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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

“Not all is doom and gloom. We are beginning to understand the natural world and are gaining a reverence for life – all life.” – Roger Tory Peterson

            “We will need action and vigilance in the years to come, and Wild America’s defenders will have their work cut out for them. But the despoilers should not gloat, for history is against them. If you doubt that, just look back a few decades.” – Scott Weidensaul  

Some of my favorite parts of Wild America was reading James Fisher's comments about America's many wonders, including his awe at his first sight of the Grand Canyon. Actually, I'm awed every time I stand on its rim. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Some of my favorite parts of Wild America was reading James Fisher’s comments about America’s many wonders, including his awe at his first sight of the Grand Canyon. Actually, I’m awed every time I stand on its rim. — Photo by Pat Bean

Bookish Wednesday

            I just finished rereading Scott Weidensaul’s “Return to Wild America,” after rereading Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher’s “Wild America,” which was first published in 1955, and continues to be a popular classic today.

 

If I had to name one bird that I saw everywhere there was a wetlands area during my own journeys around North America, it would be the great blue heron. While I never saw more than one or two at a time, they did seem to be everywhere there was water. -- Photo by Pat Bean

re If I had to name one bird that I saw everywhere there was a wetlands area during my own journeys around North America, it would be the great blue heron. While I never saw more than one or two at a time, they did seem to be everywhere there was water. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Wild America” is about Roger and James’ 100-day, 30,000 mile, journey across the continent, mostly in search of birds. Scott’s book, published 50 years later in 2005, is a year-long retracing of the two naturalist’s journey, which was arranged by Roger for his English birding colleague, James.

I reread these books slowly, over the period of two months, just a few pages at a time, so I could fully comprehend and enjoy seeing the birds and the landscapes through these men’s eyes. I highly recommend these books for anyone who loves this beautiful country of ours as much as I do.

The half-century contrasts between the two book are part doom and gloom, but also part joy and cheer. In some ways the wildlife and land are healthier and in some ways not.

Rereading the books was awesome, and well worth my time.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Green Herons at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge  http://tinyurl.com/ms8fkdx I love watching these birds; and since I couldn’t make up my mind today a Bean Pat also to Shroom Shroom http://tinyurl.com/m5pl4aj Tolkien and mushrooms

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            “I love playing. The keyboard is my journal” – Pharrell Williams

            “I think the word ‘blog’ is an ugly word. I just don’t know why people can’t use the word ‘journal.’” — Moby

Should I write about the butterflies I saw at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix for my blog or my journal? Does it matter. Does anyone care? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Should I write about the butterflies I saw at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix for my blog or my journal? Does it matter. Does anyone care? — Photo by Pat Bean

What Do You Think?

            I’m reading Dinty Moore’s book, “Crafting the Personal Essay.” It’s good. Really good! I’ve been reading a chapter every morning with my coffee – and taking lots of notes.

Mother Nature's wonders, I believe, are meant to be shared with the world. So I guess that means they belong in a blog and not a private journal. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Mother Nature’s wonders, I believe, are meant to be shared with the world. So I guess that means they belong in a blog and not a private journal. — Photo by Pat Bean

This morning’s session, however, cost me.

Dinty thinks it is important to write things readers might care about and be interested in reading; and I realized that what I had written didn’t sound interesting – even to me. Well, except for the quotes, which I do find thought-provoking.

My first draft of this blog, however, was taking too many words to say simply that. Thankfully, I have learned that the delete key is often the best editor.

As for the difference between blogging and journaling, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the audience.  My journal is for my eyes only, and my blog is for the entire world to read. And I hope they do.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat Are Blogs the New Journal? http://tinyurl.com/mu6lelo This was my inspiration for today’s blog, but the subject matter is one I have pondered now for over a year.

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To really ask is to open the door to the whirlwind. The answer may annihilate the question and the questioner.” —Anne Rice

And Way Too Many Answers

What bird is this. Thankfully, a question I can answer. It's a black-crowned night heron. -- Photo by Pat Bean

What bird is this? Thankfully, a question I can answer. It’s a black-crowned night heron. — Photo by Pat Bean

            Hermione in the Harry Potter series reminds me of my young self, although I was never cute. I was a skinny, freckle-faced brat with unkempt hair. But like Hermione, I knew the answers to all the questions, and my hand was always up when one was asked – unless I forgot to raise my hand and just blurted out the answer.

Is Antelope Canyon in Arizona  a slot canyon, a wash.  an arroyo, or a gulch or all of the above. See. Some questions aren't easy to answer.

Is Antelope Canyon in Arizona a slot canyon, a wash. an arroyo, or a gulch or all of the above. See. Some questions aren’t easy to answer.

The questions back then, however, were easy. What is 12 plus 12? Who is known as the Father of our Country?  What year did Columbus discover America? Of course that was back before I realized America had been discovered long before Columbus set foot upon its land.

My brain, until I hit my 30s, was full of facts and all the right answers. OK, I admit, I’m a late bloomer.

But once I started questioning the answers, I quickly went from being a know-it-all to quite confused.  I became a wonderer, full of questions that seldom had just one answer, and sometimes even no answers.

Why don’t we learn from history? Which is the right path to take?  Is it better to protect the environment or provide jobs so people can feed their children? New questions pop into my head daily. Dang it!

I suspect I’m still going to be asking questions on my death bed. But isn’t it interesting how one can go from being a know-it-all to a know-nothing. Logically, it seems it should be the other way around.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

   Bean Pat: Ghost Bear Photography http://tinyurl.com/ohvthc8 If you like wildlife and wilderness you will love this blog. Today it’s simply a quote that speaks to me, and a fantastic view of the Tetons.

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            I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself. – D. H. Lawrence

 Think Again

I suspect even a big old moose could feel sorry for itself if another male won its girl from him. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I suspect even a big old moose could feel sorry for itself if another male won its girl from him. — Photo by Pat Bean

            While I’ve always accepted, as fact, that animals have feelings and thoughts and can grieve, I might once have seen the above quote as simply inspirational. I mean I agree with its philosophy that we shouldn’t feel sorry for ourselves.

Pepper curls up into a ball, eyes drooping, giving every indication that she feels sorry for herself when she knows she's being left behind. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper curls up into a ball, eyes drooping, giving every indication that she feels sorry for herself when she knows she’s being left behind. — Photo by Pat Bean

But time, and my love and observation of animals, have convinced me that animals can, and do, sometimes feel sorry for themselves. Why not? They are, after all, intelligent beings, who clearly display emotions of joy and sadness.

I once had a dog that showed clear signs of depression after my cat, which had been her long-time companion, died. And my current canine companion, Pepper, clearly shows signs of feeling sorry for herself every time she knows she’s going to be left alone at home. As I go out the door, she slinks into a corner, droops her head, and stares, with her velvet brown eyes, accusingly at me.

Thankfully, she’s a dog and holds no grudges — which is more of a cat trait — and greets me with uninhibited joy when I return.

While I don’t know what Pepper does to console herself when she’s in a Pity-Pepper mode, I do know what I do when a Pity-Pat mood strikes me. I simply think of all the people in the world who would gladly trade places with me – and I realize just how many millions that would be.

Sometimes we simply need to rethink things – like D.H. Lawrence’s popular quote.            

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

  Bean Pat:  Janaline’s World Journey http://tinyurl.com/pskalcm I loved this delightful arm chair journey to visit the Temple of Ta Prohm, and now want to go back and watch Tomb Raider so I can view the scenes in which it was featured, just as I revisited the movie, Master and Commander, after visiting, in actuality, one of its filming sites in the Galapagos Islands. Since the world is so big, and my travels are limited by time and money, I’m thankful for being able to view some of them from my comfortable home. Thank you Janaline.

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             “Building a better you is the first step to building a better America.” –Zig Ziglar

There's not much more American than Route 66. -- Photo by Pat Bean

There’s not much more American than Route 66. — Photo by Pat Bean

My Country – For Better and For Worse

Celebrating America -- Photo by Pat Bean

Celebrating America — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m not much for patriotism. It’s been the cause of too many wars. But almost every day, I wake up, and realize how thankful I am that I was born in this great country.

I weep, often and openly, for women born in countries where they are denied the same freedoms, the same opportunities, the same respect, as men. Not that many men in any country actually think women are their equals, but at least in this country we have the opportunity for careers of our choice, the right to vote, the right to hold public office and the right to go anywhere we dare alone.

It’s not always easy, and life is not always fair, but at least we have a chance. But that’s the same whatever the gender. But I cringe, thinking of what my great life today would be like if I had as few choices as some of my other-country sisters.

Thank you America. I love your purple mountains’ majesty and your amber waves of grain. And because I was free to travel this country as a lone female, I know your bounteous beauty.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Happy Fourth of July http://tinyurl.com/ly35ypq  Even if you’re a raccoon. Just a birdy way to get you to smile.

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             “Yosemite Valley, to me, is always a sunrise, a glitter of green and golden wonder in a vase edifice of stone and space.” – Ansel Adams

Yosemite waterfall. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Yosemite waterfall. — Photo by Pat Bean

Happy Birthday Yosemite

            I woke this morning just after 5 o’clock. It was beautiful and cool outside, with nary a hint that today’s high here in the Sonoran Desert would top 100 by several degrees. So I decided to take my canine companion, Pepper, to the dog park for a romp.

The Grizzly Giant -- National Park Service photo

The Grizzly Giant — National Park Service photo

On the three-mile drive there, I listened to NPR on my car radio, and learned that Yosemite is celebrating its 150th birthday. As the story goes, a photo of “The Grizzly Giant,” a Sequoia tree that is as tall as the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but with a greater lean, was shown to President Abe Lincoln.     Greatly impressed with the photos he saw, he took time out from the heartache and bloodshed of the Civil War to declare Yosemite Valley the first federally protected wilderness area.

I guess Old Abe was a tree hugger – just like me. That’s nice to know.

Bean Pat: You can read all about Yosemite’s birthday celebration here. http://tinyurl.com/ofh92d2

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Sassy Squirrels

“If we had a keen vision of all that is ordinary in human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which is the other side of silence.” – George Eliot

When I hear a squirrel chattering away in a tree, my first thought is what bird is that. But then the little gray cells chime in, informing me that it's a sassy squirrel. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I hear a squirrel chattering away in a tree, my first thought is what bird is that? But then the little gray cells chime in, informing me that it’s a sassy squirrel. — Photo by Pat Bean

Scattergories

I love playing Scattergories, a game in which you are given a letter of the alphabet and a category — like an R and restaurants. If you came up with Red Robin, you would get two points for the double R.

So one time when the letter was S and the category animals, I wrote down sassy squirrels, but the other players wouldn’t allow it.

Now I ask you, have you ever seen a squirrel that wasn’t sassy?

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: The Pop Up Camper: http://tinyurl.com/kpqedtj Capturing memories, and doing it quite well. Memoir writers might truly enjoy reading this one.

            Bean Pat: Abandoned Resolution http://tinyurl.com/l3orww7 I simply can’t get enough of this blogger’s sassy art. It usually makes me laugh at myself, and that is one of the most freeing things in life.

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