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Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Merry Day in May

Yesterday was predicted to be another in a long series of rainy days, but the ground was dry so I jumped on my bicycle. Past forests and ponds I pedaled, relishing the beauty of nature on both sides of the road. Huge white trillium clumped at woods' edges. Yellow cowslips and purple violets vied for attention. A brilliant scarlet cardinal and a vivid bluejay punctuated spring's fresh greens. When a very large red-tailed hawk swooped up into the trees I was startled.

Nesting Canada geese honked loudly filling the silence with their echoed cries. On one pond swam a loon, stark black and white- its pointed beak silhouetted against the reflective surface. In years past while camping by Adirondack lakes, I have heard the haunting giggle of the loon. It's a maniacal laugh, impossible to imitate.

Of course I stopped at several creeks and streams to search for fossils and found a few. I usually do. Resisting the urge to hoard, I've made arrangements to donate some of my extra specimens to a childrens' educational program, as I did last year while living in Tennessee.

Later in the day, a quest for door mats led me to a carpet store. The first thing I noticed in the showroom was a black wall covered with framed artwork. The owner explained that he does pen drawings to keep himself occupied in between customers. The parallel lines and crisscrossing grids vibrated with movement, reminding me of the new trend: "Zentangles" which the reader may research at

A man of many talents (including entering his miniature horses in horse-pull meets, as evidenced by blue and red show ribbons on another wall), the store owner mentioned having been in a 1980's band. When he offered to sing for me (as he does for other customers), what could I say? With a background sound track he crooned Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" into a mic and did surprisingly well.

Dinner out with family at a local pizzaria proved entertaining and satisfying, a nice ending to a day filled with unexpected highlights.

... This reads like a "Dear Diary" entry. I will probably delete this in a day or two, but I just wanted to recount a most interesting day.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

West and Back

I never thought I would get to the West Coast in
this life time, but a friend invited me to go, and
after much deliberation........... I accepted. One of the highlights was a trip to Balboa Park in San Diego. I admired the Spanish architecture and walked through a rose garden and cactus garden where many specimens were in bloom.

At the Museum of Natural History I drooled over
a fascinating fossils exhibit, and in the lower level,
a gem and mineral display. There were some awesome pieces!

After walking through an elegant hotel on Coronado Island to get to the beach, I dipped my feet in the cold Pacific Ocean, picked up seashells, watched crabs scuttle over rocks, and had lunch at an Irish pub. The sand was speckled with gold flecks of mica everywhere, which glinted in the sunlight.

At Roberto's drive-in/take-out restaurant I tried Carne Asada French Fries piled high with chunks of steak, guacamole and sour cream. Forget counting calories there!

Expressways are everywhere. Hillsides are either overbuilt with condo's and apartment complexes or left wild, brushy with huge boulders. In a vacant lot, lizards scurried about. Ground squirrels chowed down on weeds. They were a bit mangy looking. Later, I read that they may be carriers of Bubonic Plague, their fleas spreading the disease. Ugh.

There was time for a brief visit to Mission Trails Park which has many paths through the rugged wilderness. I could easily imagine a cougar or rattlesnake lurking about, although I saw neither.

On the return trip, the mountain views were breath-taking. The airplane flew over the Grand Canyon but I was on the wrong side and didn't catch that sight. I changed planes in Las Vegas and was surprised to see many many slot machines in the airport.

All in all, it was quite an amazing trip, one I am glad I made. Who can predict what adventures may await us?

Spring greetings, all friends!