Posts Tagged ‘Maya Angelou’


The color purple makes my world better, especially when it trims up some white flowers and helps attract a butterfly.  Photo by Pat Bean

Flowers make  my world better, especially when they attract a butterfly.           Photo by Pat Bean


  “The salvation of America and of the human race depends on the next election … But so it was last year, and so it was the year before, and our fathers believed the same thing 40 years ago.”    

While these words might have been written just yesterday, they were actually written 168 years ago by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The color blue cheers up my world too, especially when used by glass artist Chihuly in this outdoor sculpture piece. — Photo by Pat Bean

I came across the quote when I was reading my 1998 journal, some of which was written at the same time I was reading Emerson’s journals and, at the same time, ranting about talk show hosts like Jerry Springer and narrow-minded windbags who preach of Christian values but seem to have no Christianity in them.

I was a reporter at the time and so couldn’t turn off what was going on in the world, which some days I now do for the sake of my sanity. Instead, back then, I comforted myself with the thoughts of writers like Emerson, who recognized the world has its cruel side, always has and probably always will, but focused more on its positive attributes.

“My life is a May game. I will live as I like. I defy your strait-laced, weary, social ways and modes. Blue is the sky, green the fields and groves, fresh the springs, glad the rivers, and hospitable the splendor of sun and star. I will play by game out,” he wrote, as well as: “If Milton, if Burns, if Bryant, is in the world, we have more tolerance, and more love for the changing sky, the mist, the rain, the bleak overcast day, the sun is raining light.”

            For me, it’s been writers like Maya Angelou, who believed God put rainbows in the sky to give us hope, and Charles Kuralt, who saw the everyday kindness of the back roads as making up for the acts of greed in the headlines, who have made my world better.

It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers and criminals,” wrote Kuralt.

If, as my grandmother would say, it looks like the world is going to hell in a hand basket – and I can’t disagree in these troubling times – there is good out there, too. Neighbors helping neighbors when hard times fall, kindness and thoughtfulness as part of everyday, ordinary lives, and friendships and partnerships that last a lifetime.

Yes. Nothing ever seems to change.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: CindyKnoke http://tinyurl.com/jsbmjdl I’ve always wanted to live for six months on a houseboat on the Mississippi River. It’s on my bucket list. But this houseboat in Amsterdam looks pretty cool, too. What do you think?

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Mourning dove — Photo by Pat Bean


If I had things my way, all birds would fly free.

Gambel's quail -- Photo by Pat Bean

Gambel’s quail — Photo by Pat Bean

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

By Maya Angelou

“A free bird leaps on the back of the wind
and floats downstream till the current ends
and dips his wing in the orange suns rays and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks down his narrow cage
can seldom see through his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn and he names the sky his own.


Gila woodpecker — Photo by Pat Bean

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied so he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
of things unknown but longed for still
and his tune is heard on the distant hill
for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

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             “Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: ‘I’m with you kid. Let’s go.’” – Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou speaking in 2008.

Maya Angelou speaking in 2008. –Wikipedia photo

Perfectly Fantastic

I once had the honor of interviewing Maya Angelou. It was one of the highlights of my 37-year journalistic career.

Says this wise old lady:

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

“My great hope is to laugh as much as I cry; to get my work done and try to love somebody and have the courage to accept the love in return.”

 “Nothing will work unless you do.”

  “The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.”

  “I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”          

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

  Bean’s Pat: 46 Reflections http://tinyurl.com/bumwlrk A fantastic gift of photos and quotes from Matador online magazine. I loved every one.

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“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands. You need to be able to throw something back.” Maya Angelou

These Had to Belong to a Show-Off Cowgirl

The gloves may be fancy, but the cowgirl hands that wore them were probably used to hard work. These were on exhibit at the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in Fort Worth, Texas. — Photo by Pat Bean

What can you ever really know of other people’s souls – of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know: and it is the only one whose fate is places in your hands.” C.S. Lewis

Bean’s Pat: Stop it Now http://tinyurl.com/7ala2bu 30 things you really shouldn’t do to yourself. Very good advice.

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A stained-glass peacock adorns a side panel at the entrance to Kalachandji's.

Towers of the Hare Krishna Temple overlook an East Dallas neighborhood. -- Photos by Pat Bean


“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” Maya Angelou

Eating Out

While I’m most comfortable and peaceful surrounded by Mother Nature’s awesome bounties of streams, lakes, trees, mountains, gorges, and fields of grasses and wildflowers where birds, butterflies and larger wildlife find refuge, I occasionally enjoy a few days stay in a large city.

Such skyscraper metroplexes offer awesome museums to visit, live performances to attend, dozens of art galleries to pursue and intriguing new places to eat.

A tree in the center of the open-sky courtyard restaurant helped me feel as if Mother Nature was enjoying the meal, too. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The one big city I visit most is Dallas. It’s where I was born, and where my oldest daughter and oldest grandson both live. I came here specifically this time to see the grandson, David, get married, but spending time with my daughter, Deborah, and Shanna, her daughter and my granddaughter who came up from Argentina for her brother’s big event, has been a big bonus.

Shanna inherited my love of travel and exploring new things in life. So when she asked if I was: “Up to a temple visit and then a vegetarian dinner,” the answer was a quick yes, even though I had no idea where she would be taking me.

It was to a modest, sometimes rundown, section of East Dallas, where the Sri Sri Radha Kalachandji Mandi Hare Krishna Temple’s tall towers overlook an ethic neighborhood of East Indians.

I was fascinated.

The first thing we did on entering the building was to go to a back room where we took off our shoes. Shanna was familiar with the place from her earlier Dallas yoga study days. We then went into a large, long room with a glossy wood floor and a stage full of Indian gods. A monk was leading a few devotees in chanting as they stared ahead at the stage, or as one young man did, danced to the chanting. Shanna and I sat on a side bench and watched and listened as the room slowly began to fill.

My granddaughter, Shanna, getting ready to chow down. -- Photo by Pat Bean

The women who came into the room were all dressed in colorful saris, while the men’s clothing ranged from pajama looking outfits to a just-got-off-from work American business look. One woman carried a small child and beside her walked a sweet-faced imp of a girl, perhaps 4, who came over and played high-fives with us. We smiled at the mother to let her know that the child was not bothering us.

A bit later, when our stomachs started protesting, we retrieved our shoes and went across the hallway to Kalachandji’s, This small, buffet style, eating place inside the Hare Krishna Temple was voted the best vegetarian restaurant in Dallas in 2010.

I have to admit healthy food never tasted so good, and the rice pudding with which I ended the meal was heavenly. And since we ate our meal in a courtyard open to a sky with a tree in the middle, I even felt Mother Nature’s presence a little bit.

Life is good.

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Maya Angelou reading her poetry to the nation during Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration. -- Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


“I always love to hear people laugh. I never trust people who don’t laugh … I also like people who love themselves. I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves.” — Maya Angelou

Travels With Maggie

I was asked this week, after I wrote about David Hasselhoff (Feb. 17th blog), who had been my favorite person to interview during my 37 years as a journalist. Without a second’s hesitation, I replied, “Maya Angelou.”

I had the honor of spending an hour with this earthy, acclaimed poet before she gave the 1997 “Familes Alive” address at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Amazingly, I found this very same speech online at http://tinyurl.com/63tg8eo I suggest, if you have time, that you read it.

Angelou had been 69 at the time, She stood six-feet tall and had an ample body that should have made her look grandmotherly. It didn’t. She oozed confidence, and sexuality in a way I had never seen before. I remember thinking back then that if this what age had in store for me, bring it on.

My first introduction to Maya Angelou came in the early 1970s when I read her "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

A huge audience had come to hear Maya speak. I, for one, drank in every word she spoke. Here was a woman who had risen from suffering racial discrimination to reading her poetry before the nation during a presidential inauguration.

Her life is clear evidence for all of us that where we start out in life isn’t where we have to stay.

The newspaper story I wrote from my interview and Angelou’s speech stirred one angry letter, however.

I quoted Anglelou quoting a 1950s’ folk song that had a Black man saying: “The woman I love is fat and chocolate to the bone, and every time she shakes some skinny woman loses her home.” Angelou demonstrated the shaking, and said she loved to make people laugh. And everyone in the audience obliged her.

In response, the letter writer accused me of encouraging discrimination against “skinny women.” I suspected she was a woman who had never laughed at herself. How sad.

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