Almost Independence Day... 

Journal entry by Eve Ilsen — 22 minutes ago


This morning began early, as soon as light fully entered my bedroom.

A student/friend brought over all sorts of things to plant, and we spent a good part of the morning adding things that the bees and hummingbirds will like.  I am an uneducated and chaotic gardener, so the help of one more experienced is very much appreciated.  At her suggestion, I began thinking about how I could turn the unruly Cape Honeysuckle at the south side of the house into a welcoming trellis rather than  an obstreperous obstruction.  I went to McGuckin's, wonderful Boulder stronghold, and found bamboo pole and covered wire, and began.  


I returned to McGuckin's when I figured out what I still needed.

Then I visited a friend and we went to dinner to celebrate her small new apartment...and since the restaurant we'd planned to visit was closed, we tried the one next door, and discovered that the (meatless) tapas were absolutely splendid.  We felt royally replete without having eaten too much.


I look forward to a quiet tomorrow at home, meditating on the meaning of freedom and independence...And on the attention, consciousness and action demanded from those who would nurture and protect that freedom for all.

Please listen to this song by Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Sing along with all your heart.






































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I am trying to shore up my courage to NOT open the computer in the morning.

When I do, I get snagged by everyone else's alarm and panic about the havoc being wreaked by our infantile president, and I spend the first productive hours of my day writing letters to congresspeople, signing petitions, etc.; and the following hours worried.

This has got to stop.

I have a book to write--more than one, actually---and I don't want to add to the T's list of sins the sabotage of my creative work.  So I need permission, support and encouragement to postpone my civic duty until the afternoon, so that I may do my personal and unique work, the stuff that no-one else can do, in the morning, and not find myself by afternoon too depleted and discouraged to write.


Wishing us all a good Independence Day Week.  Wishing this country the very miracles it needs.

Wishing us the personal ones as well.


Motz'ei Yahrzeit

It has been a full, rich day, starting with arrival to shul at seven a.m. with a bundle of food and the Slivovitz.  It was someone else's yahrzeit as well, so a beautiful frittata and more fruit joined what I had brought.  


After shul, I brought my car to the shop and found out what it will cost to fix what got torn off of its underside.

Yikes; but has to be done.



The rest of the day was outwardly prosaic, and inwardly peaceful.  I don't really know whether what I feel is Zalman's presence lightly accompanying me today, or my own imagination filling in the space where I wish that presence would be.  Throughout all the varied stations of the day (grocery, baking, meeting with the young woman from League of Conservation Voters, potluck of women writers, etc.) I have felt a loving presence lightly accompanying me.  Of course I cannot say clearly what or who it is; I just appreciate it.


I am falling asleep at the keyboard; a definite sign that it is time to say good night, and to wish us all a good shabbos.


Home again

I will try to describe this week somehow...


I did not, as I'd hoped, leave for Lama at dawn, but in early afternoon.  It is a l-o-n-g drive, and a beautiful one.  They housed me in one of their "huts":  a lovely, tiny, efficient dwelling with room for a bed, a brilliant drop-down desk one can write at while sitting on the bed, and windows that bring both light and air, and a view of the stars, of sunrise, of sunset; and the sound of birds.

IT IS QUIET---that is, we hear a machine now and then; but mostly, it's people, and kids playing, and a dog or two, and the birds.  They observe silence until breakfast, a lovely practice.  

There are more stars in the night sky than I have seen anywhere but Australia and New Zealand.

I heard no news, saw no TV, had no phone and did not bring this laptop.


The group that gathered to celebrate the Solstice and Lama's 50th anniversary was a wild, wonderful mixture of folk---many aging hippies; others who look "normal" until you begin to talk to them, and find they are wonderfully wild as well...

Memories.  Nostalgia.  Disbelief when facing the present.

Great kindness and generosity and memories of their teacher, Sufi Sam Lewis, buried farther up the hill.  A ceremony of blessing their spring of water.  No waste.  Outhouses.  Sharing food prep and cleanup, in shifts.  Chop vegetables; wash dishes.


Some people I had wanted to visit with for years.

A stunning, brilliant performance by Zuleika, dancer/musician/storyteller.

Reminiscences:  stories of Lama from the old-timers.  One was remembering Zalman's retreat there, up in the Hermitage.  Only he was such an extravert, she said, that he couldn't stay up in the hermitage, and kept coming down to the kitchen, joining everybody else.  At some point he was getting them to make tsimmes...How we laughed.

An evening of zikr.

Also an afternoon of zikr with Zuleika, in a marvelous outdoor structure with no roof, but an intensely blue sky above us...


Then:  an amazing visit between the whole bunch of us with Ram Das in Hawaii, by zoom.


Two other things stood out for me, amidst all this richness:  one was the great generosity of the community; the other was the unique and rich quality of some of the people that I met.  One or two will surely become lasting friends.  One of these, a fine and rare person, took me to the labyrinth that had been beautifully crafted with sticks, stones, shells...We walked it silently on shabbos:  into one's center/heart; out once more into the world, bringing inner riches.  

We walked it once more today:  an opening, a gathering of riches, and a goodbye.



I am home now, and deeply grateful to have shared this remarkable few days with these profoundly beautiful people.  Also encouraged, in the original sense of the word, to find that the spirit of seeking, of sharing, of great generosity and sharp inquiry have been kept alive.


Already after midnight

NOTE:  I may not have internet access from Tuesday through Sunday.   I promise to keep notes and catch you up when I return home.


Oh my.

And I thought I had broken the habit of the-late-night-before-travel...but obviously, I haven't.

My practice---not consciously adopted---has been to write and mail the tzedakah checks before going on a trip.  I somehow register the pile of charities-intended-but-not-fulfilled on my desk as even more embarrassing than being found by the police after (cholilah) an auto accident with torn underwear.  (What our mothers all warned us against.)  Here it is again, the pile of pleas for tzedakah.  I'll do them in the morning before leaving.  


Not that I'm prepared and packed---I haven't, entirely.

Nor actually chosen what I will take.

But I did pick up itty-bitty-mini toiletries, and nuts and seeds that I toasted and seasoned for snacks on the road.  And I stocked up on the cats' favorite food, and litter.  And showed the friend who is housesitting how to dismantle and clean the cats' water fountain.  

And I've gathered what I would like to give when I arrive.  And water for the trip.  And a thermos for coffee.  And in the course of the errands this afternoon, I bumped into five different women I'd not seen in a long time, and each one of them required a visit---a pleasure.


So now it's one a.m. and I am still awake and still not packed and the tzedakah checks are still not written and my mind is quietly reciting a litany ("simplify, simplify") and I hear the memory-echo of my beloved's voice floating down the stairs: "Hartzeleh, come to bed already..."  and since it has somehow gotten to be one a.m., I will.

Even though he will not be there to throw back the covers, welcome me into his arms and the warm spot on the bed, and softly snuffle and snore me to sleep.