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Posts Tagged ‘deer’

A front-yard daffodil tells us spring is not too far way. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“I wandered lonely as a cloud

That Floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd

A host of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the Breeze.”

   — William Wordsworth.   

I saw my first daffodils for the year yesterday. Five golden blooms had popped themselves up beneath a juniper tree.

“Quick. Take a picture. Before the deer eat them,” said my daughter-in-law, Cindi. “And then e-mail it to D.C.” The daffodils were still there this morning, however. The deer were evidently satisfied with the corn she put out for them. Like me, she worries about the neighborhood deer because development in this once rural area is destroying all their habitat.

D.C. is my son, the one who never wants a thermostat to drop beneath 78, but who is currently in Afghanistan, at a place where a frigid winter is still very much in charge of the landscape. While a picture of a daffodil might not warm his body, hopefully it will warm his spirit.

A field of daffodils in Cornwall, England -- Photo by Mark Robinson

Daffodils do that to people. It’s as if the energy that pushes up daffodils – sometimes through several inches of snow – is transferred from the golden petals to the human soul.

Camden, Arkansas, where my youngest daughter lives, hosts an annual Daffodil Festival, with this year’s event scheduled March 11-12. You might want to catch it if you’re anywhere nearby. If not, perhaps you can attend one of these other daffodil events:

       Annual Daffodil Parade, Puyallup, Washington, April 9

       Meriden, Connecticutt, Daffodil Festival April 30-May 1

       Gloucester, Virginia, Daffodil Festival, March 26-27

       Junction, Oregon, Daffodil Drive Festival, March 12-13

       Nantuckett Island, Massachusetts, Daffodil Festival Weekend April 29-May 1

       Fremont, North Carolina, Daffodil Festival, March 26

I could continue on for a while, but you get the idea. I’m not the only one who thinks daffodils are worthy of notice.

Have you seen your first one this year yet?

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Have you ever taken the time to look into a deer's eyes. Perhaps you should. -- Photo by Pat Bean

”  Though it sounds absurd, it is true to say I felt younger at sixty than I felt at twenty.” — Ellen Glasgow, “The Woman Within”  

Travels With Maggie

 There have been many thrilling minutes in my life. When I was young, I watched my babies breathe in and out as they lay asleep, and felt the grasp of their tiny hands around my fingers. Each of their achievements – from taking their first steps to bringing home their first paycheck, made my heart sing with joy.

After my babies had flown the coop, I was free to chase other thrills, like rafting the grand canyon, going on a safari in Africa, and even jumping out of an airplane. It would not be unfair to say that I’m a bit of an adrenalin junkie.

But when I took my dog Maggie on her walk this morning, I felt more alive than I think I have ever felt before.

The sky was full of puffy rose and lavender tinted clouds that let one know the sun had risen even if it wasn’t visible this overcast day. A cool breeze stirred the hair on my bare arms, but I wasn’t cold. The caress on my skin felt like a gentle lover’s touch, one I never wanted to stop

The purple buds on this mailbox cactus appear to be straining for warmer weather so they can burst forth in joyous blooms. -- Photo by Pat Bean

.

I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment of the moment. The coolness gave Maggie, now 13, a briskness to her steps that, like mine, have begun to slow. She walked with ears flapping in the wind, and her short cocker-spaniel tail, straight up, a signal to the world that she’s in charge.

I was vividly aware of everything around me, the cedar waxwings crowding the leafless branches of an oak tree, the straining purple buds on a huge cactus in a mailbox planter, the eyes of a deer staring at me as I approached and a single dandelion in a winter brown yard.

In my younger days, I would have probably only seen the deer, and even then would not have taken the time to look into its eyes and make the connection I did this day.

While a few of the older female writers I’ve been reading lately, like Diana Athill in “Somewhere Toward the End,” spend too many of their words bemoaning what age has taken from them, I have nary a complaint.

With age has come acceptance of myself, deeper understanding of how the world works, and the wisdom to know that the simply things in life can be as thrilling as getting to the top of the mountain.

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Painted Wall of the Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison with the Gunnison River flowing below. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

Travels With Maggie 

  “As we become curators of our own contentment on the Simple Abundance path… we learn to savor the small with a grateful heart.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach –

Black Canyon of the Gunnison

While visitors to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park may be awed by the deep narrow chasm carved by the Gunnison River below them – I certainly was – I didn’t forget to look right in front of my nose. I’m always amazed at Mother Nature’s more delicate landscape paintings, be it a single purple flower or a massive canvas of lichen, twigs, grasses, rocks soil and leaves.

I stayed in the park’s South Rim Campground, which has electrical hookups and is adjacent to a mile-long rim trail with excellent views of the canyon. Maggie and I encountered deer, squirrels and a marmot on our walks, while red-tailed hawks and turkey vultures flew above us.

 
 

I found the landscape of rocks and foilage painted by Mother Nature as awesome as the mighty canyon. -- Photo by Pat Bean

We even got a brief glimpse of a peregrine falcon flying in the canyon beneath us. Once nearly extinct, this speediest of birds has made a magnificent comeback.

Another hike took me along the canyon floor for a rendezvous with a boat, and a ride through the canyon, past a waterfall, on a ranger-led tour. Writing now about this visit to the park two years ago makes me want to go back.

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