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May Peace Be with Them All

Not far from where I now live are the buildings of the old Catholic Loretto Heights College, opened by the Sisters of Loretto in 1891.  The whole campus has been sold and resold over the years, but the graves of 62 Sisters of Loretto are currently buried on the site in a quiet corner at Amherst and Irving.   They have been fenced off and protected for years in  their quiet corner, but now that the entire campus site is being redeveloped in to low income housing in the old dorms, and retail, other housing sites, with streets and sidewalks…it has been decided by the Mother House to exhume the old Sisters and move them to Mt. Olivet, the Catholic Cemetery in Wheat Ridge.   

There have been many protests…but ultimately, as I’ve told my non-Catholic raised friends, you don’t argue with the Brides of Christ!  😊  Just do it… All in all it will be better for the remains to be joined with other sisters and priests who founded and built this area. Back to their community, as it were.

This morning I stopped by to see if they’d started the project (was on my way to Home Depot), and happened on a representative from the Archdiocese of Denver in charge of the project…it was a serendipitous opportunity to have a long conversation about what’s occurring. It is all pretty fascinating…historical impact, religious rules, neighbors stopping by to talk (guilty)…the people enacting the move are in for a loooong couple-three weeks of work…    …HA

The exhumation begins this next Monday, and will continue each day 7-4, until completed.  Each plot will be hand dug by archaeologists/anthropologists trained in that sort of work.  A Sister of Loretto and a rep from the Arch Diocese will be onsite each day. The graves are almost all over 100 years old, so hard to say if even the pine boxes will remain, but they can determine by soil studies where wood is/was, bones are/were.  There is an unlikely chance they may come across an “incorrupt” body, one that has not decomposed, at which time all work would stop until they determine what that might have happened. Imagine THAT!   Interesting times, interesting work…those jolly ol’ nuns are probably enjoying the show.    I can just hear those high pitched, squeaky old voices singing “Now thank we alllll our Goooood..”

Will keep you posted…this is truly the end of an age…the Sisters of Loretto led the charge in the West in so many ways…all across the West. Determined women devoted to their mission.   Peace be to them in their next adventure. 

JUNE 2022

At last! At last! June third has arrived. I am not counting June 1st, since it was rainy and cold, and it snowed heavily in the mountains that day. But today, the sun is out early with the promise of heat. Selah!

I do like the high desert. I have lived here most of my life. I find when I visit either coast, my dry skin stops itching leaving me nothing about which to fidget, my hair softens and hangs, my sinuses seem to annoyingly swell. It’s that wet heat that gets me.

There are trees on the coasts. Lots of them. Lovely, but intimidating after a few days; dark at night, hanging over the roads, hiding who knows what animals that shreik and rustle the leaves. Have you ever heard a meerkat in the woods? Like a baby crying, shudder. It’s no wonder so many great, scary tales originate in New England. And don’t forget the Pacific Northwest, with its rain and mudslides and apple maggots…oh, Lord…just the thought of an apple maggot. And moose crossings. Oh, and Big Foot!

The gardens do grow lush on the wet edges of the country; the rose buds in Santa Barbara are as big as your fist – I’m talking a grown person’s fist. You can pick pomegranates from your neighbor’s tree on the way to school, if you are inclined, though your blood red stained lips and teeth and fingers leave no question about what you’ve been up to. There are camelias, and oleanders, and giant redwoods in California. And eucalyptus trees with trunks as large as houses. Pity the sidewalks where the trees grow tall; they crack and heave…murder on little knees trying to roller skate to the corner and back. Sidewalk surfing generally involves a split lip or bloody knee or two. The Florida coast is flat, and wind blown, and sandy, sandy, sandy clear into town. Palmetto bugs, big and ugly and everywhere; geckoes, and citrus rats – shiver – Flowering jacarandas and towering kapok trees, and grapefruit trees calling out for a steal when no one is looking. And peacocks in the old orchard, and mermaids, REAL mermaids, in Weeki Watchee!

Yeah, there is much to be said about life on the coasts… great views, great seafood, great people, but mildew and mosquitoes and silverfish, and killer fogs with ghost ships lurking. Here on the Colorado plains we too have great views, great Mexican food, great people (though many have only recently moved here and have brought their politics and over the top lifestyles with them), flies and brown recluse spiders and rattlesnakes and tales of crazy pioneer hatchet ladies…in New Mexico we had tarantulas and quick lizards with blue tails, oh, and scorpions (always check your shoes and socks before putting them on), and aliens – so they say.

All the old cliches apply: “To each his own.” “Bloom where you’re planted.” “You can’t fix stupid” uh, not that one…. Suffice it to say that at the end of the day, Dorothy was right… despite the call of the wild, the temptations of travel, lunch in the luxe of an old gangster’s pink hotel, “There’s no place like home.”

WHAT OF GOD THEN?

Rilke asked God what He will do when Rilke dies.

Who will call His name?

Who will beg His succor, then thank Him daily?

Who will praise Him? Need Him? Adore and despise Him on a regular basis?

Good question, Rainer. Did He ever answer?

I too have come to know God. I know longer seek Him, because I know that I know that I know where He resides; what He would have me know and do and be. Stupidly I sometimes choose to ignore His simplest requests. He knows me. It’s okay in the overall scheme of things.

It seemed enough to finally know; to say I know and truly mean it; to relax into that knowledge, and to wave off those who would interfere with my peace, my personal satisfaction, if you will, that I no longer need to debate the existence of my life and soul source -God. Believe It or Not. Get thee behind me, Satan. Go away, I say, Go away, Son, y’bother me (Foghorn Leghorn). I am comfortable with my God, and He with me.

There is a challenge within the knowledge, however. It is not enough to know that you know. You must DO something with the knowledge, or He might disappear. He might become nothing but a passing thought. His power and gifts may never again be requested, and so our collective strength will weakened.

Mein Gott, as I’ve written this I understand what Rilke was saying! He was not threatening God, not pretending he was himself God, but rather he understood that all power, might, love, friendship, community, prosperity, health – all require acknowledgement and celebration – nods of acknowledgement one of the other. God of Man and Man of God. Neither exists without the other. Both are essential. The chicken AND the egg are essential, each for each.

It is not that God made Man in His image, nor that man made God in his image. The image is not the thing! Life is the point of it all. Life and living it and acknowledging each other as we do so.

Oh, My, as George Takei would say, it might be time to re-read E.M.Forster, and Hesse and others my professors and friends have presented, and my old Bible, perchance. Not for the rules, but for the connection! I need to think on this further as an opportunity for tapping into the joy of it all, that we each define each other. Our strength morphs and grows as we believe in each other, and we each live and prosper.

Life is Good – Life is God

The concept has been in front of me all this time.

Amen.

May 29, 2022

suggested reading: Poem “What Will You Do/” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Short Story “The Point of It” by E.M. Forster

J. MICHAEL

I have a friend – an old friend of thirty plus years now – with whom I enjoy an occasional chat across a table solving all the political and theoretical problems of the world, laughing with veiled innuendo (not so veiled, actually), toasting with good scotch (or coffee as the time of day dictates), and shoving away a bad breakfast burrito without unnecessary comment (the shove says it all – ha),

who does not hesitate to call BS when I’m ranting too far off the beaten path;

who loves his new cars, and his backhoe, his bargain RV, and blasting the roadway to his historic old stone house at the top of a mountain that once a beloved of his tried to burn to the ground (no one has seen her since…hmm).

Like me, he has helped finance hundreds of homes, and has sometimes made good money doing so.

He has been an international soccer referee, and an annual mate on a sailboat in the Caribbean, paid mainly with rum and fresh lobster.

I’m glad for the occasional sit down, gossiping about who is doing what; which gorgeous woman has spurned him (her loss, I’d say).

He doesn’t judge me. He doesn’t bullshit me. He doesn’t insult me – often, ha.

Once, nine years ago, after a lunch at a favorite pub (no drinking at lunch, truly) I turned to wave tata to him, tripped on my clogs and fell face down in the crosswalk shielding my recently mastectomized chest with my arms. He screeched to a stop in his old Porsche, held up traffic, and ran to make sure I could walk to my car. I could. Don’t fuss.

He’s allergic to cats, something I’ve never understood, I suspect it’s more he doesn’t like them.

He’s a friend, and I’m glad for it.

We had coffee and discussion at a cozy diner spot up Turkey Creek yesterday.

We’ll likely touch base another time or two this coming year, now that the snow is moving out.

I hope you have a friend or two like this in your life…someone whose company you enjoy, though you cannot really say why…

It’s nice.

AFTER THE LATE MAY SNOWS

Finally the sun is warming the sidewalks.

The shivering leaves are beginning to unfurl,

And the blue jay in the big pine behind me is screeching just because he can.

05/25/22

ON READING “LOVE COMES QUIETLY” BY ROBERT CREELY 1926-2005

I do wonder at times,

how I will be able to go alone all the way;

how it will be when I see no one I’ve known in the biblical and non-biblical way.

Will I remember things? Remain vibrant?

Or fade, no longer caring, no longer relevant.

I cannot say with any certainty

that the love I have known on occasion will somehow aggregate

into one solid rock at the end of the day, but so far it seems likely.

5/21/22

NOT MY TREE

It is NOT my tree, do you hear me?

It cracked under the weight of the snow, then crashed onto my new fence and my car, loudly.

It is YOUR tree. The tree YOU do not trim, water, or care for. It sits in the yard you do not mow, or keep clean, filled with weeds and torn papers, cigarette butts, and sometimes are car or two pulled up to the house on what passes for your lawn.

I piled the broken pieces at the edge of your yard. I have spent enough money putting up a high fence, and hauling out piles of your caca to make my house livable.

YOU clean it up! I am done with it for the day.

May 21, 2022 Spring Storm, Denver, CO

TIME FOR BREAKFAST

Yesterday morning I made pea protein pancakes for breaky

without background music and/or the noise of the daily news, just my budgies nibbling on millet.

I realized as I slowly broke one egg into the mixture and gently beat it with a small whisk that I was actually taking my time making breakfast. Cleaning as I went, watching the pancakes bubble on the griddle, giving them time to dry just a bit on the edge before flipping them after all the bubbles had burst. I had no schedule to keep; no need to hurriedly squeeze in breakfast between my shower and my drive somewhere, nor the urge to drop a frozen waffle into the toaster turned up high making it crispy enough to carry in one hand while locking the back door in another.

I kind of like it, being aware of how things come together without rushing them. I actually heard the egg crack, saw each ingredient meld into something entirely new.

THIS be one of those lessons to be learned while growing more, shall we say, mature. Hmm.

NEVER

Never say never

Never, never, never, not ever

For shit will happen.

05/21/22 after my neighbor’s snow laden tree broke and fell on my car

Huzzah

MAY FRIDAY THE 13TH

Exactly 2:15 PM the wind whipped up twisting the trees, rattling the ristra outside the back door, and startled my budgie quietly snoozing on his perch after a morning of loudly chirping and tearing at the millet. So glad he is feeling at home enough to eat.

2:17 PM, the wind has stopped, all is quiet. I wonder who got riled up about what. Hmm, the Powers- That- Be should take note that it is rude to threaten havoc, only to chuckle and move on. Something like an annoying sibling who jumps out from behind the door, then just shrugs as you pick yourself up from the floor.

That’s about it for the day. I watered extensively this morning, front and back – before 10 AM, of course. I’ve learned to stop standing over the seeded soil in the back waiting for new grass to appear. It won’t, y’know, while I’m watching it. All I’ve tossed out over the last two months are beginning to appear, stretching into their tertiary leaves. I pray every day that they will grow before the squirrels realize there are bulbs, and sunflower seeds just under the surface. Little rats that they are.

The daylilies are reaching tall, and OH, I need to go plant the pumpkins and squash while I’m thinking of it…

To be continued…