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Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

            “What is the purpose of the giant sequoia tree? The purpose of the giant sequoia tree is to provide shade for the tiny titmouse.” – Edward Abbey

I've seen rainbows almost every day for the past week. I'm glad I took time to enjoy them. This one was seen from my bedroom balcony. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve seen rainbows almost every day for the past week. I’m glad I took time to enjoy them. This one was seen from my bedroom balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

And We’ve Had Rain        

Flowers pop out everywhere in the desert after a rain, and I tried to capture the transformation in this quick watercolor. -- Art by Pat Bean

Flowers pop out everywhere in the desert after a rain, and I think this old painting of mine well captures the excitement of such a transformation. 

     I finally got caught up on my e-mail, household chores and a few other things yesterday after doing little for the past week but watching old Survivor seasons (recently added to Amazon Prime) on my computer, reading a lot, and walking dogs.

I’m retired, and so I shouldn’t feel guilty – but I do.

I wonder what my purpose in life is these days?  It’s a question I’ve long pondered without coming up with a good answer.

Meanwhile, it feels good to once again have my fingers playing on my computer keyboard. And for today that’s enough. I’ve always found it best to simply live in the moment.

Bean Pat: Write like Han Solo http://tinyurl.com/kkuw8gs I found this to be a thought-provoking blog on writing.

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“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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“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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