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Posts Tagged ‘memories’

Going Back in Time

             “One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory prompt…”  — Gretchen Rubin

Salvaging Old Slides

This was the slide my son attached in his email to me today. It’s from a rafting trip I took down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1991. A friend took the photo with my camera. Looking at it makes me happy.

I used to take color slides with my great, old Canon camera because they were cheaper than having prints made.  Yes, that was a long time ago, well before the days of my great, point and shoot digital Canon that I use today. No, I don’t take pictures with my phone.

These days I paint as much as I shoot photographs, and this is my latest piece. I call it bird watching. — Painting by Pat Bean

Over time, the slides and an antique slide projector that I used to view them, got packed in a box and stored away. I kept telling myself I was going to go through the slides one day and figure out which were worth saving in an easier-to-view form. The idea stayed in my head for years until I finally figured out that it wasn’t a task I wanted to do, and accepted that I would never get around to doing it.

I asked my oldest son, D.C., if he was interested. He was. So, I packed the whole shebang up and took it to him when I visited Texas in July.

Earlier today I got an email from him with one of the photos attached, and a note letting me know he had just finished scanning the last of about 1,000 slides. He told me he had bought a special slide scanner for the task.

Along with all the nature shots I had taken were a lot of family photos,  including graduations, weddings and vacation photos, my son said. He’s now going to put them on USB memory sticks and will share them.

I think looking at them is going to make me very happy.

Bean Pat: Breezes at Dawn  https://breezesatdawn.wordpress.com/2018/09/17/a-monday-meander-elemental/  This blog is another photo treat, especially for nature lovers.

Pat Bean is a Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder. Her book, Travels with Maggie, is now up on Amazon at http://tinyurl.com/y8z7553y  Currently, she is writing a book, tentatively titled Bird Droppings, which is about her late-bloomer birding adventures. You can contact her at patbean@msn.com

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Fireworks

            “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln

My life has had moments like this -- and they're still vivid in my memories.

My life has had moments like this — and they’re still vivid in my memories.

We All Need Some Sparkle in our Lives

From my daughter’s backyard patio on the western outskirts of Tucson, I had a front row seat to a fireworks show Monday night. Rockets burst in the air, sending showers of sparkling stars and streaks high and wide – over and over. It was the longest firework show I’ve ever seen.

Finally, however, I tired of the extravaganza, realizing that one can only endure so much splendidness.

White-water rafting was my fireworks for almost 20 years.

White-water rafting was my fireworks for almost 20 years.

Afterwards, as I was feeding carrots to my daughter’s horse, Hondo, who hadn’t liked the explosive lighting show at all, I thought about the fireworks in my life – from late-blooming delicious relationships to facing down  giant rapids from the front seat of a paddle boat on the Colorado River.

My life started out complicated and difficult, then exploded with adventures, and is now moving in slow motion.  I’ve lived a full circle. And what I find strange is that the ending is every bit as fulfilling as the middle.

But it was the beginning, when I was a child of an alcoholic, the outcast in school, too young married to the wrong man, and an unprepared mother, that formed me into the person I am today. My children and grandchildren are the bonuses from that time, as is this person I have become.

I can’t regret any of my life.

While it’s the fireworks’ years that dominate my memories, it’s these years toward the end that are giving me my greatest contentment. Of course, I can’t help but hope there are a few fireworks’ memories still out there for me to create.

But no way do I want to go back to the beginning stage. Once was enough for that period in my life.

Bean Pat: Hairy Puccoon http://tinyurl.com/gtoxu2e Portraits of Wildflowers, one of my favorite bloggers.

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“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane

This is the kind of landscape I was living in when Texas changed to Daylight Saving Time back in 1967.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

This is the kind of landscape I was living in when Texas changed to Daylight Saving Time back in 1967. — Photo by Pat Bean

A Memory from the Past

            When the change to Daylight Saving Time rolls around each year, my memory bank gets a jolt of fresh power that takes me back to my days as a reporter on a small Texas Gulf Coast newspaper.  Texas began its annual clock manipulation, as a way to save on energy costs, the same year that I walked into my first newspaper.

And this is the Arizona landscape where I live now, and which does not participate in Daylight Saving Time. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And this is the Arizona landscape where I live now, and which does not participate in Daylight Saving Time. — Photo by Pat Bean

While the benefits of Daylight Savings Time have been much questioned, there’s no question in my mind that this event was a first step on my road to a 37-year journalism career. You see, that 1967 newspaper story about the time change carried my first-ever byline.

I remember the managing editor lecturing me afterwards on how I could have made the article better, like not starting every sentence almost the same way.  A few years later, I reread the story and cringed. While it was grammatically correct, it lacked grace. It read like a toddler taking their first step. But then that’s exactly what I had been doing at the time.

It took many, many years after that first story before I could comfortably call myself a writer. And some days, I still question the title.

Meanwhile, I’ll never forget that first timely baby step.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: On Growing a Spine http://tinyurl.com/jrn97k4 Some people are born with one, and some, like me, have to grow them. This blog reminded me that I, too, was almost 40 before the growth began.

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“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.

butterfly

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.

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           “I am a wanderer passionately in love with life.” — Aleksandr Kuprin … Me, too.

Even gray days are colorful on a fall day traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains. -- Photo b Pat Bean

Even gray days are colorful on a fall day traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway in the Appalachian Mountains. — Photo b Pat Bean

Rainy Fall Mornings

I woke up to a gentle rain this morning, with the hazy light of a gray sunrise streaming in through the slats of the shutters on my bedroom window. At night the narrow, rectangular blank spaces of this wooden curtain cast a pattern of light and shadow on the ceiling above my head.

Virginia creeper alongside the parkway. I do so love the color red -- Photo by Pat Bean

Virginia creeper alongside the parkway. I do so love the color red — Photo by Pat Bean

I often lie away and study this artful illumination, letting my mind drift into fantasy worlds. I don’t like sleeping in the dark, so I never close the shutters, preferring to let the  pale light that flows into my bedroom comfort me.

The first thing I do on awakening this morning is to go out on my balcony and stare at the mountains to the north of my third floor apartment. They are one of the reasons I have stayed put now for nearly two years.

These tall peaks that stretch nearly 10,000 feet up to the sky bring peace to my nest of bright new furniture and growing stacks of  books. I tried to take a photo of this morning’s misty mountain scene, but my camera battery was dead – and by the time I charged it, the mountains had been eaten by the mist, a sure sign it’s going to be a full gray day.

But that’s OK. I love gray days. They turn the mind inward and slow down the chaos of the world.

On this day two years ago, it was also raining. I was in Front Royal, Virginia, waiting at an almost deserted RV park for the rain to stop before I headed south on Skyline Trail through Shenandoah National Park and down the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Appalachian Mountains.

What a grand adventure that autumn was. But then this fall is charming, too. While my body may remain rooted to one place these days, my mind still travels the road. And autumn is a great time to travel wherever you are.

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Things I love http://tinyurl.com/pcqvnhk One of my favorite bloggers captures nature at her artful best.

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Ugly Furniture

“I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

Be it a string of berries or a colorful sunrise, Mother Nature always has beauty to share. -- Photo by Pat Bean.

Be it a string of berries or a colorful sunrise, Mother Nature always has beauty to share. — Photo by Pat Bean.

But I Didn’t Complain

            One of the things I told myself, when getting rid of all my furniture and stuff in preparation for living in a small RV so I could fulfill my lifetime travel dreams, was that when I finally settled down again, I would have the fun of decorating my new home from scratch.

I love this photo of my and my daughter, Deborah, taken when she was only five days old -- but not the chair I'm sitting in.

I love this photo of me and my daughter, Deborah, taken when she was only five days old — but not the chair I’m sitting in.

And that’s exactly what I did nine years later, nine years in which I learned that I didn’t need much “stuff,” because I had no room for it. My new goal was not to bring a single item of furniture into my newly rented small apartment unless I absolutely loved it.

I thought about that the other day when I came across a picture of me holding my precious first child when she was only five days old. In the past, all I’ve seen when I looked at this valued photo was a too-young-mother, who was coming to realize she had married the wrong man, a fact she wouldn’t undo for four more babies and another 21 years.

This time, however, I noticed the chair I was sitting in for the picture. That set off a string of different memories.

 

Everything is light and bright, with lots of red, in the nest I've created for myself since giving up the RV life. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Everything is light and bright, with lots of red, in the nest I’ve created for myself since giving up the RV life. — Photo by Pat Bean

Three weeks before my baby was due, my husband had found a new job that would require us to move from Houston to Lake Jackson, 50 miles south on the Texas Gulf Coast. His parents had arrived from Dallas to help us move, but that same night I went into labor. By morning, I was holding my daughter in my arms. We were going to name her Debra Leigh, and I had spelled it out for my husband. Instead,  he signed her birth certificate and named her Deborah Lee.

Then, while I remained in the hospital in Houston, he and his parents moved the few belongings from our furnished Houston apartment to an unfurnished apartment in Lake Jackson. The three of them then went shopping. and bought brand new living room, dining room and bedroom furniture.

I almost cried when I finally saw the furniture, especially the couch and chair, which were a drab, grayish brown plaid that already looked old. But in those days, I kept my feelings to myself. The dinette set was gray with gray plastic covered aluminum chairs, and the bedroom set a plain, pale blonde without any distinguishing features.

I had to live with that furniture for years. But I never complained. I think the latter is the sad part.

Bean Pat:  A little tune http://tinyurl.com/lwg37fc Just a cheerful photo to cheer your day. Mother Nature is so awesome. I hope you always have time to enjoy her. It was her beauty that helped sustain me when I had little beauty to enjoy behind walls.

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            “If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?” – Isak Dinesen, “Out of Africa”

Following the leader forward. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Following the leader forward. — Photo by Pat Bean

Africa

Balloon ride over the Serengeti: OK, which way is forward? -- Photo by Pat Bean

Balloon ride over the Serengeti: OK, which way is forward? — Photo by Pat Bean

            The first image that popped into my mind when I saw that “forward”  was the photo challenge topic this week were the long line of elephants that I watched trudge forward  in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. What an amazing sight..

            Then I thought about how the native guides were always going forward in search of Africa’s exotic wildlife to give me and my friend, Kim, the best possible safari experiences they could. They did well.

Holding my breath until this baby moves forward and rejoins his mom and brother -- Photo by Pat Bean

Holding my breath until this baby moves forward and rejoins his mom and brother — Photo by Pat Bean

         On the very last morning in the Serengeti, we watched a mama lion and two nearly grown offspring come forward toward us. The guide had seen them and had parked the Land Rover in an ideal situation so that would pass not too far from us.

            One of the young lions, however, took a detour and came over and scratched his back on one of our tires – the one I was standing above. It was both thrilling and frightening and I was glad when he went back to going forward toward his mom.

            Interesting how two weeks of some of the best travel days of my life became fresh again in my mind after hearing one single word.  

        

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

  Bean’s Pat: Winter’s Majesty http://tinyurl.com/b7d8zek A leaf and a simple poem that captures the best and worst of Chicago in the winter.

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