What remains is precious

What remains is beautiful

In Arizona, both in the desert climate of Phoenix and at higher elevations like Sedona, pomegranates, those expensive jewels of the supermarket, thrive. I’ve seen hedges of pomegranate bushes, so full of delectable red fruit that the branches sink with the weight.

This one I liked, because the remaining fruit seemed almost a hand-carved bird feeder, serving up the sweet pips to all comers.

It reminds me that something doesn’t have to be whole and beautiful to be perfect.

The act of putting into your mouth
what the earth has grown is perhaps
your most direct interaction with the earth.

~Frances Moore Lappe,
author of DIET FOR A SMALL PLANET

 

Sometimes what you see is not there

Not a dead owl

At first glance, this appeared to be a tragedy: soft downy fuzz, longer tail feathers. Had an owl met its match with a bobcat? Oh, no!

And then I took a second look. Not tail feathers at all, but rather, Eucalyptus leaves. Not down but cottonwood tree cotton. Whew!

I like owls. And I like bobcats. I’m glad they didn’t meet here.

Silence is the absolute balance
of body, mind and spirit.
Silence is the cornerstone of character
and its fruits are
self-control, true courage, endurance, patience, dignity and reverence.

~Ohiyesa, Santee Sioux

Useful trials and errors

Gila Woodpecker Nest

I was walking one morning and discovered in an old sycamore snag, this entrance to a Gila woodpecker nest. The birds are opportunists and will dig out rotten bark to make a soft, protective nest for their young.

What struck me about this opening, though, were the number of false starts that surround it. The bird didn’t immediately say, ah, here, I will build my home. Instead, view the number of beginnings and first attempts that surround it.

Perhaps we should be more like the woodpecker. For each creative endeavor that we try, there will be several tentative jabs and pokes until we find our true stride!

Sculpture is the art of intelligence.
~Pablo Picasso

 

Book Review: Dawn McKenna – Forgotten Coast Florida Mystery Series

The forgotten coast series Dawn McKennaBecause I write mysteries that strongly identify with place, I am on the alert for other authors that do the same thing. The best I’ve found recently is the author of the Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series. I’d like to give a shout-out to Dawn McKenna!

For example, here is a selection from the beginning of LOW TIDE: “The seagulls bounced around him, lighting just long enough to snatch up the pieces of bread, then hovering in the air, wings whipping, to wait for more…To his mind, it was one of the few places left that actually felt like Florida, with its century-old brick and clapboard shops and houses, the marina filled with shrimp and oyster boats and people who couldn’t care less about Disney World.”

Ms. McKenna takes an interesting approach to her series, in that the first four books take the time you rarely have with a mystery series to introduce you to a unique set of characters who live on the Florida coast, a romance that delights with its unfolding, and enough suspense to survive a hurricane!

You can buy each of the first four books of the series, LOW TIDE, RIPTIDE, WHAT WASHES UP, and LANDFALL separately. But if you’re like me, you’ll be hooked after the first one. Save yourself some money and buy the set.

Writing teacher Donald Maass in THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION says the way to pull readers into your writing is to engage them emotionally. Ms. McKenna does just that.

Highly recommended!

Odd man out

picture of 3 ducks on a pond

Two ducks deep in conversation. A third trying to horn in. The odd man out.

I was delighted to see Google list so many variants for this term: oddity, nonconformist, maverick, misfit, fish out of water, square peg in a round hole.

One by one I tried them on for this little duck. Definitely not a fish out of water. A square peg in a round hole? I don’t think so. But one term, maverick, definitely seems to fit. This duck strikes me as someone who speaks his own mind, who will not conform, no matter what the odds.

We all need to be that odd duck out of water sometimes. It’s good for the soul!

The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.
~Ellen Parr~

 

 

Falling into presence

The spire at Castle Rock

There once was a flock of white doves that lived in the ledges at the top of the Spire of Castle Rock, near the Village of Oak Creek.

Each morning I would watch them circle the spire once, twice, and then disappear into the sunlit clouds. I waited for them. Their gentle flight set my world in order and welcomed me into the day.

Sometimes moments of beauty can be anticipated, and that makes them even more rich and unforgettable.

When you do fall into presence, you know it instantly, feel at home instantly. And being home, you can let loose, let go, rest in your being,
rest in awareness, in presence itself,
in your own good company.

~Jon Kabat-Zinn~