Beltane and the Moon of Shadow Mountain

Shabbat gratefuls: Kate’s yahrzeit. Lighting the yahrzeit candle. Frost on the Lodgepole’s at Black Mountain’s peak. May 15 in Minnesota. Planting ok then, in days past. Self-care. Nuggets win in Minneapolis. Coastal Redwoods. Sequoias. Bristlecone Pine. Douglas Fir. White Pine. Fraser Pine. Ponderosa Pine. Kate’s Creek. Maxwell running full. Bear Creek.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Kate

Songtan, 2016

One brief shining: The boardwalk felt soft, welcoming as morning Sunshine filtered onto it through the Forest, its planks took shade and sun alike, filling it with gentle magic while not revealing the wonders rising only feet from its sides, where the Coastal Redwoods, which can reach over 300 feet toward the sky, with trunks requiring many hands for a complete hug, soared up from the Valley soil with grace, power.


Awe. Wonder. Amazement. In my belated but so appreciated first contact with these giants of the Forest. Each one with the presence of a meditating Buddha. Still, rooted to their place, focused on their wooden dreams. Diane told me of the efforts firefighters went through to save the Sequoias, putting aluminum fire resistant blankets around their bases to protect them. I would help. The majesty of these Trees made me want to weep with joy. That we share the Earth with such entities.

This is a possible outcome of travel. Transport to a place unexpected, even unimagined. Oh, I had an inner picture, an expectation about how it would be to see these Trees. Nothing prepared me for the sight of them. The unique and powerful sense of self they project. Wild neighbors are so precious because they show us the limits of artifice, of bending the world to our will. Wild neighbors are natural Taoists, accepting the world as it comes, adapting to its changes.

Of course, I’m most familiar with Lodgepole Pines, Aspen, Mule Deer, Elk, Black Bears, Foxes, Mountain Lions yet the Coastal Redwood and its near relative the Sequoia are my wild neighbors, too. Just further away. How bare, spiritually, would be my world without them. Can you imagine? A world with no Wild Neighbors?


Just a moment: Been thinking about the purpose of universities. Came up with three to start with: 1. Collect, curate, and conserve the deposit of human culture. Imagine and execute ways to keep it available to generations yet unborn.  2. Foster a culture of critical thought. 3. Provide those moratorium years for each generation where life becomes exploration and adventure.

What other purposes underlie this grand social experiment?


It took me until yesterday to get my Mountain legs back. To once again be here, in my life. Some psychic pain over the last few days occasioned in the main by back stress + food poisoning. When my body’s not right, it’s easy to spiral, confusing a wounded body with a wounded soul. I became febrile, fragile. Old. In need of assisted living. Foolish for living this long alone, high in the Mountains. My judgment compromised by a younger self’s commitment to the Rockies.

Yet this morning, as I feel my way into shabbat, my new Jew soul smiles. You’re where you belong, Yisrael. And not too old. Not yet.