Posts Tagged ‘morning walks’


To be outdoors and walking during Arizona sunrises and sunsets makes one feel good to be alive. — Photo by Pat Bean

          ‘The wisdom of age: Don’t stop walking.” – Mason Cooley

A Daily Ritual

            After retiring in 2004, selling my home, and taking to the road in a small motor home, I began a daily ritual that continues to this day. I walk my dog,

Mourning doves are almost a daily sight as Scamp and I take our morning walks. — Photo by Pat Bean

First, there was Maggie, a spoiled cocker spaniel who didn’t wake up until 9 a.m. and who didn’t like to get her feet wet. She was my home-on-wheels companion for eight of the nine years I lived in it.

Pepper, a sweet, gently Scottie-mix who never wanted to get out of my sight, came next and traveled with me for my final unrooted year before we began life in a third-floor walkup apartment, a choice I made because I like being on top and having a view. Six a.m. was Pepper’s wake-up time but she could be persuaded to sleep in for another hour before I had to get up and walk her.

Scamp, a Siberian Husky-Shih Tzu mix who is perfectly named and who has now been with me for a year, demands a 5 a.m. walk, and bullies me until I get up and take him for it. Thankfully I’m a morning person and am usually just as eager for the walk as he. But occasionally, especially when I get to bed late or spend most of the night reading, I get a bit grumpy about the early start to my day.

Living in a third-floor apartment without a yard of my own means these early walks are not optional. I call them my fool-proof exercise program. This is especially true since four more walks are required during the day as well.

But since its summer, and Scamp and I live in the desert where it’s currently hot as heck, our morning walks are the

Cactus is plentiful around my apartment complex, and one or another is usually in bloom. — Photo by Pat Bean

only ones of much duration. And these have been shortened in recent years because of the physical limitations that come with becoming an old broad. The long walks I used to have with my other canines is one of the few things I truly miss.

Even so, I find that if I’m observant, each shorter walk these days contains a special moment. Perhaps it’s the sight of a Cheshire moon grinning back at me between the trees as I walk down the steps. This morning, it was one of our resident great horned owls sitting on the pool fence and screeching a hiss at us as we passed it by.

Scamp was intrigued and stopped to watch until I finally pulled him forward. At 40 pounds, Scamp doesn’t much interest the owl, but my downstairs neighbor picks up her four-pound chihuahua whenever she knows this bird of prey is around.

Right now, the saguaros are beginning to bloom, and I have two large ones picked out to watch their day by day progress. Where I live is half city landscape and half undeveloped desert ridges and washes. Morning sights have included a bobcat, roadrunners, Gambel’s quail, and javelinas

Most months, it’s still dark at 5 a.m., but currently, the sun is just beginning to makes its appearance at this hour. Today was a bit overcast but the sky was full of lavender-tinted clouds. Scamp led us to the small dog park here in the apartment complex, and while he ran free for a few minutes, I watched a pair of mourning doves as they sat side-by-side on a high utility wire.

A cool breeze, like a gentle lover’s touch, ruffled my hair. It felt good to be alive – and have a dog that must be walked.

You can read more about Maggie and our morning walks in Travels with Maggie, available on Amazon.

Bean Pat: Listen to a great horned owl hoot, coo, screech and hiss. https://www.birdnote.org/show/voices-and-vocabularies-great-horned-owls

            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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    “Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.” – Henry David Thoreau

Mother Nature used the rain to paint this canvas of wet and dry gravel pattrns. My apartment is at the top of the stairs yu see in the background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Mother Nature used the rain to paint this canvas of wet and dry gravel pattrns. My apartment is at the top of the stairs you see in the background. — Photo by Pat Bean

Morning Walk with Pepper

It was lightly drizzling this morning when Pepper and I took a walk while dawn made her presence known. This is my favorite time of day, and as usual, Pepper and I  had the apartment complex courtyards to ourselves.

This is a close-up of the lavender blossoms on the bush next to the tree, which a gardener neatly trimmed. I can't help but wonder how many  blossoms were lost to the trimming tool. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This is a close-up of the lavender blossoms on the bush next to the tree, which a gardener neatly trimmed. I can’t help but wonder how many blossoms were lost to the trimming tool. — Photo by Pat Bean

Some mornings we leave the manicured grounds and take the short trail beyond the parking lot ,so as to glimpse a view of the unfettered desert in  its many moods. But not this morning.

Today, we simply walked the path we walk several times a day, keeping our eyes open to the world around us. Well, I keep my eyes open and Pepper keeps her nose open. Like most dogs, she sees more through smell than I see through my eyes.

Her nose lets her know there is a lizard hiding beneath that rock over yonder, and that Ellie, a favorite German shepherd playmate, peed beside this tree. Of course she pees on top of the spot to let Ellie know she’s been here, too.

My eyes, meanwhile, take in a canvas painted by the rain. It’s the pattern of wet and dry gravel beneath a tree just outside my apartment. I don’t have my camera with me, but after our walk I retrieve it and go back down from my third-floor apartment to capture Mother Nature’s whimsical drawing – well that’s how I see it.

And then I realize that it can serve as my point of view for the week’s photo challenge.

Bean’s Pat: Hoof Beats and Foot Prints http://tinyurl.com/nz6fu4o This is a blogger who also takes time to capture the simple things that can be found in a day, when you take the time to look.

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“More than anything else, I believe it’s our decisions, not the conditions of our lives, that determine our destiny.” – Tony Robbins


Killdeer abound here at Lake Walcott, but I usually see them on the shore, where they dart around too quick for me to photograph. — Photo by Pat Bean


Slow Down Pepper

With my birding binoculars around my neck, my point-and-shoot digital camera in the pocket of my campground- host vest, and my canine traveling companion, Pepper, tugging impatiently at the end of the leash I’m holding, I headed out this morning for a walk around Lake Walcott State Park.

One of the many bunnies that calmly stay just outside of Pepper’s reach. — Photo by Pat Bean

There will be more walks to come during the day, a necessity when you need to burn energy off a seven-month-old terrier mix — but the morning one is always my favorite.

No walk is the same, and each walk brings me some new delight – and occasionally not, like three days ago when a swarm of gnats found us and followed us the rest of the way home.

Today’s walk, however, was perfect. It began with the overhead flight of a lone white pelican, whose white feather’s sparkled against a backdrop of blue sky. The pelicans mostly stay outside the park, preferring to fish in the Snake River below the Minidoka Dam that holds the lake in place, so today’s air show seemed special.

The mullien is just starting to bloom. — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper, meanwhile, was more interested in the two bunny rabbits that frequent the lawn by our RV, tauntingly staying just beyond her reach. The robins and the killdeer here at the park tease her the same way, and today was no different. I’ve learned to keep a firm grip on her leash.

This morning is cool and breezy. The lake, however, is mirror smooth, the perfect reflective surface to capture the vibrancy of overhanging trees and the upside-down images of the flock of geese that are hanging out near the boat dock.

A lone nighthawk circles overhead, passing in front of the pale white moon, with only a sliver missing, that is still visible in the morning sky. The sight adds an extra touch of magic to the morning, and I feel my body relaxing into the moment.

Barn swallows swoop along the banks. A great-horned owl hoots in the distance, and mourning doves coo a reply. No human symphony ever sounded better to my ears.

One day a golden dandelion, the next a fluff ball of seeds waiting for a breeze to blow them to their new digs. — Photo by Pat Bean

Pepper is interested in everything, darting here and there. She lunges at a butterfly, chases a fallen leaf, sticks her nose in a ground hole, and plunges through a puddle left behind by the sprinklers. She’s getting better at knowing how far she can run before hitting the end of the leash – and has already learned she can run full-out if she does it in circles.

I tell her to slow down, to enjoy the moment. Her tiny pink tongue lolls, and her eyes dance with excitement.

Slow, I realize, is not in her understanding. But at least she’s enjoying the morning —  as am I.

Bean’s Pat: Chicks With Ticks http://tinyurl.com/6nlun9e Oaken Earth Mother. Blog Pick of the day selected by this wondering wanderer, tree-hugger.

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