Tag Archives: writing

Postcard from the Woods ~ Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice – the coming of the Light and Retreat of the Dark ~ in the Northern Hemisphere. The day was bright and sunny, cold, with snow still on the ground. I have been preparing for this for months – storing some of the best firewood carefully to keep it dry. Preparations – cleansing, cleaning, clearing, and moving some snow. Once again, I had a ceremony here in the woods and it was fabulous, moving, touching, sacred, cleansing, funny, shared with friends in person and others in spirit. All day the fire burned brightly in the sacred space where regrets, mistakes, the dark stuff, are written down and burned in the fire. Forgiveness, gratitude, hopes, dreams, intentions expressed in all directions to people, friends, the universe, and of course, God, for blessings (even those in disguise), miracles, love…. written down, placed in the fire and carried into the universe by gentle breezes.
I hope at some point in the yesterday of Winter Solstice, you too, were able to take time to honor and acknowledge the passage of the seasons, the year, the return of light and retreat of the dark, your growth and expansion ~ and the people in your life who teach, guide, love and share. My lists were long and if you are reading this, you were on my list – of blessings in my life. ♥

This is where the fire burned – the contrast of light and dark before the fire was built and lit…

Ring of Fire - Before


Last year’s total lunar eclipse of the full moon on Winter Solstice was amazing – see When the Universe Aligns. This year, the Universe aligned perfectly once again.
Namaste ~ StarBear

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Thank You !

Spiritual Harvest


Yesterday’s Post was #100 on this blog. That seemed significant, a nice round number. So Thank YOU, reader, friend, for visiting, encouraging, commenting. While making the commitment to postaday2011, I was not fully cognizant of how slow my posting goes. I include images whenever possible, and love sharing beauty. I seem unable to post just to post, yet showing up is part of the game… especially in life!
Some wonderful people keep encouraging focus on just one thing – stoneworks, photography, or writing. For me, they are interconnected, inseparable. Combining visual art with writing is my “thing.” I am grateful for being me and the energy life gives me. What is my focus? To continue to share beauty, it is everywhere and always available, in nature, in people, in the universe. That may take the form of images, constructions, nature, words or in combination.
So for today, I am simply grateful for where I live, each breath I breathe, and the life I get to live and share, with friends and strangers alike. Thank you for being you, being who you are, doing what you do.
Another commitment has called, taking priority – completing artwork and other projects. My postaday2011 commitment has not been reached, and yet it is so useful to discover how commitment works.
At times I have commented that when I am fully committed to something, I may just have to be committed in an institution somewhere… LOL!
While I may not post every day, I am here, working, reading others blogs, slowly. Play time is also essential, and getting to the beach… which is playtime, worktime combined.
An earlier post says part of it, and now YOU are a part of the Basket of Abundance .
I am renaming it “Basket of Abundance & Gratitude” just for you – You are all part of the abundance, variety, diversity, life on this planet!
Thank you for being in the basket!

May your day be filled with beauty and love, and if you cannot find it, just look in the mirror and smile!

Megwitch and Namaste ~ Star Bear

Celebrating 6 Months of Postaday2011

June 30, 2011 – the last day of June, the mid-point of this year. To all the postaday2011 bloggers, this is halfway! Congratulations!

You are doing it – blogging daily, sometimes, often.

Inook Sook - Cairn - Marking the Day! Celebrate!

Today’s image – Inook Sook I built on Lake Superior – pronounced Inook-Shook in Ojibwe. Inooksooks are used as markers – way markers, reference points, trail markers, directional markers, or to identify and share places and events of special meaning. The spelling I use is from an Ojibwe elder.

(According to Wikipedia it’s mostly an arctic tradition, yet my Native American friends tell me they have been built here for eons.)

In English – It’s a Cairn – Wikipedia has interesting info.  So, Congratulations, fellow postaday2011, postaweek2011, or weekly photo challenge participants. Celebrate your success. You are still here, writing profoundly or not, writing humor, laughing, or whatever floats your boat or rocks you.

I started the postaday 2011 challenge late – I didn’t find out about it until January 8th. I was home from work, sick, and when I made the commitment, I didn’t realize that it was because I was home sick that I had time to sit and write and edit photos everyday. My first “offcial” post a day 2011 post started with: “What may be mundane to some, becomes important to others…” I atill have no idea what is important to others…

I have succeeded in part, yet not posting every day. Out of a possible 180 opportunities (days) I have posted 50 posts including this one. Graded by a teacher on percentages, I would flunk! Another failure! The former over-achieving perfectionist in me says “YES!”

 Seen another way, I have succeeded. I have been writing everyday, not always posting. I have learned to recycle images and writing. I am taking more photographs less often. I have learned that “likes” bump your blog up in the search engines. I have learned that maybe not that many people care about  what I have to say. I have learned that maybe my writing sucks? I have also learned that some people LOVE my photographs and what I say about them. Others like my poems. I have read some great blogs and some that are meant for someone else to read. I started with some blog buddies.  Now, I follow some interesting blogs including:  

 bwinbwinmusic

 Life in the Bogs 

 Inside & Out – Marge Mercurio     

I drop-in on some friends to see what they are up to. One friend is homeless in California and only gets to blog once in a while from the library…. And she is one of the most upbeat people I know! Her blog, Birthing your Creative Fire is about what it is like being homeless.

One friend is creating a butterfly a day at My Butterfly Year –  and another  is teaching people about bullying and how to generate kindness instead: Hearts that Care.

 Many of my friends are very creative… and I prefer joyous, thoughtful, informative, enlightening, educational.. I also found out that it takes a lot of computer time to really read stuff. Maybe I am slow? My computer is slow… I still have not figured out how to get the blogs I like into the side bar and don’t know if it’s the theme I use or my own impatience.

My own life in the past 6 months has been a roller coaster – about which I choose not to write, except occasionally. In brief: My phone has been turned off – and back on, a couple of times. My internet has been turned off – and back on, a couple of times. My electricity – same story. In March, my computer died and was resurrected, thanks to a European friend who ordered the part on e-bay and had it shipped to me. In April I changed jobs. In May, I hit a deer with my truck and smashed them both up.  Good things: I was unhurt and I have great insurance! For the month of May, when gas prices soared, I got to drive a rental car that got great mileage- a miracle, since I drive 60 miles round trip to work. I lost an old friend, and made many new ones. I have listened to and read umpty-seven online classes and seminars on how to use the internet for marketing, how to improve my writing, how to be braver, how to find the love of my life, how to love the love of my life, how to get rid of the feelings I have for the love of my life,  how to parent better, how to love better, how to make more money, how to save money,  how to focus more, how to focus less, how write more, how take better pictures, how to say what I want, how to ask, how to give, how to receive, how to eat, how to pray… and how to blog.

For today I will simply celebrate and mark this day as halfway to somewhere and looking forward to the ongoing journey of sharing and learning. Is it art? Poetry? Photography? Sharing? Giving? Have a wonderful postaday2011.

Celebrate your successes. I am. I’m still here – blogging sparkling, laughing. 

Namaste ~ Starbear

A Little Story…

The Understory

An editor once told me “Everyone has a story.” The woods have many stories and understories. This is one… It is about the simple beauty of the early summer understory and a delight filled traffic jam in the woods.

Under Story Speaks

Under Story Speaks

On a recent trip to the beach studio, I was waylaid for over an hour. The path goes from the top of a ridge, down a steep side trail through hardwoods. At the bottom of this path is a tranquil space of transition where the deep woods understory fades into sand, beach grass, ferns, and a plethora of tiny growth. Then the path goes through some more brush and sand. Animal and sometimes human tracks become visible in this stretch. Once through this twisty path, the world opens to sand, sky, beach grass and a sprinkling of twisted low pines. Then there are two dunes to climb and descend before reaching the beach and the expanse of Lake Superior. In all, the trek is about a three-quarters of a mile and usually takes about 15 minutes. Sometimes it takes longer, depending on the amount of equipment being backpacked… or a traffic jam.

On this particular day, there was a total traffic jam in the understory at the edge of the woods. More than an hour “stuck” going… nowhere? The wild orchids, starflowers, fuzzy ferns, and other tiny blooms were so abundant it was difficult to move ahead. Each careful step brought a new bloom into view. The late daylight was at a perfect angle, the wildflowers, the whole woods, inviting me to stop and play…. And then they began to speak with such joy, wisdom and kindness. When the woods speak, I listen.

This is their story in their words, as told to Sparkling Star Bear:

“Look at us! We won’t be here long! Look at me!” the Tiny Purples shouted in their brilliance.

Tiny Purples

Tiny Purples

“And look at me, too!” Starflower called quietly. “See how slender and graceful my leaves are…” it said shyly, ” and I have tiny yellow dots on my petals.”

Delicate Star said ".. and I have tiny yellow dots on my petals, too."

The neighbors proclaimed boldly, “We have 4 fat white petals and 7 broad dark leaves! We are neighbors of the star… not as showy as the purples, yet we accent them in contrast. We offset their brilliance in our numbers… We are the chorus to their solos! As backdrop in this play ground… we are important, too! When we get older we will have bright red berries!”

The Neighbors - A Chorus of White and Green

“I am Fuzzy Fern unfurling, and I will be deep green and large in a week. Don’t fiddle around! I will soon cover those tiny wild things with my shade…”  Said Sir Fern, giggling and nodding in the breeze.

Sir Fuzzy Fern Unfur;ing, fiddling around....

Then all the greens began to clamor… “Over here, look over here, please! I am bright, I am light, I am yellow green!” the chorus chanted.

“I am deep green” said a full voice firmly, echoing richly between the trees. Then it added, “I am leaves, I am needles. I am growing and changing. I am dark, I am light. I am living and dying,  I am old, I am young, all at the same time.”

The patient pines gracefully waved their fresh fingers of growth. “Touch me, I’m so soft,” one whispered, beckoning it’s out stretched hand. “Take my hand, smell my perfume if you wish..”

"Touch me..." Soft fingers invited

“Oh! You are so soft and so is your color…” I said as I reached out to gently respond to the invitation. “Your smell is so fresh! So green! So clean and crisp! Thank You!”

Pale Moss piped in. “I am pale blue green.  Aren’t I pretty? I am soft, too,  and although I look delicate, I am tough and resilient. You may lie on me, rely on me, to meet the tiny purples, if you want…”

“Thank you, I accept youroffer.”  Pale Moss then softly cradled me as I lay eye to eye with Purple.

From beneath Pale Moss, Dead Brown Leaves spoke calmly, richly,  “We nurture and accept all, without question. We support new life. Thank you for being here,  noticing us,  as humble as we are. The ancestors Thank You, too. It is time for you to leave, now. It will be growing dark soon. The last light will be perfect for your otherwork…  if you leave now. We look forward to speaking with your again.”

Pale Moss & Dead Brown Leaves

“You are welcome, Dead Leaves. And thank you for your nurturing and advice.”

Heeding Sir Fern’s stern, yet kind message, and Dead Leaves affirmation, I continued to the beach… Joyfully laughing and thanking these little woodlings for their kindness, story, colors and wisdom. They filled my palette, my eyes, my heart and my head, with wisdom, joy, happiness, laughter. In return, they merely asked thatI tell their story of living together, sharing, changing, growing. And so it is told.

To hear these voices and meet these flowers, sometimes requires getting close to the earth, on hands and knees, then lying down on my belly with my third eye open… My third eye is my camera, connected to my heart, all of my senses.  Sometimes I get to crawl through traffic jams, slowly, like a child and listen to stories in the woods.

May you listen quietly to little voices. Let them speak without judgement, like a child, from the heart.

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Copyright 2011 Betsy Lewis

Morning After Moon

Full moon rising
In a hazy sky
Golden orb gloradiates
Softly gilded lines

Moonlight edglings
Spread a fan of tiny backlit clouds
Doubling on the mirrorlake
Peacocks tail arrayed above and below.

Stillness, silence, peace, beauty
Ahh… Can life be better than this?
What more could one want?
Hearts desire filled…

Their call begins south
Then North Answered East… nearby
Whippoorwills sing
Call shout sing whip-poor-will

Louder closer
whip-poor-will
whip-poor-WILL
surrounded by answers of will…

then fireflies dance.

Surrounded by love
Touching God touching me touching life…
I thought of you…
Wished you here to share this moment…
and now we do.

Namaste ~ Star Bear
Copyright 20111 Betsy Lewis

Another song by Cat Stevens to enjoy – I’m being followed by a
Moonshadow

Post-A-Day 2011 ~ Postcard from My Dream to YOURS!

I have a secret – I love to share!
I love to share Laughter and Joy!… and Silliness and Play… (You probably already knew that LOL!)
I love to share my work, my ideas, my friends, my toys and “my” resources! SARK is my most favorite, lovable, welcoming friendly resource – and I cannot keep Susan (aka SARK) or her programs and books a secret any longer. She is a wonderful mentor and friend. I love learning in fun ways and have fun doing it – even the tuff stuff. I love having fun with people. Susan brings out the best in me and others!
So if you want to check out one of my “secrets” to success and have some fun, click on the image below to meet Susan to read and hear more.



For me, Dream Boogie produces prodigious results, deLIGHTFILLED Dancing, Daring dreaming, and Fiestas of Fun. Dream Boogie is an 8 week online course, including beautiful pages of OWNwork (not homework), weekly Teleseminars where connecting in small groups is serendipitously synchronistically magical, inspiring downloads, insightful excercises offering fabulous support and deep connections with other creative and productive creative beings… including yourself… like connecting your right brain with your left brain. LOL! and DUH!… and if you miss a call, you can re-listen anytime… I LOVE listening to the calls – (Sometimes I even get to hear my own voice being brilliant – reading a poem or inspiring others…LOLOLOL!)

Why haven’t I shared this before? Haven’t been able to figure out some of the technology for posting in this blog. I want to be able to post text in color. I want to be able to share stuff like this within this narrow box… Maybe the box is too small? I wanted to share it with artwork and colorful banners… balloons and music and celebrations – and technologically I still don’t know quite the best way to do that. So here it is – imperfectly perfect… LOL!
Maybe it’s time for a new theme? Maybe ask for some help from TNT?
Could be… Last week I got New Wings – so anything is possible!

May your day be filled with Magic and Miracles. Mine is and will continue to be…
Namaste ~ Star Bear

Post-A-Day2011 – Exposing myself

Reading other bloggers is inspiring. Today I visited Practically Twisted and discovered once more how many other artists and writers deal with being asked to work for free. No more giving it ALL away so often. I remember this line from “The Color Purple”. “Stop givin’ away all your shit!” Maybe I am becoming more forceful. Seeing purple? (It is after all a healing color…LOL!)
Harlan Ellison says it all very clearly, in words I have spoken. He says it clearly and forcefully!
Hearing the words “but it will be good exposure for you” one too many times prompted me to say quite clearly, “If I simply wanted more exposure, I could take off my clothes and run down Main Street. You know people can die from exposure!” I try to keep a sense of humor about it all – to a point.
A few years ago, I, too had a very brief career as a professional photo journalist.
After the publication of my poem (yesterday’s post) I was asked if I would be willing to write some short farmy feature articles for a newspaper. Yup.
After the first article was published I was paid – $40.00. It was short, so okay, I had agreed ahead of time to that. They liked my work and ideas so much they asked for more. I agreed to produce more. They loved them. They were popular… their readers responded positively. The last article I wrote for them was about an outdoor adventure with a local organization. I wanted to go on it anyway, so I did. After three days on the road (2 in the rain), interviewing people, documenting their adventure in words and images and joining in, I then wrote the story, which took three days of writing, selecting and editing photos and soggy notes.
When it was published, a full page plus, a lot of people called with positive feedback. The pay? Still $40.00. At that rate I figured it out – 3 days of expenses for travel, camera equipment, roughly 40 hours of writing and editing… what’s wrong with this picture? Less than 50 cents an hour, I quit. I made more baby-sitting as a teenager with few bills to pay!
$40.00 per article. That was their policy. Didn’t matter how many photos, how many words. $40.00. The saving grace in this story, I did sell a few photos to some of the adventurers from that last article, and will probably sell more. After I quit writing features for the paper, the editor offered to hire me – full time. A nice man, an excellent writer, who became a friend. The pay was modest. That was an issue and the bigger issue came when I asked what I would be expected to write about. The answer? Murder, accidents, court cases. “No thanks, ” I answered. “I intend to write about the positive things in the community. I believe that when we focus on the negative, for shock value or whatever, it encourages more. I want to encourage families to do things together, for people to appreciate this countryside and see the opportunities around us. Thanks, and no thanks.” He understood and I appreciate that. He said he envied me for not selling out.
As an editor he gave me support, encouragement and words I will never forget. “Everybody has a story. All you have to do is ask the question and listen.” Thanks, Tom, that was worth the $40.00.

Yesterday, I wrote “Why do we write? To remember, to capture a moment, a feeling, a smell of something or someone we love and then… to share it.” I also write and make art to be paid. Compliments and admiration are encouraging and do not pay the bills.

Yep. (and a note to my friends… don’t worry, yes, you will still receive gifts!)
May your day be filled with everything you deserve – we all deserve the best. Follow your bliss and be sure you keep your clothes on… most of the time anyway. 🙂

Namaste~Star Bear

Post-A-Day2011 – Why do we write?

To remember, to capture a moment, a feeling, a smell of something or someone we love and then… to share it.

The first poem I had published this century was written in this loft where our hay was stored. The barn was built in the 1880's and was filled with history and character. I think it was contagious!

Winter Endured by Summer Cured ~ Counting Days

Summer sits
in pale green blocks
in the loft sunlight sneaks
‘tween ancient boards painting streaks
bright broad to narrow strokes
on bales of darker green alfalfa
and second cutting grass
stacked like children’s playthings
in neat rows, mostly,
except when one is wrenched askew
and others shift around it crookedly.

‘Merely hay’ some folks may chide
know not the secrets locked inside
orange and sisal baling twine
holding summer wrapped and dried.
‘Merely hay’ to those who only see the shape,
green sticks, picky, prickly, trying to escape.
Feed for cattle, horses, sheep…
They do not see the country-dance
of sweaty bodies throwing bales,
or smell full-bodied summer’s green
waiting for release as twine is cut,
the bale opened, sending out aroma
sweet to nose of one who knows
this delicate perfume
inhaling deep rich odors bring
warm thoughts of summer’s breeze…
Yet, when I try to share this
most folks only sneeze!

Still,
Summer rests in pale green blocks
counting done by timeless clocks.
Days pass, rows disappear
Bales are counting out the year…
Sitting high up in the loft
Smelling hay, feeling soft
chilly winters are endured
inhaling smells of summer
so carefully cured.

Edited slightly January 29, 2001 Copyright Betsy Lewis

Poetry is meant to be heard, read aloud. Thank you Jim for the discussion about reading poetry out loud. Reminded me of this, which was published because I called an editor, read it out loud to him and he said “Yes, send it right away, please!” It was in print the next week.

May we all remember our “just do it” experiences and then just do it!

Namaste ~ Star Bear

Post-A-Day2011 ~ Moving Forward or Being Behind?

Sometimes Being Behind means being in the driver's seat...
with a light hand on the reins.


Keeping up with postaday2011 while writing a grant and creating 2 books, editing photos, communicating and balancing that with life and work and snow plowing… you know what I mean

So… today I am recycling, a photo from a past life combined in a new way with a past post, instead of reinventing the wheel – If you haven’t read this before, here is a humorous reminder: “Ode to Being Behind”

May you live your dream and remember this wonderful horse quote: “Ride the horse in the direction it’s going…” to which I will add “If you can remember where you have been with joy, you can move forward with love”. When I learned to jump with horses the instuctions were simple – Throw your heart over the fence and follow it. Here’s to leaps of faith forward and loving old lessons relearned!
Not changing horses mid-stream – finding a whole new range to ride in. 🙂

Namaste – Starbear