Milkweed Meditation

10. Monarch Cindy Dyerby Anne Taylor

Standing together, stems hardened by the summer's sunbathing.
The Milkweed Cluster Support Group comes to order
As the members, all seeds released a year ago,
Begin their fall meditation:

        Reflecting on the cycle of their lives
        Feather-borne seeds riding on the whims of the wind
        The breath of Nature bearing the myriad of snow-seeds thither and yon
        Some to an end and others to a beginning.

        Those chosen seeds,
        After surviving taunts of “nuisance plant” and “advantage weed”
        Settling safely into untended ground.

        Spring thaw and rain wake the seed
        To process the fallow earth
        And begin its upright striving for the sun.

        The maligned wild flower
        Produces the sweetest smelling flower of June
        Attracting bees and butterflies
        To rest on its milk-nourished blossoms.

        This milk-blood circulates with the message
        To turn blossoms into pods
        Tough incubators of fluff and seed
        These pods allow for the warming
        And maturity of the plant progeny.

        The new generation burst forth on a warm October day
        To fly with the Monarch Butterflies who cocooned in their shadow
        And begin the cycle anew.

Photo: Monarch Butterfly on Common Milkweed copyright Cindy Dyer
        

        Winter Mantras:  harvest celebration – beginnings and endings – myriads         of deeds/seeds with fruition unknown – integrity of purpose – cooperation       with nature – stamina – longevity – life circle
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Wasp

There are over 1,000 North American species of solitary hunting wasps. All of them prey on arthropods, which the female stings and paralyzes (but doesn’t kill so that they don’t begin to decompose immediately). Most solitary wasps specialize on a single type of prey, and many build highly characteristic burrow nests. Once the prey is […]

via Thread-waisted Wasps Provisioning Nests — Naturally Curious with Mary Holland

Happy Tonics a Nonprofit for Pollinators

 

23rain - Copy

As part of our continued mission, Amazon donates 0.5 percent of Amazon Smile purchases to our nonprofit. Here is your chance to donate a small donation at  http://smile.amazon.com/ch/26-1911547. The donation is from Amazon and is no cost to buyers. Bookmark this link so all your eligible shopping will benefit Happy Tonics. Please share with your friends and make a difference in a butterfly’s life.

Our Monarch Butterfly Habitat is now part of a larger Pollinator Habitat at Lac Courte Agriculture Research Station in Hayward, WI. Any money raised is sent to the secretary of Happy Tonics and she purchases plants and other garden needs for the habitat.

Photo copyright Mary Ellen Ryall

 

Joe Bonamassa and Other Company

joe bonamassa

August 15, 2017 – I attended the Joe Bonamassa concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, New York. The ticket cost was $166 and was worth every penny. It was a balcony seat. There was a fat man that would have been next to me, but I concentrated on having space around me, and I took my place one seat away. I didn’t have to sit next to the fat man. No one sat on my left or right. Rejoice, Sacred Space.

stevie-ray-vaughan-for-radio-bdc-1050x700  Reese Wynans was the keyboard player.  Wynans joined Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1985, playing keyboards on Soul to Soul and In Step and played with the band until Stevie Ray Vaughn’s tragic death in 1990. Vaughn was my all time favorite guitar blues player and his voice was something. I still miss him. Back in 1993, a black bus driver introduced me to Vaughn’s music. One day I got on the local bus in Lusby, Maryland, and the bus driver handed me a CD saying, “He’s the only white boy that can play the blues.” He was right. I thought of the bus driver tonight even though I don’t remember his name. He wasn’t the only person I thought of.

According to Joe Bonamassa’s Website, Anton Fig is one of New York’s most in-demand session drummers and has spent the last 29 years as the drummer for David Letterman’s house band on the NBC and CBS networks. Fig is one of America’s most widely-heard musicians and has racked up an impressive session resume playing on albums by Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, Rosanne Cash, Joe Cocker, and Ronnie Spector. During his Letterman years, Fig recorded or performed live with such legends as James Brown, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, and B.B. King. As a freelance drummer, he has played with Paul Simon and also in the house band for Bob Dylan’s historic 30th Anniversary concert celebration.

I wish you could have heard him play tonight. I have never heard anyone play drums like him. Believe me; I have known the best such as Chico Hamilton. It was thrilling to hear Anton’s versatility and power. The rhythms were extraordinary and carried me away.

Michael Rhodes is a bassist. Some of the musicians he’s played with include Mark Knopfler, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Stevie Nicks, Emmylou Harris, Faith Hill, and even the hottest star in the entire music industry, Taylor Swift. Rhodes is a fantastic bassist and played like a jam session with Bonamassa.

Lee Thornburg is a trumpeter. You can hear Thornburg’s past work with Bonamassa on four of his #1 Billboard releases, including Live at the Royal Albert Hall, the Grammy-Nominated album Seesaw with Beth Hart, Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks, and Live at Radio City Music Hall.

Paulie Cerra is a versatile and dynamic Saxophone player. He has played with Stevie Wonder, Kirk Franklin, Lucky Peterson, Luther Allison, Little Milton, Bobby Bland, Billy Preston and Jimmy Johnson. Cerra joined Joe’s band earlier this year and you can hear him on the #1 Billboard Blues release Live at Radio City Music Hall.

These musicians are the world’s best. The music lifted me up and beyond an earthly experience. I felt like I ascended to the cosmos. I thought of old friends who had already walked on and those who I used to play with in my twenties, and the gay times we had when we were young and reckless.

I remembered Michael R., and it felt like I was dancing with him again at Michael’s. Back then, we were in our 20s. Michael was a system design engineer, and I was a clerical training instructor for Digital Equipment Corporation in Maynard, MA. Sadly, Michael, at 61 years old, died Friday, April 24, 2009, at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Massachusetts.

I am so glad there is life beyond this planet, and we can still dance in the stars for time immortal. Energy never dies. It changes and that is OK. Our minds are a wonderful thing and if we hang on to great memories, we are blessed.

In this natural high state, I felt like I was among friends around a campfire and we danced. I remember having a shawl on. Mind you; I lost my shawl tonight. I must have got distracted when I came out of the Gideon Putnam and saw all the fire trucks. The door man, asked me if I was looking for a cab? I said yes, and he escorted me to the waiting cab. I must have lost my shawl in the confusion in front of the historical hotel.

The driver Fred was such a gentleman. He is a gambler and likes the horses and cards. I told him about my time with Henry who knew the horses because he worked with them for 30 years. In 2014, Henry and I bet on American Pharoah and we won the Triple Crown. After the race in Saratoga Springs, when American Pharoah lost, Henry passed away. I went down to the garden where the waterfall is and cried like a baby. I liked Henry and he gave me a thrill by teaching me about racing. Then I lost my thrill. I had to find something else that gave me a high so I started learning about the Stock Market with Jim Cramer. I study it daily with Mad Money. So far I am doing OK. I know it could change in a blink. That is why I study it daily.

At the concert, while I was in a natural high, In my imagination, I saw my friend Sandy S. She is precious to me, and it made me tear up realizing how much I miss her. I miss the ceremonies we used to perform. We used to dance around in a circle and chant the Water Ceremony song Nibi Wabo. These times were sacred and oh how I miss them. Time is moving so fast. I feel like a space traveler.

Listen to Joe at https://www.facebook.com/JoeBonamassa
You Better Watch Yourself. Love this blues. Blow me away! I am wild about the keyboarder Arlan Oscar Schierbaum, although he didn’t play tonight. This piece Dislocated Boy reminds me of Michael more than any other.

I miss my blazing fire pit at my former home in Minong, WI. How I loved those times. Seeing the lightning bugs and listening to the night critters and the tree frogs. The wolves used to yap and yell, and I loved it. I miss my wild country. You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t make her a total city girl. My wild side still calls, and Joe called it up again tonight.

I normally don’t write about events like this, but this was such an alive moment for me. Just as a final note. I grieved for Michael for several days and felt his presence close, and He has walked on now.

Cannabis sativa

Hemp  The following hopefully will clear up any confusion about Cannabis sativa from Hemp and its medical uses. I am an herbalist and not a medically trained person. I am speaking from my own experience and truth.

Cannabis sativa from Hemp is not to be confused with Cannabis sativa from Marijuana. The Cannabis sativa from the hemp plant contains cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis sativa from Marijuana also has the same molecular compounds. CBD from Hemp is a natural pain reliever and legal to use. In February 2014, President Obama signed the Farm Bill which has a special amendment to legalize the production of Industrial Hemp in the United States. Learn more at http://www.votehemp.com/PR/2014-02-07-vh_farm_bill_signed.html

The US Government rushed to patent Hemp (Patent # 6,630,507).
According to the Patent Office at http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=/netahtml/PTO/srchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507

Marijuana proponents allege that the U.S. government is exhibiting hypocrisy by owning a cannabis-related patent while also denying marijuana’s rescheduling. (Denver Post file)

Abstract: Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties [and neuroprotectants], unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and HIV dementia. Nonpsychoactive cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol, are particularly advantageous to use because they avoid toxicity that is encountered with psychoactive cannabinoids at high doses useful in the method of the present invention. A particular disclosed class of cannabinoids useful as neuroprotective antioxidants is formula (I) wherein the R group is independently selected from the group consisting of H, CH.sub.3, and COCH.sub.3. ##STR1##

Other sources such as Edens Garden state that Cannabis sativa helps relieve fibromyalgia, joint pain, and other ailments.

According to the National Cancer Institute, cannabinoids activate specific receptors throughout the body to produce a drug-like effect, specifically in the nervous and immune systems. Although more research is needed to conclude the effects of CBD, it may relieve pain, lower inflammation and decrease anxiety without the psychotropic effects of THC, as reported by the National Cancer Institute.

Currently, the institute is studying the effects of cannabis and cannabinoids for the relief of nausea, pain, anxiety, and loss of appetite. Studies in mice and rats have shown that cannabinoids may inhibit tumor growth by blocking cell growth. Other possible effects of cannabinoids include antiviral and anti-inflammatory activity, and relieving muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis. But despite promising results, more research is needed to verify the possibilities.

IDENTIFYING THE DIFFERENCES

Cannabis Essential Oil: To be diluted into a carrier oil, Cannabis Essential Oil is produced by the steam distillation of the cannabis flower. The active components are myrcene and beta-caryophyllene, which are packed with anti-inflammatory properties.

CBD: Extracted from the Hemp Plant, Cannabidiol is a potent phytocannabinoid that is non-psychoactive.

Hemp Seed Carrier Oil: Rich in vitamins and antioxidant properties, Hemp Seed Oil is produced through a cold pressed method. The oil is pale to golden yellow at https://www.edensgarden.com/blogs/news/what-is-cannabis-essential-oil-and-how-it-differs-cbd-hemp-oil-and-cannabis-co2

Benefits+of+Hemp I mixed a bottle of Edens Garden Cannabis sativa essential oil (5 ml) at https://www.edensgarden.com/collections/single-oils with a bottle of Hemp Carrier Oil (100 ml) and used topically. This enriched oil is rubbed on sore hips, knees, and pain centered locations. It takes the edge off and at least helps me to sleep without pain. I hope this will help you too.

  The Creator put all the plants on the planet. Each has their own use.
Natural medicine is better than side-effecting prescription drugs, and I believe that the plants were put on this Earth for us to use, “Physician heal thyself.”

Bunny

Early morning
the sun is out
the field is fresh green after a rain
are there dandelion flowers?
did the bunny eat the leaves?
a young bunny is ever so still
I became still also
I start to quietly chant
in love with the little creature.

 

 

 

 

Memories Submerged in a Poem

by Mary Ellen Ryall

My grandmother, Ann Veronica Sullivan, was a live-in housekeeper and cook to Margaret and Josephine Harrington, retired high school teachers. Josephine had been the principal, and Margaret taught English. In 1956, I was in the eighth grade and attended St. Peter’s Academy, on Broadway, in Saratoga Springs, New York. The Catholic school was near Gram’s house at 21 Whitney Place. I could walk there at lunch time, and I used to go to Gram’s frequently from home too.

One winter day, I scampered up the steep back stairs to visit Margaret. She was silently sitting at a card table looking out the bay window. I glanced outside too. She was reverently in thought as she gazed at the newly fallen snow that blanketed the branches of an old spruce tree. The setting was both peaceful and calming, and then Margaret began to recite the first lines of The First Snowfall by James Russell Lowell, 1819 – 1891.

Every pine, and fir, and hemlock
Wore ermine too dear for an Earl
And the poorest twig on the Elm tree
was ridged inch deep with pearl.

The poem of the snow and a recent snow storm suggested that sweet time, at the beloved 1891 Victorian home, at 21 Whitney Place. The large front parlor had a marble-topped table that proudly displayed a clock that chimed, and I fell into a meditative mood just hearing the soothing tones. The house was silent with Persian rugs. The back parlor included a wall lined bookcase that housed books that my sister and I could borrow. What a privilege. The rooms were elegant to a young person who had nothing. There was no fancy furniture at my house. My parent’s bedroom had tacky nylon patterned curtains. They looked cheap. My small bedroom was painted red, loud, and uninviting. There was no privacy to speak of because the room was off the kitchen. A lot of yelling went on in the kitchen. Most family events happened around the kitchen table from early morning until night.

Gram’s house was such a joy to a young girl. The home was beautiful, and a safe place to come home to, and I was always welcome here. My home, on the other hand, was a garage apartment on Madison Street. I can’t remember one happy time there. The house was uninviting with a deep, dark, and steep stairway. At the top of the stairs was a door with a glass window and a sheer curtain, the only light that was inviting came from the kitchen. I never knew what to expect when I opened the kitchen door.

Would my mother be sitting at the kitchen table intoxicated or sober? I dreaded finding her half unconscious with a lit cigarette in her hand. I didn’t know what it was like to feel a mother’s love. Mothering felt like a betrayal to me. I couldn’t trust my mom because she was always covering up and lying to me, a child with a broken heart. She would tell me if I cleaned the house, I could go swimming with the Lenahan’s. I would clean the house, but she would always find something that was not to her liking, and at the
last moment, she would yank the swimming privilege away. It felt like bribery to me.

My sister and I cleaned our home because we wanted dad to come home to a well-maintained home. Even though I was a child, I acted like an adult. My sister and I made a game of housecleaning and sang as we worked. The weekdays seemed terribly stretched out, and I would count the days till the weekend. I was happy on Friday. Sometimes, I would excitedly wait to watch my dad drive down Madison Street in the blue and white Chevy with the tail fins. I would run home to greet him as he got out of the car. My mother was usually dressed up on Friday and sober. The deceit continued.

At the Harrington’s, I knew what to expect. The sisters lived upstairs. Margaret was petite, had a stooped back, and milky blue eyes. She took care of her sister Josephine, who was bedridden because of a stroke, which paralyzed her. Margaret was a gentle soul and never complained about being a companion to her sister. Just before noon, cautiously and slowly, Margaret climbed down the steep back stairs, holding on ever so carefully to the hand rail. She took her main meal in the sunny yellow kitchen promptly at noon. Gram and Margaret sat at the small kitchen table under an old chiming wall clock. I loved to hear the pendulum swinging and the clock chime on the hour and half hour. I sat at a side table when I joined them.

Margaret was kind to me. She was always happy to see me. I liked to spend time with her because she always had something interesting to say. We would talk about flowers, trees, and poetry. One expression, “Never a dull moment,” didn’t make sense to a 13-year-old girl, but I understand the words now and even use the phrase on occasion. Another time, she showed me a photo of a much younger Margaret and a young man. The young man was wearing a suit and hat. He stood solemnly next to Margaret. She was dressed up in a lovely white dress that went to the ankles. The setting was in Congress Park. Margaret mentioned spooning, but I didn’t know what the word meant back then.

The Victorian home was always pristine and perfectly arranged with furniture settings. The muted silk Damask light green Victorian carved couch was against the wall, and embroidered smaller chairs made up a sitting area. No one used the downstairs rooms. Gram cooked on an old black stove that used coal. The delicious smells that radiated from the kitchen made my mouth water. Gram made the best cakes and pies from scratch. I was often hungry when I arrived there. My grandmother was a professional cook.

After several years of service, the house became too large for Gram to manage. Now that I was old enough, she hired me to come on Saturday mornings to dust and vacuum. I loved the job.  Grandmother taught me housekeeping skills. A curio cabinet in the front parlor was dear to Margaret, and at times she allowed me to dust the delicate figurines inside. Each was a gift from former students.

On dusting days, I earned a $1.00 from Gram. Then I would go upstairs and receive another $1.00 from Margaret. She would take a book from the bookshelf, open a page, and pull out a crisp dollar bill. My gram and I were not the only workers. There was also a yard man who took care of the property and the outside of the house.

At the time, the Harrington’s house was painted yellow with brown trim. Gram always had time for me, even if she was washing dishes, she paid attention to me. I would chatter away about classes at St. Peter’s or about a school dance that my friend Susan and I attended on Saturday evenings. Gram would smile at me as she worked. Meanwhile, I dried the dishes, bowls, and platters, and put them away in the China pantry. The contrast between Gram and my mother was something. Mom led her chaotic life, and I didn’t find nurturing there.

Gram’s house, this is what we called it; I felt safe, it was a haven to a young girl. Gram was also safe here. Work kept her sober. When she occasionally came to visit my mother or babysit us, kids, she too would drink beer and become someone else. I remember my brother Billy and I would hide the beer bottles in the dryer. One time, we put soap suds in a bottle of beer. Gram became furious with us. We ran away and hid until it was safe to return. By then, Gram was intoxicated and drowsy. It was heartbreaking to witness. I separated her into two people. One who was sober and this was the Gram I loved and prayed for. The other was a person I did not even recognize. It was such a contrast.

At the Harrington’s, after awhile, I started to join my grandmother at the table once reserved for Margaret. It was then I realized that Margaret wasn’t coming down the back stairs anymore. Shortly after that, I started carrying a tray of food upstairs. Like Margaret would say, “Never a dull moment.” Maybe the steps became too much for her. I felt confident that I was a help to my Grandmother with the
housework.

I would drag the monstrous vacuum cleaner down the front stairs as I vacuumed the carpeted stairs and the rooms downstairs. I also dusted the furniture. It wasn’t long before I started reading The Saratogian to Margaret, her eyes were getting bad. A teacher who could no longer read was a hardship. I remember I wasn’t a confident reader and Margaret didn’t make a fuss about it. At times, she would pronounce the words for me. I never learned phonetics. I
had to use memory.

On days when I visited my grandmother, she would hint, “Go up and see Margaret.” As a young person, I didn’t realize what a visit would mean to Margaret. My sister and I were the only outside visitors, with two exceptions. Margaret’s niece, from Ballston Spa, came each week to do the banking. Her cousin, Ed Sullivan came to visit his aunts when he was in town during the racing season. Mr. Sullivan was a mystery to me. Margaret and Gram would watch the Sunday TV broadcast, The Ed Sullivan Show, faithfully. I never met him, but quietly my grandmother would tell me after he came and visited his aunts. There are many mysteries when one is growing up.

My father bought a gentleman’s farm when I was a senior. Whisked away to the country for my last year of high school was a hardship for someone who had a life in town. I had no friends out there, and country kids were different than in-town kids. In Saratoga Springs, I could walk everywhere. Now I was stuck without transportation begging my sister or father for a ride. There were periodic visits to 21 Whitney Place, but I missed the connection to a meaningful life with Gram and Margaret. Before I knew it, I graduated from St.
Peter’s Academy in 1963. Then my grandmother retired and joined us at the farm in Rock City Falls, New York.

I did visit Margaret after my grandmother retired. Gram told me she was in the hospital for a cataract operation. Margaret said she was afraid. She had never been in a hospital before. I tried to comfort her, old enough to understand how alone she was. Then shortly after that, my grandmother told me that Margaret died in the hospital. I could see my grandmother was upset with the news and she said, “the poor dear.” I was stunned to realize that I would never see Margaret again. It was as if a chapter of my life was over, but, our journey didn’t end here.

Margaret is always with me in a mystical way. I am 72 years old now, and a large white pine is visible from my dining area window, and I remember Margaret and the poem.

Death and Bereavement
The First Snow-Fall
James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)

The snow began in the gloaming
and busily all the night
had been heaping hill and highway
with a silence deep and white.

Every pine, fir, and hemlock
wore ermine too dear for an Earl
and the poorest twig on the Elm tree
as ridged inch deep with pearl.

From sheds new roofed with Carrara
Came Chanticleer’s muffled crow
The stiff rails were softened to swan’s down
And still muffled down the snow.

I stood and watched at the window,
The noiseless work of the sky
and the sudden flurry of snowbirds
Like brown leaves whirling by.

I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn
Where a little headstone stood;
How the flakes were folding it gently,
As did robins the babes in the wood.

Up spoke our own little Mabel,
Saying, “Father, who makes it snow?”
And I told of the good All-father
Who cares for us here below.

Again I looked at the snow-fall,
And thought of the leaden sky
That arched o’er our first great sorrow,
When that mound was heaped so high.

I remember the gradual patience
That fell from that cloud like snow,
Flake by flake, healing, and hiding
The scar of our deep-plunged woe.

And again to the child, I whispered,
“The snow that husheth all,
Darling, the merciful Father
Alone can make it fall!”

Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her;
And she, kissing back, could not know
That my kiss was given to her sister,
Folded close under deepening snow.

Interview with Author Leona Casey Signor

Tell us something about yourself.

I am a retired registered nurse and a widow living in upstate New York.

2017-01-04 12.02.01 Author Leona Casey Signor

Please share something about your book How Did He Find Me?

When I was young, I became pregnant and had to face my family. I realized what a scandal I created for my Catholic family. Because of the family background, I received little help with my “situation.” After finding out how difficult it was to care for my infant son, I finally gave up the struggle and placed my 10-month-old baby up for adoption.

What happened when your son grew up?

My son grew up and tried to find his birth mother. We embarked on a journey together to discover each other, resulting in a new and loving relationship.

Why did you write the book?

This memoir was written as a catharsis and in the hope of helping other girls facing an unwanted pregnancy.

Book is available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=How+Did+He+Find+Me

Aging in the Computer Age

by Mary Ellen Ryall

senior cartoon  I am dependent upon technology to keep producing my work. Lately, I have been thinking that I must start publishing my articles on-line. It would allow my completed essays to get published more quickly. I am starting to realize; I don’t have that much time left to create. I am 71 and will be 72 on April 30, 2017.


This week I was knocked down with technology problems. I wasn’t able to open Dropbox or Office. I couldn’t create documents. I tried everything. Two days later, I woke up today thinking perhaps I haven’t been shutting down the computer right?

 

My husband used to tell me, “Shut down the computer.” He also said it would get rid of any problems. Well, even now from the other side, I believe that he told me exactly what to do. I held the off button down for a duration of time, and the computer finally did shut down. I think what I was doing before was hibernating the computer when I shut down. I am grateful!


I bought Adobe PDF Pack. I want to convert the files to PDF so that they will be copyright protected. People can print pages, but not be able to make changes. Do you know how I feel? I am rejoicing that my batteries are recharged. I will start to publish my work online on WordPress at
https://insectamonarca.wordpress.com/

Rainy Day Tales

It was a humid, rain-soaked summer morning. My dog Tia and I went for a walk on a dirt road near our home in the village of Minong, Wisconsin. No one used the road, and we had the woodlands and prairie all to ourselves, just the way we liked it. Problems disappeared when we were out in nature. The sun glistened, and occasionally small agate stones smiled back from the steamy earth. I stooped to pick one up and pocketed the tiny red gem.

Tia decided to go adventuring. Looking into a prairie, I saw my dog’s white-tipped tail waving in tall native grasses kissed by dewdrops.  She looked up as if checking on me. After seeing me, Tia went back to frolicking. After awhile, she returned to my side. We heard the sweet song of chick-a-dees in Jack pine trees. The birds were enjoying tree nuts and insects. We heard their Thanksgiving song. I knew that milkweed grew in a nearby field, and we went over to investigate and to see if any life was astir after the rain.

23rain - Copy  Bending down, I look on the underside of the milkweed leaves and saw a monarch caterpillar sleeping under the protection of the soft green roof. Rainbow-colored water drops dripped from its back, and still, the caterpillar slumbered. Did it dream that soon this part of its life would end? Soon the caterpillar would change into a pupa, and then a beautiful monarch butterfly. Did the butterfly come to tell us that we too would be transformed and emerge into a new form?

Sadly, Tia passed away in the fall, and my life changed dramatically and forever. I became an executive director of a nonprofit public charity, Happy Tonics, that implemented sanctuary for the monarch butterfly. My name was given to me by Dr. John “Little Bird” Anderson. In Ojibwe, I am called Memengwaaikwe, which means Butterfly Woman. Looking back on this rain-drenched morning, I know my life was transformed forever, just as the tiny messenger foretold.

NOTE: Notice of John “Little Bird” Anderson’s obituary is at http://www.pineviewfuneralservice.com/home/obituary/3808530

Photos: Tia and Dr. John “Little Bird” Anderson

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dr. John (Little Bird) Anderson

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