• Category Archives Garden
  • Neither Trump nor Biden

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Marilyn and Irv. Lila and Liks. Ryder. 12 degrees this morning. A good Snow overnight. Spelling Bee. Black Mountain not visible. Still Snowing. The Ancient Brothers. Aleph. Lamech. Bet. Tav. Mem. Nun. My torah portion. Unboxing my cd player. The Brothers Sun. El Ninõ. Furball Cleaning. Ana and Lita. Music. Black-eyed peas. Soup. Crackers. Sardines and Salmon, Tuna.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The waning crescent Winter Solstice Moon

    One brief shining: If Kate and I were still in Andover, we would be sitting at our long kitchen table, pages opened in many Seed catalogues, discussing planting for the upcoming year should we try Leeks again, what was that Iris you saw, pages riffle, oh, that’s a beauty, look at this Garlic, these heirloom Tomatoes, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, and wondering if the Bees survived the winter so Artemis Honey could fill up more jars and bottles.


    I ordered a couple of Seed catalogues this year. Maybe Harris and Seed Savers. They came. I looked at them briefly, but without the promise of planting, tending to the plants, harvest. I put them away. No regret. It was time to let the Gardens and the Orchard pass to other younger hands. And they did.

    The memories and photographs of those times though. Rich and lush like the early May Flower beds, the late August Garden beds, a Tree weighted down with Honeycrisp Apples. Like a hive humming with Bees, flying in and out, making honey and propolis and wax. Like an Irish Wolfhound at play. Tor gently reaching through the Garden fence in September to pluck golden Raspberries straight from the Cane.

    Cool fall evenings around the firepit with Kate, hot chocolate, some Oak or Ironwood crackling with orange and blue. A good life.


    Yesterday the Ancient Brothers made four predictions each. Perhaps unsurprising in one instance. We all predicted Trump would lose. Two of us predicted unrest and chaos. I hadn’t thought of that but, yes, I imagine so. 45 has dominated and shaped an ugly era of American politics and civic life. You know that. Yet my final prediction was that, even if the worst happens, ordinary life will go on. People will get up in the morning. Go to work. Raise children. Buy assault rifles. Probably at Walmart.

    Will those predictions about the election come true? Hell if I know. Our poor political system has had the stuffin’ kicked out of it. The primaries hold little suspense. The choices already seem self-evident. Old and older. Though of course that can change. I hope it changes. I would prefer neither Trump nor Biden on the ticket in the fall.

    I say that because I want Trump gone and I can see several different scenarios where he gets knocked aside by a health issue or legal peril. I say that because Biden, who has performed way above expectations, guiding the ship through turbulence of all sorts, does not have what we need. Youth. Energy. Vision. A statesperson who can lift us all up, remind us of the ideals that have made this flawed nation a great nation. TBD.

  • A Bold Return to Giving a Damn

    Winter and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Friday gratefuls: Tara. Her new puppy. Cold. Snow. Sleep. Gabriella. A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm. Amazon. New Phone. Wallet. 2024 on the way. Poetry. Road Less Taken. Lines Written at Tintern Abbey. Kubla Kahn. Notes on a Supreme Fiction. Circles. Leaves of Grass. Ozymandias. The Raven. Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner. The Wasteland. Song of Myself. The Second Coming. And so much else.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Poetry

    One brief shining: The end of another year approaches, our penchant for deciding calendar dates as the always orbiting Earth’s journey around Great Sol continues, brings us to Pope Gregory XIII who chose in October of 1582 in his well known Papal bull: Inter gravissimas to change the rules for leap years to prevent the Julian calendar’s drift away from the solar holidays, oh you didn’t know, well neither did I but Wikipedia did.



    Gabriella. My adopted Axolotl. She’s swimming in the chinampas canals along with other wild Axolotls who will repopulate the ancient waterways of Xochimilco. I get excited about this project because it’s both the reintroduction of a wild species into its former habitat (see the five Timber Wolves released a week ago in western Colorado) and a project that supports indigenous farming methods healthy for the chinampas themselves. This kind of work will enable our grandchildren to have their best chance to adapt to a warming World.

    A Bold Return to Giving a Damn: One Farm, Six Generations, and the Future of Food relates the story of Will Harris and his disillusionment with Big Ag 30 years ago. The successful transition of his family’s farm to regenerative farming makes compelling reading if you care about the source of your food. This farm is in southwestern Georgia, but it’s an example, not singular.

    The USA Regenerative Agriculture Allliance, Inc trains farmers in regenerative practices. Yes, it’s about good food, food raised without pesticides, fertilizers and other “inputs” that defy the natural cycle and deplete the soil. But, it’s also about how to live in a warming World. Someday regenerative agriculture will use the perennial grains and other crops under development at the Land Institute.

    Want to volunteer in the work of Ecosystem restoration? Look at the Ecosystems Restoration Communities website. They do restoration projects all over the world. The expertise and practical knowledge developed as these organization go about their own individual missions will become the Seedstock for a World that can no longer afford any depletion of natural capital.

    What’s natural capital? An accounting method. That’s right. Accounting. The Natural Capital Project at Stanford University develops accounting methods that define the value of Ecosystems, Oceans, the Water cycle, Forests. Why is this important? Regenerative agriculture is a good example. Corporate farming, by far the dominant model in the U.S. and in most of the World, treats Soil, Crops, and Animals as so many widgets to be manipulated for increased profits. Their accounting methods do not have to take into account the value of the Soil, the Rain, the need for dna diversity in both food Crops and Animals. They don’t have to reckon with the future costs of ruined Soil, the dangers of monocultures in such critical crops as Corn, Wheat, Rice. Maybe they’re not as profitable as they think.

    OK. I’ll stop. For now. But I will return to these adaptive approaches that will help Ruth and Gabe survive in a much changed world.


  • The Holy Land

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Heidi. Irv. Luke. Money. Rich. Leo, the sweet boy. Cooper. Who may join me here. Sleep. Restoration. Resurrection. A new life, this day. Paul’s photo of the sardines. But, Paul, I’m stuck on lobster pots. Tom’s found sign. (right) Bill working with the paper marblers. Ode and the Stars. Diane getting ready for Taiwan. All the wound up little kids out there. Santa Claus. Norad. Christmas Trees. Eggnog. Lights. Yule Logs. All those pagan rooted parts of the celebration we call Christmas. Incarnation

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The ohr in everything

    One brief shining: Wanted a piece of jewelry a necklace as a constant reminder of my conversion but no to a mogen David, the six pointed star, no to a chaim searched could not find anything until an Etsy artist from Israel with handmade metal Alephs showed up, loved it the beginning of the Hebrew alphabet, makes no sound, a symbol for ayin nothingness, the ein sof from which Lurainic kabbalah says all creation has its origin, now around my neck, making no sound, under my shirt, talking in quiet whispers to me of origins and nothingness.



    Sorry for wearing my sacred heart on my sleeve these last few posts. No, I’m not. Well, I don’t want to weary you with it. May not be your thing. Or, you may wonder about my mental stability. Which of course you might anyway. But to me I feel sane, just fine. As they all say, right?

    Have been re-reading Radical Judaism by Jamie’s mentor, Arthur Greenberg. The Radical piece comes from the Radical Theology movement that sprang up from the death of God conversation. Radical theologians wrote in honest recognition of the wreck on modernist shores that the God of old had become. He expired there, perhaps holding his long white beard in wrinkled old man hands.

    In Greenberg I find a soul companion, one who’s journey and mine took the road less traveled to much the same destination. A reimagining of sacredness utilizing the tools of other ancient seekers, especially focusing on the Western religious traditions. I took the Christian turnoff, then the liberal religion loop, stayed a long while in earth centered paganism, but, like Greenberg ended up on the path to the Holy Land.

    That may be the best short hand for this work, come to think of it. The Holy Land. Not just for the Middle East anymore. My Holy Land. The drive between Shadow Mountain and Evergreen through the Arapaho National Forest. Your Holy Land, maybe the Waters of Lake Minnetonka, or a Regional Park, or a pond near your townhome, or the cold Atlantic and the Waters and Lands of Down East Maine. Lucky Street and its domestic neighbors.

    Bloom where you are planted. Yes, a cliche for sure. And yet profound. Who knows when this phrase entered my archives, too common to pin down. But as an ethic, a call to action, a daily motivator it has stuck with me. Sort of like the shema: Listen up, Israel. The One is our God. Our god is the one. Brought to mind often, shaping a world in its simple resonant logic.

    When Kate had to move to the exurbs to be within 15 minutes of the hospital, I resisted. I had lived in the Twin Cities for 30 years. My working life had focused on urban issues, urban politics. What was I gonna do in conservative Anoka County? But there was no choice. She needed the new job. We needed the new job. So. We bought a model home on 2.5 acres of land. About 40% wooded, some scrub Oak and Black Ash with long grass, the rest stripped bare by bulldozers in the process of construction.

    Those of you visited our Andover home know what we did. We quite literally bloomed, over and over again, where we were planted.

    I’m going to continue this idea later.




  • Entheos

    Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Curiosity. The Ancient Brothers. Mark and Dennis. Coming May 23rd. Yet more Rain. Even more swollen Streams. Ancientrails as a life project. Tom and his time with Charlie H. Bill and his time with Bella. Mark and his time at the gym. Anytime Fitness. My treadmill. Marilyn. Ginnie. Josh. Jane. Kat. A banker. Vulcan Centaur.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Rocket Scientists

    One brief shining: A beautiful woman with a long braid dangling over her t-shirt down to her space themed spandex had, on the back of the blue t-shirt an outline of the Vulcan Centaur rocket, on the front ULA and I asked, I’m too ignorant to know but is that a real rocket ship?


    Yes. She answered. And I was working on it until I quit my job a year and a half ago. What was your area of expertise? Vibration and acoustics. Oh. I see. Not sure why I keep running into engineers. But I do.

    CBE is amazing. All these smart people. This was at the Dismantling Racism class yesterday afternoon. Looked up the Vulcan Centaur and it’s been under development since 2014. Supposed to fly for the first time in July. Had a setback a month ago though with a second stage explosion during preparation for a launch.

    The class has gotten better. Taking a mussar approach to the work. I like it for the inner work though I chose an opponent for my practice this week. Four areas of possible practice each week: with HaShem (God), with Self, with a fellow, especially a victim of anti-black racism, or with an opponent.

    My practice involved an e-mail to a person with whom I’ve had long standing differences. Sent it last night and got a reply this morning. A sweet one. Maybe there’s something to this approach. The middah this week is kavod, or honor. Honoring self and other. The theological idea is the all made in God’s image trope. Said another way, we’re all human, all riding this blue spaceship our only home together with all the other critters and plants. Honor it all.


    During the Ancient Brothers session on curiosity I identified curiosity as my defining characteristic. And naming what I call the valedictory lifestyle. As a valedictorian myself I’ve occasionally become curious (see!) about what happens to others who graduate first in their class academically. Turns out usually nothing spectacular. Sure a lot go into academics. Some have successful careers in business or the sciences.

    But usually no stars. No one off achievements. No amazing inventions. Why? Because we’re generalists. We easily get sidetracked by something new and shiny. If purity of heart is to will one thing, we’re not at all pure.

    I call them enthusiasms. My enthusiasms can last a long time. Religion has turned out to be the longest lasting, but inside that broad category I’ve been all over the place. From existentialist atheist to Christian to Unitarian-Universalist to Pagan and wanderer with the tribe. There’s a piece of each of these, often substantial pieces that remain intact within me. All somehow glued together with Taoism.

    There’ve been many others. Art, my twelve years at the MIA. Politics, lasting almost as long as religion, but again all over the place in terms of action. Islam which I studied after 9/11. Horticulture. Cooking. Heating with wood. Beekeeping. Dogs. World travel. F1. Science. Tarot and Astrology. Cinema. Acting. Writing. Getting degrees. Tea. Korean and now Spanish. Oh, and one that actually has been lifelong, reading. Not sure when I learned but I’ve never ever stopped. Buying books, too. To feed the habit. I’ve dabbled in painting and sum-e.

    Enthusiasms in my life are more than dabbling but less than enough to gain full mastery. But I must admit it’s been, is being, a hell of lot of fun.





  • Waiting To Cross

    Imbolc and the Waiting to Cross Moon

    Monday gratefuls: Dr. Eigner. Dr. Simpson. Kep, the early. Snow. More Snow. Mild temperatures. The Ukraine. Biden. The James Webb. Tom and Bill, the science bros. Max, getting older. Ode, the well-rooted wanderer. Paul, the steadfast. Alan, the cheerful. The Ancient Brothers, a true Sangha. Zoom. Korean fried chicken. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. Ivory. Ruby. Oncology.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Ancient Brothers


    So I said it out loud. My reaction to mom’s death turned me from a confident, ready to take on the world teenager to a frightened, hesitant young adult. One who dropped German because he was failing it. Shame. One who convinced himself there was not enough money for Wabash because he was afraid to go back. Shame. One who entered then a great teacher’s college, but a mediocre university. Ball State University. Shame.

    Not a lot of shame in my life. Very little. That’s where it lies. Perhaps now having put it out there. So late. 76. It will fall away. It took me years, nearly three decades, to put the pain of her death in perspective. Treatment for alcoholism. Quitting smoking. Quitting the ministry. Years of Jungian analysis. Finally. Meeting Kate. 26 years later. I finally passed the threshold of grieving mom’s death.

    And started living my life. As a writer. A gardener. A dog lover. A beekeeper. An anachronistic blogger. With a woman who loved me as I was and one whom I loved as she was. A love where we wanted and supported the best life for each other. We traveled. A lot. We stood with both sons fully.

    Abundance. Yes. Ode’s word for our Andover home. Yes. Flowers. Meadow. Fruits. Nuts. Berries. Grapes. Honey. Plums. Pears. Apples. Cherries. Iris. Tulips. Spring ephemerals. Roses. Hosta. Gooseberries. Beans. Heirloom tomatoes. Leeks. Garlic. Onions. Kale. Collard Greens. Lettuce. Carrots. Ground Cherry. Raspberries.

    The fire pit. The woods.

    The dogs. So many dogs. Celt. Sorsha. Morgana. Scot. Tira. Tully. Orion. Tor. The Wolfhounds. Iris. Buck. Hilo. Emma. Kona. Bridget. The Whippets. Vega and Rigel. The IW/Coyote Hound sisters. Gertie, the German Short Hair. And Kep, the Akita.

    It was so good. Until the work became burdensome. Until I visited Colorado one year and Ruth ran away from the door because she didn’t expect me. A surprise visit. Then we had to come. The two. A push. The work of Seven Oaks had become too much. A pull. We wanted, needed to be there for Ruth and Gabe.

    So we packed everything up. And on the Winter Solstice of 2014 moved here, to the top of Shadow Mountain. 8,800 feet above sea level. Into the Wildland/Urban Interface, the WUI. With four dogs: Kep, Gertie, Rigel, and Vega. Again, thanks to Tom for helping with the dog move.

    When the time came, we put away Andover and envisioned a life together in the Rocky Mountains. Kate felt like she was on vacation every day until she died. Where she found the Jewish life she had always wanted. Where we both found ourselves immersed in the lives of our grandchildren, of their parents.

    Now Kate is dead. Vega is dead. Gertie is dead. Rigel is dead. Only Kep and I remain alive. I’m at another threshold, waiting to cross.

  • Dutiful

    Winter and the Wolf Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Breakfast with Jen, Ruth, Gabe, Barb. Driving back up the hill. F1. The MIA. The Walker. The docent program. My many years there with good friends and art. Acting class. Creativity class. Origins of North America. Finding the volume of a Mountain. Korean. Pruning moving forward. Interior painting, early February. Probate. Still moving. slow. ly. The Good Life. Scott and Helen Nearing. Eudaimonia. Kristen Gonzalez. Psoriasis. Mark and the USPS. Mary in Kobe. Ancient Brothers.

    Sparks of joy and awe: Eudaimonia


    Human flourishing. Eudaimonia. Satisfaction. More important than happiness. Duty is just another word for cultural norms received and accepted. Obligations. On the other hand. Imposed. Why do we do what we do?

    Assessing the life that is neither heroic nor mediocre. Since that’s where most of us end up. No need to measure ourselves against the ends of the bell curve. No need to measure ourselves. But can we be at peace with a life without comparisons?

    As for me, I choose eudaimonia. Flourishing. Satisfaction. And, yes. Duty plays a role. Family. Sacrifice. Friends too. Being there. Wherever love is, there is duty. To be honest. Sincere. Kind. Helpful. To support the best for the other. Right down to the end. And by implication to support the best for yourself. Also, duty. The unexamined life is not worth living. Yes. A duty to yourself to know thyself. And to thy own known Self be true.


    What’s interesting for me right now is how much a sense of duty has played in my life. Oh, no! The original oppositional defiant guy admitting to a sense of duty. I who even rebel against my superego. You can’t make me!!! Yes, duty.

    A minor yet significant example. As a convinced feminist of the Betty Friedan/Simone de Beauvoir second wave. At the age of 26. In seminary. Went to the Rice Street Clinic late on a Winter afternoon. A scalpel I felt on the first cut slashed my vas deferens on both sides. Shutting down sperm from my testicles. Being responsible for my own contraception.

    Another. One I’ve mentioned before. Fits here. No. I don’t want a Johns-Manville full scholarship to college. Managing people in a large corporation is not me. Will never be me. High school.

    Once convinced of Vietnam’s sturdiness as a nation, one that had held back China for over 3,000 years. No. I will not fight, nor support that war.

    After reading a convincing study about the future job prospects for Ph.D.’s. No to graduate school.

    Family. Staying in the fire with Jon. Ruth. Gabe. Kate in later life. Mark. Yet also. Cut your hair or leave! Leaving.

    These may not at first reading seem like duty. But they are. A duty to myself, to my own understanding of how to be present in the world.

    When I realized Ruth and Gabe needed us in Colorado. Broaching the idea of a move. Kate on board. Following through.

    Those two and a half acres in Andover. Leaving them better than when we bought them. How? Working it out with Kate over the years. Together. Staying the course with the full cycle of responsibilities throughout the year. Each year.

    And, dogs. Living into their lives. With them from puppyhood to death. Oh. Sweet duty. Painful duty. Life realized in full.

  • Ikigai identified at last.

    Summer and the Aloha Moon


    June 17, 2015. Shadow Mountain

    Checked my postings about this Japanese idea. Nothing ever resolved since I learned about it several years ago. What gets you up in the morning? What gives your life coherence? “…ikigai is a concept that has been rooted in the cultural fabric of Japan for centuries and simply means, “reason to live.” ikigai.com

    After three empty days last week, days where I saw no one and learned the lesson of needing human contact again, I got to thinking about ikigai. What gets me up in the morning? What is my reason to live?

    Thought back on the life review I did with the Ancient Brothers a few weeks ago.  A little too heady: justice, love, writing, learning. Things like that. Not at the core.

    When I drove to Evergreen this morning, I focused on this question. Began to feel some urgency about it. Afternoons drag here without purpose. Makes me feel negligent, indulgent. Neither one a good German value. So there has to be something, right? A thread, a coming back to this sort of thing, more obvious when seen from the 8,800 feet view?

    June, 2019

    I think I found it. Here’s the phrase: Living well within and for nature. I could add a coda, seeking justice for all, but I think this phrase covers it. Living well equals the Greek idea of eudaimonia. So, another way of saying this: flourishing within and for nature. Goes back at least to that Garden Spider spinning its web on the kitchen window at 311 E. Monroe St., Alexandria, Indiana. My gentle mother and I engaged in wonder as the Spider spun its web, caught and cocooned its prey. Ate.

    Ever since, or at least since then, maybe age 8 or 9, I’ve been a close observer of the natural world. (And, yes, I know there’s a sense in which it’s all natural, even human artifice, but I choose the narrower, folk understanding.) When I finished college, I wanted to move to a place with Lakes and Pine Trees. With four Seasons, a real Winter, not the icy, slushy mess of an Indiana January. Jack London inspired me.

    So it was not, as I’ve always imagined when I considered a life purpose, college and the world of the mind that was my ikigai. No, that was an interesting and fun sidebar, but my life and my moves since then have involved getting closer and closer to the natural world on an everyday basis.

    Ushuaia, Argentina 2011

    Kate and I shared this ikigai, I believe. The gardens, the orchard, the bees, the dogs. Moving to the Rocky Mountains where Kate up to the end said happily, “I feel like I’m always on vacation.”

    Now I’ve found my holy Valley and returned to hiking as an every week, usually twice a week, event. Today the holy Valley had the sweet smell of Pine Resin, the splash of color from many Wild Flowers, the sound of peace from Kate’s Creek.

    The Green Man, Andover

    Of course I have other interests. But the guiding core of my life has been seeking a place where wildness was part of the every day. Shadow Mountain is such a place. And I feel happy here. Don’t need more.

    Have you found your ikigai?


  • Androgyny. Needs and Desires.

    Summer and the Living in the Mountains Moon

    Thursday grateful: Running lines with Alan. The Campfire. That pastrami sandwich. Feeling conflicted. Money. Trips. Axumin scan. Long term care insurance premium. Maybe a new (read expensive) hot water heater. Friends. Family. Travel. A need for rest, time away. How to reconcile. The synagogue. Luke. Rebecca. Jamie. Marilyn and Irv. Kep. So excited in the morning. Food, dad, food!

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: It’s a ladle (not a spoon, you dumb ignoramus!) a line from the Odd Couple

    Tarot: The Seer, #2 of the major arcana

    “With the innate ability to balance emotions and the power of will and source of knowledge, The Seer encourages us to change the ordinary material world. She uses all of The Wildwood’s natural resources skillfully. She nurtures positive changes in people’s minds, expressed through emotions and commitment to life. Her magic is one of the purest and most revered things on earth.”  tarotx.net


    Androgyny. Quite a ways back Kate paid me a compliment, one I’ve treasured. “You’re the most androgynous person I know, Charlie.” I value the balance of yin and yang, of the feminine and the masculine. In me. I love being a sensitive man who will knock down injustice. I love cooking, raising kids, keeping a nice house. The chainsaw and I were one. Back when I could still hold one. The axe, too. I loved gardening, the labor of it and the nurture of plants. Raising dogs and caring for them when they’re sick. I loved being in relationship with Kate.

    The Seer and I are old friends. Her feminine intuition, her link to Mother Earth. I feel them. Honor them. Honor her. She was the one who told me, “You need to be a Dad.” And, I listened. She was the one who told me, “You need to write.” And, I did. She was the one who told me, “Marry Kate. Right now.” I did. I listen to her as often as I can, as closely as possible. She was the one who told me, “Move to Colorado. Be close to Ruth and Gabe as they grow up.” And, we did. I have never regretted hearing her voice.

    Drawing this card today reminds me to collect the information I’ve gleaned over the last year and two months since Kate died. To listen to the Seer once again. Hear her advice on what happens next. What I need to do now. Listening.


    I’ve put myself in a box. One of my own making, one that expresses deep desires but may not conform, right now, to my reality. I really want to go to Durango with Tom. I really want to see the Redwoods with Diane. I really want to extend my reunion trip and visit Sarah and Jerry at Belews Creek. But. In August I have my Axumin scan. Over a thousand bucks. Then in September my long term care insurance comes due. Three and half times that. Plus I may need a new water heater. Maybe more than the two combined.

    Money. I have enough. Yes. But not more than enough. I so want to go places, see other people. But. I may have to settle for Hawai’i until I’ve seen my way through these big expenses. Adulting. Bah, Bah. Gonna have to count my pennies again. Stay tuned.

  • Natural Healing

    Beltane and the Living in the Mountains Moon


    Friday gratefuls: My journey over a lifetime. Kate. Always. That trail. With the Creek, the Mountain Stream. The fallen Trees. The tall Pines. The Wild Strawberries. The Rocks. The steep valley walls. Wild Rose. Primrose. Those yellow Flowers I can’t identify. A place of great sanctity. A holy place. A sanctuary. Friends. Near and far.

    Saturday gratefuls: Stephanie. That trail again. Happy Camper. Aspen Perks breakfast. Salad. Apples. Peanut Butter. The Continental Divide. Mt. Rosalie. Mt. Evans. Black Mountain. Staunton State Park. Richard Power’s Orfeo. Learning lines. Mini-splits. Jon. Money.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: That trail.

    Tarot: Seven of Stones, Healing. And, Again.

    Key words: “Give our minds a break, Calmness, Meditation, Stillness, Healing, Reevaluation, Patience, Perseverance, State of stability, Attentive care, Take time to relax and unwind, Connection to the source energy.”  tarotx.net


    Forgot to finish this yesterday. A busy day. Over to Aspen Perks for breakfast: Salmon Eggs benedict. Reading Orfeo. After a morning with what people especially beyond Richmond Hill (think Pine, Bailey) call the camper and RV races. Or, the RV assholes. Or, those bastards. Folks from down the hill invading, driving too fast. Often with trailers in tow. Passing on curves. Generally being jerks. After Richmond Hill 285 goes from a four lane divided highway to a two lane, no dividers. That’s when things get clogged.

    At 9 am I was still a bit ahead of the bulk of it. But I had a guy towing a trailer behind me, a BIG RV ahead of me for much of the way. Irritated locals often try to pass early. Not waiting for the passing lanes that come after the road to Staunton State Park. It’s a recipe for accidents. And, they happen. And, they kill people.


    I was on my way to the Happy Camper for my every two months or so cannabis run. 25% off! for the whole month. Still digesting a Stanford study that says thc can increase inflammation in the veins and arteries around the heart. Gonna consider genistein to counteract this effect. Sleep is critical and my thc use has made 8 hours every night possible. Gonna contact my docs to see about safety and dosing.


    As my avanah (humility) practice for the month, I’m using a focus phrase: ichi-go, ichi-e. Every moment is once in a lifetime, unique, precious. Trying to use it every time I encounter a living entity: Kep, Myself, Rocks, Lodgepoles, Elk, Friends, Waitress, other Diners, Birds, the Sun, Black Mountain. All the time. Sort of like the Jesus Prayer. Trying to make it subliminal, yet also present as I move around through my day.

    In this way I can learn to take up the right amount of space in my life. Not too much, not too little. Not minimizing my gifts, not over emphasizing them. Making sure I remember to bring my whole self to each precious moment. Since it will not be repeated, it’s the only chance I have.


    I have now hiked what I’ve begun to think of as my trail, at least when I’m on it, three times since Gabe and I were on it last Saturday. I may go again this morning. Yesterday after my time with Stephanie, Dr. Gonzales’ PA and a sweet lady, I hiked it with the ichi-go, ichi-e focus phrase.

    I saw that patch of Wild Strawberry blooms and thought of Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same name. A favorite. The Mountain Rose Bushes are in full Flower, too, five white Petals brightening the trail. They will give way to Rose Hips as the Wild Strawberry Blooms will to Strawberries.

    The little Stream, I don’t know its name, flows a bit less vigorously as the Snow melt and Rains subside. Still it sings, dancing over Rocks, falling down the Mountainside, continuing its creation of this holy Valley.

    Oddly, as I thought about this trail last night, I realized I’ve done just this, exercised outside in spots that became favorites for a very long time. I used to hike the trail along the Mississippi down by the Ford Avenue Bridge. Then I moved on to the Crosby Nature Farm, also along the Mississippi. When I worked for the Presbytery, I often exercised or walked at the Eloise Butler Garden and Wildlife Sanctuary. 

    In Andover I went to the Rum River Regional Park and snowshoed a trail through Woods behind the new library in the Winter, spent other times at Boot Lake SNA. Now I’m on my trail just off Brook Forest Road. Up here though the options are much more abundant. I’ve also been on Upper Maxwell Falls, The Geneva Creek trail outside of Grant, and plan to hit the Mt. Rosalie Trail soon.

    My equivalent of the Celtic Christian practice of peregrinatio. The Skunk Cabbages are probably blooming right now at Eloise Butler. I miss seeing them and the bright yellow of the Marsh Marigolds. The power of the mighty Mississippi, too. Though a Mountain Valley is equal to them in its own way. Love the one you’re with. Eh?

  • Beltane: You are alive!

    Beltane and the Beltane Moon

    Sunday gratefuls: Beltane. The growing season. Fire festival. Life renewed. Again. Still. My voice. Jon. Better. More insight, moving forward. Three dead mice. 2nd night, none in the kitchen. Edward Abbey. Mario. Taos. Road trip. Iran. Possible tour in the fall. Taipei, winter. Energy back. Got a lot done yesterday. Closing in on a finished downstairs. Feels so good. Jon’s idea about centering the chandelier. Smart guy.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Jon, taking hold


    October, 2014 Andover


    Beltane. Yes. The season I need. A Fire festival. Those crazy Scots and Swedes. All naked today, bonfires. Probably a lot of making love in the tall grass. Sympathetic magic. Maybe a few year and a day handfast marriages. The maiden goddess lying with the Greenman, with Cernunnos. Persephone with Pan. Ceres waving her hand, seeds unfurling, heading toward the sun.

    A celebration of the Garden, the Prairie, the Pasture, the Woodland. Life giving. Soaking in the Sun. The Rain and the Snow melt. Mountain Streams full. Trout loving the cold Water. It’s Beltane. Ring out the fallow season for real. Ring in the season of plenty.

    In the old days, the farthest away of the Celtic times, only Beltane and Samain. The growing season and Summer’s End. One or the other. Fertility or waiting, decomposition, getting ready. Resting. For this. The time of green. Of yellow and brown.

    Oh, I’m so ready. I’ve had a long, long fallow time. Maybe since 2018 or so. Life with Kate had hit its late fall, early winter. The Covid. Her decline and death. Grief. Kate, always Kate. Now less Kate and more me. Alive still.

    Beltaned. My Seed beginning to unfurl, blast its way through the Soil. Drinking in the Rain. Basking in the Sun, gaining power. My own Photosynthesis. Hands out, palms up, neck back, face lifted to the warmth of a new life season. Probably my last one. The fourth phase. Joyful. Rich. Headed toward joy.

    Leave no bit of juice in the tank. Spill it all on the road, running the engine as long and as far as possible. Like Ode on his long road trip. Like Neal Cassidy and Ken Kesey. Like Walt Whitman and his powerful Yap.

    That’s the message of the Great Wheel. Until you fall into the soil, become one with the next generation of life, you are alive. An agent. A whole universe swirling with galaxies of love, nebula of knowledge, Big Bangs of creativity.

    Contra Dylan Thomas I do want to go gently into that good night. Not as one passive and resigned, but as one filled with experience. One who took the moments and lived in them, loved in them. Shouted. Danced. Acted. One who knows the night is nothing to rage against, rather something to embrace. These element’s fallow time after their long journey as me.

    So. Take off those clothes. Throw away the inhibitions and the ambitions. Open. Spread out. Jump and twirl. It’s the Beltane festival. For you and for me.