Life suspended between the boundaries

chipmunk

I love that exact moment when a wild creature acknowledges my existence. They look at me, and for a moment time is suspended and one species recognizes the other.

Trees, of course, are also aware of our being. Mere plants as well.

Okay, then, what about the rocks. Do the rocks know I exist? Can they speed up their slow lifespan to mine for just an instant to say, oh, there’s another one of those human things? Or are they just too busy in their rock world to care?

My life has no purpose, no direction, no aim,
no meaning, and yet I’m happy.
I can’t figure it out.
What am I doing right?

~Charles Schultz, cartoonist~

Floating, floating, floating

Baby cloud

I’ve always been a cloud fan, and my photo gallery is full of cloud pictures. This one is a favorite, because it reminds me of how fast time flies. It was about ten o’clock in the morning when this baby cloud popped up. One moment there was all blue sky and the next, there it was.

But that was just the beginning. The little cloud blossomed exponentially over the next two hours. A little after noon, it turned heavy and dark, and drenched us with rain. And a half-hour later, it vanished, and the sky was blue again. Magic, right in front of me.

Life is like that for us, too. One minute we’re a baby cloud and the next, we’ve disappeared and all is blue sky again. In the grand scheme of things, we are very temporary!

I owned the world that hour as I rode over it,
free of the earth, free of the mountains,
free of the clouds, but how inseparately bound to it.

~Charles Lindbergh, aviator~

 

Stairway to the stars

Stairway

Whenever I go touring historical houses, I always head for the kitchen. There I will find where the real work was done, and where the folks that did it hung out.

Although this Southern mansion had an elaborate, curving, walnut-carved balustrade in the front of the house, this simple staircase in back, divided for male and female servants, seemed more honest to me. More edgy, if you will.

Sweetie, if you’re not living on the edge,
then you’re just taking up space.
~Florynce Kennedy,
feminist, political activist~ 

Dance like no one is watching

Picture of dancing iris

I once borrowed a very expensive sports car and was cruising down the freeway when I was pulled over by the highway patrol. When I protested that I had been carefully driving under the speed limit, they cheerfully agreed. “We just wanted to see what one of those looks like up close. Have a nice day, now.”

This white bearded iris reminds me of that car. It appears to be dancing fifty miles an hour while it’s just standing still!

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong,
Under the shade of a coolibar tree,
And he sang as he sat and waited for his billy-boil,
You’ll come a-waltzing, Matilda, with me
~Australia’s national song, 
written by Andrew “Banjo” Paterson~

 

Crafting the perfect family

The perfect family portrait

I visited a quilting show recently, with beautiful, painstakingly crafted bed covers hung on the walls. But among the more modest displays, I discovered these three individuals.

It’s hard to craft a perfect family, but this genius sewer came close. The mother is singing, the father is smiling, and the infant is tucked in safe and secure between them. I like that.

Think of what a better place it would be if we all
–the whole world—had cookies and milk
about three o’clock every afternoon
and then lay down on our blankets
for a nap.

~Robert Fulgham~

Cloud signals

picture of cloud signals

Sometimes I trip over my own feet, because I am staring at the sky.

This day, the clouds were giving some very clear signals. The background white ones were fair-weather clouds saying don’t worry, everything is fine. The lower, darker clouds, rapidly moving in, were saying, don’t believe those guys. You are in for some baaad weather ahead!

I’ve learned to pay attention the clouds. The weatherman may sometimes be wrong, but the weather never is. You just have to know where to look.

You can’t be
what you can’t see

~Gloria Steinem~

Book review: Seeking Enlightenment, Hat by Hat by Nevada Barr

Seeking enlightenment by Nevada Barr

Book Review: Seeking Enlightenment Hat by Hat by Nevada Barr

Because I like both mysteries and nature writing, I’ve always been drawn to the books by Nevada Barr. Her work features strong women who go against the odds, and win. Her heroine, Anna Pidgeon, a park ranger, has been trapped in a desert sinkhole, underwater in the Dry Tortugas, and on an island in the middle of Lake Superior hunted by winter wolves.  Her novels are not for the faint of heart.

So, when I encountered her book of essays entitled Seeking Enlightenment, I expected an unblinking journey through thoughtful questions demanding exact answers. I wasn’t disappointed. Although sometimes I found the author raised more questions in the process.

Here you can find her thoughts on Vanity: “The rewards for being pretty are enormous. Pretty people earn more, have more friends, get called on more often in class and, yes even get better grades.” And what happens to the rest of us? Ah, there lies the reward of her essay.

Or what three things never fail a girl? For Barr these are old Levi jackets, flip-flops, and girlfriends. And she proceeds to tell you why.

In an essay on fear, the author starts out by saying, “Fear is my least-favorite emotion, worse even than despair. At least, when in despair I can watch old black-and-white movies and each chocolate. Fear renders me unable to taste, swallow, focus or sleep. Fear jangles through the cells of my body like a cold electrical current short-circuiting the natural flow of life.”  Read on, as she explains what caused her fear, and how she has learned to live with it.

The essay topics occasionally center on spirituality, but often veer wide into topics such as do animals have souls, pain, and taking a sh*t. I think you’ll like it!

Highly recommended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bubblegum flavored battle zones

picture of horse chewed stable door

I spotted this old stable door on a recent walk. I wish I could have known the horse that lived here.

I could tell a lot from the evidence left behind, though.

Note the owner’s cement reinforced foundation, the reinforcing bolts on the lower edges of the stable door, the double lock on the middle, and it that weren’t enough, two additional locks at the top and a metal reinforcing bar securing the top brace.

And as rebuttal left by the occupant, the determined chews on the side and top of the half-door.

I wish I could have painted the door bubblegum flavor, for this horse so determined to leave and the owner so determined to keep him there!

Did they like each other, I wonder, these two so intertwined in the battle for control?

I am not eccentric.
It’s just that I am more alive than most people.
I am an unpopular electric eel
set in a pond of goldfish.

~Dame Edith Sitwell~

 

Cover reveal: Silence in West Fork

Cover for upcoming release: SILENCE IN WEST FORK

West Fork is one of my favorite places in the whole world. A tributary of Oak Creek Canyon in the Verde Valley of Arizona, this clear stream runs through ponderosa pine and fir trees. Ferns and yellow columbines carpet the ground, and golden eagles nest in its boundary red cliffs.

And, for the inveterate mystery writer, it’s the perfect place for a murder to occur!

Join me in SILENCE IN WEST FORK as Pegasus Quincy works against time to solve a life-or-death murder case. The stakes are high. If she fails, her good friend Shepherd Malone’s daughter may go to prison for life, even if she is innocent.

Coming soon!

 

Perfect symmetry

water symmetry

Upside down, right side up, left to right, right to left. If you’ve ever noticed, we don’t often find (almost) perfect symmetry in nature. That’s why, when I found this vista, I was delighted.

Symmetry creates a comforting predictability. Two by two, like the story of Madeleine living in the convent. Or Noah’s animals in the ark. As children begin to explore a continually new, exciting world, they need to return occasionally to what they know.

Every up has a down. Every night has a day. Shared pairs of togetherness.

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
~Sesame Street Song~