then up up up defying gravity, turning on the lights as it goes, until Black Mountain, my Lodgepole companion reappear, and another Colorado blue Sky day has begun.


    Gotta leave this writing a bit early, but will return. Biweekly trash day and I’m clearing out my freezer, getting ready for Spring and for a less hoarding way of using the freezers -21 degree temperature. Trash has to be out by 7 am in case the routes have changed. Mostly ready but the freezer clean out had to wait until just before I move the clunky plastic bins. Bears. As I long I put the freezer contents out still frozen, their scent should not become a problem. Bears have just begun to wake up and they’re hungry. Long, long nap.

    Life is different in the Mountains. In any rural area with Forests and Wild Neighbors. The back and forth between humans and their environment never disappears in a cloud of bus exhaust or the twinkling of store lights. Here we have to travel within the Wild Neighbors’ domain. They are not relegated to alleys and basements, parks and open spaces by streets and acres of buildings, apartments and factories and businesses, hospitals and schools. We two-leggeds are the interlopers here. Exactly. Interloping. Loping along in our metal noisy contraptions.

    Careful now. Weeks old Mule Deer and Elk and Moose wandering the Arapaho National Forest. Fox Kits and baby Porcupines, Marmots, Albert and Red Squirrels all waking up to their first Mountain spring. We must lope with attentiveness. With care. Bear Cubs. Mountain Lion Kits.

    Not green here. Not yet. Still plenty of Snow in the back. On the ski runs of Black Mountain. In the shaded parts of the National Forest. Occasional scents of thawing Soil. The hurried babble of Mountain Streams draining rocky heights. (Gone for about 15 minutes. Finished. Freezer clear. Trash bins rattled out to the driveway’s edge. Waiting for the truck.)


    Just a moment: Apres la psilocybine. Surrender. Not resignation. Not aimlessness. Definitely not submission. Perhaps openness. Acceptance. Wu wei. That moment while watching the Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphs scroll across the ceiling of Heidi’s therapy office. That moment when in response to an inner doubt. I’m not using this trip well. I’m having too much fun. Very Calvinist inner dialogue. That moment when I wondered what I needed now. Up came the word surrender.

    And it lodged in my consciousness. Where, to this day, it filters moments and conversations. Finding evidence. That woman I know with stage 4 breast cancer. Who said cancer had clarified life. Distilled it to its essence. She asked me if I’d had the same experience. Not quite. But that crisp December morning on Crooked Top Mountain. Yes. Clarity.

    All of us over 75 are in stage 4 life. We’re terminal and we know it. Clap your hands. Life did not end abruptly for us. As it did for my mom, for example. No. We have the chance to pass through the last of the gates, the one that opens to eternity, knowing. If we surrender ourselves. Accept death for what it is. A final mystery. One that hides its truth even now.

  • Flip the Kayak

    Imbolc and the Purim Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Snow already falling. 3 feet! predicted. Whoa. Jackie and Rebecca, both canceled. Haircut and a friend lunch. March in the Mountains. Tom. The tire pressure sensors. The cold. Making a come back. Sleep. Naps. Tired. Anemia. Snow plows and their drivers. The roadgrader, too. Shadow Mountain and Black Mountain. Storm.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Lotta Snow

    One brief shining: Illness and its changing of the inner atmosphere, like a cloud scudding across the fearful ego; moods altered by digging down below to find dirty gems, sad regrets, remnants of life, of past mistakes, of old fears, a comprehensive muck raking that can destabilize the heart sending it spinning out, out, out faraway from its real home.


    Guess I didn’t pay attention when Kate was alive. 7-10 days for the common cold. Tom knew that. I thought I was getting better yesterday. But no. Still tired, sneezy, and drippy. (guess I’m one of the 7 dwarves) Fortunately I have almost no obligations right now, especially over the next few days. Should see me through this insult.

    Went to the doctor yesterday to talk about my bleed. She prescribed more of the suppositories because they seem to help. Having them on hand gives me a bit of security when my situation turns ugly. I went to a Walgreen’s to pick them up and experienced an oh my I’m old moment.

    As I got ready to pay, a phone number popped up on the card reader’s screen:  303-674-xxxx. Tell me the last four numbers for security purposes. Nothing. It simply wasn’t there. I was sick anyhow and this task overwhelmed me. I don’t have that phone anymore, I said. I lied. And regretted that, digging my hole deeper. The clerk put in my cell phone number, which I know. The minute she did what popped in my head? 5398. Yes, those four x’s.

    I recount this to show how, instead of going from strength to strength, we can, when old, go from weakness to weakness. Already sick I doubled down by freezing on that phone number. Which I instantly read as a sign of senile brain. Only later did I realize that the unexpected nature of the request combined with a number I already had trouble remembering (address-9358. last four numbers-5398) was the issue. Not memory.

    My reaction time when surprised has declined significantly. It’s not my mental capacity which continues vigorous and strong. It’s about capacity to adapt quickly to the unexpected. Don’t give me command of anything that requires sudden decisions. It’s also part of why I don’t like to drive at night anymore. My reactions are already compromised and the darkness amplifies them.

    How we can turn on ourselves, give ourselves short shrift. I needed some time and some distance to sort all this out. A fortunate aspect of aging is our capacity to see things for what they are, to not be fooled by momentary or unusual circumstances. To be able to flip the kayak underwater, then flip it back up to the surface where there’s oxygen again. Can’t say it always happens instantaneously though.

  • Wisdom is where you find it

    Winter and the Cold Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Tara. Rabbi Jamie. Great Sol, seen again. Taoism. Acupuncture. Needles. Meridians. Jill. Spinal stenosis. Theodicy. All is one. The one is all. Yet I am. Tom. Diane. Ginny and Bo Yi. Fan Kuan. Taiwan. The National Palace Museum. Korea. My son, Seoah, Murdoch. Joanne. The Mountains. Crisis of confidence. The Hazel Miller Band. Alan. Gary. Torah study. Shadow Mountain.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jazz Sax

    One brief shining: Wondering if there’s one place that provides music to acupuncturists and massage therapists that only has one recording which includes whale songs and related noninstrumental music, what I heard while resting face down, torso and feet bare as Jill needled my lower back and feet, the also not to be missed wallpaper image of the Milky Way rising in the desert.


    My maiden visit to the world of Chinese medicine. In a small strip mall not far from home just off 285. Near the Snowpack Tap Room. Jill shares an office with a chiropractor who looked like an ex-boxer. In the area that adjoins the restrooms some wag put up a skeleton with a doctor’s white coat. Not sure about the message of that. Bones? From Star Trek?

    Yes, it was an odd visit. And yet. My back feels better this morning. How bout that. Jill got a good sense of what I wanted. Trying to nail down methods to keep me traveling. Acupuncture as one modality. So she had me lie down next to the Milky Way, whale song filling the air, and proceeded to place the needles.

    I went to Medical Acupuncture on a whim, sort of. That is, Sue Bradshaw agreed with me that cortisone injections and back surgery were bad juju. Which leaves, she said, physical therapy, lidocaine patches, acetaminophen and the very occasional NSAID, and acupuncture. The only one of those that was new to me was acupuncture so I decided to try it out.

    In spite of my feelings about the context, a bit too latter day hippie for me, I think the needles will become my friend. Chinese medicine is an ancient art and science with wisdom we Westerners most often ignore. As with most of Asian culture for that matter. As my friend Bill wisely said, if you turn your back on a form of treatment it will do you no good. Well, then again. I turned my back on this treatment. Ha.

    So. P.T. exercises daily. Lidocaine patches, perhaps for touring days when traveling? The occasional pain med. Regular resistance work. And acupuncture. Keeping this old body rolling, rolling, rolling.

    I feel pretty good about this. A problem surfaces in Korea. Gets diagnosed and calmed down. Thank you, Mr. Lee. Western doc refers me to p.t. Mary the adopted Korean physical therapist helps me further along the road. Now Jill the acupuncturist introduces Chinese medicine as a prophylactic. And I have pushed myself back to three sets of resistance work. It takes a village and a couple of different cultures to get me to a good place. Worth it.

  • A Mountain Flaneur?

    Lughnasa and the Korea Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: My son’s leadership style. Gentle and nurturing. Clear. Seoah and the new golf bag. Her treats from Gangnam. Kaesong little donuts among them. A base pass for Osan. The BX. Becoming a Mountain flaneur. The Oriental House at the Osan golf course. Lunch there yesterday with Seoah and my son. Muscle relaxants. Learning to live with spinal stenosis.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The human journey from birth to death

    One brief shining: In the base pass office at Osan men and women in desert camo, light tan high top boots, came in and out bearing small insignias saying where they stood in the Air Force hierarchy: a dark oak leaf my son wore-lieutenant colonel, a pair of wings, airman first class, a brown oak leaf-major instant placement in the highly ordered military social structure.


    Got my base pass as a long term visitor. I can now come and go on Osan Air Base as a scrutinized civilian. Less important here in Songtan since my son and Seoah live off base but it does mean I can come and go when I need to without getting a day pass. No surrendering my driver’s license for the duration of my stay, then returning to the day pass office to retrieve it. Mary had a base pass at Hickam and used it a lot.

    Another turn of Korean medicine today. See Doctor then the massage guy. A less intense visit though which should translate to cheaper. No x-ray, less time in the procedure’s area.


    Random thoughts while figuring out to how live with slow walking as a lifestyle. First one. Here’s the rub about death. We spend our lives discovering and pursuing our passion, engaging life and its many gifts, struggles, then we let go of our passion for life and embrace the quiet moment. That’s a difficult transition to make emotionally. It’s not about fear but about doing the only thing you’ve even known, living, and exchanging it for a permanent experience of the unknown. Not at all like hitting the brakes more like switching from driving to floating.

    Becoming a Mountain flaneur.* As I reflected on a literally slower pace to life, the first word that came to mind was flaneur. A very urban image, yes, but one I could adapt to Mountain living. Instead of hiking, strolling or sauntering on a Mountain trail. The flaneur is an observer, a patient and measured walker whose soul purpose lies in witnessing his world.

    It may be that my body has declared itself a flaneur by default. If so, I’m fine with that. Not sure how one exercises in this situation, something to learn. Or, how I’m going to explore Korea and Israel. At a more relaxed pace, no doubt.

    Though I refuse to let this change define me, I do have to recognize it may be a permanent limitation, one I’ll have to adapt to, rather than cure. My primary identity is not challenged, but my physical expression of my self may well be. Not unlike cancer. Can’t ignore it, can’t obsess about it.



    *”Flâneur is a French noun referring to a person, literally meaning “stroller”, “lounger”, “saunterer”, or “loafer”, but with some nuanced additional meanings. Flânerie is the act of strolling, with all of its accompanying associations…Traditionally depicted as male, a flâneur is an ambivalent figure of urban affluence and modernity, representing the ability to wander detached from society with no other purpose than to be an acute observer of industrialized, contemporary life. ” wiki

  • Wrasslin’

    Summer and the Herme Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: A complete first draft of the Trail To Cold Mountain by Herme. A good sleep. The internet. Computers. Smart phones. Tablets. Hearing aids. Kindles. AI. Vegetables. Fruits. Eggs. Beans. Truffles. Pork schnitzel. Potatoes. All food. Great Sol. Giver of energy, life, light. The lesser light, the Moon. Giver of tides. Illumination at night. Reflected glory. The sacred. The holy. The divine. Revelation. Seeing. Hearing. Tasting. Touching. Smelling. Our bodies. Our souls. Our selves. The distinctiveness of each thing on Earth.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Writing

    One brief shining: Wrestled to the bear to the ground yesterday produced a completed first draft of the Trail to Cold Mountain, a playlet, twenty minutes of dialogue and poetry, half written by me and half written by Han Shan Cold Mountain, the ninth century Tang dynasty recluse poet who lived for thirty years on Cold Mountain.


    So much satisfaction in having a first draft of my first script. Far from finished. I’ve already made edits in the first paragraph, but I have a beginning, a middle, and a surprising end. By the 19th of August, our showcase, I’ll have a finished draft. Whether I’ll have it memorized? Doubtful. But I’m gonna give it my best.

    I backed into this project with the poetry of Cold Mountain. Got most of the ten poems memorized. Tal says I sink deep into the role when I’m reading the poems. I may have mentioned that my fellow acting class members have applauded me several times. Not so much with what I’ve written.

    Four of the characters have speaking parts. Herme, The Seeker, Gaius Ovidius, and Han Shan. The fifth, a helper, does not. I feel confident about Herme and Han Shan. But the Seeker (an Asian woman) and Gaius, a Roman Centurion, need a lot of work. Defining them clearly and separately while finishing revisions of the script. That’s my task over the next three weeks.


    More and more leaning away from October 8th. Too much to do before I leave for Korea (see above and below) and too little time after I get back on September 27th. Thinking about 2024. Either on my birthday, my 77th, or in the late Spring. Still focused on celebrating aging. On aging men. In this divided country of ours.


    On August 17th I have my first of ten sessions with Rabbi Jamie’s Introduction to Judaism. Perspectives on Jewish Identity. Here are a few of the 9 questions. 1. What is Judaism? Is it a religion? A culture? A set of observances?  2. What does it mean to be Jewish? 9. Consider these four dimensions of Jewish identity:

    Cultural/Ethnic – cuisine, dress, calendar, etc.

    National – ties to land and country, political affiliations, etc

    Communal – Circle of extended family and friends, synagogue membership, etc.

    Spiritual/Religious – personal beliefs, rituals, values, etc.

    Profile your own identity using these four categories. Now use them to profile a Jewish Israeli.

    I look forward to digging into these and the other questions, then discussing them with Jamie.




  • Aging

    Spring and Kepler’s Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Gabe and his birthday retinue. My son and his wife. Getting ready to move. Getting old and being old. Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick Deneen. Kep, my sweet boy. Freedom to travel. Someday soon. The Ancientbrothers. Our church. Evergreen Market. Stuffed Bell Peppers. Broccoli salad. Bread Lounge Sourdough. Radiation #5 today. CJ Box, one more book.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Acceptance

    Caveat to this post. I write from a place of white privilege, of male privilege, of financial stability, and also from a beautiful home in a beautiful place. So take this as the thoughts of an older guy happily situated. And glad that he is.


    A few thoughts about getting old. 76 is NOT the new 56 or 66 or whatever. 76 is the age I am now. And, how it feels to be 76 is how I feel right now. What I mean is. If I feel strong and capable. If I feel playful. If I feel ready to live each day fully. If I feel tired and sick. If I feel engaged with life. Then that’s how 76 feels for me. Not putting this on anyone else. But I don’t honor my own path if I try to convince myself that not only I do feel like 60, but that this age is the equivalent of how I felt at 60. No. I am who I am at each moment in my life both regardless of and because of my age.

    I do not feel like I’m 25 inside. I feel like I’m 76. I also recognize what people mean when they say they’ve felt the same age for a long time. There is a certain agelessness to the Self. But for me rather than tether that feeling to a younger age I acknowledge the Self as an aspect of me, perhaps my soul, that senses both the lived moment and the possibility of eternity.

    I want younger folks to know that being old is glorious. A time for reaping the harvest of years. That each age we are is glorious, but old age has a release from the harsh demands of work and ambition as well as a release from the illusion of immortality. This gives life in old age a richness and texture very different from earlier life periods. Its relative brevity focuses us, or can focus us, on the beauty of each experienced moment. The never to be repeated moment that the Japanese tea ceremony calls ichi go, ichi e. Once in a lifetime.

    This visit with a friend. That meal with loved family. The hike today. The Sunrise. The colors of Dawn and Dusk. The greeting of a Dog. Even the illness of a wife or a beloved pet. Once in a lifetime. And so, so precious because of that.

    This journey, this ancientrail of life. It does not need massaging with the oils of youth. When young, blaze along the trail. When middle aged work and love your children. When old savor the day. And the fact of living. No matter your age or circumstance.


    One brief, shining moment: I rocked back in my chair holding that book, the one this week that shook my world, made me see our lives in a way as different from what I believed as the hare is from the tortoise.

  • It was a lynching

    Winter and the Valentine Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Hot Water. My shower. Marilyn and Irv. Ageism. Aspen Perk. Aspen Park Dental. Darlene, the hygienist. Seeing the Magpies against the Snow as I sat in the dental chair. Clean teeth. Good gum health. No work needed. Yes. Grocery pickup. Home. Brined center cut porkchops. Cooked in the Air fryer. Mixed vegetables. Tangerine. Mary’s photos of her last days in Kobe. Eau Claire. Air travel. Sarah and Annie. The Jeep.

    Sparks of joy and awe: Friends and family


    A note I sent to my county commissioner, Lesley Dahlkemper, about a proposed Mountain bike park on Shadow Mountain Drive:

    Hi, Lesley!

    Met you at Marilyn Saltzman’s 70th birthday party. Before you became a commissioner. Congratulations!

    I live on Black Mtn Drive. Up the hill about 2 miles from the proposed mtn bike park. Aside from the obvious degradation of a mountain side and a beautiful, clear running stream and aside from the obvious traffic nightmare on already difficult to navigate blind curves and narrow no shoulders Shadow Mountain Drive, I’d like to tell you about a 7 AM drive I took that passed by the bike park area.

    There in that meadow were thirty cow Elks and one magnificent bull, a fourteen pointer. A mist was rising from Shadow Brook. Now that may not be a logical argument against the bike park, but it’s damn sure a good one to me.


    Tyre Nichols. Still think the role of police in our culture doesn’t need drastic and dramatic change? Tainted by the power given to them by a frightened white majority the police live out the violent fantasies of those at home watching TV. Their color does not matter. What matters is their intent, their willingness to step well beyond the bounds of decency. Remember Derek Chauvin’s knee? One of the officers who stood by was Hmong. The others who stood and watched? Rodney King?

    Tom Crane found an interesting interview with Rev. Dante Stewart. His words on lynching are worth sharing:

    “That was more than police brutality. That was a lynching. They wanted to kill him because, in some sense, lynching is about the spectacle. It’s about what someone with power does to another human being to ride and rid them of every ounce of their dignity and put it in the public to show this is what we think about this person.

    “When those in the past put Black people up on noose, it was a message to them: This is our estimation of your life, and much more, this is our hatred of your life. And when Tyre Nichols was beaten and the just immense disregard to him, it showed us in public once again the estimation of Black life, white racism and white supremacy.”  WBUR

    This sort of action by the police reimagines the whip of the plantation slave master. Sanctioned violence to keep the enslaved in place. We still fear the emboldened and empowered other. What might they do to us? What to do? Do it to them first.


    On a better note, also from Tom. On Kernza Grain. “I just came across this perennial grain developed by the Land Institute. I also ordered some from a site which sells it as a cereal much like oatmeal. I’ll let you know how it is.”

    The Land Institute is a solution finder. Glad Tom found this product, the first commercial fruits of the Institute’s work. I’ll let you know what he thinks.


  • Like a book end

    Winter and the Wolf Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Earth trivia. Perihelion today.* Also, happy birthday Isaac Newton! Who discovered calculus and wrote the Principia Mathematica. An alchemist, too. Kristen Gonzalez. My favorite doctor ever. Aside, of course, from Kate. Evergreen, my Mountain town. Low T. The Valley between Shadow Mountain and Hwy. 73. Mule Deer. Fog on Black Mountain yesterday. Korean. Rational, real, natural, and imaginary numbers. Geez. DNR. Yes. Approaching 76. Colonoscopies.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: A straight forward doctor, Kristen


    Annual physical. Kristen. Kind and wise. Thorough. Practical. Do you have an Advance Directive? Yes. If we could put it in your chart. One more place for it. Are you DNR? Well, if I’m fragile and decrepit, yes. Like I am now? No. This is only for if you die. If we bring you back, we break ribs and you end up in the ICU on a ventilator. After that you are fragile and decrepit. This is not what I wanted you’ll be thinking. I advised my own parents the same way. Ah. I see. Well. DNR then. Straight, this Kristen.

    Colonoscopy. When I had one last? Before I moved here. Well. You’re at the cutoff. Your choice. Can I think about it? Of course.

    She referred me to a vascular specialist for my left foot which seems to have problematic blood flow.

    Nothing new. But the conversation about death and the colonoscopy. If we think you’re going to live a long time, we’d stretch that to 85. The colonoscopy recommendation. Oh. Later. Huh. That means.

    A new, more realistic sense of my life span. Though not changed in length. Just the inner awareness. I’m guessing now somewhere between 85 and 90. Which was Dad’s. He died at 89. Trick now is maintaining health span as long as possible. Which I’m doing by managing my prostate cancer, exercising, eating a healthier diet, staying calm, remaining in close contact with friends and family, having a dog. Most you can do. Which is enough. Need an emergency contact. Maybe Rich?

    Interesting feeling. Like a book end. Yes, a date out there somewhere. Ten, fifteen years from now. Buh, bye. At first. Huh? A time sort of certain? That seems, oh I don’t know. So sudden? Yeah. So sudden it’s taken me 75 years to get to this point. Ha. Will welcome death when it comes. Until then, I welcome life and all its wonders. Including you, dear reader.


    Will see Ruth on Saturday. Breakfast at Jen’s. The whole remaining gang. Jen, Ruth, Gabe, Barb. Barb is Jen’s mother. Talked to Ruth for only a moment but her voice was strong. Excited to be back  home. To start school. I’m excited to see her.


    Kep has gone out and returned on his own since his stuckness the other day. I’m giving him intermittent reinforcement. Treats. When he comes back. That seems to have encouraged him to find his way home before he exhausts himself. Also warmer weather for a while reduced the Snow depth. I want the joy of wandering in the Snow for him.


    Seeing Marilyn and Irv today for brunch at Aspen Perks. Always a pleasure. Looking forward to the chicken fried steak and eggs.



    For 2023, our closest point to the sun comes this morning for us in North America (16 UTC  on January 4). It’s our annual perihelion, from the Greek roots peri meaning near and helios meaning sun. In early January, we’re about 3% closer to the sun – roughly 3 million miles (5 million km) – than we are during Earth’s aphelion (farthest point) in early July. That’s in contrast to our average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km). Read about perihelion todayearthskynews

  • Aging and its good news

    Samain and the Holimonth Moon

    Monday gratefuls: BJ and Sarah. Kep at 4:30 am. David Olson. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. Gabe’s Hanukah wish list. Ruth in her dad’s sweater. The Ancient Brothers on the assets of aging. Morocco and Croatia. The World Cup. Ruby and her AWD failure notice. Clearing the way for some moving. Sleeping in. Hard reset on my hearing aid worked. Phonak. SpaceX to the Moon. Elon Musk. Sort of. The clear, clean days of Winter.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Moon as it changes


    Yesterday after the Ancient Brothers identified the assets of aging I took a rest day. Saturday was too much driving. Although Kep seemed to like it. Read, watched TV.

    In the early evening I talked with BJ and Sarah. What different lives we all have. Sarah and Jerry and their self-built gardens and buildings in rural North Carolina. BJ and Schecky who biked 5 miles to New York Cake and back from their home in the Hotel Beacon on Broadway. Me on Shadow Mountain with the Elk and the Mule Deer.


    The assets of aging. Too often aging = kvetching. Aching bones. Tired from driving. (see above) This knee, that hip or shoulder. Maybe replaced. Friends and family members dying. The stock market. The bowels. Care taking. Cancer. Arthritis. And the list goes on, seeming to grow a bit with each added year. BTW: not diminishing the reality of any of these. Or the disruptions they create in daily life. But. It is easy to get lost in the obligations and ailments. Forget the wonderful gift still daily available. Life.

    So Tom asked the question. What have we gained as older folks? What are our assets now? Knowledge accumulated through the days and months. Having seen things fail and things succeed. The ability from that to put life events, even dire ones, in perspective. Including death.

    The bonds of friendship. As one of us pointed out, it does take forty years to have a forty year friendship. Or, with family it take decades to enjoy grown children and have them enjoy you.

    We often have some money squirreled away and with it the ability to help in modest ways when necessary. A real joy.

    Love. Its necessity and its travails. Its various focii. From partners to brothers and sisters to friends and pets to Mountains and Trees and moments in time, special places. That it can be lost and regained. Its mystery and its beauty. Long experience with how love can enter and transform lives can give us old folks a certain softness, a way of being with another more easily so love can seep into the cracks. This is a great and wonderful gift.

    Loss. We’ve seen death up close. Know its horrors and its mystery. It is no longer far off. We also know the death of loved ones can be survived, even when everything within says they can’t. We also know the death of a pet is the loss of a companion, a friend of many years. Not to be diminished.

    Though there are many other assets I’ll only mention one more. We have seen our culture change from the closed in, materialistic immediate post-war years to the thousand flowers blooming of a counter-culture and a reaction against it that has not yet run its course. Here Philip Slater’s little book, The Chrysalis Effect, suggests that the integrative, democratic culture of the anti-war, back to the land, civil rights era remains ascendant in the face of stubborn and even violent responses to it. Women have still gained power. African-Americans and Latinos have more power. First Nations people have begun to feel their influence grow. The LGBTI+ community has blossomed. Globalism has won the day as trade interleaves nations with other nations.

    We remain to support the rise of integrative, democratic culture in whatever ways we can. Loving our GenZ grandchildren. Donating money. Acting politically. Giving our validation to these changes. Pressing back against what Slater calls the Controller Culture. Being imaginal cells for the changes birthing themselves as I write.

    Assets indeed.

  • Ruth and Gabe

    Samain and the Holimonth Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Ruth at Cedar Springs. Colorado Springs. Pikes Peak. Garden of the Gods. I-25. Gabe, on himself. A long drive. Getting lost. Kep, having a good time on the road. Sleeping in the bedroom last night. Ruby losing her AWD. Then getting it back? Family. People happy I’m staying here. Preparing for some more moving in the house. That mortgage at 3%. This house, this home, this Hermitage. Herme. Lit daily.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Ruth, her journey to self knowledge


    Struggled to get Kep in the car. Neither one of us are as strong as we used to be. Got it done though. He panted nervously. Eventually laid down, grew calm. Picked up Gabe at his mom’s, then headed down I-225 to I-25, all south toward Colorado Springs.

    Colorado Springs. Where Ruth has spent the last three weeks at Cedar Springs Hospital. She says it’s a good place for her. We took Kep out of the car so she could see him. Couldn’t tell if he remembered her or not. His cues as to who’s who seem blunted.

    This hospital has an iron gate around its whole campus. The gates open only one car at a time and there are at two gates. The main building is older brick in the style of institutional gothic. The newer buildings have mid-to-late twentieth century school architecture. Buff brick, single story. A slightly conical roof. Glass entrance doors.

    Ruth told me there is an acute hospital in the building next to her for adults and young children. Her building, Juniper, is only teenagers. Next to it is a third building which houses the school and an adult residential unit. Therapy dogs come regularly as do therapy horses, sheep and goats.

    It all seems grim to me, but Ruth likes her therapist and says she’s doing better. She’s learning guitar, reading a lot, making art with markers. They’re also trying to recalibrate her meds. Find a mix that works for her.

    She will be there into January. I’m going to see her on December 24th which happens to be the last night of Hanukah as well as Christmas Eve. She’ll get a pass and we’ll go out into Colorado Springs, find some things to do, have a meal. Visitation is only on Saturdays and for one hour on Tuesday evening. Without a pass Saturday visits have a 2-4 pm limit. Ruth got tired, so Gabe and I left at 3:30. She lost sleep last night due to the readjustments of her meds.

    It was good to have the ride down and back with Gabe. We had long conversations. School mostly. He has actual ringlets, his hair is long. With a touch up for side curls he could be a Hasidic Jew. He’s grown a good bit over the last six months, maybe over 5 feet at last.

    He says he’s popular but doesn’t know why. He has good friends. Seems steady. Has no idea where he’s headed in terms of education. Sandoval High where he and Ruth go is a STEM school. He enjoys biology, putting things under a microscope. Photography. He’s also learning guitar. Dork. That’s his self-description. Yet. He also says others say he’s self-confident. He is. Probably why he’s popular.

    He loves muscle cars. Would I please buy him a 1968 Mustang? Here’s one for only $25,000. Shows me his phone. No.

    When Kep and I got back to the Mountain, Kep jumped out of the back, landed gracefully. I could tell he had a good time. He carried himself with more pizazz.

    Two hours down. Two hours there. Two hours back in heavy traffic at night. I was pretty tired. Getting back to the much less hectic pace of Shadow Mountain was a distinct relief.