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Posts Tagged ‘Winnie the Pooh’

Aging My Way

“Today is my favorite day,” said Winnie the Pooh.”

Well, since today, Jan. 18, is Winnie the Pooh Day, it’s a good day for him to say that. But I think this is how this loveable cartoon character begins every day.

          It’s a great way to look at life, and one I’m striving to adopt for 2023, even if I’m had to make a few recent changes in my lifestyle, like moving from a third-floor to a ground floor apartment and using a rollator if I’m going to walk more than half a block.

Pride, be damned, I would rather walk, which the rollator allows me to do pain-free, than be a couch potato. So, yes, today is a very good day.

But looking back — which is something you do a lot of when you’re 83 – I realize I’ve had thousands of great days, like the ones each of my five children were born, and the grands and the greats in the years following.

Then there was the day I walked into a newspaper newsroom, and truly felt at home for the first time in my life. It would continue to feel that way for the next 37 years. I was truly blessed for finding work and a career that made me happy.

I delighted in the days that I took grandkids on their first roller coaster rides. And how can I ever forget my first ride down a river through white-water rapids, something that would continue to give me unrestrained joy for the next 25 years.

And the days I bounced around in an open-to-the-sky Land Rover chasing African wildlife across Kenya and Tanzania with my forever friend Kim.

 And all the days I traveled around this country in a small RV with my canine companion Maggie. And the day my book, Travels with Maggie, came off the press.

They were all favorite days. As were all the days I spent birdwatching. Each was a favorite day, even if the birds were scarce.

And I’m thankful for all the friends I’ve made and the good times we’ve had since I settled in Tucson in 2013. I’m thankful for every one of those past days, and for those that I know are still ahead of me, too.  

So today, to echo Pooh, is my favorite day. And it will be my favorite day tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, an enthusiastic birder, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.  

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“In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.” Leonardo da Vinci

 

All cares drop away when I hike Zion National Park's Gateway to the Narrows trail, an easy 2-mile out -and-back roundtrip that parallels the Virgin River. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

“Rivers know this: There is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” Winnie the Pooh.

Bean’s Pat: Philosopher of the Mouse Hedge: http://tinyurl.com/6mfskt4 Belly laughs and smiles. Especially if you click on the Carman Miranda link at the end. Remember her –  and her energy. I smiled all the way through the clip.

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  “Sometimes if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slow away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” — Winnie the Pooh

 

The bridge across the Rio Grande Gorge near Taos, New Mexico. The river 1,500 feet below is near the beginning of a nearly 2,000 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

Travels With Maggie

 

Rio Grande Gorge State Park

Just a few miles past Taos, which I drove through without stopping, I came upon Rio Grande Gorge State Park. Here I did call a brief stop to my travels. I mean who can resist at least a peak at a 1,500-foot deep gorge – and a river that one knows is near the start of an almost 2,000 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.

As I looked down at the river from the park’s high, fenced overlook, I thought about a day at Big Bend State Park in Texas when a grandson and I had waded in its shallow warm waters and stared across it at Mexico. Most of the clear rushing water I was looking at below would never make it that far. Human development sometimes reduces the flow reaching the gulf to merely a trickle. Gypsy Lee settled in for the night in Clayton, New Mexico. Photo by Pat Bean

Soon, I was back on the road. I still had 150 more miles to drive before I could stop for the night. I seldom have such a long driving day, but on this trip I was facing a deadline to be in Arkansas to babysit three grandsons for a week – and I only had three more days to get there. 

I spent the night in Clayton, New Mexico, a small town where one has to drive 89 miles to the nearest Walmart, or so the desk clerk told me when she checked me in at the only RV park for miles around.

The town, a former livestock shipping center, sits along the old Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail. I had passed through Cimarron earlier in the day and had been seeing historic roadsigns since then telling me I was following the old cattle trail.

The Clayton KOA was a quiet, clean place with a run-down miniature golf course and dinosaur creations that had seen better days. I watched a croaking murder of crows fly past in search of a roosting spot as we took our evening stroll. Maggie sniffed around at the feet of the dilapidated dinosaurs, which advertised nearby Clayton Lake State Park where tracks of these prehistoric beasts attract passing tourists.

 

Statues showing their age advertise to visitors that dinosaurs once roamed the area. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 

Perhaps next time I pass through the area I wouldn’t be on a deadline and could do my own investigation of them. Dr. Seuss’ words: “Oh the places you’ll go, and the things you’ll see,” then flowed through my brain for the umpteenth time. I sighed – and added: “Too many places, too little time.”

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Looking down the Columbia River at the Vantage Bridge and across it at Washington's Ginko Petrified Forest State Park. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Sometimes, if you stand on the bottom rail of a bridge and lean over to watch the river slipping slowly away beneath you, you will suddenly know everything there is to be known.” — Winnie the Pooh

Travels With Maggie

The mighty, 1,243-mile long Columbia River, begins in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, flows south through Spokane and then forms much of the border between Washington and Oregon on its way west to the Pacific Ocean. Maggie and I crossed it twice in the same week as we traveled to Mount Ranier and then down to Southern Idaho. Both times left me awed.

 The first crossing was on Highway 90’s Vantage Bridge, an impressive structure with overhead steel girders, the kind that always sets off a rare barking episode from Maggie. Passing motorcycles are about the only other thing she barks at during our road journeys.

Once across, the highway climbed steeply through a section of Ginko Petrified Forest State Park. From an

Turbine windmills, part of Washington's Wild Horse energy project, sit atop the Columbia River Gorge near the Vantage Bridge crossing. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 informational plaque at an overlook just east of the crossing, I had learned that the park, in addition to Ginko, the sacred tree of China now almost extinct in the wild, includes over 200 other kinds of woods preserved by million year old lava flows.

 I stopped at the top of the gorge at the Ryegrass Rest Area, where I got a hazy view of Mount Ranier, and a look at huge turbine windmills that take advantage of the winds created by the river gorge. During an earlier trip, when I followed the Columbia River Gorge’s path all the way through Washington, I stopped at Maryhill State Park, where I watched windsufers also take advantage of this same wind source. Mother Nature is so kind to us.

My second crossing of the river on this trip was over Highway 82’s Umatilla Bridge. Before crossing, I stopped briefly at Plymouth Park on the north side of the river, where I ate my lunch and watched robins and house sparrows stroll past, ever searching for a tasty treat of bugs, seeds or picnicker leftovers.

Lewis and Clark camped near this park, which is named after Plymouth Rock because of the huge basaltic rock that projects into the river at the site. The pair of explorers most likely saw robins in the area, but house sparrows hadn’t yet been brough over from England to America.

Joining my thoughts revisiting the Lewis and Clark expedition were one about the first white settlers who passed this

Highway 82 historical kiosk reminding travelers they are following the Oregon Trail route. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 way.   I was now seeing frequent signs reminding me that the smoothly paved road I was driving down was once little more than wagon ruts, and not even that for the first brave settlers heading west. My route across the Columbia River to Pendleton, Oregon, and continuing south was basically once known as the Oregon Trail.\

The pioneers’ crossing of the Columbia River would have taken much longer than mine and Maggie’s. How could one not be awed by the adventures of those hearty souls. Or by the Columbia River itself, I asked Maggie as I crossed the river on the Umatilla Bridge. There was no reply. Maggie was snoozing.

With no traffic in sight, I slowed my speed to better enjoy the river view.

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