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Posts Tagged ‘flowers’

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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Jack jump up and kiss me plant. -- Wikimedia photo

Jack jump up and kiss me plant. — Wikimedia photo

                If I  had  my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to  more dances. I would  ride more merry-go-rounds. I would  pick more daisies..” – Nadine Stair

Too Numerous to List

            At one time in my life, I decided to keep a list of the wildflowers I came across on my hikes and walks, the same as I keep a list of the birds I see for the very first time. It was a decision that I quickly gave up as a hopeless task, right after I learned that a daisy comes in over 20,000 species and each, most likely, has dozens of common names.

So I just started enjoying the flowers, and identifying them by the name I liked best.

Butter and eggs. -- Wikimedia photo

Butter and eggs. — Wikimedia photo

One of my favorites is the one I call butter and eggs, a non-native plant considered a weed that is now common across much of North America. It’s also called toadflax, plus such local colloquial names as brideweed,   butter haycocks, bread and butter, bunny haycocks, bunny mouths, calf’s snout, Continental weed, dead men’s bones, devil’s flax, devil’s flower, dragon bushes, eggs and bacon, gallwort, impudent lawyer, Jacob’s ladder,  monkey flower, ramsted, rabbit flower and wild tobacco, just to name a few. .

I can’t help but wonder where the “impudent lawyer” moniker came from, just as I wonder about the name given a small purple wildflower that I’ve often come across. Among other names, it’s known as the Jack-jump-up-and-kiss-me-flower. It also goes by such names as the Johnny jump up, hearts ease, three faces in a hood, tickle-my-fancy, love-in-idleness and wild pansy.

So now do you understand why I don’t keep a flower list?

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

            Bean Pat: Mr. Grumpy Gets a Bath http://tinyurl.com/goay5lg For fans of Ogden Nash and birders interested in grackles and coots.

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A Yellow Burst of Cheer

            “It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just beyond the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun.” – Henry Ward Beecher.

The lowly dandelion: Perhaps to some but not to me.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

The lowly dandelion: Perhaps to some but not to me. — Photo by Pat Bean

Neither Storms, or Mowers, Deter Dandelions

While what may become one of America’s 10 top blizzards is menacing the Eastern United States today through Sunday, I admired my first dandelion of the year here in the Sonoran Desert this morning.

A dandelion in two stages with a butterfly to boot.  -- Photo taken at Rowlett Park near Dallas by Pat Bean

A dandelion in two stages with a butterfly to boot. — Photo taken at Rowlett Park near Dallas by Pat Bean

It was a lonely little thing on a manicured lawn that will be mowed over next Tuesday, which is when, regardless of the weather or need, the ground crew for my apartment complex will cut, rake and trim everything into perfection. .

The timed sprinklers even sprinkle to keep things green when it’s raining. Not a huge problem, however, since the sprinklers only stay on for maybe five minutes at a time. They repeat several times a day, and the grass here is always green.

In fact, my apartment complex is one of the few landscapes in Tucson with grass instead of xeiscaping, although there’s as much of that here, too, keeping the extravagant luxury of the green stuff to a respectable minimum. .

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love dandelions. They add a sparkle to life, one that pops up despite all human efforts to thwart them. You simply can’t keep dandelions down.            There’s a lesson here I think.

Bean Pat: Interesting Literature http://tinyurl.com/honweqd Interesting facts about Robert Burns.

 

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Invest in Yourself

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – Golda Meir

Colorful and whimsical and looking at these objects, which include one of my own art pieces in the background, make me feel food. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Colorful and whimsical and looking at these objects, which include one of my own art pieces in the background, make me feel food. — Photo by Pat Bean

Don’t Wait for Someone to Bring You flowers

I’m not a particularly a neat person. Sometimes dishes remain in the sink overnight, and my artsy fartsy craft activities, writing projects, and half dozen are so books I’m currently reading are usually spread all over my small apartment.

But over the years, I’ve learned that I work best when things are both in some semblance of order and pleasing to the eye. That’s why my writing desk is set in front of a window with a view — and why I buy myself flowers.

I love the way flowers make me feel, and I decided long ago I wasn’t going to wait for someone else to buy, or pick, them for me.

Above are the ones I bought for myself at the grocery store yesterday. While my budget is tight, I considered it a good investment in me.

And don’t you just love the whimsical tin birds that sit beside them. They were a gift from someone who knows how I like quirky and colorful objects.

Life is good.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: Art and Friendship http://tinyurl.com/pxn6h55 Be sure and click on the link “A little bird told me.”

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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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“I will be the gladdest thing. Under the sun!  I will touch a hundred flowers.  And not pick one.”  — Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Afternoon on a Hill.”

I took time to smell the flowers by sitting down to do art with a grandson, and this is what I drew while he drew the Batmobile.

I took time to smell the flowers by sitting down to do art with a grandson, and this is what I drew while he drew the Batmobile.

Mottos to Live By

When I woke up from my unthoughtful, unlived life at nearly 40, my motto for the next few years became “Grab all the gusto you can get.” It was plagiarism of a Schlitz beer commercial: “You only go through life once, so you have to grab all the gusto you can get.”

With nearly half my life blown away, I realized that the only regrets I had were for the things I hadn’t done … well mostly anyway.

My grandson Patrick's Batmobile.

My grandson Patrick’s Batmobile.

During the next three plus decades, I did many things – and have regrets for none of what at times may have been an “excessive life.”  Perhaps that’s because I did nothing I would have been ashamed to tell the world, which, along with the mottos “do no harm” and the Golden Rule form my spiritual center.

But these days, which now number more behind me than ahead of me, my passion has become one of “taking time to smell the flowers.”

Doing so interferes with more ambitious goals, such as finishing my book, “Travels with Maggie” – which is still moving slowly along. But then I can’t imagine giving up the flowers to make the writing go faster.

Of course smelling the flowers is more than just blossoms.

This morning, it was simply taking time to sit on my bedroom balcony, drinking my cream-laced coffee, and to stare up at the Catalina Mountains while the sun made its entrance for the day.

I suddenly realized it was as close to meditation – meaning emptying the mind – as I have ever reached in my life.  I have been too busy grabbing all that gusto, when the flowers needed more quiet smelling.

But then I smiled, thinking about all that gusto. I wouldn’t change a thing.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: September writing resolutions http://tinyurl.com/mfkmqxf  Fine words to live by for the month, except that I already keep a timer by my computer and set it for 15 minutes. Old broads need to move often so they can keep moving.

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            “The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.” – Albert Einstein

Blooming this morning. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Blooming this morning. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Walk with Pepper

            I have many friends who find joy and relaxation digging in the dirt and making something grow. I appreciate them greatly, probably more so because I’m not one of them.

Simple and elegant -- Photo by Pat Bean

Simple and elegant — Photo by Pat Bean

The only thing outside of a potted plant that I’ve ever successfully grown was a patch of strawberries, once.  The robins, who knew the exact second they would be ripe, enjoyed them.

For most of my life I faked an appreciation of gardening, perhaps trying to convince myself I enjoyed getting hot and dirty and pained from stooping over.  It simply seemed unwomanly to admit that I didn’t like digging in the dirt.

Finally I accepted my true self as a non-dirt-pottering kind of woman. It felt good.

I love gardens, and gladly eat the delicious tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas and all the other home-grown vegetables that find their way into my kitchen. I even eat the zucchini that is a never-ending gift from my gardening friends.

And no morning would be complete without a view of Mother Nature's handiwork, the Catalina mountains. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And no morning would be complete without a view of Mother Nature’s handiwork, the Catalina mountains. — Photo by Pat Bean

And I dare say no one could appreciate their flower gardens more than me. Such live, growing beauty seeps deep into my heart.

So today, I just want to send out a big thanks to those responsible for my apartment’s flower gardens, and all the other hard work of keeping the grounds  trimmed and edged and growing. I find some new growing miracle on almost every walk.

And thanks to Mother Nature, too.  Mountains and wildflowers seep deep into my heart, too.

 

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 “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple, With a red hat which doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me, And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves, And satin sandals, and say we’ve no monwy  for butter.” – Jenny Joseph

My favorite refrigerator magnet. — Photo by Pat Bean

“I never saw a purple cow; I never hope to see one: But I can tell you, Anyhow, I’d rather see than be one.” Frank Gellett Burgess

Passionate purple pansy garden at the St. Louis botanical Gardens. — Photo by Pat Bean

The Purple-People Eater

Well I saw the thing comin’ out of the sky
It had the one long horn, one big eye
I commenced to shakin’ and I said “ooh-eee”
It looks like a purple eater to me

It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater
(One-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater)
A one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater
Sure looks strange to me (One eye?)

Well he came down to earth and he lit in a tree
I said Mr. Purple People Eater, don’t eat me
I heard him say in a voice so gruff
I wouldn’t eat you cuz you’re so tough

It was a one-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater
One-eyed, one-horned flyin’ purple people eater
One-eyed, one-horned, flyin’ purple people eater
Sure looks strange to me (One horn?)

I said Mr. Purple People Eater, what’s your line
He said it’s eatin’ purple people and it sure is fine
But that’s not the reason that I came to land
I wanna get a job in a rock and roll band

Well bless my soul, rock and roll, flyin’ purple people eater
Pigeon-toed, undergrowed, flyin’ purple people eater
(We wear short shorts)
Flyin’ purple people eater
Sure looks strange to me

And then he swung from the tree and he lit on the ground
He started to rock, really rockin’ around
It was a crazy ditty with a swingin’ tune
Sing a boop boop aboopa lopa lum bam boom

Well bless my soul, rock and roll, flyin’ purple people eater
Pigeon-toed, undergrowed, flyin’ purple people eater
I like short shorts
Flyin’ little people eater
Sure looks strange to me (Purple People?)

And then he went on his way, and then what do ya know
I saw him last night on a TV show
He was blowing it out, a’really knockin’ em dead
Playin’ rock and roll music through the horn in his head

Lyrics by Sheb Wooley

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“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.” Seneca

And They Work for Delta Airlines

If I could, I’d give this whole garden of flowers, which I found growing at the St. Louis Botanical Gardens, to my two Delta Airline angels. — Photo by Pat Bean

I have a granddaughter getting married this weekend in Texas.

So about six weeks ago, so as not to leave my campground hosting duties here at Lake Walcott for too long, I made airline reservations that would get me into Texas early Saturday morning for that evening’s wedding. Or so I thought.

The plan was that my son, who lives only a couple of hours away, would pick me up at the airport. But then I got a call from him yesterday asking me to take another look at my flight reservations.

“You’re booked to catch the 8:10 p.m. flight, and not the 8:10 a.m. flight,” he said.

And may their days be full of rainbows, like this one I saw near Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota. — Photo by Pat Bean

He was right – and I was in a panic. My flight wouldn’t arrive in Texas until after all the happenings had ended. And of course I had purchased one of those non-refundable, non-changeable tickets.

Trying very hard to not panic, I called Delta Airlines. After the usual wait for an agent, I was connected to sweet, young, voice, the kind that you just know is not going to be able to help you. Fate, I thought, wasn’t going to be kind to me.

But after I, as calmly as my fast-beating heart would allow, explained my predicament, the honeyed voice asked if I would hold while she talked with a supervisor.

It wasn’t a short hold, but the voice came back several times to let me know she was still working on my problem.

Finally, as if this were a fairy tale where everyone lived happily ever after, she told me that my flight had been changed from an evening one to a morning one, and that there would be no charge.

“Normally it would have cost $350 to change,” she said, “but this was clearly a mistake.”

I wished I could have hugged this delightful young woman, and the supervisor who approved the change, too.

I now believe in Angels.

Bean’s Pat: The Kindness Kronicles http://thekindnesskronicles.wordpress.com I wonder if my angels ever read this bloggers post about daily kindness. Blog pick of the day from this wondering wanderer.

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“Earth Laughs in Flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Just one of the many spectacular skylines at Zion National Park. — Photo by Pat Bean

 

Take Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers

Indian paintbrush growing out of a rock wall. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Indian paintbrush growing out of a rock wall. — Photo by Pat Bean

Having spent many hours in each, although Zion hogged the majority of those hours, I dare to say you won’t find anywhere else in the world that has such a concentrated landscape of awesomeness.

It’s mostly redrock country, with rugged mountain peaks, natural bridges, hoodoos, rivers that roar in early spring and hum softly in late summer and sights that simply take your breath away.

While I’ve found beauty in every state, this is truly a landscape you should not miss. And don’t forget to smell the flowers while you’re at it.

Bean’s Pat: http://tinyurl.com/cfbvevs 30 Ways to Improve Yourself. I’m a sucker for these kind of tips, and these are all practical and doable.  

 

 

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