I Could Have Said, Hallelujah

Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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