Storing the precious

bookstore safe

Can you tell what this is?

A walk-in safe. In a used book store!

When I asked the owner about it, she explained the old building the bookstore now inhabited had originally been a bank. When the bank relocated, it had been too expensive to move the safe, so it had just been left behind.

When I asked her what she kept in there she shrugged. An umbrella. For when it rains. Extra paperclips and light bulbs.

If I had a hundred-year-old walk-in safe what would I keep in there?

My Yale edition of the complete Shakespeare plays, perhaps. Or the Bible I got for confirmation (which somehow in my moves over the years has disappeared.) Or the Winnie-the-Pooh I read to my child when she was young. Or DESERT SOLITAIRE by Ed Abbey that launched my love of nature conservancy.

I don’t think it would be paperclips and light bulbs!

When I use a word it means
just what I choose it to mean,
neither more or less.

~Lewis Carroll, author~


Still standing

I love old doors! When I found these two in an ancient house, I was hooked. They have weathered time and hardship and still are standing with a special beauty all their own. They remind me of family.

My sister and I have had our differences over the years, and our moments of joy together. But as we grow older, it is our shared history that becomes especially precious to me. Just like these old doors.

We know what it’s like to experience South Dakota thunderstorms, and steal apples from the neighbor’s orchard, and make snow angels in chest-high blizzard snow. No one else in my life, no one else in the world, can do that with me.

Make new friends, but keep the old.
One is silver and the other gold.
~Girl Scout singing round~


Doing the hard thing

Lake in New Hampshire

In the summer the sun rises early in New Hampshire. I knew there would be something to see if I set the alarm and rose to greet it. But I’d flown across country the day before and spent a good part of the evening catching up with family happenings.

I didn’t want to get up. Even so, I stumbled out and discovered this.

Beauty will sometimes allow us to share in its fullness if we do the hard thing, the one thing we really would rather not do. The reward becomes worth the effort.

We live in a moment of history
where change is so speeded up
that we begin to see the present
only when it is already disappearing.

~R. D. Laing~


Doesn’t take much to keep me happy

vase rock hedge

Abiquiu, New Mexico is north of Albuquerque, north of Santa Fe, even north of Taos. Georgia O’Keeffe discovered it and spent years there creating her own artistic way of seeing flowers, and nature, and blue sky.

When I visited her Ghost Ranch, the isolation and peace of the country allowed me to slow down and see what was actually in front of me, as well.

Gray, beige, ochre.

Rock, pottery, plant.

It doesn’t take much to keep me happy.

The world is full of magical things,
patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.
~Eden Phillpots~


The beauty in the edge

leaves of autumn

I was an enthusiastic tree climber as a youngster, mounting branch by branch to peek into birds’ nests and feel the bark against my fingers.

Nowadays, my leaf viewing is more distant.

But in Fall we get to see more than just color with fallen leaves. We view them, once again, up close and personal. When I find a perfect leaf, single and individual, I stop, compelled to admire its edges.

Life is a great big canvas.
Throw all the paint on it you can.
~Danny Kaye~

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~