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Posts tagged ‘Traveling’

Finding May Flowers

“Sweet April showers do spring May flowers.”   Thomas Tusser

IMG_8589El Nino promised lots of storms to a drought-ravaged California in 2016.  Although the full force of the expected rains never really IMG_8966arrived, enough rain fell to nudge wildflowers into brilliant eruptions across fields and along roadsides.  I took several drives early in spring, admiring the IMG_8994wildflowers dancing along the route.  I even caught the end of a Megabloom in Death Valley!  Just seeing the vivid and various colors and shapes of the flowers always cheers me, reminding me of my spiritual connection to the world of Nature.  Quite simply, I agree with Luther Burbank:  “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.”    


Every year, I take a several weeks’ long trek into Nature, typically stopping to visit national parks along the way.  This year, I took off on May 3, hoping that I might find wildflowers as I wandered along through several states:  California, Nevada, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, and Arizona.  By May, the flowers were waning along the hills and roadsides near me, but I was hoping the higher elevations I was traveling might let me catch glimpses of flowers wherever I went.

IMG_0238And I was lucky.  I saw flowers everywhere—either wildflowers out in the field or cultivated grounds and gardens in the cities.  I was gone for most of the month and saw flowers every day.  What can I say?  It was a great trip!





















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“You always have to remember—no matter what you’re told—that God loves all the flowers, even the wild ones that grow on the side of the highway.”   Cyndi Lauper

“Keep love in your heart.  A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.”   Oscar Wilde

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature—trees, flowers, grass—grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.  We need silence to be able to touch souls.”    Mother Teresa

“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.”    Henri Matisse

“God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees and in the flowers and clouds and stars.”    Martin Luther

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.  These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”   Joseph Addison

“Earth laughs in flowers.”   Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”   Claude Monet

“In a meadow full of flowers, you cannot walk through and breathe those smells and see all those colors and remain angry.  We have to support the beauty, the poetry of life.”    Jonas Mekas


“Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes—every form of animate or inanimate existence leaves its impress upon the soul of man.”   Orison Swett Marden

“It’s been proven by quite a few studies that plants are good for our psychological development.  If you green an area, the rate of crime goes down.  Torture victims begin to recover when they spend time outside in a garden with flowers.  So we need them, some deep psychological sense, which I don’t suppose anybody really understands yet.”   Jane Goodall

“The temple bell stops but I still hear the sound coming out of the flowers.”  Basho

“Spring, when the earth tilts closer to the sun, runs a strict timetable of flowers.”   Alice Oswald

“Arranging a bowl of flowers in the morning can give a sense of quiet in a crowded day—like writing a poem or saying a prayer.”   Anne Morrow Lindbergh

“You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming.”    Pablo Neruda

“I’m an introvert. . . I love being by myself, love being outdoors, love taking a long walk with my dogs and looking at the trees, flowers, the sky.”   Audrey Hepburn

“Change is a continuous process.  You cannot assess it with the static yardstick of a limited time frame.  When a seed is sown into the ground, you cannot immediately see the plant.  You have to be patient.  With time, it grows into a large tree.  And then the flowers bloom, and only then can the fruits be plucked.”   Mamata Banerjee

“Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed.”   Walt Whitman

“People from a planet without flowers would think we must be mad with joy the whole time to have such things about us.”   Iris Murdoch


“With a few flowers in my garden, half a dozen pictures and some books, I live without envy.”  Lope de Vega

“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms.  Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him.”   Auguste Rodin

“I was taught to confront things you can’t avoid.  Death is one of those things.  To live in a society where you’re trying not to look at it is stupid because looking at death throws us back into life with more vigor and energy.  The fact that flowers don’t last forever makes them beautiful.”   Damien Hirst

“Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.”   Henry Ward Beecher


“Weed are flowers too, once you get to know them.”   A. A. Milne

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”   Theodore Roethke

“Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.”   Jeremy Bentham

“I must have flowers, always, and always.”   Claude Monet

“I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!  I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.”   Edna St. Vincent Millay

“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in—what more could he ask?  A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”   Victor Hugo

“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  I want to give that world to someone else.  Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower.  I want them to see it whether they want or not.”   Georgia O’Keefe

“go sailing away and away, sailing into a keen city which nobody’s ever visited, where always it’s Spring) and everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves”   e. e. cummings

“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”   Lady Bird Johnson

“Each flower is a soul opening out to nature.”   Gerald de Nerval


“There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”   Anais Nin

“What a desolate place would be a world without a flower!  It would be a face without a smile, a feast without a welcome.  Are not flowers the stars of the earth, and are not our stars the flowers of the heaven.”   A. J. Balfour

“In the hope of reaching the moon men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.”   Albert Schweitzer

“Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small it takes time—we haven’t time—and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”   Georgia O’Keefe

IMG_9096I guess I am fickle.  My favorite flower tends to be whatever glorious bloom I am admiring at the moment, especially if it surprises me out in a field somewhere.  I do always love to see lupines, lilacs and irises, in part for the good memories they hold.  I’ve written before about agreeing with Alice Walker that “It pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

I bet that is actually true for all flowers, all the little wonders of the natural world!

Lilacs in Montana with a Bit of Snow Lingering from the Previous Night's Storm

Lilacs in Montana with a Bit of Snow Lingering from the Previous Night’s Storm

Do you have a favorite flower that always catches your attention, brightens your day, tugs at special memories?

Every City, USA

It is great to be home! 

I had a terrific time on my recent trip, covering over 6500 miles in 3.5 weeks.  I arrived home about a week ago, but immediately started gearing up for a short overnight trip that would take place in a few days.  So now, that I am home again, it finally feels like I am really home:  sleeping in, catching up on mail-mail and laundry, paying bills, making plans to meet friends, even cooking some favorite meals.

Of course, some of the best things about being home are little things I usually overlook.  Knowing where the light switches are—and having bright enough bulbs in the lamps.  Not just knowing where the plugs are for recharging all my electronic gadgets, but having them set up and ready to go in convenient places.  Central air that keeps my apartment at a comfortably cool level without having to tolerate noisy window units and juggling between too hot and too cold.  It is not terrible living out of hotels, but it is certainly much much better being home!

However, I must admit that no matter where I traveled, things seemed very familiar.  During my driving trip, I traveled major interstates as well as county roads.  Some roads were paved; others were not.  But even the unpaved ones were not too bad—with a few exceptions.  And the bumpy roads never lasted for very many miles.  The general good condition of the roads with well-marked exits and rest stops was a luxury evident in every state.

Standing Guard at La Cocina Restaurant

Standing Guard at La Cocina Restaurant

Everywhere I went, there were also familiar restaurants where I could grab a quick snack or drink.  I often grabbed a salad from McDonalds or Wendy’s as my evening meal or stopped en route for a cold drink or snack. But I could seek out unique local eateries as well.  I already reviewed the Coffee Cup Café, but I also ate some great local pizza in Colfax, Iowa and Peru, Illinois.  I had a great relleno and taco with hot red chili sauce at La Cocina in Truth or Consequences, NM.  But I appreciated knowing the familiar standbys were just down the road.  In fact, one day, having traveled for miles and miles through fields on country roads, I was tired and just wanted a break.  Nothing was in sight, not really even an exit, just unmarked intersections.  But my GPS device found several fast food places within a five-mile radius.  Amazing!

Back Road in Illinois

Back Road in Illinois

I could also charge gas at the pump everywhere I wandered, whether at a Shell, Chevron, Conoco or even some smaller more local station.  Only once—traveling the back roads to the Petrified Forest outside Flagstaff—did I worry that I might run out of gas.  No stations were in sight when my need-gas light came on, and I had passed no stations all day long.  My GPS said I was 20 miles from a station, but it got me there.  The fill-up took 14.8 gallons on a 15-gallon tank.  But I made it!  If I had wanted to shop, I could easily have found a Sears or Kohls or Circle K that would provide nearly any item I might have wanted.  I rarely shop when home, so I never did go shopping while on my trip, but I could have.  I even saw such places as Whole Foods and LA Fitness in more than one city along the way.

People were similar too.  Friendly clerks and other customers were always there to hold a door, suggest a local eatery, or offer ideas on fun places in the area.  Some were just willing to chat a bit.  One reason for my trip was to enjoy the solitude of travel and nature, but it was nice at the end of the day to be able to exchange a smile and a conversation with locals, no matter what size the city.  I especially loved seeing kids very excited about being out enjoying nature wherever I went, mainly national parks and wildlife refuges.

Dorothy & Toto

Dorothy & Toto

Of course, each place had its own unique flair as well.  In Kansas, for example, there were several museums and monuments showcasing the Wizard of Oz, including “The Land of Oz” with a recreation of Dorothy’s House in Liberal, KS (population 20,515 in 2010).  Dodge City and Tombstone had western shows to entertain the tourists.  In Pella, Iowa, there were gorgeous tulips but also a fantastic Dutch bakery called Jaarsma Bakery.  Outside of Flagstaff, amidst the dinosaur statues, there were rock shops galore that also sold petrified wood from the local area.  In a sweet little cemetery outside Julesburg, CO (population 1,225 in 2010), I found some lilacs in bloom, gracing several gravesites.  I’d been looking for lilacs in bloom on this trip, since they were my mom’s favorite.  This little cemetery was a beautiful locale to have a quiet moment of reflection and solitude.

Liberal, Kansas

Liberal, Kansas

Recreation of Dorothy's House

Recreation of Dorothy’s House

Jaarsma Bakery, Pella, Iowa

Jaarsma Bakery, Pella, Iowa

Tulips on Pella, Iowa

Tulips on Pella, Iowa


Cemetery in Julesburg, Colorado

Cemetery in Julesburg, Colorado

Lilacs for Mom

Lilacs for Mom

Several Days with AJ & J 081A Dairy Queen in Dodge City, Kansas (population 27,300 in 2010) had handwritten signs posted notifying customers that the restaurant would be closed all day Saturday, so all employees could attend the local high school graduation and its corresponding celebrations.  Good thing I was there earlier in the week, as it was the only drive-thru in sight near my hotel. I also spent a quiet afternoon enjoying the grounds at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library & Museum in West Branch, Iowa (population 2,322 in 2010).  I stopped for gas at the only little station I saw, and the museum was just around the corner!

Hoover Library & Museum

Hoover Library & Museum

Museum Walkway

Museum Walkway

Museum Grounds

Museum Grounds

Several Days with AJ & J 066

Several Days with AJ & J 088

I had a great trip!

I love being on the road seeing new places and enjoying nature along the way.  But I also love being home.  One of my favorite movie quotes seems especially apt here:  “Remember, no matter where you go. . . there you are!” These words of wisdom were spoken by Buckaroo Bonzai in The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai across the 8th Dimension.



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Some Quotes about Home

 “Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”   Sarah Dessen

“It was good to walk into a library again; it smelled like home.”   Elizabeth Kostova

“How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”   William Faulkner

“Home is the nicest word there is.”    Laura Ingalls Wilder

“I let it go. It’s like swimming against the current. It exhausts you. After a while, whoever you are, you just have to let go, and the river brings you home.”    Joanne Harris

“’One never reaches home,’ she said. ‘But where paths that have an affinity for each other intersect, the whole world looks like home, for a time.’”    Hermann Hesse

“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.”    Ransom Riggs

“In life, a person will come and go from many homes. We may leave a house, a town, a room, but that does not mean those places leave us. Once entered, we never entirely depart the homes we make for ourselves in the world. They follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again, waiting for us in the mist.”    Ari Berk

“Be grateful for the home you have, knowing that at this moment, all you have is all you need.”  Sarah Ban Breathnach

“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”  Robert Frost

“Home is where the heart is.”  Pliny the Elder

“Where we love is home–home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”   Oliver Wendell Holmes

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”   Jane Austen

 “A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.”   Benjamin Franklin


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