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Never Too Late

The bridge stand-off at Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia, one of the many places I visited during my RV-ing adventures. — Photo by Pat Bean.

“Remember your dreams and fight for them. You must know what you want from life. There is just one thing that makes your dream become impossible: the fear of failure.” — Paulo Coelho

Tell Me Your Stories

Now that Travels with Maggie has finally been released to the world, the next step, my friend Debra tell me, you have to market the book. And one of the things you need to do is put together a 30-minute PowerPoint presentation so you can give talks.

A trail at Laura S. Walker State Park in Georgia, one of the many trails I hiked after the age of 65. Halfway along this two-mile trail, I came across a sign that said Beware of Bears. Needless to say the second leg of the hike was done in record time. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I have dozens of photographs from the journey, but I’ve never put together a PowerPoint presentation,” I told her. But that problem was quickly solved when I mentioned this to my youngest daughter, T.C., here in Tucson. She said she uses PowerPoint almost daily at work, and that she would put a presentation together for me on my computer, which already has all the necessary tech ingredients.

One problem solved. The next, I realized, was that I needed a script. But after a night of lost sleep, pondering what to talk about, I came up with a theme: Never Too Late. It was a no-brainer.

My wanderlust began when I was 10 years old, after reading Osa Johnson’s book I Married Adventure, which was about photographing and documenting lions in Africa. The book was the best non-fiction seller of 1940, the year after I was born. Traveling across America full-time became a specific dream after I read William Least Heat Moon’s Blue Highways in 1983.

By this time, I had become addicted to reading travel books, but 1983 was also when I was in the midst of my 37-year journalism career, and was struggling to keep the wolf from the door. It wasn’t until 2004, at the age of 65, that I was finally free to pursue my dream.

I sold my home, bought an RV and spent the next nine years wandering this beautiful country we live in, fulfilling a dream that spanned over half a century of dreams. It truly never is too late.

I would love to hear the stories of my readers about how they finally fulfilled longtime dreams. Please share them with me. I am sure they will help inspire me in writing the script so my friend, Debra Winegarten, whose book, There’s Jews in Texas, won the 2011 Poetica Magazine National Contest and who is the founder of Sociosights Press, and whom I adore, will stop nagging me.

Bean Pat: Joy Loves Travel http://tinyurl.com/ycjqq3dc An epic tale of England, a great armchair viewing of an outdoor spectacle.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

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Texas Road Trip

When we contemplate the whole globe as one great dewdrop, striped and dotted with continents and islands, flying through space with other stars all singing and shining together as one, the whole universe appears as an infinite storm of beauty.” — John Muir

Sunrise in Van Horn, Texas, on Wednesday, when I began the second leg of my journey back to Tucson, Arizona. — Photo by Pat Bean

While Hurricane Harvey Roared

I drove to Texas for a granddaughter’s wedding one weekend and a family reunion the next weekend. The wedding was held in Dallas — and it was beautiful. But the family reunion on the coast was canceled because of Hurricane Harvey. I stayed dry in Dallas and anxiously watched the impact Harvey had on two of my five children, six of their children, and two of my quite-young great-granddaughters and their families.

Hurricane Harvey near peak intensity prior to landfall in Texas, on August, 25. — Wikimedia photo

My son D.C. and his son David evacuated their homes in West Columbia. Their families went to Temple, Texas, where they watched events on television at their hotel. My other son and family members sat out the hurricane in Lake Jackson, Galveston and Houston. Amazingly their homes weren’t flooded, although it was a close call for family members in West Columbia, who still haven’t been allowed to return home because the San Bernard River flooded the sewage plant serving their residential area.

“In fact,” D.C. said, “it was the residents who couldn’t evacuate, because all outgoing roads flooded so quickly, who saved our neighborhood. They got to work and shored up the levee to keep it from overflowing.”

D.C. also said, before he knew his home was safe, that what mattered was that all his loved ones were safe, and that was what was important. My son and I think alike.

Meanwhile, I got to spend more time with my oldest daughter than in a long, long, time. We had a great visit, spending much of it playing board games. Even my son-in-law Neal and I got along, despite the fact that he and I are quite competitive game opponents, and he annoys me by giving me huge bags of gummy bears, which I eat until I get sick.

Bean Pat: Storms http://tinyurl.com/y748oypa Great birds and inspirational thoughts.

   Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y You can contact Bean at patbean@msn.com

Benches

The Blue Bench — painted by Pat Bean

“Truly the bench is a boon to idlers. Whoever first came up with the idea is a genius: free public resting places where you can take time out from the bustle and brouhaha of the city, and simply watch and reflect.” – Tom Hodgkinson

Sitting, Watching and Listening

Dock benches at Tom’s Cove Campground on Chincoteague Island in Virginia. — Photo by Pat Bean

When I was a beginning birdwatcher, I thought patience was only an activity for couch potatoes. This non-activity simply wasn’t part of my vocabulary – or my life. But the birds I wanted to see didn’t always, in fact seldom, showed up in a timely fashion.

“Learn to sit quietly for half an hour and you won’t be disappointed,” a birding mentor told me. But 10 minutes was all I could manage for the first couple of years. I had to work up to it, but finally I caught on.

A bench at the Amherstburg Navy Yard in Ontario, Canada.

 

And once I did that, I began looking for places with interesting views to sit. And lo and behold I discovered the joy of benches. The blue one above, which I painted from a photograph (below left),

was located at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. It looked out over a meadow filled with tall, grassy reeds where yellow-headed blackbirds could frequently be found.

The benches on the top left were located on a dock on Chincoteague Island in Virginia, where I spent a week. Gulls and boat-tail grackles liked to gather here.

And the photo on the right above was taken in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, where I watched a blue-winged teal swim about in the harbor and house sparrows pecking about in flowerbeds.

Sitting on a bench, in a delectable nature setting, has now become one of my “activities.”

It is much better any day than sitting meditation, which so far, I haven’t managed to do for more than five minutes at a time. My busy brain just won’t turn off when Mother Nature, and birds, aren’t around to keep my attention focused.

I guess you can now call me a bench potato.

Bean Pat: The Page Turner http://tinyurl.com/y9b2y3z3 Enjoy the photography of John Macdonald. I did.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

Cavanal Mountain

A great egret fishing the Poteau River below the Lake Wister Dam near Poteau, Oklahoma. — Photo by Pat Bean

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!” – William Butler Yeats  

Making a Mountain out of a Hill 

           For the nine years in which my home was on the road in a small RV with my canine companion, Maggie, I called myself a wondering-wanderer. It’s because as I drove across North America, through its golden fields of grain and mind-boggling redwood forests, and often went to sleep beside a gurgling body of water, my mind was always asking questions.

Cavanal: World’s Tallest Hill in Poteau, Oklahoma

A week spent at Lake Wister State Park near Poteau, Oklahoma, got me thinking about the difference between a mountain and a hill. That’s because Poteau’s Chamber of Commerce promotes the city as home of the world’s tallest hill, but that hill is officially called Cavanal Mountain.

What I easily learned, from bit of geological research, is that a landscape feature is a mountain if it is 2,000 feet or taller, and a hill if it is less than 2,000 feet tall. Cavanal Mountain is 1,999-feet tall.

The road up to the top of Cavanal Mountain.

Once I put my wondering mind at ease, I was able to enjoy my stay on the park’s tiny Quarry Island, which was accessed by a short bridge.

I awoke each morning to the sound of a chipper mockingbird greeting the day from the top of the picnic table outside my window. Lake Wister, created when a dam on the Poteau River was completed in 1949, also greeted me every morning. It was visible out both my front and rear windows as Quarry Island was quite narrow.

Maggie and I took frequent walks around the island. It was a great week in which my wondering mind did a lot of wandering.

Bean Pat: Deep in my Bones http://tinyurl.com/yayrrvgf A lot to howl about. This reminds me of the night I howled with the wolves, which I write about in Travels with Maggie.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

Goodie Two-Shoes

 

The cover of the 1888 edition of Goody Two-Shoes. — Wikimedia photo

“Enjoy the satisfaction that comes from doing little things well.” — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I No Longer is One, Thank Gawd!

By my own naming, I was a goodie two-shoes until I was in my mid-30s. By this, I mean I followed all the rules, never skipped school, made straight As, didn’t cuss or drink, and thought I had to be — and tried to be — the perfect wife and mother, which of course any sane person knows is impossible. I also thought the world was fair and justice would always triumph.

Wood cut from the 1768 edition of Good Two-Shoes. — Wikimedia photo

While it hurt deeply for me to accept that the world wasn’t fair, one of the best days of my life was the one in which I not only accepted that I didn’t have to be perfect, but that I no longer even wanted to be perfect.

Sometimes I ponder in amazement, and disbelief, about that person I used to be. Then, this morning, my wondering mind asked itself where the term goodie two-shoes originated.

Back in my goodie two-shoes’ days, and even for many years following, such wondering would have involved a long search at the library. Today I simply typed the words into the search engine on my computer and came up with the answer.

Goody Two-Shoes was the name of a children’s book published in London in 1765 by John Newbery, the Father of Children’s Literature, and for whom the Newbery Medal for children’s books is named.

The story, which was published anonymously, is a variation of the Cinderella tale. Goody Two-Shoes is the nickname of an orphan girl who goes through life with only one shoe. In the end, she becomes a teacher and marries a rich man as reward for her goodness.

Not like my life at all, is all this old-broad has to say to that. I just hope Goody ended up as happy with her life in the end as I am with my far-from-perfect life.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Tsawout Trails http://tinyurl.com/ydgpg8uj I took a refreshing armchair trail hike with the Old Plaid Camper this morning. Perhaps you would enjoy the scenic walk, too

The Purple Cow

Pepper and the Purple Cow. — Photo by Pat Bean

If you’re of an age like me, or even perhaps younger, you’ve probably quoted The Purple Cow Poem by Gelett Burgess. Written in 1895, one writer said it might be the most oft quoted poem of the 20th Century after The Night Before Christmas.

I never saw a purple cow

I never hope to see one;

But I can tell you, anyhow,

I’d rather see than be one!

Burgess, who published the poem in his 1895 wit and humor journal, finally grew tired of the poem. And so he wrote, in the 1897 final issue of The Lark,

Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Co

I’m Sorry, now, I wrote it;

But I can tell you Anyhow

I’ll Kill you if you Quote it!

Well, I’ve seen a purple cow, and so has my canine companion Pepper. She was a bit stumped by it, as you can see from the above photo. You can see it, to, if you visit The Waynesboro N. 340 Campground in Waynesboro, Virginia.

Bean Pat: The Shame of It. http://tinyurl.com/ydgd3gu4 This blog is long, and aimed at writers and ends with something to sell. In other words, it’s the kind of blog, well except for being aimed at writers, that I never give a shout out. But there is so much to ponder in it that I broke my own rules. I love this blog.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com 

A Green Desert?

 

The desert landscape from my daughter’s Marana home on the southwest outskirts of Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Just sometimes every damned thing goes right? – Yhprum’s Law

Yup! It’s Monsoon Season in the Sonoran Desert

The ocotillos are lush-leafed and the saguaros are pumped. That’s what happens when you get a week or so of heavy downpours.

An ocotillo in bloom at Catalina State Park north of Tucson. I took this photo while I was still traveling full-time in my RV, and before I ever dreamed I would end up living in Tucson. — Photo by Pat Bean

These two cacti abound in Tucson, whose human development, especially in the Catalina foothills where I live, is tucked between and above the washes and arroyos that have been allowed to remain undeveloped so as to carry the falling water away quickly. The fact that there’s a bit of wildness remaining in the city, some of which is just seconds away from my apartment complex, is one of the reasons I’ve come to love Tucson.

I also enjoy the mountain ranges that encircle the city: The Tucson Mountains to the west. the Rincon Mountains to the east, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, and the Catalina Mountains that are my backyard to the northeast. The sides of these mountains are now tinged a verdant green because of all the rain. It’s a cool view, especially after the 115 plus temperatures that plagued Southeastern Arizona for weeks.

I’ll enjoy it while I can, as soon the ocotillos will lose their green leaves to conserve the little water they’ll get in the coming months. They will become simply brown, tall thorny stems sticking up from the ground. The saguaros, meanwhile, will grow skinnier again, using the rain water they inhaled to maintain themselves through the waterless desert months.

Watching the changes that take place in the landscape around me, from day-to-day and season to season, gives me great pleasure. It connects me to Mother Earth.

Bean Pat: So Much Yarn https://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/2017/07/19 Take an armchair tour of England’s Yorkshire Market.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is soon to be released. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com