The World Is Changed

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The world is changed. I feel it in the water. I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air. Much that once was is lost, for none now live who remember it. ~ from Galadriel’s prologue, The Fellowship of the Rings, (JRR Tolkien) film 2001

What is better than a grey, misty Friday in autumn for watching a film about goodness triumphing over evil? We’ve finished our chores early, have ordered lunch from our favorite Chinese take-out, and are about to begin viewing The Fellowship of the Rings as a kick-off to our Halloween weekend.

Without, a cold wind blows and the muted pearl light electrifies the colored leaves remaining on the trees. Within, a fire snaps and we’re about to embark on a magnificent journey of courage and sacrifice, of the noble, brave, and humble setting out to defeat the evil threatening their precious world. It’s an ancient story, and sadly, the need to be immersed in its lessons has rolled around to meet the human race once more.

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“If I take one more step, I’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been,” says Sam, setting out on his mysterious adventure. (He’s my favorite character.)

I’ve set out on my own small adventure this week, by deleting my Facebook account. The reams of evidence detailing their corporate greed and willingness to sacrifice their corporate conscience has been the final straw for me. My family and most of my friends are not local; Facebook has kept us in daily touch and allowed me to participate in many groups that fed my spirit, so, for me, this was a difficult parting. But also strangely exciting and potentially freeing. I am not unmoored from my dear ones, since I have their e-mails and phone numbers, but I am freed from that addictive and frequent need to check, scroll, like and be liked that social media perpetuates. And my nagging conscience is satisfied that I did one right thing this week. And that’s worth celebrating.

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The world is changed. Something wicked this way comes. Trump, Orban, Murdoch, Bolsonaro, white supremacists, et. al., have let loose a cruelty of spirit and actions I believe must be met by courage and a refusal to engage at their evil’s own low level of language, thought, intelligence, behavior, and constant deceit. Yet it must be engaged. I hope those of us longing for the Earth’s care and the love of humanity will summon the wisdom and strength to meet our present danger with conviction and constant loyalty to the truth.

Stories feed my spirit when I fear for the world, as do prayer, nature, meditation, my faith, my relationships, and art. (Also chocolate and dancing, another story.) And what I need today is to be cozy with my dearest one and journey with heroes who never give up seeking the good for all.

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I wish you a Happy Halloween, filled with meeting your own fears and defeating them…and fun, and companionship, and inspiring stories, and sweet treats. And gentle peace.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.

“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Boots

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Far in the distance
We heard a sound
One man descending
A con man a clown.

Crowds began shouting
Rallying cries
Rampant vacuity
Met with our sighs.

Lies on the airwaves
Lies everywhere
We in denial
We unaware.

We with our doing
Glued to our phones
Anxiously hiding
The truth in our bones.

We were dismissive
We were too strong
We were intelligent
And we were wrong.

Lost in diversions
Viral hate grew
Met with denial
What could we do?

This wasn’t possible
Not now not here
We were too civilized
Answers were clear.

Turning on dimes
Decent ones fell
Selling democracy
Power for hell.

Those who resisted
Threatened and cursed
Fear kept us silent
More lies dispersed.

Losing our votes,
Losing our choice
Losing our country
Losing our voice.

Boots in the courthouse
Boots in the press
Boots on the altar
Boots in excess.

Boots led by loathing
Boots led by need
Boots led by ignorance
Boots led by greed.

Boots against masking
Boots against order
Boots against kindness
Boots at the border.

Boots against reason
Boots against fact
Boots against neighbor
Boots to distract.

Boots in the capital
Boots in the hall
We unbelieving
Watching truth fall..

Boots on the angry
Boots in the town
Boots on the billionaires
Boots all around.

Boots at the school board
Boots at the door
Could have done something
Should have done more.

Now we can hear them
Shouting their hate
Now we touch evil
Now it’s too late.

Boots marching over us
Boots marching on
Boots in the future
Boots when we’re gone.

© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Dear Ones,

Please know that I am not without hope for our lives and the Earth, and in no darker place than anyone aware and sentient enough to realize we are on the tipping point. We’re not approaching it, sensing it in the distance, agreeing it will come some day, but precariously perched upon its slippery surface and swaying in the winds of our choices and actions. Artist, teacher, spiritual care worker–my life’s work has been to speak the truth in love. I fail all the time: I am impatient with procrastination and those who sit back instead of speaking up or lending a hand to the Good Cause. My tongue is often sharper than my wits. But denial is not helpful; living in a fantastical mirage may be comforting, but it does not serve the Earth, the helpless, or those too young to midwife the changes necessary for a just and peaceful existence. See what is, name it, encounter it in love, disarm its pain and suffering, heal what can be healed. This poem is an attempt to call out the dangers of looking away, of “thoughts and prayers” absent of action, and–truly–of surrendering our hope by refusing to engage with our gifts. For me, the photo means we can choose up or down, but we can’t put it off. Be safe and well. Be comforted by the beauty of the season. Speak out, in love.

Litany for Now

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It’s been a kind of wavy week at Full Moon Cottage, by which I mean the days became surreal midweek, when I received both my flu shot and third vaccine. For the next 48 hours, I was in and out of sleep, dropping days like I dropped stitches when I tried to learn how to knit. The weather’s shifting dramas contributed to the strobe-like effects of reality. Sunny, warm, rainy, chilly. Every time I opened my eyes, the light and temperature had changed from my last visit to the conscious world. And then, just as quickly, this morning I woke as myself, my body, mind, and spirit fully inhabited by me. And with all the aches, fevers, and chills firmly residing in the past tense

I am grateful for the shots and for two days of sleep.

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So today’s cloudy, gray, chilly and still presence has been wonderful, and I have big plans for this weekend: weeding and cutting back the gardens and planting bulbs. Because of our long stretch of warm weather this autumn, we’ve enjoyed long blooms, re-blooms, and the blooms of perennials that sometimes don’t happen due to early frost.

I am grateful for the color and blossoms.

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The past few weeks have also treated us to more rain than we received since early June. The trees, gardens, birds, and other wildlife have benefited immeasurably. The river has risen considerably, and the aridity that we felt in our spirits has also felt quenched. The rain’s music, beating on the roof and deck, sweeping across the yard in windy curtains of silver light, was a glorious treat. It felt like that Ray Bradbury story, “All Summer in a Day,” but of course, in reverse. (And no one was locked in a closet.) Climate change has made us sorely miss what we once took for granted. The rain was other-worldly after such a long absence. Pure gift.

I am grateful for the rain and rising river.

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I was able to harvest a lot of my herbs last week for drying and freezing, and they may even yield another batch. It feels so comforting to have the freezer and pantry filled with my favorite seasonings to last till next summer. And just holding the sage and thyme made me excited for the holidays.

I am grateful for garden blessings that feed and delight us throughout the year.

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While I was otherwise-engaged with unconsciousness and discomfort this week, Phillip set up grow lights for my houseplants, which had to be brought indoors from their summer paradise on the back deck. He also made meals, did the laundry, cared for the 4-leggeds, and so much more. He always does a lot for us; this week, he did it all. His own recovery was speedy and bouncy compared to mine. The 4-leggeds comforted me with kisses and snuggling, as they were able.

I am beyond grateful for Phillip and our 4-leggeds. And, of course, I’m grateful for houseplants beneath pink grow lights.

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Friends sent messages, shared photos and notes, and kept in touch…as they always do.

I am deeply grateful for my amazing friends.

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And, my fearless, gifted collaborators at Tra Publishing and I are sending the book, The Rare, Tiny Flower off to the printer imminently, for a late-March release. I love the illustrations by Quim Torres.

I am grateful for the chance to make dreams come true with these stunningly creative people.

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The world is not as I wish it were. I do not understand much of what it has become. The fear, anger, and intolerance that daily parade through the news are shocking; the sheer cruelties and violence spewed and rocketing around our world are abhorrent and dispiriting. But they are not all the news or even most of it. Everyone I know (and don’t) could likely fill pages with the gratitude they’ve gathered in one day, let alone weeks. Please, keep gathering and sharing your gratitudes. They keep us tender, loving, and hopeful, and those are medicines the world needs now, more than ever. The virus of hate cannot survive them.

I am grateful for each of you.

Be well and safe.

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.

Observations

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There are those who choose to live parenthetically,
their lives bound by the known, protected and
unsurprised, and those who ride adjectives’ hills
and valleys and never stop, unlike those who live
as periods, going nowhere, in love with endings. My
great-aunt was all exclamation points and her husband
all ellipses, responding with desultory silence to her
tireless alarms. Adverb people are helpful but without
the moral clarity of verbfolk, all action, except for the
family branch that just is. Most, I suppose, are nouns,
being things, taking up space, using commas to add
things and more things for accrual’s sake, and needing
prepositions to store things in, throughout, during, and
despite. I love the question marks, their ever-tumbling
need to know always unsated, and then, of course, society
is phrases and paragraphs, and history is books, volumes,
but I would say I’m some part–the ink, I think–of an always
incomplete sentence, a ragtag bundle of words forever open
to new companions and the mystery of everything, the miracles
everywhere, lacking most specifically the wisdom of proper
punctuation, but then again miracles can’t be put into words
or held by language and I am newly-acquainted with miracles
every day, because I know where they hide and it’s always here
in plain view, making me wonder if maybe tomorrow

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© Copyright of all visual and written materials on The Daily Round belongs solely to Catherine M. O’Meara, 2011-Present. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited, without the author’s written approval. No one is authorized to use Catherine O’Meara’s copyrighted material for material gain without the author’s engagement and written permission. All other visual, written, and linked materials are credited to their authors. Thank you, and gentle peace.