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Archive for the ‘Journeys’ Category

Bubba Bear

“Today I chose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” – Kevyn Aucoin

Surviving the Day

I call him Bubba Bear. He is huge and old, with a large scar across his nose, testifying to his survivor skills. Bubba stands in shallow water, facing me as I sit and drink my cream-laced coffee in an easy chair in my living room. He looms over my writing desk that sits across the way, his eyes pouring more energy into my being than the caffeinated drink I am sipping.

I bought the large, framed photograph in Park City, Utah, the weekend after I was named city editor for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden, Utah. It was both a gift to myself for the promotion, and a reminder to myself that I needed to be touch enough to handle the job ahead. As the former city editor told me before leaving, “Supervising reporters is like herding cats.”

The treasured photograph hung in the living room of my Ogden home, where I could see it every morning before I left for work, until I retired in 2004 to go gallivanting all across the country in an RV. For those nine years, it was on loan, and hung in the home of a good friend. When I settled in Tucson in 2013, I retrieved it.

This morning as I look at Bubba and drink in the energy from his stare. I find myself thankful for being alive and still moving, even if a bit slower these days. Life is good. Thanks for the reminder Bubba.

Bean Pat: Nature Has No Boss http://tinyurl.com/y85q2c5l  Black-necked stilt. I used to see these all the time in the shallow waters of Great Salt Lake.

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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Flashing rays of the morning sun at Steinaker State Park near Vernal, Utah — where dinosaurs once roamed. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Exploration is really the essence of the human spirit.” — Frank Borman

Steinaker State Park

Pepper and me enjoying our morning walk at Steinaker State Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I’m fond of camping at state parks. I’ve truly never found one I haven’t liked. I’m also fond of traveling backroads and avoiding major highways and crowds, which you might say is how I ended up during one of my journeys spending a few days at Steinaker State Park near Vernal, Utah.

As far as campgrounds go, it had all the right stuff: a scenic lake setting and an ample tree-shaded campsite. But what made this off-the-beaten-path park special to me was the chance it offered for a bit of solitude among nature’s marvels. As our world population explodes, and more and more people seeking relief from the daily chaos discover the healing powers of Mother Nature, being alone on established trails and in parks has become a rare thing. Although opportunities exist to escape to this country’s true wilderness areas, at my age this has no longer become a viable option.

I wasn’t able to capture the golden eagle that morning, but I thought you would enjoy this Wikimedia photo by Tony Hiigett. I did.

While I wasn’t alone at Steinaker, which sits at an elevation of 5,500 feet, other campers were scattered enough that I seldom saw any of them. This was especially true when I took my early morning walks with Pepper, my canine companion.

The best morning was the one in which I was awoken by a hooting great horned owl, an  a golden eagle, its wings backlit by a rising sun, doing a flyover. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Bean Pat: Interesting Literature http://tinyurl.com/y9fjj7fr  Best poems about identity and self.

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  (more…)

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A mourning dove outside my third-floor balcony. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill.

Has It Been Too Successful?

A white-winged dove on the roof across from my apartment. — Photo by Pat Bean

In 1974, a small flock of Eurasian collared doves escaped captivity in the Bahamas. By 1982, the doves had made their way to Florida. From there, they spread out all across the country to the Pacific Ocean.

I remember the excitement created by this dove in 2002, when my Northern Utah birding friends began adding it to their life lists. I didn’t see one until two years later, however, and that was on Nov. 4, 2004, in Fowler, Colorado, not long after I had begun my nine-year RVing odyssey.

Eurasian collared doves. — Wikimedia photo by Horia Varlan

Here in Tucson, I daily see mourning doves and white-winged doves from my third-floor balconies, but haven’t yet spotted an Eurasian collared, which has me questioning the concerns some birders have about it impinging on our native doves.

Coincidently, in the latest Bird Watcher’s Digest, I came across this pearl about the Eurasian collared dove written by birdwatcher and postman Mel Carriere, who admits to keeping his eyes on the sky more, sometimes, than on the mail he delivers.

Wrote Mel: “Being a dangerously invasive creature itself, I think Homo Sapiens should reflect carefully before condemning another species just because it has been so overwhelmingly successful at achieving its own Manifest Destiny in so brief a period of time.”

Mel’s words made me smile.

Bean Pat: Bug on a fireweed http://tinyurl.com/y7jl5n22 I love this blogger. I always learn something new.

Pat Bean’s book Travels with Maggie is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Bean is now working on Bird Droppings, a book about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at https://patbean.wordpress.com

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Life has taught me that you always take time to smell the flowers. — Photo by Pat Bean

“May you live all the days of your life.” – Jonathan Swift.

Still Pertinent to Life Today

Back in 1980 major changes were taking place in my life. It was a time when I was trying to find myself. Toward that end, I read much, and was continually writing down in my journals words that I thought would help me toward that goal.

On rereading some of them this morning, I saw that most were still pertinent to my life, as I have not stopped growing and learning – and may I never.

And that one should learn to be comfortable being oneself.

Following are a few of my journal entries that I especially liked.

“A man has to live with himself, and he should see to it that he always has good company.” Charles Evans Hughes. Of course, that goes for a woman, too.

Life is like an onion: You peel it off one layer at a time, and sometimes you weep.” – Charles Sandburg. I wept a lot of tears about my own life when I was younger, and now I weep for the sad side of the world that flows before us daily: its hurricanes, mass murders, racism, bullies, war and wanton unkindness. Thankfully some days that is offset by tears of joy at the beauty of nature, love in all its forms, and the kindness and thoughtfulness of good people.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” – Goethe. Even if it takes 59 years of practice and 10 years as it did for me to publish my first book.

“Of two evils, choose neither.” – Charles Spurgeon. Life has taught me that there are never only two choices. Besides taking no action, there are 100 and more alternatives for just about everything. The truth is that most of our decisions are neither right nor wrong, simply different.

“This — the immediate, every day and present experience – is IT, the entire and ultimate point for the existence of a universe.” – Alan Watts.         I think these are words and thoughts for the ages. What words do you live by?

Bean Pat: Woods Canyon Lake http://tinyurl.com/ya2kroo4 Bird lovers and travelers shouldn’t miss this blog, even with the one out-of-place photo. See if you can tell which one doesn’t belong.

Travels with Maggie, is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Or for an autographed copy, email me at patbean@msn.com

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“A serious writer is not to be confounded with a solemn writer. A serious writer may be a hawk or a buzzard or even a popinjay, but a solemn writer is always a bloody owl.” — Ernest Hemingway

Great Horned Owl — Painting by Pat Bean

What Big Beautiful Eyes You Have

Back when I was a normal person and still a working journalist, I found myself eagerly accepting assignments that involved birds, which is how one day I found myself traveling in a van through the Bonneville Salt Flats on Highway 80 between Salt Lake City and Wendover, Nevada, with seven members of HawkWatch International, an organization that monitors raptors as an indicator of the ecosystem’s health.

My goal was to monitor and report on the HawkWatchers.

Eves of a great horned owl. — Wikimedia photo

The first notes I made were about all the birds these seven guys were seeing, mostly turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks. I had driven this route before and had never seen a bird while doing so. That was the day I learned the difference that separates a birdwatcher and a normal person.

Then, after we had entered Nevada and left the interstate and civilization behind, and were driving on an unpaved backroad, one of the guys yelled “Stop! There’s an owl in that cottonwood tree.”

The driver stopped, and all of the guys oohed over the owl, which they had quickly identified as a great-horned. Even after one of the men pointed out to me where the bird was sitting, it took me a couple of minutes to actually see it. But when I did, its giant yellow eyes popped open and it stared straight at me. “Wow” was all I could think as we piled back in the van.

I was well on my way to losing my status as a normal person and becoming one of those crazy birdwatchers

Bean Pat: FrogDiva Thoughts http://tinyurl.com/y7ttlp6q Just do right. A message for these times from my hero, Maya Angelou.

Travels with Maggie, is now available on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y9gjlc7r Or for an autographed copy, email me at patbean@msn.com

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“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.” –Matsuo Basho

A view of Texas Canyon on the South side of Highway 10 — Photo by Pat Bean

Coming and Going

Since moving to Tucson in 2013, I’ve made annual trips to visit my native Texas, where the majority of my children and grandchildren live. Since I can’t take Pepper, my canine companion on a plane with me, and also because I want to watch the passing landscape, I drive.

I divide the journey into two days, stopping overnight in Van Horn, Texas, because it’s close to the halfway point of my drive, and because there’s not much else 100 miles in either direction.

          Since my dog needs potty breaks, and this old-broad body needs them, too — and leg-stretching breaks as well, I rarely pass up a rest stop – even if it’s only about 60 miles from where I started the journey or 60 miles from home on the return to Tucson.

I mention that distance because that’s the location of the Texas Canyon picturesque rest stop on Highway 10 in the Dragoon Mountains, which are known for their giant granite boulders.

Curious about why there is a Texas Canyon, I did some quick research. The explanation I found on Wikipedia was: “In the mid to late 1880s David A. Adams arrived from Texas, soon to be followed by other family members. The family became the namesake of Texas Canyon, as word begin going around that there were ‘a bunch of damned Texans up there.’ Descendants still live and raise cattle on the old family ranch.”

There are rest stops on both the north and south sides of the highway, and every time I stop at them, the landscape always impresses me. The rocks that dominate the landscape are definitely Texas-sized.

Bean Pat :Best Bird of the Week http://tinyurl.com/ybhpy34z A Lincoln sparrow. I, too, like to keep track of the best bird of the week. Mine was a magpie, my favorite bird, which I saw on the roof of my friend Kim’s house in Ogden, Utah. It was the first magpie for me this year.

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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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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