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!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

For the cat lovers among us!

I have my own GoFundMe (GFM) site as y'all know for my Alaska project (link on my gwynnmorganalaska.blogspot.com page) but I am a sucker for animal help efforts. There are some national 'charities' that I will not support such as HSUS because I have good intelligence that they are a front for some of the activist extremists like ELF & PETA whose ultimate goal is to completely "liberate" all animals from the "slavery" of being companion animals much less doing anything resembling work or being used in any way. They have freed zoo animals to run amok and be subject to terrible harm and similar horrible and irresponsible things. That I do not support!! But all who seek to care for and cut down on the number of strays and abandoned pets and cases of real bonafide abuse will have my support any day. This lady on GFM has a good cause and is not collecting very much so far so I hope some of you will join me in kicking in what you can afford to help her cause. I put it on my Facebook page too and hope I can get some more support for Cat Haven!!
 A big thank you with a meow!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Paying It Back a Little

My feng shui  tip for today said: In a sense, your father and mother are just people, but they also greatly influence your perception of the world throughout life. To honor them is not just superstition - it also changes the way that you look at the entirety of your reality. Even if you don't get along or your parents are estranged or deceased, find some small way to give them thanks for bringing you into the world.

There are definitely times it is right to look back and be grateful for what you were given, to focus on the good and not the negative things. I have hinted that my dad and I had a rocky relationship from my early teens on and that is definitely true. However, when I look at the influences that caused me to become a writer, I have to put his name at the top of the list. He wrote for as long as I could remember and he did encourage me, often seeking to direct me into certain themes, genres or styles but at least constant encouragement. He might be proud of some of my work and very much distressed by other things I've created but that is not the point.

Monday would have been his 103rd birthday since he came into the world on May 11, 1912, just weeks after New Mexico and Arizona became the 47th and 48th states. I wrote a short essay on Monday in commemoration. Here it is.

Counting Crows

            Today, May 11, 2015, would have been my Dad’s one hundred third birthday.  Of course he has been gone a long time since he passed away in a freakish traffic accident in March 1989, a few weeks short of seventy seven. Do I miss him? Yes and no.
            This morning, I was sitting on the patio around ten o’clock enjoying a bit of sunshine and quiet. Then a big black bird flew by, squawking loudly. It was followed by two more and than yet another. They flew on south for a short while but then circled back and began to soar and spiral over my back yard for several minutes, perhaps a hundred feet in the air or bit more. They ‘talked’ as they do –they have quite a range of sounds, if one listens--and finally all flew away.
            I remembered then how I learned to count crows. Of course these, like the ones I used to watch in Arizona, are actually ravens. The two species are related but ravens are considerably larger. Still we called them all crows. I think most folks do.
            Dad was Irish, perhaps not one hundred percent by blood but completely in his personality. He had all the stereotypical traits: volatile, voluble, charming when he chose to be, fiercely loyal, moody, superstitious and given to drama. About the only one he missed was in not being a drunkard. For the first twelve or so years of my life, he was my hero. Driving, riding or working with him, as I did a great deal since I was the eldest child, we often saw crows.
            I was very young when I learned from him the little fortune-telling rhyme which I expect came down from old Celtic folklore. “One is unlucky, two is lucky, three is health, four is wealth, five is sickness and six is quickness.” I guess you were not supposed to see more than that at once!
            Of course you did not want to admit to seeing five or only one. I can remember Dad looking away for a few seconds and then back again to alter the count. Decades later, I still count crows and always try to get a fortunate number.  But to see two, three and then four? Well, there was one at first, but still, what a collection of favorable omens!
            But perhaps more important, I was given a chance to reconnect with my Dad in this odd way. We did not always get along and he could be difficult and sometimes downright mean, but I never doubt that he loved me, even on the very worst days. So, on this anniversary of his birth, did he send those birds to remind me and offer a positive oracle for me, or was it just happenstance?

            There is no way to know. Still, I can believe what I wish and I can go on counting crows until the end of my days. I do not doubt that I will. And just maybe, luck, health and wealth are on the way to me soon.

This is a shot of Dad in Kansas City at the family home (his parents') in the mid 1940s when I was either not yet born or quite small. He always loved the outdoors and worked off and on in free lance writing and as a photojournalist in his younger years. In all of these traits, he certainly did influence me a great deal. Not only genetics but nurture and environment shapes what we become and who we are.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Beltane Blessings

Today is Mayday and also Beltane, one of those midway markers celebrated by our pagan ancestors and also by modern pagans. It marks the halfway point from the spring equinox to the midsummer solstice and is traditionally celebrated with bonfires, revelry and commemoration/ dedication to the growth and reproduction of all species to include our own! It was important to our agrarian ancestors to keep their crops and livestock fertile and increasing. The frolics of the elder times were legion and some still enjoy such today. It is a kind of "what happens on Beltane stays with Beltane" kind of night! As in many cultures, the old Celts marked their days from sundown to sundown so celebrations would begin at dusk on the appointed date and continue to the end of the following day.

Here in the high desert today felt like the first taste of summer. The mercury hit at least 89 and may have touched 90. Considering that Monday was jacket weather and there was snow in the mountains not twenty miles from here although some 4,000 feet higher in elevation, this is quite a change. I, for one, am not unhappy to see it. Although heat can be oppressive, I find it preferable to cold and don't mind shifting to light, cool summer garb for the duration. Almost time to dig out the shorts and sun tops! Hurrah.

Anyway, I wish a joyous Beltane to one and all, however you see fit to mark or celebrate this turning point in the seasons, or even if you simply let it slide by. This holiday along with Candlemas or February 2 is often dedicated to the goddess (or saint if you prefer) Brighid, sometimes called Bride in the old Gaelic tongues. Since she is rather a favorite of mine, I will perhaps light a candle and think a bit upon her this evening as I prepare to settle down for the night. I relate to her as the patron of home and hearth, the forge, and also the creative fire that drives us to make things of beauty or utility, to write, paint, or even sing as a way of expressing our gratitude for the wonders of the world in which we live and the good that is all around us even in the midst of the complex and difficult world we see and deal with every day. Turning briefly to the old ways is not always a bad thing. Brightest blessings to all who read these words!

If you are interested in learning a bit more about the Celtic spiritual paths and related matters here are a couple of links that you may follow for a start. They belong to a lady named Mara Freeman who has done a lot of study and writing on pagan and related matters. Although she sells books and classes some of her newsletters and such are free.