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Posts Tagged ‘nature’

 “The man who never alters his opinion Is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” William Blake.

These flowers bloomed while I was gone. There were big bunches of them all along a short section of the bank in the upper tent campground. — Photo by Pat Bean.

Life Goes On

And the milkweed plants, which the butterflies love, here at the park went from this … — Photo by Pat Bean

I’m Back now at Lake Walcott, after leaving for four days to fly to Texas for a granddaughter’s wedding. I had a marvelous time. I got to see a new great-grandson, now almost seven months old, for the first time. And I’m still feeling the love from all the family hugs I received.

Homecoming, when it involves loved ones, is always sweet after an absence. It’s a benefit that helps make up for the distance my chosen on-the-road life and the scattered residences – from Texas to Florida, Illinois to Arizona, with Argentina thrown in for good measure – of my children and grandchildren.

But while I was gone, this southern Idaho state park where I’m volunteering for the summer continued its ever-changing life cycle, welcoming me back with new wonders.

My hummingbird feeder was empty and the bird seed feeder, which I had filled to the brim before taking off, had only a few sunflower seeds remaining in it. I had left both full, not wanting to disrupt the continuity of the birds that visit my RV site.

A black-headed grosbeak and an American goldfinch – a study in orange and yellow – were at the feeder when I pulled in. It was the first grosbeak that had visited and I was delighted to see it. I suspected that the Bullock’s orioles had emptied the hummingbird feeder as I’ve only had a few hummers visit this year.

Black-headed grosbeak — Wikipedia photo

My first walk around the park after being back was full of changes too. Along with coming across branches that had blown down from the weekend storm I missed, I noticed that the milkweed had matured, and that some bank plants had come into bloom while I was gone.

It was fun to see the changes, which so often are missed on a day-to-day basis. Life goes on where ever one goes.

Bean’s Pat: Katmai National Park http://tinyurl.com/765d97z Fishing bears. I couldn’t resist sharing this. Blog pick of the day from the wondering wanderer.

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 “It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here.” – Edward Abbey

Always the Same But Always Different

 

I often sit on this bench to watch birds. The area is a favorite hangout of western kingbirds and Bullock’s orioles. — Photo by Pat Bean

Before I became a full-time wondering wanderer, I enjoyed the familiarity of my frequent hikes on the benches of Utah’s Mount Ogden, whose shadow stretched down to touch my pleasant home.

From day-to-day, season-to-season, year-to-year, I got to watch the same landscape in its different moods and growth. It was an awesome experience.

While I truthfully tell everyone the only thing I miss since paring all my belongings down to fit into a 22-foot long RV is my bathtub – showers have just never been my bathing choice – I’m beginning to think I also miss the continuity of watching one particularly landscape change on a daily basis.

My volunteer position as a campground host here at Lake Walcott State Park for the last three summers is what started me thinking about this. I walk all around this park daily, several times in fact since my canine traveling companion, Pepper, needs an outlet for her energy. And I never tire of seeing the same landscape over and over.

Today the lake is mirror smooth, and so provides a canvas for the landscape to paint.

Part of that is because it’s ever-changing. The slant of the sun, the shadow of a cloud, the arrival of the nighthawks, a new flower opening its petals, the mirror smoothness or crashing waves of the lake against the shore, all this and much, much more add variety and delight to my walks.

Edward Abbey got it right. It’s as important to enjoy the land as it is to protect it. The first, I suspect, will make us fight all the harder to accomplish the latter.

Bean’s Pat: Life in the Bogs http://bogsofohio.wordpress.com I chose this blog as my pick of the day because its author/photographer frequently posts pictures of the same pond in its many moods. I never tire of seeing her pond day after day.

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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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“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dew and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls.” – John Muir

The view from my RV, with no photographic enhancement. — Photo by Pat Bean

Lake Walcott Welcomes the Day

Reflections: A calm lake provides a second canvas for Mother Nature. — Photo by Pat Bean

I took 25 days to drive from my daughter’s home on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, to Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho, where I’ll be spending the summer.

It’s my third year here as a volunteer campground host. I return because it’s an awesome place, where Mother Nature changes the scenery daily. I arrive in time to see the first buds of spring paint the landscape, and stay until the crisp colors of autumn paint over the green of summer.

Nowhere, however, have I ever seen more spectacular sunrises and sunsets.

Thankfully, my canine companion, Pepper, wakes me in time to see that magic hour of grayness, when all the world seems to hold its breath for a moment, in anticipation of dawn’s first light.

This morning’s explosion was especially spectacular.

Bean’s Pat: http://photonatureblog.com/ This blog helps me get a daily dose of nature’s wonders. Today it’s a butterfly that stirs my soul. Blog pick of the day by a wondering wanderer.  

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“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” John Muir

Balanced Rock, Arches National Park, Utah 

Mother Nature's arrangement of rocks was used in the opening scenes of "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade." -- Photo by Pat Bean

Bean’s Pat: Ummm, really? http://tinyurl.com/6t3vgps Start your day with a song.

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 “I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.” E. B, White

Thirty-thousand years ago, only the very tallest peak of Antelope Island, which now sits in Great Salt Lake, would have been visible when Lake Bonneville covered nearly all of Northern Utah. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

My laptop computer finally began misbehaving too badly to ignore any longer. Since it’s my lifeline to the world as a full-time RV-er and daily blogger, and because it had given me four years of decent service, I decided it was time to retire it.

Since I’m rather in the boonies here at Idaho’s Lake Walcott State Park, 45 miles away from the closest Best Buy, I decided to drive 160 miles instead to Ogden, Utah, where I had a geeky-in-a-good-way friend whom could help me set up a new computer.

The historical marker at an Idaho rest stop that got me pondering the ever-changing face of the planet we live on.

It was a beautiful drive, sunny albeit a bit windy, mostly through land that 30,000 years ago lay beneath Lake Bonneville. A large historical marker at a rest stop just north of the Utah border tells travelers all about the prehistoric lake, whose shorelines are still in evidence along Interstate 84 which I was driving on this day.

The majority of the 1,000-foot-deep prehistoric lake was in Utah and its two distinct levels were clearly visible from my front porch when I formerly lived in Ogden. I can’t help but notice the ancient shorelines – there’s two distinct levels – every time I return to this city I loved.

The lake took up a huge portion of Utah and smaller bits of Nevada and Idaho until it broke though Idaho’s Red Rock Pass east of 84 about 15,000 years ago.

Great Salt Lake is all that’s left of Lake Bonneville today. It’s average depth is only about 25 feet.

Because I had stopped at the rest stop and seen the sign, I pondered as I drove, about how Mother Nature, with her floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and water and wind erosion is constantly changing the nature of this planet we live on.

I had long ago given up believing I was ever fully in control of my life, and now felt sorry for all those who hadn’t yet reached that conclusion. All we can do is take life a day at a time.

This day was a good one. I even got into Ogden in time to purchase my new computer. It’s a beauty, with more bells and whistles than I will probably ever use. But, everything didn’t go as planned.

Murphy showed up just to show me he could. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

.

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“perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all people 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

Travels With Maggie

A western grebe floats near Lake Walcott's shore on a liquid canvas painted with reflections. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the reasons I love being a campground host is the people I get to meet, like Jane and Greg from Australia, who arrived here two days ahead of their paid reservation.

This charming couple with the twangy accent had rented an RV to tour western national parks, and had been chased out of Yellowstone early because of snow.

They came knocking at my RV door after park office hours to tell me their dilemma. Since the park was sparsely occupied this rainy night, I took their name and information and told them to just select a site and the details could be straightened out in the morning.

But being a nosy old broad, I had to also ask a lot of personal questions, beginning with: “Are you two Aussies?” They, thankfully, were just as nosy about me and Maggie, and eventually we agreed to get together over a drink and before-dinner snacks the next afternoon.

A bench beneath a shade tree says "Come sit a while and visit with Mother Nature." -- Photo by Pat Bean

Lake Walcott State Park here in Southern Idaho was their last hurrah before heading back to their home in Queensland. We talked about their visit to Zion National Park, my favorite place in the universe, and their fantastic reaction to the waterfalls in Yosemite, which is the one western national park that has mysteriously escaped a visit from me.

This was their first visit to America and I told them of other of this country’s wonders they should see if they came back, like Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon. They, in return, told me of places I should visit in Australia, which is still on my To-Do list.

It was a cold day, and the extra chill of the approaching night, sent us off to our respective homes on wheels all too soon. But not before we had exchanged e-mails.

The next morning, as they pulled out in the gray dawn, we waved at each other, like two ships passing in a fog. Perhaps we’ll continue our friendship, perhaps not. Only time will tell.

But I feel richer for having met them and sharing the wonders of our two countries. I can’t help but think that this kind of exchange is where world peace has to begin.

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