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Posts Tagged ‘Mark Twain’

Nark Twain lives on in memory and on this Garden City, Kansas, bench.

Nark Twain lives on in memory and on this Garden City, Kansas, bench.

         “Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile” – Mark Twain

From Mark Twain

I collect quotes, and Mark Twain’s words are not only worth repeating, they’re worth living by.

What’s your favorite Twain book. Mine is “Huckleberry Finn.”

Samuel Clements, aka Mark Twain, said:

The Mark Twain Bridge across his beloved Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri, -- Photo by Pat Bean

The Mark Twain Bridge across his beloved Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri, — Photo by Pat Bean

“Don’t go round saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

            “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

            “Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” 

            “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect”

            “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”

            “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

            “A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.”

            “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

But Twain’s “Prayer for War,” which was not allowed to be published during his life time, is, I believe, his best work. I cry every time I read it, and think it should be read daily by all who think war is the best solution to this world’s problems.

I didn’t plan on quoting it when I started what I thought would be a fun blog. But now I feel a responsibility to share it.

The War Prayer

By Mark Twain

“O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it – for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.”       

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: The Iris and the Lily http://tinyurl.com/crn8hbt After that I needed a bit of Mother Nature to calm my soul. Perhaps you do too.

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 “And when it rains on your parade, look up rather than down. Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.” Gilbert K. Chesterton

Adventures with Pepper: Days 15-17  

On my earlier trip to Hannibal — when it was sunny — I climbed the 253 steps to the top of Cardiff Hill. At the foot of the hill is a statue of Tom and Huck. — Photo by Pat Bean

 I stayed over this day at the Mark Twain Landing campground, taking advantage of the scenic park to catch up on my writing. My plan was to get back on the road the next day. But a thundering rain storm, which began during the night and continued into the day, pushed that plan out the window.  While my RV, Gypsy Lee, takes steep hills and winding curves with ease, she doesn’t do slick well. Frustrated that my well-thought-out day of travel had gone awry, I spent most of the day playing computer games. I hate it when I do that.  It was still overcast the next morning but I took off anyway, stopping at the large Wal-Mart in Hannibal, about 20 miles east of the Landing campground, to stock up my depleted pantry. When I came out from my shopping, it was raining again, steadily and hard with no indication it would be stopping anytime soon.

At the top of the hill was the Mark Twain Lighthouse, which was built in 1935 to commemorate what would have been the witty author’s 100th birthday. It was never a working lighthouse. — Photo by Pat Bean

Time, I decided, to put Plan B into action.

I had passed through Hannibal, coming from another direction and headed another direction, in 2006. I had stayed that time at the Injun Joe Campground just outside of Hannibal on Highway 61. I back-tracked there now and settled in for the rest of the day.

This time I actually did get a little writing done, and a lot of reading, too.

Book Report: “Travels with Maggie” now at 54,915 words. Long drives and other projects keep the book moving at a snail’s pace. But I’m happy as long as there’s at least a little progress.

Bean’s Pat: Fly like an eagle http://tinyurl.com/8fauggm or soar like a red-tailed hawk.  The soaring red-tail, with sun highlighting its naming feature, is a common sight in my travels. It’s one that always makes my heart soar right up there with it. But I’ve never been able to photograph the flight. I’m so glad this blogger captured the awesomeness.

 

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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream Discover.” – Mark Twain.

A Safe Refuge is an Impossible Dream 

Yesterday’s sunrise here at Lake Walcott taken from my camp site. Smoke from Idaho’s wildfires has turned the sun quite red. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’ve been asked three times this morning if I’m safe from the wildfires that are currently ravaging Idaho. I am. Lake Walcott is an oasis surrounded by a very dry high desert.

But the fires are on everyone’s mind. The park’s flags flew at half-mast Saturday for the 20-year-old female firefighter who was killed by a falling tree while fighting a wildfire near Orofino.  And the news this morning was that the small town of Featherville, Idaho, which sits between the Boise and Sawtooth national forests, is being evacuated because a wildfire there is out of control.

I’ve watched a fire-fighting helicopter fill up its water bucket out of the lake here to fight some nearby fires started by lightning strikes, while firefighters turned the park’s boat dock area into a staging front for those earlier fires.

But so far, no wildfires have threatened the park. Lake Walcott has even attracted campers whose favorite camping spots elsewhere have burned or been evacuated.

The same sunrise a few minutes later. — Photo by Pat Bean

Meanwhile the morning sunrises and sunsets here at the lake have been red because of all the smoke in the air. I captured the two photos included here of yesterday’s sunrise.

As much as I love Mother Nature, I must say she is not playing nice right now. High temperatures and little moisture have left the landscapes a sitting target for lightning strikes. Idaho has been hit extremely hard, with over one million acres burned so far this year.

I long ago realized that safety is a fantasy. Hurricanes strike those who live next to the oceans, tornadoes strike those who live on the plains, avalanches strike those who live in the mountains, fires, earthquakes and evil humans can cause havoc everywhere. While it’s wise to take precautions to protect oneself from both nature and evil, it’s also foolish not to continue living life to the fullness of one’s dreams.

Book Report: Travels with Maggie, 36,372 words. Lot of editing and cutting here, so this is more impressive than it looks, since at last report I was up to 35,726 words. Besides which, I worked in the visitor kiosk here at Lake Walcott on Saturday and Sunday, and had very enjoyable company Saturday evening. The good news is that the rewrite of my travel book is still progressing.

Bean’s Pat: Turtles at Dawn http://tinyurl.com/cn34ftj Despite the fires, life goes on, and these tiny turtles headed out to sea cheer me.

This new illustration for Bean’s Pat is courtesy of Laura Hulka, who like me is a member of Story Circle Network, an organization of female writers which has enriched my life. Check it out at: www.storycircle.org Thank you Laura.

I encourage recipients of the Bean’s Pat to copy and paste it on their blogs. The Pat is this wondering wanderer’s choice for best blog of the day. I created it to play it back for the awards readers have given me.

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“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” Wallace Stevens

 

Looking down on Mono Lake from the Highway 395 overlook. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

My trip back to Texas from my summer in Idaho was a hurried affair. Usually I plan on arriving for my winter rounds with family just in time for Thanksgiving But a grandson’s wedding, which takes place tonight, moved that up by about six weeks.

Even so, I managed to knock two things off my to-do list, now more popularly called a bucket list, on my way back to my native Lone Star State.

Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park now have check marks beside them. .

It may be easier for some of you to understand why Yosemite was a place I wanted to visit than it is to understand why Mono Lake was on my list. After all, it’s simply a shallow, very salty, often smelly lake As we neared the lake basin, My canine traveling companion, Maggie, perked up at the smell, wrinkling her nose a bit as she caught the scent. . I’m not sure what she was thinking.

 

California gulls along the shoreline -- Photo by Pat Bean

 The odorous shoreline, however,  reminded me of Great Salt Lake, a place whose beauty I came to greatly appreciate while living next door to it for 25 years.

The Utah lake is larger and much younger than the smaller and much older California lake. Both, however, are part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network that provides habitat for millions of migratory birds.

About the only species I saw on Mono Lake, however, was the California gull, which incidentally happens to be Utah’s state bird. It was given the honor after Mormon settlers in the Salt Lave Valley credited the gulls with saving their crops from a cricket infestation.

Neither lake has an outlet, and so remain the depository for everything that flows into them. Their importance to the ecosystem, however, has in recent years led to conservation practices engineered for their protection.

Mark Twain, in his “Roughing it,” called Mono Lake “a lifeless, treeless desert … the loneliest place on earth.”

I think otherwise.

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 “I’m such a chameleon. I never get bored.” – Natalie Imbruglia

Travels With Maggie

Yosemite's Half Dome from Tioga Pass -- Photo by Pat Bean

Half Dome in Yosemite National Park is really not half of anything. This 8,836 foot granite rock only gives that impression if you’re looking at it from Yosemite Valley. From Tioga Pass, it looks more like a giant ball-shaped boulder, and from Glacier Point, it appears as a narrow ridge.

Getting to view this Yosemite icon’s strikingly different faces this week wowed me.

It also got me thinking about my own face and the many different views it has.

I’ve always been sort of a chameleon, fitting in with whatever crowd or family member I’m with. And when you’re talking about my family members, we’re talking a wide spectrum of polarized opinions.

My chameleon nature has usually boded well for peaceful encounters – and I run from any that aren’t peaceful – but I’ve considered the trait detrimental to discovering my own voice.

Looking at Half Dome’s different faces this week, however, helped me realize that perhaps being a chameleon is not all that bad. Just as I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of the views Half Dome presented me, it helped me finally figure out that my voice has many chameleon-like traits..

Half Dome from Yosemite Valley -- Photo by Pat Bean

I both enjoy being with people and being by myself. I enjoy classical music, but country western tunes also give me joy. I support a woman’s right to abortion, but believe in the death penalty. I hug trees, but accept that people have to put food on their tables before worrying about the environment. I love birds but recognize that cats also have their place in the food chain. I vote for both Democratic and Republican candidates.

Well, you get the idea. Mark Twain and Samuel Clemens certainly did:

“We are chameleons, and our partialities and prejudices change place with an easy and blessed facility, and we are soon wonted to the change and happy in it.”

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” Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  ~Mark Twain<!–, The Innocents Abroad, or, The New Pilgrims Progress, "Conclusion," 1869; CTO–>

A tree grew through it. A parting look at the Tarangire Treetops Lodge's main building.

African Safari: Photo Op

It was with regret that Kim and I left the Treetops Lodge the next morning. We both would have loved to have spent more time in this place where childhood fantasies were a reality. All too soon, it seemed, a guard was outside below waiting for us to descend from our trap-door entrance so he could walk us to the main lodge for breakfast.

Elephants and giraffe's shadowed us for our final wildlife drive with Bilal. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

Later, looking at the lodge’s website, I realized we couldn’t have afforded it. One night’s stay at the lodge, which has only 20 tree-house suites, cost over $600. It had been one of the luxuries that we had included in our African Adventure Company package. I’m glad we hadn’t known the cost it added to our trip or Kim and I might have forgone staying here.

As it was, our tree-house night will forever be part of our Africa memories. And so would Bilal.

Cheetahs, like this mom with three youngsters, were frequently seen on our wildlife drives with Bilal. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

The macho, dark-skinned man had looked out for us for a whole week. He treated us with respect and professionalism in all his actions, and we came to respect and care for him.

Today, we would have one last wildlife drive with him, before he deposited us in Arusha, where we would have lunch at the Flame Tree Restaurant, a dropping-off place for various safari companies, and where we would be met and driven across the border into Kenya.

Giraffe, elephants, zebras and other wildlife shadowed us for the usual bouncy journey. While they, like the superb starlings and cattle egret, had become familiar sights to us this past week, their antics were still awesome to watch.

Kim and I say our good-byes to Bilal in Arusha, where he handed us off to a Ranger Safaris' driver who would take us to the Kenya border, where we would continue our safari. Just for the record, we tipped him well.

We arrived in Arusha early, and Bilal drove us around the busy downtown area, where I kept seeing images of Elsa Martinelli being chased by baby elephants in the 1962 John Wayne film “Hatari.” The town was quite a bit bigger these days, with lots of hustle and bustle and color. But my imagination had grown bigger over the years, too. And so I could still see the town as it might have once been.

Both views were exotic and strange and wonderful, and expanded the mind.

Arusha Market -- Wikitravel photo

Then all too soon it was time to say good-bye to Bilal. Kim and I both hoped he had enjoyed his time with us as much as we had with him. He posed with us while another guide took our picture.

It’s one of my favorite photos of the entire safari.

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 “Honest poverty is a gem that even a king might be proud to call his own – but I wish to sell out.” – Mark Twain

African Safari: No Sale

Tanzanite: The rough stone and a polished stone. -- Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Tourists to Africa, like Kim and myself, are valued for the dollars they bring. Knowing that made it easier for me to understand the royal and polite treatment we received at all the places we stayed, and helped erase the guilt I frequently suffered for having so much while others had so little.

I would like to think that some of the kindnesses extended us was real, but I’m sure some of it was just for the generous tips both Kim and I diligently handed out. It seemed only just that we do so.

The Africa Adventure Company that had arranged our tour, meanwhile, had gone the extra mile to make sure we traveled safely and enjoyed our stay. This included providing us an opportunity to spend our money on souvenirs from sanctioned local shops and native co-ops. .

I realized this fully for the first time when our Ranger Safaris’ driver stopped at a place where they sold tanzanite, a rare gem first discovered in 1967 in the hills near Mount Kilimanjaro. Neither Kim nor I had ever heard of this brilliantly blue and violet crystal-like stone.

The mining of the gem was nationalized by the Tanzania government in 1972; and its original name of blue zoisite, was changed to tanzanite by Tiffany when the company began marketing the jewel.

Company big wigs thought a stone named after the country where it was found would sell better than one whose name sounded like “blue suicide.”

Monkeys by the side of a road were a common sight in Tanzania. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

According to Wikipedia, “the mining of tanzanite nets the Tanzanian government $20 million annually,” while retail sales, mostly in the United States, total “approximately $500 million annually.”

The largest tanzanite stone discovered, 252 carats and known as the “Queen of Kilimanjaro,” sits in a tiara owned by Michael Scott, Apple Computers’ first CEO.

I found the tanzanite trivia fascinating, but wasn’t interested in owning one. Both Kim and I, after noting the cost of the jewelry, agreed we would rather spend our money on more travel instead.

Next Episode: Coffee Plantation Lodging

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