For the Beauty of the Earth

If you read yesterday’s blog, you will know that my mind right now is very much into Spring and everything that Spring means. Most people love Spring; not all, but most. As I look around the world, I come to Ukraine. Putin has begun a war there that in the 21st Century is hard to believe.

When I marched and picketed the Viet Nam War, we knew it was an illegal war, and we wanted it stopped then. We were sure if we stopped that war, there would be no more. We were wrong.

This time, it’s Putin’s war, and I wonder what the corpse of Hitler is thinking. There have been moments in this world that have felt so much like the Nazis are coming. That terrifies me, and I am sure that Holocaust survivors are not able to eat.

Ukrainian people have not done anything wrong, and neither had the Jews. Oh, excuse me, please, they were born Jews and not Germans, the Aryan race.

Russia thought they would walk into Ukraine and Ukranian people would roll over belly up, and say “yes, yes, make me a Russian again!” Ukrainians are independent, strong, proud people. They see no reason why they should be living under a dictator like Putin. They did not expect his actually invading their country. But, since he did, they were going to fight, and fight long and hard. Many women and children fled to Poland and then to other places where they had family or friends.

Children are waving goodbye to their fathers; wondering if they will see their favorite teachers again, or their friends. Wives are waving goodbye to their husbands at the border, because the men are going back into Ukraine to fight to the death.

The country is already fighting. There are towns in southern Ukraine that are 90% gone, burned to ash and knocked to rubble.

When Spring finally comes to Ukraine, there won’t be flowers blooming, their won’t be trees in bud, trees won’t be putting out blossoms. The ground that flowers grow in have been run over by tanks tenfold. They have been trampled by military boots. Trees have been run over by tanks, blown sky high by missiles and rockets.

When Putin’s war ends — and it will, and he will have lost — many Ukrainian people will want to go home. Whole apartment buildings will be gone. Theatres, grocery stores, libraries will be piles of ash. Flowers and trees will not exist. Putin will have taken everything from these people but their pride and their independence.

Mr. Putin, you are a war criminal and you are leading your people against and innocent country that has done nothing wrong. STOP the hate game. You will die, one day, and your people will dance in the streets, and the world will breathe a sigh of relief.




And it’s Blessings

I’m so glad that I live in Western North Carolina. I’m thrilled to go outside and feel the sun on my face; to have shed a warmer winter coat a few weeks ago, and I’ve worn gloves once this winter. This is fine for a winter for me.

We were coming back from errands and we took back roads to come home, because the highway is having major construction and major slowdowns. I couldn’t get enough of the Carolina Blue skies; the forsythia in full bloom. There were crocuses blooming, and tulips budding and early daffodils were out and showing their shining faces as we drove by. It couldn’t have been sweeter if it wanted to.

Our grocery stores had out their garden areas, filled with flowers. My Southern LIving magazine came with a full page ad for Rio Dipladenia flowers, apparently available at the Home Depot. The colors are amazing shades of pink, and there’s a white version also. They are easy care, drought tolerant and non-stop blooming. The garden centers are open and you can give your eyes a total feast of color for the first time this year.

It’s also time to take out the maps and begin talking about vacation. With the gas prices where they are, for myself I will choose something close by. I’ve thought of two possible places. Other people are going to bite the gas bullet and really travel. However, since children are still getting COVID, as well as adults, I feel it’s better to save money on gas and not expose anyone in your family or circle of friends, and stay close to home.

What I don’t recommend is doing spring cleaning in this weather. Contact Merry Maids or It’s been a long two years — cut yourself a break, because from now on, there will only be more flowers and grass to cut, and baking for the children. There will be pools to have fun in, rivers to paddle (and kayaks to buy). There will houses to redecorate, because you are different now — we’re all different now — due to the pandemic. So we decorate to show who we are now post-pandemic.

People have said they haven’t changed, but, oh, we have all changed. For better or for worse, there is change, in us, our communities, our society. So go with the change and show the world your changes.

Hello, Spring.



Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2022
Tunnel through the Mountain Photograph and Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017
Garden after Garden Photograph & Copyright Barbara Mattio 2017
Spring Blooms for Show Photograph and copyright Barbara Mattio 2019
Orchid in bloom. Photograph and copyright Barbara Mattio

For All the Children of the World

May it continue

May the brown grass and green leaves

Thrive in color and in grace

May it Continue

May the clear air and the cumuufocirrus clouds

Be there in the sky and in each breath, always.

May it Continue

May the water made of sweet minerals and salt 

In small streams and large rivers

Flow forever and forever flow to the seas

May it Continue

May the beautiful birds of Hawaii and 

The luminous parrots of Peru fly far and fast

And may their number grow

May it Continue

May the sun shine warm and bright

And the moon give light at night — shining from shook foil

May it Continue

May the deer and elk, the antelope and the ibis

Move and migrate, leap and lope across plan and wooded plateau

May it Continue

May the whale and the dolphin and the manatee

Swim deep in dark oceans and lagoons and sing

May it Continue

May the elephants forever in families roam,

Trunk to tail, trumpeting bliss

May it Continue

May waves of warm frost linger in base and blaze 

That puts fire in the peat of loam. And let lick cry from ripe and vine.

May it Continue

May the rose climb through

The cold murmur of morning dirt

May dark mulch coax tendrils from sleep

May it Continue

May wild words come flying from green coils and

May each breath rustle through the beard of blue moss

In the sound of song

May it Continue

—Thomas Rain Crowe

For those of you who do not know, the Dalai Lama lived in Tibet. He was the ninth child born to his mother, and one day a search party came to his family’s farm, looking for the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama Thupten Gyatso, who had died at the age of 57.

The search party went far and wide, until they reached the farm of his parents. A lama disguised himself as a servant, and looked at the children to see if one would recognize him.

Despite the lama’s disguise, the young child was able to correctly identify him. The child called out, “Sera Lama, Sera Lama!” — Sera being the monastery to which the holy man — the lama — belonged.

The search party returned again, bringing with them several items that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama, along with items that did not. In each case, the child correctly chose the items which belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. After consideration of these and other signs, the search party became convinced that Lhamo Thondup was, indeed, the new incarnation of the Dalai Lama.

Thondup was enthroned as the 14th Dalai Lama in Lhasa on February 22, 1940. He began his monastic education at age of 5.

In October of 1950, an army of 80,000 from Communist China crossed over the border into Tibet. The Tibetian people practice Buddhism, and are therefore nonviolent, and had no weapons to fight the Chinese. Therefore, the Chinese were simply able to walk in and take over Tibet. Their excuse was that Tibet had, centuries ago, belonged to China. The Chinese destroyed temples, killed monks and nuns. There were occasions where they made monks rape nuns, or they would be murdered.

There were many Tibetian people murdered, and in the middle of the night, the Dalai Lama’s attendees and lamas from various temples, the Dalai Lama’s family, and the Dalai Lama himself, snuck out under black skies full of stars, over the mountains and into India.

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual and temporal leader of Tibet. China does make attempts to assassinate him, but luckily for the world, they have not succeeded.

The Dalai Lama lives in Marsala, India, when he is not touring. When he is in Marsala, he meditates a minimum of 5 hours a day. He teaches. There have been groups that come to Marsala to learn from him. Richard Geer is one of his top students. The Dalai Lama believes in peace, compassion, love, forgiveness, karma, happiness and friendship.

Since his exile in India, he has become a champion of world peace and human rights everywhere, as well as being one of the world’s foremost spiritual leaders.

In 1990, I had the privilege and joy to meet the Dalai Lama. He was an amazing man. We spoke, and his energy was pure light. When I walked away, I knew something had changed.

“It is easier to meditate than to actually do something for others. Sometimes I feel that to merely meditate on compassion is to take the passive option. Our meditation should form the basis for action, for seizing the opportunity to do something. The mediator’s motivation, his sense of universal responsibility, should be expressed in deeds.” – The Dalai Lama

“Kindness is the key to peace and harmony” – The Dalai Lama

What’s Happened to the Ukrainian Children?

Over a million and a half Ukrainian children have crossed the border into Poland and other NATO countries surrounding Ukraine since Russia began its illegal war. Many Ukrainian children are dead. The children who were able to flee with their mothers, grandmothers, across the border are the lucky ones; yet what do the journalist show of these “lucky” children? They are terrified, confused, cold, hungry, some literally starving. The children are dehydrated. Some have walked miles to get to a train or a bus that will take them to safety.

Some were with their mothers and fathers and siblings, and their fear; then dad kissed them goodbye, told them that he loved them, kissed them and hugged them — then turned around and returned to Ukraine to protect a home his family was forced to leave.

In some cases, both parents said their goodbyes and walked back into Ukraine to fight for the sovereignty of the country they love so much, along side their neighbors and friends, and Ukrainians they have never met, yet with whom they have become one in their desire to maintain their freedom and independence.

In Poland, there are welcome centers set up at the border so that Ukrainians can feel that they are very welcomed and that they don’t have to fear for their lives any longer. There is always hot coffee waiting for them. There are huge containers filled with diapers and layette sets and blankets and bottles and nipples, warm sweaters, boots, winter coats, mittens. There are interpreters to help them find their way. For the Ukrainians with family and friends in Poland, they are put on buses to take them to the area their family live; so if grandma or great aunt is living in a particular area away from the border, they will be taken to that area. If they have no one in Poland, and don’t have a place they want to go, they will be taken to a safe place in Poland where the mothers and grandmothers can live with their children until the war is over.

One of the many heartaches are the children that are being shipped over the borders in trains, who were in hospitals, who are extremely ill, who are on IVs and strong medications. They are traveling with their mothers and nurses, and it is so important for them to get out or they will die — they may not have a fatal illness or injury, but Russia has already shown that no hospital, orphanage, school, hospice or any other place is safe from its missiles.

If you want to help, the first thing that you need to do is to pray. Pray for all Ukrainians. The second thing is that there are a lot of relief organizations on the ground in the Ukraine and in all the NATO countries surrounding Ukraine that are providing help and financial aid to the Ukrainian refuges.

There are two organizations that I know of from personal experience that I will mention as a trustworthy place to send money to get the Ukrainian people and children. The first is the International Committee of the Red Cross, who helps people with their immediate basic needs. You can reach them at or for more details on their response in the Ukraine. The second is UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund. UNICEF is an arm of the United Nations and will help with children’s medications, nurses, clothing, food and other urgent needs. You can contact UNICEF at for more details and ways you can help.



A Prayer for Peace in Ukraine

I want to send out this prayer for Ukraine and her peoples


Send Thy Peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting; that our souls may radiate peace

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may think, act and speak harmoniously

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife we may enjoy Thy bliss

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all in the thought of Thy grace and mercy

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a divine vision, and in Thy light all darkness may vanish

Send Thy Peace, O Lord, Our Father and Mother; that we Thy children on earth may all unite in one brotherhood

Hazrat Inayat Khan



It’s the 21st Century, and We are On the Brink of World War III

It was a Thursday evening, and I hadn’t watched the news for a few days. Other things were going on in my life. So, I turned on CNN and what to my startled eyes did appear but a night time scene of a city with explosions in the background.

Journalists were describing what was happening. I sat in shock, and watched, as the journalists described the beginning of Russia’s war on Ukraine. I was in shock for several hours. I didn’t cry; I didn’t feel upset. I was just numb. It was the 21st Century, and Putin was bombing Ukraine? What about those poor Ukrainian people?

I spent hours listening to alll the journalist who were reporting, and watching what my eyes did not want to believe was happening.

When I finally went to bed, I slept off and on, shuddering at the meaning of this War. Russia had nuclear weapon, as did the United States. We had to do something to help Ukrainians, and yet we couldn’t bring Nuclear War to the world.

When we dropped atomic bombs during World War II on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, they completed annihilated the cities and people who lived in them. Both Russia and the United States have many more nuclear weapons now than were used that horrific day in World War II.

There are other countries that have nuclear weapons. That just makes it even more terrifying.

Since that first night of Putin’s war, I have learned some things about the Ukrainian people. They are good, moral people. They are strong, brave and courageous. They believe in their country, and they are not going to roll over and let Putin take it from them.

Ukraine has a military, and yet civilians with no militia training are fighting, standing up to the Russians, risking their lives to keep their independence and the independence of their country.

Actually, Ukraine has continually put up much more resistance than Putin expected, and his own well trained, practiced troops are not fighting with the same zeal and courage of the untrained Ukrainians. I heard on CNN last night a reporter comment on this fact, and then make an interesting point. He said (and I’m paraphrasing) that soldiers will fight for their country, their families, their beliefs, their land, their homes and their freedom. Soldiers will not fight for a megalomaniac. Soldiers will not fight for an authoritarian ruler just because they are commanded to do so; at least, not with any fervor. They will fight out of fear of their leader, though.

Edwin Starr may have said it best, singing a song by Barrett Strong & Norman Whitfield:


War, Huh, yeah

What is it good for?

Absolutely. nothing, uhh

War, huh, yeah

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing

Say it again, y’all

War, huh (good God)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me, oh

War, I despise

‘Cause it means destruction of innocent lives

War means tears to thousand of mother’s eyes

When their sons go off to fight

And lose their lives

I said, war, huh (good God, y’all)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, just say it again, y’all

War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me

I ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker

(War) Friend only to The Undertaker

Oh, war is an enemy to all mankind

The thought of war blows my mind

War has caused unrest

Within the younger generation

Induction then destruction

Who wants to die? Oh

War, huh (good God y’all)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing

Say it, say it, say it

War (uh-huh), huh (yeah, huh)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker

(War) it’s got one friend that’s The Undertaker

Oh, war, has shattered many a young man’s dreams

Made him disabled, bitter and mean

.Life is much too short and precious

To spend fighting wars each day

War can’t give life

It can only take it away

War, huh (good God y’all)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, say it again

War (whoa), huh (oh Lord)

What is it good for?

Absolutely nothing, listen to me

It ain’t nothing but a heart-breaker

(War) Friend only to The Undertaker, woo

Peace, love and understanding, tell me

Is there no place for them today?

They say we must fight to keep our freedom

But Lord knows there’s got to be a better way, oh

War, huh (God y’all)

What is it good for? You tell me (nothing)

Say it, say it, say it, say it

War (good God), huh (now, huh)

What is it good for?

Stand up and shout it (nothing)