The Stream of Consciousness

Is it an actual stream?  Could I go and sit beside it on a rare lazy day with a basket of food, a great book and thou?  I would hope for fresh air on this day.  So that I could breathe without dread of inhaling smoke and other toxins bred of fires.  I finally got an air purifier for the house.  When you can’t open a window for weeks on end due to unhealthy air quality, you begin to consider what you can do to protect your lungs.  I also bought an Eco-gear N95 anti pollution face mask through  I haven’t worn it out on the street yet, I’ve been warned that I should.  The air quality index has been unhealthy at 166 with PM2.5 as the “dominant pollutant.”

Who would have thought it would come to this in our lifetime?  Who would have dreamt this as a possibility?  Weren’t we warned?

Yet, we still hear of people who deny global warming.  Hmmm.  What’s it going to take?

We go about the daily details of our lives.  Call the phone company to request a less expensive rate package, water the garden, check in with a friend in declining health, go to yoga class, find time for something inspiring and fun!  Write a blog.  Work on your book.  While you’re at it, pick up some food for the artists’ gathering later on today.  And, figure out a date and time to Skype with your family who, thankfully, live in a smoke-free zone.  And, of course, if there is time, begin to clear out the things in your little home that it’s time to shed.  Business as usual, right?

Yet nothing is usual.  My sister, living an hour south of here, has literally had the fires in her backyard.  She has requested “normalcy”.  I wonder if this is the new normalcy.  Things are not going to reverse by themselves.  We’ve tipped the scales.

Writing Prompt:
Over the course of your own lifetime, what has notably changed?  Is there a new normal?  How do you adapt? Do some stream of consciousness writing.

Stay safe.





Is this then…

Is this then
© by Christine O’Brien

Is this then what Armageddon looks like?
The face of the moon has turned red.
She peers through a window of gray smoke.
Tonight her expression is one of concern.
Did she realize that things would come to this?
Has the world savior raised her hands, surrendered
and retreated to some far off secret cave, irresolute
about how the story of humanity concludes?

I’ve been praying for a friend for the end of the world.
He literally showed up on my doorstep
a couple of weeks ago.
To paint my house.
I dreamed of him first…
that he would come
that I would ask for comfort
that he would oblige
then want more.
That I would send him away
that his drug-lost son
needed him.
“Away, go away.”

The air quality is unhealthy again today.
Another day indoors
sipping teas and taking herbal remedies
to soothe the throat and lungs.
There are things I have yet to say
to offer to a weary world
the one we continue to create
through our indifference.


Even when we rise to smoky skies and
fires that aren’t easily quenched–
Even when the fire is battling back
and only 41% contained
and we are dependent upon
the direction of the wind.
While firefighters use the elements
to battle one against the other
coupled with chemical pollutants
because we are desperate
to protect all that we built
even when we know that life is

Even when the old dreams go up in smoke and flame
and we finally fall to our knees
and join the world savior in surrender
(for you too are her)
we feel the flutter in our secret heart caves
that something is going to be born,
something better, truer.

We hold vigil
while finding ways to speak
ways to act.
Even while we are uncertain,
we understand that there is now
and we can do this,
for now.


The Mournful Moon

Conversing with the moon. Have you noticed how she shines fully and boldly on everyone across the planet?  We all share the same moon!  That really is profound when you consider it.  We witness her fullness and watch as she wanes, then seemingly hides over the course of her cycle.

Today, where I live, she is mournful.  (Alright, that’s my attempt at personification, for perhaps it’s me who is mournful.)  It seems that most humans don’t see her as anything other than a lonely, cold flat disk in the sky, without purpose.  There is so much ignorance.  She is not included in the daily conversation with humans anymore…as if she wasn’t even there.  They don’t consult her.  When shall we plant the new crop, and then when is the best time to harvest?  Very few humans ask her opinion or search the sky to collaborate with her.  They rarely notice her influence on ocean tides (perhaps a few old salts (sailors) do.


Except for some women who refer to their monthly menstruation cycle as their moon time.  Perhaps a few of these women take a time out as was practiced by indigenous cultures.  Those cultures recognized a woman’s moon time as a time of exceptional power and vulnerability.

Except for poets.  Poets find a purpose for the moon.  The moon has always inspired poetry.  Poets remind us that the moon exists as more than a lost disk floating in the vast and starry sky.

To The Moon
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, –
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Except for astrologers too.  Astrologers love the moon.  That dimensional and soulful orb.  The moon, womanly, intuitive, concealing and revealing.  Her mystery…or is she a “he”, the man in the moon?
Why do we put the moon outside the limits of our lives when we all share the same moon?  Actually, the same sun, the same air, the same water…the same planet–our earth home.  Spaceship earth–according to one Buckminster Fuller, architect, systems theorist, author, inventor, futurist.  I’m getting off track here.
Except for songwriters too, they love the moon.
Writing Prompt:
What about you?  How do you relate to the moon?  Follow your whims, your train of thought and write about the moon.

How Smart are Smart Meters?

I am checking in with my blog.  The skies continue to be smoky and air quality is unhealthy.  We are mostly housebound especially the older population, the young and anyone with health concerns.  The fires to the south of us are 41% contained…the loss of acreage is 154, 524 acres to date.  We are also likely getting the smoke from the fires to the north of us.  It depends on the direction of the wind.  One of my sisters who was evacuated from her home has been allowed to return.  She gets retraumatized whenever she looks out of the windows.  The backyard hillside marks the devastation.  Another sister never left her home.  And, the third one can’t return until the fires are out as her lungs are fragile.

Last night, I watched a recorded session of our local City Council Meeting.  This morning, I wrote a letter to the editor of our local newspaper.  Letters to the editor have to be 300 words or less.  This letter was prompted by some of the perspectives I heard over the course of the two hour meeting.  I thought I’d post it here.

Dear Editor,

Sixty local citizens showed up to give input at a specially convened city council meeting referencing the smart meters.  Each council member shared their perspective.  The council voted on the action they would take within the limits of their authority.

I want to thank the sensitive ones…the ones who have experienced health challenges due to the installation of smart meters at their residences.  Thanks to those who react to a toxic load level.  They are the ones who alert the less sensitive ones that something has potential health risk.

In the mid-seventies, I moved into a house in Fremont, CA with my husband and daughter.  There was a serious flea infestation.  The exterminator came and sprayed a pesticide.  In a few weeks, he had to return again because the new flea eggs hatched with a whole new infestation.  It had to be sprayed a third time.  They assured me that the pesticide was harmless to humans.

My daughter and I broke out in large welts and I vomited for two weeks.  The body has a knowing that science has yet to catch up with.  My husband worked away from home frequently so he wasn’t subject to the same exposure that we were.

Toxins are cumulative in the world we’ve created.  It’s not whether one toxic element stands alone and is rendered “harmless”.  Put it in the mix of all the other toxic things we’ve created in our complex technological world and voila, you find people are getting sick and the cause is “unknown”.

I have opted out of the smart meter although the fee hasn’t been disclosed yet.  Note that there is a disclaimer on the meter–should you get sick, there is no recourse to sue either the installer or power company.

special city council meeting:



Writing Prompt:
Are there times that you feel compelled to speak out?  Do you?  What is your best way to communicate your thoughts and feelings?  For me, today, it is this letter to the editor.

Have a good day everyone.



Photos Are Evocative

A flat tire over the weekend with no possibility of repair until Monday, I was on foot.  I recommend it…not the flat tire, but walking through your neighborhood.  When I spied this “doggie in the window,” I grabbed my smartphone from my backpack and took a few photos.  This one tugged at my heart.  I could certainly make up a story around it.  Would I write it from the dog’s perspective?  The owner’s?  My own?  Hmmm.  It’s really all my own, no matter which perspective I choose.  Or, I could paint it…


There is nothing like a visual to evoke a memory, a feeling or some other emotional response.

Writing Prompt:
If you were going to use this image as inspiration for your writing today, how would you begin?  Does it inspire a poem, perhaps?  Write it!

Painting as a Personal Process Facilitator

I received one of those dreaded phone calls.  My ex-husband had a stroke!  It wasn’t looking good.  A surge of helplessness arose in me.  And fear.  I live a distance from where he lives.  I needed to do something while waiting for news.  This painting is by no means a work of art.  However, this is what I was prompted to paint.  I call it “Prayer.”


When I first began painting in 2014, it was all about following my intuition.  As I added marks to the canvas, I noticed images.  I defined some of those images.  My expertise at drawing, combining colors and making a painting cohesive didn’t exist.  However, intuitive painting was a good way for me to begin this artistic journey.

I quickly discovered, that like poetry and journal writing, painting facilitated my personal process.  In this particular instance, painting helped me to handle the big emotions and the feelings of helplessness.  (It has been a long road for my ex-husband, but he did recover from the stroke.)

Have you noticed how your creative practice facilitates your personal life process?  Can you think of specific instances where you turned to your creative practice to support you in some way?

Appreciate your art-making.

History Repeating

Last week, I attended an artist reception in a nearby community…the exhibit was entitled “Latent” and was about an area not very far from where I live.  Tulelake, CA.  The Modoc Indians once inhabited this land.  Here lies a sad and bloody history.

During World War II, this site became one of ten Japanese Internment Camps across the United States.

This same land, degraded and impoverished, has most recently been a shambles for migrant farm workers and/or meth labs.

The curators of this show, two young women photographers, visited the site several times and took present day photos.  They were battered by the heavy winds, astonished by the starkness of the land and confronted by local habitators as they took their photos.  They got a sense of the deep sorrow in the land itself.  Having researched the history of the area, along with the photos they took, they related the stories of this desolate place and the peoples who had lived there.

I’ve returned to see the exhibit a second time.  It’s almost too much for the psyche to take in the magnitude of this story.  I plan to go again.  One comment that I heard more than once as I attended the artist reception was “It’s happening again.”

There is a phrase that has been used to describe the importance of remembering history so that we don’t repeat it.  The phrase is “Lest we forget.”

Writing Prompt:
Is there something historical in the place where you live that shouldn’t be forgotten?  How would you tell this story, lest we forget?