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DRIVING THE WEST…

We’ve recently returned from our road trip to Colorado. To drive instead of flying was a choice made for various reasons, including weighing the carbon footprint of flying. The main reason was to have the slower qualities of time & the
more generous qualities of space… to be encapsulated with your partner in the cab of an auto is to invite sharing of strong & deep encounter so much more easily glossed over in everyday interaction.

So instead of being above the clouds for only a few hours of flight we drove alongside, or below or beneath… some few times actually within wet cloud bellies… I offer my own gallery after this link to a site devoted to appreciation of clouds:

That isn’t about clouds, exactly, yet what would one make of this map in the plaster of our room’s ceiling in Wyoming?

I liked this fugue…

Stephen & I had our own fugue going through mostly good times together as we drove. It was our intention to enjoy tending deeper our selves & each other than current daily life allows.

We read to each other, finishing a delightful book by Salman Rushdie titled Haroun & The Sea Of Stories. which was good preparation for Stephen’s Story Fields Conference It was enjoyable & I would readily recommend it… We started another book, Being Indian... an essay much more difficult in language & in subject more subtle, which I wonder if either of us will continue, even as it is highly recommended by a respected poet friend, I am still working to finish Thunder At Twilight, about the times in Vienna around the assassination of the Arch Duke Ferdinand before WWI, which I took up on returning from Europe.

We had so
me of those deep & difficult encounters as well as many sweeter conversations & stories sharing memories as our pasts flowed with the road. In all they were some fine car days encapsulated… loosening afterward into adventures of evening stops for refreshment.

One can only try to live in-spite off the fat of that land… Still, the western US is wide & wild! Glorious scenery. Great storms. Emptiness inviting contemplation. Our first stop was a hot springs in Jackson, Montana. It is indeed a find & I wish we had given it more time. It has noteworthy kitchen & a pool we did not fully use, sadly. Lessons abound on the road…

One of those yet to be fully grokked is how these gates were made to hinge… without any of those things we usually think of as hinges….


We met my sister-in-love Michelle for lunch in Fort Collins…

Before meeting with my old friends Patti & Rob Beebe above Boulder.

Rob’s laundry basket explains his unique capacity even as Patti is no ordinary co-pilot…

Next day we drove above Fort Collins to find Shambhala
where Stephen’s group was meeting. I was interested to see the Great Stupa, which has been built in the foothills of the Rockies in high Tibetan manner.



It was a good time with my Mother… a rare sweet time… just the two of us for three days.

I was not moved to intrude much into that space with my camera, hence I did not get good photographs of her.


She is mostly fine & basically well, even as she had a fall later in those days, during the night before we sibs gathered there for a business meeting my sister has been wanting for several years. [My brother Jon was
not able to attend since he & Michael are selling their home of 20 years this month.] Sister Mer was sleeping in the apartment that night but Momma didn’t want to “bother” waking her, rather getting herself up & back to bed, so we didn’t know about her tumble until the next morning… just when I was scheduled to drive back up to Shambhala to pick Stephen up after his conference. Mer had to deal, once again, with responsibilities such as getting her to the hospital for an x-ray, which fortunately showed little damage.

She is slowing down & has various intermittent yet mostly minor difficulties, so we are always & ever more-so closely observant, cautious & concerned. She lives mostly on her own in an apartment on the ground floor of my youngest brother’s home, with visits from caregivers multiple days of the week to help her bathe, to clean & shop, tend her however.

Brother Terry is quite involved with raising his second family… adopted children rather younger than his own grandchildren. Atop that he has become a preacher, growing his hair under a black bandanna, to a church of reformed motorcycle gang members…

Ah… my family!

Kathy is partner, mother, wife…

My brother David. [He is partnered with Michelle… above.]

My sister Merrilee. Merr. La Mer…

Ah, my family... INDEED!

I can only regret not getting better shots of my family. Sometimes my camera seems to have an emotional life of its own…

The sunflowers of my youth in western Kansas were rediscovered in eastern Colorado, stunningly once while I was driving from Fort Morgan. Impossibly surrounded by such yellow my one handed camera could grab only this impression.

We spent Labor Day weekend in Denver with my friend Dwight, who I met in Sedona 27 years ago & his partner John. We also had lunch with them on our second driving day, in Idaho, where they were working on his grandmother’s old house which he owns there. They came back to Denver, where they live, while S was at the conference & I was in Fort Morgan with Momma.

We always have found such strongly playful time with them. Cigale, the French word for cicada is Dwight’s chosen name. He is an artist long working in clay & now bronze as sculptor of wit studied into humor, yet he is also a fine painter, photographer, botanist & curator of a large cactus collection he’s made over years… then is musician as well. [http://davidsonsculpture.com/]

Missy John is a wonderful singer-composer who lays more carpeting than tracks for his living. We wish for him to believe enough more to grow into better self promotion…

They both hail from Idaho Mormon families, so there was much fluttering around the latest Senatorial sex scandal…

Sadly many of those repressed “right” types recently seem to heave their downfall toward weighting with their hypocrisy against the more liberal sorts such as they seem born to be & thus might prefer… Poor Dears…. So few in that Senatorial House can lift any of their many stones [as in the British definition of “weight”] to throw any distance… something is due to collapse. Good riddance!

Or… might it all be more richly subtle than that?

We got to see the new art museum there, which was a bit of a disappointment, but yet it offers strong resonance in its jutting & thrusting wild presence to involve the older museum buildings I knew… Stephen liked it more than I, but we both like the nearby new library better. Denver is still always a bit difficult for me… too many old stories I left too long ago. I keep it simple by spending time only with Missy & Cigale. They have nothing to do with my past there & are a safe refuge!

Stephen took this of Cigal & me while we waited for the museum to open. I took one of him looking through a glass case.

Views of the museum complex of older & newer buildings:



The building is bewildering…

Inside, a variety of curious fascinations… telling, perhaps, for my chosing such an obvious dose of right angles…

I had already discovered some interesting visuals in Fort Morgan:

Toe The Line While Celebrating Hand & Glove.

Yet my favorite shot is this kid city scape:

Resembling the library next to the Museum…

At one point Cigale did get quite swept away…

This lower older building was the museum when I was living in Denver. It brings back memeories of having had paintings hung in shows there in the late 60’s.

The more interesting encounter was to meet Vance Kirkland, my painting instructor at the University, in a pair of paintings, made some years later than I knew him. I could appreciate maturity on both sides of our scales.



To design what will undoubtedly become cobwebby corners into a 21st century museum is curious to me. Already they seem ominus waste of energy… unless they function to suck up & collect certain energies of our population. I can’t help but wonder if that has any connection to the sculptural dustpan & brush at the entrance outside…

I found this video installation to be one of the better to use the difficult spaces imposed by this building. The cascading projections fabricated function for the sloping space.


Cigale & Stephen, sitting on sculpted concrete chairs on an obsevation deck, seem to be wondering playfully “How do these things work?”

We did a lot of putting our feet up…

Catchibng up on stories & sharing our lives in various formats…

Stephen shows John some image, while Dwight shares something else with Anne, who was visiting from Paris. But, we never got to hear any of John’s new music… which would be sadder if we didn’t know that when he does choose to share, it will be perfcct! He’s just that way!

Clouds again enlivened otherwise sunny days as we began our drive home…

Remembering Stupas & European Cathedrals we drive to Salt Lake City…

The Snake River became an even more real character in this geologic story as I learn that the Great Salt Lake was drained in a series of floods through canyons like this.

A wind farm becomes further a visual consideration in the stories of natures powers…

Then the towers to transport that electricity…

More clouds accompanied our ferry ride home to Vashon Island…

With a view of one ferry from another…

There was a bit of sadness to embrace upon our return to Soundcliff. One of the several house sitters had called us last weekend to say our old cat Gertie [for that one surnamed Stein] wasn’t eating… then our friend Steven Shaun, who was spending the weekdays here had called during our middle day of driving home to explain she was dying. This was not unexpected… we’d known she didn’t have much longer to live. That last morning as we drove the last leg to Seattle, he left us a message, because we were out of cell range during that period, with the news that she had died about 5 AM. We’d long called him her “boyfriend” because they had such a close relationship, so it was helpful to know she’d had his ministrations during her end time.

We’ve buried her in the lawn, in a bald spot she had recently been claiming as a favorite place to sun. You know how cats like “defined” places. We figured she would rather be in the middle of our comings & goings, rather than off in a corner of the yard. We planted a sod of chamomile over her so it will continue to be differentiated. Chamomile is such a favorite of ours because Stephen & I met in my bean room in the garden in California more than 12 years ago carpeted in chamomile. Its scent is so heady!

She has obviously touched us all so deeply over her 18 years here. She was quite a garden kitty & especially loved to play with us while we were working outdoors. She’d not been well for awhile so it feels both bitter & sweet to let her go.

This afternoon our beginning-to-be-regular gardener, Hawke, brought her collection of Tibetan singing bowls & the four of us gave her a song, sitting around her small circle & afterward told some stories… like how she loved to sit out in the rain, which seems so un-cat-like. While she also loved to be dried off & fluffed with towels, we would soon after find her out in the wet again!

I close with this image of a collection of brass vessels I’ve begun as somthing like my own version of a stupa… containers to hold ritual stories.