Endless summer, Wyoming, Colorado, grief, love, camping, road trip

Our “endless summer” started in May 2016, though we didn’t name it until May 2017. 
A small section of a very big sky!

…into Wyoming, highway up and down and around in rolling high arid steppe – lots of sage, scattered livestock, a few herds of antelope, into a fertile river valley with green fields, herds of livestock, the majestic mountains in the near distance, the Snowy Range coming into view, coming closer to Centennial, where Jean came deeper into herself. 

Jean’s work, 1970s
What does it mean to be with a woman like you – who opens me to my tears – who opens me to deep awe and joy. Driving across the Wyoming high country, across the BIG SKY country feeling as if we’d taken something psychedelic – so high and so good. “It’s good to have been high before, because now we know what’s happening now.” 
The dream is reality.


In the Snowy Range
You told me I help open places in you – as you help open places in me.
That song you sang – “Wy-Wy-WY-oming.”
We stayed with Helen in Golden and with Kenny and Diane in Silverthorne. Good shopping trip with Kenny. Wonderful hospitality from nice people. Colorado and into Wyoming after a stop at Cataract Lake.

Centennial, Wyoming. Population 270. Jean called the woman who bought her house 40 years ago to see if we could come by and walk past the house to the river. The woman told Jean that she was out of town, but the back door was unlocked, so we could just come on in. And we did. And we walked the 30-40 feet from the back door to the river running fast (we heard a big fish break water). Standing there in the cold rain in this place of tremendous growth for Jean.

In the Snowy Range
We spent the night at the Old Corral Hotel, Peet’s coffee and fruit and yogurt for breakfast in our room. 

The highway (opened yesterday) up out of Centennial into the Snowy Mountains. I first saw these beautiful mountains about 1963 off in the distance on the way to somewhere in Wyoming with my friend, Renn Fenton***. I’ve seen them in the distance 5 or 6 times since; and now, driving into the mountains through pine trees dusted with snow and a little snow on the ground, now more, stopping the car down a smaller side road and getting out to be in the snow surrounded by trees with the snow too deep to walk in. Driving up and up with deep drifts on the side of the road and the snow coming down and at the top of the pass the snow is coming down sideways, stinging our faces – Yes!

The Bighorns

The endless arching of this endless summer from Berkeley to Mendocino to Dallas to Santa Cruz to San Francisco to Vancouver to the golden afternoon of Big Sur to Marcia’s house to Indian Rock to The Temple to Flagging to the Edge of the World, to Yosemite (walking with faeries in the forest) to the beach the seashore the waterfront to La Honda to Esalen(!) to massage class to New York to Spain to our beautiful life in Berkeley to Colorado into Wyoming into the place where Jean became so much and arching across the beautiful Snowy Range! This isthe train. Here is a moment on a Mendocino beach that captures when the endless summer started.

At the beginning of the Endless
Summer – Mendocino beach
Driving out of the Snowy Range it was a short drive to Saratoga, to visit the hot springs there. The Saratoga Hot Springs hotel was overpriced and the restaurant mediocre, but we had a great time along the river and in the room. (More later on the municipal hot springs – a much better option than the “resort.”)

From Saratoga, we drove north – first to Medicine Bow for breakfast with bikers (and not 50 year old divorced guy “bikers” with do-rags) – and onward to the Sheridan area to visit Jean’s friends, Katie and Hal for a few days. We hung out on their ranch, then drove up into the hills, parked, and walked along a dirt road lined with lupines. Hal forged ahead with the dogs (Dan and Marty) and Katie and Jean walked through the lupines and I wandered along in my own world. Lunch was at a café in Bighorn. After lunch we went to a “roping” – a cowboy Memorial Day get-together and a birthday party and so there we were, standing along the corral fence with the “headers” and “heelers” roping the steers and the other people sitting on their horses and a few along the fence.

Sheridan roping
And THEN, it was time for the “boil” – a huge pot of boiling seasoned water, with potatoes, sausage, corn, and shrimp – plus bread and slaw and macaroni salad and watermelon and rhubarb (harvested yesterday) pie and coconut cream pie and a humongous tub of ice cream and nice people – though most are probably farther to the right than I am to the left.
A great Memorial Day.
At the “boil” after roping
Memorial Day 2017
From Sheridan we headed south to Thermopolis for a short time in their municipal hot springs, then on to Lander (home of the National Outdoor Leadership School – NOLS). Good times and good food in this pretty Wyoming town.
We drove the few miles from Lander to Sinks Canyon where we camped in a state park. This was Jean’s first night in a tent in 40 years. Very windy and rained for awhile – a great night.
(“Grief is the final act of love, and recovery from it is the necessary betrayal on which the future depends. There is only this one life, and we are the ones who are here to live it.” From NYT review of Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.)

We talk of our spouses and the terrible grief. Driving up the highway across the Wyoming steppe and through the mountains, singing Grateful Dead and Beatles songs together – Here Comes the Sun! Such an emotional trip. Tears just beneath the surface… Attics of My Life – not about a person as much as self… attics = past – I laughed with delight.
In the tent

Onward back across this magnificent big sky country to Saratoga, where we stayed in Hacienda motel on the edge of this small town and drove five minutes to the municipal hot springs – free, sandy bottom, convivial scene. Back at the cowboy motel we rested then went to the Wolf Hotel for a prime rib dinner.

Vedauwoo campsite

Continuing south we again camped, this time in the Vedauwoo area – we had a great campsite among the hoodoos. Our nearest neighbors were a hippie family on their way to the Rainbow Gathering in a great bus. The man and I were talking about an Incredible String Band song quote on the side of bus (“We love you, but Jesus loves you the best”) and he and I sang a few lines together. Later I recalled that I sang that song to Keo as she was dying last January.

Camping with Jean was great. We were comfortable in our warm sleeping bag and tent, enjoyed our camping food, and had good times hiking around and watching sunsets.
From the Vedauwoos we drove to Fort Collins to spend the night, but it was too cityish, so we drove into the mountains and rented a cabin along the Fall River in Estes Park. This was a great move – clean mountain air, rushing river, and… a bear walked by less than 20 yards from Jean!!! This happened a day after we talked about our spirit animals (mountain lion for me; bear for Jean)!
Sunset Vedauwoo

In the morning we took off up Trail Ridge Road across the Rockies. It’s been more than 50 years since I was there and Jean had never made it across that pass at 12,183 feet. Wow! Surrounded by tundra and snowy peaks and the thin air and clear skies. Now over the pass toward Winter Park and then Golden to spend the night at Helen’s (and her dogs, Louie and Stella).

Jean and Helen were talking about a car we saw with a bumper sticker – Women for Trump. Jean said, “Don’t they realize their bodies are sacred.”
Denver airport and flying from one paradise (Wyoming/Colorado) to another (Berkeley/Bay Area).
Bear outside our cabin. Photo by Karen

*** Renn Fenton and I lived together in a cabin in Estes Park and climbed in Estes and the Needles in South Dakota. While Jean and I were traveling in Wyoming and Colorado, I told her a little about Renn. When we got home I googled him. I discovered that he died in 2007. Here is something from an internet forum: “I am a travel nurse who has taken care of Renn while he was in the hospital. I wanted all of you to know that I have felt privileged to be one who got to spend time caring for Renn during his last days. It was clear to me the first time I laid eyes on Renn that he was quite a character – when I googled him, I found this site and saw a comment that made me want to respond. I was actually able to “break through” with Renn and get him to talk back to me and say my name. I will forever remember his vivid blue eyes and “cat that got the canary” smile. I just wanted all of his friends to know that there are several of his nurses who have appreciated Renn for being the kind of person who makes this world interesting and feel honored to have cared for your friend.” 

Renn’s country – Jean’s country – my country

Dancing at Flagging, on the train, congruencies

Jean at Summer of Love installation at de Young Museum
Temple door

Jean and I and David and Charles went to a party with about 200 people in a meadow in a park on a beautiful Sunday (Mother’s Day) afternoon. (This is the same meadow where David and I had scattered Leslie’s ashes.) Today, the music was feel-good EDM and we were feeling good, feeling an irrepressible urge to dance – so there we were, dancing at the edge of the meadow, then into the forest, back into the meadow, and into a redwood grove. Yeah, this is the way it should be. I danced with Jean, her friend Courtney, my son, my son’s husband, and random people. It was more “cozy” (as Jean said) than euphoric. We enjoy open and intimate connections every day, and a fair amount of magic in our daily lives – we talked about how this day and its magical experiences are part of living the dream; about our shared commitment to that reality. We walked out of the park, Uber to train, and train home. Really tired the next day, but felt good.

~ ~ ~
Uncoupled couple on the train. Riding the N Judah train from Embarcadero to Duboce Park. A couple got on and stood, each one at opposite sides of the door, standing facing away from one another, staring with flat affect into their separate spaces, never speaking, just staring, unhappy looking.
This is the train – better to be alone with one’s memories I think, than uncoupled like that.
David at Flagging in the Park party

This is the train – riding through/within each precious unrepeatable moment.

This is the train – I want you to put on your pretty summer dress.
This is the train – face time, our faces inches apart, holding you, watching you fall asleep, watching you sleep, forcing myself to stay awake for each precious unrepeatable moment in the firelight, in the dark, in the light.
This is the train. 
~ ~ ~
Lunch with David, 3-4 days/week. How sweet is that! 
~ ~ ~
Jean and I talking of our beloved spouses.
~ ~ ~
Stairs in Berkeley home

Hippie Lady. Our home is sacred space. Living consciously. Flowers everywhere inside and outside the house. Uncomplicated relationship. Free. Lying together, face to face, looking into one another’s eyes – our “face-time.” Recognizing the magical moments of congruency.

~ ~ ~
I discovered that you were making notes about our relationship. And they were the same sort of notes I was making! Things that we both love or congruencies or similarities…
In common/likes/congruencies
Creating – art (JC) and hospice (CK)
Being outside
Love – loving and being loved
Oh yeah – Jean in redwoods in AIDS Memorial Grove


Rock and roll
We’re alive!
Practical politics
The Bay Area, especially Berkeley
Pleasing the other
The importance of the relationship – recognition of the beauty
Working on the relationship
What we see as beautiful
Celebration of hip culture
Living fully/following our dreams/visions
People (JC) – Humanity (CK)
CK in garden in Berkeley

Art (JC) – Service (CK)

~ ~ ~
Dallas: Humid warm night with the fragrance of old fashioned four o’clocks heavy in the night.


Spain: Barcelona, Granada, Valle de Abdalajis, Cordoba, Barcelona

Valle de Abdalajis
We flew Newark to Barcelona in Delta coach. It was a seven hour flight and we were glad we’d paid extra for a little extra legroom. Aeroport bus to the center of the city, then taxi to the Air BnB where we met Gemma, the woman we were renting from She was still cleaning the apartment after previous renters, so we dropped our luggage off and walked to the nearby Cathedral Familia Sagrada, hung out in a park, had something to eat, went back to apartment and settled in.
La Familia Sagruda
Thursday notes: Sitting in a coffee shop near the university, soft guitar music, watching all the pretty people walking by, decent salad, good espresso, feeling good with Jean. We visited the Catedral de Barcelona (more traditional than the far-out La Familia). There were many shrines within the cathedral, some old tombs (from 1500s), and a realistic wax figure of a priest in a confessional. When I leaned in to look closer, he blinked! It was a living person, not wax – talk about startled!
We went to La Familia Sagrada, a strange edifice designed by Antonio Gaudi, the penultimate Barcelona architect. The cathedral has been under construction since 1882 and is scheduled for completion in 2026
Walked to Barrio Gotic, a maze of narrow streets, upscale shops, a whole tourist scene. Jean went into the Picasso Museum and I hung out on the streets. Got a text from Kristina, who has passed her state boards (NCLEX) – congratulations!
Las feministas 💖
Walking back to our apartment and up ahead we hear chanting, cheering, lots of people. Checking it out – las feministas! Into the flow now, joining in long enough to be able to say we were there. It was a happy and intense time – yet another life bookend for me – thinking of Leslie and when she bought the early Our Bodies/Our Selves at the Whole Earth Store in Austin; how in those early days feminism seemed radical (it was, actually); how she was an avowed feminist until the end of her life; how she put her beliefs into action, working with and lifting up women all her life. We were raised in the 1950s, raised ourselves in the 1960s and now, 50 years later, in a march with Jean, another serious feminist! Fortunate me! Days later, walking through an area of Barcelona called, “El Clot,” we picked up a flyer that said, “El Clot esta FEMINISTA o no sera.” Yes!
At dinner in a neighborhood-oriented tapas café we watched part of a soccer semifinals game. Barcelona won and the café erupted, as did the streets – honking, cheering, fireworks. Great fun.

On to Granada – we missed our flight, and got another flight. After several misadventures, we got to the Hotel Leo for our first night in Granada, and then moved to an apartment. The taxi to the apartment couldn’t take us all the way because of a religious parade. So we hiked quite a ways and when we were in the middle of the parade, a parade marshal let us through and we kept on hiking and hiking up narrow cobblestone streets until finally reaching our apartment at #90 San Juan de los Reyes.

La feminista; mi corazon


The apartment was incredible. First floor entry, second floor two bedrooms and bathroom, and third floor living room, kitchen, and veranda. From the bedroom and from the veranda, there were stunning views of Alhambra. And at night, when the fortress/palace/mosque was lighted, our bed and we were bathed in the light.
Our tickets to see Alhambra were on a cold and rainy day and so there we were again, walking in misty gardens all wet with rain. Happy days. Alhambra was spectacular, though somewhat crowded. We could see our apartment across the little river running beneath the ramparts.
By now, I’d lost track of regular writing.
While we were traveling, we observed the date of Leslie’s passing, Leslie’s birthday, the anniversary of Jean’s husband’s passing, and Jean’s wedding anniversary – March is quite a month, grief-wise! On Leslie’s birthday, Jean asked me what time it was. I said I didn’t know and so Jean checked her phone. As she opened the phone, the time clicked over from 7:46 to 7:47 – 747 being the number of greatest meaning to Leslie. Hi Leslie! Sigh.
Our bedroom in Granada

Leslie and Jean are different in some ways and similar in others. One profound similarity is that both of these women do something I call believing in people. And through the power of this belief (and other factors), somehow, some people are lifted up, sometimes literally saved. Once again, I ask, how can this be? How can I have ended up with these women!?

Granada was a high point of the trip: our incredible apartment and view, narrow cobblestone streets, little bus up to (what we called) hippie hill, street musicians, good food, good Spanish wine, romantic everything. I actually had not thought that Spain would be any more or less romantic than our usual life. But it was very romantic.
Our street in Granada

We rented a car in Granada and drove to Antequera and from there through the countryside to the Valle de Abdalajis, near one of the “white villages” – so-called because all the houses are painted white. The drive was beautiful, though to me (the driver), stressful because of the difficulties finding our way. But after some challenges, we found where we were spending the night – at Maggie and Elio’s house. We were able to walk into Elio’s olive tree grove – several acres of trees!

We drove up above the village for a lovely time along a deserted road. Dinner in Antequera was unusual – including an orange and salted cod salad, rabbit and garlic stew, a sausage potato and egg dish, and bread with olives and olive oil.
From the valley we drove to Cordoba, where we stayed at a hotel half a block from the entrance to la Mezquita de Cordoba. Once again, we were in narrow, cobblestone streets, sidewalk cafes, and among friendly people.
The Hope of a Condemned Man III.
Miro finished this on the day the man was executed

From Cordoba, we drove back to Granada, where we stayed one night at the Leo Hotel, then flew back to Barcelona. We stayed at another Air BnB in an urban neighborhood, nice, very quiet.

We walked from our apartment to El Clot, a transitional middle class and art-oriented neighborhood. Nice espresso at a nice community center, where we picked up the flyer that said, “El Clot esta FEMINISTA o no sera.” Yes! I read a few days ago that at the University of Texas approximately 1 in 7 women has been raped. The president “just grab ‘em by the pussy” of the united states is a misogynist sexual predator leading a republican party that despises women, except as sex objects – in case anyone thinks feminism isn’t an immediate issue.
Enduring Granada memory –
a little psychedelic band

I had an epiphany on a visit to the Joan Miro Museum. I was looking at large triptych titled, The Hope of a Condemned Man. I learned that “Miró painted this triptych in reference to the hope of grace as he prayed for the life of the young anarchist Salvador Puig Antich, finally executed by garotte” (from Wikipedia). I understood then that my life of seeking justice for the dispossessed and underserved could be connected to art. This mattered a lot to me, since Jean has dedicated her life to art.

Easy days and nights in Barcelona. Several wonderful dinners at a small upscale restaurant, Vivant. These are the days!


Home in Berkeley

We flew Delta business class from Barcelona to NYC (great flight), then Virgin America NYC to SFO (poor flight). Ahhh, back to Paradise (Berkeley).



Beautiful Christmas, Phana, days into days, a day on Mount Tamalpais, Esalen couples massage, How to Survive a Plague, Book About Love, Massage class notes

Jean on Mount Tamalpais
It was a beautiful Christmas with Jean, David, and Charles, despite a death in the family. This Christmas was a time to enjoy and to savor vs. endure as in the previous year (and previous six for Jean). Jean gave me an art coat and a book on love and I gave her a lithograph and a book. A time to be born. I flew to Dallas Christmas afternoon (see below) and Jean flew in a few days later and we celebrated the New Year together. Though we were a little under the weather it was a good time.  
Amidst the joy, sadness. I got the call two days before Christmas that Phana had passed away. We spent a lot of time together over the past one and a half years – long, long days of chemotherapy, hospitals and doctor’s offices in Houston and Dallas, endless hours in the car. Phana was young and in some ways, unfulfilled, yet she went through illness and death with bravery and equanimity – and so fulfilled that last thing: an honorable death.
David and Jake, CK, Phana – Ocean Beach, August 2015
David and I flew to Dallas on Christmas day for the funeral the next day. He spoke at the service. A sad day.
Back in Berkeley, back home, we were in a time of transition, which can be difficult. But that’s the nature of things – changes, changes. (Looking out of the bus window going past the Berkeley Art Museum I see a young man holding an older man sagging in his arms.)
Days rolling into days. These are the days… of the endless summer… days upon days in Paradise. Magical mornings – waking sometime between 6 and 7, coffee in bed, watching the astounding changes of colors and clouds in the sky through the double doors with the Bay below and Mt. Tamalpais in the distance, and out of bed around the crack of 9. A bowl of fruit and yogurt with toast and almond butter for breakfast.
Grateful Dead Night at Ashkanaz – where we go dancing
Most days I go into the City to see David: Number 7 bus to downtown Berkeley, BART to Embarcadero, MUNI to Castro, walking the stairs of Harvey Milk Plaza past the rainbow escalator to the corner of Market and Castro. Walking down the avenue to meet David for lunch (Starbelly, Harvey’s, the Vietnamese place, Kasa, the usual places). Life unfolding – ahhhh – so beautiful!
Today coming up out of the subway with Bombay Calling (It’s a Beautiful Day) on my headphones flashing back to being in a little room in the Bombay airport with Leslie very sick and there was nothing to do but give her water and watch the cockroaches crawling on the wall… when you’re in a dream, time passes so slowly, time passes so slowly, open up your heart…

Back to MUNI, BART, Berkeley bus, home to Jean’s house hanging high above the San Francisco Bay.

Sunset over the Golden Gate (from deck)

(In the past months I’ve spent more time looking at the sky than ever before in my life.)
In the evening, sunset, a glass of wine before dinner, and after dinner, tea and a bowl. Last night we “made hand love” – just hand to hand – for an hour or more. These are the days!!!
Two-three times/week we have dinner or otherwise meet up with some of Jean’s group (tribe?) of friends.
Mt. Tam., Pacific Ocean
On a beautiful January day (1/31) we drove to the Pacific side of Mount Tamalpais. We walked along the Bolinas Ridge Trail, then on unnamed trails along the sensuous rounded hills rolling off the mountain to a place in the sun and trees overlooking the sea on one side and the hills on the other side. In the sun, in the wind, in the golden afternoon, on the soft hilltop talking of love, of people we love, of regrets, now dancing in the sun, embracing. Oh! As the sun began to set and the cool rolled in we walked – a long walk – back to the car. San Francisco rising like Atlantis in the far distance. Hail Atlantis! It was an epic drive home. Neither of us felt like eating, so we took a long deep bath together in the warm candle-lit bathroom.
Charles and Jean 
“The best days are the ones when I look around at all these people in my life, these people in my heart, and I think, This is it.” 
We got a massage table for Christmas and have each been getting a long massage at least once every week. We spent last weekend (2/4-5) in little hippie town in Marin County at a Esalen couples massage workshop. There were two other couples signed up, but both cancelled, so it was just Jean and me with the instructor, Nora. Somewhere along the line we both realized Nora is a master teacher. We had a beautiful and very valuable experience, learning and practicing some basics of Esalen massage.
Saturday night (after the first day of class), we went to a dinner party at Linda and Frank’s art house. To me, the dinner/gathering was an installation within an installation. Someone at the party asked why we took the course/what is this massage about (those were more or less the questions). Good question:

San Francisco in the far distance from Mt. Tam
  • Esalen massage is about the connection between the person giving and the person getting the massage… loving, expressing love, receiving love, uniting.
  • It’s about feeling good deep inside, a sense of well-being.
  • Relaxing.
  • Esalen massage is about opening to self, connecting, experiencing one’s own (and another’s) body and mind.

Notes from the class are at the end of this post.
I’ve read two books in the past month. How to Survive a Plague by David France is an account of the AIDS epidemic and the appalling lack of response on the part of the government, healthcare system, and society to the suffering and death of gay men – and the magnificent efforts of AIDS activists such as the ACT-UP group to force a response.
The book is a triumph of love and strength.
I lived in the Castro for about two years, first with Leslie and then alone. I loved it. I was surrounded by people hated and attacked for being – and their individual and community response? They take the word “gay” to describe themselves and their culture. They dance. They hold together. They create. They BE. We be. 

The Castro

Michael Callen (one of the early AIDS activists), on Christmas day, 1993:
“… just repeats like a mantra: life is good. Life is good.”
“I realize some people could look at my life and say, ‘Oh it was so sad. He died of AIDS and isn’t that tragic.’ But what I want to come through is that even after all the pain and all the torture, and even having AIDS, I can honestly say that being gay is the greatest gift I was ever given. I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
When all his friends had spoken their farewells that afternoon, Callen signed his last will and testament and then turned up the dial on his morphine drip, sliding into a deep and lasting sleep.
The other book is A Book About Love by Jonah Lehrer, given to me by Jean. It started out as kind of a feel-good book, then turned into something deeper. Ultimately it was an extravagant affirmation of living life and loving to the fullest. Loving in the face of joy, suffering, work, getting tired of it all, in the face of death, in need, in strength and weakness, for better, for worse, in life.

Meeting of minds: Marcia and Jean in Marcia’s garden

“The best days are the ones when I look around at all these people in my life, these people in my heart, and I think, This is it.”  

Esalen couples massage notes, taken at Nora Matten’s class, 2/4-5/2017 
(website: http://www.noramatten.com/)
Have supplies ready, warm room, music, lighting.
Begin with talking about intentions, connecting with the other person, dancing each part of the body, mindfulness meditation.
Start – back
Bolster under ankles.

From beginning, work to relax the person.
LEs and UEs, use deeper strokes except with varicosities, injuries, etc.
Up-strokes are more invigorating (increased force) and down-strokes are more calming (decreased force).
Avoid surprises, be intentional re everything. Commit to the stroke.
Work with one foot back (sometimes), heart open, 
Come into myself, including awareness of pain, discomfort…
3-fold towel under shoulders diagonally
Introducing myself… Slowly lower hands to lower back and behind the heart. Not doing, just being. Breathe. Breathe with the person.
There is a beginning (pause, rocking, long strokes), middle (detail work), end (long strokes, pause).
Jean: Push – rocking.
Now “long, flowing strokes… signature of Esalen massage” – entire body, including head. SLOW. Always come back to this – integrating.
Pause, still integrating.
Stay comfortable.
After long and slow, pull sheet partially down, then fold to center of body.
Oil hands and arms – will use both.
Start shoulders, back… three dimensional, circular… follow the 3-D landscape. Reach over and pull up on side. Commit to the stroke – complete, e.g., off toes and fingers. Go slow. Use forearms – for increased weight.
Sit with sheet over leg to work on shoulder.
Hands, inclu ROM

Then bring arm forward to rest on stool.

Photo from the showers at Esalen, beside massage rooms

Always come back to the long strokes.
Head now or after pulling sheet up.
LEs, inclu toes. ROM.
Draw sheet slowly up. Stroke on top of sheet.
Come to child’s pose. Lift sheet so can turn over.
Face up
Adjust bolster to under knees, towel under head.
Long and slow.
Work on shoulder and chest.
Go under shoulder, embracing.
Arms, hands (interlock fingers), rotate wrist.
Long and slow

Finish long and slow all the way off feet
Head last
Roll with hands
Face, brows, easy on temple, ears, occiput, scalp
Use towel to roll head side to side – towel over eyes.
Finish long and slow all the way off feet.

Love and magic, the sadness, Star of David, I care about/don’t care about, courage, post-election

Love and magic
Reading each word, each phrase, each one slowly with reflection. What’s left out?
💕 Love is a feeling, where everything is right – open hearts and minds and communication and synchronicity and commitment and seeing all the beauty and hope and fragility of one another and caring for each other (caring more about the other than self) and the tenderness and discovery and sex and romance and sensuality and acceptance and clear, open communication and depending on one another and softness around one another and around the love and around this life …
💕 Magic – the love is ramped up, intensified (Sometimes talking of love for hours and hours makes sense – what else is there?), kissing caressing making love for hours and hours, intoxicated with one another, pretty much completely in synch, taking the utmost care of one another, it’s the greatest thing
💕 How? Surrender, pay attention to one another, look for all the magic and beauty in one another, believe that magic is real and possible, put selves into magical places and activities, magical music, accept times of less magic, wide-open communication …

Talking with a little 5 year old mermaid named Beatrice, who asked, “Do you have kissy love in your heart?” “Oh yes!”

Getting ready to decorate Jean’s and my Christmas tree I got out my small collection of San Francisco Christmas ornaments. Opening the box/the Christmas season triggered a flood of emotion and I cried as I did in the first months after Leslie passed. It’s a hard, consuming crying that goes on and on and leaves me exhausted and sore all through my body. Jean helped me through part of it and left me alone at a good time.

Sunset from the deck

One of the decorations we put on the tree is a Star of David (for Jean’s husband, David, who was Jewish). Jean wondered aloud about putting a Jewish symbol on a Christian symbol. I quoted from John 14: In my Father’s house are many rooms… Later these lyrics came through the speakers: In my Father’s house are many rooms.
I care about:
Being a good person.
Feeling good given/within whatever circumstances.
Loving you, Jean; being loved cared about.
Loving David.
In Vancouver
How you’re doing.
Being close/connected/making you happy.
Being beautiful – being beautiful for you.
Just beingwith you.
I don’t know how to say this, but I care about your vision, your expression, your art (not only what you produce). I’m digging your wisdom, too.
Experiencing nature/natural beauty.
Having beautiful, loving sex – pleasing you sexually – exploring one another’s sexuality.
Suffering in the world.
Friends and men in bible study group.
Who wins the election.
La Honda – before a magic night
People being nice to one another, especially parents being nice to children.
Growing, becoming, reaching toward my potential.
Being healthy.
Having or having had meaning – as in a life pattern.
Getting high, especially with you.
Being strong.
Having peak experiences.
Having enough money.
Being respected by people I respect.
Looking good.
Low stress, no conflict.
Being around kind people.
Living life effortlessly. 
Baking and things like that – I care but not all that much about these things.
I don’t care about:
What we eat, when we eat, where we eat.
Where, when, how we go, except that want to go with you.
Under the same sky, the same moon
Where we sit, when we go to sleep/awaken.
What I wear, except that I want to look good for you.
Manifesting much of anything other than decency and safety (Haha – actually, I want to manifest cool).
Who wins the football game.
In November
Falling in love in these days/this age takes courage. One will pass, one will grieve (though surely not as long, nor as terribly as before). Eyes wide open.
Political/cultural comment
We came so close, and then we lost it. The reasons are complex, I guess. Someone else can figure it all out.
My friend, Janet said, ”…everything we worked so hard for…” And for so long. Ah, what a beautiful vision we had.
I think we may be on the threshold of a time of tribulation. I have no idea what form(s) it might take.
What to do after Trump election? (Answers evolving)
Live our normal lives, working on love and acceptance and meaning and growth… manifest these things.

Indian Path 

Now, more than ever, be a living mudra (symbolic gesture) of the potentials in life. Lift up (with energy, with money) positive forces, in my case World One Radio (http://worldoneradio.org/), my son’s high school, hospice – especially the Presbyterian hospice in Dallas, Atrium Obscurum, other entities. Be kind to others, friends and strangers.
I need to remember that long-ago boddhisatva vow: to liberate all sentient beings. It ain’t easy lol. I’m not done with myself.


Lay it all on the line at the right time. No need for fear… we’ve all faced at least this much before.
And the bodies move and we sweat
And we have our being
Van Morrison, Daring Night

Light in the Grove, Esalen magic, Nouwen quote, magic, my last patients, beautiful night

Esalen campus

It’s been awhile since I posted – much of my writing has been personal.

We went to Light in the Grove, the 25th anniversary benefit for the National AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. http://www.aidsmemorial.org/ We got there early and sat in the car talking – a sweet time.
Light in the Grove

We made the most beautiful entrance I’ve ever made – when people arrived they were each given a glass of champagne and a candle in a glass vase and then walked down the switchback path to the Circle of Friends area – like an endless line of people, of lights. The path was lined with lights and every 20-30 feet there was a person standing greeting everyone warmly. The redwood grove below was beautifully lighted and there dancers in the glade (I think on this night the faeries were on the side of the hill). At the Circle of Friends everyone placed a candle in memory of someone (for me, Rueben). Then down a path at the edge of the glade where names of people who died projected in a moving, never-ending list on the trunks of the redwoods.

It was all deeply moving.
Esalen campus – class 

At the end of the path was a huge tent where there was a nice buffet, wine, drinks, etc. David and Charles got there a little later and sat with us for a bit and then they were off to connect with friends. We left not too long afterward. We sat on a bench beside the path – what a night!

The next day we drove south on Highway 1 along the magnificent coast into Big Sur and to Esalen (http://www.esalen.org/). Here, hidden from the world, giants of the counter-culture had walked, studied, meditated, taught, opened… Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts, Fritz Perls, Allen Ginsberg, Virginia Satir, Joseph Campbell, and countless more.
Esalen showers

Our room opened onto the headlands above the Pacific rolling, crashing against the rocks below. We unloaded the car and headed for the hot springs baths, where we watched the sun set over the Pacific, blue water, white foam, crashing strong.

We talked about a time six years before when Jean had scattered her husband’s ashes by “David’s tree” beside the path to the springs. We talked about how the night before, less than 24 hours before, we had been at the place where my son and I had scattered my wife’s ashes less than a year before. What a life we lead!
Room at Esalen

In the morning we made love (“Open your eyes. See the sky! See the ocean!”) and later went for a massage. Like everything else, the massage rooms hang above the Pacific. A timeless massage with the waves rolling and crashing below… and then to the baths, where we made love (not physically) for three hours with the waves crashing below. Late lunch, nap on the lawn, drive to Carmel Valley for a glass of wine with Steve and Susan, then the long drive home.

I’ve dreamed of Esalen for half my life. Although there was a little weirdness in this trip with the presence of too many web developer millennials (a little too much loud talking, some even wearing swim suits in the baths – eww), still, the magic and beauty were there. We just created a cocoon around ourselves and opened to the magic, the love, the beauty, dreaming our dreams.
Esalen baths


When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. Henri Nouwen
Last patients, last day of work

These kind of things keep happening. I need to remember to record them. Jean texted that she was on the way home. I texted back that I would put a candle in the window. Less than an hour later this song came on the radio: Put a Candle in the Window. Home to this warm home, to this temple, the walls, the walls, the…

walls with hangings rich,
of many strange designs
(Robin Williamson).
Listening to U2’s New Years Day live, thinking of my work, about how I was there deep, deep in the richness and difficulties of the flow until the very end. I wondered what was the last photo of me at work? I looked and here it is – on my last day, my last patients. Taking the photo was the Mom’s idea.
Thanksgiving 2016

I met the woman on the left years before, very shortly after she got here from Mexico. We were in an apartment (a typical refugee/immigrant apartment) with some people, maybe her husband and someone else and two students, and somehow it happened that there was a modesty issue and I looked away without lingering. I always had the sense that she appreciated that. I took care of her and her daughter (in pink) for years. When I saw them that last time (photo) her daughter was about 13 or 14, wearing a shirt that said, Why Not?


On a rainy day we went to visit a friend who lives in some mountains not far from San Francisco. The plan was to have dinner, have a sauna, and spend the night. He wasn’t home when we got there, so we got around the gate to the road to his wife’s studio (she is Jean’s good friend, traveling ATM) and walked down the road to the studio. The door was open and we went in and built a fire in the wood-burning stove (first photo) and put our feet up. Our friend came home a few hours later and we went to the house.

Nice dinner, great company, good sauna, back to the studio. It was cold and rained all night long. We set up the wood for the night, got the big air mattress set up on the concrete floor, then our new two-person sleeping bag, a bowl, a glass of wine, up every two hours to add wood to the fire, lot of bathroom runs, re-inflate the mattress a few times. One of the best nights of my life.
With John Kemp at Indian Rock


Walls with hangings rich,
Lisa’s studio – cold, rainy day
of many strange designs

Just the facts, Yosemite, an ancient forest, illness, twilight, the way it is

Above the fog, above Golden Gate
There is zero embellishment, exaggeration, or anything else other than reporting the facts here. Driving across GG Bridge in the fog and then up into the Marin Headlands and when we were close to the end of the Headlands, parking and walking a short trail to where we sat/lay on a sarong in the scent of chaparral, in the place where fog and sun meet, at the edge of the world, around the bend from Shangri-La, and across the bridge from paradise – going home in paradise with the moon floating in misty beauty above. Paradise, where yesterday we lay naked and beautiful in the warm afternoon sun streaming through the temple door.

At the edge of the world
Yosemite: Beneath the Royal Arches, Washington Column, and Half Dome we lay cozy and comfortable beneath the trees, by the river and then walked quietly on soft pine needles in ancient forest with mossy rocks in faery circles and playgrounds in soft mist in these sacred groves, this “Sanctum Sanctorum” (John Muir).
She said, “I honor you.”
Three basic questions about serious illness:
What is it?
What does it mean to me (e.g., treatment, suffering, disability, dying)?
Can I do this?
Things that add up in the time of dying: First and always, good control of symptoms such as pain. Sharing heart space, all. Sacred meals shared, even if less than a bite. Drinking from a sacred vessel. Sleeping together. Opening a window. Music. Reading the old prayers. Whatever is possible…
Mystic forest
From a slow train Moulmein to Rangoon, 2007
Mountains above,
Padi fields below,
Andaman Sea in the distance!
In mystic light.

Through a village in a forest,
A beautiful, graceful girl,
With thanaka on her cheeks,
And a basket on her head,
Walks out of a dark path among the trees.
Then another!

Yosemite Valley, rainy day. Left to right:
Royal Arches, North Dome, Washington Column, and Half Dome
The night before I left Berkeley we had dinner on the deck – the Turkish entry in our ongoing ‘round the world salad challenge – and watched the sun go down behind Mount Tamalpais across the Bay and The City beginning to sparkle and we can still see GG Bridge and Alcatraz. Then Indian Rock at twilight – twilight, the mystic time of day in the mystic days we share. There were maybe 20 other people on the rock, their murmuring voices around, behind us and we’re sharing the cherry cherry wine, drinking from the bottle. These are the days!
El Capitan
“It’s getting dark – maybe we should go down.” We laughed at the unintended double entendre. Awhile later we decided to go down and whoa, it was really dark! We got down fine (slow) and sat close and warm on a park bench in the darkness…
More facts (the bottom line):
Walking down by the river over the bridge through the trees and meadows and mountains and the soft forest floor with faery rings mossy boulders everything felt so right and so good walking along the street in markets in coffee shops in stores a café and a band playing dancing in a meadow so high in the sunrise in the eternal moment on the beach in the sand saying all the ways of loving and being talking of myth of art of mourning of euphoria of dancing of our generation of truth laughing in the golden light in the mist in the wind sea breeze in the fog in the sunlight making love in the forest in the temple fixing coffee breakfast dinner listening to WorldOneRadio wine on Indian Rock in the park in the dark on the San Francisco Bay kites flying dogs a man performing ritual a man playing a trombone on the highway telling the stories of our lives I feel ancient beautiful reborn prayer ceremony bliss love living a blessing crying dancing laughing serious happy sexy goofy singing loving …

Jean – Washington Column to left, Half Dome on right

Sacred space, sacred dance

We danced in the meadow with all the shiny happy people at Flagging in the Park in the AIDS Memorial Grove in Golden Gate Park. We danced and danced and danced – in the flow – sacred space, sacred dance. David, Charles, Jean, me in the grove in the grass in the flowers in the people on the soft grass dance floor. Jean and I walking into the quiet and majestic redwood grove where faeries watch from the underbrush, to the side of the hill to dance in the sun on rocks, in love, in beauty.
As the party wound down, slow-walking up and out of the grove, past the greens, and as Hippie Hill comes into view we hear, as a hymn, Attics of My Life, the choir singing slow, no instruments, just voices in reverent joy. 
In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets are all told
And the petals all unfold…
In the AIDS Memorial Grove

We played this song at Leslie’s service 18 months ago and I’m hearing it now, slow and stately, re-visioned. I shared this with Jean, as we’ve shared so much with one another – somehow in relation to my wife (whose ashes are in this grove) and in relation to Jean’s husband (today, Jean is wearing a talisman with some of his ashes in it). These days…

From Golden Gate, every bus and train back to Berkeley came with just moments of waiting. When we got home, the radio was playing Buffy Sainte Marie singing God is Alive, Magic is Afoot! How can things like this happen?

From the deck the sun sets behind Mount Tamalpais – an incredible thing when you think about it.

David Kemp, Jean Cacicedo, Charles Kemp, Charles Binkley –
Shiny Happy People

Here is a nice gift from me to you: http://worldoneradio.org/– it’s a radio station that plays gamelan music, Buffy Sainte Marie, rock and roll, EDM, chamber, all sorts of things all carefully thought out.

To David Bank

A little background music from Bob Seger (Roll Me Away): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXhxVjlJyQE
After 20 years as a New York police officer, David hit the road across America on his big two-wheeler. New York, down south, across the southwest, up the coast of California. Twenty years in the streets (of a runaway American dream), and now seven weeks into the trip, stopping off in Berkeley to have dinner with Jean and me  – the fellowship and the trip elevated me. Yeah!

From Grizzly Peak in Berkeley. Golden Gate in the distance.

Sitting on a rock wall near the top of Grizzly Peak above Berkeley (photo) – Jean, David, me – and far across the bay, San Francisco in in the afternoon light. In the evening, dinner outside looking across the bay into the sunset. America!
Roll me away.

From the deck the sun sets behind Mount Tamalpais.