Prayer for the Earth #2, ©2020 Janet Maher
Prayer for the Earth #2, ©2020 Janet Maher

When I began my websites and blogs in the late 1990s/ early 2000s I sought the domain Everything Matters, thinking that I would want to write in many veins. I felt that all topics may connect through an individual writer’s point of view and outreach, especially if collaboration was involved. I had lofty goals for what I settled on as an art-focused site (ArtMattersOnline). My goals for that could not be accomplished as intended, however, alongside my full time job. (The feat was achieved, though, by artist Cara Ober through BeMore Art, now an established and well-respected presence in Baltimore.) MaherMatters became a supplement to what I was finding in my non-art-related research, but would not be included in the two Irish-related scholarly books I was writing. It was also a means to engage with others about my accidental obsession with learning the art of genealogy.

Our current days in Time Out will likely flow as they will for many months, and I find I am already forgetting things for myself and that I would recommend to a range of different friends. I felt it made sense in the short term to repurpose this blog to address the everything that matters now, including links that would be possible to revisit. I think it might be better to see if my fledgling Trusting the Process: Getting There From Here can catch another breath and take hold instead. After this post I will begin to write there, and welcome anyone interested to subscribe.

Earth Day would have been the opening reception for the fourth art exhibition in which I was participating that was altered by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Two are currently installed (1), though opening receptions and public viewings have not occurred. Two were never installed, but may still occur in some future time (2). Ironically, two are about issues that point to why we are all confined to home right now. Throughout the first of a three-day online celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, I was, luckily, able to stream Earth Day 2020 Live. All afternoon my spirits were lifted and many feelings were positively anchored—while I was productively at my sewing machine (57 masks for specific people made so far). I took notes about certain links and resources that I had planned to include here.

On Earth Day I felt my private world come into balance and emotionally began to settle in for the long haul while this virus runs its course. I was excited to learn about the new documentary that Michael Moore produced, introduced on the Stephen Colbert show the previous night. However, after viewing Jeff Gibbs’ sleuthing into the disturbing commingling of positive environmental concerns with oil-based conglomerates, in Planet of the Humans, my spirits were dashed again. When promoting this film, Moore said he was hopeful for the future of the planet. After viewing it I was not reassured. I was reminded instead, as I am by the news every day, that we live in a world run by such concentrated and out of control financial power that it can co-opt, in this case, even the likes of Bill McKibben and Al Gore. (Hence the delay in posting what would otherwise have been a more upbeat post filled with inspiring links.) (May 10, 2020: note that much of what was disturbing has been refuted.)

The manner in which I lived as a student and the interests I began to explore decades ago form the foundation of my current days. It seems as if I am rediscovering a self that was almost fully smothered while training against the grain for many different kinds of work over the last several decades. I appreciate all that necessity taught me, however, the points in time when my efforts harmonized with my own nature are those that I cherish. They remain with me now, along with associated people. I feel myself winding back and tending original roots, albeit from a plateau of gratitude that includes a greatly expanded perspective and body of experience. 

During this pandemic, in contrast with “life before”, I am not split in too many disparate simultaneous endeavors and requirements. I no longer feel that all my engagements are attempting to manically share the dance space on the head of some proverbial pin. With my young adult passions having matured and been well-practiced, this pandemic is simplifying them to only that which matters. In a world gone horribly awry, it is time to focus upon that, and there is time enough and space for it.

The dreams I have for Earth and her inhabitants, against all odds, I have for what is left of my own life. When we gingerly return to the planet we thought we knew, may everything that matters rise fully, eclipsing all that stifles and undermines that which is good. May we continue to learn and grow and be positively connected, recommitted to reaching the noblest possibilities of human, examined, lives worth the gift of their being.

  1. 31st National Drawing and Print Competitive Exhibition, Gormley Gallery, Notre Dame University, Baltimore, MD; Unnatural Causes: Art of a Critical Nature, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD (See a digital tour of the exhibit HERE.)
  2. The Landscape of Abstraction, InSpace Gallery, Baltimore, MD; First scheduled for Carroll Mansion, Carroll Museums, Baltimore, then rescheduled to the Peale Museum, the final incarnation of Unnatural Causes: Art of a Critical Nature is postponed indefinitely.

©2020 Janet Maher