An abstract “tree of life” design with African folk design motifs by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

News of fire in the grove of towering conifers in Big Basin Redwoods State Park in August 2020 and images of smoldering red flames inside the base trunk of a beloved ancient redwood offer no comfort in Northern California’s oppressive heat and smoke of the last week. However, as a native Californian, I am optimistic nature’s intelligent design means these groves will be reborn. The ecology of the Redwoods is resiliently designed by a higher power. The thousand-plus-year-old ancient Redwoods, or “the Ancients,” have a dense fire-resistant bark that can be a foot thick. The Redwood groves hold particular significance to local California Indian tribes who harvested basket-making material from the sacred forest floors for function and ceremony. Indigenous Californian have been great stewards of the region’s natural ecology as ethnobotanists. Native Americans understand the need for planned burns to maintain groves and manage ground-level growth during long cold seasons so in times of drought, there is no excessive fuel for fires.

Lightning strikes caused this fire. Nature may not be convenient to us humans who are set in our ways and live and build homes in densely wooded areas with little humility for their dominant ecology, but Nature takes care of us even in our ignorance. As the Ancients of the Redwood groves reach to the sky, branches are few near the forest floor. The Ancients as Redwood ancestors watch over the passing of generations from above. The largest redwoods seeming stand alone. When the fogs return with moisture from the nearby Pacific ocean, we may, if we watch over time, see how life is naturally renewed. In familial clusters within the redwoods, the oldest surviving trees scarred by past blazes stand in the middle, a few younger giants will support the center Ancestor, and a circle of younger trees will eventually emerge in a beautiful chain of life. Let us be hopeful and humble as nature does her best work.

Amendment XIX was ratified a hundred years ago today. It asserts the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on about of sex. It is a work in progress with every generation as democracy remains a political experiment. Let’s give this amendment the power it deserves and needs… women vote women vote women vote… design by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

When my workplace responded to the pandemic, we thought it would be for a few weeks. Nobody imagined we might be wearing masks for a prolonged time. This was the last drawing on my board done around March 15, 2020. “Be not afraid of sudden fears.” Proverbs 3:25. Wise words, indeed. I am also thinking that we should not be complacent in these surreal circumstances. I am picturing lots of flowers in the coming weeks as I return to the drawing board after a working summer. I look forward to more frequent posts as I gain my rhythm again. Drawing by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

Remembering Zorro…

August 10, 2020

Zorro seemed to think that he was a little fox hiding when visiting me in a dream and tugged on my sleeve to get my attention, but I see you and remember you. Each decade emerges like a fox camouflaged as just another year with the hint of winter but no sign yet of the new growth of spring. When I posted this image at the New Year, I had no idea what the new decade would bring. My dear family friend is gone, but he is never far away. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

Thanks to my new friends who sent messages of encouragement. I just today submitted a book manuscript I have been working on since April 2019, so I hope to pull out my beloved Micron pens and return to the drawing board soon. Blessings to you all, MME

Prayers for out elephant friends

The Botswana elephants have been in my thoughts recently. Beyond worrying about pandemics impacting humans, we need to care for all of the creatures of earth because we are all connected and share a home here. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

Today is a rare summer solstice eclipse, the last happen in 2001, the next will happen in 2039, followed by another in 2058, and after that almost two centuries will pass before we experience such an opportunity for global transformation.

What does this ephemeral steel butterfly today want to tell you in a time of pandemic? Out of fear, we have within us the opportunity for global transformation. This is an opportunity when one individual can act in Love to heal many. The power of transformation is within each and every one of us when we master hate with Love. To quote Mary Baker Eddy, “Love must triumph over hate.” (from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures)

Take a moment to reflect on how I can act with Love to care for those around me… to make a stranger’s life a little easier… to work with cultural humility within my community to foster well being in this time of crisis…

How can I demote illegitimate hate within myself instead of looting or plundering by force those who are challenged by the same social injustices as me?

Can I afford small act of kindness to bolster community well-being? Do I have ideas and philosophies that I can share to heal another’s pain? Can I create a safe place within myself for fostering hope?

Can I live with less material comforts so I am not compelled to support excessive wealth of a few who might profit from dependency on such things?

A moment of a perceived ring of fire may seem to be an eternity, but it passes quickly and is gone… but a moment of quiet reflection before decisive action can have implications that impact generations to come.

Butterfly design by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 10, 2020

To all of the mothers of odd little chicks, I wish you peace, good health, and lots of love. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

Thank you Met Opera! I am listening to Puccini’s verismo opera Turandot airing on KDFC in my little apartment on the anniversary of its premiere in 1926. Please check out my March 6, 2016 post that asks, “Will Turandot figure out what true love means?” It was part of short weblog series on this site using a trade wind bead motif called “The Trade Wind Opera Company” done when I was attending San Francisco Opera regularly. Now, with music organizations in hiatus due to COVID-19, the artistry and virtuosity of so many performers can be found on YouTube. I am so grateful to see the best of the best within home settings like my modest home… well, not quite.

Puccini’s verismo opera Turandot is framed within an ancient legend containing three riddles of life and love. In my imaginary landscape it seems relevant to our situation today where we are all making sacrifices for love. Thank you, Liu, for embodying humility and love when some world leaders are not. This surreal flower peaking through a parched earth signifies the human spirit surviving in adversity. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2020.

On this beautiful day…

March 27, 2020

As I escaped my hunker-down today and walked in the fresh breeze in my neighborhood. I watched children play and old folks walk their dogs and it was hard to imagine that there was any threat. I heard a knock, knock, knock from a nearby tree and went closer only to discover a woodpecker totally oblivious to my presence, grateful to observe someone productively at work. I also saw delivery vans from the major companies on their routes and thought of how the drivers have been berated in the past when a parcel landed unceremoniously somewhere close to my front door. Today, I say a silent prayer for all the folks deemed essential who cannot hunker down. I pray that I am using my hunker-down time wisely and with thoughts towards healing. I admire the dandelion that reaches for the sun without thought for contagion only the instinct to keep growing. Thank you friends around the globe who have let me know you are okay, I hope you are enjoying some fresh, clean air (a byproduct of millions of people hunkering down) on this beautiful day.

Quiet time…

March 16, 2020

Into the whale’s belly… am I stuck, or am I free? Be well, everyone. Drawn by Meredith Eliassen