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Ah, Roses

“What a lovely thing a rose is!”  Arthur Conan Doyle

“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”  James M. Barrie

When I think of roses, I think of my mom.

She always had a garden—and rose bushes were always part of that garden.  I can see her cutting a bud or two to place around the house or give to friends and neighbors.  The roses really brighten up the place.

Roses from Mom’s Garden

“The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.”   Hada Bejar

Over the years, I would visit various rose gardens with Mom and Dad. Mom just loved them, and Dad would photograph them.  There are lots of venues around, even just near where I grew up:  Los Angeles County Arboretum, Descanso Gardens, the Norman Simon Museum, even Forest Lawn Cemetery—as well as friends’ yards.  Now, wherever I travel, I watch for roses. And think of Mom and Dad.

The photos in this post are some of my favorites from throughout the years as well as some from my travels last year.  I was out looking for spring wildflowers and colorful fall foliage, but roses were out there too!  Roses just demand attention. Aren’t they great?

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses.”  Alphonse Karr

“An idealist is one who, on noticing a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it makes a better soup.” H. L. Mencken

“Roses aren’t any less beautiful because they don’t live long. No one looks at them and thinks, man, what a tragedy they’ll only be around for a little while.  You just appreciate them while they’re there. Or if you don’t, you’re missing the point.”  Sophie Cameron

“There is simply the rose; it is perfect in every moment of its existence.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I’d rather have roses on my table than diamonds on my neck.”   Emma Goldman

“But he that dares not grasp the thorn, should never crave the rose.”   Anne Bronte

“You may break, you may shatter the vase, if you will, but the scent of the roses will hang around it still.”  Thomas Moore

“The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change: Yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.”   Paulo Coelho

“There is so much to appreciate about my life every single day, and I make a big point of taking time to smell the roses and noticing how lucky I am.  I never want to take that for granted.”  Josie Maran

“Won’t you come into the garden? I would like my roses to see you.”   Richard Brinsley Sheridan

“There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.”  Henri Matisse

“It’s ok to feel delicate sometimes. Real beauty is in the fragility of your petals. A rose that never wilts isn’t a rose at all.”  Crystal Woods

“The world is a rose; smell it and pass it to your friends.”   Persian Proverb

“One may live without bread, not without roses.”  Jean Richepin

“Days of wine and roses laugh and run away, like a child at play.”   Johnny Mercer

“I once had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: no good in a bed, but fine up against a wall.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”  Gertrude Stein

This post is my entry for the Photo for the Week Challenge: Roses.

Fall Colors in Yosemite Valley

“It was a beautiful, bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it.”   Diana Gabaldon

“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.”   William Cullen Bryant

The last day of my 2018 Fall Color Trek was a visit to Yosemite National Park.  I drove in via my favorite route, Highway 40, passing by Wanona and then heading into Yosemite Valley. Fall colors lined the road, putting on a beautiful show.

Cloud’s Rest from Tunnel View

A Glimpse of Bridal Veil Falls

El Capitan

I love relaxing along the Merced River

These deer refused to pose!

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Quotes about the Wonder of Autumn

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking successive autumns.”  George Eliot

“October is a symphony of permanence and change.”  Bonaro W. Overstreet

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.”   Elizabeth Lawrence

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”  Emily Bronte

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”  Stanley Horowitz

“Autumn burned brightly, a running flame through the mountains, a torch flung to the trees.”   Faith Baldwin

“No Spring nor Summer Beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one Autumnal face.”   John Donne

“In the garden, Autumn is indeed the crowning glory of the year, bringing us the fruition of months of thought and care and toil. And at no season, save perhaps in Daffodil time, do we get such superb colour effects as from August to November.”  Rose G. Kingsley

“I’ve never known anyone yet who doesn’t suffer a certain restlessness when autumn rolls around.  We’re all eight years old again and anything is possible.”   Sue Grafton

 “Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”   Albert Camus

“How beautiful leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.”   John Burrough

“Autumn asks that we prepare for the future—that we be wise in the ways of gathering and keeping.  But is also asks that we learn to let go—to acknowledge the beauty of sparseness.”   Bonaro W. Overstreet

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Fall has always been my favorite season.  The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”   Lauren Destefano

 “If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour.”   Victoria Erickson

“There is harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky.”   Percy Bysshe Shelley

On the Road: Looking for Fall Color

“There are no days so delightful as those of a fine October.”   Alexander Smith

“Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons.”   Jim Bishop

I live in Bakersfield, which sits roughly in the middle of California.  This year has been a hot one.  Most summers, we average 126 days of 100+ degrees, but this year there were more than 150 days.  Fall weather offered unusually high temperatures as well.  It is technically fall, but it does not feel like it. The trees about town that typically offer some fall colors have been slow in putting on their show.  Except for one little tree in my neighborhood.  Although it stands less than 10 feet tall, it has boldly offered vivid red leaves to remind us all that fall is in the air.

That little tree encouraged me to take my annual trek to find fall colors. Some years, I head up to Bishop while others I visit Yosemite. This year, I decided I would travel to both locations, figuring I would see some fall colors somewhere en route.  Of course, even if I didn’t find fall foliage, the drive itself always offers wonderful views.  It is just great to be on the road again!

My first day was an easy four-hour drive from Bakersfield to Bishop. The drive up the Kern River Canyon via Highway 178 initially showed sporadic bits of color.

Eventually, the golden blooms of Rabbitbrush wandered along the highway along with the occasional tree or bush in bloom.

The juncture of Highway 178 and Highway 14 (which soon becomes Highway 395) offered some great views as usual. I love the clouds!

Once traveling on Highway 395, I was I took a short detour near Lone Pine to enjoy the Alabama Hills and a view of Mt. Whitney.


Lone Pine offered some quick glimpses of fall colors as well.

Back on Highway 395, heading toward Bishop, fall colors started punctuating the landscape as the sun started to set.

These red-winged black birds did not readily pose for the camera.  The spotted one is a juvenile.

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A Few Quotes about the Joys of the Open Road

“Roads were made for journeys not destinations.”   Confucious

“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”   Jack Kerouac

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep rolling under the stars.”  Jack Kerouac

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”  John Muir

“Still around the corner, there may wait a new road or a secret gate.”  J. R. R. Tolkien

“A bend in the road is not the end of the road. . .unless you fail to make the turn.”   Helen Keller

“I take to the open road, healthy, free, the world before me.”  Walt Whitman

“Only one who wanders finds new paths.”  Norwegian Proverb

“It’s always best to start at the beginning. And all you do is follow the Yellow Brick Road.”  Glinda, the Good Witch of the North

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to learn.”  Hans Christian Andersen



Today is National Elephant Appreciation Day.  The day was started in 1996 mainly because Wayne Hepburn—owner of Mission Media—was really, really, really fascinated by elephants.  Makes sense to me!  I have always loved elephants.  One great day years ago, I was even able to take a walk with Nellie—a movie and television performer—out in the hills near Lancaster.

I’ve written about elephants several times in the past.  They truly are magnificent.  Large, of course, but also intelligent, curious, and creative.  They live in a matriarchal society and are very communicative, demonstrating actions that show caring, supportive, nurturing behavior towards one another.

These two relatively short videos (about 20 and almost 10 minutes) share some fascinating details about elephants, showing them in action in the wild.

As a society, we would do well to take much better care of them than we do.  I am in total agreement with Peter Matthiessen:  “Of all the African animals, the elephant is the most difficult for man to live with, yet its passing—if this must come—seems the most tragic of all.  I can watch elephants (and elephants alone) for hours at a time, for sooner or later the elephant will do something very strange as mow grass with its toenails or draw the tusks from the rotted carcass of another elephant and carry them off into the bush.  There is mystery behind that masked gray visage, an ancient life force, delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.”  

Today, of course, is a day to celebrate their greatness.  You could always visit the zoo nearest you, or you could spend a little time watching the elephants at San Diego Zoo Safari Park via an Elephant Cam.

Zoo in Florida in the 1940s taken by my Uncle Bob


Family at San Diego Zoo via Photo from Website

You can also read about them—as there are lots of books out there about elephants in all their glory.  I always suggest reading some books about elephants to kids. Two great options are Rudyard Kipling’s The Elephants Child or Graeme Base’s Little Elephants.

A good recommendation for adults is Vicki Constantine Croke’s Elephant Company.  It tells the story of how elephants helped save lives during World War II.  As Sara Gruen, in the New York Times Book Review, explains:  “I have to confess—my love of elephants made me apprehensive to review a book about their role in World War II.  But as soon as I began to read Elephant Company, I realized that not only was my heart safe, but that this book is about far more than just the war, or even elephants.   This is a story of friendship, loyalty and breathtaking bravery that transcends species.” 

Me? Tonight I am going to watch the classic cartoon movie Dumbo.  It is always a delight for young and old.  Just have fun doing something fun to celebrate the grandeur, wonder and beauty of elephants.

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“Mkhava’s herd is a good-sized group—sixteen in all, counting the calves—and even though they are the largest land mammals on earth, they are not always easy to find.  Elephants, it turns out, are surprisingly stealthy.”  Thomas French, Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives

“Elephants are quite enough.”  Agatha Christie, Elephants Can Remember

“For the herds of wild elephants show no resentment when domesticated animals join them. They have none of the herd instinct directed against the stranger that one finds in cattle, in small boys and among many grown-up men. This tolerance is just one of the things about elephants which makes one realise they are big in more ways than one.”  Lt. Col J. H. Williams, Elephant Bill

“Nature’s great masterpiece, an elephant; the only harmless great thing.”  John Donne

“The question is, are we happy to suppose that our grandchildren may never be able to see an elephant except on a picture book?”  David Attenborough

“Words are cheap.  The biggest thing you can say is ‘elephant.’”  Charlie Chaplin

“People are so difficult. Give me an elephant any day.”  Mark Shand

“When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.”  Abraham Lincoln

“No one in the world needs an elephant tusk but an elephant.”  Thomas Schmidt

“If anyone wants to know what elephants are like, they are like people only more so.”  Peter Corneille

“We admire elephants in part because they demonstrate what we consider the finest human traits:  empathy, self-awareness, and social intelligence. But the way we treat them puts on display the very worst of human behavior.”  Graydon Carter

NOTE:  I know zoos are not the ideal place for animals since they still hold animals in captivity even if the animals are (hopefully) treated humanely.  But zoos exist and allow us to see these great animals in action and to help keep the world animal populations growing.

Some Photos in (Mostly) Black & White

I was given my first camera when I was about 10 years old.  Back then, I took lots of family pictures.  But as time went by, nature called to me more and more.  Now, I most often capture photos of Nature, views and vistas as well as smaller details likes flowers and birds.  My photos always start in color.

Converting nature images into black and white or various muted monochromatic tones turns them from being a memory of a specific trip into more generic images of anywhere, anytime.  Black and white photos—for me—take on a more illusive or abstract quality.  There is something more alluring about black and white photography, enticing the viewers to speculate on the missing details—are the hills green or brown, the rocks red or grey, the flowers any myriad of colors?  But in the end, those details don’t matter.

The intensity of black and white—even the varying greys that surface—mark the photos as somehow more permanent and eternal, something beyond our memories alone. As Tennessee Williams notes, “The object of art is to make eternal the desperately fleeting moment.”

Below are some black and white photos of some of my favorite places:

Red Rock Canyon, California

California Beach

Grand Teton National Park

Crater Lake, Oregon

Toulumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park


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A Few Quotes

“Color is everything, black and white is more.”  Dominic Rouse

“Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world.”  Joel Sternfeld

“One very important difference between color and monochromatic photography is this: in black and white you suggest; in color you state. Much can be implied by suggestion, but statement demands certainty. . . absolute certainty.”  Paul Outerbridge

“I’ve been forty years discovering that the queen of all colors is black.”  Henri Mattise

“Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by so quickly you hardly catch it going.”  Tennessee Williams

“I work in color sometimes, but I guess the images I most connect to, historically speaking, are in black and white.  I see more in black and white—I like the abstraction of it.”  Mary Ellen Mark

“There’s something strange and powerful about black-and-white imagery.”   Stefan Kanfer

“Black and white creates a strange dreamscape that color never can.”  Jack Antonoff

“To see in color is a delight for the eye, but to see in black and white is a delight for the soul.”  Andri Cauldwell

Lake Helen, Lassen Volcanic National Park


NOTE:  This post is my response to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge Open Topic.  I posted a bit late, but figure better late than never.


The wonders of Yellowstone National Park are numerous!  Eventually I will post something about its mountains and valleys, river and lakes, and—of course—its thermal features.

But seeing some of the animals that call Yellowstone National Park home is really incredible.  There are many I have not yet seen:  bear, moose, otter, beaver, and a range of smaller animals and birds.  Well, on one visit, I saw a moose—bigger than life.  By the time I pulled my camera up, he had sauntered off into the woods and disappeared.  They must be magical beasts, since he so fully disappeared among the trees in just seconds.  Oh well.

Probably the most iconic animal associated with Yellowstone National Park is the Buffalo.  More officially, buffalo are called bison—and I have shared a separate post about these magnificent creatures.  They are incredible.  I marvel at their strength and presence.

Of course, the buffalo know the park is their home and the tourists are merely visitors, so they stroll wherever they want, even along or even across the roads.  And they rarely hurry.

I especially liked when this guy strolled right to and then past the car.

Elk are also abundant at Yellowstone and in the open areas between Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. They are beautiful and elegant as they meander along the roads and near the buildings.  It seems wrong to me that tourists crowd into the fields just to get a little closer to them.

Rocky Mountain Goats are in the area as well.  These young goats were playing along the highway en route to the park a couple days in a row.

On a drive around Yellowstone Lake, I spotted this creature.  I so wanted it to be a beaver or an otter, but no such luck.  My best guess is that it is muskrat.

Birds make their home at Yellowstone as well.  For me, the most impressive are the Swans.  On one visit, they were making a nest, but that was pretty far off.

Ravens, of course, are all over.

On one visit, I even saw a Robin, a Black-Billed Magpie, and some Canada Geese.

On my most recent visit, I had some nice views of a lone Coyote doing a bit of hunting out in a field.

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“Our task must be to free ourselves. . . by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.”   Albert Einstein

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”   Anatole France

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”   Gandhi

“Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man.  Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures.”  Dalai Lama

“Lots of people talk to animals. . . , Not very many listen though. . . . That’s the problem.”  Benjamin Hoff

“Mankind’s true moral test, its fundamental test (which lies deeply buried from view), consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy: animals.  And in this respect mankind has suffered a fundamental debacle, a debacle so fundamental that all others stem from it.”  Milan Kundera

“I don’t believe in the concept of hell, but if I did I would think of it as filled with people who were cruel to animals.”  Gary Larson

“I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights.  That is the way of a whole human being.”   Abraham Lincoln

“The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.”   Ashley Montagu

“Any glimpse into the life of an animal quickens our own and makes it so much the larger and better in every way.”  John Muir

“The worst sin towards our fellow creatures in not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them.  That’s the essence of inhumanity.”  George Bernard Shaw

“If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”   St. Francis of Assisi

“The animals of the planet are in desperate peril.  Without free animal life I believe we will lose the spiritual equivalent of oxygen.”  Alice Walker

“We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”   Immanuel Kant

“The fate of animals is of greater importance to me than the fear of appearing ridiculous; it is indissolubly connected with the fate of men.”   Emile Zola

“Until he extends the circle of compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”   Albert Schweitzer

“Only if we understand, can we care. Only if we care, will we help.  Only if we help, shall they be saved.”   Jane Godall  [And I would add:  Only if we save the animals and the natural world, can we save ourselves, our world, our souls.]

ONE FINAL NOTE:  I have always loved Nature and Animals and—thus—have always felt the need to protect them.  I am especially aghast for the last several years to what is happening to all aspects of the environment under the guise of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Here is a list of some actions underway as of last November; of course, more have been underway since then as well.  If you are concerned too, please share your concerns with your locally and nationally elected officials.  Vote this issue. All of the environment—including national parks and all animals—needs to be protected from short term economic gains for limited companies and industries.

Memories of Summer: Redwood Highway (2017)

In August 2017, I took a driving trip to visit some scenic areas, including Lassen Volcanic National Park and Crater Lake.  Part of that trip included a short drive along the Redwood Highway (Highway 199 out of Oregon that becomes Highway 101 in California). It was a pretty drive, despite some tourist traffic and construction delays.  I was pleasantly surprised at the abundance of wildflowers along the road.

I always enjoy wandering through little stands of redwoods.  The small grove I enjoyed on this drive was the Amelia Earhart Memorial Grove, a part of Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park.

A short stretch along the coast is always a treat, even on a cloudy day.

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“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.  The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.” 

“There’s more to life than being a passenger.”  

“The fun of it is worth the price.”  

“Adventure is worthwhile in itself.”   

“Everyone has oceans to fly, if they have a heart to do it.  Is it reckless? Maybe. But what do dreams know of boundaries?” 

“Better do a good deed near at home than go far away to burn incense.”   

“Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done.”


Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest: Solitude & Strength

“I usually find myself hiking in a place that not a lot of people go hiking, just trying to find some solitude. I like being out in the middle of nowhere. Not always, but it’s a good place to go to just reflect and think, and it’s something I really enjoy.”  Rami Malek

The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is a glorious spot: rugged, isolated, pristine. 

The drive up into the White Mountains rises to almost 11,000 feet, following many twists and turns.  With each mile, a bit more of my cares and worries always slip away. The stark beauty makes it seem as if I am nearing the top of the world, especially since the vistas let me see for miles.

There are other visitors to this impressive locale—even rangers and a visitor center—but also beautiful natural details.   But I rarely see anyone, and—if I do—it is easy to get away from them to be alone.  That solitude is welcoming, enticing. It is the solitude coupled with the harsh beauty and the strength of the trees that make the forest a place to think, dream, reflect.  It is impossible not to notice the miracles of nature all around and to not recognize how puny and insignificant any personal problems and worries really are.

It is the wondrous trees themselves, however, that offer a great lesson on life.  They are some of the oldest living things on the planet, most at least 3,000 years old.  Some are more than 4,000 years old and others even more than 5,000 years.  Each tree survives in these harsh conditions. They stand twisted and gnarled, but also strong, persistent, steadfast, tenacious, determined.  Such marvelous traits would help us all stay sound and grounded in our crazy modern world.

We can learn a lot from the ancient bristlecone pine.

“Tenacity is essential for accomplishment in anything you do.  Without drive, determination and a strong-willed attitude, one’s level of success at many endeavors will be limited in scope.”  Gabriella Marigold Lindsay

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.”  Napoleon Hill


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“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”  Desmond Tutu

“Loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”  Paul Tillich

“Identify the barriers in your life, and develop discipline, courage and strength to permanently move beyond them, and keep moving forward.”  Germany Kent

“Solitude is creativity’s best friend, and solitude is refreshment for our souls.”  Naomi Judd

“It is not the opposition a man faces that determines his rise or fall in life but his tenacity to dare to soar and to pursue to higher heights.”  Ernest Agyemang Yeboah

“In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.”  Laurence Sterne

“I don’t necessarily sit around inviting life to knock me down, but when it does I don’t wait around for an invitation to stand back up either.”  Craig D. Lounsbrough

“Solitude is independence.”  Hermann Hesse

“You need to believe in yourself and what you do.  Be tenacious and genuine.”  Christian Louboutin

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”  Albert Einstein

“When faced with a challenge, your size is not as important as having a strong and tenacious spirit.”  Melchor Lim

“Solitude has its own very strange beauty to it.”  Liv Tyler

“Tenacious people don’t rely on luck, fate, or destiny for their success.  And when conditions become difficult, they keep working.”  John C. Maxwell

“I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.”  Henry David Thoreau

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.”  Calvin Coolidge

“We need society, and we need solitude also, as we need summer and winter, day and night, exercise and rest.”  Philip Gilbert Hamerton

“Strength does not come from winning.  Your struggles develop your strengths.  When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”  Arnold Schwarzenegger

“It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core.”  Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are stronger at the broken places.”  Ernest Hemingway

 “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. . . . You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”  Walt Disney

“Highest of heights, I climb this mountain and feel one with the rock and grit and solitude echoing back at me.”  Bradley Chicho

“Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage.  The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict.”  William Ellery Channing

“Solitude sharpens awareness of small pleasures otherwise lost.”  Kevin Patterson

 “What a lovely surprise to finally discover how unlonely being alone can be.”  Ellen Burstyn

“I love people. I love my family, my children. . . but inside myself is a place where I live all alone and that’s where you renew your springs that never dry up.”  Pearl S. Buck


Some Sunflowers

I love sunflowers.  Always have.

And not just because Van Gogh is my favorite artist.

Or because I loved the focus on sunflowers in the great movie Calendar Girls (2003).

Sunflowers are just so impressive. So vibrant. So alive. So cheerful.

A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to find some fields of sunflowers, where I could stop and take some photos.  A google search led me to some back roads near Dixon, California. Reviewers assured me, this was a good place to stop and photograph sunflowers.  The best time to visit seemed to be June, but who knows what the drought was doing to the usual timing for the flowers.

I actually feel rather like Goldilocks.

Two years ago, I found the fields. The sunflowers were there, but they were just getting started. The plants had leaves but no flowers.

Last year, I was a bit too late.  Oh, there were flowers, but they were past their prime, seeds gone, heads drooping.

This year, things turned out just right. Almost.  The sunflowers were in bloom, just not yet at their prime.  In a few weeks the fields would be glorious, but there were flowers to appreciate.

Maybe next time, I will get to the fields at the best time, when all the flowers are in full bloom. I might try again in a few weeks. Or maybe next year.

Quotes about Sunflowers

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“I don’t think there’s anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. For me that’s because of the reason behind its name.  Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun.  During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky.  A satellite dish for sunshine.  Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it.  And that’s such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life.”  Helen Mirren as Chris in Calendar Girls

“Someone was sitting in front of a sunflower, watching the sunflower, a cup of sun, and so I tried it too.  It was wonderful; I felt the whole universe in the sunflower.  That was my experience. Sunflower meditation. A wonderful confidence appeared. You can see the whole universe in a flower.”  Shunryu Suzuki

Google Image

Google Image

“The sunflower is mine, in a way.”   Vincent Van Gogh

“I am working with the enthusiasm of a man from Marseilles eating bouillabaisse, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to you because I am busy painting huge sunflowers.”   Vincent Van Gogh

“Despite knowing they won’t be here for long, they still choose to live their brightest lives—sunflowers.”  Rupi Kaur

“Every friend is to the other a sun, and a sunflower also. He attracts and follows.”  Jean Paul

“True friends are like bright sunflowers that never fade away, even over distance and time.”  Marie Williams Johnstone

“If I were a flower, I would be a sunflower. To always follow the sun, turn my back to darkness, stand proud, tall and straight even with my head full of seeds.”  Pam Stewart

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men and animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollycock.”  Henry Ward Beecher

“Never look directly at the sun. Instead, look at the sunflower.”  Vera Nazarian

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow. It is what sunflowers do.”  Helen Keller


I have been saying, “Happy New Year!” for weeks now.  But every time I watch the evening news or think back to all the problems and violence from 2017, my sense of good cheer evaporates.

Somehow, I need to—not ignore the ongoing national problems and disasters—but keep them in perspective.  For my own sanity, I need to stay positive.  I need to reach out to friends and neighbors, work with others, enjoy daily adventures, appreciate nature, and share prayers and gratitude with those around me.  Like individual drops filling a bucket, I need to focus on the good and work to make everything better, one little drop at a time.

“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”  Winnie the Pooh

“Life is a journey to be experienced, not a problem to be solved.”  Winnie the Pooh

But it sure is hard to stay so positive all the time!  

Still, if Winnie the Pooh can do it, so can I.  And he’s been doing it since 1926, when he was first created by A. A. Milne as part of a story for his son Christopher. This lovely little creature was based on a black bear at the London Zoo that his son enjoyed visiting. J. H. Shepard provided the original illustrations for this whimsical little guy and his friends.

In the 1960s, Disney took over sharing Pooh with the world, providing new illustrations as well as movies that are probably more widely known than the originals.

Of course, what Pooh looks like does not really matter.  It is his delightful attitude that makes him special.  He loves his friends and enjoys adventures.  He looks for the good in everyone. He has an ability to see the truth of situations, not being tricked by showy appearances and big words.  And he is always willing to take a nap!

Makes sense to me that today (18 January) is National Winnie the Pooh Day. 

The world would be a better place if we were all a little more like Pooh. 

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Here are a few quotes from Pooh that show his delightful, positive attitude. 

“Promise me you’ll always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

“As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was going to happen.”

“Some people care too much. . . .I think it’s called love.”

“Let’s begin by taking a smallish nap or two.”

“We didn’t realise we were making a memory.  We just knew we were having fun.”

“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

“Did you ever stop to think, and then forget to start again?”

“It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘What about lunch?’”

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

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

“Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them and to share a hug.”

“You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”

“Piglet noticed that even though he had a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.”

“’What day is it?’    ‘It’s today,’ squeaked Piglet.    ‘My favorite day,’ said Pooh.”

“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”

The thing that makes me different is the thing that makes me ME.”

“To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.”

“You can’t help respecting someone who can spell TUESDAY, even if he doesn’t spell it right; but spelling isn’t everything.  There are days when spelling Tuesday simply doesn’t count.”

“If a statement is untrue, it is not more respectable because it has been said in Latin.”

“Good judgment comes from experience, and experience—well, that comes from poor judgment.”

How have you been celebrating National Winnie the Pooh Day?

I am eager to see Goodbye Christopher Robin, a film released last November that presents Milne’s development of Pooh in the aftermath of WWI.  It is coming to Amazon Prime next week, so I will watch it then.   Any favorite stories, movies, or quotes?

“Don’t under estimate the value of doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all things you can’t hear, and not bothering.”  Winnie the Pooh

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