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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Mother Nature Does it Best

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Looking down at a small pond filled with reeds and stuff at Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. — Photo by Pat Bean

 “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but Nature’s sources never fail.” — John Muir, Our National Parks

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Bean Pat: The National Parks: America’s Best Idea  http://www.pbs.org/  Don’t miss this Ken Burns film that begins tonight on PBS

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Fresh Eyes

             “The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time.” – Bill Bryson

Some days I look out from my bedroom window and see a Cooper's hawk or a great horned owl sitting on a branch in a nearby tree. Or I look down and see a black cat peering up at me from an apartment across the way. Each viewing in a first for the moment.

Some days I look out from my bedroom window and see a Cooper’s hawk or a great horned owl sitting on a branch in a nearby tree. Or I look down and see a black cat peering up at me from an apartment across the way. Each viewing in a first for the moment.

Seeing Things in a Different Light When I travel, I look at things differently. I think it’s because I expect to see something new that I’ve never seen before. The world always seems more interesting when I’m on the road.

Sunlight streams into my apartment on only a few winter days. But each day it flows in, the patterns are slightly different in the view I have from my kitchen. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Sunlight streams into my apartment on only a few winter days. But each day it flows in, the patterns are slightly different in the view I have from my kitchen. — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m coming to realize, however, that travel is not a requirement for this to happen. Do the Catalina Mountains, which  currently provide the backdrop to my days, look different to a traveler seeing them for the first time? Would the crisp white blossoms of a saguaro cactus spell-mind the eyes of a traveler more impressively than they do my own eyes that have now been among them for two seasons? While travelers may only see the mountain range on a sunny day, or a misty day, or a rainy day, the joy of first sight can’t help but pump the adrenalin through the veins of any nature enthusiast. I envy those who are seeing these mountains for the first time, as I recall my first view of the Catalinas. . But now I’ve now been blessed to see this mountain range in its many moods.  I’ve watched the rocky mammoths as the morning sun crowned its peaks in a golden light, I’ve seen it as the evening sun has turned its rocky cliffs a glimmering rose hue, and I’ve seen it frosted with the sugary granules of snow. I’ve watched as globules of bright green atop a saguaro plant have opened into a disk of white petals with a pale ochre center. A traveler passing through the saguaro’s Arizona home in March might only see an awesome, statuesque cactus with arms stretching skyward, and might not know that such a beauty is likely to be 100 years old, or that it wears a headdress of white blooms in late May and early June. There are as many advantages to watching the passing landscape while rooted as there are in catching glimpses of Mother Nature’s wonders on the fly. One only has to retain that sense of awe so easily achieved at first sight. I suspect that in this late-blooming season of my life, there are still roads out there I will travel.  But in the meantime, I plan to follow Bill Bryson’s advice and try to look at the world around me be as if for the first time. I don’t think I will be disappointed.           

Blog pick of the day.

Blog pick of the day.

Bean Pat: Monica Devine http://tinyurl.com/ot8bqdb This blogger has an eye for seeing things in a new and exciting

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A white=breasted nuthatch defying gravity. -- Wikimedia photo

A white=breasted nuthatch defying gravity. — Wikimedia photo

             “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

From Mother Nature

Recently I watched a white-breasted nuthatch walk up and down a tree trunk. Its antics, for some unknown reason, brought to mind my tree-climbing antics when I young and nimble.  My favorite tree was a large chinaberry that grew in my grandmother’s untamed backyard. The tree stood at the rear of her property, just in front of a huge field of wild blackberries that I collected each year.

I wonder what nuthatches think about hen they are watching people? Don't you.  -- Wikimedia photo

I wonder what nuthatches think about when they are watching people? Don’t you? — Wikimedia photo

There was a large rock beneath that tree, which I used as a first step to get high up in the tree. When the leaves were in full bloom, I would hide from the world, and dream of being a circus acrobat.

I especially enjoyed collecting the tree’s hard, green pea-size berries, as they were excellent ammunition for the nightly neighborhood kid skirmishes when sides were chosen and war was initiated.

Then one day, I discovered a large rattlesnake coiled on the rock I used to boost myself up into the branches of that tree. We both scurried away. The snake was most likely as afraid of me as I had been of it. But I never climbed that tree again.

These berries from a chinaberry tree were often the ammunition for neighborhood kid skirmishes when the fireflies came out at night. I would hide behind something and throw out a handful when an unsuspecting victim passed by, usually the pesky boy next door, .

These berries from a chinaberry tree were often the ammunition for neighborhood kid skirmishes when the fireflies came out at night. I would hide behind something and throw out a handful when an unsuspecting victim passed by, usually the pesky boy next door, .

Now, many, many years later, as I watched the nuthatch defy gravity as it walked up and down the tree trunk, I thought about how fear paralyzes people from enjoying life. My bone-chilling meeting with that long-ago snake had deprived me of a favorite pastime.

But, thankfully, time taught me to fear the snake when it was where I would place my foot, but not to fear it when it wasn’t there. It was a well-learned lesson that gave me many years of freedom in the outdoors and the courage to face the unknown unafraid.

I wonder if that old chinaberry tree still exists, and if a nuthatch ever played in it? (more…)

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Most people who ask for advice from others have already resolved to act as it pleases them.” – Khalil Gibran.

Of course when I hiked the benches of Mount Ogden in Utah, I wasn't exactly along. I always had Peaches or Maggie with me. Peaches would have torn the limbs off of anyone who tried to harm me. But, Maggie, who is shown here, would have been hiding behind me for protection.  -- Photo by Pat Bean

Of course when I hiked the benches of Mount Ogden in Utah, I wasn’t exactly alone. I always had Peaches or Maggie with me. Peaches would have torn the limbs off of anyone who tried to harm me. But, Maggie, who is shown here, would have been hiding behind me for protection. — Photo by Pat Bean

It All Depends

This is a photo my daughter shot while riding alone in the desert. -- Photo by T.C. Ornelas

This is a photo my daughter shot while riding alone in the desert. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

I’m not a fan of giving advice – or getting it for that matter. I cringe when all but my youngest daughter asks me for advice, especially in areas in which I’ve made mistakes – and that covers a about a jillion areas.

And the only reason I don’t mind giving my youngest daughter with neck problems advice is that I know she won’t take it. I guess she takes after me. I can’t think of hardly any advice given me that I didn’t distain in favor of the hard knocks of experiencing things for myself.

Besides, over the years, I’ve learned that sometimes good-intentioned advice is not in my best interests. The best example is the frequent advice I was always getting not to hike the benches around Ogden alone.

coyote

And this is one of the coyotes that have followed her. — Photo by T.C. Ornelas

If I had followed that advice, heeding the fears of others, I would have deprived myself of some of the most soul-filling moments of my 25 years of living in Northern Utah. Knowing this is what keeps me from telling my youngest daughter not to ride her horse along in the desert, where coyotes trail her path.

For some of us, having our alone time in nature, is absolutely necessary for maintaining sanity. It was for me when I had daily newspaper deadlines to meet. And my daughter is a working mother, who raised three daughters and is now raising three boys, including two teenagers among them.  Talk about needing to hold onto saneness.

I also didn’t follow the advice of all the financial gurus who told me how much money I needed to retire. Instead I’ve spent the past 10 years, nine of them  traveling – alone – full-time in an RV across this vast country, perfecting ways to get by on much less than the gurus claimed I needed.

Recently, I’ve been checking out advice for getting my book, Travels with Maggie, published. Advice for this seems to be just about around every corner — and in the tradition of writing advice, the various suggestions are often contradictory.

But this morning, I read the best piece of publishing advice I have come across since I started researching the issue. It was offered by Chuck Wendig, author of “Kiss –Ass Writer.” The first step, said Chuck, is “write something great.”

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a better piece of advice, or one that I will try harder to follow.

The Wondering-Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering-Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat:  Winter’s Heartbeat http://tinyurl.com/nxuqj55  This blog might actually make you not want to chase away the cold.

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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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    “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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“Don’t taunt the alligator until after you’ve crossed the creek. – Dan Rather

Wheeler Creek, up Wheeler Creek Canyon near Huntsville, Utah. — Photo by Pat Bean

And a Shady Spot to Sit 

Burch Creek as it flows down from the mountains above Ogden,Utah. — Photo by Pat Bean

I like nothing better than to find a shady spot next to a frisky stream. It brightens even the best of days.

And I’ve found dozens of just such places in Utah, where this native Texan was fortunate to live for almost a third of her life. I thought I would share a couple with you.

I hope you enjoy the photos. But it would be better yet, if you would find your own babbling stream where you sit and let it talk to you for a while.

Book Report: Blogging late and quick because I spent the morning writing on Travels with Maggie, which is now up to 41,639 words.

The wondering wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Eric Murtaugh http://tinyurl.com/9lhy3as Who do you think you are anyway? I love this blog, and this blogger. But he names himself properly in this column when he calls himself an intelligent donkey’s behind. One of my models for my travels was Frank Tatchel, author of the 1923 book, “The Happy Traveler,” who said: “The real fun of traveling can only be got by one who is content to go as a comparatively poor man. In fact, it is not money which travel demands so much as leisure and anyone with a small, fixed income can travel all the time.”  Eric sounds to me like a modern-day Tatchel.

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