A Moment in Time

Fifty-odd years ago I would have been at Black Forest Baptist Assembly (BFBA) north of Colorado Springs with a group of kids. It was a “primitive camp” which meant we slept in tents (army barracks style tents), used an outhouse, and cooked breakfast over a campfire. I loved that job a lot and did it for two summers. My first summer I did this ONE camp. The next summer I took a full-time “job” as a CIT (Counselor in Training) and lived at BFBA for two months and counseled three junior high camps.

The job ended when my mom drove up one day from Colorado Springs and told me I had to come home. She was putting my dad in a nursing home, and I had to help. I packed up my stuff, said goodbye to everyone (thankfully, I wasn’t counseling a camp at that point, just doing dishes and stuff) and went “home.” Dad was duly installed exactly where he should have been long before, and I began the preparation to return to college in September.

Thinking back, I don’t think my mom expected me to say, “OK,” pack my stuff, and get into the car, but that’s what I did. One reason I had (in her words) “Moved out,” was because she and I fought all the time. I didn’t like it, she didn’t like it, but we couldn’t stop. I was struggling to live my life and she was struggling to live hers. I was completely unaware of the substance abuse backstory in her life — well, our lives since it affected me, too. I wouldn’t even KNOW that part of our story until some twenty years later when my mom was in the hospital and her doctor told me.

That was an enormous shock and lesson for me. Behind every face, even the most familiar to us, even our own, lies a mystery, a self and a struggle.

As for Black Forest Baptist Assembly, I imagine that the field and hill in the photo are now under somebody’s house.



Maundy Thursday

As a Panentheist who was raised with the Bible and writes novels centered on religion and is not anti-Christian (or any other faith) it’s impossible for me to ignore the week between Palm Sunday and Easter. For me the big day is the day Jesus told God he’d really rather stay on Earth than go through everything he knew was ahead of him. Except for the early-morning betrayal by Judas, it’s kind of a non-event. Guy goes to garden with his friends. Friends are soporific from a big dinner and wine and promptly go to sleep in spite of Jesus asking someone, for the love of God, to stay awake with him (for reasons he knew and we all found out later). OH well.

It’s not cool to know your fate. It’s a question that was debated a lot in my house because my dad KNEW his fate, roughly how long he had to live and what would kill him. Not cool. Better to be surprised especially if you KNOW there’s a crucifixion ahead of you. THAT makes this world all the more beautiful — even in my dad’s case one of the last things he wanted was to see Pikes Peak (we lived in Colorado Springs) one more time.

So every year I celebrate this day of the Earth’s beauty by walking my dogs. Out at the Refuge, I was happy to find that the wind has died down in general (though we are still under a Red Flag Warning). We were able to get out early enough to beat the wind entirely. It was absolutely quiet out there except for the songs and sounds of birds. I watched a pair of red-tailed hawks hunt and, later on, an osprey flew over and in front of me. The songs of red-winged blackbirds and meadowlarks serenaded us along our way. The cinnamon teals — beautiful red ducks with a teal band on their wings — were swimming peacefully. The geese were chill, literally, on some ice left over from the very cold night we had. No people. “The cranes have left. There’s nothing to see.” I’m honestly glad they think so.

Let’s Plant a Garden

After not being able to eat supper and not being able to sleep, I got up at 4:30 and finally heard what my eye doctor said. “I am 99.5% sure it’s nothing.” I didn’t hear that yesterday. I only heard, “It could be an emergency,” which led to cascading decisions that were not decisions and not thoughts. Panic. If it were a detached retina? An emergency. Several times in the sleepless night, I moved my eyeball everywhere and couldn’t get the flashes even to happen. Could my eye be dealing with the 99.5% (nothing wrong) not the .5% (holy shit you’re going blind)?

I got up at 3 and again just now and looked at the map of the two passes for me to choose from that are between me and Colorado Springs. Chain laws in effect on both passes. I don’t have chains or any other traction tools. When that law is in force even Bella wouldn’t be allowed on the mountains. To get there on time for my appointment I’d have to leave by 7 am. It’s -17 C out there. Nothing is melting soon.

A little voice inside of me said, “Pay attention to reality, Martha.” Reality? The roads are fucked. The chance of there having been serious damage to my eye is minimal. Is it worth risking EVERYTHING to save my eye? No. I can’t see that well out of that eye anyway.

Then I thought of hypochondria. My mom and brother were the worst. Am I? Yeah, I think so, since when? I thought about that, too, and I realized it began sometime in 2020 with Covid and the ambient and constantly escalating anxiety. I’ve probably been afraid, but have I this cowboy “thing” about putting a good face on stuff and getting through it to the other side. The other side is always better, in my mind, anyway. I’m an optimist. But I began to think last night in the insomnia that maybe all of this has affected me more than I know and I’m really fucking scared. Maybe the traumas of life build inside us and emerge as this later on in our lives? Fear bubbling below the surface of the good face we’ve put on it?

Last night, not sleeping, I realized I was also not breathing. “Panic, Martha. This is panic.” I’ve had friends who had panic attacks. My mom had panic attacks. It doesn’t take any eldritch phantom or Hieronymous Bosch vision to terrify us. Panic attack. I was having one. I took a few deep breaths, and relaxed a little. I took another deep breath and thought, “This is your decision. The risks here are yours to take, to choose.” I actually got up and googled whether people with one eye can still drive in Colorado, so if you’re concerned about that, yes, in all 50 states.

And I realized that part of this I really like my life as it is right now, and I’m afraid something will take it away. Change might be the only constant in the universe (as I so glibly and arrogantly wrote back when I was 25) but maybe there comes a time when a person wants to bring all that flux to a screeching halt and just enjoy life as it is.

I’ve rented a couple of AirBNBs in Ukraine. I will rent more. Both of the people have sent me heart-rending messages. Yesterday, after I “checked out” of an AirBNB, I got this review:

As I read that, I thought, “I’m not a very great person, but if that were my epitaph, I’d be honored. What more could a person do/be in life?” Then I cried. Then I thought that my night in her apartment cost me only $35. I “stayed” four nights in the other apartment I rented for $60. A young family in Ukraine’s heavily bombed city on the Black Sea. I can’t spell it, but it’s in the news. I’m so sad for all those people who didn’t do anything.

That and the idea of war in Europe is absolutely terrifying because, in a very real way, there is no “Europe” and no “America” any more. Maybe “being cool” and “putting a good face on it” is completely nuts. It hit me when I opened my email just now.

We have the news of the war and an advertisement for seeds. That’s pretty much life as we know it right now. Everything’s fucked; let’s plant a garden. Not a bad philosophy, really.

So, instead of a dangerous drive over a pass, I plan to take Bear out for a saunter in our first real snow of this winter, and, hopefully, my friends will still want to come down to see the cranes. By the time they were going to leave, the passes should be clear. Vita brevis.

Alles Geben…

I’ll be honest. I’ve been feeling pretty oorie about my upcoming birthday, but like many other kinds of dread, once it’s upon you it’s pretty OK. Also, remembering that I share my birthday with the happiest little dog on the planet helps, too.

It’s funny how we are, but I know that some of the dread is linked to the heightened awareness of how close we are to the end of the story. That leads us to wondering if we’ve done anything worth doing with our 3 score and 10. The pope coming out and saying people who opt for pets over children are “selfish” didn’t help. (Ha ha). How would he describe himself and all the other celibate priests and monks and nuns, etc.? Are they excused? How does that work?

I still don’t know and probably will never know if I did good or not. I’ve pretty much toddled along with the idea that not making things worse was the best I could do. I’m hopeful I’ve succeeded in that. Anyway, it’s a self-indulgent preoccupation, regardless how normal it is.

In book reading news, after reading a wonderful book, I picked up (ie. opened my laptop to) another eBook and found a morass of intellectual density, a textbook no kid would ever make it through, written by a retired professor of some stripe or other. My English teacher brain kept yelling at him, “Where’s your thesis statement!!!” I finished evaluating the book, losing an hour in my ever shortening life, and opened another — also by this author. Well, it turned out to be as inscrutable, dense and oblique BUT the subject interested me. I can’t judge a book on that, but I was inspired to look up a term the author had defined because I wanted to know more. Guess what? The definition offered in the textbook was word-for-word from Wikipedia. OK, the question is, “Did the author write the entry in Wikipedia or copy it?”

I breathed a deep sigh of relief because I don’t have to find the answer to that. I don’t have to do anything. The book wasn’t going to win any prizes anyway as readability and value to the audience are two important criteria.

What was the term? It doesn’t matter. My exploration led me to conclude that the word refers to something indefinable, so what’s the point? As I was thinking about it, I thought of how poor old God in Deuteronomy attempted to get the point across to Moses and couldn’t. “God, here’s the deal. Those Hebrews down there are a very skeptical lot and if you don’t give me a name for I’m not going to get anywhere with these stone tablets.”

It seems that in our need to communicate with each other we have invented language, and over time we confuse our terms for the realities toward which they inadequately gesture. OH well. It’s a poor worker who blames his/her tools. At least we have poetry.

They are not long, the weeping and the laughter,
Love and desire and hate;
I think they have no portion in us after
We pass the gate.

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, and then closes
Within a dream.
Ernest Dowson, ‘Vitae Summa Brevis’.

Photo: Smiling kid, my cousin, Linda. In the high chair, me, age 1. Behind Linda, Aunt Martha, Aunt Kelly (Linda’s mom) in the middle, my mom holding a gift. It was a puzzle, I mean the gift not the entire future. 😉

No Lead in My Studio (So far…)

Yesterday I went to the museum in Del Norte to collect some money and restock my notecard offerings. It was a good weekend for me financially, and I was able to buy surfaces to paint on. Not the BIG canvas, but some pretty good sized panels and a linen canvas. With all drugs, you can be happy with “cheap Mexi” until someone gives you something better. Last summer I painted on oil-primed linen and I don’t think I’ll ever be the same woman.

It’s a small painting — 8″ x 10″. It turned out that this oil-primed linen is a wonderful, wonderful surface. For the last little while I’ve been trying to figure out how I could organize this technology myself, stretching and priming my own canvas, and it turns out I don’t want to. A lot of the stuff that becomes paint and related substances is poisonous. Some of it is very poisonous. I had to draw a line. Sometime down the road? I don’t know but for now…

The woman who runs the museum is also my friend and as you might know if you read this blog regularly, she lost her husband this past summer. They were married for 58 years. I’ve been listening/talking to her about it all this time and, recently I’ve heard something different in her voice which is she is beginning to see what she CAN do now; she’s looking into the future.

I spent some time Thanksgiving chatting with a friend in Switzerland who lost her dog not long ago. Through a lovely concatenation of events, she has a puppy, but the emptiness of the loss is still eating her up. I can imagine — but don’t know — people saying “She was just a dog,” and the kinds of things people say when losing an animal is out of their experience. Obviously, I don’t feel that way, but I have lost 25 dogs so I have a lot of experience losing and recovering.

As I was talking with my friend at the museum I tried to support her recent decisions to paint her house and travel to Europe (yay!) with the salient point that we live here and forward. I remember the moment I realized that. It wasn’t all that long after my mom died. I was opening the garage door and suddenly had an epiphany that my eyes were in front of my face for a reason. The same with my Swiss friend. Nothing replaces what we’ve lost, but it seems to me that even in calm and ordinary times, we’re a slightly different person every day than we were the day before. A big loss hastens the transformation.

I think that’s part of the sorrow, strangely enough. We don’t just lose the person/dog we loved, we lose the part of ourself who was (in a way) an attenuation of that person/dog. I recognized quickly when I had to put my last Siberian Husky, Lily, to sleep that it marked the end of trail-running Martha even though I hadn’t been able to run for a while. The possibility of that person existing was completely gone with Lily’s passing. I didn’t just lose my beloved — and very old! — dog; I lost a big part of myself, or the way I saw myself.

These recent weeks — selling paintings and confronting the inner Wicked Witch of the West — I have realized I’ve held onto my mom without even knowing it. Part of my trauma with selling a painting to strangers was letting go of yet one more finger of that woman whom I loved in spite of everything.

Post Script: Contending with Fardles

I really appreciate all the kind comments to my glum post this morning. After I wrote it I got the idea that maybe I should tackle a doable project that’s been weighing on me emotionally and physically (to some extent) so I headed out to the garage.

I imagine we all have sadness and disappointment in our families. I have a niece I love very much but who has disappeared from my life completely. I worry about her, but I can’t find her. I know where her mother is, but her mother is mentally extremely fragile and her mother’s husband is a combination of carer and and and? I don’t know, but I can’t reach her through him. I guess they don’t really want to hear from me which is OK. BUT. My mom put together two beautiful photo albums — one for each side of my family; her family and my dad’s. They were for my niece.

This past week, a blogging pal wrote about finding a lot of random old photos in a Goodwill store. She wanted to know the stories. That made me think of a photo album my neighbor found long ago in a dump in a nearby city, an album from WW I with scenes of an army guy (the owner?) in Italy and various other places. The photos in that old album were wonderful, but I felt a little weird, a little like a voyeur. Anyway, I have had those photo albums on my mind for a while. Those and all the letters between my parents when they were young and in love, just starting their lives. With them I thought of my Aunt Jo who burned all the love letters between her and my uncle to protect their privacy. So, today I went through (and emptied!) 2 bins of family memorabilia and got rid of half of my Christmas decorations. I don’t put up a tree so????

I contacted my cousin’s daughter and asked her if she’d like the album from our mutual family. She was so happy to have it. I seriously feel like a huge burden has been lifted from my spirit. I’ve wrapped it up in brown paper and it’s on its way tomorrow. My cousin’s daughter also wanted a little nativity I bought in Mexico for my mom.

As I worked, my spirit felt progressively lighter. I have no problem tossing the contents of the other album after I take some photos to put on my Ancestry tree.

When I finished these labors I thought, “OK. Everything left is just my life,” and that’s, I think, how it should be and I’m a LOT less glum.

Another thing I found is a small silk mass-produced tapestry of a scene, I think in Hangzhou. In itself it might not be anything special, but its story is. When I was teaching international students in San Diego in the late 1980s I made friends with a Japanese student who had been a cook in a Chinese restaurant in a resort in Hokkaido. He rented a room from the Good X and me for a while which was great because he cooked. 😀 Anyway, his father and his father’s friend came to visit.

I was nervous. These men were both WW II Veterans from the OTHER side. Aki had warned me that his father was very old fashioned, very conservative and hated Aki being in the US with the “enemy.” I knew a lot more about the Chinese Anti-Japanese war than did most Americans and I wasn’t sure about having a Japanese soldier in my house. It was a little weird.

We picked them up at the airport. Aki’s dad was rigid but Japanese friendly/polite. His friend? Wow. Friendly, open, curious, outspoken. The first thing Aki’s dad did was walk through my (large) garden which was designed in a semi-Asian style (homesick). He came in the house and said, “I had no idea Americans garden!!!” The friend saw some of the Chinese hangings I had at the time (lines of calligraphy from friends in China). He said, in pretty good English. “You know China?”

I said I’d been there a year. Then he told me he’d been a guard at a POW camp. He was 18. He didn’t understand why the Chinese were enemies of Japan. Some of the guards were Chinese. The friend said a lot of things, including that Japan’s culture came from China (not totally true, but…) I can’t remember everything, but they made me think about the war — history in general — differently. I began to understand something about the intense worship many Japanese had of the Emperor and that while sides are enemies in general in particular? Maybe not. We all know that, I guess, but hearing it from this man was very special. “I had a Chinese friend at the camp. I like Chinese.” He had even been back to visit.

Their visit ended with the usual journey to “Glando Canyono” and “Ras Vegas.” Months later I got a package and thank you from Aki’s father’s friend. I opened it to find the small tapestry the Chinese man had given him. It’s a real treasure and I thought it was long gone.

Oh and yet another draft of the Pearl Buck Project… THAT’S hopeless.

Here’s a photo of the edge of the tapestry telling where it was made.

Lamont and Dude Ponder Hallowe’en

“Lamont, should I get candy for the Trick-or-Treaters?

“Huh?”

“Hallowe’en.”

“No. I mean why? Everything dies. It’s the least unique factor of life. Why are people afraid of the dead, anyway? Every time they dig up some old bones from, well, the very olden days everyone is very excited and it gets written up in the media and the identification of these beings is based on just two teeth, the fragment of a jawbone and a scrap of femur! Then they tell us they found Early Egyptian Fascist Eight-Legged Arachno-Whale or something.”

“You’re in a mood.”

“Yeah, I guess so. But no. I want to do what we always do. Turn off the lights, lock the door and pretend it’s not happening. We’ve never passed out candy. Why now?”

“I heard some kids on the beach. They were saying that because our house is never lit up for Hallowe’en they’re sure it’s haunted and they want to break in and find the ghosts.”

“That would be be a lot of fun, Dude. Think about it. I’d love that. Scaring little kids?”

“They’re not little. They’re tweens or whatever.”

“Ah. You’re going to let yourself be bullied by a bunch of pre-adolescent zit-magnets?”

“You forget. They’re immortal.”

“That’s just what they think. It’s not true.”

“At their age, what they think is all that matters. So you want me to get candy or not?”

“Do you have the Smilodon suit here at home?”

“Yeah. Haven’t done any Smilodon acting since Covid. Why?”

“I remember when you were REALLY a Smilodon and you were pretty damned scary. I was a mastodon and you took me down.”

“I wasn’t alone and there was that thing of all that tar covered in leaves and stuff. I couldn’t have done it alone.”

“But the long scary teeth, Dude. The teeth.”

“Lamont, I don’t know how to tell you this, and I haven’t told the people at the museum, but NO child is EVER fooled into thinking I’m anything but a man in a Smilodon suit.”

“Too bad we don’t have Velociraptor suits.”

“I think you’d get farther with the oak tree. A walking, talking, oak tree? That would be a very scary thing.”



Lamont and Dude are characters I came up with a few years ago. They have the uncanny ability to remember many of their previous incarnations which gives them a unique perspective on life, the universe and everything.

Penitente Canyon

The painting is finished. Any more would be a mixture of OCD and gilding the lily. This is Penitente Canyon, the place my friend Alex (whose paints I inherited) loved most. I felt that the first painting I did with his paints should be of this place. I will be hanging it in the Holiday Show at the Rio Grande County Museum and then giving it to Louise, his wife, afterward.

I know I’ve written a lot about the ancient lake bed, a fraction of which is the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge where the cranes come and the dogs and I walk, but the western edge of the San Luis Valley is part of a giant caldera, one of the largest volcanoes ever to explode on Earth. Penitente canyon is maybe 20 miles from Monte Vista.

La Garita’s eruption was so impressive that it can’t even be ranked on the modern Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI). This ranking system, created by the U.S. Geological Survey, is largely based on the volume of material ejected, which geologists estimate by mapping the extent of volcanic rock outcrops in the field. To put it in perspective, the infamous 1980 eruption of Washington’s Mount St. Helens, which ejected about 0.25 cubic miles of material, barely rated a five on the VEI. The eruption that caused La Garita to form discharged more than 1,200 cubic miles of material—so much that volcanologists have suggested that the explosivity index, which increases by a factor of 10 with each whole-number step, needs to be expanded to accommodate its estimated 9.2 ranking.

the-worlds-most-epic-volcanic-eruption/

The canyon is famous all over the world for its climbing routes that you can learn more about here: penitente-canyon The rock is a very hard volcanic tuff, Fish Canyon Tuff described by geologists as an “ignimbrite” — a word I had to look up, but in a very very basic sense means a volcanic rock that emerges in flows and cools slowly so it has time to harden. These rocks are 5 on Mohs Scale (which I actually DO remember from college geology). That and the numerous sheer walls, cracks, fissures and holes easily explain the 300 climbing routes. 🙂 The main photo on my blog is another formation from the La Garita geologic episode.

The canyon has an intriguing human history, too, one that fascinated me long, long ago before I ever realized where this was. It was the home of the Penitentes, a Roman Catholic brotherhood that was seriously into acts of self-penitence. On one of the rock walls, these brothers painted a Virgin of Guadalupe. They accomplished this by lowering the artist on a tire tied to two ropes. It’s interesting that during the flu epidemic of 1918, the Penitentes were the only people willing to bury the dead. In this canyon are also some Native American pictographs.

It’s a stunning place with beautiful hiking trails. I’ve been there a few times and would go back any time.

Alex was a climber and taught people how to climb. Louise said today that if Alex could have lived in the canyon, he would have. I get that.

“Just” the Sun

“What’s going on?” She sat up in bed and stared at the light hitting her bedroom window. Her radar was tuned to inner city streets, police searches and helicopters. “Huh?” But the dogs weren’t barking and the street was quiet. Shrugging, she snuggled back under the duvet and tried to go back to sleep, but something was really wrong. Waves of anxiety washed against her mind’s beach and receded as her consciousness labeled their absurdity. “No. Your mother’s ghost did NOT push you down in Colorado Springs. The city ISN’T haunted.”

“Could be,” answered her mind. “I’m not going back there. Every time I go up there, something happens. Torn Achilles tendon. Other stuff. Not fun.”

“Be that as it may,” began her mind in the voice of her Aunt Martha, “your mother’s ghost didn’t push you.”

“OK.” She began to wonder if her Super Ego wasn’t, maybe, her Aunt Martha. “Seems likely,” she thought. “Talk about ghosts.” She snuggled further down into the duvet. “That’s the sun,” she realized. “Not a police car. It’s morning. Another fucking morning.”

“That’s a good thing,” muttered her Super Ego. “Think of all the things you might do!”

She checked her shoulder to see how things were going in that area. Better. Whatever had sent it back into excruciating pain a week ago seemed to have receded like her mother’s ghost. Her foot? She wiggled her toes. Could be worse. She’d done a number on it on a walk with her dog a few days earlier. “I refuse even to THINK that cliché about growing old not being for sissies. No, no, no. Not thinking that. At least there’s a painting.” She thought for a few minutes about the last couple of years and all she had lost, all the world had lost. Millions of people. Five million people. “That’s almost twice the population of Denver,” she thought. “Two empty Denvers.” She thought of all the grieving people, that plus all the “ordinary” reasons to grieve. “So much has changed. Even the business of relating to people has changed. I think I’m tired of it.”

“Who wouldn’t be?” asked Aunt Martha in her head. “What took you so long!”

“You should know the answer to that,” she thought, remembering that woman, her circle of lady friends and the majority of her time alone, tending her garden and savoring solitude and freedom. “Maybe it didn’t change my life all that much.” She decided to get up. The day ahead of her might not be the best day of her life, but it was the one she had.

“None of us gets out of here alive,” her own mother’s voice echoed in her mind.

“No, mom, none of us do, but…” Her mom had found a way out, a creative and somewhat humorous way out, but still…

Later on that day, posting a photo of her new painting on Facebook, she saw her 95 year old amazing, inspiring friend Lilliana had posted a meme. She laughed.

Lilliana. God, what she’d lived through, the amazing, the beautiful, the terrifying, the harrowing, the fantastic. “SOME of us are better at life than others. Some of us keep wanting it. All the things you hated? ‘Art’s a dirty word in this house!’ Well, mom, you just didn’t know how good it is or how important, or how much a part of happiness it is for me.” She cleaned her brushes ahead of a new day that might be better.

Another Damned Growth Opportunity?

Time casts a long shadow. I’m feeling that now. Four years of anger and frustration and bewilderment and “POOF!” I know the changes that need to be made won’t be “POOF!” but I’m wondering how much of that anger, frustration and bewilderment BECAME me?

Yesterday after Biden had been sworn in, I took off on my skis. The nordic club had laid track basically for ME. I wanted to be out in the snow while it was still cold and not sticky. I struggled to get one of my bindings to close, but I succeeded and took off. It was beautiful. Then, at the halfway point I decided to turn around because my bio mechanics is funky and one of my legs is 1/2 inch longer than the other and I’d been skiing with that leg on the inside of the curve when it should be on the OUTSIDE (think of a drawing a circle with a compass). Not long after I turned, I lost my balance (the snow depth is very uneven out there) and fell. I got up and more or less into my skis, well into one ski, but I wasn’t able to close my ski binding again no matter what I did. I ended up lugging my skis a quarter mile out of there. Not fun.

My balance until this year has always been pretty good out there. This year? No. Yeah, a packed trail is easier to ski on and it wasn’t packed, just nicely broken. And there’s the leg length problem. And there’s the fact that my glasses are whack. While I was skiing, I struggled the whole time to keep my feet in line and to remain upright.

Once I got to Bella (who loves deep snow, bless her little Jeep heart) and turned on my car, Mohammed’s Radio was playing the Byrd’s, “Turn Turn Turn.” “Fuck that,” was my first thought.

I was hurt, but not injured, if that makes any sense. I’m still not walking great and so on and so forth. There are bruises around my ankle where my legs threw themselves against my boots in the second fall day before yesterday.

The thing is, I want to go back out today, but can’t because of my ski binding and my body. The store says I should bring them in and that’s right, but today’s not the day. I want to change them out for automatic bindings that I don’t have to bend over to close or open. That’s what I always had (once I’d given up 3 pin bindings which are OK with me, too). When a person has balance problems, bending down to close something on the ground isn’t always a great idea.

On the other hand, I have begun to wonder if it’s just time to give up. As things are right now, I’m barely walking, but I know it will be better tomorrow and the next day. The thing is, if you can’t endure falls, don’t ski. 3 falls in two days.

I am still superstitiously haunted by Bella’s spooky radio and The Byrd’s singing, “Turn, Turn, Turn” is a semi-quote of Ecclesiastes 3. No one knows who wrote Ecclesiastes, but there is a case made for it having been written by King Solomon. In any case, these are wise words, and a part of Ecclesiastes 3 that isn’t often shared. I don’t know any rock songs about this:

“…10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.”

The part we all know is a lesson in acceptance: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”

It’s strange we don’t go around saying, “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and do good while they live.” Personally, I think it would be cool if we did.

I expect that I will take the skis to the shop next Monday and see if I can switch the bindings. I don’t think I’m psychically ready to give up, but the problem is, it might be physical wisdom to hang up my skis. Life seems to be a process of becoming someone else all the damned time. I remember being young and wanting to “find myself.” The thing is whoever that “self” is, it’s like the horizon.

Like this little poem by Stephen Crane. I used to read it one way; that we have the right to pursue our dreams and no one has the right to stop us (Take that mom). Now I just think it’s a smart, experienced person talking to a child.

“I saw a man pursuing the horizon”
BY STEPHEN CRANE

I saw a man pursuing the horizon; 
Round and round they sped. 
I was disturbed at this;   
I accosted the man. 
“It is futile,” I said, 
“You can never —” 

“You lie,” he cried,   
And ran on.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2021/01/21/the-ragtag-daily-prompt-thursday-long-shadows/