A cow with attitude

longhorn cattle Western Legends Parada

One year my cousin invited me to the Western Legends parade in Kanab, Utah. The highlight of the parade is a longhorn cattle drive down the main street of town. What was surprising to me was the abundance of baby cows along with the adults.

Apparently in the longhorn family tree, cows as well as steers wear the horns. When the herd is assembled for the parade, the babies are included, too, or the females refuse to come.

This one noticed I was taking pictures and paused to give me some attitude. I could almost hear her saying, “This far and no farther. My street. Mine!”

I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
~Frank Gelett Burgess~

Using what lies in front of you

Picture of Agave cactus

My parents and their parents were children of the Depression. They saved string, wore hand-me-down clothes, and ate left-overs–ALL of them! A favorite expression was “Making Do.”

Native American families before the age of supermarkets and department stores did the same thing. In this picture you’ll see, on the right, a healthy agave cactus. Vivid green, with sharp spines at the end of the stalks.

But on the left, you’ll see something even more important. Notice those beautiful fibers that remain when the plant dies? They can be used to make sandals, weave baskets, line baby cradles. Making do.

Because of our routines,
we sometimes forget that life is a
an ongoing adventure.
~Maya Angelou~

Where everybody knows your name

PJs Bar & Grille, Village of Oak Creek

When I was researching the setting for the latest Pegasus Quincy novel, I wanted to include a scene where Silver Delaney and Rory Stevens meet in a bar. But just not any bar.

This one had to be the local neighborhood hangout, where after work the lineup at the old wood bar is three deep. Where, when you arrive, the barkeep has your favorite drink mixed before you reach the end of the room.

The Village of Oak Creek has one, called PJ’s Bar & Grill. I happened to catch it for this photograph on a midday, mid-afternoon before all the regulars started to arrive.

You’ll find it in PERIL IN SILVER NIGHTSHADE. Watch for it!

I prefer the folly of enthusiasm
to the indifference of wisdom.

~Anatole France~

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~

 

 

Equilibrium for a planet of paradox

Picture of pothole in Arizona desert

I’m a Weather Channel junkie, and this week I’ve been glued to the screen watching rivers overflow, highways flood, people rescued from rooftops and attics. Water at its most destructive.

Yet I am reminded that it isn’t always this way. In the Arizona desert, water is precious, every single drop. On the trail around Courthouse Butte near Sedona, this little pothole has always been a favorite of mine. It’s not big–maybe a foot long and less than that deep.

But long after the monsoon rains have departed, it will hold water which sustains the desert animals: deer, javelina, coatimundi, rabbits, and pack rats. Reaching for the last drop, they will travel for miles to visit it. Water as precious as diamonds, life-sustaining.

We live on a planet of paradox!

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As time remains free of all that it frames
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
~John O’Donohue, For Equilibrium~

Keep your eye on the sky

Sunlight behind the clouds

I had just come out of the grocery store. My mind was filled with eggs and celery and pork cutlets. Then I turned around and saw this.

I was transfixed, and so was everyone else in the parking lot. We stopped and stared. And then turned and nodded to each other, aware that what had transfixed us had halted others, too.

For one moment, we were united in a community of beauty. Water vapor and sunlight. Transformed just for us.

Happiness sneaks in through a door
you didn’t know you left open.
~John Barrymore~