Posts Tagged ‘butterflies’

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.” — Nathaniel Hawthorne

Birdhouse and butterfly atop my bookcase.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Birdhouse and butterfly atop my bookcase. — Photo by Pat Bean

And the Perfect Morning

            As always, the first thing on awakening, I took Pepper for a walk. When we returned from this early morning rejuvenation, I gave her a treat and fixed myself a cup of coffee. This morning, as I waited for the coffee to brew, I looked around for a place to put the butterfly my friend Kim had given me – and suddenly saw it.

Morning cream-laced coffee, with my journal and a book. The perfect start to any day. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Morning cream-laced coffee, with my journal and a book. The perfect start to any day. — Photo by Pat Bean

I had recently moved a planter birdhouse that had been hanging on my back balcony to the top of my bookcase. It needed a bit of brightening. By the time my coffee had brewed, the butterfly had a new home, a place where I could daily observe its beauty. I’m fascinated by butterflies, both because of their beauty and because  they represent rebirth.

I then took my coffee out to my bedroom balcony, where I sat down at the patio table set, a recent gift from my youngest daughter. There, with my cream-laced coffee, my journal and a book checked out from the Tucson Audubon’s library, I enjoyed my morning – and reflected on my life – and all the things I hadn’t been doing lately.

Perhaps, I thought, I had just gotten too comfortable. But then, since I had promised to stop beating up on myself for things I hadn’t done, I took a few moments to reflect on the things I had done. One of these, I realized, was making my small apartment a home filled with the love of simple things, like a silk butterfly.

I’m not sure it was the pep talk I needed to attack the chores I had set for myself, the things that give me a sense of accomplishment at the end of a day, but at least I’ve written this blog – and it’s not yet 8 a.m.

Time, I think, for a second cup of coffee and more reflection.

Bean Pat: Dandelions http://tinyurl.com/peocats I saw some sprinkled across the grass this morning, and I, too, wondered why some people abhor them on their lawns.

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            “A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” – Herm Albright

Perhaps I also like to watch Survivor and American Ninja Warrior because I'm a bit of an adrenalin junkie who can imagine herself as one of the participants. Which is why it was such a thrill for me to go for a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti.

Perhaps I also like to watch Survivor and American Ninja Warrior because I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie who can imagine herself as one of the participants. Which is why it was such a thrill for me to go for a hot air balloon ride over the Serengeti.

An Aha Moment

I don’t have a TV, which is fine with me. The few programs I want to watch (Survivor, Amazing Race and NCIS, primarily), I can get on my computer.

Thankfully, these days I can get just as much of an adrenalin high from simply watching birds and butterflies.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Thankfully, these days I can get just as much of an adrenalin high from simply watching birds and butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean

But this past week, while I was house sitting three dogs, two cats and two fish, at my daughter’s house while she and her family went on vacation, I found myself plunked down much too often in front of their big-screen monster.

I was amazed at both how many channels they had, and how few programs – after my marathon NCIS day – on television that were worth watching. My channel surfing ended when I clicked on a program called American Ninja Warrior. Fortunately the actual program, and not the endless commercials, was showing or I would have just kept clicking.

I hate violence and would have assumed that this was what the show was all about. It wasn’t. It simply involved a very difficult obstacle course that hundreds of athletes were attempting to complete. More failed than made it.

But almost without exception, those who tried were cheered by all, even their opponents, and those who failed smiled and said, “I’ll be back next year.”

And with those last words, I finally understood my attraction to such television programs as Survivor, of which I’ve long been a fan despite it being a game that encourages lying and deceit as part of the game. It’s the contestants who pick themselves up and continue onward, even when there is little to no hope, that I find so compelling.

I love that attitude. It is one writers who get rejection slips – and believe me I’ve had a ton of them – must have to keep going.

Bean Pat:  Zoo Stroll http://tinyurl.com/ldnf7y2 Take an armchair stroll through Smithsonian National Zoological Park.

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“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.” — George Carlin

I can identify birds but not too many butterflies, so if you know what species this is, please tell me.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

I can identify birds but not too many butterflies, so if you know what species this is, please tell me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Flying Flowers 

I’m always chasing butterflies, trying to capture their image with my camera. But chasing wasn’t necessary during my recent visit to the Desert Bontanical Gardens’ Butterfly Pavilion in Phoenix this past week.

Photo by Pat Bean

Photo by Pat Bean

I hope you enjoy these delicate creatures as much as I did.


Photo by Pat Bean

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun
And find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches
Today, tomorrow and beyond.
~Irish Blessing

Just a bit of fun. -- Photo by Kris Gutnecht

Just a bit of fun. — Photo by Kris Gutnecht


But these are flowers that fly and all but sing:
And now from having ridden out desire
They lie closed over in the wind and cling
Where wheels have freshly sliced the April mire.
~Robert Frost, “Blue-Butterfly Day”





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            “I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” – Dr. Seuss

I'm always chasing butterflies. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I’m always chasing butterflies. — Photo by Pat Bean

And Leftovers Soup

“Look up vertiginous” was a note I wrote to myself when I came across the word a while back while reading.  I just came across the note again this morning — while looking through my daybook in hopes that a blogging topic would pop into my mind.

They cheer up any day. -- Photos by Pat Bean

They cheer up any day. — Photos by Pat Bean

I’m normally never at a loss for words, but an ear problem this past week has blurred my thoughts. When I looked the word up, I decided it was as good an excuse as any for my lazy blogging week. Vertiginous means something that makes you dizzy or gives you vertigo, which my ear pain sort of did to me.

I forgot in what context the word was used in my reading, but laughed at the sentence the dictionary used to explain its meaning: “my small mind contained in earthly human limits, not lost in vertiginous space and elements unknown”  — Diana Cooper. Just such a sentence is probably what made me write the note to myself in the first place.

Back almost to normal, re my ear infection, I decided  this morning to clean out the refrigerator and make leftover soup.

The soup ingredients included a cup of chicken stock,  about a cup of leftover bloody mary mix (sans the alcohol), one small diced turnip, one/fourth head of a small cabbage, one/fourth of an onion diced small,  a handful of chopped carrots, one/fourth pound beef sausage sliced thin, a stalk of celery and salt to taste.

I cooked the mixture in my small slow cooker until the cabbage was soft and the other veggies still a bit crispy. I think it’s yummy, not vertiginous at all

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Butterflies in a Winter Wood http://tinyurl.com/ljjxw6b Just a few more butterflies to cheer your day.

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             “The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don’t know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.” —  Oprah Winfrey

"You are never too old to set a new goal, or dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis

“You are never too old to set a new goal, or dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis — Photo by Pat Bean

They Feel So Real

Gone are the days when falling in love, or lust, with my latest hero, Roy Rogers, Stewart Granger, Sean Connery, were the theme of many of my dreams.

Do cloud sulphur butterflies dream? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Do cloud sulphur butterflies dream? — Photo by Pat Bean

Thankfully, also gone are the recurring nightmares of a dark figure standing over me that lasted into my 30s.  It was always worse when I slept in a strange place. I once woke a whole household with a reactive scream when I awoke from the dream.

I banished that nightmare myself, the instant that I envisioned that dark figure as someone who was guarding me from harm. It’s amazing what the mind can accomplish.

These days I dream writer dreams, complete with well-thought-out plots and intriguing characters. When I awake from these dreams I want to go back to sleep and dream them some more, especially if I don’t know the ending of the story.

Then there’s my current nightmare, which almost involves me as a reporter involved in covering an important story. These dreams have to be a hangover from my 37 years as a journalist — and they almost always end with me missing a deadline and suffering the consequences. On awaking from these dreams, which seem so very real, I try to remember to tell myself it’s only a dream.

I haven’t yet thought of a way to end this nightmare. Perhaps I should just tell myself it’s OK to miss a deadline, but then I’m not sure I can even speak that sentence.

So what do you dream about?

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: dogdaz  http://tinyurl.com/mvjmut7 If this blogger can find something to be thankful for, than I’m sure the rest of us can. I do so believe it’s a zillion times better to have a half-full glass than a half-empty one. And evidently so does this person.


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“Hitler didn’t travel. Stalin didn’t travel. Saddam Hussein never traveled. They didn’t want to have their orthodoxy challenged.” — Howard Gardner

The purple cow at Highway 340 North Campground near Waynesboro, Virginia. — Photo by Pat Bean

Adventures with Pepper: Days 29-30

            Only a few days have passed since my mind wondered and wandered during a drive through Indiana in which I quoted “I never saw a purple cow, I never hope to see one …” to my canine traveling companion, Pepper.

Just in case you’re not into purple cows, what do you think about butterflies. I photographed this near the purple cow. — Photo by Pat Bean

Well, at the end of my gorgeous day’s drive through Shenandoah National Park, I was confronted with a purple cow. How funny, I thought, as I checked into the Highway 340 North RV Park just outside of Waynesboro, Virginia.

As almost all the places I had stayed at during the trip, it was quite nice with lots of friendly people. I decided to stay over a day and catch up on laundry and writing before I began my drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway

Book Report: I didn’t travel today and Travels with Maggie benefitted. The book is now up to 56,782 words.  It was a fun rewriting day as I got to relive my trip to Hawk Mountain with my oldest granddaughter, Shanna.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Fall colors in Minnesota http://tinyurl.com/9d3wjfq I never tire of Mother Nature’s autumn. How about you?

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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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All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” – Martin Buber

Travels With Maggie: Voice

As you travel the Blue Water Highway from Surfside to Galveston, you can enjoy two different landscapes, the beach and restless waves of the Gulf of Mexico to the east of the road, and a lush marshland where birds, such as this tri-colored heron can be seen in abundance. — Photo by Pat Bean

This past November, I blogged about my NANO (National Novel Writing Month) experience in which I wrote a 50,000 lousy first draft of a mystery. It was a way for me to keep up my six-day-a-week blog and still have time for the serious business of writing that NANO demanded.

So as to keep my blog’s travel theme, I also posted pictures of some of the many places I’ve visited since I became a full-time RV-er eight years ago.

About midway during those eight years, I wrote a travel book: “Travels With Maggie: The Journeys of a Wondering Wanderer and Her Canine Companion.”

It’s a six-month travelogue that begins in May and will take readers 7,000 miles, through 23 states and Canada.. It begins in a small town in Arkansas, wiggles north to Acadia National Park in Maine, and climaxes in Texas in time for Thanksgiving with family.

After it was finished, it was accepted as a book worthy of critique for the Mayborn Nonfiction Writer’s Workshop, and received high praise in all but one area. The nine writers who critiqued it, to a person, all said it lacked voice.

A restless Gulf provides a background for these laughing gulls. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve played around with rewriting the book for the past two years, but finally got serious, and re-excited, about doing it just two weeks ago. That’s mostly because I finally found my voice.

While writing the first draft, I had this image in my head that readers would get turned off if they knew how old the author was. That, along with my journalist background of keeping my own voice out of stories, was a serious flaw which I am now correcting.

I love that I’m an old broad with perspective, and I’m now trusting that readers will appreciate it, too.

This old broad stops for butterflies wherever she sees them. — Photo by Pat Bean

So so as to simplify my blogging so I can spend more time on my travel book, I’ve decided to repeat what I did during NANO, which is to post pictures of some of this country’s many beautiful places, while at the same time keeping you updated on the progress of my travel book. Perhaps you’ll even have your own perspective to add to my thoughts.

In the meantime, I’m also trying to convince an agent that my book will fit perfectly on a bookshelf between Charles Kuralt’s “On the Road,” Tim Cahill’s “Road Fever,” and John Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charley” – but with a birdwatchers’ old-broad slant.

Bean’s Pat: Durango to Silverton http://tinyurl.com/bm73owe A train ride you shouldn’t miss. Brian and Shannon are two of my favorite bloggers, perhaps because they and I travels frequently cross paths. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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 “The man who never alters his opinion Is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” William Blake.

These flowers bloomed while I was gone. There were big bunches of them all along a short section of the bank in the upper tent campground. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Life Goes On

And the milkweed plants, which the butterflies love, here at the park went from this … — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m Back now at Lake Walcott, after leaving for four days to fly to Texas for a granddaughter’s wedding. I had a marvelous time. I got to see a new great-grandson, now almost seven months old, for the first time. And I’m still feeling the love from all the family hugs I received.

Homecoming, when it involves loved ones, is always sweet after an absence. It’s a benefit that helps make up for the distance my chosen on-the-road life and the scattered residences – from Texas to Florida, Illinois to Arizona, with Argentina thrown in for good measure – of my children and grandchildren.

But while I was gone, this southern Idaho state park where I’m volunteering for the summer continued its ever-changing life cycle, welcoming me back with new wonders.

My hummingbird feeder was empty and the bird seed feeder, which I had filled to the brim before taking off, had only a few sunflower seeds remaining in it. I had left both full, not wanting to disrupt the continuity of the birds that visit my RV site.

A black-headed grosbeak and an American goldfinch – a study in orange and yellow – were at the feeder when I pulled in. It was the first grosbeak that had visited and I was delighted to see it. I suspected that the Bullock’s orioles had emptied the hummingbird feeder as I’ve only had a few hummers visit this year.

Black-headed grosbeak — Wikipedia photo

My first walk around the park after being back was full of changes too. Along with coming across branches that had blown down from the weekend storm I missed, I noticed that the milkweed had matured, and that some bank plants had come into bloom while I was gone.

It was fun to see the changes, which so often are missed on a day-to-day basis. Life goes on where ever one goes.

Bean’s Pat: Katmai National Park http://tinyurl.com/765d97z Fishing bears. I couldn’t resist sharing this. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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 “Orange is the happiest color.” – Frank Sinatra


This gulf fritillary meets the 2012 suggested tangerine tango dress code -- Photo by Pat Bean


Travels With Maggie


The last leaves of fall linger on the landscape's color palette -- Photo by Pat Bean

The color of 2012 is going to be orange, says Leatrice Eiseman of the Pantone Color Institute, which creates color standards for fashion and home industries.

The world doesn’t need more blues and gray. It needs a shot of energy and that’s what “tangerine tango” will give it, she predicts.

I think Mother Nature agrees with her.

While I only found the New York Times article in which Eiseman was quoted this morning while scanning the Internet for blogging inspiration, I took some photos that match her criteria for color boldness a couple of days earlier while out walking Maggie.

Thanks to an abundance of live oak trees that hold on to their green leaves through the winter, the Texas Gulf Coast escapes the blandness of many winter landscapes.

Even so, one has to look a little harder to discover the sparkling color jewels among the brown leaves, gray moss and bare flower gardens of winter here.


Grays and blues, however, will never go away. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Finding that shot of color, be it red berries on a yaupon holly tree or a few lingering leaves bearing fall hues always brings a smile to my face.

So I’ll be delighted if I find more orange products in 2012, especially if the colorists take their cues from Mother Nature.

“There is no blue without yellow and without orange.” — Vincent Van Gogh

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