Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

Guadalupe Peak in Guadlupe Mountain National Park in Texas. — Wikimedia Photo

One of the things I’ve concluded after eight decades of iving is that beauty can be found anywhere. It’s easy to believe this when you’re spending a day hiking in the magnificent Guadalupe Mountain National Park, which is what I was doing on a warm April day about 11 years ago.

Blooming cacti and ocotillo plants dotted the Chihuahuan Desert landscape, whose mountain scenery is a rare sight in mostly flat-land Texas. Overseeing this nature haven were the picturesque peaks of El Capitan (Yes, it has the same name as better know peak in Yosemite) and Guadalupe, the latter peak, at 8,752 feet, being the highest point in the Lone Star state.

It was 360 degrees of awesome, brought to life by collared lizards darting among the yellow and magenta colored prickly pear blossoms.

That sentiment about beauty, however, was challenged a few days later when in contrast, I found myself camped for the night in an El Paso RV park, my small Class C motorhome squeezed between two huge Class A vehicles with wide slide outs in a cement parking lot. In addition, the park was surrounded by a low rock fence beyond which passing traffic kept up a yowling roar.

It was the kind of place I avoided as carefully as I did the alligators in the Okefenokee Swamp when I visited. But time and distance left me no choice. It was the only place near enough I could reach before dark, and I never drove my RV at night. 

I tried to follow Garth Brooks’ advice about basing happiness on what you have and not what you don’t have, but I was still grumbling to myself about the drab view as I sat at my table and stared out the window of my motorhome.

I wanted a meandering creek whose gurgles would lull me to sleep, and a large tree to sit beneath while reflecting on my day, and perhaps a small camp fire whose flames I could get lost in. During my nine years on the road, I spent many a night in just such a setting.

 Thinking of those nights, I admonished myself to be thankful for my life, and started to get up and get a book to read. That’s when the beauty happened.

A Gambel quail, followed by nine chicks, strolled into view. The She was headed across the cement to the far side of the campground, and she was followed by 11 chicks. And trailing behind them was another adult quail, a bit gaudier than the first so I assumed he was the male parent.

The birds brought a smile to my face, and my optimistic view that beauty could be found everywhere was renewed.

Why, I asked myself, had I ever doubted that beauty could be found everywhere, even if you don’t go looking for it.

Bean Pat: Guadalupe Mountain National Park: Here, you’ll find one of the finest examples of an ancient, marine fossil reef on Earth.

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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Looking down from the top of Angel’s Landing. It’s a beautiful sight. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential and fight for your dreams.” – Ashley Smith

I recently came across a post that listed the 29 most beautiful places in America. I laughed at the audacity of such a list — even though I had visited 15 of them and agreed they were indeed beautiful. The word beautiful is totally subjective, especially if you give credence to the oft-quoted saying that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Of course, butterflies are beautiful, but so are dandelions, even in a manicured lawn. — Photo by Pat Bean

By this definition, as a birder, I think red, featherless and wrinkled newborn California condors are beautiful

Often, when people discover that I spent nine years in a small RV traveling this country from border-to-border and ocean-to-ocean, I’m asked: “What’s the most beautiful place you have visited.”

I’ve never had an answer to this question. I saw beauty not just in every state I visited, but every place I passed through. So, let me now be as audacious as the person who came up with that 29-most-beautiful-place list with my own list of things I consider beautiful.

Well, maybe not quite so audacious. I won’t use the adjective “most” and I’ll keep the list to 10 and invite readers to add the remaining 19.

1 – A bright yellow dandelion bursting up from a manicured, green lawn.

2 – A smile on the wrinkled face of a man or woman whose years on earth have been many.

3 – A red-tailed hawk circling above with the sun illuminating its red tail feathers.

Mesa Falls in Idaho. I’ve never seen an ugly waterfall. Have you? — Photo by Pat Bean

4 – Just about any waterfall in the world.

5 – An act of kindness in any form.

6 – Dark, stormy days that are ideal for staying indoors and reading.

7 – Two trees growing together as if in eternal friendship.

8 – A trail that beckons one to follow and discover Mother Nature’s wonders.

9 – The view from the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.

10 – Fresh, home-baked brownies.

Now, feel free to share the beautiful places or things that you would add to this list.

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Bean Pat: Beautiful wildlife https://sfkfsfcfef.wordpress.com/2019/02/20/lens-artists-photo-challenge-nature/

          Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion Pepper. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder and is always searching for life’s silver lining. Check out her book Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon, to learn more. She can be reached at patbean@msn.com

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Beautiful and Thorny

            “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.” – Alphonse Karr

Pink and yellow and thorny. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Pink and yellow and thorny. — Photo by Pat Bean

It’s a Good Combination

When you’ve reached the seventh decade of life, you begin to notice patterns: The sun comes up and goes down every morning, even if its hidden by clouds; women are attracted to men with a bit of wildness in their character — and then expect to tame them; and being too nice a person usually means one ends up getting taken advantage of even by good people.

How many times have you been pricked by a rose bush thorn? -- Photo by Pat Bean

How many times have you been pricked by a rose bush thorn? — Photo by Pat Bean

The latter is because people treat us the way we allow them to treat us. It took me way too long to discover this fact.

But I finally noticed that prickly people – I’m not talking cantankerous or mean here – get along well in life. Perhaps it’s because most of us prefer a bit of spice instead of too much sugar. If I hadn’t been so intent on ignoring everything about my mother for so long, I might have come to this conclusion much earlier in life. She could be a bit snarly at times yet, I was astonished to see, my kids adored her.

This prickly business seems to be a natural part of life, especially when it comes to nature. Some of the most beautiful flowers have thorns. I wonder if that’s to protect them, or to make us work a bit to enjoy them.

That’s another thing the years have taught me. Nature has a lot of good advice to give if I will just open my eyes to see it, and my mind to accept it.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Delicious Autumn  http://tinyurl.com/ll8s442  This looks exactly how I like to travel. Perhaps I’m getting homesick for the road

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            “Balance, that’s the secret. Moderate extremism. The best of both worlds.” – Edward Abby, “Desert Solitaire”

I love the way the yellow tree tops contrast with the mountain off in the distance just a ways. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I love the way the yellow tree tops contrast with the mountain off in the distance just a ways. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Walk with Pepper

I can’t tell you how many times in my travels, I’ve come back from visiting an awesome  landmark, like a waterfall that required an easy half-mile hike to access, and have a local who’s lived within five miles of it all his life tell me he had never seen it.

What a waste, I always thought.

The path behind my apartment's parking lot. - Photo by Pat Bean

The path behind my apartment’s parking lot. – Photo by Pat Bean

I thought about this facet of life this morning as Pepper and I strolled around the outskirts of our Tucson apartment, which sits in balance between city development and Mother Nature’s desert creation.

I can walk across the street and have a Starbuck’s latte, and then come back and watch a gila woodpecker sit on top of armed saguaro cactus or admire how the season has turned the desert to gold.

I’ve found the balance I wanted in a rooted life. I don’t have to travel – although I still plan to do so – to enjoy the wonders of the world. It’s all around me. I just have to take the time to look.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Boston Rainbow http://tinyurl.com/d72e3v9 Something to remember as we mourn the senseless tragedy that marred the Boston Marathon. May the hearts of all those who lost life and limb find comfort in knowing this. My heart aches for you all.

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            “Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” — Confucius

While there wasn’t much photographic about the RV park where I spent the night after leaving Rocky Mountain National Park, the night sky took my breath away. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Day 10

After my fantastic day spent in Rocky Mountain National Park, the rest of the day and the next seemed way too ordinary.

And even in the dullest of places, there’s beauty if you look hard enough. — Photo by Pat Bean

I spent the night in a large commercial RV Park in Loveland, Colorado. It was a big let down after my two nights at the very scenic Elk Creek Campground, where I had a fantastic view of the Rocky Mountains.

The next day, as I drove east with no mountains in sight, the landscape reminded me of Texas, right down to the pumping oil rig in the middle of an agriculture field.

At one point, a tumble weed even blew across the road.

Book Report: Got up early and got an hour’s writing done. No way was I going to report no progress two days in a row. Travels with Maggie is now at 53,196 words.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Sunrise at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge http://tinyurl.com/dxureb6 One of my very favorite places, and I love this blogger’s photos of the place.

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