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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

 

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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I Love Storms

    “Storms make trees take deeper roots.” – Dolly Parton

"A Storm -- Shipwreck" by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Turner's many storm paintings, like this one, capture both the fury of Mother Nature and her amazing light. He's one of my favorite artists.

“A Storm — Shipwreck” by Joseph Mallord William Turner. Turner’s many storm paintings, like this one, capture both the fury of Mother Nature and her amazing light. He’s one of my favorite artists.

And So Did William Turner

I sat on my balcony two days ago, ignoring the drops of rain that blew into my face, watching as Mother Nature had a temper tantrum. While three dogs, my own canine companion, Pepper, and two I was dog-sitting, all tried to get in my lap at once for comfort, I reveled in the awesome concert created by rain slamming hard against the ground, the sky exploding with jagged streaks of light, and the thunderous claps that punctuated the air.

The aftermath of the storm here at my apartment was a huge fallen branch from a tree that appeared to have been struck by lightning. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The aftermath of the storm here at my apartment was a huge fallen branch from a tree that appeared to have been struck by lightning. — Photo by Pat Bean

As I watched, I thought of Joseph Mallord William Turner, whom I once wrote a paper on for a college art class. This nineteenth-century English painter, whose canvases often captured the intensity of storms at sea, was said to have once tied himself to the mast of a ship so he could fully feel Mother Nature’s fury.

I envy him.

Why, I wonder, do I get such pleasure from something that can, and often does, wreak havoc on our planet? Why do I not cower when lightning lights up the sky and thunder booms its response — as does a friend of mine who literally hides in bed during a serious thunder storm?

One of the favorite memories of my time living in a small RV for nine years, was the morning I lay in my over-the-cab bed at Kickapoo State Park in Illinois as a mountain of rain pinged off the metal roof so close above me. I had never before felt as close to a storm as I did this one.

It was a real doozy of a tempest, too, one that caused the trees surrounding me to shake and sway and bend and dance beneath a psychedelic lightning-lit sky, while overhead the air vibrated with the quaking bass voices of rage.

I loved every moment of it. And now I wonder what that says about me?

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Great old Broads for Wilderness http://greatoldbroads.org/  If you’re an old broad like me, or even if you’re not, you might find this web site of interest. Their mission is one I support. I agree 100 percent with what Edward Abbey said. “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.”

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            “The ideal man bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of circumstances.” — Aristotle

Desert morning. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Desert morning. — Photo by Pat Bean

And This Morning It was My Turn

I have a new car that has less than 6,000 miles on it. So you know how unhappy I was Saturday, given that it’s August and I live in the desert, when Cayenne’s air conditioning stopped working while I was out running errands.

Cayenne's air conditioner isn't working. Sh-ee-it! -- Photo by Pat Bean

Cayenne’s air conditioner isn’t working. Sh-ee-it! — Photo by Pat Bean

After getting back home, and taking a shower to cool off, I called and got an appointment to get it fixed. That was Saturday, and the guy I talked with, told me Tuesday, and to be at the dealer’s at 7:45 a.m. so I could catch the 8 a.m. shuttle back to my apartment..

The first thing the service guy told me when I got there this morning was that he expected me yesterday. I said I was told Tuesday. He then said he would try to get to my vehicle fixed today.

Grrrrrrrr!

Then when I went in to catch the 8 o’clock shuttle, I discovered that there was no 8 a.m. shuttle. It was a 7:30 a.m. shuttle and another one wouldn’t leave until 9 a.m.

That brought me to the final blip on my morning. I had left home without a book, a rare happening, and there was no reading material in the waiting area.

I’m afraid I uttered the S word. But then maybe that’s OK. Aristotle said “the ideal man” and not “the ideal woman.”

 

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Blaise and John Clement http://tinyurl.com/mpwj2fn What’s a cozy mystery? I’m a fan of this mother and son, and have read all eight of the first in the series.  I like cozies, whatever they are.

 

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“Oh, I want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distractions, a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert

There's noting better than a nice walk through a scenic landscape, such as this boardwalk loop at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. Some of my best ideas come to me on such walks. --  Photo by Pat Bean

There’s noting better than a nice walk through a scenic landscape, such as this boardwalk loop at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. Some of my best ideas come to me on such walks. — Photo by Pat Bean

Or Perspiration?

            I’m always being asked where I get my blogging ideas. A good answer would be everywhere.

Or how about this boardwalk trail outside of Galveston. It, too, would make for a good idea walk. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Or how about this boardwalk trail outside of Galveston. It, too, would make for a good idea walk. — Photo by Pat Bean

But I have noticed that they mostly come when I’m sitting still, perhaps drinking my morning coffee on my balcony, staring out at Mount Lemmon as the day comes to life, or when I’m soaking in my bathtub, thinking of nothing much but shaving my legs.

I also get ideas in my dreams at night – but unless I write these down immediately, they disappear before I sit down to drink that first cup of coffee.

The funny thing is that when I do sit down in front of my computer – the perspiration of writing – to put an idea into words, it’s not unusual for a slew of other ideas, usually better ones, to take over my writing fingers.

So I guess the best answer to where my ideas come from is my butt – when it sits itself down to write. I guess that’s why “Butt to Chair” is the No. 1 writing tip of all times.          

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat: Zen Pencils http://tinyurl.com/mq5lqdp  Funny cartoon with great message. I loved it.

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