Caribbean sunset. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio.
I have been a news hound my entire life. I want to know what is happening. There are times when I am almost sickened. Yet I watch and try to understand why we humans commit the deeds that we do. I have friends who no longer watch the news or read the papers. I accept their right to make this choice. However, from my point of view, the deeds will happen anyway. But that is for each person to decide. I know that I have allowed pain into my heart that I could have escaped.
I have been unable to close my eyes to events, to chemical bombs, mass shootings, police shooting unarmed men. My soul prays and my heart hurts. I think if we turn away, we are giving into evil, to a dirty vile world.
So my remedy is to seek beauty. There is so much which surrounds us and we have but to look. Beauty is the antidote to evil and hatred. It might be a sunset, the fragrance of a flower, or a surprise email from a dear friend.
Courage is required to walk this journey through life. Some people are stronger than others. We can only do the best we can at the present moment. The gift of beauty does help us journey with bravery, strength, and dignity. I strongly depend on beauty. I surround myself with it and I metaphorically breathe it in.
I don’t say I don’t cry for victims because I do. But I hold on to my truth. I hold on to the memories which lift me up. I rejoice in the people who give me strength. Friends are such a rich resource in our lives and are worth more than gold.
It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers
While I was building neat
castles in the sandbox,
the hasty pits were
filling with bulldozed corpses.
and so I walked to the school
washed and combed, my feet
stepping on the cracks in the cement
detonated red bombs.
Now I am grownup
and literate, and I sit in my chair
as quietly as a fuse
and the jungles are flaming, the underbrush
is charged with soldiers,
the names on the difficult
maps go up in smoke
I am the cause, I am a stockpile of chemical
toys, my body
is a deadly gadget,
I reach out in love,my hands are guns,
my good intentions are completely lethal.
passive eyes transmute
everything I look at to the pocked
black and white of a war photo,
can I stop myself.”
——Margaret Atwood, feminist writer
Author of The Handmaid’s Tale
Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Photo taken and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2011
“Glory be to God for dappled things—-
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow,
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim,
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls, finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced–fold, fallow, and plough,
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled ( who knows how? )
With swift, slow, sweet, sour, adazzle, dim,
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
——–Gerard Manley Hopkins
Garden grown and photographed by Barbara Mattio. Copyright 2009