Posts Tagged ‘Northern Cardinal’

“It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.” – James Thurber

A page from one of my journals. — Sketch by Pat Bean

Northern Cardinal? Or Hepatic Tanager?

“I just saw a brilliant red cardinal on my way over,” my friend, Jean, said, a couple of days ago.

Hepatic tanager. — Wikimedia photo

“What color was its beak?” I asked, since I had earlier in the day identified a hepatic tanager flying about. Both the cardinal and the hepatic, well at least the males, are a dazzling red.

“Don’t confuse me! It was a cardinal. Its beak was black … now I don’t want to talk about birds,” she said, and continued on with her idea of a more interesting conversation. And I must admit, my friend is an interesting conversationalist – and chatterbox.

Jean, meanwhile, isn’t the only one I sometimes annoy with my obsession about identifying birds. I have sometimes annoyed other friends … and sometimes my kids … and probably strangers, as well. But this time, since I didn’t want to further annoy Jean, I didn’t continue on and tell her that if the bird had a black beak it wasn’t a cardinal. They have orange bills.

I thought of this brief interchange this morning when I sat on my balcony and saw a bright flash of red whiz past and land in a tree behind a fresh crop of spring-green leaves. I never did see its beak.

Now I’m going to annoy myself all day wondering if the bird was a cardinal or a tanager.  What can I say? I’m a crazy birder – and I love that I am.

Now available on Amazon

Bean Pat: Howard Prairie Lake https://anotefromabroad.com/2018/05/03/howard-prairie-lake-southern-oregon/ My kind of day. Nature, peaceful hike and educational. I learned what a morel mushroom looks like.

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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Time Changes your Life

“Time has been transformed, and we have changed; it has advanced and set us in motion; it has unveiled its face, inspiring us with bewilderment and exhilaration.”– Khalil Gibran

And your Journals

I write these days more about nature than I do about the daily chaos of living. -- Photo by Pat Bean

I write these days more about nature than I do about the daily chaos of living. This is  a photo of Taggart Lake in Wyoming.   — Photo by Pat Bean

Henry David Thoreau once said that his journals became less personal as the years went by and he found less drama and entanglements in his life.

Reading those words gave me pause to contemplate the changes in my own journal writing. This blog actually makes up about 90 percent of my journaling these days.

In it, I talk much more about birds, nature, magical landscapes, my dog Pepper, writing and the books I’m reading – and my reactions to these topics — than I do about the personal business of living.

That’s quite the opposite of my early journal writing, when I was bogged down in raising children, trying to find love after it failed me again and again, worrying how to survive until the next paycheck, feeling that I wasn’t good enough, and worrying about children who were nowhere to be found at curfew. I probably had enough chaos in the first 50 years of my life to keep a soap opera going daily for 20 years.

And I could journal forever about the birds I see every day, like this northern cardinal. -- Photo by Pat Bean

And I could journal forever about the birds I see every day, like this northern cardinal. — Photo by Pat Bean

Some of that inner anguish, when I could face it, was written down in my journals in the expectation that no one would ever read what I was writing but me.

In total contrast, here I am today keeping a very public journal, and loving it. I won’t say that my life doesn’t still go through an occasional soap-opera installment, but time has given me plenty of experience to know life will continue on even without the drama.

            Bean’s Pat: Memory Lane at the Museum http://tinyurl.com/ljrr9eb I love the comparison of scenes. A Thomas Moran print of Shoshone Falls on the Snake River hung in my home for many years. The artist also painted  Devil’s Slide in Weber Canyon, which was located  not to far from my former Utah home.  FYI: The reason  the color of  Morning Glory Pool in Yellowstone has changed is because of human pollution especially coins thrown into the hole. The first time I saw the pool, many years ago, it was still emerald green,

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” Live Life as an exclamation, not an explanation!” — Unknown

Life as an exclamation is how I saw this northern cardinal.

Life as an exclamation is how I saw this northern cardinal.

Today’s Illustrated Journal Page

I came across the above quote early this morning and immediately jotted it down in my newly started art journal. Ideas for illustrating it flowed through my head all morning, and then I thought of the beautiful, cheery northern cardinal.

The two just seemed to fit.

It was a quick draw and watercolor job — 15 minutes — in which I went for boldness and not perfection. I think the fellow is a little humpbacked.

The Wondering Wanderer's blog pick of the day.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day.

Bean’s Pat: Red Rock Hike  http://tinyurl.com/a63twt2  My broken ankle is still not up to trails, so for now I’ll just have to do them from an armchair. But then this also brought back memories because I’ve taken a few hikes in the Sedona area. Catch one if you can.

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The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
And I must follow, if I can,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say —
J.R.R, Tolkien

Listening to the Planet’s Pulse

A jet paints the desert sky with its contrail. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Yesterday, if you look at it the way I tend to do, was a wasted day. Nothing on my daily to-do list, including blogging, was accomplished.

I woke up in a mood to do nothing, and nothing I did. At my age, when more of my life is behind me than ahead of me, wasted days frighten me.

But today I awoke refreshed, ready to once again try to give my life meaning. I began it with a short hike here in the fresh desert air above Tucson. As I walked I realized yesterday was not wasted. I had needed just such a day and it was time I stopped feeling guilty about taking it.

Am I contemplating this northern cardinal, or is the bird contemplating me? -- Pat Bean

Then I started truly noticing my surroundings in a different way. The saguaro cactus weren’t simply cactus; they were homes for wildlife, shade for them, too, when the desert sun-scorched the earth.

I listened to the hum of the city around me. I felt the earth beneath me beat with the sound of traffic on distant highways, and watched as a jet flew overhead, marking the sky with its contrail. There was a part of me that longed for the absolute silence I’ve heard only once in my life.

That occurred in Utah’s Escalante wilderness when a photographer and I drove the Burr Trail for a newspaper story we were writing and photographing. I was amazed how still the earth had been back then, realizing how noisy a simple refrigerator’s hum could be.

But this day, I also enjoyed the feeling of being a part of the pulsing world from which I had tried to escape yesterday. What a difference a day makes.

Bean’s Pat: To Write is to Write http://tinyurl.com/72lmlwy This is a blog I could have written with only minor changes. It made me laugh. I chose it two days ago, and now I wonder if it influenced my yesterday. P.S. Thanks Jim http://notyethere.wordpress.com/  for sending me Tolkien’s quote.

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Camden, Arkansas, sunrise -- Photo by Pat Bean

My perfect day begins with a beautiful sunrise. What makes up your perfect day?

“If the world was perfect, it wouldn’t be.” Yogi Berra

Travels With Maggie

Most of my days begin with cream-laced coffee, which I drink while tapping away at the keys of my computer. If one is a klutz like me, that can be a dangerous combination. Coffee and a computer keyboard don’t go well together.

My early morning northern cardinal visitor -- Photo by Pat Bean

I should know. I’ve mixed them a couple of times, one of which cost me $100.

I’d have to say that a morning that begins with spilled coffee usually doesn’t bode well for the rest of the day. While I’m not particularly suspicious, it does seem that catastrophes are quite likely to follow my grandmother’s conviction of coming in threes.

This morning, thankfully, didn’t begin with my favorite Sumatran coffee spilling out onto my computer. It begin with a beautiful sunrise and a bright red northern cardinal outside my window. I took that as a good sign, and then begin thinking about what went into the making of a perfect day.

I had the first three: luscious coffee; blazing pink, orange and purple sunrise; and a cheery bird. What else did I want? Name seven more, I ordered myself. Here’s what I came up with.

            *Learn something new.

            *Finish rewriting a chapter in my travel book

           *A long walk in the sunshine with Maggie – Old Sol’s  supposed to come out today.

           *A flyby of the red-shouldered hawk that has been hanging out nearby.

           *An e-mail from my son who is in Afghanistan.

          *Something to give me a good belly laugh.

          * Hugs from three young grandsons, whom I’m currently visiting.

Of course winning the lottery would be nice, too. But then I forgot to buy a ticket.

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My Grandmother’s Red Bird

Heroes take journeys, confront dragons and discover the treasure of their true self.”  — Carol Lynn Pearson

This pencil drawing of a northern cardinal once belonged to my grandmother and is the oldest thing I own. ... Photo of painting by Pat Bean


 I’m the opposite of a pack rat. I feel you either need to use something or get rid of it. No antique dealer is ever going to find a 150-year-old treasure in my attic – not that the RV I currently live in has one. 

As I look around my tiny living space, I do, however, fine one item from my childhood. It’s a small pencil drawing of a northern cardinal that belonged to my grandmother.  

I’m not sure how I ended up with it, but it has found its place in every home I’ve lived in since she died. And that includes the present wheeled one.  

I came to birding as a late-late bloomer, but I suspect that the seed for this passion might have had something to do with my grandmother’s wall-hanging red bird.  

I thought about her gift to me yesterday as I watched a handsome cardinal brighten an overcast blustery day with his scarlet feathers and happy song.  

What-cheer, what-cheer, what cheer, he sang. 

 Here was a treasure not hidden away in an attic, but proclaiming his worth to all who would look and listen. I was cheered.

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