Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Thursday gratefuls: 8″ + of snow overnight. Building that snowpack. Kate’s three good/better days. Last of the steak Diane and a very good flourless chocolate cake. Covid. Vaccines. Lung disease. Prostate Cancer. Sjogren’s. Joe, the geopolitical analyst. Seoah for 50 N94 Korean masks. Rigel, for the body heat. Kep for being Kep.

Sparks of Joy: Snowflocked Lodgepole Pines. Blue gray sky backgrounding a whitened Black Mountain. Seeing the driveway already plowed. A clear schedule.

When we grew our own food, 2013, Andover


Had an interesting experience at Safeway the other day. I went for my usual pickup order, staying safe, saving time. I called in. Waited. One order came and went. Still I waited. I called. Oh, we’ll be there. I waited more. Called back. One of our associates loaded your order in someone else’s car. We’re shopping it again right now. About 20 minutes.


After a brief flash of anger, I calmed down, imagined the other person at their home with our groceries. Surprise!

While I waited, I saw a guy come out of the store without a mask and load items in his pickup truck. Again, a flash of anger. C’mon, guy. Give it up. Covid is real. People are dying. Calmed back down. Realized he didn’t have the Federal government behind him anymore. Felt so good and dissipated the animus. Just a guy. Harming himself and others.

April 2016 Shadow Mountain

Snow yesterday came down like Minnesota rain, straight and fast. 8 inches at least. Heavier, but still fluffy. I did the back deck with one arm for a bit, holding my coffee. Shifted after I could set the coffee on the deck. Went faster using both arms. Put on my new duckies from LL Bean for the first time since late October, early November. It’s been dry and what snow we’ve had hasn’t been much.

I support and want to reinforce the feud between 45 and Moscow Mitch. Any fractures in the GOP are good. Betraying the cynicism both had for the last four years while working with the other. In Carl Hiaasen’s newest book, the Presidential home is still in Palm Beach, Florida. But its name is Casa Bellicosa.

November, 2015

Another unexpected Covid danger. Avalanches. No, Covid doesn’t cause avalanches, but it has made hardy skiers head for backcountry skiing, no runs, no ski lifts, just snow and you. The problem? A weak layer of snow now covered with increasing snow pack.

This creates a severe danger and has killed more skiiers and snowmobilers in the West this year than any other in recent memory. 26 already this year, while there were 23 all last season. This doesn’t count the number at resorts who ski into a tree or boulder, or the rafters that drown in snowmelt swollen rivers. Caution, your leisure might be dangerous. Data from the Colorado Avalanche Center.

Meanwhile Texas Republicans blame Democrats for energy shortages in Texas. Uh-huh.

Kate’s neither better nor worse. Middlin’. Which is good for right now.


















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Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Mountain Waste. Kate’s better days Monday and Tuesday. A new doc. Vaccines. Covid. Biden. Stimulus. Asia. Joe and Seoah, my Asia. Life, whatever it is.

Sparks of Joy: The Bidens walking on the White House lawn with their dog. Cheese enchiladas. Snow on Mt. Evans. Vaccines.



This speaks for itself. From Colorado City, Texas, after power went out and it was cold:

Residents turned to a community Facebook group to ask whether the small town planned to open warming shelters, while others wondered if firefighters could do their job without water. But when Colorado City’s mayor chimed in, it was to deliver a less-than-comforting message: The local government had no responsibility to help out its citizens, and only the tough would survive.

“No one owes you [or] your family anything,” Tim Boyd wrote on Tuesday in a now-deleted Facebook post, according to KTXS and KTAB/KRBC. “I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!”   WP

This tone and attitude is not new. I recall a Congressional campaign back in the 1990’s when I asked the Democratic candidate, “Why have politics become so mean?” This was just prior to the rise of Michelle my belle Bachman, one of the squirreliest of them all. 2007. Palin, Bachman, Trump. Crazies of a feather.

It is not clear to me now, nor was it clear to me then, how the Christian right, of which Bachman was and is a dull example, could countenance disparaging and gutting the poor, people of color, LBGT folks. Not a Christian attitude. I mean, not even close. Apostasy. All I can say on that right now.

                              Kate with baby Gabe. 2008

Unusual. My body did not feel like exercise. Rare. Not sure, might be accumulated weariness. I did the cardio, the dynamic stretches, because often my body wakes up, says, oh, well, if you insist and off we go. Not today. So. Rest.

Feeling off. Here’s another possible dynamic. May seem weird but I think it has some merit. When Kate feels better, at first, me, too. Yeah. A bit later, if her feeling better goes on, I get tired. Why? I think because I feel I can let my guard down a bit, not be so on alert. And behind the alertness is exhaustion.

Think I’ll go nap.

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A Cold South

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Dr. Thompson. House cleaners. Vaccine. Covid. Carl Hiaasen. Screen writers for The Alienist. Oximeter. Blood pressure monitor. Prostate cancer. PSA’s so far. COPD.

Sparks of joy: Dr. Thompson. Snow coming. Poetry. Perseverance getting closer to Mars.


Cooked Steak Diane and saffron rice for a birthday supper. Easy Entrees. Steak was wonderful. Thick and the sauce a great complement. Plenty for more meals. The rice. Meh. But, if it was gonna be meh on one, the rice every time.

Saw Dr. Leigh Thompson today, replacing Dr. Gidday. I like Dr. Thompson. She’s humble and knowledgeable. A good combination in my opinion.

Cold in the south. When I saw the forecast map, I thought, They’re all gonna die. Not all, but a lot. And suffering.

Power grids down. I learned on NPR that Texas is an island, power grid wise. That means it won’t go down along with other nearby states, but it also means that they can’t import power from the grid outside their borders. A tough reality right now.

I like the idea of a 1/6 commission. The more we learn about the web of propaganda, organizing, and negligence that helped create this insurrection, the safer we will all be. Oh, and it might cement even further 45’s culpability. That would be ok.

What a time! We’re about to dump 1.9 trillion dollars into the economy. The weather is crazy. Covid has new variants up its sleeve. Kids are out of school. Millions are out of work. The next few years will define interesting times for the United States. Looking forward to being part of that.



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Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Monday gratefuls: 7 degrees this morning. Up 26 from yesterday. 75th trip underway, go Earth. Joseph’s happy birthday on Facebook. Vaccines. 45’s guilt. Those who know it. Those who don’t. Covid. Winter and all its trimmings.


Sparks of Joy: Kep and food. Rigel’s prance. 45 out, 46 in. Seeing dogs sticking their heads out of car windows. Young children being themselves.

Our house. Needs insulation. When wind blows through the mountains, it also blows through our house. Nice in the summer, not so much in the winter. The windows leak. Doorways, too. Also, the heating of the great room, kitchen, and sewing room is inadequate. If I were married to someone other than Norwegian Kate Olson, we’d have fixed all this years ago. As it is, we usually just put up with it until it gets a bit warmer. -19, however, challenges even Scandinavians. Maybe later this year?

However. We’re much better off than those poor bastards in the South. Respect to all of them for confronting ice and cold in a place ready for neither. Friend Bill Schmidt recounted his daughter Moira’s observation of a highway near their Austin, Texas home. Ice. A hill, a curve. Brake lights. Cars slippin’ and slidin’.

Talk to any Colorado native and they’ll tell you that all of our traffic problems are caused by Texans who move up here. Maybe 5%. The rest is people who just don’t know how to drive.

The lunar New Year has turned us into the year of the Ox. If this is your spot in the twelve year Chinese astrological cycle, you’re likely “Prudent, follow procedures step by step, take things slowly, unlikely to be influenced by others or environment, do things out of personal idea and ability, go ahead steadily and surely, always can achieve the set goals.” This according to Your Chinese astrology website.

As a February pig myself, I’m “…very talented, kind and full of vigor. …lucky to get help from the elders and assistance from benefactors. …could be very dignified and healthy during the life.” Same site. Well…

And, finally, a political thought for today. I agree with the Democrats decision to not call witnesses for Trump’s impeachment trial. The McCarthy call revelation was tasty, no doubt, but the better choice was to finish the trial with dispatch.

No chance for a second narrative to take hold. The House managers did a better than credible job at prosecuting their case and showed the nation Trump’s guilt. The vote would not have changed and having it a short time after their good work underscored the 43 boot lickers’ shame.

We’re a long way from done with all of this; but, now we can move onto the important work. Undoing as much of 45’s legacy as possible quickly and moving on matters too long neglected like climate change, racial and economic justice, immigration, radical police reform.

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Rough Seas Ahead

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Sunday gratefuls: -19. Here! Valentine’s Day. 74 round trips, ticket punched. Easy Entree’s. Gifts and good eating. Rigel, who woke me up with a birthday kiss this morning. Kate’s somewhat better day. Snow. We need it. 57 yes. The cowardly 43 lions. Better get to Oz and get some courage. Vaccines. Covid. Third Phase life, it’s sweetness and its bitters.

Sparks of Joy: The heart shaped tin from Easy Entree’s. Rigel’s kiss. George Will. No, really. The loft. Being alive.



Well digger’s belt buckle? Oh, something to warm up with here this morning. -19 when I got up. My weather station so that’s as local as it gets. The weather gods brought me a reminder of my 40+ years in Minnesota. Which hit -50 and lots of other -‘s. Would that it could last longer. We’re still cold lovers, Kate and me, though we have become fans of the solar snow shovel, too. Cold, then warm enough to melt what fell.

In Minnesota my birthday was almost always very cold. Here not as much. So, a nice present. Namaste, divine weather beings.

The Senate vote? Yes, sure. It’s embarrassing to our country, to our democracy, to our civility, to the rule of law, to human decency, but why do you ask? Oh. You thought as, one columnist said, they might not lick his boots? Perhaps you thought that sending an angry mob to fight like hell against their constitutional duty to recognize the votes of our nation would make them change? Now you know what politics are like when fear rules.

The only thing they had to fear, as FDR said, was fear itself. And, unlike our entire nation during WWII, they let it overcome them, those 43 cowardly lions. I agree with George Will, again, “Although not nearly as tragic as 9/11 in lives lost and radiating policy consequences, 1/6 should become, as its implications percolate into the national consciousness, even more unsettling.” Washington Post, 2/13/2021

The Senate vote, while not surprising, suggests something  sinister. That those divisions  on display on 1/6, and this is Will’s point, I believe, reduced 43 members of the “world’s most prominent deliberative body” to 90 pound weaklings. They fear sand being kicked in their face by the fascist-no-longer-thank-god-in-chief. Who will stand up, agree to be their Jack LaLanne?

Or, their Dorothy? Who might lead them to meet the Wizard? In this analogy Trump would be the man behind the green curtain, turning wheels, pushing levers while looking meek and ashamed when discovered. Yeah, you’re right, this analogy stays firmly in fantasy.

Another point of agreement with George Will from the same column: “An essential conservative insight about everything is that nothing necessarily endures. Care must be taken.” This is a lesson of the Trump years. And, I have learned it.

There is a fruitful, necessary tension between protest and the fabric of democracy. Without it protest would never, could never, succeed. Now though, thanks to the right-wing troops, the real sheeple, I know there is a line beyond which even protest must not go.

In former days I had a thirst for revolution, a dramatic and overall change in our body politic. Back then I refused to believe in human imperfection. If only we could get policies and the economy right. If only we could change the structure of political life. Now, though, I know.

This imperfect institution, our democracy, is exactly as Churchill said, the worst form of government, except for all others. It is fragile and wonderful. When it works, it allows us to fight and makeup. To consider change in our common lives and take action. Yet a man as coarse and stupid and venal as 45 can bring it close to extinction. As Will says, care must be taken.

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Life in the Mountains

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Psalms. Rabbi Jamie. Gwen, Ayelet, Dean, Jan, Cherie. The class. Much needed, as I said before. Jackie. Hair stylist and lovely human. Covid survivor. Kep and Rigel, Kate. In our family crate. Yeti blue microphone, a stand. Dreams of podcasting.

Sparks of joy: A new hair cut. Kate’s revived color. Vaccines. Ruth. Hawai’i. Always there, waiting. My poem, Death’s Door. The Trial of 45.



Couple of odd mountain anecdotes involving emergency vehicles.

Told you I bought Kate one of those help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up buttons. It has three receivers. One in the loft, one in the kitchen (for when I have the fans on), and one in the great room. She’s turned over on it a couple of times and alerted me. Learning the system.

A couple of days ago I’d gone downstairs to watch TV. I heard the alarms sound from upstairs. Kate was up there! I ran up. Kate sat quietly at the table, playing solitaire. What? An emergency vehicle had gone by, lights and sirens. Something in its passing, like calling to like, had set off the alarms.

Second story. On Thursday we went into Swedish hospital for another visit with Kate’s pulmonologist. On the way home there were again lights and sirens, Hwy 285 closed ahead of us with pylons and ambulances; police cars just under the overpass where we turn to go back to Shadow Mountain.

I noticed the flight for life helicopter circling above us. It went west over 285, then came back as we routed around the traffic backup. As we made our way back to Barkley Road, it came down, then went back up again as if searching for a place to land. Even though there was a clear stretch of highway.

Jackie, our hair stylist whom we saw yesterday, told us that a man driving a truck that repairs windshields had plowed into the back of a CDOT truck. The workers were repairing the cable that prevents cars from going into the lanes of opposing traffic.

The truck driver died. As we watched, a flight for life was made unnecessary and went back to its home.


Impeachment and Trial. Guilty. You know it. The GOP knows it. Even Trump knows it. See his phone call to Minority leader Kevin McCarthy:

“…in her statement Friday night, Ms. Herrera Beutler recalled a conversation she had with Mr. McCarthy, where the Republican leader described Mr. Trump telling him, as the attack on the Capitol was unfolding, that members of the mob were “more upset about the election than you are.”” NYT, 2/13/2021.

This is state of mind. No uncertainty. Just glee. Put him in jail. Orange for the orange menace.

Rolling the years over for the 74th time tomorrow. That’s beginning to be high mileage. I’m good for another couple a decades, if not more. At least that’s how I feel. Of course, we’ll see.

Gonna cook a special Valentine’s dinner for my sweetheart and always Valentine, Kate. And, for me, too.

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Death’s Door Opens Both Ways

Imbolc and the Megillah Moon

Friday gratefuls: Vaccines. Stable lung disease. Purim. Esther. Psalms. Easy Entrees. Valentine’s Day. Duncan, Oklahoma. Watonga. Alexandria. Connersville. Muncie. Crawfordsville. Appleton. Nevis. Center City. Minneapolis. St. Paul. Andover. Conifer.

Sparks of joy: Birthday coming. Inogen on Mark’s big sketch book page. Gratitude. Waxing crescent Moon. Cold and snow on the way. The possibility of vaccines.


isle of the dead, arnold brocklin


Rabbi Jamie asked us to take six words out of Psalm 23 then write 6 verses using them. I took words from his translation: Death’s door, solitude, fear, harmonies, valleys, and grace. Here is my psalm/poem using them:

Death’s door opens both ways

Into my solitude and back out

Erasing my fear

From its threshold cosmic harmonies spill out

Filling the valleys of our lives

With the grace of eternity.


I’ve been thinking about radical aloneness coupled with necessary linkages. As humans, our skin bounds us, binds us. Only we know the inner life of our Self, our soul, our unique journey through this random gift of sentience. Yet. We have no language to know the journey without the necessary linkage to another, to others. We have no food to eat without the necessary linkage to the products of the soil. We have no learning without the quickening of our senses by necessary linkages to reality. (whatever that is.)

It’s a peculiar and often devastating truth, our radical aloneness. It’s both ironic and salvific that we cannot be radically alone without necessary linkages to others, to food, to the world beyond us. Covid has made the global scope of our linkages evident in spite of our radical aloneness.

I would say each one of us IS an island surrounded by an ocean of others. On our island are the structures we’ve built, the colors we’ve used to paint them, the roads that lead forward and backward through the story of our life. It is a mobile island. We have to take it with us wherever and whenever we go.

It has rickety bridges, poorly maintained causeways for the transport of food and air. There are several viewing platforms and from our island we can see other viewing platforms. Are they on other islands? A quirk of perception makes it impossible to know.

Even so we are often at our platforms, looking out, using flags to send signals. The others use flags too but we cannot be sure their flags mean the same as ours. They often look similar, but it’s impossible to know for sure.

I’m signaling right now. Arms flashing, plucking flags from their stanchions, returning others. Thinking of you, imagining you and your island. I hope things are ok there.





















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Life Flows On

Imbolc and the New Moon dark sky

Thursday gratefuls: Pulmonologists. Kate. Her wheelchair. Taryle. Awkward conversations. The Psalms. The class. The House impeachment managers. Their videos. Vaccines. Covid. Hawai’i. Joe, Seoah, Murdoch. All of you, each of you, who read this.

Sparks of joy: Rigel prancing in from the outside. At 12+. The night sky on my way to pick up the paper. Text advancing in Jennie’s Dead. Tom’s found quote: “I have the same religion as that tree.”  Serj Tankian.


And yet. I cannot keep from singing, as life flows on in endless song. Hard times are still times in which we live. A hard life is still life. Prancing Rigel’s, that night sky with Leo and Draco and Orion and Canis Major, the rising sun, the coming cold and snow, vaccines on the way (I think.), 45 gone and, not a little thing, gone to Florida where he would make a great Carl Hiaasen character. The Lodgepoles on Black Mountain. The water running in Maxwell Creek. Life flows on.

Great Western Stockshow, 2012


Ruth will probably complete her freshman year of high school from home. Two homes actually, Jon and Jen’s. Gabe is back in classes with the kids who don’t do well online. Jon’s taking time to work on his house. Joe works with the Philippines for the USAF. Seaoh and Murdoch have Oahu as a place to play. Kate seems to be feeling better, a bit.

Leigh Thompson, our new primary care provider, is young, seems competent. Covid has called out the best in us, the worst in us. Babies are still being born. People are still falling love. Valentine’s day is on its way.

I go to sleep each night with a smile and a sense of well-being, a sense of expectancy about the next day. Yes. life is hard, but it’s not impossible. There are still things to learn, people to greet, sunrises and sunsets.

Endless song. Yes.

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More Politics. Skip if you want.

Imbolc and the waning Wolf Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Yeti USB Microphone. Podcasting. Maybe. Impeachment. Trial. Reminder. Biden at work. The boggy reality of our politics. Tom’s poems and science facts. Perseverance, on track for February 18th touchdown on Mars. The things we’ve seen. Wind. Cold. Snow. On its way.

Sparks of Joy: Wolves and their predation. Coming soon to Colorado. Vaccines. Leigh Thompson. Ruth. Seoah. Murdoch. The Sun in the blue Sky.



Just watched two videos, one 13 minutes long and one over 5 minutes. They were evidence in the trial of 45. If you haven’t seen them, maybe you shouldn’t. They’re brutal and reveal the underlying problems we have. This degree of anger and misdirected rage will not slink away. It will be underwritten and reinforced by these videos. They’re good evidence for the trial, no doubt, but I know many of the Proud Boy ilk will see them as moments of glory, as prolegomena to a future assault. A “better” one.

Right now, on this mountain and on the ones nearby, I’m sure some patriots are loading rounds, polishing their weapons, listening to Rush and Alex Jones. When will be the next time to muster ourselves? The constitution has never been in such peril. Our country can’t survive. What if Biden dies and Harris becomes President? We’re all screwed, that’s what. We gotta fight now.

Cousin Diane told me about an NPR report on the flocking of Far Right activists to Germany for rock concerts, gatherings with other, international groups like ours. Germany! The notions of human equality, equal rights under the law, the vote as a means of ensuring democratic governance have their enemies all round the globe.

Yes, this is an imperfect nation. Watch equally disturbing videos from the execution of George Floyd, the shooting of protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin by Kyle Rittenhouse. Remember the middle passage. Jim Crow. Immigrant children separated from their families. News headlines about the Yellow Peril. Women’s suffrage and all the struggles since then for women’s equal rights.

And, yes, these imperfections demand action now. Right now.

These Far Right folks are only part of the barrier to those actions. Corporate capitalism also stands in the way. So does the insidious nature of sexism and racism, infecting many who declare they want to do better. But somehow can’t.

The next few years will be the true trial for this nation’s soul. We will be part of it, you and me. What will your grandchildren say about your actions?

















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Convict Him

Imbolc and the waning crescent of the Wolf Moon

Tuesday grateful: Dr. Leigh Thompson. Zoom. Mary and Diane. Winds auguring change in the weather. Blue Skies and Sun. Safeway pickup. Chili for the snow coming. Melons to cut up. Kate, always Kate. Impeached. Now convict. Go Senate. Vote to shame.

Sparks of joy: The thought of Puppies. Maybe a Puppy here? The brilliant Sun. Walking upstairs each morning to my library and writing studio. Remembering Gertie this morning with Kate. The trial in the Senate.

So obstructionist Senator Mitch McConnell thinks Marjorie Taylor Greene is a cancer on GOP country? Well, I say they’re both diseases that might well prove fatal to our democracy. If not, and I certainly hope not, it won’t be because they failed to take extremist stands when it served them well. Both of them. This is a splendid example of cancer calling the cancer cancer. A metastasized plague on both of their houses.

It ain’t over by a long shot. Imagine all those always Trumpers ought there right now. They’re adding extra flags to their pickups, buying up guns and ammo, donning camo and getting ready to join their friends at your state house. Well-armed militias my ass. These are armed gangs, thugs, waiting for a leader, 45 or someone else, to loose them on their enemies: libtards, Black and Brown and Red and Yellow, all those rainbow folks, politicians.

Oh, wait. 45 did that, didn’t he? That’s what this trial is about in the Senate. Incitement to insurrection. Right. I saw the movie. If they did that, stormed the U.S. Capitol in the name of Gadsen flag patriotism and Confederate Battle Flag dreams, sure seems like they’ll be willing to head into Denver, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Lansing (again).

No, even organized they’re not strong enough or smart enough to fight the U.S. military, but they don’t have to be. All guerillas everywhere know how to carry the fight in asymmetrical warfare. Hell, a lot of those AK47 carrying lunatics probably learned from the Vietcong when they were in ‘Nam. Can you spell irony?

These are our homegrown Al Qaeda’s, Hezbollah’s, ISIS’s. No, not Muslim. Oh, hell no. No rag head holy book for these geniuses. No, they follow the much more holy Q-anon script. Or the rantings of Rush Limbaugh or Alex Jones. If it looks like a cult, and quacks like a cult…

This is a long term problem. It’s not one that can be solved by executive order or Federal legislation. Good criminal investigations could cripple the Far Right, though.

Even then, we have to offer a better America to truly and finally counter them. We have to have a just America in which people of color no longer feel Derek Chauvin’s knee on their neck. We have to have a fair America where people of color, the rainbow folks, all left behind citizens have enough to eat, a place to sleep, health care, and the opportunity to not only train for a job but a job itself. In this America the silly buggers in red MAGA hats and American flag clothing will become irrelevant.

Defense and offense. Both will be necessary for years to come. We need to get on with it. Starting now.

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