Pledge Allegiance to Goodness

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I am exhausted.

I’m tired of loud voices shouting crude remarks. I’m weary of illogical and unscientific fools receiving all the attention. I’m appalled by the crude and vulgar behavior of too many elected officials and members of the media. I’m nearly beaten by the wealthy thieves who never pay their due, and the lies we hear repeatedly about stolen elections. I do not understand the pervasive willingness to be stupid about voting integrity, climate change, or vaccine safety and necessity. I’m done with cynicism and sarcasm.

I am disturbed by how many states, including my own, have enacted voting suppression laws, or hope to do so soon. Corruption and greed seem to know no bounds in our country; bold con men and women now lie and cheat and steal in broad daylight and without shame. I wish I could wake up in a world without all the snarky, wisdom-deficient puppets in Congress. They are hollow beings, black holes that have completely doused the lights they came to share.

I don’t want to hear from anyone pushing us into one side or the other; these blatant attempts to manipulate us are beneath our shared humanity. I think there are millions of us who yet retain the ability to reason and consider different coherent opinions and options delivered with calm intelligence. I want problem-solvers solving problems. I want adults committed to service.

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Where has decency fled, and why did it take reason, wisdom, and kindness with it? What is this current need to behave without thought, clarity, manners, or recognition of interdependence and reciprocity? When did truth and facts become objects of ridicule?

The madness seems to be building, and my feelings of frustration and impotence to affect its course is crushing at times. We, the quiet, thinking people, are not being heard. Yes, I vote; yes, I write and record messages for my representatives; yes, I protest and donate, where and what I can; but none of it makes a difference. I am exhausted by this country and its downward spiral. I’m the Peter Finch character in Network, and I can’t take it anymore. I can’t tolerate one more loudmouth spewing lies and hate. I can’t stomach the image of some unqualified simpleton brazenly pawing over my private, sacred, voting ballot with no fear of consequence. I am utterly confused by the rise of incompetence and cruelty, and the lack of accountability.

I pray for maturity and common sense to come out of hiding. I pray for the remaining wise women and men in Washington to turn this tide of darkness back. I pray for more and more of us to speak up, rationally. I pray for the loud and vulgar to heal, and I pray for those suffering from the inaction needed to restore peace, justice, and integrity to our communities and country…I pray for all of us.

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May we choose to be good, kind, thoughtful, and creative. Forgiveness needs practice; so does personal responsibility. May gentle peace sweep through the noise and hush it into mindfulness before it’s too late. And it nearly is.

I’m exhausted, but I’m still hopeful that sanity and our better angels will restore balance. I read this week about a wise man whose vowed response to the struggles of his own time was to reaffirm his commitment to goodness. He would remain constant in his striving to be a good person, no matter what the sway of culture and country elicited from others. That is as direct and immediate a source of wisdom as anything I’ve come across. Stay the course; remain the good people we have been created to be. We’re near the tipping point. Let’s choose to pledge allegiance to goodness, and so tip the scale in favor of those behaviors and qualities we’ve always known to be our true treasures as humans, grounded in Love.

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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.

A Generous Liberty

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A morning walk beneath the spattered light
and shadow of sun-splashed leaves swaying
and dancing, brushed by breezes rushing
through the deepening woods. Sweet waves
of green ebb and flow. The birds sing me on,
skittering, and chipmunks chittering; fluttering
butterflies and whirring-winged dragonflies dart
across my path, and through the trees, columns
of infant corn are evenly rising in farmers’ fields.

I rest on an ancient bench, the pew in my green
chapel where worry spills and all the anxious fears
release. It opens you wide, the world’s wild beauty;
it bares your soul to all others, each thing here and
utterly significant, freely itself, entitled to its time and
place and way of being. There is a generous liberty
evident in nature, and I do not miss the world of men
where, in halls of power, those who’ve sworn oaths
to freedom say they must debate to whom it’s owed.

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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.

Sharing the Food We Are

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Life has been almost too full at Full Moon Cottage this week.

Let me sum up: One month without rain became several months, and the lack of precipitation was then labeled a “severe drought” in our SE corner of the state. We’ve been rising earlier and earlier during this time, because the cooler dawn temperatures have allowed for easier pup-walking and what’s become increasingly stressful garden-tending. (Thankfully, there is cooler weather ahead, or else by the Solstice, we’d just lie down a few minutes around midnight and get up again.)

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It’s been devastating to see our dear river dwindling and fading away, devoured by evaporation. Rainstorms have scattered all around us since April, but never here, as though an evil spell cast by some trickster had conjured an invisible wall around our little part of the Earth. Every time a storm blew toward us from the west or north, it dissipated to airy nothingness before any moisture fell. In our 25 years, the river has not been this low. Scorched and parched scenery, everywhere.

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The gardens have continued to grow and bloom a bit, but have required 5-hour watering stints (both of us with hoses, on either side of the house) at least once a week, in searing heat.

We’ve headed out on adventures, when we could, to get away from the dismal drought and the dryness of land and spirit it’s caused. This week, we went to our local farmers’ market, held around the town square. Such a small town and insignificant event, it would seem, but it wasn’t, at all; this little gathering was our first maskless contact with other humans in over a year. (We’re still among the very few who wear them in stores, figuring if the employees have to wear them, we will, too. And I’m not anxious to tangle with the Delta variant and be one of those few who’s vaccinated and still catches Covid-19.)

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But outside, on a lovely–finally cooler and breezy–day? It was like a hall pass to heaven-as-I-imagine-it. Being human with humans: what joy! Right out of our car, my darling tall Phillip helped this woman erect her stand.

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And I had a fascinating visit with the interesting gentleman who, with his wife, runs the honey stand. He shared his history as a former store-owner, and then a painting contractor who’d done much of the stunning detail work on our town’s 19th-century buildings, and now, a purveyor of raw and processed honey, and maple syrup. There were a few other careers in there, but I was gentled into amazement, listening with tears stinging behind my sunglasses, drinking in another person’s story and marveling at the way our words and facial expressions opened us to each other. Such a miracle and profound gift. I’m not certain, but I think sparks of light passed between us. Maybe they always do, and it’s taken a pandemic for me to realize it, to see human connection for what it is. Certainly, we were nourished by these encounters. It’s led me to ponder the gift of life, the chance to be authentic with each other and to share our stories–how these things make us food for each other, and how this diet of each other’s humanity is required if, as a species, we’ll ever be truly healthy. Take and eat; offer and share; feed and be fed; be grateful, be grateful, be grateful.

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Then, yesterday, I was gifted with one of Phillip’s Excellent Gluten-Free Brownies (also spirit food, in my book), hot from the oven at 6 A.M., to celebrate my birthday. Once again, it was time for the dreaded watering ordeal. But the forecast predicted a slight possibility of showers in the evening, so we decided to water the newbies and wait to see if rain (was there such a thing?) took care of the larger perennials later. As we watered the seedlings, a lovely storm once again passed mysteriously right over us…Here’s Phillip in the veggie garden, looking as though he’ll get very wet indeed. Nope. Not a drop. All thunder, no rain. So discouraging!

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But what a treat to then spend the day relaxing with my beloveds. I received birthday greetings and calls from many friends and relations around the world, which really is the gift of celebrating a birthday at this point in my life: to be reminded how very rich I am in friends and family who bless and enlighten me with their stunning gifts. My goodness, the messages were touching. And I realized again how “full” I felt at day’s end. Fed by all that love.

The pandemic enforced a severe drought in human connection and contact. Until it was re-established, I hadn’t felt the depth of deprivation, but this week has really emphasized for me how we feed each other our humanity in our words and interactions. Or starve each other through our cruelty and ignorance.

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And the best birthday gift (other than the 4-leggeds and Phillip) was delivered at 2 A.M. this morning: torrents and torrents of rain, well over an inch, falling into the arms of our gardens and the trees, bushes, thirsty birds and animals, and the dear river–all of us drinking in our beloved Mother Earth.

It is comforting in the night to speak to Love about one’s sorrows and worries, but it’s just extraordinarily fizzy and lightening to close one’s day with nothing but “thank you” on one’s lips. May we all have many more such days, and use our gifts to ensure others do, too. Watch for the sparks of light that pass between you as you eat and drink the moments of nourishing being you share, to fullness!

Gentle Peace.

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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.

Somewhere Between London and Rome

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The summer my father died,
I lost my language. No words
could meet the grief, could plumb
its depths or pierce its night-black
and binding embrace. I did not say
farewell; I could not be at his side,
his leave-taking more sudden
than my chance to span the time
and distance between us, my mother-
in-law’s memorial service here, my father
dying there, and I on the cross between,
swallowing insufficient language. And
every day, that blinding long summer,
I rode my bike to London or Rome,
grandly-named backcountry towns
in opposing directions from my home
beside the bike trail. I pedaled and listened
to Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt,
or the jazz my father loved. 12 miles
one way or the other, a lifetime cycling
through my heart. The bike and the music
knew my lost words and traveled me through
them to something like peace, somewhere
between London and Rome, where red-winged
blackbirds bobbing on Queen Anne’s Lace,
and chicory flowers, as blue as my father’s eyes,
tenderly brought me back to my language.

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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.

Two trains leave the station:

one is what is, and the other,
what might have been. I’d long
traveled on each, missing stops
at different times and speeds;
the problem I couldn’t solve was
how to ride both, at once, as one.
This is why, when your eyes kissed
my smile across the station and
we left to walk down the green
waving trail between the tracks,
I knew I’d found the life I always
wanted: you beside me, rescuing
old dreams and making them real,
learning what wonder may come
from adding trust and subtracting
doubt from life’s equation. If-only
and regret faded; life became a slow
shared surprise of multiplied grace
derived from the division of two
into one, a conversion conceivable if
x equals love. What might have been,
and what is, became infinite; we live
our timeless days, and rest beneath
the shy approving quiet stars, listening
to train horns calling, lonely in the misted
distance, lulling troubled travelers still
longing for the irrational and necessary
convergence of yearning and acceptance,
wishes and substance, the blessed junction
and undeserved gift, a love that will solve
the problem of two trains at the next station.

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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.

The Gifts of Drought

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It’s come again, as it has come so many recent summers. Drought. The effects of climate change are increasingly realized intimately here at Full Moon Cottage. The river has not even been navigable by canoe this spring; anglers could wade across the shallow water as soon as the snow melted, as could the geese and herons. Fish flee to deeper waters, if they can be found, and turtles are struggling to stay hydrated.

Years ago, when these droughts began to be a regular occurrence, we learned to take the time to mulch the gardens heavily once the Earth had thawed and warmed. This way, the garden retains what rains are offered and stays moist much longer through days of drought, but mulching isn’t enough to ensure the gardens’ health. It can mitigate the worst effects of drought but we’ve also had to re-envision the entire garden, learning which plants best survive, or which new plants may help the garden thrive during these dry times. They are the ones we seek, plant, divide and spread to fill the holes left by those now unable to withstand our permanently-altered climate. Drought demands innovation; former methods of gardening no longer work. We must adapt and change to survive and to flourish.

In the same way, we endure spiritual droughts in our lives, times when we cannot connect with our authentic selves, or are spiritually exhausted due to loss, grief, challenging transitions, or the deadening dullness of unchanging routines. I’ve learned to recognize these times for the invitations to deepening they offer, so I try to continue “mulching” with practices that have always called me back to sacred relationship (meditation, prayer, service, walking, writing, etc.). But more than a faithfulness to the known, I’ve found that seeking new ways to connect with Love has enriched my spiritual journey and “watered my soul” immeasurably. These are our spirit’s high times of discernment. Every relationship benefits from introducing “new dances” and discarding those that no longer spark our souls; certainly, the discovery of new ways for our gifts to translate Love into the world can lead us from drought to profound growth.

First, I think it’s helpful to respect the drought, or desert-time, for what it’s come to teach. Aridity can remarkably clarify our path and options. It is a call for our spirit to travel both forward and down, directionally, rather than rush backward to the safe and known. Times of drought strip us of illusion and shock us into silence. If we can withstand them and listen, they can become the pivotal, most memorable points in our lives, though we may not recognize them as such when we enter them. Free-writing, spiritual direction, journaling, labyrinth-walking, creating mandalas, and dreamwork/meditative collages, can all be methods of actively listening to these calls for a spiritual change of course, and can help us locate where our heart’s compass is pointing us. Creativity and surrendering to unknown destinations are necessities for these journeys; our inner pilgrim artist is the heroine of desert-times.

For me, life-changing shifts have begun on spiritual retreats and many places offer these for a day, weekend, or longer. If affordable, such changes of place and routine can truly shake us up in necessary, challenging, and life-altering ways. One of the blessings from our time in lockdown, however, has been the proliferation of online classes and retreats, some of which can be attended “live,” and some with the benefit of being recorded, so we can be present when our schedule allows. I think it’s better, for me, to attend such sessions and retreats in-person, but so many of us don’t have the free-time or, frankly, the funds to do so, and can now, happily, take advantage of these virtual offerings.

I have several places that are reliable homes for my spirit when it’s in need of being held and guided through pivotal change. One is the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse, Wisconsin, and I have been so happy to see that most of the recent offerings are also available to attend online, as the 2.5-hour traveling time is prohibitive for me at this point in my life. (www.FSCenter.org) You may want to see if any of these programs or retreats speak to your heart, or remind you of places in your own part of the world that can offer you nourishing and creative support and redirection in times of drought and transition.

Spiritual awakenings occur when we first recognize we’re falling asleep. Soul-tending is vital not just to our survival, but to our full flowering as gifted humans, here to serve and to love our unfolding journey and all others traveling beside us. Admitting “I thirst,” can be the beginning of unexpected and profound shifts in our lives, if we pursue the path of drought to the new, green and startling garden waiting to be revealed.

© 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.

Once, In Your Lifetime

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Turn from the schedule, the list,
the must do, the should, the fretted
checking of calendars and clocks,
and come to the garden, only come
and drink its colors, taste its secrets,
breathe its music, hear its love greeting
the green and rising there, and bidding
farewell just here; all one, the buzz and
tickle of birth and death, the splashes and
scents, everything in rhythms and choirs
of joy unique; once, in your lifetime, let go
of your careful lines, how you draw them
around your hours and days, be still and
caressed by everything coming and going
this moment in the garden, and the next, it’s
new again, dancing in light like your life, if you
allow it to open wide, and follow its song to the
gardens within you, the sacred fullness of now.

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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.

Sailing On

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The past few weeks at Full Moon Cottage have seemed markedly different from those of the past year, primarily in the flow and direction of energy.

Like most humans, we were part of a rather tight clustered community in 2020: staying home, sharing online, guarding our health, and focused on making it through one day and then the next. Now, the circle has broken wide and beloveds are radiating out into the world, reuniting with lives and loves from whom they’d been too-long sequestered. Participating in activities outside of their home. Traveling. Meeting. Moving among strangers in faraway places.

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A friend is flying to Greece in a few days to meet and hold her new granddaughter. They’ve had weekly online “visits” for over a year, but her excitement to physically connect with her darling granddaughter and children after all these long months of waiting is understandably palpable. I think I’m almost as excited as she is: I can’t wait to hear her updates, and can only imagine the overflow of joy rocketing through our world when all such meetings are realized. There is no substitute for embracing those we love.

Three friends have made arrangements to visit with us this summer as well; how wonderful to know the old well-worn paths have not grown over in these times of long absence, and how surprisingly merry my heart feels anticipating the arrivals of our guests. I think some part of me doubted these visits would happen so soon and safely. Plagues and pandemics have not historically been so swiftly contained. I am deeply grateful for every person’s gifts that contributed to the vaccines’ development and availability, and continue to hope everyone on the planet will have access to them as well. We have to accomplish this justly; we have to love better.

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Other beloveds’ stories have also deviated from the main theme of Covid-19 confinement these past weeks, but in sadder ways. My dear cousin endured the death of her husband and has only just begun the huge transformation of traveling through grief and the possible healing that such a parting invites. Their marriage of 48 years certainly speaks to a profound entwining of lives…Oh, the ache of such a loss.

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Another precious friend, an extraordinarily talented composer, is adjusting to the cruelty of ALS and the determined devastation it’s wreaking on his body, but his spirit remains incandescent. It’s as though, as his physical abilities are diminishing, his always-stunning light and great heart are shining more brightly and fiercely than any disease could ever dim. All the gifts he has given to so many lives, all the ways he has blessed the world–that holy energy has regathered and multiplied, immense in its power to remind us of truths we’d forgotten, and to teach us new lessons that are deepening and changing us as much and more than the unrealized compositions we’ll never hear. In a way, this final composition is the rarest and most beautiful gift he could offer and we could receive: his love distilled, concentrated and offered freely, a music he has chosen to compose during this time, his active response to this crucial (crucial: cross-shaped; at a crossroads) moment in his life: Creating a music that sings in his choices to live through his dying. A song we can hear, and see, and feel: Take and eat music. There is only Love music. Always with you music. In our sorrow, he lifts us, astonished. Can you tell I love him? Many do, because his life’s work has been to show us how we’re lovable and how that Love grows when we feed it to the world. As he always has and is doing. I ask you to hold him and his family in your hearts and in how you pray.

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And here at Full Moon? Writing, gardening, hiking, playing, routine body tune-up’s with doctors and dentists we’d not seen in a year and a half, going on adventures together…cautiously edging out and away from the shore of home.

We’ve had a time of it with the gardens: weeding, mulching, transplanting and filling holes and re-mulching…covering for frost and watering during drought. This week, we received some glorious rain. The river is still very low, but the gardens are refreshed. We both love our time with our green and growing beloveds…one day, I expect we’ll grow roots and leaves of our own. Go out to the gardens and stay forever. I’ll be the plant holding a pen and notebook.

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Blooms have begun erupting a few weeks ahead of old schedules. The houseplants traveled out for a week, but tonight’s frost warnings have led us to bring them in again…I think they’re a bit disappointed. I’d told them they were on vacation in Bimini, and now, I imagine, they’re wise to me. But they’re safe and cozy, and can return to the deck next week.

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Yesterday, the windows closed and the heat was turned on again: life in the time of climate change. So a few days’ break from the gardens means time to get going on the kitchen and dining room painting, now that the living room is (finally) finished. We ordered a new sofa and were told it “might” arrive in seven months. We’ll probably forget all about it and then have a lovely surprise just when we need one. Becoming a bit forgetful as we age has benefits.

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Our 4-leggeds are sweet and well, and we are blessed, and know it. With Phillip, it’s always the best of times.

Life sails on. And–if we choose–we take what we learn and allow it to radiate outward, wheels of light spinning Love, feeding the world.

Sail on, dear ones, in gentle peace.

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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.

The Poppies’ Apprentice

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Late in August, after the poppy petals have faded and dropped,
and the stalks have dried, I cut them, timed just before their
tiny round ground-pepper seeds spill upon the fertile earth.
I am the poppies’ servant, gently upturning their slender stems
and rattling pods into small brown paper bags, biding quietly
through all the dark winter for the gradual break of brittle husks,
the hushed eased release of ten thousand miracles, handfuls
of treasure to scatter on pale February’s diminishing mounds
of dispirited snow. The seeds stay or drift, eventually coming
to rooted rest, and it’s not I, the earnest gardener, who will say
which will bloom or where; this is the secret magic of poppies.

I tend and plant my gardens just so: tall in the back and
short in the front, all seasons’ colors carefully arranged,
organized surprises, designed to delight in texture, color,
and patterns that gracefully rise and fall, suggesting elegant,
unplanned perfection. But I am only the poppies’ apprentice,
humbly and forever learning from their wisdom, the one who
witnesses and yearns to master the wiser magic of scattered
poppy seeds, erupting in random joy, fully themselves, birthing
incomparable rainbows among my detailed and reasoned rows.

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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.

Gratitude for All Who Nurture

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Here in the United States, we celebrate Mother’s Day this Sunday and Father’s Day in June. While I am certainly grateful for my parents and for all those who parent their children with love and grace, I use these days to honor all those who faithfully nurture what they have created and are creating in the world, and to examine my own nurturing responsibilities and efforts as well.

My male friends have often taught me much about using my feminine energy with greater compassion, and my women friends have often helped me deepen my masculine energy: it’s all gift, and we’re each a unique blend of these energies, trying to integrate as fully as we can to bless the world with our magic. I am grateful for all my teachers and the opportunities to become a better parent to myself and the world.

Some of the questions I consider on these days include: How am I doing with self-care? Our actions are constant examples: do I actually demonstrate the self-care I preach (and preach, and preach)? How well am I tending my gifts and using them for the good of others? How faithfully am I nourishing my relationships with my loved ones and reaching out to strangers?

Do each of our 4-leggeds feel loved and safe? Are we embracing their unique spirits and feeding them as attentively as we do our own spirits?

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And, oh, the land and gardens of Full Moon Cottage and all the visitors passing through…how faithfully and mindfully are we parenting, befriending, and assisting them in this time of uneven and sudden climate shifts? Do we have enough feeders and watering stations? Do we need to transition to more native plants? Are we providing for the healthy insects as we should?

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Most importantly, are Phillip and I nurturing our own relationship with creativity and love? I know unequivocally that he is the most precious being in my life while I also know I don’t always see him before me or hear what his heart is saying. Hasn’t this past year emphasized how quickly time passes and how present we must be to our blessings?

The gardens need all of our attention at this time of year. They are rising and growing ahead of the schedule we’re accustomed to, and tonight, we’re facing another frost warning, so we’ll have to cover the infants and tender-leaved plants again before nightfall.

And all of the gardens need spring weeding, edging, and mulching, an enormous, all-at-once job for a few weeks before our gardening lives settle into much more manageable routines. We have the added blessing and bane of living beside a state bike trail/park that, for years now, has not been tended as it once was, and so is overrun with invasives like garlic mustard and jewelweed, as well as Japanese beetles. We try to maintain a “line” with the invasives, but it’s ongoing and frustrating. The beetles go into traps or cups of vinegar and soap. I loathe killing anything, so it’s a dispiriting job, but necessary to protect our trees, shrubs, flowers, fruit and veggies without using chemicals that would harm anything.

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How does one nurture the Earth justly and compassionately? I think it’s a fair and eternal question, but certainly, this weekend is one when I ponder it and examine my choices.

Last year, because of the extraordinary circumstances of having a poem go viral, and all the invitations that ensued, I was glued to my computer for the entire spring and into the summer, leaving Phillip to complete all of these early tasks and the subsequent watering during the long torrid drought days that now seem an annual occurrence.

This year, I want to be a better partner to my dear one and a more-present mother to the gardens, so I’ll be taking a couple weeks off from blogging and other pursuits to get the gardens prepped and squared away for their summer thriving…provided we get through tonight’s frost.

I know we’re all stepping out of lockdowns as we feel called and safe enough to do so, and into re-engagement with more varied social activities and the many invitations warmer weather sets before us. I hope when I return to blogging, you’ll have time to check in and offer a comment or two. Please be well and safe. Tend your spirits, minds, and bodies as a good parent would, and so tend the world.

Gentle Peace.

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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.

You Will Rise

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They’ll let you down, people,
the small people acting
from pain and from sadness,
and fears they can’t name.
Broken, they break you,
and hurting, they hurt you,
and turn from the damages,
smiling, relieved.
But you, golden one, you
will rise and leave baskets
of love at their windows,
and seek what you need.
The welcoming world
is waiting to teach you
to travel the circle,
to plant and become.
So rest, deeply nourished
by all the world’s beauty
and breathe in her infinite
joy, golden one.
One day you’ll be flying
and healing the broken
with baskets of love,
you will rise; you will soar.

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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.

Love at the Center

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Last night, just as we released the hounds into their little “dog park” for a postprandial run, an unleashed (!) Great Dane left his people on the state trail that runs beside our home to dash over and chase our pups from outside their fenced playground. He really wanted to find a way in and they were equally determined to break out.

A wild dance ensued. Miles were covered, round and round, up and down, back and forth, all accompanied by extremely frenetic and high decibel barking…Finally, one of his people enticed the Great Dane to be leashed and led back to the trail, where another person and a well-behaved dog waited.

Our pups took forever to settle from all the excitement. This morning, Dooley and Micky were seated in the living room, keeping a very close watch on the trail.

Itching, I think, for Round Two and more fun.

Last evening’s entire episode spanned no more than 10 minutes. Phillip took one look, realized all were safe, and stayed inside, to allow the Great Dane’s person the security of knowing only her voice would be focused on her dog. I felt way too anxious, initially, and stepped out on the deck to observe the situation, entirely ignored by all involved, until the woman led her dog away and, clearly flustered, shouted, “Sorry!” as they headed back to the trail. I shrugged and called out, “Dogs! Right?!” I hoped she knew I was rather amused by the whole episode as it unfolded, but I don’t know; we were not close enough to even distinguish each other’s features.

Our pups, as I’ve mentioned, were hyped the rest of the evening and again this morning, when they stepped out for their early constitutional. I think the surprise of another and very large dog contributed to the general excitement, let alone the human stranger running into the yard and calling after her dog, but I also think the experience brought back the joy of the dog park and the freedom our dogs used to have in running around with new friends and their people. Truly, the Great Dane seemed more intent on play than threatening our pups. I think they were all a bit delighted by the memory of strangers who could be new friends.

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This week, for many reasons, I’ve been noticing how short-fused people have become on social media and in the comments of online news articles. It’s not a new trend but it’s seemed to accelerate and multiply. Innocent comments are attacked and the authors are rapidly pilloried with language that would make a dockworker cringe. Accusations of every possible prejudice and politically-correct bias are hurled at a complete stranger with the intent, it seems to annihilate his or her existence. I’m surprised my computer isn’t left smoking.

When did this behavior become acceptable and even encouraged in adult discourse? When did this coarse and inflammatory language become tolerated so widely? I may question another stranger’s view, but I’m very weary of people feeling it’s necessary to shame and insult those with whom they disagree by using violent, incendiary obscenities. It disengages and saddens me. I wish we’d return to fueling our conversations with pondered intelligence rather than self-righteous anger. The intent seems to win a barroom brawl rather than nudge humanity forward in anything resembling the unity necessary to survive the problems we face.

And what, exactly, does hurling obscenities accomplish? How does it alter the energy? Where does it end? I think a little kindness and patience could help us out right now. What’s the endgame, after all? To feel self-satisfied or to invite a change in thinking and behavior? I miss gentleness and polite conversation. I miss basic etiquette. I miss people holding their tongues and listening more deeply before judging. I miss meeting strangers sans agendas.

A few years ago, the culture seemed honorably focused on the lasting pain caused by bullying. This makes me struggle with the current unfazed acceptance of the verbal/written bullying and nasty sarcasm tolerated online among “adults.” If I were having a conversation with someone in-person and they interrupted to bellow vulgarities at me, I know I’d feel intimidated and immediately shut down. I’d probably feel embarrassed or ashamed to be singled out by that kind of language, and I’d feel isolated and depressed…aren’t those the signs of being bullied?

And, if this is the way we treat each other anonymously, how will we behave when we can speak again with strangers face-to-face?

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I thought about these things last night as we brought the 4-leggeds in and laughed about their adventure. I hope the woman and her companion walking their dogs back home had a giggle, too, and knew we weren’t angry or upset with them or their huge funny 4-legged. I’m still not certain I didn’t join her to help corral the Great Dane because it was better for her dog to have only her known voice directing it, or if it was more due to fear of unmasked viral exchange, or if I just wanted to avoid contact with another potentially angry human.

We have all had more stress than our health could bear this past year, and yet borne it all we have, but I humbly offer that we humans need to develop wiser methods for discharging our fear and anger than firing it directly into the hearts of others. Because we also have wonderful capacities for kindness and joy.

This long darkness is ending, and we’ll be face-to-face again soon. There will be awkwardness enough without the added anxiety of having uninvited opinions and judgments hurled at us. Let’s give consideration to the feelings of others, practice forgiveness, and try for greater kindness in the ways we interact, keeping our focus on the endgame: To extend the kindness towards others we’d like shared with ourselves, so that necessary progress may be achieved together. No one will always be right; no one needs to be shamed; no one should be isolated. Words can be chosen for the light and beauty they shine rather than the hurt they inflict or ugly noises they make.

I saw a quote on Neil deGrasse Tyson’s page this week: “Since the universe has no center, you can’t be it.” I laughed, and remembered another quote, attributed to many great thinkers. A paraphrase: “Love is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.” Let’s put love at the center of every meeting and relationship, and see how we are then invited to treat each other.

Like the dogs last night, I hope that we can be surprised by the presence of each other, have fun together, and share so much delight that we sit at the window, anticipating our next meeting.

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By Toby Mac #SPEAKLIFE

© 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.

Ordinary Things of Conspicuous Value

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It was the summer before I began high school. I had just turned 13, and my spirit was roiling with enough hormones, nerves, and angst to power a revolution. Well, enough to have my father invite me to join him for a chat on the living room sofa.

I sat beside him articulating all that was wrong with the world–the inequity, wars, poverty, and injustices–and how frustrated I felt to see adults seemingly tolerate all of this without solving these problems.

I remember my father saying, “Honey, what may help is to use your power where you are. Just focus on what you can do and change, and then grow from there.”

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We had many such conversations, covering a wide range of topics, but I always hang my heart on the memory of those words when I’m frustrated with the world. They’ve certainly echoed rather resoundingly this year, and most recently this past week, when we faced a forecast of three nights with far-below freezing temperatures.

Last month, the temperatures were into the 80’s, warming the earth and coaxing all kinds of plants to grow and bud almost a month ahead of former schedules. (I’ve stopped applying the word “normal” to my gardening experiences; it’s no longer relevant or useful.) The forecast posed a threat to our gardens that we had to address or risk the devastating losses of new and old friends.

So, out came every dropcloth, every cat and dog blanket, every old sheet and towel, a few sweatshirts, and every spare quilt or blanket we could find. The older and hardier perennials would survive, I reasoned, but the tender babies, the seedlings, and the infants we’d planted last autumn needed careful swaddling. The clematis, Japanese maple, lavender, infant fruit trees…it took hours to cover them all, and the yard looked like a tornado had picked up a village rummage sale and dropped it over the gardens.

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Of course we were rushed and trying like mad to cover the plants, and then had to scavenge for logs and rocks to hold our covers in place against the cold winds, but later, when I looked out from the living room, I realized I could have coordinated the colors and patterns a bit more skillfully…in its utter lack of tasteful design, the general impression certainly spoke to our frenzy.

Phillip rightly reminded me that people passing on the bike trail would not be judging my choices in fabrics or their placement, but it really looked ghastly. And, more to the point, I worried it wasn’t enough.

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Over the next three nights, I kept waking up and peeking outside, as though I could see anything or frighten away the frost. And every morning we dashed around to check the plants, recover anything exposed, and hope we’d get through another night. We checked the hummingbird feeders (which did not freeze) and kept the other feeders stocked with seeds. Wednesday was brutal. Within the span of a few hours, the clouds hurled down snow, then graupel, then hail, and back to snow. Then the winds howled, followed by sunshine and stillness, and then freezing temperatures swept in once more, as though Mother Nature wanted to demonstrate all the variety in her repertoire. At once.

Thursday morning, we spent hours restoring the gardens to a semblance of order. It seems everyone survived. Gratitude falls short in describing the relief and joy we felt peeling away blankets to uncover green tender shoots ready to photosynthesize. Rocks and logs were removed and returned to their proper piles.

Two days of laundering all those groundcovers restocked the pet beds, linen closet, and workshop. Our forecast looks to be above freezing for the foreseeable future. The birds and insects have resurrected in full force.

There are still so many systems, policies, laws, and people I’d like to reform or protect, and while I can certainly address these desires in my writing and voting, I will never have the power to right all wrongs single-handedly. But, as my father told me so very long ago, I can keep trying to tend my little acres, and this week, the joy we felt in protecting our gardens and keeping our winged, crawling, two, four, six, and eight-legged guests safe, reminded me that doing what we can do, while we’re able, is also tending our own spirits and hearts.

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Every part of Full Moon is part of us, and as that rises in our consciousness, so does the truth that its borders never end. Once again, I’ve revisited the wisdom my father imparted, what I think he hoped I’d come to understand: when you truly love any acre, any being, any waterway, you love them all and realize you’re intimately connected. You can’t change everything, but you can love it all.

And that love? As Pierre Teilhard said, “Do not forget that the value and interest of life is not so much to do conspicuous things…as to do ordinary things with the perception of their enormous value…Love is the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world. Love, in fact, is the agent of universal synthesis.”

Gentle peace–and temperate weather–to your week.

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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.

Earth’s Day

what day is not hers in which we live and move?
where else
would we be our being
and do our doing
than here in the arms of our mother earth?

but just between you and me?
we’re not the greatest kids
we’ve set her on fire and poisoned her blood
we’ve stripped her flesh and stolen her savings
we’ve mined her heart and drained her life
we’ve beaten her senseless and slouched away
more than once muttering promises vowing love
you know the routine
we’ll be in touch see you soon ma where’s your wallet?

she’s getting old she’s
a little off her rocker now
demented she falls a lot
fevered in march frozen in april
she hates herself
for loving us so wildly
says we’re spoiled and blind to wonder
but still in the will
so we come on this day we errant selfish
children and sit at her bedside
hold her boney hand
hear the stories we’ve heard a million times
force our greed-drenched claws to pause
and offer a day (one every year!) of empty praises
dull phrases professing our love once more yes ma
we’ll listen to your trees we say
and learn from your winds
we’ll honor your creatures
larger than our hearts (well
until we can market and sell them like those old furs
those were the days when we robbed her cellars
of coal and more coal and more and the oil that oozed
through our pockets was grand) but oh mother on this day
we’ll pin our gratitude to our wide striped lapels and sing your favorite
songs so hooray for you it’s your special day (hey ma you’re out of ice)
oh say
can you spare us a forest or so? hey ma jeez turn down the heat
it’s like an oven in here gotta go it’s been nice but it’s late very late

and we shall rest on your blue night hills
cloaked in quilted clouds and
warmed by the fire of distant stars our hearts
made restless by your foolish love knowing
we are liars who will not change we will not
change
how can we when there’s
still profit to be made
till the last note
of birdsong floats
to final silence?

© 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.

Peace at the Center

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How is it with your spirit? 

That’s the way I often begin conversations with my patients, spiritual direction guests, and myself, as I begin another day. It’s a good question to ask before sleep as well. If we can’t name what we’re feeling, seeking, and need, to proceed with equanimity, then we have work to do. We need to ask loving, honest questions that will help us identify what’s impeding our peace. The pursuit of these names changes everything. When the unknown and unresolved is named, we can meet it and allow space for its voice to be heard. Everything the world needs begins with befriending ourselves as deeply as the Love that called us here.

And I suppose the question, “How is it with your spirit?” is also connected to my passion for any practice that takes me deep within silence, and why everyone I counsel has been invited to do the same. Repeatedly. Our spirits get knocked out of alignment so easily in the world. We bury ourselves, over and over and need resurrecting to live authentically.

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Our Easters happen when we make time for those activities that take us into our spirits so deeply that time stops, the world falls away, and there is only the intimacy of self and passion. True renewal. It’s like watering a plant…and if you look around the world, the garden is sadly wilted.

Photography, gardening, writing, walking, centering prayer…I have developed so many ways to get to my center over the years that I hope all the practice helps me live from it, more and more. After all, it’s our genuine home, the place where we meet ourselves and our image of the Sacred (whatever that is for us), to enlarge the Love that binds us and feeds our lives and those with whom we share it.

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I hold the memory of my beloved, late spiritual director in my heart. He’d often come to the hospital where I worked inhumane hours, just to offer me the time and space to listen myself to my center. We’d meet in the hospital chapel–reliably empty in a place where everyone moved too quickly, doing too much–and I’d always find him sitting so deeply in his prayer-filled center that he gave off light. It healed me before I even joined him, before words gradually became part of our conversation. Now, as I approach (too quickly) his wise old age in those long ago days, I understand the urge to take any time available to breathe, “head to my center,” and hang out with Love.

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As the world picks up energy, turns outward once again, and engages beyond lit screens, texts, and messages, I hope we’ll retain some of the gifts that greater stillness and times of silence have given us. Many of us have made life-altering connections during this time of pandemic. We’ve forged relationships and uncovered gifts that will need tending to stay alive, just as our spirits do. I hope we won’t, as a species, return to mindless rushing and acquisition; such former habits will not meet the needs of our spirits or the present world. 

The “way things were” has been a fallow field for over a year, while we’ve been tightly bound and changing;  as we are loosened and part from the circles that have given us solace, insight, and community, I hope we turn to new fertility in the world and see continued possibility for healing and co-creating. Asking ourselves and beloveds, “How is it with your spirit?” and taking time to listen for the heart’s answers, can help light the path before us.

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Be well and safe, and great gentle peace.

© 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.

The Recalled Mysteries of Second Grade

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“You have to be a nun when you grow up,”
said Debbie Someone on the tarmacadamed
playground, “because your middle name is Mary.”
She should know, I thought, with her family full of
nuns and priests posing like saints in photos all over
their living room. I was reading a book about a girl
or a doll named Jane. “I will be Sister Mary Jane,” I said.
“You can’t. That’s a shoe,” said Debbie. The First Mystery.

The nuns wore a rosary of wood around their waists,
the beads as big as marble shooters. It took two decades of the
rosary to belt the bulk of Sister Mary Albertine, but one or less for
tiny Sister Mary Joy. I imagined them wearing the rosaries to bed.
They could clasp the mighty crucifix and manage the opening prayers,
but what happened when they reached the decades wrapped around
their waists? Maybe they rolled on each bead, recited the prayer,
and kept rolling, pausing, and praying till dawn. The Second Mystery.

The nuns had wooden clackers like stork beaks they’d extract from
the folds of their habits. Clack! We’d walk two-by-two. Clack! We’d
genuflect. Clack! We’d march into the pew. Clack! We’d sit. If I was
going to be a nun, I needed a clacker. I borrowed Sr. Mary Theophona’s.
(I wasn’t a thief, just a novice seeking improvement.) I took it home and
practiced with my younger brother. Clack. Walk. Clack. Stop. Clack. Sit.
Clack. Fold your hands to pray. He stood up and left the room. “You can’t
leave when I’m clacking!” I shouted, disbelieving. He said, “Shut up.”
To a clacking nun in training. And nothing happened. The Third Mystery.

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We went to Mass every day during Lent. I didn’t understand the Latin,
but I recited it perfectly. I thought Et cum spiritu tuo was the Holy Ghost’s
phone number. I wanted to be an altar boy and use the candlelighter,
reaching high, touching wicks with fire, setting the stage for Mass.
I wanted to shake the bells at the consecration, and then hold
the communion plate to catch Jesus if he fell from someone’s
mouth. I thought, if he’d been crucified and resurrected, he could
probably handle a fall to the altar if I missed catching him. I wanted
to wear the red and white vestments and go up and down the aisles,
waving incense at the people in the pews. I wanted to answer the priest,
to kneel and bow and parade around doing things while all the people
watched. I asked Sister Mary Eulogia if I could be trained. “You can’t be
an altar boy, Catherine, because you’re a girl.” Stern eyes flashed through
rimless glass circles. My heart doubted her theology. The Fourth Mystery.

We received a monthly magazine, Catholic Highlights for Boys and Girls.
Every issue featured a child martyr who told the Roman soldiers, “I love
Jesus, and won’t stop,” so the child met a gruesome end and became a saint.
There were also articles about catechism and tips for being pious, but I turned
to the martyr tales first. One night, I read how one of the child martyrs proved
his love for God by sleeping on sticks and stones. I went outside and found
some stones, added my jacks and balls and dried peas and the peashooter,
scattered them in my bed, settled myself gently, and waited to feel holier. “JMJ,” 
I said. I did not enjoy it. I hoped God noticed and I was proving my love.


My mother came in to say goodnight. She sat and felt a stone. Or two. I had
to confess my plan, and asked if she could see my halo beginning to glow. She
dissuaded me from being a child martyr. We cleared my bed of stones and jacks.
My mother tucked me in and kissed me. She told me I was precious; she loved me.
I heard her whispering to my father in the hallway. They were laughing. I inhaled
the music of their laughter and was blessed. I knew God would make that music.
Why would someone expect you to suffer to prove your love? The Fifth Mystery.
Amen.

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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.

A Gathering of Poets

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I mentioned this event last week and wanted to share a reminder that it’s happening tonight, at 7-8 P.M. CENTRAL TIME. You are so welcome to join us!

All of the readings will be from the anthology: Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic, edited by Alice Quinn and published by Alfred Knopf.

The poets I’ll be joining tonight include David Biespiel; Catherine Cohen; John Freeman; Garrett Hongo; John Koethe; Jim Moore; and Susan Stewart. Each of us will read our own poem from this anthology as well as that of another contributor…I think this will be both a rich celebration of poetry and its power, and a kind of gathering-around-the-fire ritual to share our poetic reflections on the pandemic…I hope it will prove stimulating, resonant, and healing. Crowdcast is very easy to use; no downloading.

The gathering is online tonight, from 7-8 Central, and sponsored by the wonderful Kismet Bookstore in Verona, Wisconsin. Hooray for Rye Kimmett! Events | Kismet Books (kismetbookshop.com)

Gentle Peace to all,

Kitty

PS: Spring is afoot!

The One We Are Becoming

Let me fall if I must. The one I will become will catch me. ~ Baal Shem Tov

The rain falling from the cloud, caught by–and becoming–
the thirsting tree,
the shining drops falling from leaves
to the opening earth,
the sunlight falling, caught by hungry life;
everything is falling into what it will become.

Once, I moved in the world as though
I knew my way, as though
I had a map and a name for my becoming; I didn’t.
I pedaled through the air of my life wildly, panicked
and struggling to feel the ground beneath me.
I couldn’t land, too fearful of meeting my imagined life,
of believing the woman who held my spirit
would be there to catch me.

If only I had seen that we’re all falling,
as long as it takes, till we meet the garden
where all our seeds have been planted, the room
of our dreams, the home we know to be ours,
our only holy self.
And then we fall again.

If only I had noticed the fledgling fall and how it was caught by flight.

If only I’d seen Yeshua fall
into his waiting Christness,
or Siddhartha caught
by the enlightened Buddha.

We cannot know what mysteries will unfold
when we let go, only that we’re biding,
transformed, to catch ourselves when the falling ends,
and that none of the tipping energy that sent us
floating or crashing down, was wasted.
Everything deepens those who allow it.

I have seen lives fall and be caught
by the love they became,
and sinners fall into certain saints.
When we arrive, we’ll know
and embrace the truth of the name
we’ve chosen as ours.

All that time, the time of my long falling,
I thought the one I was becoming
was more of myself, but the new
utter strangeness was you, and when
the two of us caught our falling selves
we became one: and now we’ve spent
a long, long time, days like centuries,
catching and releasing the sacred One
we are, still creating, still learning to leap
into wonder, trusting it will meet us as we merge
and fall, like the fledgling, into something
as surprising as flight, becoming again the constant
and changing love we are, and when we too must fall
from flight into our own, dark tombs, we’ll be caught
by the light that we’ve become; one day, we will finally
surrender to who we are. It’s finished, we’ll say,
and we will be caught by our light. We cannot know
the mysteries that will unfold at the end of that yes.

In the garden, blossoms flash into dark
honeyed cherries, ready to be eaten by hungry life.
Everything is falling into what it will become.

© 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.

When the Time is Out of Joint

Today

I don’t know about March’s entrance and exit, but April’s coming in like a tentacled alien. The conflation of surviving a year of pandemic, of responding to climate change and spring’s erupting haste, and of noticing and tending our pent-up desire for community and social proximity has far-reaching implications, and it seems they’re spreading and winding everywhere, at once. Prioritize, or be entangled.

Our furnace is turned off and windows have been open morning and night; gardens are exploding way ahead of past patterns; our first April shower has just thundered and flashed through today’s 75-degree spaces; Phillip’s receiving frequent jobs for cabinetry and etc. that he can do at home; we’re still trying to finish our own remodeling work; I’m writing and editing three books at once; it feels like everyone’s traveling everywhere; and a million things are suddenly happening. The world’s been shaking in a dice cup that’s been dumped back out this month: what are the odds we’ll survive? I wonder.

Of course, I realize a lot of us are still most often at home, cautious about the Covid variants and the many ways we can protect ourselves and others, practicing the safety protocols when we’re out shopping, etc., but spring, or sprummer, has definitely sprung, and its invitations ring out and linger, a siren song few, it seems, can resist while remembering Covid and her variants are still very much present and actively mutating.

For at least 12 months, we haven’t had to prioritize much at all. We woke up, cared for the dogs, cats, and gardens, pursued our callings, went nowhere, had no appointments, and moved through our days slowly, the peace of it all only unnerved at times by Covid and political news, but we felt safe, even a bit unmoored, floating along on our little Full Moon Island.

I can feel the tightness of our atoms and small world dispersing into the greater world these days. Connections that relied on mutual support this past secluded year are loosening as others’ worlds and their invitations open up as well. But we’re both old pros at making lists, organizing schedules, moving through task-filled days and managing to take breaks when we need them, so we’re not worried about the sudden convergence of “options to consider and actions to take,” just amazed at how quickly they’ve arrived.

Puschkinia libanotica (Stardrift) are blooming now. Last year (and previous years), they first blossomed on April 23rd, or later.

I think the climate changes have me most unsettled. The virus is, of course, still raging. I’m mindful of the great suffering it’s causing in South America and elsewhere, and that cases are once again rising in my country due to negligence, but the vaccination numbers are also rising and we know how to prevent infection if we choose.

We cannot, though, alter the climate changes; that time is long past. There is no protocol individuals can follow to bring down rising temperatures, or aid other species in their seasonal and necessary migrations, or nesting, or daily food procurement (beyond faithfully maintaining the feeders for the little few who visit us here). Today, on April 6th, the bit of lawn we still have is green and in need of cutting, but the dandelions that provide nectar to many have not yet risen and bloomed. Time really does seem out of joint. It’s about 20 degrees warmer than what we used to call “normal.” We’re not sure when to begin working in the gardens, though we’ll probably clear their edges of grass and weeds this weekend. I don’t want to compact their soil by treading around within their borders…yet.

For the past several years, we’ve had snow covering the ground in early April, and snowstorms as late as April 27, so we have no idea if this warmth will last or be overtaken by frost and snow, which would be devastating to the current green everywhere and to our fellow creatures migrating, nesting, and now trying to survive in a world that does not match their instinctive triggers and responses.

There are no easy answers; there never were. There’s not one right action or path to follow in the labyrinth our current world has become. But out there on the trail, I can see an old man slowly walking his old dog on the rain-washed and sun-drenched trail, smelling of spring’s emergent life, whether its presence is “normal” or not. Peace exudes from their partnership.

The man waits calmly whenever the dog pauses to sniff or regather his strength. The dog stands in place when the man stops to admire the view or take a deep breath. A cyclist slows to honor their space and then sails on across the bridge, enjoying her day, the gift of its warmth and the saturation of color after winter’s monochromatic persistence…Observing these interactions as I fret about what’s to come, reminds me that if the time is out of joint, I can let it go and enter the flow as it is, focusing on this moment and the next, the companions who fill it with meaning, the creativity it engenders, and the gratitude it always deserves.

I actually was not thrilled to come upon Murphy lounging on this plant, but he has been a bit listless, missing Fergus. When our 4-leggeds’ ashes are returned to us, some are put in a shared container we keep with us, and the rest are scattered around the perimeter of Full Moon Cottage…but Fergus spent his first year alone outside and never wanted to exit his forever safe home again, so instead of walking the perimeter with his ashes, I placed a few in the houseplants he loved to play with, and I wondered if Murphy, who has never napped on a houseplant before, sensed and felt closer to Fergus here. At any rate, as you can see, he was unfazed by my response, so I left him to it. It seemed to heal his spirit a bit.

Peace to your week.

© 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.

The Little Things

It really is the little things
that change our lives, the way they flow,
and the world, how its passing or endurance
depend on this choice or that. The insignificant
classroom in the small town where our little lives
(stifling, but prescribed, and so far-followed we
could see the back covers closing on our little stories)
collided:
So many lives, their careful design, required reconstruction
from the settling dust of that brief moment. And I thought,
“Well, that was unexpected,” and then we adapted to the
different story we’d chosen, the endings and beginnings
our unsought meeting created, the canvases and new paints
we’d given ourselves, the new chapters we’d undertaken
to author, but the little things never stop redirecting the flow,
do they? I mean, we and the world, we’re never finally formed
and there is no path except the one behind us; knowing this,
we should be wiser, more watchful, tender in our reach
and open to surprise and surrender. Control is an illusion;
the stories never end the way you expect. All around us,
everywhere, little choices are made by the known and unknown,
the seen and hidden, the near and distant: look how one person’s lie
leads to so much death; how another’s sacrifice resurrects hope;
how a stranger’s small kindness alters a life; how a tiny dog’s nuzzle
eases deep grief; how, years later, a letter arrives, begging forgiveness;
how one person crosses a narrow aisle to cast an unexpected vote, and
just like that, the whole world is given another little chance to endure.
Stones roll away, light shines, and we see a way forward we hadn’t imagined.

© 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.