Welcome to my World

Welcome to the domain different--to paraphrase from New Mexico's capital city of Santa Fe which bills itself "The City Different." Perhaps this space is not completely unique but my world shapes what I write as well as many other facets of my life. The four Ds figure prominently but there are many other things as well. Here you will learn what makes me tick, what thrills and inspires me, experiences that impact my life and many other antidotes, vignettes and journal notes that set the paradigm for Dierdre O'Dare and her alter ego Gwynn Morgan and the fiction and poetry they write. I sell nothing here--just share with friends and others who may wander in. There will be pictures, poems, observations, rants on occasion and sometimes even jokes. Welcome to our world!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Beltane, Boots and Birthdays

The old festival of Beltane (Mayday) is but hours away. It is one of those quarter-days of which the ancient
Celts, my ancestors, were very fond, set half way between the solar points of the solstices and equinoxes. Beltane, like all their holidays, was closely tied to an agrarian life and measurements of time established to be sure of the best times to plant and harvest, when livestock would be fertile and give birth and so forth. Beltane was often celebrated with bonfires and marked the point when livestock would be moved to summer pastures in the higher terrain. It is also a second day devoted to Brighid or Brigit. She was such an ubiquitous figure and her domains so varied that a single day was simply not enough to honor her! Imbolc being the other day dedicated to her, marking the turn between midwinter and the beginning of spring. As a midwife and patron of husbandry she is often shown with a lamb or a young pig.

Whenever I think of this day, I tend to go back to many traditions of the British Isles, a region the bulk of my ancestors called home since they hailed from Ireland, Scotland.and Wales. May poles and bonfires, the traditional plant badges of shamrock, thistle, and leak, the flowing out from hearth and home at the start of spring and the drawing in for the cold and dark times of winter. And did they ever know how to party! Eight times a year they held festivals that became fairs and gatherings, time for food and drink (pass the mead!), athletic and artistic competitions, romance and various forms of worship and honor to their many deities. I would love to have a time machine or some mechanism that would let me go back and visit on some of those times. As it is I can only imagine and dream a bit. At any rate, Beltane Blessings to one and all!

Where do the boots come in? Well, I walk a lot, mostly with my latest canine companion, Ginger, who is young and needs a lot of exercise. I am not longer (young) but still do (need exercise) as well to try to hold the ravages of time at bay a bit longer. For walking, good footwear is essential. I was wearing a less supportive and secure pair of shoes some ten days ago and took a 'trip' not at all desired, measuring my length on the dirt and shoving one corner of my glasses into my face at the outer edge of my right eyebrow. Ouch. Such wounds bleed copiously!  Lesson re-learned. A pair of rocker-soled walkers went on Freecycle and now have a new home. They are okay on streets and sidewalks but lousy on rougher ground. And walking thru the neighborhood day after day gets very boring...

So now I am mostly back to a pair of light hikers that come past the ankle. I have somewhat weak ankles anyway and broke the right one some years back while hiking--I used that event to inspire a book, long out of print, called Healing Hearts in which the heroine, an EMT, suffers the same injury I did in a similar way. I was wearing hiking boots then but maybe not high enough tops to support my leg when I turned my foot.
These I wear now are about the same but I am more careful. Anyway, I walked along on some barren desert-type ground on Sunday and was amused to see tracks left by others that took me back many years. I remember when the Vibram soles with their distinctive pattern came out and became almost part of the uniform for the youth of my day. We called them "waffle stompers" and those tracks were everywhere!

As to birthdays,. I just had one of those X0 milestone ones that grab you up with a snap and make you think things like, "OMG, how did I get so freakin' old all of a sudden?"  Then I made myself recall the old Irish saying: Never bewail getting older since it is a privilege denied to many.  How true. Recent tragedies have cut short a number of lives, suddenly and shockingly, like bolts from the blue. None of us know when that could strike. My paternal grandparents were both gone before reaching this age although the other side were very long lived. My parents both passed before they completed this decade so who knows? I'll just live each day I am allotted as fully as I can and cherish every minute, try to make each day both good enough to repeat and also leave nothing that would bring regret if I had no chance to redo, undo or complete it!

Coincidences are strange, such as clusters of birthdays. Two dear friends share April 25 while I share my date with U.S. Grant, Union general and President back in the 1800s. My dad's younger sister shared April 21 with Queen Elizabeth II and both my brother and my grandson share November 14 with Prince Charles (my brother is even also named Charles!) and another aunt also had been born on that day. Two more good friends celebrate on May 11, which was my Dad's birthday. Well. with only 365 choices and millions of people, I suppose that is not so strange after all!

As a final note, we are edging into summer--it passed 90 yesterday and should do so again today. Roses are in profuse bloom all over the area. It seems to be a fine place for them despite the alkaline soil and hot, dry conditions. Oh, they slack off a bit in the middle of summer but that is to be expected. Right now they are in full glory and the sweet scents embellish the air, especially in the early morning.. Another bonus on those walks. And the ocotillo are in bloom--scarlet tassels on the tips of the long, spine-armed stems. I am not sure if the plant is technically a cactus or not but it is the state flower of New Mexico and a striking specimen to be sure. I must try for some pictures while they are in their glory! If you cut one now and stick it into moist sand, it will likely root and grow. I just may see if I can start back up that "A" hill and harvest a couple and try to start them for my yard. That would be the only cactus I would allow inside my fence BTW. Most such are far too dangerous to kids and dogs and even clumsy me. No 'cactus garden' yard decoration for me, desert lover or not. The desert belongs in the desert, while one's yard is another realm.


  1. Beautiful post and sentiments! I really love the 'waffle tracks.' Above all, happy -belated - birthday! Said with red-faced shame, but I plead recent revisions-fromm-hell as the culprit. Enjoy Beltane! Please cuddle Ginger and little Rojo for me. All is well here, though I am laying low online bcause of wicked thunderstorms today.
    Love you! ((HUGS)))

  2. I love hearing your stories, especially with Ginger. And we both our April babes! Mine was the 15th.

    My body tells me that I'm getting older, but my spirit remains young.

    Blessings of Light and Love!

  3. Well I will try again and see if this one goes through. My husband's greater family has a family unit that had five children and three were born on the same day just different years. To add further interest, his sister was also born on that particular day.

    Your whole post was lovely. Many blessing on this day and always.