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Archive for the ‘Lakes’ Category

“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” – Salma Hayek

Secret, also know as Cecret, Lake in Albion Basin at the top of Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. — Wikimedia photo

A Day to Remember

I’m organizing photos that I removed from albums and put in a box when I got rid of or condensed everything so all my belongings would fit into a small RV back in 2004. Lately, I’ve been rummaging through that box.

Kim and me looking out over Secret Lake. I’m not sure who took the photo, most likely Cory, Kim’s son.

Of the many photos, my favorites are the ones of me enjoying Mother Nature’s outdoor wonders. My long-time friend Kim is there with me in many of these memories, like the one recaptured by the photograph on the right, which was taken at Secret, or Cecret as some people call it, Lake at the top of Albion Basin up Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.

As I recall it was an early July day, which is when spring wakes up in this high country, Notice the snow still visible in the background of the photo. I recall that the meadow at the trailhead, where Kim and I started our hike, as being saturated with wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, columbine, lupine, Jacob’s ladder, beard’s tongue, and elephant’s head (my favorite), just to name a few.

I can’t remember ever seeing so many different wildflowers crowed into one place as I did this day. I do remember trying, unsuccessfully, to name them all. The profusion of wildflowers accompanied Kim and I all the way up to Secret Lake, where we sat for a while enjoying the warm sun.

I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but since I don’t recall bird watching on the hike, I’m pretty sure it was before 1999. That’s when I got addicted to birds, and from that time forward, I was always looking for them. In fact, after that year, I couldn’t not see birds.

Bean Pat: A Slice of Life http://tinyurl.com/kjyblf8 The beauty of a garden, and one magnificent radish

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“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.” – Albert Einstein

A male Baltimore oriole. — Wikimedia photo

My 477th Bird

Back in 2006, when I was still a full-time RV-er traveling across America, I found myself camped beside Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees at Bernice State Park in Oklahoma. On my second day there, I was up by 6 a.m., and after a quick cup of cream-laced coffee and a short walk with my canine traveling companion Maggie, I took off alone to explore the park’s nature trail. It was summer-hot and humid, and Maggie had seemed quite agreeable to be left behind to sit in her favorite perch in front of the air conditioner.

View of Grand Lake that I had through the window of my RV at Bernice State Park in Oklahoma. — Photo by Pat Bean

Several bird feeders set out near the trailhead were bustling with Carolina chickadees and American goldfinches, and as I watched, a nearby downy, North America’s most common and smallest woodpecker, drummed its own attention-getting beat. It was going to be a good day, I decided.

As I continued on down the path, I took plenty of time to breathe in the simple beauty around me: a yellow patch of wall flowers, the artistic composition of a small dead tree reclaimed by vines, and an occasional peek of a glistening, sun-speckled lake through thick foliage

I’ve often wondered how people who don’t take nature breaks stay sane in today’s fast-paced world? I suspect that the angry psychopaths who do evil and harm are among the deprived.

My thoughts were interrupted when a doe and her freckled fawn came into sight around a curve in the path. I froze, as did the two deer. We all stared intently. When I finally took a step forward, mom stepped into the woods. Her baby gave me one last look of interest then quickly followed. It amazes me how fast wildlife can disappear from sight.

A male Bullock’s oriole — Wikimedia photo

My thoughts were still on the deer when a flash of orange drew my attention. With eyes glued to my binoculars, I followed the color through the tree branches, and realized I was most likely looking at a Baltimore oriole. While common in the East, these orioles don’t visit the West, where I had lived when I took up birdwatching.

Out West, the Baltimore’s look-alike cousin is the Bullock oriole. I had seen hundreds of Bullocks, but this was my first Baltimore. It was what we birders call a lifer. While I rejoiced, I lamented the too brief view I had before the bird disappeared amongst the trees. I had identified the bird more because of its color and location than because of specific field marks.

Later in the day, as I was sitting at my table writing, the omission was rectified. A Baltimore oriole flew right outside my RV window, and then lingered in the area. It was a breeding male with a black head atop a bright orange body that had thin white streaks on black wings. A Bullock wears only a black cap atop its head and its black wings have prominent white patches on them.

After the oriole flew away, I got out my world bird list and added the Baltimore oriole to it. It was bird 477. I had been hesitant to put it on the list earlier because of the poor sighting. Life is good, I thought, as I added the date and place of its sighting beside the bird’s name.

As I had suspected, it turned out to be a very good day.

Bean Pat: Houston Art Car Parade http://tinyurl.com/mqug4ef For people watchers, too. As a writer, these photos are good examples of interesting characters.

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 Goosey goosey gander, Whither shall I wander? Upstairs and downstairs And in my lady’s chamber. There I met an old man Who wouldn’t say his prayers.

So I took him by his left leg And threw him down the stairs.

The stairs went crack, He nearly broke his back. And all the little ducks went, “Quack, quack, quack”

I've taken many a goose photo, but this one taking off ahead of a boat I was in on Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve taken many a goose photo, but this one taking off ahead of a boat I was in on Lake Pend Oreille in Idaho is one of my favorites.

Are You Good, or Are You Bad?

            You can goose someone, go on a wild goose chase, get goose bumps, or call someone a silly goose.

Canada geese on Lake Walcott in Idaho. Photo by Pat Bean

Canada geese on Lake Walcott in Idaho. Photo by Pat Bean

My brain focused on these goose oddities one delightful morning not too long ago when I watched and listened to a flock of geese, flying their V-wedge formation overhead. While such sights and sounds cleanse my soul of the world’s chaos, it can just as easily send questions pulsing through my brain.

It’s always been such, but these days more of those questions get answered by the magic of the internet.

I didn’t have time to search that particular morning, but I added the word “goose” to my lengthy list of blog ideas. I came across  it again this morning when I was wondering what to post. My 15 minutes of scanning the internet turned up the “Goosey, Goosey Gander” nursery rhyme —  which makes you wonder at the cruelty of nursery rhymes.

More interesting were the goose proverbs I found, like “What is good for the goose is good for the gander,” from America; “ A wild goose never reared a tame gosling,” from Ireland; and “When the goose honk high, fair weather; when the goose honk low, foul weather,” from who knows where.

But my favorite quote, most certainly because I am a writer, was Tom Robbins’ quote: “When I sit down to write, I just let the goose out of the bottle.” – Tom Robbins

So what does the word goose bring to your mind?

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Time Travel Portal http://tinyurl.com/kpb9jkq I once came across my own time travel portal. It was at the Garr Ranch on Antelope Island in Utah. I stepped out a stable door into an orchard that seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the desert, Great Salt Lake landscape. It was magical.

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Bookish Wednesday

            “A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way.” Caroline Gordon

The dark mirror in the book of the same name is a dark lake. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The dark mirror in the book of the same name is a dark lake. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Dark Mirror by Juliet Marillier

Yup! I may be an old broad, but I still haven’t lost my ability to stay awake when I’m in the middle of a good book.

And the woods and rocks of the landscape are integral to the story. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And the woods and rocks of the landscape are integral to the story. — Photo by Pat Bean

But I must admit that it’s been a long time since I stayed awake reading – actually I was listening to an audible book – until 4:53 a.m. That was the time on the clock in my kitchen – I don’t have one in the bedroom – when I finally looked.

I had known it was late, but not that late.

The book was “The Dark Mirror: Bridei Trilogy, Book One,” by Juliet Marillier.

I  knew it was getting late last night, and I kept saying I was going to put the book down as soon as I found out what was happening next, but by the time I did that, there was something else going on that kept me reading. And so it went all through the night.

“The Dark Mirror” was the first Juliet Marillier book I’ve read. I was delighted to know she’s published many more.  This first, published in 2004, is an epic fantasy with tangled plots, characters with depth and good writing.

I just downloaded the second audible book in the trilogy onto my Kindle. It is 23 hours long. Let’s hope it keeps me as intrigued about what’s going to happen next as book one.

I predict many more sleepless nights ahead of me.

“O frabjous  day! Callooh! Callay!” – and who knows what this is from?

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Blood-Red Pencil http://tinyurl.com/lbxm4nv The woman, who is proofing and editing by book, “Travels with Maggie,” and I differ over the use of commas, which is probably why I enjoyed this blog so much.   Perhaps my writer-readers will enjoy it, too

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Walks by the Water

Water and birds often go together, just one more reason I like walking beside water. I found this great egret at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Water and birds often go together, just one more reason I like walking beside water. I found this great egret at the Sea Center in Lake Jackson, Texas. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” – John Lubbock

Wet Your Eyes and Drink in the Ripples

I’ve been told that a monsoon is coming to Tucson soon. It’s hard to imagine as I pass by dry gullies and creek beds — and even rivers with nary a drop of water to be seen.

sight.

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            “When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon

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I Discovered it was Everything and Nothing

            In the midst of one of the most unhappy periods of my life, I realized I was a happy person. Not the delightful, delirious, delicious tickling of the inner self when all is right with the world, but the knowledge that a kind of happiness lived within me that no amount of outside sorrow could touch.

cranes 2

This pair of sandhill cranes made my birding passion happy. — Photo by Pat Bean

            Although I struggled for weeks to get through the day, I still awoke each morning with a hope, verging on knowledge, that my days would get better. I also realized I still had a zest for life that made me glad to see and appreciate the sunrise and the little details of the day that so often go unnoticed, like the smile of a child or the tiny drop of dew on a yellow rose.

            While lingering effects from that difficult period over 30 years ago still occasionally touch my life, and those of people I love, the happiness within, along with my zest for life, have not dulled. In fact, they have only grown.

            I wonder sometimes if I’m singularly blessed, or if others also have an inner happiness that cannot be destroyed? As a writer, I’m always observing people, and I have come to a conclusion that while I’m not alone in having this trait, I might be among the minority.

            I awake each day with gratefulness in my heart for being so blessed.

            Bean’s Pat: I gotta pee http://tinyurl.com/coobdul As a person who tent-camped until she was 65 and bought her RV, Gypsy Lee, this was a blog that brought back many memories and had me laughing out loud.

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“A few minutes ago every tree was excited, bowing to the roaring storm, waving, swirling, tossing their branches in glorious enthusiasm like worship. But though to the outer ear these trees are now silent, their songs never cease. Every hidden cell is throbbing with music and life, every fiber thrilling like harp strings, while incense is ever flowing from the balsam bells and leaves. ”  ~John Muir

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Tree Partnerships

During the three summers I spent at Lake Walcott, I never got tired of looking at the park’s many trees. My favorites were the willows, Russian olives and the cottonwoods. The cottonwoods, thanks to Snake River irrigation water, were huge, the willows graceful and the frosty color of the Russian olives, which also grew larger than any I had seen elsewhere, gave the park’s greenness a vibrant texture.

Arms entwined in a naked embrace. Bell-lughing now. How about you? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Arms entwined in a naked embrace. Belly-laughing  now. How about you? — Photo by Pat Bean

What amazed me was how many of them seemed to have grown up in pairs.

And like John Muir, I saw the trees in their many moods: From their naked branches, whose forms sometimes made me think of an Escher painting, to their passionate dance when a wind storm blew across the park, to their quiet summer verdancy when they issued an invitation for me to sit beneath them and partake of their shaded coolness.  

And when I saw this week’s photo theme, the trees were the first thing that popped into my mind. if trees could make love, would their foreplay begin with kissing leaves? What do you think?

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