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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

“You cannot forget, if you would, those golden kisses all over the cheeks of the meadow, queerly called dandelions.” – Henry Ward Beecher

I think a dandelion blooming on a manicured lawn is perfect. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I think a dandelion blooming on a manicured lawn is perfect. — Photo by Pat Bean

For Weedy Brains

There’s something in me that loves dandelions. Perhaps it is their cheery yellow petals that glimmer in the sun. Or maybe it’s their fragile, snow-like seeds that scatter after those petals have vanished.  I’ve long tried to capture that fanciful seed-blown storm in a sketches –- but always without success.

 

And I marvel at the miracle of rebirth that occurs wen the golden orb has turned to snowy seeds.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

And I marvel at the miracle of rebirth that occurs when the golden orb has turned to snowy seeds. — Photo by Pat Bean

I enjoy seeing a meadow of dandelions lightning up the side of a hill. But even more I enjoy seeing a single dandelion poking on a manicured lawn. Such  imperfection speaks to my heart because it makes the imperfect perfect.

I think I must have weeds growing in my brain. But that’s OK. I’ll water them anyway.

A Few More Weedy Thoughts        

“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” – Doug Lawson

            “Roses are red, violets are blue; But they don’t get around, like the dandelions do.” — Slim Acres

            “Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.” — A.A. Milne

            “What would the world be, once bereft of wet and wildness? Let them be left … Long live the weeds and the wildness yet.” – Gerard Manley Hopkins        

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

    Bean Pat: The Iris and the Lily http://tinyurl.com/qd9kqby Step outside and take a walk through your garden . Or check out the Ghost Bear Photography,  http://tinyurl.com/k8a88d7 if you’re more ambitious. Nearby or far away, Mother Nature awes us.

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A Rainy Day in Tucson

      “Poetry is not the most important thing in life. I’d much rather lie in a hot bath reading Agatha  Christie and sucking sweets.” – Dylan Thomas

I was doing sky exercises with my watercolors, and came up with this one for a stormy day.

I was doing sky exercises with my watercolors, and came up with this one for a stormy day.

And It Captured too Much of my Attention 

It rained here in Tucson yesterday, a hard downpour that pretty much kept up a steady pace from early morning until mid-afternoon. I got drenched twice trying to walk dogs during pauses in the rain. But each time it began raining again before I could get back under a roof.

I  titled this one "After the Storm."

I titled this one “After the Storm.”

I’ve always loved rainstorms, but there seems to be something magical when rain falls in the desert. My neighbor said she watched the patterns of raindrops as they flowed on and off the leaves of the tree that shades her balcony for hours.

I also watched the rain — but only for a few minutes at a time. Even as an old broad, it’s hard for me to stay still doing nothing for long.

Instead, I found myself frequently glancing at the rain out the window that sits in front of my computer, while I tried to do a serious job of line-proofing my book, “Travels With Maggie.” It seemed like a good occupation for a rainy day.

Or maybe not.

I just reread some of what I had proofed yesterday, and found missed mistakes. Some days I don’t think there is an end in sight.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Martha died 100 years ago this month.  http://tinyurl.com/pvoaxsk Who is Martha, you ask? Check out this blog and find out.

 

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Ugly Furniture

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

Be it a string of berries or a colorful sunrise, Mother Nature always has beauty to share. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

Be it a string of berries or a colorful sunrise, Mother Nature always has beauty to share. — Photo by Pat Bean.

But I Didn’t Complain

            One of the things I told myself, when getting rid of all my furniture and stuff in preparation for living in a small RV so I could fulfill my lifetime travel dreams, was that when I finally settled down again, I would have the fun of decorating my new home from scratch.

I love this photo of my and my daughter, Deborah, taken when she was only five days old -- but not the chair I'm sitting in.

I love this photo of me and my daughter, Deborah, taken when she was only five days old — but not the chair I’m sitting in.

And that’s exactly what I did nine years later, nine years in which I learned that I didn’t need much “stuff,” because I had no room for it. My new goal was not to bring a single item of furniture into my newly rented small apartment unless I absolutely loved it.

I thought about that the other day when I came across a picture of me holding my precious first child when she was only five days old. In the past, all I’ve seen when I looked at this valued photo was a too-young-mother, who was coming to realize she had married the wrong man, a fact she wouldn’t undo for four more babies and another 21 years.

This time, however, I noticed the chair I was sitting in for the picture. That set off a string of different memories.

 

Everything is light and bright, with lots of red, in the nest I've created for myself since giving up the RV life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Everything is light and bright, with lots of red, in the nest I’ve created for myself since giving up the RV life. — Photo by Pat Bean

Three weeks before my baby was due, my husband had found a new job that would require us to move from Houston to Lake Jackson, 50 miles south on the Texas Gulf Coast. His parents had arrived from Dallas to help us move, but that same night I went into labor. By morning, I was holding my daughter in my arms. We were going to name her Debra Leigh, and I had spelled it out for my husband. Instead,  he signed her birth certificate and named her Deborah Lee.

Then, while I remained in the hospital in Houston, he and his parents moved the few belongings from our furnished Houston apartment to an unfurnished apartment in Lake Jackson. The three of them then went shopping. and bought brand new living room, dining room and bedroom furniture.

I almost cried when I finally saw the furniture, especially the couch and chair, which were a drab, grayish brown plaid that already looked old. But in those days, I kept my feelings to myself. The dinette set was gray with gray plastic covered aluminum chairs, and the bedroom set a plain, pale blonde without any distinguishing features.

I had to live with that furniture for years. But I never complained. I think the latter is the sad part.

Bean Pat:  A little tune http://tinyurl.com/lwg37fc Just a cheerful photo to cheer your day. Mother Nature is so awesome. I hope you always have time to enjoy her. It was her beauty that helped sustain me when I had little beauty to enjoy behind walls.

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Telling me I can't do something is almost like telling Niagara Falls to stop flowing. Are you a bit like that, too. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Telling me I can’t do something is almost like telling Niagara Falls to stop flowing. Are you a bit like that, too. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Being stubborn can be a good thing. Being stubborn can be a bad thing. It just depends on how you use it.” – Willie Aames.

Fighting Words

I keep a to-do list that I update daily, but I tell myself the things on the list are simply suggestions for how I can spend my day. I also put more tasks on the to-do list than  I can possible accomplish in a day. That’s because I like choices – and the satisfaction I get each time I cross off, with a big black pen, a completed chore.

But the minute I feel I have to do something, pretty much guarantees it is not likely to get done. I turn into a stubborn mule that won’t budge.

On the other hand, tell me I can’t do something, and hell would have to freeze over before I wouldn’t do it. .

I know I’m not alone in this kind of weird behavior. For example, just yesterday, when my next door neighbor and her teenage daughter were visiting, the subject of to-do lists came up.

The daughter laughed, and said that putting something down on her mom’s list made it the one thing she absolutely wouldn’t do.

Mom shook her head, but then said, “She’s right.”

It makes me wonder who hot-wired our brains?  Why is it that when someone tells me  “No,” I immediately think “Yes?”  Why is it that when someone tells me “You can’t,” I do it?  Or when they say I “have to,” I don’t?

I just know that “no,” “can’t” and “have to” are fighting words in my world (more…)

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Art and Thoughts

           “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” – Pablo Picasso

Chickens and Flowers

            I pretty much gave up painting for the nine years I lived in an RV. Just not enough room to piddle around with it the way I do. I’m trying to get back to doing it these days, Just for the fun of it.

And sharing is part of the fun. I know it’s not great art, but doing it cheers my soul and satisfies my creative side.

 

These hens remind me of the ones that ran around my grandmother's backyard, and eventually ended up on the Sunday dinner table.

These hens remind me of the ones that ran around my grandmother’s backyard, and eventually ended up on the Sunday dinner table.

 

            “If you know sometin’ well, you can always paint it, but people would be better off buyin’ chickens” – Grandma Moses 

Not exactly how I wanted this to come out, but I'm committed to finishing every painting I start, even if it goes in the garbage can afterwards.

Not exactly how I wanted this to come out, but I’m committed to finishing every painting I start, even if it goes in the garbage can afterwards.

And this is the poem I think of when I think of flowers:

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

 I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze

Continuous as the stars that shine And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance,

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

~William Wordsworth, 1804

Bean Pat Birding Thailand http://tinyurl.com/ksl9p4v Some armchair birding for species not you won’t see unless you travel. There are nearly 10,000 bird species worldwide, of which not quite 1,000 can be found in North America. I would truly like to see all 10,000 in person, but since I can’t this is the second best way to go birding.

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A white=breasted nuthatch defying gravity. -- Wikimedia photo

A white=breasted nuthatch defying gravity. — Wikimedia photo

             “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

From Mother Nature

Recently I watched a white-breasted nuthatch walk up and down a tree trunk. Its antics, for some unknown reason, brought to mind my tree-climbing antics when I young and nimble.  My favorite tree was a large chinaberry that grew in my grandmother’s untamed backyard. The tree stood at the rear of her property, just in front of a huge field of wild blackberries that I collected each year.

I wonder what nuthatches think about hen they are watching people? Don't you.  -- Wikimedia photo

I wonder what nuthatches think about when they are watching people? Don’t you? — Wikimedia photo

There was a large rock beneath that tree, which I used as a first step to get high up in the tree. When the leaves were in full bloom, I would hide from the world, and dream of being a circus acrobat.

I especially enjoyed collecting the tree’s hard, green pea-size berries, as they were excellent ammunition for the nightly neighborhood kid skirmishes when sides were chosen and war was initiated.

Then one day, I discovered a large rattlesnake coiled on the rock I used to boost myself up into the branches of that tree. We both scurried away. The snake was most likely as afraid of me as I had been of it. But I never climbed that tree again.

These berries from a chinaberry tree were often the ammunition for neighborhood kid skirmishes when the fireflies came out at night. I would hide behind something and throw out a handful when an unsuspecting victim passed by, usually the pesky boy next door, .

These berries from a chinaberry tree were often the ammunition for neighborhood kid skirmishes when the fireflies came out at night. I would hide behind something and throw out a handful when an unsuspecting victim passed by, usually the pesky boy next door, .

Now, many, many years later, as I watched the nuthatch defy gravity as it walked up and down the tree trunk, I thought about how fear paralyzes people from enjoying life. My bone-chilling meeting with that long-ago snake had deprived me of a favorite pastime.

But, thankfully, time taught me to fear the snake when it was where I would place my foot, but not to fear it when it wasn’t there. It was a well-learned lesson that gave me many years of freedom in the outdoors and the courage to face the unknown unafraid.

I wonder if that old chinaberry tree still exists, and if a nuthatch ever played in it? (more…)

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“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

The horizon is always calling to me, whether it lies beyond the ocean or just past a Texas cotton field.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The horizon is always calling to me, whether it lies beyond the ocean or just past a Texas cotton field. — Photo by Pat Bean

From a Passionate Nomad

            Never do I feel more at home than when I am on the road. Whether it be driving past a cotton field dotted with oil rigs in my native Texas, or maneuvering the steep and twisting coastal roads in Oregon, it always feels that’s exactly where I belong.

My itchy feet took me to Africa, where I pretended I was John Wayne in Hatari at the Amboseli National Park Airport in Kenya. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

My itchy feet took me to Africa, where I pretended I was John Wayne in Hatari at the Amboseli National Park Airport in Kenya. — Photo by Kim Perrin

Freya Stark, who was the first person to beat Phileas Fogg’s around the world in 90 days’ record, must have felt the same.

When I embarked on my nine-year U.S. cross-country adventure in a small RV I called Gypsy Lee, I had only one rule: No whining.

Freya had seven rules, which she wrote about in a letter to her mother. I laughed when I read them last night. She called them the seven cardinal virtues of a traveler. They were:

1. To admit standards that are not one’s own standards and discriminate the values that are not one’s own values.

2. To know how to use stupid men and inadequate tools with equanimity.

3.  To be able to disassociate oneself from one’s bodily sensations.

4. To be able to take rest and nourishment as and when they come.

5.  To love not only nature but human nature also.

6.  To have an unpreoccupied, observant and uncensorious mind – in other words to be unselfish.

7.  To be as commonly good-tempered at the end of the day as at the beginning.

I think Freya, who died in 1993 at the age of 100 and who during her lifetime wrote over two dozen travel books, was simply wordier than me. What do you think?

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Where’s My Backpack http://tinyurl.com/k3k5so6  Great travel blog, and today great horizons.

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