Travelin’ Man

Written By: Charles - May• 09•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: Stevenson Toyota. Ruby. Ivory. Driving. RJ at Bond and Devick. A sweet man. Kate’s IRA. This sacred house. This sacred Mountain. This sacred life. The realm of mystery, of the unseen. The Arabian Nights. Saudi Arabia. Mark, who lives there. Mary, still teaching. Kate, whose memory has become a blessing. And all of our dogs of blessed memory, too.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: My son and his wife

One brief, shining: Travel came with the gene pool, Mom spent her WWII years as a WAC in Signals Intelligence visiting Algeria, Capri, Rome, England, while after college at Oklahoma State University Dad wanted to buy a boat, sail the coast of the Gulf of Mexico and write about his journey, later on Mary and Mark, my sister and brother, would spend more of their lives in Asia and Arabia than in the U.S.


And now that itch, less dominant in me, has begun to assert itself. If my health continues and my money managers figure out the financial piece, I’m outta here. First to Korea to visit my son and his daughter. A month or so. My Korean advances, though slowly. Then in late October and early November Israel and Jordan. My Hebrew even slower. Then in the midst of a Colorado Mountain Winter, Ecuador. Yes, I’m working on Spanish. Coming a bit faster than I expected.

Excited about the prospect of seeing Korea as a tourist. Having the time to wander through the Land of the Morning Calm. It’s a different place than Japan or China though it has similar Buddhist and Confucian and Shamanistic inflections. I’ve found the Koreans I’ve met engaging, easy to talk to, interested in the world beyond Korea.

Israel has been in my  head as a destination ever since seminary. Christianity shares with Judaism sites and history in this small country. The Sea of Galilee. Gethsemane. Masada. Gaza. Dome of the Rock. The walls of the second temple. Nazareth. Caperanum. Jericho. The streets of Jerusalem where Pontius Pilate condemned Jesus. The tomb. Just to see these sites, even though their sacred lustre long ago dimmed for me, will be worth the trip.

I plan to spend some time in Jordan, too. Perhaps in a Bedouin encampment, certainly at Petra.

Ecuador. Another matter. A little bit of Snow Bird, a lot of curiosity. The biodiversity in Ecuador has no rivals. Cotacachi is in the Andes where the serranos, Mountain people or highlanders, live. As opposed to the costenos who live near the ocean in Manta and Guayaquil. The two have an ongoing and longstanding political conflict since Quito, the capital, is in the Mountains and Guayaquil, the business and finance center, is on the coast.

Can’t escape politics.

Not sure what I hope to accomplish, probably nothing, in going to Ecuador for a couple of months. Briefly live the expat life my brother and sister made their lives. See the Volcanoes, make it to the Galapagos and down to the Amazon. Check out the nature preserves. Spend some time with Diane. Hang out. More than enough. Probably too much. We’ll see.



Written By: Charles - May• 08•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Monday gratefuls: Miami Grand Prix. Sacred objects. The Most Ancient and Proud Brothers. Psilocybin. CBE. Dismantling Racism. Depth. This time. Anger/Patience. K’ass and Savlanut. Simcha. Joy. Ed Brill. Comedian. Laughing. Ginnie. Ron. Alan. Cheri. Tara. Suzy and Pete. Josh. Those Mountain Streams, full. The Ponderosa Pines lower down. Their beautiful Bark and Branches. Tall.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Community

One brief, shining: Took another microdose of psilocybin yesterday and it moved into me with subtlety and power, creating a slight aura of light and deepening my vision, especially into the Trees, the silent gentle guardians of our Mountain World, and as I considered them my feet became Roots, spreading like Rhyzomes into the Soil beneath my feet, my spine and upper torso lengthened as I reached toward the Sky, feeling minute movements in the Air around me, feeling a Squirrel run up my Trunk, and a Robin land on one of my Branches, until I stopped growing for a moment, standing there knowing why I had chosen this spot for my eternal home.


Psilocybin is so gentle. Each time I’ve used it. It feels like an inner deep massage, muscles relaxing while sensory input sharpens. And it attunes me to plant life. Set and setting, I suppose. Timothy O’Leary’s contribution to the field of psychedelic research.* Plants have been and still are so important to me. These friends. Wild neighbors, too.

The Lodgepoles and Aspens that line my every drive whether to Evergreen or to Aspen Park. Corridors defined by and watched by Trees. The Lodgepoles and Aspens add to their number Ponderosa Pines, Colorado Blue Spruce, White Pine, Willows, Red Osier Dogwood as the Mountain Valleys descend from the top of Shadow Mountain.

The Trees observe, feel our passing. Shade us. Breathe out Oxygen, take in our  CO2. Yet we treat them as things. To cut. To remove. To use in building our homes and places of work. It occurred to me that every tree is Shel Silverstein’s Giving Tree. Giving of itself to us until we take all from it. Yet growing again, and again, and again.

I stand with them. Plant Trees. Love them and they will love you back.


Agnostic.** Pagan. In relation to ideas of God in any religion, I am agnostic. In relation to where I find divinity and sacredness, I am pagan. As I demonstrated above. My sense of God is the inner divinity to whom I bow when I say namaste. In that sense I am a polytheist with 7,942,645,085 other Gods in my pantheon. I could easily increase that number by each Tree on Earth. Each Elephant. Each Dog. Each Mackerel and Krill. Each drop of Water, each tongue of Fire, each inch of Soil, and all of the Sky. Yet I am no pantheist.

Why? While I believe in an ultimate unity of all things, I do not believe in an homogenization of all things by using any concept as inherent in everything. In fact I believe that God, in the sense I’m using it, creates, emphasizes, celebrates uniqueness. The great mystery is the powerful, the wonderful combinatory affect of all this uniqueness into one pulsing living whole.

Nothing is outside it. Nothing is rejected. Everything is held in its sacredness, in its true divinity without sacrificing its own distinctiveness. Matter is energy. Energy is matter. When one shifts to the other, the divinity, the sacredness it carries is not lost but transferred. How could it not be? Therefore the distinctiveness which it has created remains as it shifts in form and kind.

I suppose I could argue, maybe I am arguing that this proves a life beyond death. Maybe. Who knows? Kate. Kep. Dad. Mom. Regina. They know.




*Set and setting respectively refer to the internal and external factors that influence your psychedelic experience. “Set” is a reflection of your inner climate—your mood, personality, beliefs, perceptions, and so on. “Setting” refers to all that’s going on outside, such as the people around you and their behaviors, the music playing, the smells and weather in the air, even the cultural forces that aren’t as readily visible. Bailey Elyse, Double Blind, Oct. 2, 2020


**agnostic (n.)

1870, “one who professes that the existence of a First Cause and the essential nature of things are not and cannot be known” [Klein]; coined by T.H. Huxley, supposedly in September 1869, from Greek agnostos “unknown, unknowable,” from a- “not” (see a- (3)) + gnōstos “(to be) known” (from PIE root *gno- “to know”). The coinage is sometimes said to be a reference to Paul’s mention of the altar to “the Unknown God” in Acts, but according to Huxley it was a reference to the early Church movement known as Gnosticism (see Gnostic). The adjective also is from 1870.

I … invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of ‘agnostic,’ … antithetic to the ‘Gnostic’ of Church history who professed to know so much about the very things of which I was ignorant. [T.H. Huxley, “Science and Christian Tradition,” 1889]

The agnostic does not simply say, “I do not know.” He goes another step, and he says, with great emphasis, that you do not know. [Robert G. Ingersoll, “Reply to Dr. Lyman Abbott,” 1890]  etymonline


Ideas. And. King Charles

Written By: Charles - May• 07•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Sunday gratefuls: F1 qualifying in Miami. Sergio Perez. Checo. Confidence. Moving my art. Resting. Writing. Urku in Cotacachi, Ecuador. The Echo Maker by Richard Powers. Cranes and the Crane. Patrick Deneen.  Why Liberalism Failed. An important read. Mark in Saudi Arabia. Mary in Eau Claire. Diane headed to Indiana later this month. My Panama hat.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: My body

One brief, shining moment: Ideas race into the mind, turning corners at apex speed, traveling fast down the straights of agreement, slowing when doubts begin to occur, or new evidence marshals against them, maybe forcing them into the wall of rejection, more likely requiring a modification in the pits of reason before mounting the podium of acceptance.


The history of ideas has been a favorite pursuit of mine since college. Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed has kicked my interest in it up a notch. That’s usually what happens. I read something and wonder, where did that come from? Is that true? What do other folks think of that? Then it’s down the rabbit hole of philosophy, history, or research into a particular discipline.

Over time I’ve investigated Islam, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance, Taoism, Chinese history, Art history, the Far Right today, Quantum theory, various authors like Richard Powers, Herman Hesse, Goethe, Tolstoy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Rainer Marie Rilke and many others. At some point I stop, either having got enough to satisfy my curiosity or having gotten tired of a topic or having been engaged by a new topic or sloth.

A bit of an intellectual gadfly I’ve never settled in one spot long enough to become an expert, never had the ambition to do so. Sometimes I regret this jumping from rock to rock in the vast stream of human knowledge. Other times I think it’s my particular gift. Getting just enough information and then moving on. At 76 I’d have to say I’ve chosen curiosity as a lifestyle.

Right now I’m focused on the Far Right. What’s going on? Who’s doing it? Why? Where did their ideas come from? How might the radical right affect the future of the U.S. Side currents in my reading right now include Richard Powers, the Arabian nights, and gathering information about Korea, Israel, and Ecuador.


The coronation of King Charles. Only looked at pictures and a couple of videos.

Gosh. Those big crowns look ridiculous. The Anglican archbishop putting them on looked like a dressed up clerk at a costume store trying hats on some customers for Halloween. Though. The orb and the sceptre were cool. Until I heard the words that put the whole globe under the Christian church and by implication, given history and the immediate context, of Great Britain. I mean, come on guys.

Loved the carriage. But even in the carriage those crowns still looked silly. IMHO.

On the other hand. Ritual is powerful. The congregation singing God Save the King. The footmen in fancy livery. The horses. The ride from the palace to the Cathedral.

The passing of power (much diminished from the time of King Edward) from one monarch to another. In days of olde the equivalent of free and fair elections, a means of ensuring a stable transfer of power.

Not now. Not sure if there any monarchies outside the Middle East where the royals have real power. Anyhow, fun for the glitter and the glam.


Friends and Acquaintances

Written By: Charles - May• 06•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Joann. Rebecca. Terry. Coal Mine Chinese Restaurant. Evergreen, my Mountain town. Grieving. Alan. The Wildflower Cafe. Anytime Fitness. Doug Doverspike, bit in the face by a Catahoula. Dave. Urku. Catacachi, Ecuador. Rabbi Jamie. Tal. Character Study class. Kate. Her Creek running full into Maxwell Creek. Daffodils. Red Tips on the Aspen Branches.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Friends

One brief, shining moment: A blossoming time for me, a Beltane aspect of my Winter years, friends becoming richer and more available, travel prospects offering themselves, workouts back to resistance as well as cardio, a hobby with F1 and motorsports for diversion, feels like coming out of Plato’s Cave.


Small groups like mussar, mvp, dining out with friends either one-to-one or maybe four at most. Yes. Needed. Appreciated. Loved. More than that? Draining. Exhausting. So. I don’t do those hardly ever.

Last night out with Joann Greenberg, Rebecca Martin, and Terry, Rebecca’s partner. The Coal Mine Chinese Restaurant in Evergreen. They all knew the owner and all the owner’s kids. Lots of Evergreen years among those three. A thick culture. And with Rebecca and Joann even more years as friends. Back before CBE. Both at its beginning. 50 years ago. Felt privileged to be included.


In the morning yesterday breakfast with Alan at the Wildflower Cafe. Sitting at at their outside tables on the Evergreen boardwalk. Breakfast nachos with carne asada, cheese, red sauce, Avocado’s. Coffee. Alan shaved his beard! For my craft, he said. He’s in a play that required him to play a younger character. Only the third time since 1977 he’s shaved. Grows back in about a month. No big deal. That’s Alan. He takes what comes and smiles about it.

After he left, I spent a little time wandering around the shops. I rarely do this because this part of Evergreen is touristy. Went into two places geared to separating the visitor from their money. Not interesting. However, the longtime shoe repair had a going out of business sale and I picked up a couple of pocket knives, nice ones, for $30.


Worked out for the second time at Anytime Fitness. Cardio at home, then 10 minutes over there. Swipe my fob. Hit the machines. Legs and upper body. What I needed. Not having to think about form. I already feel the pleasant exhaustion in my muscles afterward. Not sure how long I’ll use the machines because I’m used to using my own equipment. Though. Right now I need the ease of using the machines to get some strength back.

I did run into Dr. Doverspike there. He got bit by a Catahoula. And had the healing scars to prove it. The Dog launched himself at Doug’s face. Did not puncture his skull. But could have. Yikes!


Beltane celebrates the start of the growing season after the first renewal of Spring. Hand fasting marriages contracted for a year and a day. Farm labor hired. Sympathetic magic. Sex in the fields to encourage the union of the Maid and the Green Man. Jumping over fires for fertility. The May Pole.

I feel right in synch with the season. And it feels good.


Pacha Mama

Written By: Charles - May• 05•23

Beltane and the full Mesa View Moon

Friday gratefuls: The Mesa View. The threshold. Liminal spaces. Dawn. The Omer. Day 29. Dismantling racism. Diane and Ecuador. Marilyn and Irv. At Primo. Sally. Thursday mussar. The tribe. BJ and Schecky under the huppa. Smashing a glass. At Sarah and Jerry’s in North Carolina. The cake with the wonderful floral display. A full day.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The huppa woven of large branches by Jerry

One brief, shining moment: There are too few words in English, too many instances of this beauty, the Lodgepoles bathed in the Sunlight of early Dawn capture me every morning, standing gentle and upright, Branches swooping toward the Earth, the Light filtered through the stand catching this Tree, this Branch, and changing its touch as the Earth turns, presenting Shadow Mountain at new angles to the motionless Sun.


Talked to Diane yesterday. We might head out to Ecuador after the first of the year. For a couple of months. Early days but Sally, who’s already down there, has gotten excited and sent me a bunch of material. Marilyn visited Cotacachi, too, and has some great connections she plans to share.

When I told Marilyn, a traveler of note herself, of my plans to visit Joe and Seoah in Korea, then Israel in November, and Ecuador early next year, she said, “Seeing how many continents you can touch?” Hadn’t thought of it that way. But, yeah.

When Kate and I went on our circumnavigation of Latin America cruise after she retired, we visited two cities in Ecuador, Manta and Guayaquil. I remember distinctly the Iguanas in the town square of Manta, the friendly Ecuadorian who took Kate to some pharmacy so she could buy medicine, and the wonderful market where I bought my Alpaca coat and small, but detailed paintings that I later gave out as gifts to the Woollys.

In Guayaquil we drove past the white city, a huge cemetery with many white tombs on our way to a Cacao plantation. Kate and I met the friendliest pit bull ever there. Also tasted a drink made from the Cacao pulp that was extraordinary.

Ecuador, which means equator in Spanish, was the first country in the world to give legal rights to its environment in their constitution. Here is the clause:

Article 71.

Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.

Gotta love a country that gives rights to Nature. What would you think about a country that privileges gun ownership in its constitution? Or does according to some interpretations of our second amendment.


BJ and Schecky married themselves underneath a huppa made of large Branches woven together by Jerry. I attended via zoom. Bellews Creek, North Carolina. They will be moving this fall to Driggs, Idaho. Leaving their almost fifty year rent controlled home in the Beacon Hotel on Broadway in New York City. It was close to Julliard, which they both attended.

Going Nowhere

Written By: Charles - May• 04•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Tom. Rebecca. Diane. Going Nowhere. Maui. Shadow Mountain. The heart and its journeys. Joy. Simcha. Kate and her yellow roses. Jon’s prints. Gabe and his guitar. Ruth and her art. Kep, my sweet boy. Rigel, my sweet girl. Living alone, but not lonely. Dave and Anytime Fitness.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Simcha

One brief, shining moment: Ram Dass after his stroke made a short film, Going Nowhere, and watching it last night before bed the title burrowed into my heart-mind (lev) and released my soul, freeing it from need, from desire, from the ache of producing, not bad for thirty minutes of TV. (Thanks, Tom.)


Yeah. So simple. The best stuff is. Going Nowhere. But home. And, my favorite Ram Dass quote: We’re all just walking each other home. Yes. Sink into that idea, that feeling, that koan. And find the via negativa.

Embrace the way of no way. Walk the path of no path. Live the life of no ambition. For in the literal end we are all going nowhere. Except home. Kate is home. Regina is home. Kep is home. Rigel is home. And, in some paradoxical way that I do not understand, so am I.

Here is also a truth. I do not find my no path to nowhere following Ram Dass. I do not need or want a guru. A Hanuman. Though I admit I would enjoy living in his house. I have found my own via negativa.

Didn’t recognize it until that phrase going nowhere pinged around in mind like a pinball shot by Tommy, the deaf dumb and blind kid. Yes. The Great Wheel. It goes nowhere turning always back to its beginnings, the same seasons, the same celebrations, the same holidays, the same Earth, the same Winds and Weather, the same life coming up from the Soil, the same Fallow time when we all need to rest.

We all go nowhere from the start. From birth we could know the release of life’s journey home because we experience it over and over. If we wanted, we could celebrate our birthdays as our unique marker on the via negativa that is the Great Wheel. We take our journey around Sol and return to the same spot. Having gone nowhere. (I bracket the movements of the Solar System and the Milky Way because they too are going nowhere.)

Each year we live is a rehearsal for our journey home. No. Not a rehearsal. A lived experience of the via negativa. What a thing to acknowledge on our birthdays! All the striving and sorrow, all the anger and love, all the joys and learnings, all going nowhere as we have done each year. A true and lasting journey to nowhere. The real ancientrail.

The ineffable journey home. No. Not ineffable. We train for it each year. If we could embrace the changed seasons, the changing seasons, as our teachers, our guides on the way to mystery, the mystery would reveal itself to us.

The fallow time is now my time, heading toward my own Winter Solstice, the great and final dark night of my soul’s ancientrail in this earthly instance.


Written By: Charles - May• 03•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Beltane. The growing season. Rebecca. Tom. Bill. Paul. Ode. Diane. Kep, my sweet boy. And Kate, who remains even though gone. A soaking Rain yesterday. Thunder. Walking the perimeter. Psilocybin. The house from within my stand of Lodgepoles. Bunch Grass. Bear’s Claw. Wild Rose. Living in the Mountains. Marilyn. Dismantling Racism. Oh.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Lodgepoles in the Rain, their piney scent

One brief, shining moment: Rain coming down like a fine mist, I walked the fenceline, as I used to do in Andover every spring, looking for breaches, places the fencing has pulled away from the posts, and while I walked the smell of Pine, the Mountain Soil, a Rabbit still with a great dark Eye, a Robin on a Lodgepole Branch, a Squirrel scrambling up a Tree Trunk.


Lot of advice on stress. Go to Nature. First, you can’t not be in Nature. A subtle way of wedging us further and further away from our reality as part of, rather than apart from, the Natural World. In this sense meditation is going to Nature. Part of why it works for so many?

The Japanese have a term you’ve probably read, shinrin-yoku. Forest bathing or taking in the atmosphere of the Forest. That’s not the same as saying get out in Nature. It’s about going to a specific part of Nature. Not sure why I’ve never seen Ocean Bathing as a similar idea, but it must work the same for a lot of folks. Or, for that matter, Mountain Bathing. Lake Bathing. Garden Bathing. Sex Bathing.

Anyhow I went shinrin-yoku on my property here yesterday. (Whenever I write in the possessive about property or Trees, I wince. Only temporarily mine and then only in the sense of stewardship. Not to mention how much of our Land used to be the territory of other Nations.)

I thought of Rigel as I walked out the door. The Rabbit who likes to sit under the fire pit darted out from there, stopping about twenty feet from its home under the shed. Still. He can’t see me

A soaking rain fell as I walked. Started at the point where the garage meets the fence. Past that point, where the fence turns north, there is a shallow trench maybe 30 feet long with a pile of soil at the far end. Evidence. Doggy running. Rigel, Kep, Gertie, Vega. Jude’s dogs on the other side. Zeus, Boo. Then, later Thor.

Further on green Shoots had begun to emerge through the Bunch Grass. Old Logs were wet, waiting for Mushroom Spores. I surveyed all the Fire mitigation I had done after we moved. Stumps cut low. Clumps of trees left out here, at the far fenceline, well over a hundred feet from the house. Looking toward the house, the thirty foot zone with no Pines and between that line and where I stood, smaller stands, one or two or three Trees at least ten feet apart.

The house and its cedar siding, the shed, the garage, also wet from the rain were in their literal element. And looked beautiful to me.  How lucky am I, I thought.

There were the Lilacs planted per Kate’s dying request at the same time I had the Iris bed expanded. Part of the same wish from her. Lilacs and Irises. Kate.

Coming inside I felt renewed from a half hour of shinrin yoku, never leaving the borders of Shadow Mountain Home.




Written By: Charles - May• 02•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: WordPress. Ancientrails. Everyday therapy. Writing. My art form. Racism. Fighters of racism. La lucha. Sleep. Nighttime. Day. Sunlight. Grass. Wind. Water racing down the Mountains. Clouds. Lodgepoles and Aspen. Dogwood and Willows. Squirrels. Red. Abert’s. Rabbits. Chipmunks. Voles. Lilacs. Iris. Critters of Shadow Mountain Home. Also. Mule Deer. Elk.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The growing season. Beltane.

One brief, shining moment: Water races down Mountains, all over the World, finding its way depending on the hardness of what it confronts, changing direction when it must, but never forgetting its love affair with gravity that pulls it toward the great gathering of the Waters, never giving up until it returns to the World Ocean or to the Sky or until it sinks into the Soil.


Aimlessness. Boredom. Creeping into my life. Usually in the afternoons after a productive morning, before cooking and a bit of TV before bedtime. A malaise, maybe with a tinge of angst. The desert of my afternoon hours. Sometimes a nap, though fewer lately. Sometimes a bit of TV. Of which I do not approve. An anodyne. Yet it can pass the time.

Pass the time. An odd phrase isn’t it? Sometimes I read. But I don’t consider that passing the time. I consider reading a human growth hormone received into the body through the eyes. Or, the ears if you listen. No, passing the time has a passive element to it. Oh, I’ll just do this until supper. I’ll play a game. Kate played solitaire on her ipad. Did crosswords.

I’m not much of a game player. Enjoyed bridge back in the day. The college day. Enjoy poker. Played a lot in high school. But don’t play now. Had a great regular sheepshead game, but I moved away from it. Board games? Nah. Euchre and cribbage a bit. Kate and I played cribbage.

I have often rung the bell in praise of boredom since so many folks act like it’s a sin that needs correcting. I want to be clear I’m not talking about acedia or depression. Different, deeper, darker. Acedia, or the noon-day demon, comes from the Greek meaning lack or absence of care. It became a sin in the Christian monastic tradition. Depression and acedia describe a listlessness that portends self-ruin. Not where I’m at.

Though. Aimlessness, even for a few hours in the afternoon, is boredom. I take boredom as a clue, a hint about life right now. I want neither to be trapped by a need to be productive nor do I want to be trapped by a casual embrace of sloth. Boredom exemplifies that tension. As long as that tension exists, I’ve not tipped over into acedia or depression. I’m searching for a better way to use those hours.

Use them for flourishing at this point in my life. That’s the question. How can those afternoon hours help me become more who I am? Like crossing the threshold, I’m willing to wait until an answer comes.

Stretched again. By love, by injustice.

Written By: Charles - May• 01•23

Beltane and the Mesa View Moon

Monday gratefuls: Josh. Rebecca. Marilyn and Rabbi Jamie. Beltane. May Day. The merry, merry month of May. Cubensis. Anger at injustice. Baku Grandprix. Sergio Perez. Charles Leclerc. Mountain Streams running fast and full. My son and his wife. No furniture. Aloha to Hawai’i. Workout today. Richard Powers.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: F1

One brief, shining moment: Those F1 cars, slim and downforced, all speed and bones, threw themselves around the street circuit in Baku, two hundred miles per hour past twelfth century city walls and the eighth century Maiden Tower, marrying, at least for two hours, the ancient history of Azerbaijan with the manic movement of twenty-first century high technology.


Quite a day yesterday. My first dose of psilocybin in about fifty years. A microdose. Floating. Peaceful. Glad to be alive and on the Mountain. Cubensis. Capsules from Josh. Delivered by Luke. Short lived, maybe two hours. The first step toward a psychedelic senior life. Feels right.


The Ancient Brothers wrote letters to their future selves and their past selves. Here are mine:

At 90

Hey, old man. I mean. Wow, dude. Look at you.

What? You’re 5’ 2” now? Sorry. I know. This spine, eh? How did you live so long?

Fish and chicken. Some pork. Lotsa veggies and fruit. Exercise. Good friends. With warm hearts.

I get that. That sounds like now. You know at our age, 76.

Well. There you go. Stay on the path. It’s working.


At 67

Guy, I wish I could prepare you for the next eight years. But I can’t. They’re gonna be tough. Rock bottom, knock the bottle over, don’t win any prizes hard.

Love. Death. Harsh illness. Family upset. All of that until you’re the only one left standing. With cancer.

And yet. Live into them, live into it all. As you face each one, your life will change. Pivot. Deepen. Grow sadder and yet more stable, too.

I love you and that gets you through, on the path.


Talked with my son and his wife. Their house is bare. Only the furniture that will go into storage is left. The nomadic life of a military career. Each time I see them I love them more, as if love can expand and expand, not only filling the vessel it inhabits but enlarging the vessel, pressing it into new, better shapes, shapes brighter, more luminous than the ones that came before. May this continue. A real blessing.


Watched the Baku Grand Prix on F1 TV. Slowly gaining a better understanding of race strategy, how drivers adapt to different tracks, how their cars get tuned for the specific challenges of the day. These F1 drivers are unicorns like all elite athletes. Reflexes and courage. Competitive. Glad to have this diversion, a hobby, I guess.


Later in the day Dismantling Racism at CBE. Oh, so hard. Even deciding how to talk with each other about it. One person spoke with some force and came up with what I think is the most succinct way of understanding anti-Black racism in our country I’ve ever heard.

We Jews, he said, left Egypt, left our oppressor behind. But Blacks in the U.S. have never had an Exodus moment, they have never left their oppressor behind and their enslavement follows them down to this day. Wow.

He went on to wonder what life would have been like for the Hebrews if they had been freed from slavery, yet never left Egypt. Also an interesting, very interesting question.

Which, come to think of it, makes me wonder how many instances in world history there are of whole peoples being subjugated as slaves.

Not sure where this class is going. It’s a new model, one that tries to use the wisdom of mussar for the inner work necessary to fight our own racism. My sense is that writers of the curriculum have underestimated the learning required to understand racism, first, then mussar, second, then meld the two into something that aids the actual dismantling of this peculiar institution.

I’m in it though, all the way. Trying to merge this round of struggle against racism with the reading I’m doing about the far right. Stretching. Yet again.


The Time Has Come To Cross

Written By: Charles - Apr• 30•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Luke. Leo. Rommertopf. Psilocybin. Younger friends. Tal. Character study class. Murphy and Pete. Kat. My son and his wife. Their furry one. Snow. Melting. A Mountain morning. Sunlight on the Lodgepoles. The Snow that stays on the north side of my house. That Mule Deer Doe.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The threshold. *reposted the O’Donohue quote

One brief, shining moment: Liminal spaces, third spaces, often overlooked, undervalued, yet the Dawn and the Dusk, the doorway and the window, the death bed, the coffee shop, the neighborhood bar, churches and synagogues, neither home nor work, neither light nor dark, neither in nor out, neither life nor death, points of transformation, places where we can practice being another version of ourselves, meet people we would not otherwise know, thresholds between this life moment and the next, or between this life and what comes after.


I’m an old man. Been a lot of places. Experienced weirdness. I identify with the Grateful Dead’s: what a long, strange trip it’s been. Yet these last few days have left me marveling at what’s happening.

Now that I’m writing about it, I think it may have begun to crystallize when I spoke with my son last Sunday. Be spontaneous, he said. Go for it. Take the trip. We had been discussing my trip to Korea and the trip to Israel.

And, I did. I raised my hand. Yes, I’m going with you. I’ll be there in Jerusalem. Not an hour later.

Dismantling Racism class, a mussar approach came next. Mainlining my past with talk of injustice, the struggle, la lucha. Going down old pathways with new folks, from a new perspective.

A heavy workout on Monday. Another heavy one Wednesday. Where I was left shaky, feeling off. My resting heart rate actually increasing. Worried me. Made me feel vulnerable.

On Thursday I had breakfast with Alan, catching up. Then my massage and Thursday mussar. Where Rebecca and Leslie both kissed me on the head. After mussar I encountered Luke and Tal outside the synagogue. Tal told me the next acting class was going to be character studies. Sounds good to me. Ready to continue expanding.

On Friday I went to sign up at Anytime Fitness. With Dave, the 65 year old manager. Quite the talker. Where you from? Raised in Indiana. Really! Where! Alexandria. Anderson. Muncie. I know them. I was raised on the southside of Chicago. But we moved to Calumet. Ah, I said. Da region. He laughed. Right. My brother worked in the Calumet mill.

Not sure how the conversation veered to his life as a battery salesman working out of Madison, Wisconsin. His alcoholism, cocaine addiction. 25 years sober, he said. 43  years here. Instant deep connection. In the program. Lifers.

A thick, muscular young guy walked past. Clayton, Dave hollered. Clayton, meet Charles. 43  years sober. Clayton’s got 109 days. Clayton and I fist bumped.

A strange but instant fellowship, wrought by inability or unwillingness to contain appetites. Then, to wake up. See another way. And walk it. With others.

Went back home. Clicked on a zoom link. First time with the Dream group. Dreamers and dreams. The dream of of the White Tomb. Realizing the threshold had come to meet me. People on the call from Santa Fe, England, the Netherlands, Conifer, Evergreen.

Then. Later that day. In the desert of the afternoon hours. Feeling aimless. Projects around the house winding down. No Dogs or humans to care for. More hours than I needed.

Next morning. Off to Aspen Perks to have breakfast, begin my re-read of Why Liberalism Failed. Maybe see Kat. She was there. She smiled when she saw me, came over and squatted down. What  you reading? I showed her. I don’t agree with all of his arguments, but it’s a powerful read. She looked at it. Yeah, I have a Steven Hawking book like this. I put it down. Take it up. Well, I’m trying to really understand this guy’s arguments. So I’m doing something unusual. Rereading.

Ate my chorizo and scrambled eggs. Read Deneen. Got up to go. A tall man, maybe 50’s, sitting with an older man, closer to my age. Hey, I was wondering. What ya reading? I showed him the book. Gave him the two minute version. He reached over to shake my hand. Murphy. Matt Murphy. This is Pete. I want to have some time to bother you about that. What do they call ya? I told him. See you next time I come in maybe. We’ll talk.

Went over to Safeway. Picked up the Chicken, Carrots, Potatoes, Pearl Onions, Garlic for the Rommertopf Chicken. Back  home I did the prep. Soak the Rommertopf. Peel the Pearl Onions. Cut up the Potatoes. Slice and quarter an Apple. Stuff it in the Chicken. Put butter and Garlic under the skin of the breast. In the oven.

Luke came and stayed for three, four hours. Leo sniffing around. Finding things.

Can you feel the threshold moving toward me? I sure can. Definitely time. Gonna discuss a ritual with Rabbi Jamie, Tal.


*”At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope. This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds: to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross.” John O’Donohue in his book, To Bless the Space Between Us.