A welcome to readers

As a resident of this planet for more than four fifths of a century, I have enjoyed both successes and disappointments in a wide variety of vocations, avocations, and life experiences. This blog satisfies my desire to share some thoughts and observations--trenchant and prosaic--with those who are searching for diversions which are interesting, poignant and occasionally funny. I also plan to share recommendations about good/great movies I've watched and books and articles which I've found particularly mind-opening, entertaining, instructive. In addition, I can't pass up the opportunity to reflect publicly on how I am experiencing the so-called Golden Years. Write anytime:

Monday, November 12, 2012



In all the woods that day I was
the only living thing
fretful, exhausted, or unsure.
Giant fir and spruce and cedar trees
that had stood their ground
three hundred years
stretched in sunlight calmly
unimpressed by whatever
it was that held me
hunched and tense above the stream,
biting my nails, calculating all
my impossibilities.
Nor did the water pause
to reflect or enter into
my considerations.
It found its way
over and around a crowd
of rocks in easy flourishes,
in laughing evasions and
shifts in direction.
Nothing could slow it down for long.
It even made a little song
out of all the things
that got in its way,
a music against the hard edges
of whatever might interrupt its going.

"Passage" by John Brehm, from Help is on the Way. © The University of Wisconsin Press, 2012.

One of the unadvertised benefits of living in Colorado is the omnipresence of the grandeur of Nature, writ large and small. Each day as I look through my floor to ceiling windows, I see two images. The first is a view of Greater Denver, featuring Downtown Denver, complete with high-rise buildings, resting like a spired oasis surrounded by miles of adobe tinted suburban comfort.  I see the staggered outline of tall buildings, uneven in muted colors and height, some architecturally traditional, symmetrical, and rectangular, and others post-modern with slanted roofs and oddly spaced windows of varying sizes, textures and hues.

Downtown Denver is barely able to contain the frenetic activity of businesses, new and old, starting, established, successful, struggling. Its streets teem with office workers, shoppers, students, rich and poor, too many homeless people as well as McMansion and luxury apartment dwellers, young and old, concert patrons along with the "rad"nightclubbers who define "concert" very differently. Sitting safely here on the 11th floor of my building,  away from all that, I can remember former walks through downtown,  taking in the smells of ethnic foods in preparation, automobile exhaust, whiffs of passing perfumes, a cautionary hint of coming snow, a snuffed out match or a trail of Marlboro light, the acidic scent  of wet leaves on asphalt gutters sopping up a variety of urban detritus. Life is being lived in its many dimensions in Denver's downtown.

Looking away from the urban center at Greater Denver, and closer to my building, I mostly see the tops of trees, now stripped clean by recent winds, occasional splotches of evergreens, a few oaks retaining their  bronze and rusty colors, a still golden birch or two, and the red brick walls of a nearby apartment complex. Lights are coming on in some of their windows, and I can see, almost smell and feel,  evidence of post school and end-of-workday activity, the blue flicker of TVs, and I can imagine a thousand dinners being assembled for grateful eaters, solos as well as family.  Some are munchers, others are pickers, some are grateful and others are numb and distracted from food and companionship by their fixation on tiny screens and repetitive electronic beeps. Life is being lived here too.

Sweeping across my view, from lower right to upper mid-left, is Colorado Boulevard, designed and built wide enough, it is said, that a wagon pulled by a twelve horse team could make a 180 degree turn at full speed. The six or eight lanes are packed at days end, so I what I see is a moving block of white lights approaching me and a wide column of red brake lights receding into the distance. Their progress is regulated and spaced by red and green "stop" lights, following their own patterns, seemingly indifferent to the traffic itself--the whole scene appearing much like a moving  tennis bracelet studded with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Life is here too.

Way off to the left, to the West, I can see a semi-circular arc of bright, greenish-white lights illuminating SportsAuthority Field at Mile High, the home of our  Manning-blessed Broncos. A little farther South, but still west,  are the equally intense lights of Bandimere Speedway, home of serious competitive drag racing as well as go-kart events for the smaller set. Between my apartment and this view are the hoary halls of Denver University, home of the first Presidental debate, a campus identifiable from my lofty perch by two church-like steeples, one of which is clad with gold and lighted at night. DU is a prominent nationally known, private university, famous for its ranked  lacrosse and hockey teams. Locally DU is known for its concert and lecture series, for injecting real intellectuality into the community, and for the wealthy kids who attend its classes and spend their parents' money in local establishments and on the ski slopes.

In this first image of Denver--- Greater Denver and its surroundings--- the overriding themes and driving energy seem to be modernity, money, competition, excitement, anxiety, motion, achievement, updated cowboy 'west,'  avarice, "feel good spirituality," striving, mobility--all part of the admixture that contains its share of people living on the edge, drunks and thieves, sick and well, comfortable and dispossessed, secure and hurtin', Hispanics and pretend cowboys, wearers of suits and wearers of jeans.

The second images is dominated by my western vista where the foothills of the Rockies emerge like a wall from the flatness of the high plains, and behind them, rising even higher, I can see the snowcapped peaks of the Front Range of the Rockies themselves contrasted against the Colorado blue sky.

Similar to my experiences in Denver Center, I have also ventured into those mountains and have brought back indelible and lasting impressions: of total silence, of cycles of change, death and renewal; of the hardness and permanence of the rocks that make up the mountains themselves but which are also subject to the effects--over time--of the erosive forces of wind and water and freezing; the scent of evergreen pitch, the feel of pine bark under foot, a breeze smelling of snow (last year's as well as this year's); thoughts of what I project must be the lonely existence of Colorado's single wolverine living by himself with no hope of companionship or of infusing his DNA into a future generation; and that reminds me of  the large and small animals and birds and fish who continue to make their home here, year 'round, as they have for eons, without my knowledge and with no help from me or any other human being.

Neither of my two images of Denver--Greater Denvers or The Front Range appears to be  "...impressed by whatever/ it was that held me/ hunched and tense above the stream, /biting my nails, calculating all/  my impossibilities." The world's life flows on endlessly around me, kaleidoscopic in its variety, vigorous in its determination to survive, endure, and prosper, in disregarding me and my ragged nails, my pathetic little worries and concerns, my angst, stubbornly "...indifferent to entering in to my considerations."

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