A dream, a wish, an intention

A candle is lit and my thoughts go out to Grandmother Whitedeer who posted a few of my posts from Insectamonarca to the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites, of which I am a council member.

worth alter 004 This is my alter with candle, fossils, driftwood, Worth Cooley-Prost’s beautiful handmade glass looking like raindrops, a feather and cedar. May our hearts always lift to the Faraway Vision. May we always honor our sisters who were part of the Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites. May we always remember to do Ceremony for the Highest Good.

I am so happy we are reuniting again, The Sisterhood of Planetary Water Rites, to protect water and other gifts of Mother Earth. The hour is upon us as Climate Change is affecting so much. Waiting for monarch butterflies to appear in central Massachusetts. Today we saw a fritillary butterfly but couldn’t get close enough to photograph. This photo is copyright Cindy Dyer.

Fritillary spp




Into every life a little trouble must come.

After giving the cab driver the fare and tip, I quickly got out of the cab, grabbing a shopping bag that I had with me. It was raining out and the cab was dark. I walked into Rollstone Studio for a meeting with Fitchburg Cultural Alliance and took off my rain coat. I thought I took off my sweater also because it was hot inside. I was early so I walked around the studio to admire different artist’s work.

Then, I thought, “Where is my purse?” Realizing that I didn’t see it, I wanted to call the cab company IMMEDIATELY. I couldn’t see the phone book listings. I needed reading glasses to see the numbers. An elder artist looked up the telephone number for me and I rang up the cab company. Wrong number! This was the business office. I was getting more panicky as the minutes ticked by.

Then Bob found the right number. I called the dispatcher. He in turn called the driver. Upon the second call, the dispatcher confirmed that the driver had my purse. I waited one hour and 15 minutes for the cab to return. He was in the next town over doing business for the cab company. After picking people up and dropping them off, he returned to Main Street where I was waiting.

While I waited outside, a young man walked by twice and said, “You have good legs and a strong back to wait like this.” While I waited, I sang softly and did Tai chi. It was chilly out, but this was a small price to pay to get my purse back with my life documents inside. I am talking about credit cards, Medicare, insurance cards, money, keys. Out of which my life would have been victimized and full of trauma. You can imagine what it would have been like. Purse snatching is a common occurrence in cities.

There are miracles that happen in this life. Fitchburg is a city of 40,000 people. How likely is it to have a purse returned intact in a city of this size? I am reminded to be thankful for all my blessings. Tonight was one of these.

Oh and it doesn’t hurt to say a prayer to St. Anthony, patron saint of missing things. Thank you St. Anthony.

Boulder Coffeehouse in Fitchburg MA PRESS RELEASE


CONTACT: Nate Smith

The Boulder Coffeehouse on Saturday, February 9th, 7:30pm, features Fran LaMalva!!

Fran La Malva has been around for a while in these parts and has delighted every single crowd he’s performed for.

Fran L Malva copyright Nate Smith
Fran L Malva copyright Nate Smith

His polished and intricate guitar styles and arresting vocals capture each song equisitely, whether its one of his own compositions or maybe a Chris Smither tune or something else.  A very heartwarming experience!

Regular Coffeehouse goers may recall him from May, 2009 and we are blessed to have him return.  Not only does Fran play at the top-shelf level, but he also builds his own guitars and will bring two of them to the show Saturday.  His luthier business is located at http://lizardeye.com/ and he hails from Groton, MA.

Proceeds from the $5 suggested donations will go to a local non-profit organization chosen by the feature performer.

The Boulder Coffeehouse is a smoke-free, alcohol-free, fair-trade coffee, candlelit venue for folk and other musical genres, located at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 923 Main Street on the Upper Common, Fitchburg, MA, Note that parking in the Post Office lot is no longer allowed.  The show begins at 7:30.  You are welcome to visit our website at http://xongsmith.webs.com/boulder.html .

Email greystone@net1plus.com or call 978-345-2661 for more details.

Suggested freewill donation is $5 at the door.  Non-perishable food goods are also encouraged.  Throughout the evening a delicious assortment of baked goods, teas, and coffees will be available for your pleasure.

Email greystone@net1plus.com regarding open mike spots. Sound reinforcement is provided by JB Sound.  Soundboard recordings of each performance can be requested by each performer in advance for a suggested $3.

Need help to raise money for fire victims in Fitchburg, MA

Fire, 113 Mechanic Street, Fitchburg, MA. December 1, 2012

 Robert R. Parks, 24, a guitarist and graphic arts student who also works in sales and marketing and at Market Basket in Leominster on Saturdays

According to article in Sentinel & Enterprise, December 1, 2012. Displaced homeless tenants went to live with families. Red Cross gave food and clothing.

I spoke with Robert R. Parks, on December 3, 2012.  He lost his Mac Pro (used 2009 model) computer in fire. He’s a student at Mount Wachusetts Community College at http://mwcc.edu/

He is studying to be a Graphic Artist. Robert works for a Sales and Marketing Company and wants to learn how to market himself as a Graphic Artist. He also works one day a week at Market Basket in Leominster, to make ends meet.

Robert was the only person injured, burns on left arm, when he jumped from third floor apartment. His immediate need is to replace a used or restored Mac Pro. He needs a Mac Pro computer for his college work and career as a Graphic Artist.

He said that he is meeting with Insurance Company on Tuesday and will see if he can obtain other tenants address. There are two children in one family. Mr. Jose and Tali Nareo have two children:  Michael Nareo 5 and Matthew Nareo 9. Both will need Christmas presents. Children’s clothes may make a good donation also. Hopefully, I will have this information (if possible) shortly.

The children’s uncle Miguel Hermandez lived with his girlfriend in the building also.

In the meantime, Robert R. Parks address is: 89 Dorset Road, Athol, MA 01331. He is staying with a friend. He is borrowing clothes from his friend who wears the same size.  I am mailing him a $20 check today. He is a humble and non demanding young man.  I feel certain that he would appreciate donations. Then he could buy some new clothes and obtain needed lost items.

Thank you for your kind consideration in this request.

You can make a donation directly to Robert at above address, Or Make PayPal donations to Mary Ellen Ryall. Please indicate donation is for fire victims. I will take responsibility for distributing funds and presents to fire victim children. You can also mail a donation to Mary Ellen Ryall, PO Box 533, Fitchburg, MA 01420. Be sure to mark envelope FIRE VICTIMS. I will send you receipt for your donations as a tax deductible donation.

What makes the season bright is remembering those less fortunate.




Getting to know you

Art on Main Street Fitchburg MA
Art on Main Street Fitchburg MA

A stroll down Main Street, Fitchburg, MA, took me past the art wall. I am excited about this project. Children, artists and citizens contributed art to the wall. What a better way to unite citizens in an urbanization project devoted to art and beauty. The messages of hope, love and bilingual messages are uplifting. I want to give this project some breathing room and show the positive side of multi-cultural living.

This is the new America. Phyllis, an elder of 91 years old, told me, “The city changed when industry moved out.” Gone are Sanders Associates and General Electric. What was left instead was a city without work and a changing population from Anglo to ethnic identity. To put a positive spin on the cosmopolitan community, I am studying Spanish again, at 67 years old. I want to greet people walking down the street and welcome them with Spanish greetings, their first language.  It is good to be kind to all people. What one gives away comes back a hundredfold. A typical scene yesterday: I was sitting on a bench to rest and dislodge a leaf out of my shoe. A younger male, saw me with my shoe off. He asked, “Do you need any help?” I said no but thanks. This is the community I want to see and hear. People talking to one another. I love it as you can probably tell.

Sweetest robin I have  ever seen
Sweetest robin I have ever seen


I walked over to the erratic boulder in the Massachusetts town common. At one time, boulders such as this were faces of mountain tops or bedrock throughout Massachusetts. About 25,000 years ago, a glacier heading south, dislodged the massive boulder and carried it with the ice flow. The boulder bumped and scrapped its way against other bounders, which softened sharp edges and left large gorges in the boulder. About 21,000 years ago the ice began to melt. Rollstone Boulder was carried by a glacier that came through Mt. Monadnock. For centuries it was a landmark to Native people and settlers alike. I imagine it was a sacred boulder to Native Americans. Rocks and boulders are known as Grandfathers and keepers of wisdom. This part of American history is rarely acknowledged.

Rollstone glacier boulder
Rollstone glacier boulder

The boulder was threatened by quarrying in 1929. Citizens didn’t want to see it destroyed. They blasted it apart and carried it to its present location. It weighs 110 tons. It is porphyricit granite and truly monolithic.  Every spring in May, devotees come out to plant marigolds around it in the common. This year I hope to be one of the lucky ones who honor the boulder with flowers.

First Parish
First Parish


“I was thinking of the greatness of what was human, and found myself in the divine,” by Juan Ramon Jimenez. A sign is posted on the front of First Parish Church. First Parish was founded in 1768. The 18th century church is a handsome brick building with a crisp white tower. I want to get to know First Parish because I live in a senior building, “The Sundial,” built by First Parish Housing in 1970, to celebrate First Parish’s 200th Anniversary. My building is a faith run nonprofit and a wonderful place to live. It is safe, friendly and celebrates elder years. How fortunate I am to live in the historical district of Fitchburg, with rich history all around me. First Parish is a Unitarian Universalist Church.

Source: Holmes, H. How glaciers moved rocks. National Geographic, 98-99.

Veterans Writing Project

Let’s do something good. Thinking beyond ourselves can lead one to a purpose driven life.

Check it out. I loved honoring my husband today at the Veterans Day Ceremony at O’Neill Hall, Fitchburg Armory, Fitchburg, MA.

Veterans Writing Project.

Sunday walk in the woods

Lots to do out here at Winter Hill Farm, Fitchburg, MA. Today I walked over to the an area that has wild grape vines draping the trees and cascading over prickly forbidding wild rose plants. The roses are invasive and have made it difficult to harvest the grapes.

Today I took pruners and began to cut them out and discard the thorny pests into a pile. Many of the stems wanted to cling to me. They cut through my woolen shirt and tore at my jeans. No they didn’t like being moved to a waste pile and they let me know. I only was able to clear a small area. I will return again and again to cut away the thorny dominant community. The wild grapes will then be accessible  hanging like a tarp over the trees. I can envision how lovely it is going to look, as early as next year, if I am persistent in this endeavor.

My sister wanted to take me back to the wetlands and show me a special area that is dear to her heart. It is an enchanted wetlands. I saw where she marked wild azaleas. Ronnie said, “It is so beautiful out here when they are in bloom, just like a fairyland.”

Later I walked back to the house by another route so I could possibly come to know how witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginia, Linn.) smelled. I never did have the privilege of knowing the scent, it eluded me. Recently somewhere I read about how one could sit in the woods in frosty November (we aren’t really there yet) and listen to the witch hazel fling its seeds, just like a sling shot. It is interesting that I found the information in a book, “Trees Worth Knowing,” by Julie E.Rogers, published in 1922. Ed, an elder in Minong, WI, presented the book to me one day. He told me that his mother-in-law had all kinds of plant books. He was happy to pass it on. The book binding is falling apart, but is interesting with its colorful language. “The witch hazel thicket is veiled with these gold-mesh flowers, as ethereal as the haunting perfume which they exhale.”

elusive witch hazel
elusive witch hazel

It is a November flower that has stubborn brown leaves clinging  to twigs. How odd it is. I picked a few stems and am drying it. Not sure if it will work or not.

Years ago my husband (d. 2010) would walk across the Mall in Washington, DC, stopping in the herb garden, next to the Smithsonian castle,where I would meet him after work. He told me how much he loved the scent of this elusive plant. This is the reason I am  tracking the scent. I wish I could have this experience so I would know what he experienced. Perhaps it was an experience meant just for him.

The plant is a species of elm. There are people who supposedly know how to use the forked twigs to locate water. The twigs have astringent properties and is sold in pharmacies for topical use.

Thanks for joining me today for a Sunday walk in the woods.

Be well insectamonarca where ever you are.

Ground Cedar and just how special this plant is

Ground cedar
Ground cedar

I have always known that ground cedar (Lycopodium complanatum) club moss family,  was special, but I didn’t know why. Today, I read a post by Dr. Thomas Barnes, University of Kentucky at http://kentuckynativeplantandwildlife.blogspot.com/2012/01/plant-of-week-southern-club-moss.html.

You may enjoy reading the full article at noted link. I can’t get enough of this kind of learning. Every day is wondrous when we learn something new about Creation.

There is a small colony of ground cedar growing in the forest near spring fed snow runoff sites in the hills, at Winter Hill Farm, near Fitchburg, MA. There are large glacial bounders here. For one thing, I learned that it takes 10 – 15 years before the ground plant actually shows itself. First the plant must develop under the ground with a symbiotic relationship with fungi mycelium. The plant also requires a certain soil component, being a lack of nutrients in the soil, and the plant usually requires large boulders, in the near vicinity. Boulders are here because glaciers come through and large tumbling boulders were left behind in the hills. This is one of the beauties of the forest near Fitchburg. My sister lives here on 40 acres, in a protected watershed area, with her husband. The children are all grown now, but Winter Hill Farm is their retreat on weekends and holidays. I am here and will be living nearby come fall. I didn’t dream when I came here, July 11, for a family wedding, that I would be moving back to the East Coast. Pinch me!

I have been given the opportunity to come full circle. Now I can walk into my field work here and continue writing, publishing and observing nature in this environment. Yesterday, my sister gave me a rock that was engraved by an elder artist, who is now deceased. A butterfly was carved into the rock. Ronnie carried the rock up to the Wild Butterfly Habitat and placed the medium size rock on the stone fence at the entrance of the habitat.

Morning nature meditations

Monarch chrysalis extended near tomato plant. Looks to be same color as fruit.
Monarch chrysalis extended near tomato plant. Looks to be same color as fruit.

Before I begin this post, I thought you would want to know that the monarch butterfly caterpillar has changed into the next stage of its life. It is now a lime green chrysalis. I think it must of happened yesterday afternoon after the sun finally came out. The morning was rainy.

Monarch caterpillar classic J shape

I photographed a few shots of the caterpillar that just hung upside down for a day. It was cloudy out and a little cooler. I wondered if the caterpillar needed sun to give it energy in order to change into a chrysalis. Then the downpour came and I hoped the caterpillar would be safe. Rain drops can dislodge an adult monarch and cause it harm or death. I was concerned about the caterpillar. Would it be safe from the elements? After all it was hiding among tomato leaves and perhaps had enough cover not to experience the brunt of heavy rain pellets.

This morning was cool, a touch of fall crisp air. Dressed in a hoodie, I went outside to begin thanksgiving morning rituals. Old growth oak trees at the end of the driveway were whispering yes, fall is coming. They communicate a unique sound when the leaves move. It is different than summer serenades. The leaves resonate this truth.  As I stood on the back stoop for a few minutes, I heard hummingbird wings behind me. It wasn’t long before a female flew in front of me; I had a close encounter as I stood perfectly still. Evidently she decided I wasn’t a flower, even if the hoodie was pink. The hummer headed toward a moist colony of black-eyed-Susan and bright pink phlox. I think of my elder friend Phyllis DeBrot when I see hummingbirds. She loves hummingbirds and always sends me cards that have either hummingbirds or butterflies on cover.

I decided to walk out on the country road. It is very hilly; I figured it would improve my endurance if I start hill climbing. Yesterday I learned from Jack (brother-in-law) that Fitchburg is the second hilliest city in the country. San Francisco is number one.  We’re out in the country and what a hill it is for cars to get up my sister’s hill. Believe me, I am buying a four wheel drive vehicle when I return here to live starting in the fall. I have my eye on a used Suburu. There is a Suburu car dealer in Fitchburg. My brother-in-law swears by his. I heard that two other friends love their vehicles too.  The back roads here are narrow and I need a vehicle that I can trust.

Pink morning glory
Pink morning glory

My nephew’s morning glories are growing profusely at my sister’s. They appear to be illuminated from within. I imagine pollinators see the inner glow. Who is not attracted to radiating light when it beckons? Hope you enjoy the photos this morning. It is taking me awhile to learn my brother-in-law’s computer system and applications such as photos.

Be happy insectamonarca friends where ever you are.