Love of Four and Some Two-footed Friends

Poisonous Frog on Left, and Tiny Frog on Right

I have loved animals all my life, and I have to say that some of them are not necessarily things that others will find suitable, but I guess there is something about them to make me want them in my life, at least for as long as they can be.

When I was still a little girl, living in El Paso, TX, I used to hear what I thought was some sort of giant toad for its huge voice (Croak, CROAK, etc.) on and on thru the night. I would only hear them after a big rain. But when I discovered the source of those voices, I could hardly believe it. I was fascinated and laid down in the went dirt to watch the mud puddle nearby and the stream of life going on in it. It was marvelous, for there was activity going on everywhere in the small area of that puddle. I would go back day after day to watch it, until on the last day when the puddle was nearly dried up and there were just a couple of those tiny frogs (like the one on the right), so small one of them could sit on my smallest fingernail and not be overcrowded. I decided to “rescue the one or two that were left, believing that they were not going to get into the ground before it was totally dried up. So I took them in hand into the house, found a jar, and put some water in it for them, and believed I could find things to feed them and take good care of them.

Children mean well always, but they are often very naive about what is required to do some jobs well. This was the case with the frogs. I did not know that when they stopped mating and living in the puddle and went back into the earth, they entered a state of metamorphosis until the next rain. When they stopped making those huge croaks late at night, I could not understand what was going on. But the next day or so, I decided I needed to take them back out and pour the water back on the ground to make another tiny mud puddle or at least a little wet area there so that I help them to get back into the ground. It was near the evening, so I left them with the somewhat wet spot where they were, and went back into the house. I went out early in the next day and the spot was almost all gone, and the little frogs were definitely gone.

I will never forget that time. Over the years, I have loved and had other frogs for pets, and I would find them out in nature and enjoy them whenever i could. As I grew older, I learned not to take them out of their habitat, but just to watch and enjoy them. Much to my adult shame, I once ate some frog legs at a restaurant when I was older. I always felt as though I was betraying my friends, but those legs were pretty tasty. Would I eat one of my dogs or the cat? I seriously think nothing could induce me to eat them — even starvation. But I guess a lot of people have edible pets that they raise, knowing that someday they and/or their families will eat those creatures.

I look forward to reading about all of your pets over the years. These are only the start for me.

Fear in its Many Faces

Fear – Image courtesy of Pexels

In my younger years, it seemed the 1950’s when people began to build atomic bomb fallout shelters in their backyards, but apparently it was in the early 60’s and Kennedy was one of the people advising people in the U.S. to take precautions against an atomic bomb or equally devastating event. It quickly spread into other countries, and even Switzerland, known to be primarily neutral through everything, began to tell their people to build.

I so remember how people were so paranoid about their own neighbors and the possibility that if THEY did not have a bomb shelter, the neighbors might want to take refuge with their families in any existing ones. About the same time (and again, this is likely my poor memory thru 78 years of living), suddenly there was paranoia about people in the U.S. being Communists. The entertainment industry was under great suspicion, and many famous entertainers were suffering “under the gun.” I don’t believe anything came from any of it except to further harass and control human beings because of total paranoia about a potential belief that there was an existing threat.

I saw a little column today listing everything that has caused massive fear/paranoia over the entire globe each and every year. Isn’t it incredible that so many people live their lives in such fear? Is it our nature as human beings, or have we all been brainwashed over the centuries? Remember the Y2K scare that all the computers were going to fail? Many churches were preparing to take in hundreds, perhaps thousands of new members as the year approached. Some were giving all their money to churches in hopes of perhaps staving off the horrors.

The same thing is happening once again as people are rushing to the stores in utter panic over the so-called Corona Virus to buy supplies like bottled water and toilet paper to the point where they have depleted some stores’ supplies. Have people died? Certainly. People die every year even from common viruses. They die because their health is not great to begin with, or they are particularly susceptible in some other way, and this is true of every single virus (and there has been one almost every single year) that comes along.

As Churchill once said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Who are the true beneficiaries each year from these fear seasons? I venture to say that next year this fear of Corona Virus will be a fear of something else.

As for me, I have lived through every single horror a person can live through, and here I am still standing at 78. Thank you one and all. Make your days and years count. Don’t live in fear. When it is your time to leave this plane, you will, regardless of your age, gender, overall health, etc. Live life productively as we are meant to do. Study, learn, create, serve others. You will see how good life really is and what magnificent creatures we are.

As the World Turns

I think this speaks for itself.

Driving across the Arizona desert, I became aware of how immense our universe (outside of ourselves) really is. As I looked out across the immense open space, I saw all manner of mountains, and all colors of land rising up out of the earth. It was strange to imagine how one mountain arose from the earth, smooth and slowly rising, while one practically next to it seemed to have blown up right out of the earth, forming strange shapes and sometimes very sharp features. I can imagine the earth, as it was turning, bubbling and erupting and spinning wildly, but in such a way that various forms of life began to also come forth, or perhaps they came from somewhere else, finally finding a planet that was life friendly, and so cells of living creatures fell upon the earth like a form of rain, taking hold wherever they fell. Perhaps we will never really know the big story in this lifetime, but whatever it was, or however it was formed, was nothing short of a miracle.

In the same way, I think about us as human beings. Two cells, or a sperm and an egg, somehow come together and begin to form the most complex living creature. Not only does this creature have a mind that directs all the parts of what is inside of it, but every single part of this human body has a specific job, and despite the unique differences of each and every part, they all manage to function together to manage this “universe” within.

My brother once told me when he was talking about his TBI from Vietnam, that the brain is another universe all of its own. He told me that when any part of the body is injured, the brain gives the command for the troops (so to speak) to get to the part and help it. But when the brain itself gets injured (and again, it is what my brother’s doctor told him, so I cannot verify that it is true), the brain cannot help itself.

So I have been thinking about the human brain and how it functions regarding how it manages to take care of the whole universe within, but at the same time, can turn against this thing and that thing outside itself. It accepts the uniqueness and the importance and sacred aspect of the universe inside, but it raises up in defiance against that which is not like it in some manner, be it skin color, culture, religious or political beliefs. And yet, at the same time it can suddenly decide to relate to and even love, something that is decidedly different from itself in one or more of the ways previously mentioned.

I used to think I knew the answers. I used to think that life was relatively simple. Just do whatever you are intended to do and everything will be fine. And perhaps, as the world turns, it will be. Perhaps that universe outside and inside changes every instant in mysterious ways as the world turns.

Womenspirit

With many thanks to Alan Syliboy, The Daily Drum. Images from Nova Scotia petroglyphs. In Mi’kman tradition, women are accorded the highest respect and regard, for they are the portals through which a spirit comes to earth. Life is amazing how we all connect with each other. I wrote my poem, Womenspirit in November, 1989.
Womenspirit
formed somewhere
in the soft recesses
of the night
where songbirds cling
to outstretched branches
and willows weep
over mothers' protective dreams
of children yet born.
Womenspirit
mingles with the golden voice
of dawn
where time has no meaning
and faces intermingle
in the landscape of the heart.
Womenspirit
is a quilt
woven of life's rich fabric
and wrapped around
the very soul of humanity.

The Birthing

In honor of my daughter Deborah’s birthday, Feb. 13, 1960
I waited with the world
for you to be born.
Each of us waited,
Some counting the minutes
Some aware but working
to do the many things
that keep the wheels of the world
turning.
And some slept
Knowing you would
come without their encouragement.

I waited alone
working at tasks gentle and quiet
vaguely aware of the minutes
speeding by.
The rain fell
as if the world were crying
and then softly
with just a few fireworks
you were born.
And despite such
a small, quiet entrance
You filled me with
a sense of promise;
A sort of inner rebirthing.

I have witnessed your birth
some 78 years.
I have seen you born
sometimes with tears,
sometimes with a sense of joy.
But always
there is the smallest
sense of change
and of something
that is already ancient.

In a Strange World

Courtesy Pixabay

I looked out into the endless sky that met with the sea

And wondered if perhaps the sky

Might have swallowed the sea,

Or perhaps the Sea was devouring the sky.

And I wondered what the navigators of ships of old

Must have thought as they witnessed

This incredible sight.

Did they fear closing on the horizon only to find

It expanding beyond their imagination?

Did they begin to question where daylight began and night fell?

Did they wonder

About the birds above?

Were they falling from the ocean?

Earth’s Emotions

Courtesy Charter for Compassion.Org

Global Read: Glenn Albrecht – Earth Emotions; February 18 at 2pm Pacific

As climate change and development pressures overwhelm the environment, our emotional relationships with Earth are also in crisis. Pessimism and distress are overwhelming people the world over. In this maelstrom of emotion, solastalgia, the homesickness you have when you are still at home, has become, writes Glenn A. Albrecht, one of the defining emotions of the twenty-first century.

Earth Emotions examines our positive and negative Earth emotions. It explains the author’s concept of solastalgia and other well-known eco-emotions such as biophilia and topophilia. Albrecht introduces us to the many new words needed to describe the full range of our emotional responses to the emergent state of the world. We need this creation of a hopeful vocabulary of positive emotions, argues Albrecht, so that we can extract ourselves out of environmental desolation and reignite our millennia-old biophilia—love of life—for our home planet. To do so, he proposes a dramatic change from the current human-dominated Anthropocene era to one that will be founded, materially, ethically, politically, and spiritually on the revolution in thinking being delivered by contemporary symbiotic science. Register for the Global Read.Compassionate Children: How to Cultivate Compassion for a Flawed Parent by Loving Yourself February 24, 2020

We all come from diverse cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities. We were also raised in various families of origin. Some grew up with two parents, some one, others lived with grandparents or other relatives. There are many who had stepparents (bonus parents), adoptive parents and even foster parents. With all the differences in our upbringings, those who are interested in this course have one thing in common. Your parental figures were not the ones you would have chosen for yourselves. You may have survived abuse, rejection, abandonment or neglect. You may still blame them or carry your own guilt and shame to this day. But that can change now. This course offers a way to cultivate compassion for you as well as your flawed parent. Understand how to love yourself regardless of the relationship you have or had with them. Learn how to reclaim your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Whether or not your parents ever change who they are, you can live your life in peace knowing you did your part. Learn more and register for this course.

As this article suggests, we have to start being more conscious of our environment and of what is happening to children too, for they are the future of this world. Although I don’t have an assignment currently, I am a CASA (Court-appointed Special Advocate) for foster children. And I am an informal advocate for the remainder of my life for children with Special Needs, children with AIDS, and any other cases I come across where children need help. There is more than enough for each of us to handle in one of these realms. No one is telling us we have to do it, but if we want to live in peace and harmony with our world and all the people in it, it has to begin with us.

Thank each and every one of you, and regardless of where you are in your life right now, know that you are one of life’s treasures and hopes for the future. Love and blessings always, Anne

Creating a Rainbow

Hiker in view Rare Rainbow Halo
Broken Specter, the real name for the rare weather phenomena in the U.K.

“A hiker captured these magnificent images of a rare weather phenomenon that looks like a “rainbow halo” on top of an English mountain. 39-year-old Adrian Conchie was walking on a fell in the Lake District when he looked down and clocked the spectacular display, known as the Brocken specter. The dad-of-one described the moment, which took place at 11:30AM on New Year’s Eve, as “magical” and “absolutely incredible”. According to the Met Office, the Brocken specter appears when a person stands above the upper surface of a cloud—on a mountain or high ground—with the sun behind them. “When they view their shadow, the light is reflected back in such a way that a spooky circular ‘glory’ appears around the point directly opposite the sun,” the Met Office said.

Conchie, who runs an engraving business in Knutsford, Cheshire, was on an 11-mile hike at Swirl How near Coniston when the Brocken specter appeared to him. “I had always wanted to see one after seeing pictures online and hearing about how amazing they are from friends,” said Conchie. “When we got to the summit I looked down and there it was—it was so vivid. “I thought it would disappear there and then but it stayed for a few minutes, it was a really magical experience.” Miraculously, Conchie and his friend Bryony stumbled upon another Brocken specter later that very same day up a nearby mountain called Wetherlam.”

As I read this account, I thought about how much we depend on our senses to connect us with everything we encounter in the world, and yet, the truth of it all is that our senses can and do lie to us. When we see any rainbow, if we were able to run up to it, we would find nothing there when we got where it appeared to be.

I can remember when I was younger, after I would go to bed, and sometimes in the night I would fly. I am certain I could fly. I could take off straight from the ground, and quickly fly faster and higher than anyone could even get close to me. To this day I have been certain I was really flying, though I know in my everyday mind that flight is not something we could do. Yet when I landed in my other consciousness, I felt a bump as I touched ground each time as surely as if I had come down safely but a little less than smooth, perhaps as I might have with a parachute. But the thing is that I never had wings; I just flew with my arms out and I felt the air against my arms and my body extended gracefully.

Was my ego present when I was flying or seeing things that seem so rare and yet so real? I don’t think so. I don’t think it was dreaming any more than the man was dreaming who saw the Rainbow Halo.

Perhaps we limit our abilities when we stay stuck in our egos. When I am lost there, I can feel measures of negativity and lack of confidence in what I am doing, and I want to escape. But when I let go of ego, but still stay in control of the alchemy of all the parts that make me who I am, there is so much more waiting to be discovered. Perhaps I have the ability to create rainbows.

If all of this is a dream, I don’t want to awaken. There is so much to be discovered, and I must gift myself with time to go flying again.

Heart Rules for Writers

See the source image

When we start writing a book, we need to put our souls into it. But that is scary, for there is always someone who has something to say about your writing, your grammar, your theme, your lack of . . .

My cookbook, Pumpkin, Pumpkin, has a lot of folktales in it, and some of them have bad grammar in them, but that is what the authors of those folktales intended. It is what gives the book its color and its flavor. Remember the book, The Color Purple? Can you believe that people actually wanted to ban the book for its ungrammatical language! What would have been the fate of that book if they had been allowed to ban it? It’s being true to the times and to the characters of the people and the place is what made it the great book and movie it has been. People tend to lose sight of the necessity of being true to a type of writing, the times, the people involved in the story, and the intention of the story. I remember when the book-banning people wanted to ban The Nancy Drew stories. Nancy Drew stories were ahead of their time. Empowered young women driving cars (alone too!!!) and solving mysteries and generally being interesting people. I don’t think The Hardy Boys mysteries were ever banned.

The basic thing is that this is your soul speaking. And of course we all want to be read and to have our books selling really well. But if anyone changes anything in the book other than an unintentional error in grammar or spelling, just say no. The editor will not “make” the book; your writing will. And if you don’t believe that yourself, how can you in all truth become a published writer? If you are honest with yourself, you can tell if your book is dry or lifeless, too “unlived,” or perhaps too unreal.

Great books don’t need to have fantastic events and people in them. They can be very ordinary, everyday people like the boys and young men in the movie, “Stand By Me.”

If you still don’t feel comfortable or sure of your own writing, go to the library and pick 10 books you have never read, authors you don’t know, and read each one of them. Write down your impressions of each one and his/her writing, but be fair to the times and the place and what those people are doing.

At the end of each day you write, pat yourself on the back, and say to yourself when you go to bed, “Good job! Well done.”