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Year of the Plague 28 – Musings Twelve hours before a late summer snow fall in Denver.

September 7, 2020

The garden in the backyard, twelve hours before an early snow storm. To the left in the back, moon flowers that have migrated into the edge of the garden from a neighbor across the alley. They come out at night and tend to shrink back into their stalks as the sun gets higher in the sky.


Hello darkness my old friend…

I’ve come to talk to you again…


The photo is of our backyard garden a few hours before the temperature is predicted to drop 70 degrees from close to 100 to somewhere in the 20s, tonight in early September.

The light before the darkness.

A full day of snow is in the forecast. And so, with Nancy in E. Nebraska, I picked the remaining ripe tomatoes, squash and one cucumber, will cover the garden later in the afternoon, bring my two thriving cannabis plants that are in pots into the garage to protect them from the wind and cold and cover the rest of the garden.

We’ll see what survives the storm afterwards.

It has been a good summer for the garden, the harvest of which is bountiful. For a month or so I can’t keep up with all the delicious tomatoes and cucumbers. We give away more than half I would think. Of course I’m not surprised, Nancy spent a good deal of time replemishing the soil with horse manure, hay, cardboard (which deterioriates) after it seemed the soil had exhausted itself from forty years of gardening. And now it has come back will all its former glory.

This is my forth year growing cannibis. It’s legal in Colorado. I hardly smoke it at all – on occasion to help me sleep, maybe once a month if that. An old friend helped me get going. Like the tomatoes, most of the weed – it’s good quality – I grow I give away as gifts. This year’s crop looks good but needs another week or two of loving tender care after the frost passes.

I had intended to spend more time outside today – most of the day actually, but when I went outside to tend to the garden I noticed white specks falling from the sky. Not snow flakes yet, but ash from the fires in the mountains, especially from the Cameron Peak fire west of Ft. Collins. A friend in northern California sits terrified with the fires there; she’s been through this before.

Fire and rain starting tonight and sometime early morning, snow.

My mind wanders.

Actually these days my mind is always wandering, wandering back to this, that scene, to Flatbush, Jamaica, Canton, NY, France, Tunisia, Finland and a hundred places in the Colorado Rockies.

I remember another early snow. It was later in September, 1969. Nancy and I had just met at Rulison. We had a friend – long story perhaps I’ll tell it sometime – Margaret Puls from Salida. She had encouraged us to go down to Alamosa to deliver winter clothes to a poor Chicano family. We stayed at the home of Priscilla Falcon (her married name) who would marry Crusade for Justice activist Ricardo Falcon sometime later. We delivered the clothes, spent an evening with the family, stayed overnight and the next morning drove back to Boulder where we were both attending the University of Colorado – she a freshman, myself starting a phd program in Anthropology (which I never finished). It snowed on the morning we left Alamosa but by the time we reached Salida the sun was out and the scenery, the mountains driving past the Presidential Range on into South Park was breathtaking.

That was the first time I remember a September snow in Colorado and it was the start of our 51 year dialogue, friendship, love affair. Brooklyn meets eastern Nebraska.

I am too busy to be depressed – objectively I should be. There is no good reason that I am not.

Between the Coronavirus pandemic and horrors Trump has unleashed upon the nation and the world, only those living in self-contained bubble can be optimistic. While defeating Trump is a worthy enough cause, the alternative is only slightly better. Besides, there is no “going back” to what was. The first time I heard the term “the new normal” was from a recently deceased friend, Joe Grindon. The new normal kept changing from being able to drive, to being able to walk to the corner, to being able to walk to the bathroom. Abnormal, the new normal. He tried to adjust, to stay in control and I must say, to the degree that one can, my sense is he was in charge of his life until the end. My religious friend. He used to say to me “you must be a very religious person” and I’d respond “And I was wondering how you could be such a religious person,” and then we’d both laugh.

We both understood “the darkness” that was approaching and that “the new normal” would continue to be re-defined… and that we needed the strength to address it and give the strength to others to do so. Heard stories of human suffering today – not necessarily the dramatic kind, but rather the kind that kills slowly but surely. An 85 year old woman living alone “waiting to die” was one. All the lonely people, where do they all come from? Another of teachers now working 18, 20 hours a day trying to figure out “on-line” teaching depressed and in a near panic, struggling to maintain sanity. All the healthcare workers… from doctors to aides and all in between. Those young folk fighting for their future on the streets being gas, shot with “non-lethal” projectiles. And of those kids in immigrant holding centers – concentration camps really – torn from their parents..and of every day it seems, another person of color somewhere in the country killed by overzealous overarmed local police…

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