Once in a Blue Moon


Blue Moon, August, 2012

Well, “once in a blue moon” is here today. Today is the second full moon in August. It doesn’t happen very often. Many times on a blue moon, you will see it grey and white. Today’s just might be blue due to the forest fires. Historically, there are blue moons after large volcano eruptions.

My first memory of Blue Moon is Frank Sinatra crooning it with style. Today, we will be able to watch the Blue moon from our computers if you wish. In 1945, the term Blue moon appeared in Sky and Telescope magazine.

Historically, there are 3 full moons in any season and each are named. Due to the particles ascending into the atmosphere from our wild fires, some may see a red moon. Whether blue or red, Mother Earth is giving us a beautiful show today and tonight.

Ladies Need to Follow Their Instincts and Passions


Eve was the first woman to flee and find adventure. Intrepid women travelers have been pushing up against man-made boundaries and shocking their societies.

The first woman to document her travels was a nun named Etheria. In 381 A.D.
She wandered to Jerusalem and continued on to Egypt searching for freedom of choice.

In 1784, Elizabeth Thible became the first women to travel in a hot-air balloon because she knew the sky was not the limit.

Nellie Bly, an American journalist and Victorian lady traveled around the world in seventy-two days, six hours, and eleven minutes. What an inspiration to us in the twenty-first century!

Women have been having adventures and conquering their fears for centuries. They caused family scandles and much gossip in their lives. However, they didn’t listen to the people who said no, you can’t do this. They knew their hearts and went anyway. I am sure they were afraid at times but they grabbed onto life with all of the strength they had and held on for dear life!

Julia Archibald Holmes climbed Pike’s Peak in 1858 and wrote, “I have accomplished the task which I marked out for myself. Nearly everyone tried to discourage me from attempting it, but I believed that I should succeed.”

” Life seems to throw many more adventures your way when you are prepared, it is very sexy to know how to take care of yourself,” by an Italian woman named Sylvania.

Life can be scary and we can at times be filled with anxiety and hesitancy. We are here to experience life, and I don’t mean just the men. It is important to grab on to whatever is close-by and hold on. Allow yourself to laugh and love, eat and cry. This is life.

There are many books published documenting the adventures of women and they give us the luxury of sitting on a beach and walk in a Rainforest. You can absorb their experiences vicariously.

I have a friend who is a college professor of Photography. We have traveled together in days past when I was more mobile. She is a birder as well and has traveled from Peru to Siberia. I am lucky enough to see her slides and enjoy her stories. She is such a rich font of experiences and a true inspiration to her students.

I encourage every woman to visit their dreams and feel their strength. Take that step that will eventually take you to a rich and passionate life. If family or friends think of you as too wild, remember that ‘wild women don’t get the blues’.

There are several books that you could read and perhaps inspire the adventurer within. Spinsters Abroad; Victorian Lady Explorers by Dea Birkett. Living with Cannibals and Other Women’s Adventures by Michele Slung and a really good one called Unsuitable for Ladies by Jane Robinson.

Your adventures may be joining the YMCA, or joining a quilting circle, taking classes, vacationing on the Galapagos Islands. Take skating lessons, read a new author, buy a wide brim hat just because they are coming back into style.
Have fun and enjoy conquering your world. I did and have no regrets.

French Quarters, New Orleans; Photo by Barbara Mattio

Johnson Space Center, Houston, Tx.; Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Alamo, San Antonio, Tx.; Photo by Barbara Mattio

Our Home Mother Earth


Well, yes I am writing again about our beloved trees and caring for Mother Earth. We have a responsibility to her and yet it is more than responsibility.
Mother Earth gives us our home and amazing beauty. If you love something, you need to care for it. Caring for our home is imperative or else she and we will die. There are a million things each of us can do, one simple thing is to plant a tree somewhere. The energy of trees is so tremendous and we need all of our growing things.

There is a very simple scientific principle which brings home the importance of our trees and flowers and gardens. When humans breathe we exhale carbon dioxide which plants and trees need. The trees and flowers and crops give off oxygen which we need to breath. It is a cycle that happens every second of every day. It takes no effort, except that we not cut down our rainforests and green areas. It is vital though to our existence.

“May our corner of the earth join us
in blessing the Lord
fruit-laden papayas, fig trees in bud
You, guavas, replete with promise,
bougainvillaeas of every color,
beans that twist and clamber,
tomatoes and all green vegetables
and you, fields of rice in the valleys,
O praise the marvels of the Lord!

And you, Bamboo, who own neither flower
nor fruits, sing a song of praise to the Lord,
for you are rich in other ways:
supple and lively, hold your head high,
yield before the storm, but do not break.
Your shoots, hugging to one another all close,
will confront the hurricane.
Then, when it’s passed,
lift up your head!
And if the typhoon sweeps you away,
let it carry you with it.
Someone will find you lying on the road
or maybe you will kindle a poor man’s fire
or be made into a balance pole
to ease Man’s burdens!

If need should arise, let yourself be split
into strips by the hand of a clever craftsman.
Thus you will become a mat or a basket,
a broom or a brush—-again, on demand,
let yourself be used whole, without hesitation,
to support the sail of a sturdy junk
or enable a fisherman to cast his net.

In you, Bamboo, some will seek inspiration
to guide their brush towards lines of beauty,
or make of you a flute or a pipe.
Let yourself be emptied of self that you may
sing a melody new.
Some may try to make of you a barrier
to separate people one from another
Then let your leafage vibrate with the rustle
or a call which will resound near and far
and invite them to live in unity and love!

—Translated from the French by Mary Rogers

Ethics and the Heart


Presque Isle, PA.

I have been thinking about moral and ethical issues today. We get closer and closer to the election. We expect ethical behavior from our leaders and those who wish to be leaders. But, we who have private lives need to ensure that we also have ethics and good moral character.

I believe we should not shy away from raising a strong, clear, moral voice in these campaigns or in our personal lives. Jewish beliefs are that there are no short cuts to ethics and I believe that to be true. Moral principles have stood at the core of Jewish life.

The core of the Jewish people lead them to look to educate the children, to work in the community and to participate in all charitable acts. It is like breathing.

I have seen so many good works and true compassion and caring in the Jewish Community. Many Jewish teachings are very compatible with the teachings of other religions. Spiritual insights and wisdom have been passed down for centuries.

As a society, we need to teach our children character. We need to teach them to feel, to be outraged by injustice, show them dignity and an inviolable sense of self.

Whether you are Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sufi, we all have to be responsible to our communities and to the Divinity in this world to act morally and with ethics and to teach the young among our societies the concepts of heroism, justice, fairness, hard work and education.

These can make a difference in our world. These can make a difference in elections and can make a difference in the place of women in all of our countries. We each need to start with our own hearts and then allow the Divine energy to flow outward and the ripple will bring change. It does begin with each of us. And each of us can be an example to someone else. When we change, the people around us in this life journey change also.

Life and the Tree


Costa Rican Rainforest, Cleveland Botanical Gardens.
Photo by Barbara Mattio

A while ago, I wrote a blog called “For She is the Tree of Life” and it was dedicated to my grandmothers and all of the grandmas, nanas, bubes and the gifts they gave us as we shared their wisdom while at play with them, or while finishing a chore or just talking together. Their stories were magical and took some of us to other countries, for some the stories were pictures of love and loss. Other stories showed us how much strength and courage we could find inside of ourselves if we looked for it. They made us feel important and unique and cherished.

Well, now we are the grandparents. We are the ones who have lived long enough to be wise crones. We have watched wars and famine. We have seen oppression and tyranny. It is our turn to share our visions, stories and to encouraged them to be deeply rooted in our Mother Earth.

Our grandchildren will face many storms and will know fear as well as joy. They will sob with grief and they will cheer with jubilation. We need to make sure all of them — I have nine — will know how to draw strength and wisdom and courage up from the earth when it is needed. They will need to know it is the love we share, the compassion we show, the forgiveness we give to others that really counts. Not which job we have, or where the kids go to school. As grandparents, we can teach them to care, to vote, to accept responsibility for their actions. We can help expose them to the events in life that will sculpt their own lives. We need to teach them to stop injustice, help to feed the poor, work to help the world’s refugees, for among them, there could be the next Mozart, or John Lennon, or Bob Marley or Monet. We need to teach them never to settle, to reach for the stars and grasp a hold on their favorite and never let go!

I celebrate my opportunity to be a tree of life for the little ones. I celebrate your opportunity whether it is now or later on. It is a gift.

Marblehead Lighthouse, Ohio, Photo by Barbara Mattio

The Magic of this Lifetime


Flowers and Photography by Barbara Mattio

” Full of life now, compact, visible,
I, forty years old the eighty-third year of the States,
To one a century hence or any number of centuries hence,
To you yet unborn these, seeking you.
When you read these I that was visible am become invisible,
Now it is you, compact, visible, realizing my poems, seeking me,
Fancying how happy you were if I could be with you and become your comrade;
Be it as if I were with you. ( Be not too certain but I am now with you.)

 

—–Walt Whitman
Laws of Creation

Humanity under a magnifying glass, an experience of telescoping time, sensual and direct. These describe Whitman’s writings.  His vision of people was democratic, nonjudgmental and filled with the width and breadth of human existence.
During Whitman’s lifetime, he looked at America as an idea and a nation.
He lived during great revolution, poverty and war.

Whitman was one of the American poets who saw the reality of the past and the allure of the future. He was a man capable of introspection and contemplation which fueled his poetry. His poetry has a flow and a music which starts slowly and builds to a crescendo of joy, ecstasy, and love.

Myrtle Beach, SC, Photo by Barbara Mattio

Whitman had an uncanny way to perceive the truth in life, our nation and the people he met in his many travels. His love and clear seeing and thinking led him to say:  ” I sing the body electric.”

I think we could do much worse in 2012, than to read and/or meditate upon his words and what they could mean in our lives.

The Life of Love


“I have loved in life, and been loved.
My heart has been rent and joined again.
My heart has been broken and again made whole.
A thousand deaths my heart has died, and thanks be to love.
It lives yet.
I went to hell and saw there love’s raging fire, and I
entered heaven illuminated with the light of love.
The whole world sank in the flood caused by my one tear
I bowed my head low in humility, and on my knees I begged of love,
‘Disclose to me, I pray thee, O love, thy secret’.
She took me gently by my arms and lifted me above the earth, and spoke softly in my ear,
‘My dear one, thou thyself art love, art lover,and thyself art the beloved whom thou hast adored’”.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan

The fragrance of love, Photo by Barbara Mattio