Written By: Charles - Apr• 29•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Dreams. Dreamers. Dave. Wandering around. Aimless. Seeing more people, more often. Turned off my alarm. Warmer weather. Another 8 inches of Snow. Melting. The Colorado way. Baku F1. Ritual. Even the smallest ones have meaning. Anytime fitness. The dream of the white tomb.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Dreams and Dreamers and Dreaming

One brief, shining moment: Dreams rise and fall with the tides of our inner life, washing up on our sleeping shores, treasure from the great ocean of the collective unconscious, bearing gifts if only we can remember, if only we can understand.


Joined a dream work group led by a member of CBE. But the first rule of dream work group is you don’t talk about dream work group. Confidentiality. Yet, I can talk about my own dream. Here it is:


3/25  The Dream of the White Tomb

My body, in a white coffin on what looked like a white box top turned upside down slid down a snowy hill, coming to rest at the hotel where I was staying. I went around asking people what I should do with my body. “Do you have fifteen minutes to talk about a funeral?”

It was clear to me that it was my body in the coffin. As clear as it also was that “I” was the one wondering what to do with it.


We discussed this dream for an hour using the group’s other rule: Only speak in first person. Someone would say, if this were my dream, I would see… Or, in my projection I would wonder who the other guests were in the hotel? Did I know them? In other words no interpreting the dream for the dreamer.

The group also can ask clarifying questions. Could you  say more about the box top? It was like the lid of a gift box, shiny white paper over cardboard. Could you see your body in the coffin? No. I just knew it was in there. Or, they can also make observations. I’m struck by how much white there is in the dream.

It’s a fascinating way to drift in and out of yourself and in and out of another person’s dream content. The discussion went on for an hour. When it shifted to another dreamer’s dream, I found it hard to not say your dream suggests… The leader, Irene, gently reminded me. “I” Silently, mouthing it. I’ll get it, I’m sure.

As I’ve tumbled over what others said, what I learned, it seems this dream suggests it’s time to bury my old life and start living my new one. I related in the group about O’Donoughue’s  threshold idea. My ideas for a ritual. The moment is upon me. This month of Iyar, the month of the light, the first days of  May, after Kate’s second yahrzeit. Soon I will cross the threshold in a ritual of some sort.


Luke’s coming up today. Gonna make Rommertopf chicken with potatoes, carrots, pearl onions. It will be good to see Luke and Leo, his goofy dog.




It’s beginning to look a lot like…oh, wait. It’s almost May

Written By: Charles - Apr• 28•23

Spring (ha, ha) and the Mesa View Moon

Friday gratefuls: Grif. Second generation Coloradan, 4th generation Norwegian with cousins (distant) in Minnesota. Alan and the central coast wineries. Bivouac coffee’s espresso blend. The Bread Lounge and its multi-grain sourdough. Thursday mussar. Rebecca and Leslie. Kathy, another fellow traveler on the cancer journey. Campfire grill’s truffle mac and cheese.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Yet more Snow

One brief, shining moment: This challenge of Mark’s, to write more complex sentences, ones that glitter and shine on the page, perhaps sentences that belong more in novels written by really good writers, has stretched me, made me put writing in a new key, perhaps B sharp where my voice rarely strays above C.


Had that massage. Grif has a long, millennial hipster beard. Dark. A slightly dour expression. Sweaty palms when we shook on meeting. Perhaps not the most relaxing first sensation. A Norwegian. No kidding. Another one. I found a Norwegian in Colorado. Uff da. We have not yet discussed lutefisk. But, soon.

He’s a decent massagiynist. (I made that up. Can you tell?) I did not leave with that loopy about to melt into the floor feeling that I have after other massages, yet my body felt looser. This was, you may recall, a gift to myself after finishing radiation.

Decided to buy a five massage package, give Grif a boost. He seemed to need it. Going to try a different massage style next time. Neuromuscular. He asked me which of several types I wanted. I had no clue. My massage experience is limited. Not a Thai massage I said.

That’s a Bangkok story. Temple Wat Pho. That’s actually redudant since Wat means Temple. The day after I ruptured my Achilles tendon during a night time trip to a 7-11-I know, so mundane-I was in pain with what I thought was a sprained ankle. So, I thought. Get a massage. That could help me feel better all over. Right?

Nope. I paid $10 in bahts for a small Thai woman to attack me with multiple body parts. Elbows. Knees. Fingers. Shoulder. Oh, man. I don’t even remember if I felt better afterward.


Cheri, Alan’s wife, bought a trip to a California central coast winery at an auction to help the Colorado Ballet. In which Alan occasionally appears as an old guy with a white beard. When they need one.

They had a great time. It included a visit to the Victor Hugo winery, a boutique operation that produces only two wines, Quasi and Modo.


It was my first time back to Thursday mussar since January, maybe earlier. I’d attended on zoom some, but with Kep’s decline and the snow and other things, I hadn’t felt up to the drive. Two of the women, Leslie and Rebecca, both kissed me on the head! Not sure what that was about though it was clearly a sign of affection.

Kathy has stage four breast cancer. She’s had a mastectomy and 35 sessions of radiation. Sounds familiar to me. But the cancer won’t back down. She has scans every three months and blood work once a month. This last blood work had her tumor markers up. Not good.

But we both agreed our quality of life right now is good. That’s what matters. Cancer is a good teacher of what matters. Perhaps that’s its role in the larger culture, to strip away pretense and help us get down to the nub of life.



Written By: Charles - Apr• 28•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Thursday gratefuls: Grif Gunnurson. Massage therapist. Alan, back from California. Mussar today. The Bread Lounge. Evergreen Market. Snow already melting. Love. Kate. Ruth. Gabe. My son and his daughter and their dog. The Ancient brothers. Diane. Mary. Mark. My treadmill. Anytime Fitness. All my wild Neighbors.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Travel

One brief, shining moment: Israel and Korea and lbm’s, all journeys I plan to take this year, this mesa view year when I can see so far, forward to the 90 year old man I will be and back to the 67 year old man who moved to Colorado with those he loved and whom he has now lost to death, all gathered in one man this April day, a 76 year old man who remembers and who lives now and forward.


Mesa view. Tom suggested this. I moved to the Mountain and now all of those who moved with me have died. So has Jon. Though I stand alone in that narrow, but very real and important sense, I am healthy and eager. Life far from over. Travelin’ shoes beginning to jitter in the closet. This is the Mesa view. Seeing far in all directions.

I could also call it, will call it, the threshold view. A certain fogginess lifted. Baggage stored in a place of non-interference. The fourth phase, the final phase separated now in two. Then. And, now. Then. Before Kate and Rigel and Jon and Kep died. Now. When I stand on the Mesa, hand over my eyes to shade the sun, see into the distance more clearly.

The door, death’s door which opens both way, has opened up for me again, this time toward life in the fourth lane, headed toward the final exit. And what a wonderful, exciting feeling it is.



I’ll report back

Written By: Charles - Apr• 26•23

Spring (ha) and the Mesa View Moon

Wednesday gratefuls: Vince. Dave at Anytime Fitness. Jose with United Health Care. Creeping my way past balance billing. A foot or so of Snow. More coming down and more on the way. Go Colorado! Fill those aquifers, plump up that Snow pack. Tom and Amber. Warren’s new knee. Kep, my sweet boy. Spring ephemerals waiting. Here. Spontaneity. Like my boy suggested. Israel.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Snow

One brief, shining moment: Late spring Snow falling, falling, falling while the cracked Rock beneath my home drinks it in, filling up ready for the pump when summer dryness emerges, when the Grass turns brown, the Lodgepole Needles lose their lustre, and the Wild Neighbors come to the Mountain Streams hoping to find Water.


Signed up for the MAPS conference. Not cheap. Yet. It is. Because. Don’t have to fly to get there. Might check into a hotel for the three days. Just for fun. June. That’s big event one already prepared.

Plan to put down a deposit on the Israel trip next week. Want to wait a bit because of travel insurance. Gather a bit more information.

Checking out Kayak for Korea and Israel. Not too bad. Gonna spend some money on travel this year and next. Maybe as long as I’m able. Not having dogs frees me up. No leaving them behind. No kennel or house sitting fees.


I’m seeing the threshold more clearly now. Cancer managed. Fit. Healthy by the AARP definition: mobile, independent, cognitively sound. House painted and the art will get hung in May. Money available. Grief calm, never gone, but calm. No dogs. A chance to lean back into Korean and calculus. Write more. Love more. CBE. Ancientbrothers. Family. Live. A last, hopefully long chapter lies no longer ahead, but is present. Right now. I’m in it.

Want to celebrate this threshold. But how? Not sure yet. Considering.


Spent a long time on the phone yesterday. My very favorite thing. I’ve stamped out the $420 bill and the $5100 one has been elevated. Meaning the insurance company will deal with Centura Health. Not convinced it’s over yet. We’ll see.

I did learn that my insurance will pay for my gym fees at Anytime Fitness. Means I’ll join when I go over to checkout the machines today. Having that as a backup for my resistance work will make the difference I think.


After I finish Pogue’s Chosen Country, I plan to re-read Why Liberalism Failed. A rare thing for me. However I believe Deneen’s diagnosis of our woes makes sense on one level. That is, why many of our problems today turn on the question of individualism. And, I believe his explanation of the roots of those problems probably makes sense. That’s one reason I want to re-read it. History of ideas is a strength of mine and I can trace thought like he can.

Where I don’t believe I agree with him is on his understanding of liberty as the key. It feels too pat, too reductionistic. I’ll report back after round two.

Fitness, Psychedelics, and Travel

Written By: Charles - Apr• 25•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Tuesday gratefuls: 1-2 feet of snow tonight. Canceled removal of my snow tires. Tom. Amber. Kate, always. Mark. Mary. Diane. My son and his wife. Movers next week. Ode’s challenge. MAPS conference in June. Getting right with those SOB’s over billing me. Today. Safeway pickup. Stinker’s milk. Anytime fitness. Israel. Korea. Getting out of town.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: A big Spring Snow

One brief, shining moment: Mountains so vast as to be incomprehensible by the human, yet here’s a comparison realized as a fighter jet flies across the Colorado morning Sky, how much fuel, energy of the Sun captured by Plants and cooked by Mother Earth for millions of years, it takes to keep them from falling to Earth, defying gravity, while the Mountain, too, rises into the Sky and required only an initial push.


Good workout yesterday morning. Still not doing resistance work. Need to. Decided to contact Anytime Fitness. Idea. Start back to resistance work on machines. Not have to worry about form. Just the workout. A few months, then back to my own dumbbells, kettlebells, TRX.

Went over there. It’s only 10 minutes from home. Talked to Dave. An older guy, the manager. Friendly. They have a good setup. I can go over after my cardio, which I’ll still do here. Put in 20 minutes on the machines. Start fighting back. Sarcopenia. Chemo. Inertia. Going on Wednesday for run through on the machines. Might talk to a coach there to get an initial workout. Might not.

Who knows? I might like it well enough to keep it up. Or, I’ll circle back to my own. Whatever keeps me at it. That’s the goal. Cardio’s a lock. I need the resistance work to get back there, too.


After I talk to my buddy Tom, I’m going to call United Health Care and I’m not getting off the line until my ghost bills have given up the, well, ghost. $430. $5,100. That. I. Do. Not. Owe. But that keep showing up. Frustrating does not describe it.


I’m planning a busy Summer and Fall. Going to attend the MAPS conference here in Denver. What is MAPS? Why, it’s the multidisciplinary association for psychedelic studies. This is the perfect time for the conference in my own renewed journey.

Friend Luke comes Saturday with some home grown LBMs. Little brown mushrooms. Psilocybin. Don’t think we’ll do them. At least not right then, but I do plan to try microdosing. More important. He’s bringing his dog, Leo. I need some doggy time.


Late summer, when my son and daughter-in-law give me the signal, I’ll fly to Korea for a month. Visiting them, seeing the peninsula. Take the bullet train to Seoul and Gwangju. Tourist time in Seoul. See the DMZ. See her parents and family in and around Gwangju.

Then in November. The Middle East. Israel. A tour with CBE. Probably go a week or so ahead of the tour and travel on my own before that. Take in Jerusalem, wander. I’m ready to open out again, see the world. And it feels pretty good.




Political Follies

Written By: Charles - Apr• 24•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Monday gratefuls: Israel. Korea. My son and his wife. Travels in the future. Taking the Mesa view. Dismantling Racism. Anti-semitism. Racism. Justice. Love. Compassion. Paul and Sarah Strickland. Gary Stern. Luke and Leo. CBE. Shadow Mountain. The end of the endings. A beginning. The threshold. The Ancient Brothers, a family. Falling loons in Wisconsin. Mary. Mark in Saudi Arabia. Arabian Nights, my next long read.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Serious wrangling with Racism

One brief, shining moment: Radicals often mistake boldness for victory, stubbornness for analysis, and often confuse fantasy for reality, leaving themselves open to dismissal by history and bemusement from their contemporaries.


As I’ve delved deeper into the American far right, I’ve had to confront my own follies when acting while radical. I want to give  you a few examples because I see some of myself in those exercising the right to exit mainstream American culture.


In the early seventies, not long after I had moved to Minnesota for seminary, I joined a group called the Wild Goose Collective. There were twelve of us, if memory serves. Two lawyers, one of whom would become a close friend, Howard Vogel, the leaders of Clergy and Laity Concerned about the War, two strong women whose names I don’t recall, two local guys Paul Anderson, who would go on to become an abbot in a Buddhist Monastery, and a fellow Scandinavian whose name is on the tip of my neurons but won’t release. He ended up in California as a therapist. And others whom I don’t remember. This was a long time ago.

We conducted guerilla theater actions throughout the Twin Cities. One instance. A pro-war (Vietnam) rally along the Mississippi would be visited by a boat made to look like the aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise. Howard and Rebecca and the Clergy and Laity women would set off in canoes to intercept the boat and prevent it from landing. This was to draw press.

Meanwhile those of us on the shore passed out press releases about the number of Vietnamese killed by bombing sorties from the Enterprise. In this instance we called ourselves P.U.K.E. People Upset about the Killing Enterprise.

I do not consider this action a folly. It got press action and allowed us to get our message out. The point.

The folly came as the Wild Goose Collective began to imagine bigger plans. Specifically, and how very Marjorie Taylor Greene of us, we began to imagine a balkinization of the U.S. Why? Because the United States, when acting as a hegemon, proposed to police the world. Couldn’t do that if it had become, say, broken up into different nations. Texas. California. The Upper Midwest. The grain and corn and cattle Belt. The South. The Northeast. Something like that.

Not much different from imagining Christian Nationalism in northern Idaho or a takeover of all the Federal lands in the West.


Second instance. After a bunch of us Minnesota progressives had helped get Paul Wellstone elected to the Senate, we also knocked off a twenty year Hennepin County commissioner and got our guy elected. We decided to form the FLA. The Farmer-Labor Association. Our motto: put the FL back in the DFL.

Again. This was not the folly. We did elect other progressives to city council seats, the legislature, and helped set the Twin Cities on a progressive path.

However. As we began to succeed, we got ambitious. And decided to push for state level progressive programs to build affordable housing, make health care available for all, free job training, and expand a state version of food assistance. The best became the enemy of the good. We ignored the political realities of our situation and tried to get the whole pie all at once rather than accept the incremental change that is how policy changes get made in a democracy.

We failed. Energy sank. And, like the Wild Goose Collective, we all went our separate ways. Some of us, of course, remained politically active, but the cohesion and energy we had dissipated because we wanted too much, too fast. Look at the Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives.


Third instance. Judy Merritt and I bought a farm in northern Minnesota. Near Park Rapids and Lake Itasca. We named it the Peaceable Kingdom. It would be a place of refuge and later training for those wanting to dismantle the system. Except. Judy and I weren’t getting along.

She took off with the guy who farmed our land as a renter. I sold the farm and moved back to the Twin Cities to finish seminary. We had exercised our right to exit without realizing how important personal relationships are when executing big plans.


My point here is that a lot of the Far Right action I’ve seen and read about suffers from similar problems. It’s in the realm of political fantasy. And, it doesn’t reckon with the facts of human relationships or how change gets made in a democracy. Not all of it. But a substantial portion. Like the Christian Nationalists. Like the folks who believe they can force the Federal Government to turn over lands to the states. Who, BTW, don’t want them.

Might be cold comfort, but I can see the same seeds of self destruction sown in the West today that my colleagues and I sowed in those oh so remarkable days of the early seventies in Minnesota.


Gabe at 15

Written By: Charles - Apr• 23•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Sunday gratefuls: Gabe. Levi. Seyo. Benihana. My family of Ancient Brothers. Especially our brother, Tom, and his daughter Amber. Books. Magazines. Newspapers. The Atlantic. The New Yorker. MIT Technology Review. High Country News. Paonia. LBM’s. Psychonauts. BJ. Her political awareness. Radical days. Passionate nights. 5 inches of new Snow. Ice on the roads.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Gabe at 15

One brief, shining moment: Three teenage boys giggling, sharing silly photos of each other on their phones, punches and smirks, cause he’s a little bitch said by one, celebrating Gabe’s 15th at Benihana, Gabe’s idea of fine dining, all while escorted by grandpa who it turns out was 15 in 1962.


That was yesterday evening. Gabe loves Benihana. The grill. The flash of the cooks. Who flip cut off shrimp tails into their caps and pockets. Clatter the cutlery on the huge grill, the hibachi. Cook with a certain flare but really with a weak imitation of knife work in an upscale kitchen. With ingredients purchased in bulk. And cooked to, well, let’s just say not perfection. Gabe loves the food, too.

Peeking inside the lives of teenage boys now, almost voyeurism. Three of them, one old guy. Safely ignored. Talking about friendship groups. Who’s cool, but mostly who’s not. Like Abraham who brought cookies to the teacher. Suck up. Who expected more but all he got was a thank you. Chick-fil-a. That’s where the white boys go for lunch. While the baseball boys chose a different spot.

Girls inhabited the fringes of the conversation. Still mysterious and unknowable. I tried, but she said we were friends. Yeah. I’m friends with so and so, too.

Mostly a lot of giggling, faux arm wrestling, looking at their phones, then passing them around. Shooting a closeup of somebody’s eye or hair line or ear. Texting that back to the one in the photo.

When I dropped Gabe off at his Galena street home, Jen’s house, he said, “That was fun, Grandpa. I love you.”


Got back to Shadow Mountain around 10. Late night for me. Especially considering I went to the Grateful Dead shabbat the night before for Kate’s yahrzeit. Today is busy, too, but daytime busy. Israel trip info at 1:30, then Dismantling Racism class starts at 3.


Looking forward to a quieter week. Putting all season tires back on Ruby on Tuesday. Just when we’re supposed to get our next snowstorm. It’s always a judgment call. Late April, early May. Usually a little overlap on both ends of winter. Good news is that early season and late season storms melt quickly.


The Ancient Brothers on reading. We read. A lot. Stacks of books. At a time. Magazines and newspaper. Some dead tree, some online. The Guardian. The Atlantic. MIT Technology Review. New Yorker. New York Times. Washington Post. A few of the books: A sampler of Meister Eckhart. Slouching Toward Utopia. Why Liberalism Failed. Talking to the Ground. The last CJ Box novel. Many, many more. Reading. I wonder if it’s an old person thing now.

Then I remember Ruth. Who reads. A lot. She once said to me, you’re the only person I know who reads more than me. Kate and Claire Strickland, Michael Banker. Also readers. Not dead yet.

Made me feel good

Written By: Charles - Apr• 22•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Saturday gratefuls: Gabe, now 15. Earth Day. Kate Strickland, now 40. Her old man, Paul. Now 76. Tom and Amber. My son and his wife. Luke and Leo. LBMs. Little brown mushrooms. The Grateful Dead shabbat. Kate’s yahrzeit. Her candle still burning. Ginnie and Ellen. Ripple in Still Water. Another excellent workout. Radiation in the rearview. Snow and a cold night. Good sleeping.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Kate, my once and future wife

One brief, shining moment: Tears, the outer sign of inward longing, surfaced when it came time for the kaddish, the mourner’s prayer, Ripple in Still Water played during the Grateful Dead shabbat had ended and Rabbi Jamie read the list of deaths and then the list of yahrzeits, holding my breath until he read the very last name, Kate Olson. Oh.


Before I left for CBE yesterday evening, I lit a 24 hour memorial candle for Kate. It burns still. This is her yahrzeit. Her second.

Ginnie sat next to me last night. She’s a nurse I met online during a Kabbalah Experience class on astrology. Ginnie and her partner took the class together. She comes to the CBE services because she has an MFA in performance art, including opera. As a singer she loves the services. Was glad to have her next to me.

The Rabbi and music director of B’nai Havurah, the only Denver reconstructionist congregation, joined Rabbi Jamie and the CBE band which includes harmonica, bass, and drums. Sometimes piano, but not last night.

The Grateful Dead shabbat is a popular musical service and happened to fall on Kate’s yahrzeit. Appropriate since Jon was a Deadhead, a camp follower who had a large cache of concert tapes, a treasure Ruth has kept.

When Ripple in Still Water played, the lyrics came on the screen. My tears began when I read these:

There is a road, no simple highwayBetween the dawn and the dark of nightAnd if you go, no one may followThat path is for your steps alone

She left two years ago and I could not follow for that path was for her steps alone.

The kaddish prayer and the recognition of recent deaths and yahrzeits make sure that mourners do not go through their grief alone. Shiva takes the community into the home of the mourner, traditionally for seven nights. These are deeply compassionate features of Judaism and have helped me a lot during my own mourning and grief. Jews are not awkward when talking about death. They show up, initiate help. Follow through.

The drive home last night, one Kate and I made together many, many times, saddened me. I cried again, missing her in the seat next to me, commenting on the service, life, politics.

Oddly, and I imagine this is the point of yahrzeits, the tears and the sadness made me feel good. I’m still connected to her in a deep and everlasting way. These feelings honor our love.


Ancora Imparo

Written By: Charles - Apr• 21•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Friday gratefuls: The end of radiation. No more drives to Lone Tree. No more creepy Hal machine up close to my head. Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Snow on its way. Cold night. Slept well. Kate’s yahrzeit. Recognized at the service tonight. Peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. Erleada in the mail. Dreams. The dream group. Next Friday. Ready almost for the threshold. Gabe and the dog treats.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: The end of radiation

One brief, shining moment: The intimate assassin took some hits over the last three weeks, suffering under high intensity radiation delivered through the Cyberknife aperture deep into my body, shriveling his forces, perhaps delivering the same death blow he sought for me.


Finit. For now. Maybe for good. But cancer has its devices and as Dr. Simpson admits we just don’t know all we need to know. I will not miss the drive to Lone Tree, a freeway adventure from start to finish. Lots of trucks. High speed Colorado pickups expressing their anxiety about life through rapid movement.

Not sure whether it was the radiation or the long drive or the constant reminder that I have cancer but this last three weeks wore me out. Slept 10 hours two nights ago and again last night. Plan to take today and the weekend as lower energy days. Though.


Gabe’s big birthday dinner is tomorrow tonight. I got a text from him this morning asking me to clean out some spilled dog treats in the back seat. He’s psyched up as we used to say. Going to Benihana with his friends. And his grandpa.

And. Kate’s yahrzeit is today. 30 Nisan. As the Jewish month of Spring phases into the month of light. I’ll go to the service tonight. Stand for the kaddish in honor of her.

Sunday I’ll be at the synagogue from 1:30 to 4:30. 1:30 is an informational meeting about a trip to Israel in October. At 3 pm I have the first Dismantling Racism class.

Maybe I’ll extend those lower energy days into the next week, come to think of it.


James Pogue’s book Chosen Country covers most of the recent rebellions in the West, starting with Clive Bundy’s against BLM restrictions on cattle grazing on  BLM lands. He has a chapter on a miner’s stand against BLM’s finding of noncompliance for his gold mine and cabin. Security organized by the Oath Keepers and III percenters. The book’s focus is the Malheur occupation in Oregon.

After reading Jeff Sharlet’s Undertow, Imami Perry’s South to America, Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve, Patrick Deneen’s Why Liberalism Failed, Matthew Rose’s  A World After Liberalism, Wes Jackson’s Becoming Native to This Place and dipping into Stephen Wolfer’s The Case for Christian Nationalism, Vibrant Matter by Joan Bennet, Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott, I’m beginning to get a clearer picture of the roiling currents muddying the waters in the U.S. right now. Not ready yet to talk much about what I’m learning, some of it’s still organizing itself in my mind.

I know this much. There is no easy political fix for any of this. Though I do see some possible alliances that might bring folks together in very strange bedfellow ways. More on this to come as I keep reading. Talking.



Written By: Charles - Apr• 20•23

Spring and the Mesa View Moon

Thursday gratefuls: #8 and last radiation session. Diane. Tom. The Ancient Brothers. Kat, who’s reading the book. Kate, my sweet soul companion. Jon, a memory. Breezy. A bit of sway in the Lodgepoles, the Aspen Buds red at Branch tips, waving to their neighbors. Sun bright. Sky blue. Clouds white and fluffy. Resting heart rate down to 63 bpm. Good sleep. Luke, who has the psilocybin. Leo, his dog. Kep, of blessed, sweet memory. Breakfast out. A treat.

Sparks of Joy and Awe: Simcha

One brief, shining moment: Simcha-a Hebrew word that always reminds me of the Lion King or Tarzan comic books- means joy, said to be by the sages a spiritual obligation and I wonder how that can be, then how sublime always seeking and finding the wonderful, the awesome, the delightful within and without, what a marvelous way to live!


Yesterday I spoke the truth, but it was maybe not the best thing to say. At Anova for #7 radiation. A guy came out in the blue drawstring pants. A slight belly, a round mellow face, taller than me. They’re ready for you. I have to drink more water. Ah. I remember that. How far along? 34  out of 35. But you’ve had this before and you’re back? Yes, it doesn’t always work.

Ooops. This guy’s there with his wife, both wearing Toronto Blue Jay fan shirts. She’s a beauty. Smiling, gray hair. A sort of woman that appeals to me. No makeup. Supporting her guy.

I went on back. Ordered up Patsy Cline. Laid down with the red laser markers converging near my chin as she comes on: I’ve got your class ring that showed you care, and it still looks the same as when you gave it dear, but I’ve got your class ring and she’s got you.

Robocop/Cyberknife/Dalek lurches into position, the apertures click open, click closed. I’m thinking what can I say that will make that less dispiriting.

A lady I don’t know comes back and tells me to wait while she lowers the table. They lift you up as the priests did the omer and lambs in the Second Temple.

On my way out the Toronto Blue Jay is on his feet, ready to become the next one on the altar. Many sacrifices this day.

Hey, dude. I didn’t mean to bum you out. Pointing at myself I said, somebody has to be on the thin end of the bell curve. You’ll fatten up the middle. He and his beautiful wife laughed. Maybe just a bit too much. Did I just reinforce what I’d said? Don’t know. Out of my control. But I did what I needed to.

As these radiation sessions come to an end for me, I realize they’ve taken an emotional toll as well as a physical one. They have been, for three weeks, a reminder that I’m wrestling with what I called earlier the intimate assassin, an assassin that has already breached the castle gate, and waits inside for its moment.

Usually I have these reminders every three months, when I have blood drawn and then visit Kristie or Dr. E. I’ll be glad to go back to that schedule.