The Meeting Place

Posted in Journey of the Mind, The Book of August with tags , , , , , on August 8, 2017 by Sharon Matusiak

I don’t go there often enough.  There are reasons for that, some are valid, others not so much.  I didn’t want to miss the chance today to see a Monarch.  We used to have more of them, even in the “yard”.  I prefer calling it the gardens, as there’s little “lawn” in favor of shrub, flower and ground cover beds.  But the meadow has more milkweed, so chances are better for spotting one there.

The Monarch is synonymous with Debra.  She’d be 44 as of 4:55 this afternoon.  It’s not just that she raised them  most summers from the 2nd grade until her last, the “sweet 16”.  There’ve been signs, along the way, or maybe I just see what I expect to see. There was the moment after everyone had left the cemetery.  After the sharing of food and small talk.  After all that, I returned to the cemetery alone.  A Monarch fluttered right past me as I spoke to Debbie in jerky bursts.  Her last Monarch caterpillar unfolded from its chrysalis the day after I got home from her funeral.  When Robin and I were married on our deck with Mary standing alongside us, a Monarch circled around us.  A year or two later while strolling through the garden at dusk, we spied dozens of them hanging under the branches of a tree.

We had two ponds dug in the mid-90’s.  The larger one was dug into a small valley in the north meadow of our property. The intention was to create a fishing pond.  The acre and a quarter of pond and the meadow beside it are surrounded by hardwoods.  We stocked the pond, planted some aquatics, built 4 docks, and planted Cypress trees in the north end, when they were just seedlings. The meadow has developed more variety of wildflowers over the years, with my seed sowing.  We named this the Cypress Pond.  With maturity this place has become quite extraordinary.

The smaller pond is in front of our house.  It’s about 20000 gallons and was built and dedicated to Debra.  Her goal had been to become a marine biologist.  We planted is with white water lilies and stocked it with Koi and comets.  At the time, my thinking was that “her pond” was something that I wanted close to me.  It would be the one that I’d see everyday.

But, today hurrying out to the meadow, I hoped to see a Monarch since it was Debbie’s birthday.   It was sunny and warm so there might be a chance, though most days anymore they are not to be seen.  There’s always Swallowtails and sulfurs, checkers and saffires.  When I came out of the woods, the first thing that caught my eye was the Great Blue Heron on the farside, working the shallows.  Of course he departed immediately with his enormous gray wings lifting him magically upwards.  Realizing I missed the opportunity for a photo to mark the occasion, I began fumbling with Robin’s phone trying to get signed in and the camera up when there before me fluttered a Monarch.  She was just leaving the flowers and headed across the water.  Missing that photo opportunity also, I was nonetheless elated as I walked on and checked the milkweed next to the mowed grassland surrounding the water.  On the first two plants  I immediately found eggs!  The dogs and I continued moseying around the water, until I settled in a recliner on the farside, to watch the aerial acrobatics of the dragonflies, the fish working through the water lilies, the frogs croaking and the songbirds calling.  Everytime I sit there and watch the natural world, I’m mesmerized by its complexity and beauty.  And it was then that I realized that she had claimed this pond for her own on this very birthday.  It feels right calling it Debra’s Cypress Pond.  This enchanted place is home to all manner of wildlife.  I wonder if she was there last week when the doe introduced me to her twins?  Now that was a miracle.

The Irony of It All

Posted in As the World Turns with tags , , , , on June 17, 2017 by Sharon Matusiak

So on this day in June, 147 days into his presidency, we’re all feeling fatigue from the endless news cycles of shock, turmoil, intrigue, corruption and mostly destruction of what we value and have built.  I’m guessing the president’s lawyers will build his defense along these lines:  He’s not responsible for what he’s said or done, because of his addiction to daytime “news” programs that are actually entertainment programs filled with propaganda.  He’s a victim of fake news they will argue.  That irony would be amazing to watch unfold.

The Numbered Days

Posted in As the World Turns with tags , , on January 13, 2017 by Sharon Matusiak

I grew up in an era when most of us thought a man elected to the Presidency was honorable. Or so I thought.  I believed him when he said “I am not a crook.”  But I learned better.  I watched the Watergate Hearings on TV. I wasn’t a daytime TV addict like my Mom and mostly I wasn’t because she was. Even so, I was pretty well glued to the TV set with I guess Debra glued to my breast.  Well, we survived that.

There was one guy that refused to control his lower brain, to the extent that at least one woman saved her stained dress.  Thank God we survived that too, so the light could shine on the good things these guys did.

Then there was the whole hostage thing that ushered in a new wave of terrorism that wound up and down to us taking our shoes off at the airport.  But mostly the killing goes on over there, so we don’t get our pants in a wad, or anything.  Until it hits home and the towers come down upon our heads.  But we soothe our fears by going over there and killing tens of thousands more so we could forget.  But, like the Zombie Apocalypse that it has become, we’ve apparently lost our collective mind.  We’ve invited a simpering fool to the White House and now we’re pissing our pants ‘cause he’s reckless and spoiled, and owned by the enemy.  And the guards assigned to protect us from our idiocy have gotten in line, the wrong line.  They huff and puff and make up another lie for us to eat.

I guess I’ve known for 20 odd years that America was on the downhill.  The powers that be, piss up a rope and tell us it will trickle down.  Mostly it’s just shit flowing from their one mouth while the other mouth laughs and gulps down more bubbly.

But the fool tells us he’ll make us great again.  I’ve got white privilege so that might work out for me, or not.  Mere white privilege is fading fast too.  It’s just white with the right donation that counts now.  Corporate feudalism is coming to the fields of amber waves.

For me personally, the creepy aspect is that this new regime reflects the greed that ripped my family apart.  Where there was once order and justice now sits the corrupt and putrid face of tyranny.  May it please be that I’m proved wrong, but the beginning isn’t looking promising.



The Path Through the Woods

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 23, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

It’s not so much the destination that should guide you, as the experiences along that path.  Through those experiences you make other choices and that alters your path.  Wisdom to be earned comes from observation and contemplation of those energies encountered.  Having a goal is just the first step to enter a path.  It’s all about physics.

I don’t know what happens when our body dies.  Maybe we go to heaven as my Christian upbringing taught me.  Or maybe we are re-incarnated into human or animal or plant form.  Or maybe our spirit and our DNA energy spiral goes onto another realm, another universe with different laws of physics.  Or maybe our body decays and there’s nothing else of any conscious nature.  Just our atoms juxtaposed into  a tree to be eaten by an insect, then swallowed by a bat and ends up fertilizing Aunt Nannie’s roses.

But I do know this.  The energy you put into your life takes on a life of its own.  Whether you intend to or not, everything you do effects everyone and every other thing on this Earth, and so your energy becomes a wave of action which becomes a part of a bigger wave.  And this wave crashes into an intersecting wave, creating more and more change.  Instead of being small and insignificant, you become a part of something large and powerful.  And it happens, even if you don’t want to get on board because you can’t contain your energy.  That’s why it’s very, very important that you decide early on, which path to choose first, because the wrong side is hard to escape from.

So I don’t fret about whether there’s life after death–that’s out of our realm of control.  It’s enough to know that the impact of what I do in this life will live on.  I remember Victor Frankel’s words in his book The Meaning of Life :  “If there is meaning in life, there is meaning in suffering”.  It’s such a fortuitous happening for me that when I was a young adult, in my late 20’s, that book crossed my path, for I’ve come to suffer a lot in this life.   And I’m here to say  I’m proud of who I am, despite my many failures and shortcomings.  I’m proud, because with all the loss and betrayal in my life,  I’ve chosen to create something beautiful and worthwhile, and I’ve overcome the many crutches I’ve leaned on along the way.  Though I’m a deeply flawed person, I’ve valued truth, honor and justice.  And I’ve made a lot of people happy–not with my personal contact, but through my art.  There’s very, very few people  I’ve touched  in any other way.

Another August Passing

Posted in Journey of the Mind, The Book of August with tags , , , , on August 31, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

Debra's pondAnother August is passing. This one has been very productive in that I’ve designed a two new series of boats, The Hanging Boats and The Flying Boats.  I expect to have three Hanging Boats completed to show  at The Philadelphia Museum Show in November.  One of them is an ode to youth lost too soon.  It will hang by silk threads and butterflies.  An artist doesn’t escape from their life experience.

Father’s Day Message

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

All of you Fathers out there, I have a request.  The Earth is in peril along with everything within it’s atmosphere.  The sky is not falling, it’s being poisoned, along with the water and the food.  The environment is being ravaged.  The presence of climate change, the kind produced by the burning of fossil fuels, is a fact.  To ignore science is detrimental to all of us.  To vote for candidates that deny the validity of overwhelming international methodology proving the cause of and acceleration of climate change is irresponsible.  The Earth is our mother.  Mother’s give birth, nourish and shelter their young.  The Earth provides for us everything we require for life.  Therefore calling the Earth our Mother is an appropriate metaphor.

The role of Father is to protect, guide and provide for offspring  and the Mother.  The raping of the environment and the dangerous results are upon us now.  It’s not just those living 100 years from now that will have to deal with it.  It’s happening now and it’s ramping up.  Since the overwhelming majority of those  citizens of the world that hold the power to profit from this destruction are Fathers; and since the overwhelming majority of elected leaders that have the power to address this, the most pressing issue of our time, are Fathers; I ask you to think about what your voice and vote mean to all of us on the planet.


What Have I Learned?

Posted in Journey of the Mind with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2016 by Sharon Matusiak

Through my struggle to cope with the death of one daughter and the agony of a family crisis caused by a spider of a sister hell-bent on ripping apart our family and hastening our mother’s death in order to snatch her estate, I’ve learned a few things worthy of mention.  Here’s a tidy list of 13:

  1. No matter what you do or say, you’ll be criticized and mis-interpreted by some. It’s amazing how many different conclusions can be drawn from an experience, depending on perspective
  2. It’s easier to stay up than get up–inertia
  3. It’s easy to lose your focus, and hard to regain it—inertia again
  4. The family you “choose” is often better for living, but blood matters to your core and you can’t escape that
  5. It’s best to be pro-active. Problems get worse without intervention
  6. Every day without the touch of nature, is destructive
  7. Devotion to growing your mind and developing a spiritual awareness of the interconnectedness of all life is the path to fulfillment and peace
  8. There are always solutions that benefit everyone
  9. Greed is the most destructive of all mind-sets
  10. What we speak to ourselves largely determines the path we take
  11. Survival is possible through sheer will power. The goal is to do more than just survive. Finding meaning within the struggle is essential to growth and flourishing.
  12. Not caring what those you once loved think of you is difficult and often essential to peace of mind.
  13. Struggles often amount to an endless battle that is a construct of your mind, that by its very nature just goes round and round. Sometimes overcoming obstacles is a matter of reframing the “problem”. Often that allows a struggle to become a passage.
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