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The Death of a Friend

            “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.” – John Muir

This tree with the split personalty was my favorite tree when I was a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. -- Poto by Pat Bean

This tree with the split personality was my favorite tree when I was a campground host at Lake Walcott State Park in Southern Idaho. — Photo by Pat Bean

Life Happens to us All

            My Tree Fell Down. The huge one in which, over the past three and a half years, I’ve watched great-horned owls and Cooper’s hawks try to claim a nesting site — each succeeding once. They laid their eggs in the very same nest..

            But on Monday evening, when a kind of mini-tornado blew through the complex, the tree toppled. The giant took out the balcony next to mine as it crashed against my 30-residences apartment building. Thankfully no person was injured.

Me being silly and hugging a tree in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Me being silly and hugging a tree in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

The mess is still being cleaned up by workmen with shovels, saws and ladders. I figure it will take at least a couple of trucks to haul off all the wood that was once the awesome tree.   I would show you pictures, but Windows 10 ate the driver that I need to import pictures from my camera to my computer.*

The loss of my tree, as I felt it was, makes me sad. My eyes dampened this morning as I sat on my front balcony looking at the empty air where the tree once towered above the three-story apartment building across the way.

I’ve listened as gila woodpeckers rapped on the tree’s trunk, and watched as hawks, owls, ravens and, doves frequently visited its branches — while I leaned back in my chair, as I drank my morning coffee, and observed them with my binoculars.

I feel as if a good friend has died. Actually, that is exactly what happened.

Bean Pat: Deidra Alexandra’s Blog http://tinyurl.com/zr9oh4g A funny story that made me smile – and I needed to smile. Don’t you?

            *By the way, does anybody have any good, inexpensive suggestions on how to fix the import driver on my four-year-old computer, or, as I suspect, am I going to have to get a new computer?

 

A Writer’s World

Butterflies -- that's another magical word. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Butterflies — that’s another magical word. — Photo by Pat Bean

            “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Buddha

Magical Words

            When I was a kid, I often told those who bullied me that “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” What a crock of bull. I was hurting from their words even as I quoted the saying.

 

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends,  Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Friendship and Contentment. The two best friends, Pepper and Dusty seem contented as they share a patch of sunshine. — Photo by Pat Bean

           This morning, as I was reading a blogger who listed 50 things that made her happy, I started my own list, and at some point the word “words” was added to the list, which made me want to start a list of my favorite words.

            Cacophony was the first one that came to mind. I’m not sure why, but the first time I came across this word – and then looked up its meaning – I loved it, and was/still am always trying to find a way to use it in my writing.

            I then thought of words that seem magical because of their meanings — or personal connotations. Peace and love led the list, followed by these 10:

            Grandchildren, Travel, Nature, Pepper (my dog, not the spice), Books, Inquisitiveness, Art, Friendship, Birds and Contentment – the last a state of being that only now am I coming to find in my life because of words like restlessness and ambition that are much a part of me.

            What words are magical to you? This inquiring mind wants to know.

            Bean Pat: 20 Minutes a Day http://tinyurl.com/hgnheby This flash fiction story by one of my favorite bloggers ends with words that I’m now incorporating into my life.

Connections

            “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” — Charles Eames

            “People find meaning and redemption in the most unusual human connections.” Khaled Hosseini

This photo was taken over 30 years ago, when I played Mrs. Zubrisky, as did actress and author Mary Louise Wilson. That's a very young looking me sitting on the left. What a wonderful memory

This photo was taken over 30 years ago, when I played Mrs. Zubritsky, as did actress and author Mary Louise Wilson. That’s a very young looking me sitting on the left. What a wonderful memory

Books Bring Me Joy

            I just started reading Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard when a small sentence let me know how much I was going to enjoy this book. “But then some people bird watch,” said the book’s protagonist, which let me know, in a whispered writer’s voice, that the author knew all about crazy bird watchers – like me.

            A bit later on she said of her husband: “It takes more than 10 years in bed with an American to cure a European of his natural reserve.” I connected with this sentence because I understand how different people are, and that you never truly get to know them – even if you sleep with them for years.

            It’s these kinds of personal connections that give me so much pleasure in reading these days. And since I have a lot of living behind me, I’m able to make more and more connections with each passing year.

            I thought about this as I was reading My first Hundred Years in Show Business by Mary Louise Wilson this

Mary Louise Wilson

Mary Louise Wilson

morning. I’m not sure anyone but someone involved in theater would truly understand and appreciate the book. But, since I was very involved with amateur Little Theater during the 22 years I lived in Ogden, I’m loving it.

            Even so, I didn’t have any real connection with the author until she began writing about her role in Neil Simon’s little known play “Fools.” It’s a fantastic play about this village that has been cursed with stupidness, and Mary Louise and I both played the role of the intellectually-challenged wife, Mrs. Zubritsky.

            When she described how in the play, when she was supposed to open a door but couldn’t, that she decided to pull on the handle instead of push, I connected. It was exactly how I had dealt with the same door scene. And we also reacted the same way in the play when the husband asks his wife to lower her voice. To comply, we both decided to bend our knees.

            Reading My First Hundred Years in Show Business is bringing back wonderful memories – what fun!

            There is no question but that books are wonderful. But when you can make a connection with them, they become magical.

            Bean Pat: Wanderlust http://tinyurl.com/j4rbmb5 I easily connected with this blog and blogger because we share a passion for travel.

P.S. If you’re interested you can type in Fools, Neil Simon and find videos of scenes from Fools.

 

 

“This idea that being youthful is the only thing that’s beautiful or attractive simply isn’t true. I don’t want to be an ‘ageless beauty.’ I want to be a woman who is the best I can be at my age. ” –Sharon Stone

Photo by Pat Bean

The fossilized rock tree, araucarioxylon arizonicum, known as Old Faithful, can be found in  Petrified Forest National Park — Photo by Pat Bean

An Old Tree 

Araucarioxylon arizonicum: I can’t pronounce it, but I did learn that it was one of the most common trees found in a 225 million year old forest that once thrived in what is now Arizona.

A more lively sight near the fossilized tree. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A more lively sight near the fossilized tree. — Photo by Pat Bean

The petrified remains of these trees, which are now extinct, can be seen along old Route 66 as it winds through Petrified  Forest National Park between Interstate 40 and Highway 18 in Arizona. It’s one of those great travel adventures that are so readily available when you exit the freeways.

These great conifers were buried by mud, silt and volcanic ash in ancient days, then at some point were exposed to silica-laden water that transformed organic tissues into quartz.

That, at least, is the abbreviated version of the science behind the stone trees. If you want more details, you’ll have to do your own research. It could be fun.

I tried to picture the forest as it once was, with dinosaurs roaming through it, as I stood in front of 225-million-year-old “Old Faithful,” the oldest petrified araucarioxylon arizonicum tree trunk in the park. It is located along a short hike behind the Rainbow Forest Museum near the south entrance to the park.

Araucarioxylon arizonicum, by the way, is Arizona’s state fossil.

Hmmm. I wonder if I can learn to speak the name of the tree as easily as I learned to say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: About Elephants http://tinyurl.com/htk8jt9 This blog is really about the baobab tree, which was one of my favorite trees to see during my African safari. I loved learning more about them.

Born in Another Era

I would rather watch birds, like this Gambel quail, than television -- which is a good thing. -- Pat Bean

I would rather watch birds, like this Gambel quail, than television — which is a good thing. — Pat Bean

            Technology… is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. – Carrie Snow That’s Me

            I’m house-sitting my daughter’s house, horse, two dogs and two cats. It’s an opportunity for me to binge on television watching, since I don’t own one. And it means I don’t have to walk up and down three flights of stairs several times a day to take my own canine companion Pepper, who fits in quite well with my daughter’s menagerie, outside to do her business.

A gila woodpecker on a saguaro. -- Photo by Pat Bean

A gila woodpecker on a saguaro. — Photo by Pat Bean

            I simply open the door and all three dogs go outside. They do their business while I simply sit on the porch and watch the desert outside my daughter’s back door. There’s almost always a gila woodpecker in one of the nearby saguaros and several Gambel quail scurrying about. And on this stay, the backyard has also been full of curved-bill thrashers.

            While the yard is unfenced, all three of the dogs stay close by – as do I since the day I discovered Pepper in the horse coral, not more than 100 feet away, surrounded my three coyotes. You can bet your wad on knowing that this mama immediately turned into a screaming maniac and chased the varmint trio back into the desert. I really liked coyotes until that day.

            But back to my tale of woe: Somehow or other I messed with the remote control – or perhaps it messed with itself – so I can’t watch TV. I have absolutely no idea how to get it back to the setting my daughter put it on for me before she left.

            I also can’t figure out how to change the thermostat, which I asked my grandson, JJ, to turn down when I was fixing him dinner last night. And now he’s at his summer job all day while I have to wear a sweater in the desert because the house is too cold.

            All this technology stuff I can’t do reminds me of when I bought my first computer – and discovered a six-year-old granddaughter knew how to operate it better than I did.

            You would think I was born in a different era. Oh yes. That’s right. I was.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

            Bean Pat: Diane Henders http://tinyurl.com/zq7a4x2 Reading this blog made me feel better about my technology black hole.

            P.S. JJ fixed the remote and showed me how to work the thermostat. So I’m now comfortable and can watch television – well except there’s nothing worth watching on it.

 

OK. Just call me a brazen hussy. I'm the star of this blog.

OK. Just call me a brazen hussy. I’m the star of this blog.

“When I write, I lose time. I’m happy in a way that I have a hard time finding in real life. The intimacy between my brain and my fingers and my computer… Yet knowing that that intimacy will find an audience… It’s very satisfying. It’s like having the safety of being alone with the ego reward of being known.” — Jill Soloway

Because of a Story and a Book Review

            What Jill Soloway said in the a above quote fits me like my own skin – at least the skin I had when I was younger and it had no wrinkles. I like having people read what I write, and for 37 years, when I wrote for a newspaper, that was almost a daily occurrence. But since I retired, it’s been a rare happening.

So I was quite pleased when my 600-word flash fiction story, The Heart of a Dog, took first place at the Story Circle Network conference in Austin, Texas, that I attended in April. Then I came home to find that my review of Walking the Llano was selected as Review of the Month for SCN’s book review page. The book is by Shelley Armitage, and if you’re interested, you can read the review at http://tinyurl.com/mgry65 And if you want to ready my story, just send me an e-mail at patbean@msn.com and I’ll send you a copy.

I feel like a brazen hussy for promoting myself like this, but it feels good, too.

I write because to not do so is like not breathing, But when what I write is read – and liked by others – it’s like watching a sky full of exploding firecrackers in my head.

Bean Pat: Feral Poetess http://tinyurl.com/hzl6ucr I love this combination of photo and words. This is a blog I recently started following.

Take a Walk

            “The soul that sees beauty may sometimes walk alone.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This was  a great ;pp[ walk, loop, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada

This was a great loop walk, mostly on a boardwalk, at Point Pelee National Park in Canada. — Photo by Pat Bean

            It’s Good for the Soul

While I can no longer do a 20-mile hike, or even a 5-mile one, I do try to get out and walk every day. But while two to three-mile hikes are still on my agenda, I haven’t been taking enough of them lately, especially through amazing landscapes.

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. - Photo by Pat Bean

And this photo was taken during a recent walk up Ramsey Canyon, an hour and a half away from my Tucson apartment. Nothing gets much better than walking beside a gurgling stream as it ripples its way down a canyon. – Photo by Pat Bean

I realized this while looking through my photos of paths I’ve once hiked, which I did after stumbling on the post that gets today’s Bean Pat. The photos inspired me to look for more such paths, especially short ones, that might at least let me work up to 6-mile ones again

Now here’s what a few other people have to say about walking:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking. – Fredrich Nietzsche

            “I understood at a very early age that in nature, I felt everything I should feel in church, but never did. Walking in the woods, I felt in touch with the universe and with the spirit of the universe. — Alice Walker

            “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” Thomas Jefferson

            “Walking is Magic… I read that Plato and Aristotle did much of their brilliant thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps… this is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self.” – Paula Cole

            “I don’t know what my path is yet. I’m just walking on it.” – Olivia Newton John           

And just for laughs, and because I’m a transplanted Texan: “Some folks look at me see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called Walking.” – George W. Bush

Bean Pat: 28 Magical Paths http://tinyurl.com/j6mwd34 I got this one from a Stumble Upon recommendation. If you hike, you’ll love it.

 

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