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!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Season's Greetings

As Christmas Eve winds down toward Christmas Day, I am happy to have all my very small shopping and sending done! I attended a family party with my gentleman friend and then we took a little drive to look at the lights -- there is still a magic in the day and the trappings we have linked to it, many from much farther in the dim past than we realize. Now I am quiet at home with my canine friends.

This is a favorite Christmas picture from very long ago, 1951 to be exact. That is eight and a half year old me holding my new baby-doll, a living one, my then six week old brother. He's the same one I share a home with today. So many years later, we can remember many holidays shared. That is a precious gift indeed!

It is my opinion that Christmas was carefully placed at this time by the very early Christian fathers who realized they were not likely to completely erase centuries old pagan traditions. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em! And so they did. I think that is okay and just chuckle at some of my more intensely fundamentalist friends and acquaintances who are horrified at the very idea. One's faith and spiritual beliefs are, to me, personal and private and not to be disputed. but to each his, her or their own! Mine have been 'different' all my life but I honor those of others with total respect so long as they do not cause actual harm or pain to anyone.

At any rate, the oldest of the traditional carols and hymns still bring tears to my eyes. I sense there is something definitely sacred and special about the season. Always has been and will be. It is just a bit odd maybe that so many different cultures and ethnic groups recognize some religious or secular event around this time of the year. Perhaps the vast collective power of belief and commemoration has created an energy and an entity here that we cannot see or pin down but many can feel. I count myself among them. So with that in mind, I'll share a few verses I have scribed in recent days for the Yule, the Solstice and the coming year. And I wish all my readers here a joyous time of celebration and sharing with friends and loved ones. Treasure the precious and empowering time!

Season’s Greetings!

2014 will soon be past
And quite a year it’s been
As ever a mix of good and bad,
About like all I’ve seen.

Amazing travel chasing a dream,
Many quiet times at home—
A new goal and purpose discovered
That gave me the courage to roam.

My two little canine companions
I had to leave sadly behind
But they were delighted to see me
When my way back home I did find.

Old friends and new share my vision,
Just as I share in their dreams;
Goals only come with much struggle
But the triumph that much sweeter seems.

My wish for all loved ones this season
Is that you may also find new
Purpose or goal for achievement
And in time it will come to you.

So honor the holy celebration
And cherish the loved ones you hold
Close to your heart all year long
And pray the Great Spirit enfold

All of them in a safe embrace
And fulfill all their wishes and needs
As  we all go into the near year
To reap those dear-planted seeds.

                        GMW © 2014

Another year is fading fast;
Each seems quicker than the last.
Where does the time go, back behind
Us? Is there yet any way to find
The things we’ve lost along the way,
Or are they past and gone to stay?

As long as memories live they’ll be
A part of us, eternally.
All we have loved and done and been
Within us dwells, naught comes between.
Neither you or I an island lies
Apart, alone, beneath earth’s skies.

There are things that never change
However many years we’ve seen.
The timeless love of friends and kin,
Sweet memories of good times mean
More as they fade into the past.
They will be with us ‘til the last.

As we near the end of another year
Do we find ourselves looking back
More instead of forward now?
Perhaps we seek a different tack
To take us to our ending time,
Now yearning for  the heav’nly clime.

Yet each day and year is a rare gift,
For the many miracles we may find:
New friends, new dreams, as well as old
And all the precious ties that bind.
We are the sum of all we’ve done
Triumphs, challenges and races run.

So life your face up to the sun
And revel in its warmth and light
The precious gifts of light and love
Shining upon us, ever bright.
The promises we know will be
With faith, ours for eternity.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

New Moon and Midwinter Solstice

Here is The Sun about to emerge from a peak in the mountains behind my home. Camera could not capture the very subtle sundog rainbow that I actually saw but a hint is visible! This was a couple of days ago, just not quite perfectly on the solstice date although there was similar this morning as well. To my eye, there is so much power and promise in this scene.

For these two happenings--new moon and solstice-- to fall on the same day is unusual. It also creates a kind of double whammy from an astrological standpoint. It's said that the day before, the actual day and the day after a new moon are times to stop and assess, plan ahead and perhaps profit from past errors but not to begin new projects. There is much the same mystique about the shortest day/longest night of the year when the sun is farthest from us here in the northern hemisphere and then begins his long journey back to midsummer.

As a very sun-centric person, I do look forward to this date and the subtle shift in energies as I know the heat and light is coming back, albeit slowly. But I also realize it is important to honor and appreciate the dark and cold for they are part of the natural cycle and the turning of the wheel of seasons that still govern much of our lives even though we have come so far from the ancestors who lived directly off the land and were much more subject to the capricious whims of weather and seasons than we are.

Having spent a good bit of my life in situations where I had to be outside and working in all kinds of weather and closely associated with animals, I may sense all this more than some of my contemporaries. If one merely goes from climate controlled house to equally sheltered car and workplace and back. other than maybe dealing with wet or slick roads on a commute, it doesn't matter much. But to me it does and always will.

I have lived in primitive conditions where heat was only from the wood one gathered and cut to size for the stove, where water might freeze and pipes have to be thawed or even buckets carried to fill one's needs. That's humbling in many ways but also empowering for you learn you can cope and care for your needs or those of your family and animal friends.

Yes, I am looking back today, as I have quite a lot the past few months and years. But that does not mean I cannot and do not look ahead too. In mere weeks the first signs of spring will appear and I'll be alert to them. It's an exciting time with the promise that life truly does go on and after the small deaths of falling leaves and withered plants, animal hibernation and such, reawakening comes. That is encouraging to one who recognizes she's on the last ten or twenty percent of this particular life. There will be others in time as there have been others in the past!

It's no coincidence that modern Christian Christmas is so close to the ancient pagan celebration of the Solstice and that many things we associate with the Christmas season have roots far deeper than we might guess. That is good, in my humble opinion, for it creates a continuity between us here and now and our ancient ancestors. History, even the most obscure and distant, still has things to teach us. We are still humans and despite our many technological and scientific advances are not so very different than our caveman fore-bearers. We still eat plants and animals, albeit they now come in neat cans, boxes, and saran wraps and fire and water are still essential to our lives although they too mostly come to us instead of us having to go and make them available for our needs.

At any rate, I hope you will take a moment today to acknowledge the ancient realities are viable to this day and relevant to us, and to perhaps honor the spirits and energies that operate 'behind the scenes' for us as they always have and will. Whether you think of them as the Divine Being, the "Force" the Star Wars folk spoke of or the varied deities pagan folk recognized does not really matter.

Something is or maybe are and we should never lose sight of that fact or fail to recognize that we are but so many tiny ants going about our busy-ness and still subject to those Powers-That-Be whether we want to be or not. It's okay, it really is! It does not take anything away from us, for we are part and parcel of the whole Universe too and share in all that goes on; we just don't control and direct very much of it! Yet our little light or spark can be strengthened by the energy of our mind and when we unite with others for a purpose, we can accomplish a great deal. Go in peace and harmony, and tomorrow be ready to start forward again with old or new goals clear in mind and a will to make them come to pass!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

National Day of the Horse

I read that today is the National Day of the Horse. Since this year is also a year of the horse under Chinese astrology, I thought it was time to celebrate some more of my beloved equine friends that played major parts in my life years ago.

I've talked quite a bit about Tina, my first personal equine--the earlier ones were more family horses. Along during my high school years and afterwards when I was working as a trainer and equine care-giver, several special horses passed through my life. We had two stallions for a time, one Appaloosa and one Quarter Horse. Yavapai Chief was a handsome chestnut with a nice blanket. He had the typical somewhat coarse head of many Appys but for a stallion was very well-behaved and generally manageable. I rode him on a number of occasions and unless there was a mare in season nearby, he was about like any saddle horse--perhaps just a bit more elan and dash! Here's a shot of me on him. His ears say he was waiting for my signal in this photo.

The Quarter Horse was named Leo Mix; he was a descendant of the early foundation QH sire Leo, a well-known Texas stud, on both sides as I recall. He was a very pretty dappled gray, almost blue roan color with just a hint of dun in the undercoat. Dun is a tan or faintly yellow hue, not bright like the palominos but a softer shade. We got him as a yearling and I was one of his chief trainers. He was a handsome guy but for a stallion, very sweet and even tempered. In fact he handled just as easily and well as any well-broke cowpony.  I rode him a lot and even got a shot of my baby brother, then about five, sitting on him!

We had a number of young mares and Quarter Horse fillies. My favorite was one that became mine and that I trained. She was small, just over fourteen hands high and a coppery sorrel with flaxen mane and tail. She was dainty and very feminine in her appearance but she had plenty of get-up-and-go. Here's a shot of me fairly early during her training. She never had to be "broke" but simply to be taught how to respond to the reins, voice and other signals that a western rider uses to cue a mount. Her name was Buzzie Bubbles and she came from the Buzzie Bell H lineage of the Monrovia, CA area. Here she looks alert and is standing poised but not tense. Later she was pretty good on the barrels. I note I was using a loose-jaw hackamore bridle on her and riding a McClellan saddle--the old Army cavalry saddle. They were light and good to use on young horses to keep the weight down. Later I'd move on to a regular western stock style saddle.

To this day I have a great love for horses. I realize their flaws and weaknesses and often say that if humans had not taken them to be both pets and beasts of burden that they'd likely be extinct now. They are not efficient users of their feed and have a lot of delicate and fragile aspects. But that being said, they still have a beauty and grace, a special character and have done so much to help us on our climb to "civilization" that right after the dogs, they are one of the most important fellow mammals to our kind!

I think that like my beloved dogs, the horses I have loved go to "heaven" too, and that they are waiting for me across the Rainbow Bridge as well. If they do not go to human heaven, then I pray the Powers That Be will let me go wherever they are! I suspect most of my most loved people will be there too because they feel the same way I do.

So today, National Day of the Horse, I celebrate and honor the equine species. Run forever in green pastures, my friends, as you deserve to do!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Alamo Gold and Desert Snow

Yesterday was one of those perfect bright days at least until mid-afternoon. I had to get out and take advantage of it. First I made my annual pilgrimage down to the Alameda Park which cuts through town parallel to the main drag, White Sands Boulevard, and the UP train tracks. The ancient cottonwood trees were near their peak. We may not have the reds and oranges and varied shades of New England, but this gold is amazing, especially contrasting with the incredible blue of our sky! Here are a few of my favorites from the shots I took. By the way, Alamo is the name for cottonwood tree in Spanish and the word is found in many western place names: Alamogordo, Alamosa etc.

Also the bandstand in the shot to the right is a landmark in more ways than one. The stone was part of a historic local structure and near there was where Ginger and I met our trainer friend Jacque Armstrong each week when Ginger was doing Basic Obedience!

After that I went out to White Sands National Monument to see if I could add a few new views to my 'desert snow' collection. The sands were not quite their most brilliant and pristine white, probably since we'd had bit of rain the day before and they were still damp. That darkens and dulls them a bit but it was still pretty--and I got a cute shot of my Ginger, the sled-dog wannabe, who envies her namesake running in the sparkling white real snow outside of Fairbanks these days! My Ginger does not have the coat or conditioning for it but she sure looked adorable sitting there grinning at me!

 There is a 'board walk' out to an overlook that we walked on. Ginger was a little spooky but did very well as we passed several people. I kept her leash short but she behaved like an angel. They were all nice when I explained she had been abused as a puppy and I was still working to socialize her. And as you can see, it is a bit hard to tell if that white is drifts or dunes. It could even be near a sea shore or in the 'frozen northlands' except the distant mountains are not white too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Incredible Sunsets

As most of you regular readers know, I am a sunset freak--completely and seriously! November went out with a spectacular sky. It had been kind of gray and overcast most of the afternoon and I did not have a lot of hopes for a pretty sky but shortly before sunset the clouds thinned and spread and combined with a lot of jet trails--they say that the Sunday after Thanksgiving is the busiest flying day of the year--the sky turned into a spectacular panorama of colors and patterns.

My favorite hue for sunsets is a brilliant fiery red-gold shade I christened "firegold" when I was just a youngster. There was plenty of that as well as pastels, real gold and coppery shades and every imaginable variety of red from pink to deep fuchsia and even near maroon. It was just awesome. It was a little chilly though the breeze was very light yet every time I thought okay, that is enough and I will go inside, I'd spot something else. I for one am thankful for a camera that captures at least a semblance of the beauty. It's not quite like the real thing but as close as we can come. The Powers that paint that sky are so far beyond us that we cannot even imagine.  So since it is gray tonight with no promise of color at all, I wanted to share a few of the best ones. Enjoy! (Remember you can click on the first one to get a slide show of larger versions!)
Via en Pax!