Posts Tagged ‘daisies’

“There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

Daisies dancing in the sunlight. -- Art by Pat Bean

Daisies dancing in the sunlight. — Art by Pat Bean

Lighting up the Catalinas

I walked my canine companion Pepper, still in my pajamas, at o-dark-hundred this morning. It’s a time when few people are about in my large complex. By the time I was back in my apartment, fixed myself a cup of cream-laced coffee, and settled on my bedroom balcony with my journal and a daily to-do list, it was 6 a.m.

While the sun was up, as it had not been for the past two rainy days, it had not yet reached the Catalina Mountains that so comfortingly stand to my north. I smiled, delighted in the knowledge that I would now be graced with an opportunity to watch the sun creep down from their peaks.


A butterfly enjoying the sunlight and the flowers. — Art by Pat Bean

And as I watched, my mind wandered back to the many times I had watched this same sun’s rays creep down the red mountains in Zion National Park. I usually visited this, my most special place in the world, in early April, when mornings were often chilling to the bone. Often I would find myself huddling next to a dawn campfire, watching as the golden rays slowly crept down the cliffs, eager for its warmth to reach our valley camp site. Once I sat so close to the fire that I suddenly realized my tennis shoes were melting.

While these days I find my body mostly rooted close to home, my mind is still free to continue wandering all the places I’ve traveled and relive all my adventures. And since I never know what place my memories will take me next, I still have the luxury of being surprised. And surprises were one of the things I liked best about traveling.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Lettuce Lake http://tinyurl.com/pz9u75b And there’s also the easiness of armchair travel to let me visit places I’ve never been.

Read Full Post »

 “As you grow older, you’ll find the only things you regret are the things you didn’t do.” — Zachary Scott. 

Mount St. Helens … Photo by Pat Bean 

Travels With Maggie
Looking out at the gaping mouth of Mount St. Helens from a point once known as Coldwater Ridge triggered goose pimples on my arms. I knew that David Johnston – the first to report the volcano’s eruption with the words “Vancouver! Vancouver! This is It!” — had been standing on this same ridge that deadly May 18, 1980, morning when the mountain exploded.

 I also knew from the many reports I’ve read about that day that those had been Johnston’s last words. Although six miles away from the volcano, he had still been directly in its blast zone. Johnston was one of 57 people who lost their lives to the angry mountain. 

 Johnston’s body was never found, and the ridge I was standing atop had been renamed in his honor, as had been the visitor center, the Johnston Ridge Observatory, that was built on the ridge so people like me could gaze on the mountain. 

Scarlet paintbrush colors the ground in front of a tree stump near the top of Johnston Ridge ... Photo by Pat Bean


It was a solemn moment for me as I pondered if the 30-year-old Johnston, a trained and enthusiastic volcanologist who knew the risks, would have thought his brief moment in destiny’s grasp was worth his life. I wasn’t sure. Could anybody ever be. 

Daisies once again flourish in the volcano's blast zone ... Photo by Pat Bean


I do know, however, the great respect I have for Johnston and others who are unwilling to hold back living their lives to the fullest. And as I look at nature’s beauty surrounding me, and the verdant life that has returned to Mount St. Helens, I’m also grateful that the fears I’ve overcome in my life have been less life threatening. 

 Travel has as much to do with internal discovery as it has with seeing the world. New places, new sights, new experiences wash away stereotypes. Standing here on top of this ridge, surrounded by tree stumps whose tops were swept away with the mountain’s roar and where a life was blinked out, touched my soul. 

 I know that for a long time to come I will think of this moment when I looked out on Mount St. Helens from Johnston Ridge. It will remind me both of how precious life is and how important it is to savor every moment because tomorrow may not come. 

 “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.” — Braveheart

Read Full Post »