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Archive for the ‘Morning Thoughts’ Category

Great Horned Owl

“Getting up too early is a vice habitual in horned owls, stars, geese and freight trains,” said Aldo Leopold.

I could easily be added to that list. For most of my working career, I reported to the office no later than 6:30 a.m. – and I wasn’t beloved for doing so. 

There would usually be one or two other reporters who had come in early to meet their early-morning deadline for a story they had covered the night before. They would be sitting in the dark in front of their computers.

As a light-loving, morning person, I would turn on the lights and utter a cheery “Good morning!” All I usually got back was a snarl or a groan.

Scamp, my current canine companion, insists on a walk at the first sign of dawn, often when stars are still visible. He usually wakes up even before I do, but this morning the tables were turned. I had taken him for a later-than-usual last walk yesterday, and he was still snoring away when I awoke at 5:55 a.m.

I let him sleep until 6:10, when I couldn’t stand it anymore and roused him for our morning walk. We came back and he promptly went back to sleep while I enjoyed drinking my cream-laced coffee and watching the birds from my third-floor balcony. There were sparrows, mourning doves, hummingbirds and house finches, but no geese.

As for trains, when I was traveling across the country in my RV, I often heard a train somewhere nearby blow its whistle right around 6 a.m. I wondered if it was just coincidence or if all train engineers had a pact to took their horns at daybreak.

Then there are the great horned owls. We have resident ones who yearly raise chicks here in the apartment complex. I often hear them hooting in the early mornings, and sometimes I even see them zooming overhead between tall Ponderosa pines and the red-tile rooftops. Their silent, broad-winged flight always leave me awed.

Yesterday, a great horned owl was sitting on a large tree stump near my path. I’m pretty sure it was a juvenile because of how close it let me come. After spotting it, I took Scamp back to the apartment and grabbed my camera.

With each snap, I got closer to the owl until I was only about 10 feet away. The bird didn’t move, just stared straight at me with golden yellow eyes. I snapped a few more shots before retreating so as not to disturb the owl more.

I was excited about the photos I had taken, but later I discovered the memory card in my camera had been missing. It was still in my computer from the last time I had downloaded my photos.

I guess my brain, if not my body, decided it wanted to sleep in.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited) and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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As butterflies track flowers, so do sellers track me. Art by Pat Bean

One of the crazy myths going around about the Covid vaccine is that the shots contain a microchip that will let your movements be tracked by the government. Just the thought of this idea makes me laugh.

I recently ordered tuna fish from Walmart. The next time I went online, my home page featured three ads for tuna fish. When my car turned five years old, suddenly I was inundated with phones calls wanting to sell me an extended warranty.

By the way, if anyone has discovered a way to stop these particular calls, please let me in on the secret. I’ve now been getting them for several years. I scream take my name off your list and never call me again – and it hasn’t worked.

One of my friends engages the caller with time-wasting tall tales of her Porsche, her Lexus, her Jaguar, and her BMW. The caller finally catches on and hangs up. But I don’t have five minutes of that kind of patience.

When I was traveling around the country in an RV for nine years, I used one of my son’s homes as my permanent address. Soon he and his wife were getting phone calls asking for me even though I had never given out their phone number. It’s been eight years since I retired from the RV life and have my own permanent address, but they are still getting an occasional call.

Fortunately, there is usually a dead giveaway because the callers ask for Patricia – and I’ve never done business of any kind using that name.

I buy a pair of pajamas online, and I’m bombarded with pajama ads. I buy a book and suddenly ads for books in that genre pop up all over my computer.

People know I’m an old broad, and so I get all sorts of ads for weird medical miracles, not to mention hearing aids and funeral plans. I actually got an ad in the mail about cremation plans yesterday, which irritated me no end.

Perhaps you can now see why I laugh at someone wanting to implant a microchip in me. Not only is the cost of doing so unimaginable, it’s simply not needed. I’m already being tracked. And for those who want to know, I’m also vaxed and boosted.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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A morning sunrise in Tucumcari, New Mexico chases the darkness away. — Photo by Pat Bean

I recently read Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s New Year’s poem, which was written in 1850. It quickly struck me that he could have well written the poem as an ode to 2021.

“… Ring out the old, ring in the new. Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go,
” wrote Tennyson.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind, for those that here we see no more. Ring out the feud of rich and poor … And ancient forms of party strife … Ring in the love of truth and right … Ring out old shapes of foul disease … Ring out the thousand wars of old, Ring in the thousand years of peace …Ring in the larger heart, the kindlier hand. Ring out the darkness of the land.”

In 1850, America was heading toward a Civil War that would pit families against their own families, even brother against brother. In China, the Qing and Han Dynasties were fighting each other, and India was beginning to revolt against Britain – just the bare surface of a world seemingly gone amok – sound familiar?

It’s as if history has taught us nothing.

 I kept thinking about this yesterday until I watched a show about the life of Rita Moreno, a Porta Rican actress who survived sexual abuse and discrimination to win an Oscar, a Grammy, an Emmy and a Tony. Her Mantra: “Damn the shadows, here’s to the light.”

  Hey Rita, here’s to you. And to the light. May we all find it in 2022.

 Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited) and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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A view of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River below from one of the many view points. The canyon is too big, and awesome, to be captured from a single point. — Photo by Pat Bean

          My latest travel book read is To Timbuktu by Mark Jenkins, an author I came to love over 20 years ago because of his articles in Outside Magazine, of which I’m a great fan.  

 Mark has a great way with words, such as his description in To Timbuktu of an equatorial mountain range: “…rumpled geology smothered by the octopus of botany,” he wrote.

As usual when reading, having one thought often cycles me to a related thought. This morning, I wondered how writers would describe the Grand Canyon, which I revisited for about the dozenth time this past week. So, I went searching for just such descriptions.

Most quotes that I found about the Grand Canyon echoed, in one way or another, the phrase that the author didn’t have the words to describe it.

But as I kept searching, I came across what John Wesley Powell, the first man to go down the entire length of the Colorado River through the entire Grand Canyon in 1869, had to say about this Arizona hole that was carved out over six million years ago. He wrote:

“The glories and the beauties of form, color, and sound unite in the Grand Canyon – forms unrivaled even by the mountains, colors that vie with sunsets, and sounds that span the diapason from tempest to tinkling raindrop, from cataract to bubbling fountain … The elements that unite to make the Grand Canyon the most sublime spectacle in nature are multifarious and exceedingly diverse.”

Another of my favorite authors, Ann Zwinger, whose trip through the Grand Canyon is described in her book Downcanyon, had this to say: “The astonishing sense of connection with that river and canyon caught me completely unaware, and in a breath, I understood the intense, protective loyalty so many people feel for the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. It has to do with truth and beauty and love of this earth, the artifacts of a lifetime and the descant of a canyon wren at dawn.”

Having paddled through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River twice, I well understood Ann’s words, especially about the impact of hearing canyon wrens welcome the day.

If you haven’t visited the Grand Canyon, above or below, you might want to add it to your bucket list, or at least read about it in books such as Zwinger’s Downcanyon or Powell’s journals of his epic 1869 and 1871 adventures.

Meanwhile, I’m going to get back to Jenkins’ Timbuktu adventure.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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A page from an earlier journal containing quotes from another author.

I’m listening to Madeleine Albright’s Hell and Other Destinations, and finding lots of wisdom, humor and thoughts that I want to add to my journal. It was my book of choice with morning coffee today.

One incident Madeleine, who narrates the book, said, had me laughing. So, I turned off my Kindle and wrote down what I recalled about it. I wrote: “When a woman asked Madeleine if she were proud of herself for not getting a facelift, Madeline said she wished she had asked the woman if she was proud of the results of hers.”

The quotes indicated the exact words I wrote in my journal. After turning my Kindle back on, and relistening to the incident, I realized I hadn’t quoted Madeleine correctly. Here’s what she actually said about the incident.

“When at a party, a woman, half socialite half journalist, told me how brave she thought I had been for not getting a facelift, I was tempted to comment on the courage she had shown in dealing with the results of hers.”

I relistened to the recording several times to make sure I finally got it correct.

This incident brought up one of my former journalist mantras. “Just because you heard what I said doesn’t mean you heard what I said.” Much less understood what was said.

It also reaffirmed my understanding of why the stories of my five children, who all participated in the same activity or incident at the same time, varies in five different ways — and all five are different from mine.

It’s a miracle the world is not in more chaos than it is.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Scott’s Oriole — Wikimedia photo

A Colorful Walk

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Walking my canine companion Scamp early every morning is both a chore and a pleasure. Living in a third-floor apartment with no yard means it’s something that must be daily done – and at the first glimpse of dawn when I’m awakened by a dog sticking his cold nose in my face. If that doesn’t work, Scamp drapes his 40-pound body on top of mine and begins to whine.

You can read more about Maggie and her adventures with her mistress in Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon.

I have no choice but to get up, throw on some clothes and get his leash. Every morning I do this, I think of my former dog Maggie. She, as anyone who knew her would tell you, was a spoiled brat, but she liked to sleep in and so I got to wake up at my leisure not hers.

But by the time Scamp and I are going down the stairs, often with the moon still visible in the morning sky, the pleasure of being out and about so early, with rarely another soul in sight, takes hold of me.

After Scamp waters a tree, he begins a slow exploratory stop-and-go trot to the dog park where he likes to do his more serious business. We live at the top of the apartment complex and it’s at the bottom, leaving me with plenty of time to observe the sights around me.

The first thing that caught my attention this morning were eight white-winged doves sitting on a utility line. Mostly all I could see were dark profiles, emphasizing their individual shapes. Six looked exactly alike while one appeared skinnier and one fatter, the latter with a tail a bit longer than the others. Seven of the doves were facing away from me, but the one at the farthest edge faced toward me. I wondered what they were all thinking.

As we turned a corner, my eye was then caught by three large round bushes that were covered in bright purple flowers. The bushes had been trimmed a few days earlier by the apartment’s gardeners, and it seemed to me as if they had simply bloomed overnight. Or had I simply not seen them the day before?

The color purple always stops me for a better look when I see it in nature. Pictured here is a Rose of Sharon blossom.

Finally, Scamp — whom I let lead during his morning walks because once the day warms his walks are quick and short because this old broad doesn’t do well in the heat – headed back to our apartment for his breakfast. My own mind at this point was focused on the cup of cream-laced coffee that awaited me.

But as we began walking up the stairs, I got distracted by some movement in a nearby tree. I stopped to look more closely and was rewarded with a flash of yellow and black before a bird flew directly in front of me. It was a Scott’s oriole. While common in Southeast Arizona, one doesn’t see this oriole species often. As an avid birder I was thrilled at the sight – and immediately forgave Scamp for waking me so early.

Bean Pat: As one who wants to identify all the plants I see on my walks, I love this blog. Perhaps you will, too. https://portraitsofwildflowers.wordpress.com/

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“You can’t escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” – Abraham Lincoln.

A small bit of protection for monarch butterflies is my silver lining for today. If I’m going to face reality, I will also need to find a bit of good in the world to keep me sane.

If not wearing a mask while carrying an American flag in a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, and then purposely coughing on one of the peaceful protesters, is considered patriotic, then I am living in the wrong country.

The above incident actually happened here in Tucson. What has this world evolved into?

When did so many Americans become so hateful? As a person who is always looking for a silver lining, will I be able to find one among the current cacophony of hateful voices? These are questions I’m asking myself this morning.

I’m also asking myself what can I do as an 81-year-old former journalist to halt the hateful acts I see going on around me. Since beginning this blog 11 years ago, I have written nearly 2,000 posts. With rare exceptions, they have all been upbeat and positive.

Perhaps it’s time I lost my Pollyanna persona, which truly is the majority portion of my being, and dipped into the part of myself that writes about the darker side of life that goes on around me – the side I didn’t ignore as a working journalist,

Perhaps I should now take this blog to the political side.

But I am not going to blame Trump for the actions of the American people. I don’t believe in the blame game. While our president often makes me cringe because of his behavior, and even ashamed to belong to the same human race as he, the woman who coughed on another person in these days of the coronavirus virus, is the only one responsible for her bullying, despiteful, hateful act.

But you can bet your life on it, I will not be voting for Trump.

Bean’s Silver-Lining Pat: A partnership of 45 companies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been formed to reduce the loss of monarch butterfly habitat in North America. Perhaps a drop in the bucket to the loss of other wildlife protections these days, but any step forward is one that I consider a silver lining.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

 

 

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Blue Herons on a cold morning at Farmington Bay in Utah. Nature is what helps keep my blood pressure in check during these days of isolation, even if it’s just remembering past moments spent in the outdoors. — Photo by Pat Bean

“The survival of democracy depends on the ability of large numbers of people to make realistic choices in the light of adequate information.” – Aldous Huxley

From a Moderate Independent

I’m sick and tired of the blame game, politicians’ personal and hateful attacks on their opponents, and no one standing up and taking responsibility for their own acts when they’ve made a mistake.

I don’t expect the leaders of this country to be perfect, but I do think they should put what’s best for all of this country’s people ahead of their own welfare and personal agendas.

And I want to hear exactly what today’s candidates for office would do to improve things if they do gain leadership power, not just that they think their opponent is a slug, or whatever else name-calling they decide will get them elected.

As a former journalist who believed that it was not my duty to change the world but to inform the world, I’m sickened by those in the media today who distort facts, repeat lies, and take sides. These tactics weaken the real media’s role as a government watchdog, a role which some journalists still take seriously.

I’m also quite sick of slogans that mean absolutely nothing but are just words that sound good or patriotic.

To quote a well-known rant, I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore — even if all this old broad can do at this point in her life is to speak out against hate and lies and in favor of justice and kindness.

Anyone else out their want to join me?

Bean Pat: Isolation is getting to me. This blog, which looks to nature as a resource for these days, inspired me. https://windbreakhouse.wordpress.com/2020/04/16/spring-in-the-time-of-coronavirus/

 

available on Amazon

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Morning Thoughts

When Scmp gets bored, he looks for things to shred. This morning it was two bookmarks. At least he doesn’t eat the pieces, and I get plenty of exercise picking up after him. — Photo by Pat Bean

With a cup of cream-laced coffee in hand, and my canine companion Scamp squeezed into my recliner with me, I continued my morning perusal of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotes, the first edition of which was published 165 years ago. Just for fun, I’ve been reading a couple pages a day of the old book.

It’s arranged chronologically and I’ve only gotten up to the 300 B.C.s. This morning’s reading included words by the

Theocritus — Wikimedia photo

Greek poet Theocritus’ His thoughts echoed in my own mind, speaking to an old broad who has finally slowed down and longs for peace in her life — which given the chaos in the world has been difficult to achieve.

Wrote Theocritus: “Sweet is the whispering music of yonder pine that sings. Our concern be peace of mind: some old

crone let us seek. To spit on us for luck and keep unlovely things afar. Cicala to cicala, and ant to ant, And kestrels dear to kestrels, but to me the Muse and song.

“The frog’s life is most jolly, my lads; he has no care … Who shall fill up his cup; for he has drink to spare … Verily, great grace may go. With a little gift; and precious are all things that come from friends.”

I thought it interesting that on the same page, Bion, another Greek poet, also mentioned frogs: “Though boys throw stones at frogs in sport, the frogs do not die in sport, but in earnest.” A good point to ponder, I think.

And now I’ll go put up Bartlett until tomorrow morning, and go walk Scamp, He has been looking at me with injured eyes because I have been ignoring him.

I wonder if Theocritus and Bion ever used a dog as an analogy in their writings?”

Bean Pat: Never Assume https://forestgardenblog.wordpress.com/2020/02/23/sunday-dinner-never-assume/ My thoughts exactly.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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“Don’t leave the butterflies white,” someone told me when I was painting this. . Of course, I didn’t listen. — Watercolor by Pat Bean

“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw

Morning Ponderings

Yesterday, I went to see the movie Knives Out, a good who-done-it in an Agatha Christie kind of way. This morning, I came across a question I had posed to myself in my idea journal: Who is the sturdy, steady ship to your tugboat? I think the question came from a writing prompt, to which I had no answer at the time.

An eagle, plotting its own course, — Sketch by Pat Bean

As I once again pondered the question, the opening scene in Knives Out flashed through my brain. In it was a large coffee mug that proclaimed: My House, My Rules, My Coffee. I laughed when I saw it, and again this morning when I recalled the cup while rereading the unanswered question.

I suddenly realized that I had always been that sturdy, steady ship. While I had, and have, strong, supportive people helping me survive this life, I have always been the one at the wheel of the ship steering my tugboat and directing its course.

Perhaps I would have missed quite a few falls down the mountain, and many deep potholes, if I had let someone else lead the way. But I never relinquished the ship’s wheel.

Probably by sheer luck, but I must say with a great bit of stubborn determination, I ended up in a good spot today. But if I hadn’t, I would have had no one to blame but myself.

Bean Pat: Fish Creek to Buffalo https://www.10000birds.com/fish-creek-to-buffalo.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+10000Birds+%2810%2C000+Birds%29 Take an armchair bird walk.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining

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