~ The Other Refugees ~

Soldier and Kitten by JustUs09 @ Photobucket.com

~ The Other Refugees ~

He huddled under the wreckage and rubble,

That used to be his home.

His people had fled.

Still others, were dead.

So he waited, shaking, alone.

*

She searched the dust-filled, ruined lots,

For food for her newborn young.

They needed to eat.

So she scoured every street.

But of sustenance, there was none.

*

Both were pitiful victims of war,

Forgotten, while the dropped bombs fell.

Their families were gone.

Yet, they still struggled on.

In the burning, abandoned hell.

*

It wasn’t their fault they had nowhere to go.

They’d been born with fur, not skin.

No more soft voices, or gentle pats,

Both wondered,

If they’d ever be happy again.

*

Then came the strangers with kind, loving care.

They brought food and they sheltered lost pets.

They didn’t have much,

But they shared what they had,

While the rest of society forgets…

*

There are more than people who suffer in war.

Animals can be refugees, too.

Let us stop and remember

Each four-legged family member.

There’s still plenty of helping to do.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2014

Image borrowed from takepart.com
Image borrowed from takepart.com

I came across this article the other day, as I was trying to decide what my offering would be for The Bardo 100,000 Poets For Change topic “Peace and Justice”. It struck me that there are so many animals who get forgotten in the chaos of war, and I knew that I had found my subject.

Of course it’s the people who get the attention and aid when they escape war-zones, and it’s important that we continue to help those human victims who need it. But. But there is a large segment of the population of refugees who get forgotten in the shuffle. In our haste to help the humans, the poor animals who are hurt or left behind are often overlooked. It’s sad, as is most everything about war, but it is an unfortunate truth.

The good news is that there ARE organizations who focus on helping displaced and injured animals affected by the ravages of war. The selfless people who run many of these shelters risk their own lives to help the animals left behind. If you are so inclined, the next time that you think about donating time or money to the victims of war, please consider one of these efforts. The cause is noble and just as worthy, and you will be helping someone who needs you, maybe more than you can imagine.

Animals Without Limits

Harmony Fund

Animals Lebanon

Nowzad

SPCA International

 

 

– Corina Ravenscraft

This post is a part of our participation in 100,000 Poets – and Musicians, Artists and Activists –  for Change. Details HERE. Our theme is Peace and Justice.We invite you to participate in this global event by linking in your work with ours. We’ll be collecting all the links in a commemorative page shortly after we close this project on October 3. You may use Mister Linky below or include your link in the comments section. Thank you!

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Putting the “Action” in “Activism”

It’s Wilderness Awareness Week at The Bardo and scillagrace is heading up lots of amazing posts about the planet to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act being signed into law in the U. S.

Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©
Image borrowed from https://www.facebook.com/workingwithoneness Carving by Bruno Torfs ©

As technological civilization diminishes the biotic diversity of the earth, language itself is diminished. As there are fewer and fewer songbirds in the air, due to the destruction of their forests and wetlands, human speech loses more and more of its evocative power. For when we no longer hear the voices of warbler and wren, our own speaking can no longer be nourished by their cadences. As the splashing speech of the rivers is silenced by more and more dams, as we drive more and more of the land’s wild voices into the oblivion of extinction, our own languages become increasingly impoverished and weightless, progressively emptied of their earthly resonance.” ~ David Abram

I wanted to write a brilliant piece of poetry for this event, but my efforts kept coming out with a negative bent, so I decided to instead make this post a mish-mash of things. It can be really hard to try and stay positive and find hope in the face of so much apathy in the world, with so many corporations hell-bent on destroying the planet just to make a profit. It can be terribly disheartening as a champion for the environment when you look at the way the odds are stacked against us, and how very much work there is to do.

On the other hand, it means that there are plenty of opportunities for all of us to find something to DO. Find an environmental cause that speaks to you, personally, whether it’s saving the rainforests, trying to keep trash out of our oceans or making sure that more tar sands pipelines don’t get built. The thing about activism is that it requires action. If you can’t be part of a climate march (Like the one coming up in NYC on 9/21/14), if you can’t get out and pick up litter in the parks, there are still lots of things you can do to help. The important thing is “action”. Whether your action is donating time, money, ideas, space, spreading the word via social media or blogging about it, taking pictures…however you choose to do it, just find a way to get involved. The more people we have taking action, the more our efforts can create a ripple effect that can move mountains (or save them from mountain-top strip mining, as the case may be).

Image borrowed from piecefit.com
Image borrowed from piecefit.com

Here’s a list of the Top 100 Environmental Websites to get you started. From animals rights, to deforestation, to environmentally friendly energy solutions, to recycling, to ocean protection to whatever else you can think of regarding the environment and wilderness, your cause is out there…you just have to find it. 😉 Speaking of which, here’s a handy, dandy test to help you figure out your Environmental Worldview , which is defined as “collective beliefs and values that give people a sense of how the world works, their role in the environment, and right and wrong behavior toward the environment. Environmental worldviews dictate how we interact with nature and our attitude toward how we use the natural resources it contains.” ~ Source

 

Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com
Image borrowed from http://indulgy.com

In closing, I’d like to leave you with a video by one of my favorite celebrity environmental activists, Woody Harrelson.

– Corina Ravenscraft

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Willful Ignorance and some Food For Thought…

Image borrowed from Zappa.com
Image borrowed from Zappa.com

“The more you can escape from how horrible things really are, the less it’s going to bother you…and then, the worse things get.”
Frank Zappa

Rational Wiki defines “Willful Ignorance” (bolding is mine) as: “…the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias….Readers should be aware that willful ignorance is a mechanism that actually protects the brain from becoming unable to function in situations that it just can’t handle. An individual can never accept its whole own reality being meaningless or making no sense, as that would make it impossible to act towards any goal. Forcing an individual into such a state has psychologically been found to be comparable to the death of the higher developed parts of the brain from an outside perspective.”

Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com
Image borrowed from thedailysheeple.com

I admit it. Life is a lot easier when I choose to ignore the things which make me unhappy or uncomfortable. I’m not particularly proud of it, but I admit that I do it. I think we all tend to do this to some extent. It’s a self defense mechanism which allows us to feel better about ourselves, our behavior, our actions (or in-actions). The problem is when we spend so much time in willful ignorance that others suffer, whether they’re other people, animals or plants.

Reality can be a cold bitch. Humans can be unimaginably cruel and so many times, we’re willing to look the other way. Why? Perhaps we feel helpless to do anything about the situation. Maybe we’re afraid of being ridiculed, ostracized for doing something differently. It takes tremendous courage to be the only one to stand up and say, “No. I will not do this because it is wrong.” It takes conviction and strength of heart. And sometimes, it takes a willingness to suffer, yourself, in order to make a point.

Image borrowed from quoteswave.com
Image borrowed from quoteswave.com

The compassionate soul cannot abide injustice and suffering in the world – it wants to help – in any way it can. As a compassionate soul, I have to consider certain things about my lifestyle and how it affects others. In recent years, my diet has come under my personal scrutiny because of revelations about where some of my food comes from; specifically, factory farming. It finally penetrated the veil of willful ignorance I had built so that I could continue to eat what I wanted when I wanted and not have to feel bad about it.

Am I a Vegan? No, but I’m trying to be a more compassionate consumer. I used to have bacon every week. Now it’s once a month or less. I used to eat eggs and chicken several times a week. Now I eat eggs maybe once a month and chicken once a week. I’ve almost completely stopped eating red meat. I’m also in the process of working on dairy. The thing is, you have to be able to live with your conscience and find what works for you. At the same time, I understand that not everyone shares my view. I’m not out to convert or guilt trip anyone. But I do wish that more people would take a long, hard look at how their actions possibly contribute to unnecessary suffering.

Image borrowed from Pinterest.com
Image borrowed from Pinterest.com

The video below IS safe for work. It doesn’t show the blood, or violence, in factory farming, but it does show us how we, as consumers, are manipulated into embracing willful ignorance. It’s a very thought-provoking 7 minutes. I hope you’ll watch it and let me know what you think. It’s okay to be upset or disturbed by what the presenter says. Believe me when I tell you that there are many, many other videos with far more upsetting and disturbing visuals/themes regarding factory farming. You can Google the phrase and see for yourself. Or not. Be warned: once you see it, you can’t “un-see” it. That’s how it works. It’s definitely “Food for thought”.

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fdragonkatet (Dragon’s Dreams) ~  Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Perfection and Creation

We have a saying in my family, “Nothing to it, but to do it.” It’s meant to be a motivator, a call to action, and can be applied in many different situations. When it comes to the craft of creating, however, sometimes that motivation of knowing that “it needs to be done, so get to it”, isn’t enough. Some of us want to wait for the perfect time or inspiration in order to begin. Others of us start, only to become frustrated with how our efforts are proceeding.

john cleese quoteIt can be hard to create (whether it’s visual arts like painting or photography, or writing poetry, or coming up with a few bars for a new song) if/when you wait for the perfect inspiration to hit you or if you keep revising something in the quest for the perfect color, the perfect frame, word or note, etc.

have-no-fear-of-perfection Salvador Dali

Perfection is an illusion, anyway. But there are a couple of different schools of thought when it comes to applying “perfection” to the creation of one’s art. Some people feel that seeking perfection can lead to trying harder and ending up with something as close as you can get to perfect.Vince Lombardi perfection

Others think that it can demoralize a person to the point of giving up (or not starting at all, which is worse).

perfection quote Margaret Atwood5154-if-you-look-for-perfection-youll-never-be-content Leo TolstoyBoth approaches have their merits, and while both points of view can lead to success, I think they take very different types of people to make them work. Some people work better under pressure than others. Some enjoy more of a challenge than others do.

Quotation-Oscar-Wilde-practice-perfectionWhich camp describes you? Does the search for perfection in your craft motivate you? Do you find that striving to reach your personal best leads to success in your creative endeavors? Or do you feel that all that pressure tends to backfire and leads to being paralyzed with inaction? Do revisions make you shudder? Do you “edit” as you go?

Regardless of which attitude toward “perfection” that you have, it’s important to realize that the true meaning of the word only belongs to the Divine. We may come close. In fact, finding peace and acceptance of ourselves as part of the Divine is necessary, realizing that we are perfect, exactly as we are. Can/Will you apply that same perspective to your art?

It may seem as if I am advocating the acceptance of ‘mediocrity’. I am not. By all means, aim for the moon, you may at least hit the stars! But also realize that everyone probably has a different idea of ‘perfection’, and, barring editors, publishers and the like, you have to be able to stop at a point in the creation and decide when it’s done, or when it’s “good enough”.

Quotation-Michelangelo-shadow-work-perfectionIn the end, the matter of whether our creation(s) have achieved “perfection” is completely up to us. Only the artist knows and can decide when something is done, and whether or not it’s done to the satisfaction of the creator. Remember: YOU, as the artist/creator are the only one you have to satisfy. Maybe in many cases, “good enough” IS perfect.  😉

Perfection-Quotes-Ring-the-bells-that-still-can-ring Leonard Cohen

* * * * * * * * *

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

The longest word in the dictionary…

It’s not “Floccinaucinihilipilification” (which is “the act or habit of estimating or describing something as worthless, or making something to be worthless by said means.” – Oxford English Dictionary).

Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com
Mary Poppins/Julie Andrews image borrowed from http://sergioleoneifr.blogspot.com

It’s also not “Supercalifraegilisticexpialidocious“, believe it or not (sorry, Mary Poppins).

Nope, the longest word in the dictionary is SMILES (because there’s a mile between the S’s)… 😀 Hahaha…ha?

Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com
Image Jim Carrey laughing from Tumblr.com

Last month, June 15th was listed as “Smile Power Day“. But I say, why can’t it be every day? A smile is one of those things that can change all kinds of things for the better! It can:

  • Add years to your life

  • Make you a happier person

  • Make someone else a happier person

  • It’s a mood change for the giver and the receiver

  • Improves relationships

  • In business, it sends a great customer service message

There is great power in a smile. It’s contagious, too. And it’s an evolutionary trait! Did you know that your smile can be a predictor of how long you will live? Or that every, single person is born smiling? I bet there are other things you didn’t know about smiling.

In this TED Talk video, Ron Gutman talks about “The Hidden Power of Smiling”. Laughter may be the best medicine, but it all starts with a smile. 😉

http://youtu.be/U9cGdRNMdQQ

So go out and smile today! Make a conscious effort to do it more today (and every day!). Spread the wealth and do something good for your health and those around you. I’ll venture to say you won’t regret it. 🙂

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Tropical thoughts

It’s summertime here in the South, and the weather puts one in mind of the tropics; the steamy humidity, warm summer sun combine to promise that you’ll need another shower as soon as you dare to step foot outside. Many years ago (2006), I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Big Island of Kona, Hawaii for a couple of weeks. You hear stories, of course, of the beauty, but nothing compares to the reality. It truly is a tropical paradise. The native people are very eco-conscious and generally helpful, friendly people. They have a deep respect for the Earth and their simple ways of life were incredibly appealing to me. It’s terribly expensive to live there, since the economy is tourist-driven, but if I ever had the money, this is where I would retire and happily spend the rest of my life.

I got to snorkel with Green Sea Turtles…

Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006
Swimming with sea turtles, Kona, HI, 2006

and see plenty of Yellow Tangs and Needle-nosed Knifefish (which floated right below the surface of the water in schools) — Both are types of reef fish.

Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006
Yellow Tangs and Butterfly Fish on the reef, Kona, HI, 2006

 

 

Needle-nosed Knife Fish
Needle-nosed Knife Fish

I also got to see some amazing waterfalls (although it was raining like a monsoon when I went to see them) This is Akaka Falls…

Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006
Akaka Falls, Kona, HI 2006

One of my favorite pictures from the trip is from Pololu Valley. You could see the mountains, the coast and the rainforest vegetation all in one shot…

Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006
Pololu Valley, Kona, HI, 2006

There were some wonderful examples of island art, from hammered tin gates…

Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali'i Drive
Fantastic Hammered Tin Gate on Ali’i Drive

to the carved, wooden Ki’i statues in various places all over the island. These statues are usually meant as guardians to protect and watch over certain sites. This one is from “Place of Refuge”…

One of the Ki'i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge
One of the Ki’i (Wooden guardians) At Place of Refuge

To my great delight, there were even dragons!

Between Two Dragons at the Hilton

And Buddha was there, too!

Buddha and Me

It was such an inspiring trip, I couldn’t help but write a poem to help me remember the experience. If you ever have the chance, I hope you will go! It was an enriching journey for the artistic spirit and the soul of anyone who appreciates nature. 🙂

~ Kona ~


 

Muted moonbeams drift through vaporous clouds,

While gecko songs mesh with the soft click of palms.

Awash in the gentle susurration of waves’ persuasion,

The island breezes encourage me to let go…relax.

No pressure here, no hustle and hurry,

No scamper and scurry,

On “island time”.

Simply hang loose and flow.

The scent of exotic, tropical orchids,

Mixed with the lush green of giant, verdant ferns.

The bright flicker of numerous birds in the brush,

Calls from long-forgotten conchs and steady drums…

All convince me that I,

Have finally found my way home,

To Eden.

~ C.L.R. ~ © 2006

((Someday, I’ll get back there and once more find that kind of peace and serenity.))

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

The Man Who Planted Trees

If you haven’t read or heard the tale, “The Man Who Planted Trees” by French author Jean Giono, it is a wonderful story about how one person can have a tremendous impact on the world! It’s also a story of how everything in nature, including man, is connected.

"The Man Who Planted Trees" by Jean Giono.  Image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons, fair use agreement.
“The Man Who Planted Trees” by Jean Giono. Image borrowed from Wikipedia Commons, fair use agreement.

It tells about how a single, reclusive shepherd manages to successfully re-forest a barren and desolate area in the foothills of the Alps. Elzéard Bouffier, the shepherd, dedicates the latter half of his life to re-planting acorns, beech nuts and other tree seeds, one by one, patiently walking the land where nothing would grow and no water flowed, and the people who lived there were a hard, bitter folk.

When I first heard the tale, I thought that it was based on a true story. I later discovered that it is not. However, there have been real life counterparts! There is a man in Assam, India, named Jadav Payeng, who single-handedly managed to plant a forest covering 1,360 acres. Abdul Karim is yet another man in India who used the same method of planting trees as the shepherd in the story, and over a period of 19 years, created an entire forest from nothing. Another man, Ma Yongshun, was a forestry worker in China who planted more than 50,000 trees in his lifetime!

Tree gif from dragonkatet/photobucket.com
Tree gif from dragonkatet/photobucket.com

If you haven’t read or heard the story, may I suggest that you pick up a copy from your local library, or even better, watch the short, animated film below. It is an uplifting story full of hope and reassurance that no matter who or where you are, you CAN make a difference as only a single entity! Best of all, your actions may inspire others and create a ripple effect of good. 🙂

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

Pressed Flower Power and Sunny Spinach Pie

It is SUCH a blessing to have a mother who is an artist! My mother recently hosted a workshop where we made flower presses and feasted on home-made goodies. I had never given much thought to the process of dried and pressed flowers before, but I learned quite a bit! Did you know that back in Victorian times, pressed flowers were considered one of the “acceptable” past-times for women? They would trade them, make “Old Maid” cards with them, use them to decorate serving trays by putting them on the bottom of the tray and then placing a piece of glass over them to keep them in place and protect them! You can do the same kind of thing today, of course, or they can be used for bookmarks, hand-crafted greeting cards, even decoupage gift boxes. There are scads of good ways to use these free gifts of nature. 🙂

Bought Flower PressMy mom got the idea after buying some blotter paper on sale and seeing the different types of flower presses available out there in the world. She got a couple off of e-bay and decided that they were really simple to make, so she cut up some scrap wood she had in the garage, and bought some hardware and invited us all to come learn about the process.

Materials for Flower Press

She made it easy for us by providing all of the materials. Each press has two pieces of wood for a top and bottom, four long bolts with washers on each side and four wing-nuts, and then as many pieces of blotter paper and cardboard between as you can fit into the press.

Finished PressPress Close-Up

There were several of us who attended, and we each got busy sanding the edges off our own presses. We had to use wood rasps/files to get the big splinters and rough pieces off, and then we graduated to sand paper. Each top and bottom had holes (pre-drilled, thanks to Mom) in all four corners to line up for the bolts and wing-nuts.

Cutting PatternsAfter that, it was cutting out the cardboard patterns to go between the blotter papers (which had already been graciously cut and provided). You can use any paper (even regular copy paper) as your blotters but we suspect that the acid content may have something to do with preserving the original colors of the flowers.

Pressed HybiscusPressed Nellie Moser Clematis

The next step is to place your flowers between two blotters and stack them as you get more of them, so that eventually, your press is full of flowers! You then have to be patient and leave it alone for about 6 months, so that the flowers have a chance to fully dry and stay stationary. (This part will be the hardest part for me, as I am not known for my patience and I know I’ll want to keep checking on them). This is what my finished press looked like. I may paint it on the top and bottom, and I glued down the washers at the corners to keep them from sliding around when I added more flowers.

Pressed Jackmani Clematis

It’s important to get the flowers early in the day, after the dew is off of them, but before the sun has had a chance to wilt them. Moisture is bad, because it can cause your pressed flowers to mold. The thicker the flower, usually the longer it will take for it to dry, but don’t be afraid to try them all! You never know!

As for the “Sunny Spinach Pie”, I got the recipe from here and it looked so lovely that I decided to try and make it. I thought it would be the perfect dish to bring to our get-together. I ended up making two. The first one was what my boyfriend delicately called a “Pinterest Fail” (I’ll leave it to you to Google that phrase). It didn’t look very good but it tasted fine. The second one, however, came out a lot better. It was a success at the workshop, too. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Sunny Spinach PieWorkshops like this are a good chance to get together with other creative individuals, share the ‘creative energy’, good times, and learn something new at the same time. If you have a passion for a certain type of creative project, why not consider making it into a workshop and inviting others to participate? 🙂

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

May 28th is Amnesty International Day

If you’re reading this right now, chances are good that you have heard the phrase, “First-World Problem”. I find myself thinking this phrase more than I would like, but I count myself damned lucky that I’m even aware of what it means.

When you live in a country as rich as America, it’s easy to take things for granted and forget that so many other places in the world lack basic, human rights. When you read the words “human rights” what comes to mind? Food? Shelter? Clean water? Freedom? Living life without fear for one’s safety? It can be difficult to empathize with those who do not have these things, if you, yourself, have always had them.

May 28th is “Amnesty International Day” and it’s a chance for you to help those in other places throughout the world who are being starved, tortured, oppressed, or who may have no shelter, no access to clean water, no one to speak up for them, and worst of all, no hope.

Image borrowed from amnesty.org
Image borrowed from amnesty.org

“Amnesty International Day recognizes the need to protect human rights around the world. The Amnesty International organization strives to accomplish these goals by providing awareness and recognition of the issues. They work to publicize local and regional problems, and to arouse citizens, governments and politicians to action.

Celebrate Amnesty International Day by:

  • Learning more about human rights issues

  • Becoming active in human rights causes

  • Writing your politician on human rights issues

  • Making a donation” ~ Source

This post isn’t meant to guilt trip you into donating anything, be it time, money or effort. It’s not a late-night infomercial showing you pitiful images of children who are little more than walking skeletons due to malnourishment. (As a side note: isn’t it telling that such infomercials are not on prime time television where so many more people would/could see them, but instead they are in late night spots where they won’t get the attention they need? Why do you suppose that is?)

Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org
Amnesty International logo from Amnesty.org

I simply would like you to take a moment to think about what human rights you cherish the most and then find a way to help bring that right to a complete stranger. There are, unfortunately, countless human rights violations happening all over the globe. On the bright side, that means that there are countless opportunities to help. You can sign petitions, write letters, make phone calls, get involved in your local community. Or you can join movements like Amnesty International, and while the day is “Amnesty International Day”, nothing says you can’t join other worthwhile organizations who also strive to speak up for human rights. In fact, here is a quite comprehensive list of Human Rights Organizations, all in one place.

“Many organizations around the world dedicate their efforts to protecting human rights and ending human rights abuses. Major human rights organizations maintain extensive websites documenting violations and calling for remedial action, both at a governmental and grass-roots level. Public support and condemnation of abuses is important to their success, as human rights organizations are most effective when their calls for reform are backed by strong public advocacy.” ~ http://www.humanrights.com

Remember this:

“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep … you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace … you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.

If you woke up this morning with more health than illness … you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation… you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can attend a church or synagogue meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death … you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If your parents are still alive and still married … you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful … you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder … you are blessed because you can offer a healing touch.

If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.

Image from http://dailywordsofencouragement.com
Image from http://dailywordsofencouragement.com

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Planet MoM ~

"Planet MoM" © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014
“Planet MoM” © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014

M is for the multitudes She nurtures.
O is for the only world we have.
T is terrestrial preservation – Hers.
H is for the home we have to save!
E is ecosystems, all connected.
R is for respect that She is due.

E is for environments, protected.
A is for awakened points of view.
R is for the rescue of our parent.
T is teaching all to love Her, too.
H is the Heaven or Hell they will inherit.

For all She gives us, it’s the least that we can do.

 

~ © Corina L. Ravenscraft 2014 ~

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

A Day of Renewal

April showers bring May flowers, and I’m so glad! 🙂 The rains wash away the dirt and dust, and the new plants and flowers burst forth with a clean, green scent and gorgeous palette of colors!

Chicago Peace Rose from my yard
Chicago Peace Rose from my yard

Spring is a well-known time for renewal, and I recently discovered that May 4th has been designated as “Renewal Day”. Webster’s defines the word “Renewal” as:

re·new·al

noun \ri-ˈnü-əl, –ˈnyü-\

: the act of extending the period of time when something is effective or valid : the act of renewing something.

: the state of being made new, fresh, or strong again : the state of being renewed.

This can apply to countless things in life, but it is definitely life-affirming. It’s an active process, not something that just passively happens. When you think of the word “renewal”, what comes to mind? Your driver’s license? Your wedding vows? The Oil of Olay skin care product? What about renewing yourself?

The author of the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, Stephen Covey, says of balanced self-renewal: “Renewal is the principle–and the process-that empowers us to move on an upward spiral of growth and change, of continuous improvement.”

Image borrowed from http://www.holistic-mindbody-healing.com
Image borrowed from http://www.holistic-mindbody-healing.com

Three of the most important aspects of life that need renewing from time to time are related to self: body, mind and spirit. Like so many truths about life, there needs to be a balance of all three. Too often, we become conditioned to the routine of every day survival and forget that sense of wonder and passion we once held for life. People talk about finding your “inner child” again, and while that’s a good start, I mean the capacity to actually enjoy the life we’re given, each and every, single day. Because each day is a new chance to start over. We can renew ourselves every day!

It’s so easy to become inattentive. We neglect our bodies because we simply don’t have the time to exercise, eat right, etc., or we don’t pay attention to what we allow to enter our minds because we’re so tired that it’s just easier to veg-out. The spirit often suffers even more, unless it’s somehow made a regular part of every-day life.

  • When was the last time you felt completely at ease with and positive about your body?
  • When was the last time you were truly amazed by something or someone out in the world, or learned something new that fascinated you?
  • How about the last time that you honestly felt connected with the planet, the universe, the Divine?
Image borrowed from http://www.namaste.tv/blogs/blog/7619089-the-active-process-of-renewal.jpg
Image borrowed from http://www.namaste.tv/blogs/blog/7619089-the-active-process-of-renewal.jpg

All three (body, mind, spirit) are intricately joined, and balance between them is important. It can be hard to find the energy sometimes, to look for the things which replenish and renew us, but it’s necessary. If you’re not getting at least a little joy, happiness or even satisfaction out of life, then you’re not living, you’re existing. There’s a huge difference between the two.

So what is it that renews your body, mind and spirit? It’s different for each individual, of course, but a good place to start is to find something that evokes a positive feeling or emotion. What’s something that fuels your passion? What makes you smile? Sometimes it’s necessary to break out of your comfort zone, break out of your routine and try something new. Make a commitment to renewing yourself, even if it’s just part of you. You’ll be glad you did.

Energy and renewal

P.S. You don’t have to wait for an “official” designated “Day of Renewal” to do it. Every day you wake up is another chance to renew yourself. 😉

– Corina Ravenscraft

© 2014, essay and rose photograph, Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

A Poem In Your Pocket Day

Is that a poem in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me? 😉

Image borrowed from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net
Image borrowed from http://www.publicdomainpictures.net

All month, we have been celebrating International Poetry Month. Today, we’re celebrating Poem in Your Pocket Day here at The Bardo. This event truly is a neat way to introduce and share poetry with just about anyone. One of the best things about pocket-sized poems, is of course, that they’re portable! No matter where you are, if you have a pocket, you can share, too. This page even has pre-made, down-loadable ‘pocket-sized’ poems in .PDF formats, so all you have to do is download them and print! Or here is another template from Scholastic.com that you can use on which to put your own poem. How easy is THAT? 😀

Image borrowed from http://jimmie.squidoo.com/hspoetry
Image borrowed from http://jimmie.squidoo.com/hspoetry

Probably the hardest part of participating in this celebration is deciding what poem to share. If it’s too long, it might not fit on a smallish, pocket-sized piece of paper. (Although, you can always print it out and then fold it up). It should be a poem that means something to you, whether it’s one that you’ve written and want to share, or one by a favorite author. The point is to get out there and share what you love about poetry! I combined this day with a couple of the other ideas I suggested back at the beginning of the month, to post poetry in unexpected places and take a poem to lunch. I utilized Post-It notes for the first one (both because of their stick-to-it-ness properties and because they could fit in lots of unusual places). I even recruited some friends to help me place the poems all around campus. I decided to use Haikus, because they are short and easy to write on Post-Its, and I don’t think they (Haikus) are properly appreciated these days. 🙂 Post-It Haikus As you can see, I printed the haikus with the authors’ names on them and taped a small note to the bottom which said, “Celebrate National Poetry Month all April!” I chose orange because it’s a high-contrast, noticeable color. I only actually witnessed the result of one of the poems I had placed…on the inside door of a restroom stall where I work…(captive audience and all that…hahaha). The young woman came out of the restroom holding the post-it in her hand with a big smile on her face. One of my friends posted one on the inside of the elevator door, so that you didn’t see it until the doors closed and you were in the elevator on the way to your floor. “Unexpected places”, indeed. When I “took a poem to lunch” I invited my mother to go to lunch and asked her to bring a poem, too. I chose Emily Brontë’s poem, “No coward soul is mine” (which had to be folded up to fit into my pocket, by the way) and my mother brought “If” by Rudyard Kipling. It was a wonderful addition to our delicious lunch. In fact, we enjoyed it so well that I think we may even do it next month, too. 😉 Have fun today sharing the poems in YOUR pockets. You never know, you may just inspire someone else to do the same! And please join us by sharing your poem with all of us here, in the online world, by using Mister Linky. © 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft All rights reserved

PLEASE USE MISTER LINKY BELOW TO CONNECT

THE URL TO A POEM OF YOURS YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE

OR TO ANY POEM THAT YOU FIND ESPECIALLY MEANINGFUL

YOU MAY ALSO POP A FAVORITE POEM INTO THE COMMENT SECTION FOR THIS POST

IF YOU’D PREFER. Thank you! 

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

April is Poetry Month!

Since 1996 in the United States and 1998 in Canada, April has been deemed by poets, librarians, booksellers and teachers as the best month to celebrate poetry, as it has been recorded as the time of year when it can garner the most participation. Although the celebration of poetry in April started as national events in US and Canada, the Bardo Group is celebrating the month as International Poetry Month, since we are a multi-country, multicultural collaborative. Here is some history on how and why poetry month started and some ideas for ways in which you might celebrate with your friends and family.

image borrowed from http://thelivepoetsociety.wordpress.com
image borrowed from http://thelivepoetsociety.wordpress.com

It was started by the Academy of American Poets as “an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.”Source HERE is a great page and resource for what it’s all about. You can even receive daily poems by e-mail, if you like! THIS page has a list of thirty ways to celebrate. My three favorites among these suggestions are: * Put poetry in an unexpected place. I love this idea because the surprise element adds something extra – the very fact of it being unexpected may make more of an impact upon the person who sees/reads the poem, and perhaps will leave more of a lasting impression. 🙂 I’m already scouting out unexpected places to leave a poem or two! Post-it * Play the Exquisite Corpse game. (Rules can be found here) Simply put, it’s a game where the participants agree beforehand on what sentence structure to use, then provide one word and pass it along to the next person who has no idea what the word before is…and then that person passes along their word, and so on. It could be just a simple line of poetry or an entire poem, depending on how many people participate and/or how many times each person submits a word. What a fantastic idea to get people to have fun and collaborate, creating a unique poem in the process. I need to find some people willing to play, and if it turns out to be a success, I’ll post the results. 😀

Image borrowed from http://diaryofasmartchick.com
Image borrowed from http://diaryofasmartchick.com

* Take a poem out to lunch. My “lunch-time” normally falls between 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. because I work the night shift, so I don’t often have company with me. However, this is the perfect excuse to take someone to lunch with me on one of my days off and bring a poem! Maybe the person I take can bring one, too, for twice the enjoyment and twice the discussion. 🙂

Image borrowed from http://blogs.thenews.com.pk
Image borrowed from http://blogs.thenews.com.pk

However you decide to celebrate, I hope you DO decide to at least read or write one new poem and help spread the appreciation to others. One of my favorite ways to enjoy poetry is by searching and finding the perfect picture for a poetic verse or quote. It can be a lot more challenging than you might think, and the image/poetry combination is often times far more striking and memorable to the reader/viewer than a simple line of type. Of course, always be sure to give proper credit for both picture and poem.

Though on The Bardo Group blog we won’t exclusively post poems everyday this month, we’ll certainly celebrate with many poems and poets from different times and many places. Along with the Academy of American Poets, we’ll celebrate A Poem in Your Pocket on Thursday, April 24, when everyone is invited to share a poem here and/or a piece about a favorite poet no matter the poet’s time or place. Mister Linky will go up and you can link in your own work or share a URL to work you admire. Or, if you prefer, you can share a poem or comment on a poet in the comment section of that day’s post. Mister Linky will open at 12:01 a.m. on the 24th. We look forward to seeing what you have to share then.

Image borrowed from http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com
Image borrowed from http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com

In closing, here are a few of my favorite quotes about poetry from some of my favorite poets. How about you? Any celebration ideas? Favorite poems or poets to share?

“Poetry is a deal of joy and pain and wonder, with a dash of the dictionary.”Khalil Gibran

“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”Robert Frost

“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” Carl Sandburg

“Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” T.S. Eliot

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Purple Crocus ~

(( I think we’re all more than ready for Spring, with the Polar Vortex and the frozen hell that has swept across so much of the country this winter. One of the first signs of Spring for me, that I look forward to every year, are the Crocuses. Side note: wonder why the plural of Crocus isn’t Crocusi? 😉 In any case, this is a poem I wrote many years ago upon seeing the first Crocus of the season. I really needed to see something wonderful that particular day, and Mother Nature didn’t disappoint.))

Image borrowed from naturewallpapers.org

A little, purple crocus,
Was the first sign of Spring, for me.
It poked its head up through the ground
And waited for me to see.
It knew purple was my favorite color,
And just wanted me to know,
It was sweet, like me,
And gave me a smile
When I was feeling low.
Bright orange, fuzzy stamens
Cupped inside the velvet flower,
Whispered that all was not lost,
That I was alive another hour
So I’d better make the most of it
Before the sun had flown.
To think a little, purple flower,
Could remind me

Of this simple truth,
I’ve known.
~ C.L.R. ~ ©

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Seek Out the Four Leaf Clovers ~

(( March comes along and we’re usually reminded of St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish. In keeping with that theme, here’s a poem that might make you think of four-leafed clovers a little differently the next time you see one. 😉 ))

Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons
Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons

I looked for luck today,
thinking I could use some.
My eyes, scanning, seeking,
green leaves of three.
Whole patches of clover,
beneath my soft shadow.
The masses huddled together,
covering, sheltering one another,
in a close-knit bunch.
Always only three leaves;
thousands of trinities, triads and trios.

Then I thought about you,
and there it was!
Magically appearing, as if summoned
by the image in my mind;
the perfect four-leaf clover!
It wasn’t obvious, like I expected.
Four, round, papery-thin leaves,
a dark Spring Green.
With creamy triangles
touching at the center.
All balanced on a slender, delicate stem.
Hidden in the midst of the ordinary.

And it reminded me of people:
Most are of the three-leaf variety,
but some,
some special ones,
grow differently,
with four leaves.
And sometimes, you have to search really hard to find them,
among the clusters of the mundane.

Like the symbols I compare them to,
they may bring you luck.
If you find them, cherish them;
press them in your memory book,
return to them when you need their magic.
Because sometimes, we all need a little luck.
~ © C.L.R. ~

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

~ Soothsayer, You ~

((Shakespeare has had quite an influence on my life, from his poetry to his plays, to the point that not a March can come without me thinking of Caesar and the dreaded “Ides of March”. This came to me the other day as I was thinking about those Ides…I think all Muses must somehow be drawn to thoughts of The Bard…hahaha. Good, bad, I leave it up to the reader to decide. But the sentiment behind it is one I believe in 100%. Enjoy. 🙂 ))

Image borrowed from http://pkphotoshop.blogspot.com
Image borrowed from http://pkphotoshop.blogspot.com

Beware the Ides, and bitter tides of Life
That can catch you, drifting, unaware.
Beware whispered doubts and inner asides
That can make you feel
A restless need to compare.

“Energy flows where attention goes.”
I’ve heard it said, and choose to believe it.
You’re the only one who truly knows
What you want from life.
So go, my friend. Be bold, retrieve it.

Cast aside the toxic multitudes,
Stay clear of those who drag you down.
Beware of those with swiftly-shifting moods,
Like a riptide or current,
You can fall in, and drown.

Leave the negative Nellies to their nots.
Choose your path with purpose,
Sans rose-colored glasses.
Temper reality with positive thoughts;
Rise above the plastic, saccharine masses.

Know your strengths, believe in who you are.
Test limits, and accept that sometimes,
You’ll fail.
Self-confidence makes the journey less far,
Be your own soothsayer —
That’s how you’ll prevail.

~ © C.L.R. 2014 ~

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE hosted by Corina of “Dragon’s Dream”

Editor’s note: This evening we celebrate Valentine’s Day by demonstrating our love and concern for planet Earth. Directions for linking your post are at the bottom of this evening’s post.

TRASH

How many of you are aware of your carbon footprint?

HERE is a handy-dandy calculator for those of you who don’t know but would like to.

Bizarro comics "The Evolution of Trash" image borrowed from earthisland.org
Bizarro comics “The Evolution of Trash” image borrowed from earthisland.org

How many of you consciously try to make less of an impact on the amount of things you consume and the subsequent amount of trash you generate?

HERE is an easy sheet to fill out to get a general idea. Of course, it takes a bit of work to sort the things you throw out in one day.

Being aware of it is enough to give anyone pause in this day and age. The amount is staggering. Truly. Unfortunately, there is just no getting away from trash. Every person creates some, and those of us fortunate enough to live in non third-world countries (hell-bent on rampant consumerism) produce more of it than others. A LOT more of it. Recycling is great and I encourage anyone and everyone to do what you can! But it’s not enough; there is SO much more that needs to be done!

Do you know about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? How about the North Atlantic Garbage Patch? Well, guess what? These aren’t the only ones. There are FIVE of these “islands” between the U.S. and Japan! These are basically gigantic islands of plastic and man-made debris waste that have collected over the years from both land-based and sea-based human pollution. The one in the Pacific alone is estimated as twice the size of Texas with a mass of roughly 100 million tons. Think about that number for a minute: 100 million TONS. And it gets larger every year.

Captain Moore’s Description of the
North Pacific Garbage Patch:

“It was and is a thin plastic soup, a soup lightly seasoned with plastic flakes, bulked out here and there with ‘dumplings’: buoys, net clumps, floats, crates, and other macro debris.”
– A quote from the book,
Plastic Ocean, by Captain Charles Moore

“Remember, plastic doesn’t biodegrade, it only gets broken down into smaller and smaller bits of plastic, and if you’re in the Pacific it all ends up getting pushed into this massive floating garbage pile. ” – Planetgreen.discovery.com

Photograph from the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. Obviously, this happened when the turtle was young and it grew this way. 😦

Are you upset yet? Angry? Are you more aware now?

In June, I will be joining with the Ocean Conservancy to do my best to be “trash free” for 30 days. It won’t be easy and I probably won’t succeed 100%. But I’m going to try. I invite all of you to join with me and take the Trash-Free Challenge. 🙂

Here are some things you can start doing NOW to help keep your trash out of the ocean(s). For those of you already doing your part, THANK YOU!!! 😀 I believe in the power of 1+1 into infinity = anything is possible. Together, we can all make a difference. It’s the only planet we’ve got…there is no “Plan”-et B. It starts with you and me.

From Squidoo.com:

What Can Be Done?

Plastics are so integrated into so many people’s daily lives that this is clearly a global problem. Change needs to happen through awareness and education. Start with yourself. Evaluate your daily routine and assess exactly what you use plastic for, and more critically, what plastics are you throwing out every day? Systematically try to minimize the amount of plastic that you use and throw out. Here are some ideas to help.
  • Buy in bulk, and bring your own cloth or recycled grocery gags to the store.
  • Keep litter, leaves, and debris out of the street gutters and storm drains.
  • Stop drinking plastic bottled water! If you live in an area with safe tap water, drink it! Tap water in the United States is much more strictly regulated than bottled water. If you need bottled water, get a reusable bottle that can be refilled
  • Reuse whenever possible.
  • Choose products which have been packaged in recycled materials.
  • Buy local products whenever possible because this reduces the amount of fuel and plastic packaging used to ship materials to you.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Refuse!

From the Ocean Conservancy site:

Number 1 Reduce your carbon “finprint.” Our ocean is on the front lines of climate change — absorbing half the carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere. Use mass transit, carpool, and find other ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Number 2 Take only pictures. Choose vacation spots working to protect endangered sea animals. When snorkeling or diving, take pictures and tell stories but never stand on coral reefs or touch the marine life.
Number 3 Be a green boater. Protect the boating experience along with the ocean. A little spill makes a big difference; be especially careful with oil, gasoline, solvents, and sewage. Bring your trash back to shore. Join Ocean Conservancy’s green boating program Good Mate.
Number 4 Ask for sustainable seafood. Let chefs, wait-staff, and the folks behind your fish counter know that sustainable seafood is important to you.
Number 5 Sign up for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. Volunteers remove trash from beaches and shorelines, and data collected by these citizen-scientists help inform solutions that keep trash out of our ocean in the first place.
Number 6 Reduce. Since packaging materials account for much of the trash we generate, they provide a good opportunity for reducing waste. Consider items with less, reusable, or recyclable packaging.
Number 7 Reuse. More than 60 percent of the litter collected during the 2009 International Coastal Cleanup consisted of disposable items. Choose reusable shopping bags, coffee mugs, and food containers.
Number 8 Recycle. If you can’t reuse it, recycle it. Check online with your local government to see what you can and can’t give back, and recycle everything possible.
Number 9 Prevent contaminated runoff. No matter where you live, the ocean is downstream. Don’t use chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. On the driveway, avoid harmful cleaning products, and take proper care of spilled oil.
Number 10 Vote Blue. Urge your elected representatives to support ocean-friendly policies that protect our ocean. Stay informed through e-alerts from Ocean Conservancy and share your passion at facebook.com/oceanconservancy and twitter.com/OurOcean

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

BLOGGERS IN PLANET LOVE

JOIN US!

We invite you to join your voices with Corina and the other members of The Bardo Group by linking one of your own post’s on nature and its beauties, environmental protection, animal welfare (which is Earth welfare too), global warming and so on. The work can be anything essay, video, music video, poem, photography, photo essay, art or craft. At the bottom of this post you will find Mister Linky. Click on it to paste in the url to your post. It does not have to be a new or recent post, just one that is in the spirit of this event. Jamie will visit and comment and we hope that you will all visit one another to comment and support and connect. Thank you!

National Shut-In Visitation Day

February is such a long, dreary month, don’t you think? It has grey skies and brown landscapes, cold and wet outside, seemingly endless. Many folks are getting “Spring Fever” already, so tired of being cooped up inside with nothing to do.

Image borrowed from http://www.aclutteredmind.org/the-blogging-blahs/
Image borrowed from http://www.aclutteredmind.org/the-blogging-blahs/

I was looking for a way to make a post for February that didn’t have anything to do with Valentine’s Day. It seems like when the middle of January hits, it becomes the Hallmark season for hearts and candy and flowers, etc. I have nothing against Love, per se, I just wish it weren’t so commercialized, is all.

Image borrowed from http://www.treehugger.com/culture/be-my-anti-valentine.html
Image borrowed from http://www.treehugger.com/culture/be-my-anti-valentine.html

Anyway, I did some digging, and I discovered that there is a holiday in February that probably not many people know about: February 11th is “National Shut-In Visitation Day”. 🙂 I rather like that, because it shows the true spirit of “love” when people can take the time out of their busy lives to spend an hour or two with someone who never or hardly ever gets to go outside and enjoy so many of the things that a lot of us take for granted.

Image borrowed from http://weighing-success.blogspot.com/2013/02/february-11-national-shut-in-visitation.html
Image borrowed from http://weighing-success.blogspot.com/2013/02/february-11-national-shut-in-visitation.html

What if you couldn’t just go outside and take a walk when you wanted? Or what if you couldn’t just jump in your car and drive to the store when you needed? For thousands of people, this is the case. They may be bound to a wheel-chair. They may be in a nursing home or place where they are not allowed to just “get up and go”. They may be elderly, or sick, or blind, too young, too old, or a hundred other things that make them a “shut-in”.

The true spirit of LOVE, in my mind, is the one that connects ALL of us. It’s the one that reaches out with compassion to say, “I’m here. I care.” Even when…no, make that especially when…it’s to a stranger. So perhaps if you have an hour or so to spare, you could visit a nursing home, a children’s hospital, or someone you may even know personally who isn’t able to get out and enjoy life the way you do. Your visit might very well be the only bright spot in their day! 🙂 Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bring some happiness and cheer, some sunshine to someone who would really appreciate it? I guarantee you that if you do, you will BOTH be much better for it!

And maybe next year when February rolls around again, you’ll remember how nice it was to celebrate “National Shut-In Visitation Day”. Or heck, who says you have to wait until February? 😉

© 2014, essay, Corina Ravenscraft, illustration, Ursula Vernon All rights reserved

Editor’s note: This was supposed to post on February 11, which is National Shut-in Visitation Day. We apologize for the delay. It was the editor’s bad, not the writer’s.  

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

A few bits of Soul Sustenance – A story, a quote and a poem

One of the things I like about parables or fables is that they have seeds of truth and wisdom condensed into “bite-sized” amounts of reading. I enjoy looking for new ones which I haven’t read and sometimes come across old favorites. For those of you seeking “Truth” (and all that the word with a capital “T” entails) I offer the following story:

The seeker of truth

“After years of searching, the seeker was told to go to a cave, in which he would find a well. ‘Ask the well what is truth’, he was advised, ‘and the well will reveal it to you’. Having found the well, the seeker asked that most fundamental question. And from the depths came the answer, ‘Go to the village crossroad: there you shall find what you are seeking’.

Full of hope and anticipation the man ran to the crossroad to find only three rather uninteresting shops. One shop was selling pieces of metal, another sold wood, and thin wires were for sale in the third. Nothing and no one there seemed to have much to do with the revelation of truth.

Disappointed, the seeker returned to the well to demand an explanation, but he was told only, ‘You will understand in the future.’ When the man protested, all he got in return were the echoes of his own shouts. Indignant for having been made a fool of – or so he thought at the time – the seeker continued his wanderings in search of truth. As years went by, the memory of his experience at the well gradually faded until one night, while he was walking in the moonlight, the sound of sitar music caught his attention. It was wonderful music and it was played with great mastery and inspiration.

Profoundly moved, the truth seeker felt drawn towards the player. He looked at the fingers dancing over the strings. He became aware of the sitar itself. And then suddenly he exploded in a cry of joyous recognition: the sitar was made out of wires and pieces of metal and wood just like those he had once seen in the three stores and had thought it to be without any particular significance.

At last he understood the message of the well: we have already been given everything we need: our task is to assemble and use it in the appropriate way. Nothing is meaningful so long as we perceive only separate fragments. But as soon as the fragments come together into a synthesis, a new entity emerges, whose nature we could not have foreseen by considering the fragments alone.” ~ Author Unknown Source

For those of you unfamiliar with the wonderful sounds of a Sitar (the instrument mentioned in the story above), I offer the following beautiful example from one of the greatest players of our time, Ravi Shankar:

In addition to truth, one also needs moments of stillness and meditation to keep balance in life. The photo below is mine, but the quote is Lao Tzu’s:

Be stillAnd lastly, a poem written a while ago about something I rarely get to witness, since I’m a night-owl by nature:

~ Sunrise Sighs ~

Today, for the first time in a small while, I was awake to witness a fresh sunrise.

The purpled-pink fingers crept up like a smile,

gently waking the crisp air of still-sleepy skies.

Vaporous flames of bright orange hues, licking the velvet of dew-kissed dawn,

Sleep promised me a solid, deep, dreamless snooze,

But rapt in my awe, I stayed awake and gazed on.

I love the quiet, hushed hours of Night; they keep me content in a solitary peace,

But the rare, glimpsed glory of Morning’s soft light

Makes me ache with a sweetness that begs for release.

~ C.L.R. ~ ©

effecd1bf289d498b5944e37d8f4ee6fAbout dragonkatet Regarding the blog name, Dragon’s Dreams ~ The name comes from my love-affairs with both Dragons and Dreams (capital Ds). It’s another extension of who I am, a facet for expression; a place and way to reach other like-minded, creative individuals. I post a lot of poetry and images that fascinate or move me, because that’s my favorite way to view the world. I post about things important to me and the world in which we live, try to champion extra important political, societal and environmental issues, etc. Sometimes I wax philosophical, because it’s also a place where I always seem to learn about myself, too, by interacting with some of the brightest minds, souls and hearts out there. It’s all about ‘connection(s)’ and I don’t mean “net-working” with people for personal gain, but rather, the expansion of the 4 L’s: Light, Love, Laughter, Learning.

The Power of Collective Creativity

As creative individuals, it’s rewarding when we can use our skills to make something that “speaks” to others. Whether it’s the written word, the visual arts, music or performance arts, “The Arts” have always been a way to make powerful statements about politics, religion, war, the environment. It’s a way to make your own opinion known about these and other things that usually embody a very personal, individual set of beliefs or values. It has been said that any “successful” piece of art is one that evokes an emotional response (be it good or bad).

image borrowed from http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development

image borrowed from http://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development

Throughout history, there are scads of examples of “The Arts” changing the world in some way. I’m not just talking about changing the “Art World”, though there are plenty of examples of that, too. But consider things like cave paintings. Once discovered, they completely changed the way that modern mankind viewed our cave-dwelling ancestors! Or how about Shakespeare and his influence of adding around 1700 words to the English language, or his play “Othello” which brought the idea of inter-racial love to the forefront of peoples’ minds?

image borrowed from http://www.durbeckarchive.com/plays.htm

image borrowed from http://www.durbeckarchive.com/plays.htm

The song “Imagine” by John Lennon became something of a “global” anthem for peace, because anyone, anywhere could relate to the desire of human beings for peace instead of war. The photograph of the young, naked Vietnamese girl running away from a napalm attack in the 1970′s shocked enough people to significantly swell the anti-Vietnam movement here in America.

image borrowed from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/vietnam/7735854/Vietnam-War-girl-in-the-picture-reunited-with-journalist-who-saved-her-life.html

image borrowed from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/vietnam/7735854/Vietnam-War-girl-in-the-picture-reunited-with-journalist-who-saved-her-life.html

I’m sure you can think of numerous examples, but the point is that Art has POWER.

Now take that creative energy and then multiply it, with many artists working for the same cause…and the possibilities are astounding! I’d like to share a video I recently watched from here regarding the POWER of a “Collective Creative Conscience”. It gave me hope and inspiration that we CAN (and DO) change the world in better ways than we ever thought possible! Enjoy! :)



Corina L. Ravenscraft

© 2013, essay and portrait (below), Corina Ravenscraft, All rights reserved

Corina-1CORINA L. RAVENSCRAFT (Dragon’s Dreams) ~ is an old friend of The Bardo Group and a new member of the Core Team. She is a poet and writer, artist and librarian who has been charming us through her blog since 2000, longer than any blogger in our little blogging community.  In the her engaging “about” on her blog HERE, Corina says, “I’m not a materialistic person, because I’ve learned that it’s not the “things” in life which really count, but the people you connect with, whose lives you touch or who touch yours. I don’t take anyone or anything for granted because I know from experience that it can all disappear in the blink of a cosmic eye.  People and animals are so much more important (and interesting!) to me than any kind of material possessions.”