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  • Life of June 18 2024

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: My phlebotomist. Blood draws. The drive to Evergreen. Beauty everywhere. Wild neighbors, too. Like the Mule Deer Buck with velvet on his antlers. Eating some of the luxuriant green Grass. Healthy green Meadows, Leaves on Aspens and Willows, Needles (leaves) on Lodgepoles, Ponderosa, Spruce. Streams running at non-melt speed.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The look on the Mule Deer Buck’s face. Curiosity.

    One brief shining: A rubber tourniquet tied above my right elbow the phlebotomist reaches for the cannula, inserts the needle with practiced care, venipuncture achieved, she takes a test tube with a rubber cap and inserts it into the cannula, my median cubital vein continues pumping blood back toward my heart unaware that my venous return has been rerouted for a different purpose, dark red blood fills the test tube; the cannula needle comes out, a swipe with alcohol, a tuft of gauze, some tape, and Bob’s your uncle, I’m done.

     

    One solution to my sagging spirits. Focusing on the resurrection of awakening and the new life it portends. For now anyhow I’m living my life one day at a time. Within that day I live ichi-go ichi-e, each moment unrepeatable, unique. I will never again write this blog on June 18 2024 at 10:38 am. This is the only time I have, this day. This moment. No matter what my cancer decides to do or is able to do I still have right now, right here.

    Even the blood draw this morning, so ordinary and repetitive, gave me an opportunity to tell the phlebotomist how much I appreciated her skill. The Evergreen Medical Center has switched from Quest Diagnostics to Lab Corp for their lab work. I told her I hoped she got the job. She smiled. That means a lot.

    As I drive down Brook Forest Drive toward Evergreen I pass Kate’s Creek and Kate’s Valley. Of late I’ve begun to chat with her as I get near there. Sometimes newsy sort of talk. Finished my bar mitzvah! You would have loved the service. Other times. This last P.E.T. scan. Ouch. Has me a bit drug down. What would you say? Oh. Trust your doctors. Yes, I have. And, as you knew, it does help my obsessing. Yes. Yes. I do zip up, too. Each time passing the Valley or hiking up alongside Kate’s Creek is an ichi-go ichi-e moment.

    I can feel it. The knowledge of ichi-go ichi-e infusing me. Giving me the grace I need to stay anchored to this June 18th life. If I lose touch and project out the whac-a-mole thoughts about radiating metastases, I can feel the finger on the keys, the elbow on the arm rest, see my Lodgepole Companion dining on the morning Light. Remember that this life, this June 18th life is the only life I have.

     

    Just a moment: Where the Sycamores stand along the Wabash and the sound of the 500 roars through May and high school basketball comes as close to religion as anything secular, the Republican party broke ranks and put a MAGA stooge in as their Lieutenant Governor nominee over the wishes of the gubernatorial candidate.

    Guess what this MAGA candidate said on the day after January 6th? “…Beckwith said that God had told him: “Micah, I sent those riots to Washington. What you saw yesterday was my hand at work.” He also claimed that the “progressive left has taken over the Republican Party in Indiana.”   read more in Michelle Goldberg’s piece in today’s NYT.

     

     

     


  • Matters of the Lev

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Tom and Paul home safely. Though not without travel angst. Shavuot. Veronica. Great Sol. That three hour nap yesterday. My boy. Seoah. Murdoch. Fatherhood. A joy. Trees. Mill Valley. Irene. Irv. The Mountains. Smiling Pig barbecue. Marilyn. Torah. Reverberations from last week. Basketball. Caitlin Clark. Angela Reese. Life.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: My boy

    One brief shining: And on the seventh day of the Bar Mitzvah week I found the bed and slept for three straight hours in the middle of the day, worn out from the joys and gifts, yet satisfied in a deep part of my soul, life knitted together in a new, unexpected way, my lev and my soul vibrating together, one with the one.

     

    My boy. Fatherhood. Read a couple of articles about how fatherhood changes the brain. How parenting affects our personality, even our nervous system. I believe it. Even before the child.

    Looking back I wonder what it was that made me so certain at age 32 that I had to have a child? I remember, vaguely, the impelling and compelling force. That feeling, that drive was clear and certain. Much like that moment when I realized I no longer believed in the Christian metaphysics. And, the confidence I had that moving to Colorado was something Kate and I needed to do. Or, more recently, the decision to convert. Falling in love.

    Guess I have those moments when my subconscious does all the heavy lifting, then presents a key life decision as an already concluded matter. What’s left is altering my life in some major way. Perhaps it’s a proof for the lev, the heart-mind. For sure it’s a proof that logic and careful planning often come along only after the big choices have already been decided.

    Which presents a conundrum for a guy like me. In philosophy education you will sometimes hear the term logic chopper. That is when a person follows logic like some of us follow our GPS-even when it’s taking us down a road that has a barrier across it. I can, I know, be a logic chopper. And I also know that when I’ve taken that route in an argument I will not feel good afterwards. I’ve too often won the argument and lost my humanity. Less and less so these days, yet my days of logic chopping are, I know, not behind me.

    I have, over the course of my life, privileged intellect, learning, knowledge. Which, as I write this, seems to be contrary to the way I’ve lived of late. Over the last few years, perhaps since Andover, relationships, with Kate, with dogs, with vegetables and fruits and flowers and trees, with friends and family began to take precedence. Or, maybe that’s not quite right. I’ve not set aside intellect, learning, knowledge, but I have gradually learned the secondary role they play in a life well lived.

    When I talk to my son. Reflect on my marriage to Kate. On my long affair with matters religious, I know that my primary path has always been guided by my lev.

     

     


  • Rites of Passage

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Retrieving my phone. Smiling Pig Saloon and Barbecue. Irv. Paul and Tom. Mussar. The Perkei Avot. Letting us heal ourselves. Kristie. Prostate cancer. Mets. Radiation and Orgovyx. Gabe and baseball. Ruth’s dinner.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: P.E.T. scans

    One brief shining: Bathing in the presence of friends and family, no not that kind, the kind where folks see you, come to your Bar Mitzvah, give you presents, and say nice things about you, how significant, how important, so appreciated.

     

    Two rites of passage this week. The Bar Mitzvah. Which continues to reverberate in my soul. Wild thought about that. Veronica and I did our conversions at the same time. Now we’ve done our bonei mitzvahs together. She’s 28, beautiful, talented, smart. I’m 77. Together, it occurred to me we represent youth, promise, the feminine, and the elder, maturity, the masculine. A whole person.

     

    Second rite of passage. The drug holiday P.E.T. scan results. Not what I wanted. Three or four new metastases. Spinal column, pelvic lymph node. Which means. Meds. Orgovyx starting early next week. Then, radiation at some point this summer. Yet again. I will glow.

    Kristie, who takes good care of me, said this is still manageable. And that she would tell me if it was not. That’s reassuring. Sort of. Still manageable made me go, huh.

    Each iteration of treatment and recurrence adds up, carries its own weight. Yet I remain positive about the management and care I receive. My cancer seems hardy, able to withstand the best we can throw at it while each time there’s been something to do, something to put it back in quiescence.

    That still manageable though. There may come a time. But it has not come yet.

    So I will not dwell on it. As the rabbi’s say, each sleep is 1/60th of death and each morning a resurrection into a new life. Today is a new life, a chance to begin again. And that will be always true. Until death does me part from this world.

     

    Just a moment: To all those embryo’s resting in cryogenic slumber. The Southern Baptists care about you. Like Alabama’s Supreme Court. Well, that’s what they’d like you to think. Actually ‘Bama and the Southern Baptists want to reach into the culture and impose on it their particular understandings of what it means to be human.

    The Jewish position on this issue is clear and has been for centuries. Life begins with the first breath. Like Adam and Eve. Further. Because of this, if a problem occurs during pregnancy, the mother’s life is always given priority.

     

    Another instance of religious certainty damaging human beings. Noticed Catholic Bishops have apologized for the treatment of Indians in boarding schools. That happened because Catholics of the time believed with certainty in the truth of Catholicism, the necessary dominance of Christianity over native beliefs, and the manifest destiny of American civilization. Very, very toxic confluence.

    The message? Think about those things about which you are certain. Do any of them lead to harm for other people or for the world which sustains us all? Discard them now and learn humility.


  • Now I am a man

    Beltane and the Bar Mitzvah Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Bar Mitzvah done. Tom and Paul here. CBE. My sacred community. Sarah and the Moose. Maine. Minnesota. California. Tree sex. Rabbi Jamie. Veronica. Rebecca. Joanne. Tara. Mindy. Presents. Finishing. All the Trees in the Arapaho National Forest.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Veronica

    One brief shining: Veronica and I pulled open the doors of the ark, Rabbi Jamie lifted each Torah scroll and handed one  to each of us and we took the Torah scrolls throughout the congregation, prayer shawls in hand or with prayer books, folks touched the dressed scroll.

     

    As you may have noticed, I missed yesterday. A busy day. Up and out of the house at 7:30 am. Over to Evergreen with Paul to meet Tom at the Bread Lounge. Breakfast. Corned beef eggs Benedict. A Cuban coffee. Conversation with two old friends.

    Realized that their presence here added the experience into the long memory of our friendship. How long term relationships remain strong and fresh. It also reveals the limits of Zoom. 3-D, high touch has room for casual interaction, for direct care, for hugs. For meals eaten together. Having said that I’m still a fan of Zoom. It maintains connection in a much more direct way for me than the telephone.

    After breakfast we drove over to the synagogue. It was only 9:30 so we had a half an hour to wait. I introduced Tom and Paul to various folks, we chatted.

    At tennish we began. Rabbi Jamie gave Veronica and me a pep talk. Clumsiness makes it more human. This is a celebration of something that has already happened. Enjoy yourself.

    Because Veronica sings and chants like the music major she is, she and Rabbi Jamie ended up doing most of the service. As agreed, I only came in on the parts I’d practiced.

    Reading my Torah portion had its hiccups, not the best rendering of what I had learned. Not a big deal however.

    I did feel clumsy about when to bow, when to rise up on my toes. And, boy was that Torah scroll heavy. By the time I’d made my circuit my left shoulder let me know it was ready to be done. Rabbi Jamie took it from me when I got back to the bimah.

    We read a Marge Piercy poem at two stanzas each. I introduced the Mah Tovu and the Shema. Veronica chanted her Torah portion which was much longer than mine.

    Our d’var torahs came next. Mine was predictably intellectual, hers much longer and heartfelt. Why the parish was never a good fit for me.

    Veronica might make a good rabbi if she decided to go that direction. Right now she’s a mechanical engineer working for Lockheed Martin on spacecraft.

    I did not realize how much standing would be involved. By the time the service ended, at about 2 hours, I was exhausted. More limitations of the body.

    At this point I’m glad to have this done. Finished. It puts a cap on the whole year. I’m finished with preparation, ready to live as a Jew.

    It was so good to have Ruth and Gabe there. In a way this was a pivotal moment for the three of us. Grandpop now firmly in their tribe. Ruth cried a bit, remembering Jon. And that too was good.

    I did leave my phone at the synagogue. Got some gifts which I’ve not yet opened. Had some deep conversations. A special, sacred day.

     

     

     

     

     


  • Memorial Day

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Cool night. Memorial Day. Decoration Day. Parades. School’s over and summer starts. The World. Its many Wild Neighbors. Mountains. Lakes. Ponds. Tides. Tidal Pools. Forests. Trees. Plains. Rivers. Streams. Creeks. Meadows. Valleys. Cultures. Long evolution. Its oneness. Its holiness. Its sacred nature. Our Hullian needs. Our need for fulfillment and satisfaction.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Warriors

    One brief shining: Those parades when heat softened the asphalt on Harrison Street so it could accept treads laid down by the tank from the National Guard Armory, when the guys carrying the colors insisted on wearing their old uniforms, pale stretched skin showing where the buttons held, only just, when last year’s homecoming queen sat prim and straight on the folded convertible top of an impeccably restored 1957 Chevy, when we would stand along the parade route enthralled.

     

    Memorial day. Mom and Dad. Veterans of WWII. Uncle Riley, too. That generation that gave so much. War. A human horror engaged too often for too little reason. Though WWII was not one of those. To have had that great world spasm followed by the never finished Korean War and the unnecessary Vietnam War, then Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya has sullied the warrior class, making them too often pawns of geopolitical maneuvering by oligarchs, dictators, and short sighted politicians.

    Yet. They persist. Often frustrated and hemmed in by those who misunderstand their role. As I once did. Warriors and priests. Old, old roles in human cultures around the globe. Both often abused. Both in my immediate family.

    Easy to forget the purpose of the Lt. Col. who is my son. The USAF. Defense. Not offense. Oaths taken to defend the U.S. against all enemies domestic and foreign. Obedience to civilian authority delivered through the Commander in Chief, the President.

    The military does not define who the enemies are. That’s a civilian responsibility. Often lacking in both reason and ethical justification, yes. But it is the civilian authority who aims and then empowers our military. Only then can they engage.

    Warriors place themselves in harms way to defend their tribe, their people, their nation. This is an ancient and honorable role. Indigenous people in the U.S., in spite of their history, sign up in disproportionate numbers because the warrior class holds such high esteem in their cultures.

    Yes, war is terrible and often, perhaps most often, wrong. That is, engaged not for defense but for seizing land, control of another people, for vengeance. For reasons of profit and misguided fears. For this last think the domino effect.

    The warriors themselves continue on. Learning, training, readying themselves for what might be, for what even they hope may never be. Yet when called they will respond and respond with all that they have.

    I’m not thrilled to have a warrior son. Though I recognize the selflessness of his choice. And the values which led him to choose service to country. I wish he could have become a social worker, a lawyer, a physician. He was pre-med before turning to the Air Force after 9/11.

    Yet over the years I’ve come to appreciate the sacrifice in life-style, income, and personal freedom. I’ve met many of his colleagues and to a person they are warriors, too. Global politics are anarchic and still ruled by might makes right in the minds of many. We need a military, citizens willing to defend us.

    They are who we honor today. Especially those who died as a result of their service.

    All year after the parade we would drive over those tank treads, hardened into a feature of our main street. The slight rumble would remind us.


  • Life. Challenges to it.

    Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

    General Sherman

    Tuesday gratefuls: Sarah’s back home. Her visit. Ruth tonight at Domo. Kristie today for update on my recent labs. Meeting David to talk prostate cancer. Great Sol beaming. All those Wild Neighbor babies and young ones. Good workout yesterday. Good practice for my bar mitzvah: torah portion and service leading portions. Ordering a few things: new laptop, new laptop stand, a summer weight comforter. Giving on Colorado Jewish Giving Day.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Enough to share

    One brief shining: Can you imagine General Sherman under attack, the largest single Tree in the world, 274.9 feet high, 102.6 feet circumference at ground level, height of first branch above the base, 130.0 feet, by Beetles, Bark-Beetles, possibly aided by the climate tragedy; more, can you imagine being a researcher for the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition climbing General Sherman this week, this great Wild Neighbor,  because “We really feel like it’s our duty as stewards to take a closer look.” I can.

    Quote from Christy Brigham in a San Francisco Chronicle article by Kurtis Alexander, May 20, 2024. Courtesy of Diane.

     

    I feel suddenly protective of these Trees, this Tree. The Redwoods, too. And the Bristlecone Pines. Taller than three blue whales. I mean…

    Gonna add the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition to my donation list. Just donated. What a good feeling. Loving sharing Kate and mine’s money with organizations living out our values. Southern Poverty Law Center. Wild Animal Sanctuary. Kabbalah Experience. CBE. ADL. The Land Institute. The Ancient Forests Society. Makes me happy.

    No, we cannot make much of a difference, but we can add our names and our money to those spots of human activity where social justice, the Great Work, Judaism, the Land, and our Wild Neighbors get attention and progress forward.

    Not sure why the heart connection with these Trees. Mostly Muir Woods, I guess. Standing next to, among. Shaded by. Overshadowed by. A wild amazement that such beings exist, life so strong and vital. Godliness found. Commitment to a location. Perseverance. Majesty. Silence. Love of place, of the Soil. Soul creation.

     

    Today at 11 I talk with Kristie for the first time in a while. My PSA went up a bit, as I wrote before, and my testosterone down. PSA under 1.0 which is the point beyond which imaging can pick up metastases. So no P.E.T. scan. Still off the drugs with my drug holiday. Feeling a bit unsure, unsteady about cancer right now. Will be good to talk to Kristie and get her take, her advice about where we go from here. Back on the drugs, I’m sure. But when?

    Almost all of the time I’m ok with the cancer, letting it go on its way, taking the steps my doctors recommend. Living today. When I get a bit anxious about it, I’m not sure what’s going on. Like now. Hardly crippling, yet also there.

     

    Have supper with my favorite (and only) granddaughter tonight at Domo. There I’ll give her the present from Kate and me. Enough cash to travel somewhere interesting before starting college. Also, some chocolate. I am so proud to be her grandpop. Glad for her that she was able to complete high school and graduate with her class. CU-Boulder this fall. Studio Arts. Her Dad and Grandma are proud.

     

     

     

     

     


  • Donner Party Picnic Area

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Shabbat gratefuls: Ruth. The class of 2024. Denver University. High School. Still high school. Sarah. My son. Seoah in pink. Helping with the Rice planting in Okgwa. Graduation ceremonies. Rites of passage. Alan. His new Beemer. Electric. Venturing into adulthood. Airmen and women. My son as uncle or para-father.  The USAF. Radar. Islands.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Seeing and hearing my son

    One brief shining: Stepped up to the cash register, ordered Bolognese Sour Dough Toast, a Lemonberry tart, a fancy pastry with a melted sugar halo, and a Cuban coffee, gathered in the number, 47, for the order and went back to the table in the Bread Lounge overlooking the Mountains west of Evergreen including the completely Snow covered Continental Divide.

     

    Speaking of the Continental Divide. On my train ride to San Francisco the conductor, who came on speaker from time to time with historic or geographic points of interest, indicated the River flowing beside the train. The Colorado. I’d crossed it before on a long ago trip to Colorado from Phoenix, but never had a chance to really see it. Muddy with Spring runoff it flowed fast and full, a River of so many dreams. Las Vegas. Tucson. Phoenix. Even far away Los Angeles. Then. Wait it a minute. It’s going the wrong way. Jumped to the first time I crossed the Red River near Fargo. Same sensation.

    What? Oh. The Continental Divide. This mud roiled river flowed west and south, toward the Baja, toward the great Pacific Ocean, not the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Even though I got this intellectually my brain kept feeling tricked each time I looked at the Colorado. My limbic system was not sure what to do with this fundamental change. One it did not understand.

    Another odd point of interest. The Donner Party Picnic Area in the Tahoe National Forest. I mean, they had to know what they were doing when they named that, right?

    At midnight on the 28th of April I woke up and wandered down stairs. The train, the California Zephyr, had stopped, and I wondered where we were. There in the distance was Salt Lake City. The Mormon Tabernacle. The angel Moroni. Twinkling in the intermontane night. A cool breeze came in from the open door of my sleeper car.

     

    Just a moment: Alan, yesterday, said rather than being in a long Pause that I had moved into the inner Charlie. A student. A scholar. A friend. Living alone and loving it. Hmm. I think both are true. I have privileged my introverted, scholarly side, no doubt. And, as he pointed out, he and I have taken many acting classes together. So I was engaged. True. However, it’s also true that my life has had mostly external guide rails in spite of that. In the last year especially Jewish immersion, mikveh, sure, but Jewish home life, too, for example. Shabbat. The Shema. The mezzuzahs. And the classes with Jamie.

    The Pause is a time of collecting experience, integrating it, letting it change me. Then, living the change. I feel like I’m moving toward that moment. Perhaps this year.


  • Cookin’

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Irv. Tom. The Ancient Brothers. Rabbi Jamie. The hidden me. Great Sol ablaze in morning glory. Kate, always Kate. Her Creek and her Valley. Kep, my sweet boy. The Redwoods. Bechira points. A long Pause. This Jewish life. Tara. Luke. Rebecca. Ginny and Janice. Back among my peeps. Alan and Joan this morning. Friendships. Music.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: a Pause

    One brief shining: Driving down the hill toward Evergreen, Black Mountain Drive becomes Brook Forest Drive, a couple of miles after what used to be the Brook Forest Inn a shallow cutout, good for maybe two or three vehicles, provides parking for a short Valley with a small Mountain Stream carving its way through, White Pines and Ponderosas, Wild Rose and Wild Strawberry and Wild Raspberry grown along its banks and up the steep Valley sides, this is Kate’s Creek running through Kate’s Valley, where her last physical remains began their journey to the World Ocean.

     

    Yesterday was session ten of ten conversion sessions with Rabbi Jamie. I will miss these. My Rabbi. There’s a phrase I would not have expected to come out of my mouth. Ever. Yet now I can’t imagine life without Rabbi Jamie in it. He’s a backstop. A validator. A friend. A guide.

    He opened me up again yesterday. I shared my guilt. Jewish guilt? About being a hermit by preference these days. Not wanting to engage politically. Or in any way really that’s not personal. As he often does, he went to what appeared to be tangent.

    “I researched creativity a couple of years ago. Prepping for a Kabbalah Experience class. I learned then that a creative block, or Pause, can be long. And you never know how long.”

    I had used a string of phrases: Not over, Not finished, Not complete, Not done to describe how I felt about my life. While affirming my joy at being alone within a crowd of friends.

    Slowly. Oh. I see. Kate’s illness intensifying in mid-2019. Her long, slow decline. Covid. Her death. Grief. Going this way into redecorating the house, that way into moving to Hawai’i, over there to empty the house of stuff, adjusting to my son and Seoah living so far away, taking the plunge into the mikveh and my year of living Jewishly. The trip to Korea and my back’s emergence as a limit. Feeling overtaken, if not overwhelmed, by all the learning, the focus required for conversion and my bar mitzvah. The trip to San Francisco.

    Like a caterpillar in its chrysalis, an imaginal self reorganizes for renewal, reemergence. Its container the years of a   whole life-lived experience, vital nutrient for a transformed nefesh. This paused version of me lives day to day. Happy. Joyful. Yet unfocused. Unlike the Great Southern Brood I have no 13 year clock ticking; the timing is uncertain. This Pause. A moment. Now five years or so in length.

    So freeing. So liberating. As Rabbi Shapiro said (I think.), “It’s all about freedom.”

     

     


  • Back

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Shirley Waste. San Francisco. Waymo. Ruby. Kate, her Creek and Valley. Ruth, the graduate. Gabe. Jen. Sarah. Mia. Mia’s mother. Kep. His yahrzeit last month. A foggy cap on Black Mountain. Blue Sky above. Must be cloudy to the east. Great Sol. Muted. See’s chocolate. Michael Strassfield. His 3rd Jewish catalog. Mary in Melbourne. Guru.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Fog

    One brief shining: This morning Fog creeps down Black Mountain obscuring its view from my window, the Lodgepoles have a mysterious, shrouded, yet also illuminated look, the interplay of Great Sol and the dewpoint, which my in-home scientist, Kate, explained to me so I understood.

     

    Kate was so quick with math, with scientific knowledge, and medical knowledge of course. She could explain difficult ideas so I could understand them. I miss that part of our relationship. Along with many others. She was also my cooking consultant. My cribbage partner. Traveling companion. Garden planning and maintaining co-worker. Dog lover. Bee work assistant. Grandparent and parent. Most of all, a soulmate whose life meant as much to me as my own.

    In this photograph, taken in Songtan, Kate’s continuing her three years of work on a counted cross-stitch I bought for her in Washington, D.C. It says Love is Enough. Hangs in my lower level now. Also had t-shirts made with a print of it for her birthday celebration the year she died. An amazing woman on so many levels.

     

    Weird, looking back over the last two or three months. It’s like there was a shroud over my sense of self. I felt overwhelmed by the work for my conversion and bar mitzvah. Enough that I had real anxiety about it. Something I’m free of most of the time these days. I also reached into my bag of oh what a bad boy am I memories and ongoing concerns. Especially health and aging wise. Nope. You’re no longer able to take care of the house. Of feeding yourself. Too lazy. Too weak. Too inattentive. The back. Ouch. I’ll never travel again. That food poisoning. Showed how weak I am. Cancer. PSA blood draw yesterday. Probably mets everywhere. I’m in my tenth year after all.

    Gosh. Gee whiz. How am I able to get up in the morning?

    Then, much like the Fog slowly burning off Black Mountain as I write, the shroud faded away and I found myself back. Exercising. Confident about my daily life. My Torah portion down. Learning parts of the Morning Service that I can offer as my contribution on June 12th. Reaching back out from myself toward others.

    Another thing. My trip now has a golden memory. Gone are the stretches where my back taught me its lessons. Gone is the lingering emotional and physical residue of the food poisoning. Left in their place are time at the Asian Museum. The Redwoods. Japantown. Buying chocolate at See’s. Laughing and eating with Diane. Meals at Sears Fine Food and nights at the Chancellor Hotel.

    Why did this change occur? I think it was the trip. I needed a break from the seriousness that had become life. I needed some fun. A lesson in there. I’m pretty sure.