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Carpe Diem

            Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. –Charles Richard

This day, standing beneath a covered shelter on a bridge across a pond at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge with my son, Lewis, was a seized day that left me with special memories. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

This day, standing beneath a covered shelter on a bridge across a pond at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge during a storm, with my son, Lewis, was a seized day that left me with special memories. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Seize the Day

            Just a few quotations that hopefully will inspire you to not let today pass by unnoticed.

Enduring that same storm was a scissor-tailed flycatcher that I captured with my camera through the rain. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Enduring that same storm was a scissor-tailed flycatcher that I captured with my camera through the rain. — Photo by Pat Bean

Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you’re sure to be right.” — Harry “Breaker” Harbord Morant

            “Go for it now. The future is promised to no one.” — Wayne Dyer

            Just FYI, I’m currently reading Dyer’s recent book, I Can See Clearly Now. His much earlier Your Erroneous Zones had a major impact on making my life better back in the 1970s. Dyer is one of my heroes.

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”Braveheart

            This final is a quote from the toast my son, Michael, made at his older sister’s wedding. “May you live, so that when you die, you know the difference.” It’s one of my favorite quotes.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Eagle flight http://tinyurl.com/ng5s3ca WOW! Also, Cecil the Lion http://tinyurl.com/njcg2n2 NY Times Opinion Peace. Well said.

Bogged Down

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” — C.S. Lewis   ” Every day is a good day to be alive.”– Marty Robbins

I think the alligators got me when I tried doing too many things. --Photo by Pat Bean

I think the alligators got me when I tried doing too many things. –Photo by Pat Bean

Time to Simplify I have to admit that the past two weeks have found me doing not much of anything worthwhile. I think it started when I wrote out a complete list of all the things I needed to do, should do, and wanted to do.

Anne Lamott advises writers to take things Bird by Bird in her excellent book. I think I'm going to try and follow that advise from now on. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Anne Lamott advises writers to take things Bird by Bird in her excellent book. I think I’m going to try to follow that advise from now on. — Photo by Pat Bean

After finishing the list, which took up about 50 lines in a notebook, I was suddenly too tired to do anything. For the next several days I played computer games, which prompted me to vow not to play computer games for the next 50 days. Then I watched TV programs on my computer for several days. I’m not sure what finally gave me a clue as to what my problem was, but clearly that impossible to accomplish list had mired me in a muddy pond thick with alligators. So I put the list aside, and went back to simply listing a few prioritized things that needed accomplishing on a daily to do list — and which I could reasonably complete and still have time left over for dawdling, reading and smelling the flowers. As if by magic, I recovered my energy. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I think my brain gets a kick out of playing games with me.     

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Wildlife Sighting http://tinyurl.com/q57dgvv Take an armchair trip with this photographer as he watches a cougar drag its dinner up a cliff.

20 Ways to a Better Life

Taking time to smell the flowers, without getting stung by the bee of course, always makes me happy.

Taking time to smell the flowers, without getting stung by the bee of course, always makes me happy.

I’m not one to give advice, as the choices I’ve made in my own life have been far from perfect. But I was recently thinking about the things that I know or do that have made my life better. I came up with the following 20.

  1. Get a dog, and walk it daily
  2. Don’t take anything personal unless it makes you feel better.
  3. Realize people are more concerned about how they look than how you look.
  4. Find your passion in life, and follow it.
  5. Believe in yourself.
  6. Accept that you’re not perfect.
  7. Learn something new every day.
  8. Get enough sleep, but don’t occasionally miss out on an opportunity to keep going until you drop.
  9. Smile
  10. Hug someone
  11. Laugh often and loud,
  12. Beat a pillow with a tennis racket when you’re frustrated. Or simple scream the anger out.
  13. Eat chocolate
  14. Take a hike in the mountains, or forest, or beside a stream, or on an ocean beach.
  15. Complete a project.
  16. Say no when you don’t want to do something.
  17. Don’t break promises to yourself.
  18. Give yourself credit for reaching goals.
  19. Do something that scares you and that you’ve never done before.
  20. Watch a sunrise, or a sunset, or both.

So what makes you satisfied and happy with life?

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Look Up http://tinyurl.com/o7h78ek Beautiful photo, wise advice.

20-Minute Cliff

“The high road of the Blue Ridge Mountains is like a long museum corridor lined with nature’s treasures.” — National Park Service

A sign to ponder. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A sign to ponder. — Photo by Pat Bean

Back to Pondering

I was looking through the many photos I took a couple of years ago when I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway when I came across the one pictured above. The sign left me pondering its significance.

Along with sight-seeing and pondering as we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pepper (who joined me after Maggie died for the last eight months of my full-time RV travels) and I did a a lot of exploring of the parkway's many trails. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Along with sight-seeing and pondering as we drove the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pepper (who joined me after Maggie died for the last eight months of my full-time RV travels) and I did a a lot of exploring of the parkway’s many trails. — Photo by Pat Bean

But it was autumn when I was on the parkway, and the golden, scarlet, purple, lemon and orange hues along the way kept me from pondering too long. It was more important for me to drink in the Technicolor views, which often magically appeared from behind layers of thick white fog and mist as each day grew older.

Now, seeing the sign without the awesome scenery to distract me, I’m back to pondering again.

The sign reads: In June and July, during corn-choppin’ time, this cliff serves the folks in White Rock community as a time piece. Twenty minutes after sunlight strikes the rock face, dusk falls on the valley below.”

Who in the heck figured this timetable out, and what would people be doing at this exact spot on the ridge right before dusk? Pondering, I guess, is what a wondering, wanderer does best.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Ranting Crow http://tinyurl.com/p9qsfk6 Thought of the day. If you get to be my age, you have to wonder why history keeps repeating itself. Perhaps it’s time for a change.

Once upon a Time

“Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our own story, interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone.” — Steven Spielberg

When not looking at my cell phone, I see the amazing details of Mother Nature's wonders all around me. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When not looking at my cell phone, I see the amazing details of Mother Nature’s wonders all around me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Before Phones Depended on Air Waves

            I’ve lived long enough to remember when phone numbers began with words and were only five digits long. If my memory serves me well, but no excuses if it doesn’t, the first word of my grandmother’s heavy black phone was Wright, which meant that the first number you dialed was a 9.

A quiet pond reflecting the world above and around. May I never be engrossed with a cell phone when I pass it by. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A quiet pone reflecting the world above and around. May I never be engrossed with a cell phone when I pass it by. — Photo by Pat Bean

I balked at getting a cell phone until my work, which wanted to reach me at all hours of the day and night, finally bought me one and paid for the service. Actually you didn’t usually have to purchase a phone back then. You got a free one when you signed a contract for a year or two of service.

Not too long ago, I watched a Verizon customer come in with a stupid phone that he had for many years, and which had died. The only free phone they would give him was a smart phone, which of course came with a higher monthly service charge. He opted to pay for a dumber version. Then they charged him to download what he had saved on his old phone to his new phone.

My son bought me one of those smart phones when I was traveling around the country in an RV so he could track my movements. But when I settled down here in the Sonoran Desert, I put the smart phone in the closet and reconnected my old cell phone. It texts, but if I want to write a W I have to punch 9 (and so on) as my phone doesn’t have a keyboard.

I chose to go back to my dumb phone because the monthly charge is less and everything smart phones can do, I can do on my laptop. Well except take photos, and I have a good, pocket digital, PowerShot Canon for that. And besides I’m not sure I want my kids tracking my every movement.

My problem is that, more often than not, I forget to take my cell phone with me when I go somewhere. It wouldn’t be a problem unless I needed to call someone, like if my car wouldn’t start. There are no phone books for cell phone numbers, and the only number I have memorized in my head is my own, and sometimes I have to think hard to remember it. All the phone numbers of friends, family, and care providers are saved on my dumb phone.

The upside of my forgetfulness is that I’m not missing the world around me.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Before I Forget http://tinyurl.com/obk8j96 Dishpans and Buckets – and Joy – another trip down memory lane.

Arivaca Cienega

These two trees captured my attention along the Arivaca Cienega Trail because they so accurately represent the circle of life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

These two trees captured my attention along the Arivaca Cienega Trail because they so accurately represent the circle of life. — Photo by Pat Bean

I am not bound for any public place, but for ground of my own where I have planted vines and orchard trees, and in the heat of the day climbed up into the healing shadow of the woods. Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup. ~Wendell Berry

Birdy Backroad Heaven

I woke up restless the other morning, and solved it by reviving a weekend morning tradition from back when I was putting in 50-hour work weeks. I packed a picnic lunch, gathered up my canine companion, Pepper, and we took off looking for a backroad and hoping it took us someplace where we could be away from the crowds and in one of Mother Nature’s wondrous landscapes.

Not the best picture, but in person it was magnificent. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Not the best picture, but in person it was magnificent. — Photo by Pat Bean

I found my backroad off Interstate 19 near Arizona’s border with Mexico. It led to the small town of Arivaca 23 miles away. I passed a Border Patrol stop near the interstate, but was waved on and told I only had to stop on the way back.

Speed limit on the narrow, twisting and bumpy back lane was mostly 45 mph, but it wasn’t often I was able to go that fast. But traffic, except for a couple of pickup trucks and a half-dozen motorcyclists traveling together, was non-existent. It was exactly what I had been hoping to find.

I didn't have to search hard to find this abode of Mother Nature. This sign set right beside the road just east of Arivaca. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I didn’t have to search hard to find this abode of Mother Nature. This sign set right beside the road just east of Arivaca. — Photo by Pat Bean

I found myself singing “On the Road Again.” I couldn’t belt it out with the grace of Willie Nelson but, it was good enough to put me in a yippy-I-got-away-from-the-world mood, especially when I had to dodge a greater roadrunner dashing across the road.

Just outside downtown Arivaca, which sits on the edge of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. Pepper and I stopped at the refuge’s Arivaca Cienega site, which is a designated Audubon Important Birding Area. Thankfully, leashed pets were allowed on the trail, which cut through what was clearly a marsh during the desert area’s monsoon season. Cienega, in fact, translates as swamp. Birds twittered all around us, and among others I identified song sparrows, cardinals, Bell’s vireos and western kingbirds. A deer watched us a minute or two as we rounded a bend in the trail before scampering out of sight.

I didn’t think my morning, which was cooled by a light breeze still fresh from the desert night, could have been any more perfect. Then a pair of red-tailed hawks circled overhead and it did.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Luckenbach Loop http://tinyurl.com/n9cgt9v One of my favorite bloggers also enjoys a backroad trip.

Falling Down

A blast from the past: Me and Maggie hiking Mount Ogden's foothills.  -- Photo by Pat Bean.

A blast from the past: Me and Maggie hiking Mount Ogden’s foothills. — Photo by Pat Bean.

It is necessary for a man to go away by himself, to sit on a rock and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?” Carl Sandburg

We Should All Do It More

            When I was learning to ski, I would sit down the second I felt out of control. But eventually I learned to stay in control and then I seldom ever fell down.

So what does my skiing instructor tell me? “You’re not falling down enough,” he said.

It was a strange comment, but I immediately understood what he meant. He was telling me that I was playing it too safe, and that this was keeping me from getting better.

The fear of falling, call it failure, is still a fault of mine. Looking back now, I realize that this fear held me back from moving forward many times over the years. I don’t know about you, but getting up seems to be the easy part for me. .

Bean Pat: Remembering http://tinyurl.com/p7byop4 I’ve had writer’s block the past couple of weeks, which is almost a first for me. This blog gave me a helpful push in the right direction.

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