Mary Beth Writes


First of all, you should realize that tomorrow is March 4th which is the only date of the year which tells you what to do. Hah.

This week I was amazed by this map/representation of the process of the creation of a new star. A year ago, there were no visuals of this process. What you are looking at is cutting-edge stuff observed and collaborated by 90 astronomers worldwide.

That + in the middle is the new star that right now is bigger than our sun. We know it’s young and new because it’s growing.

That “flat” swirl around it is the protostellar disk which are elements orbiting with the growing star. The baby star and protostellar disk are swirling through space at the speed of a hundred Daytona’s. As they (they?) zoom in their trajectory, elements in that disk (hydrogen, plus nitrogen, oxygen, helium etc.) are being attracted BY GRAVITY to this star.

Scientists have theorized and known that gravity pulls elements in towards stars but until this map, there’s not been a visual representation of the observation of it. Via telescopes on several continents, they’ve observed this process swirling around star G358-MM1. The different colors represent where the elements are in relation to the moving star.

This is not a smooth lockstep process. Everything is moving. and gravity is orchestrating this process which is an amazing thing to observe and understand. This is the viewed and recorded dance of elements being pulled in, energy exploding back out which affects the swirling flotsam and jetsam of the elements of the universe. This is the tango of creation going on with that one star.

You can read this more closely here. 


Someone suggested H for Heaven. I’ve been thinking about this all week.

First of all, I don’t believe in a heaven that is a designated nice place we go as our individual selves after we die. Then again, let the reader beware, there is no Gospel of MB.

This is what I do think about heaven and how the concept and hope of heaven works in our imagination and spirituality.

1. Heaven is a comfort. When people and animals we love die, it is almost impossible to absorb that loss. Probably the first things humans did that made us become human were A. live in groups, B make beer and bread, and C. invent another world where beloved spirits go to continue to act.

After my dad died when I was a kid, many people told me that my dad would be waiting for me in heaven. Or he’d be watching me from heaven. That he was ‘out there’ somewhere and so I shouldn’t feel as devastated as I did. Blessedly, my mom did not give these messages to me. She was devoutly Christian and yet somehow she knew that we needed to deal with our world as it was now. Dad was gone. We were here. Deal with it. Pray for life to go forward, not to hold back what was gone from it.

Where there is overwhelming loss and injustice, people invent judgement and heaven and hell in order to be able to act. Where bombs fall on peacemakers, where babies die of preventable diseases, where storms and earthquakes decimate populations, we tell ourselves that are caught up into the arms of God, because it is the only way to breathe.

When people act evilly, we hope for a hell for them because torture and decimation seem the only possible justice for what has been loss.

We are human but only human. We use the concepts of heaven and hell to keep going and get through.

2. Heaven is power.

There’s the Islamist terrorist who dies and goes to heaven expecting 70 virgins and can’t understand why he’s surrounded by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and others in wigs and knee britches. There was a typo and the promise was 70 Virginians …

Or way too many American Christian preachers and leaders who get to the pearly gates and Martin Luther King is sitting next to God saying, “Hmmm… Who do we have here?”

When we choose who to believe, what to do, and how to act on the basis of whether it will allow or bar heaven – heaven is being used for power.

My kids use rewards to raise their little kids. Act okay and there will be a treat. Choose something wrong and the kid gets grounded for an appropriate period of time. This is a good way to raise children.

We are not children. If we are choosing our yesses and no’s based on whether it will take us to heaven or hell, that is, to put it mildly, baloney.

Spirituality invites and strengthens us to live with faith, mercy, love, and kindness. That’s all spirituality is good for and goodness knows, that’s enough.

3. Heaven is a scientific question. So where is heaven? What happens to us after we die? What’s going on here?

First we figure out why we want to know. Are we afraid? Grieving? If so, we need our fellow humans to help us live and breathe through this time and loss and fear.

But – back to the baby star spiraling across the universe. Whatever is most true in spirituality is related to and part of the ongoing story of the universe. We come from and are likely to return to stars. What we own is dust. What we love, yearn for, learn, and share become gravity for those who are left behind and those who will come along next.

I say, and so would many others, that heaven is the realm of living that truth now.

In case you want to know more about stars and the elements of the universe and how to possibly see them in action - Len recommends this article.

What causes the Northern Lights? The science behind the phenomenon. | Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express




Mary Beth's picture

Argh. I was deleting rogue scam comments, of which I get many - and I just deleted the last 50 comments you wonderful readers sent to me. So if you are looking for them - they are now on their way to that new star being born all those galaxies away. I apologize. I've been not making this mistake for years. I guess it was time to make it. Once.

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Y is for Yellowstone


Back in February I asked you to give me topics to write about that would correspond to the alphabet. Sometimes several of you sent ideas for one letter and sometimes I wrote about all of them (I’s and S’s) Here we are at letter Y for which your suggestions are Yummy Food and Yawns. The word yawn absolutely makes me yawn; no way I could write about that - I would yawn for hours. I worked on Yummy Food but could only find a scolding voice about Americans eating too much sugar. Bah. True but not interesting.

So, I gave Y a go again. Y is for?

"I was Scott Simon's teller."


First of all - Thank you to those of you who came to the Wisconsin Writers Association zoom gala last night. I HAD received an email a week ago which said I would be reading my whole story. Cutting it in half while I was reading was awkward! It was still a happy event for me and the other writers. Thanks for being there! 

X is for Xeriscape


Xeriscape is pronounced ‘zeer-eh-scape’ and it means landscaping with little to no irrigated water. Readers in the west already know about this. Those of us who don’t live in arid or desert places need to wake up to the incredible resource that water is - then begin to accommodate ourselves to “water all around and beneath us all the time” is no longer our reality. Nor is it our right. We’ve got to get smarter and do better.

W is for Wonder


To whomever suggested Wonder - Thank You!  ‘Wonder’ has been bobbing in my mind like a frog in a pond.

However, I have FOUR suggestions from you guys for X - but I do not want to write four X essays. These are the suggestions:

1.) X signature substitution

2.) xylophone on a string pulled by a toddler

3.) xenophobia

4.) Xmas. 

If you have an opinion respond with the one you would like me to attempt. I will choose whichever X gets the most comments.

There will be no gerrymandering in this election.



Grownups Noticing Their Lives


Most of you know about my former weird and lovely job of coordinating an employability skills program for Huber-qualified inmates in the Racine County Jail (that’s a mouthful). Early on I realized that most of the people I would work with were people with 1.) huge addiction problems, and 2.) underlying and over-the-top and to-the-side just lying around mental health issues.

V is for Vocabulary


For those who are new here - This year I am writing about topics, in alphabetical order, that were suggested to me by readers. Sometimes this is hard! 


My cousin-in-law Dave has some powerfully thorough avocations (for fun and profit he earned a PhD in biochemistry; you will notice this in his list). This year, among other pursuits, he has been collecting words which have appeared in our culture since 1945, which was the year he also appeared in our culture.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words A-Z AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent aging Alaska anniversary antibiotics antlers apples appointments Arrows art Ashland August Augustine aunts baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barbara Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM Blue BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada canoe cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus climate change clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows danger DarkRiver death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering democracy dentist depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Echoes Eclipse election EmilyDickinson eschatology Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer Fata Morgana ferns firealarm Fitness Five Flatbread Flexible flu Food Pantry Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal FrugalHacks Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga fungi fusion Galena Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd gerrymandering ghosts gifts girls GNTL gorgons goulash GovernorThompsonStatePark Graduation grandkids granola groceries Guatemala gum guns Hair happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance hearings heart heaven HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope HowCrowGotOutofJail humor hurricane Ice Cream idiosyncrasy igloos impeachment Innkeeper Instincts integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Jan 6 Janus jewelry JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich Jump justice Karen kites ladder Lady Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness LouisArmstrong Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mounds mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha NAMI Nancy Drew Newfoundland New Mexico New York City Nomadland nope observation OBUUC Ocotillo OnaJudge ordinary OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples poetry Preaching privacy procrastination Protest QE2 Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism reading recipe recipes recommendations Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb Ricky rime RitesofPassage romance Rosemary Ruether Roses Roti Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraKurtz SaraRodriguez satellites ScottSimon sculpture Seasons Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spirituality spring square feet staining stars stele Stereotypes stories StoryStarts stream monitoring stress Survival swim Talent taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou therapy ThreeBillBoards Three Thing ThreeThings Three Things TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine Ulysses Grant Umbrella UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam vision VivianWokeUpDrowning Vocabulary vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving Webs wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Wiley Willa WillaCather Wisteria Won! Wonder words Xeriscape Yellowstone
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