Magical Mundanities — Episode 2 — Spoonie Travel in a Pandemic World

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings to another episode of Magical Mundanities where this Spoonie seeks to find the magic in a mundane world.

After returning from a short trip to visit grandkids and wrap up pre-retirement details with the home office, we had three weeks to rest, recuperate, see doctors, repack our suitcases and pack up our tiny home for storage before heading out on the “big trip of being somewhere else.” This is the first significant road trip we’ve taken in several years.

Butterfly on a purple coneflower bids me farewell in South Dakota

We left South Dakota on a sunny day. The weather had been mostly hot and sunny for the weeks prior to our departure and we were looking forward to some cooler temps.

Spoonie travel requires some adjustments. We discovered early on that traveling by car is no less draining than travel by air, and it TAKES LONGER! Bear in mind that neither of us travels well these days, we’re out of shape. We took the drive in easy steps traversing no more than 350 miles of state highways per day. We stopped at virtually every roadside rest and touristy place along the way (aka restrooms).

Independence Rock — along the Oregon Trail — Alcova, WY

We loosely followed the Oregon Trail most of the trip and picked up fascinating tidbits about the pioneers and their perils, as well as the Eisenhower Highway Act which connected this vast country. The story goes that when Eisenhower was a young Army officer, he participated in a cross country convoy from New York to California. The trek took 62 days and Eisenhower later wrote that this was when he first envisioned a cross country highway system.

The road was long, the journey arduous although certainly not a patch on what the pioneers or post WWI travelers must have gone through. Breaks became less frequent and fatigue crushed the mind, body and soul of these two spoonies. Wyoming holds many, many hundred miles of, well, nothing. At all. I have always said though that if you LOOK for beauty, you’ll find it. Above, during a brief break at an otherwise unremarkable rest area, thistles behind a dilapidated parking lot.

Penny Wall, Mountain Home, Idaho

Finally after three days of bone crushing travel fatigue, we stopped for a two-night R&R in the little town of Mountain Home, Idaho. While there we took in some local sites like “Penny Alley” which encompasses an alley full of murals. More on that later.

Hand Mural – Penny Alley — Mountain Home, Idaho

For now, if we were having coffee at the Weekend Coffee Share, I’d tell you that our travels have been full of tiny steps and beautiful moments, and some fairly huge stumbling blocks as well. I’d remind you that you have but to open your eyes to see the beauty around you, and “those who do not believe in magic will never find it.”

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills – Outdoor Life in Balance

For Sunday Stills where we are celebrating “great outdoors month”

For me, like a lot of spoonies, the “great outdoors” is all about finding balance. In the Ayurvedic tradition, balance comes from being in sync with nature, and from being in balance within ourselves.


Rock cairns, large and small decorate the banks of the Virgin River near the Narrows hike. After a flood deposited thousands of rocks and stones along the riverside walk in Zion National Park, human creativity balanced with nature.

“Into the forest I must go. To lose my mind and find my soul.” ~ John Muir

Here, the end of the trail for us in Redwoods National Park. The trail went much deeper into the forest but this was as far as we got, and that’s OK. Spoonies have to balance the desire to trek off deep into the woods leaving the world and it’s noise behind, with the need for caution. Getting to the end of a trail and discovering awe inspiring fairy glens and primordial glades is wonderful. Fatigue induced exhaustion that causes you to faint, not so much.

The Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto, Japan. The cherry tree lined path that follows a small canal from Ginkaku-ji to Nanzen-ji reminds me that the great outdoors is always there, just a step away from my door. Sight-seeing can be taxing on a spoonie and the days of rugged outdoor hikes must be balanced with relaxing strolls and stargazing.

I’ll never lose my need for the great outdoors, and I treasure every moment, the exciting ones and the sedate ones. Sitting on the beach on Kauai surrounded by dark and light, sea and sand, I breathe in the tang of salt air and I am at peace.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.” ~Ferris Bueller

Of course, there are also wonders to be found just off the beaten path that make my little spoonie heart soar. During a drive on South Island, NZ we saw an interesting angle of the bay and decided to stop. A short walk from the pull off we were greeted by magical sandstone cathedral spires. We never would have noticed them if we hadn’t listened to that small still voice that whispers “take a look.”

Meanwhile, half-way across the planet, more hoodoos (sandstone spires) dance in gay perfusion in Bryce National Park, Utah. I have walked so many trails in so many places, always, always looking for balance, the synchronicity of nature and balance within myself. Many of the trails have been half-way trips. When he sees my strength beginning to fade, Superhubs will gently remind me “we still have to walk back.” Ahhh yes, the walk back, more adventure. The journey, after all, is the worthier part of the trip.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills – a Midsummer Dream

For Sunday stills, sunrise, sunset

“I have seen so many sunrises,” he said “each one glorious with the promise of the new day to come. Mine to shape and mold as I will. And sunsets, the sky refracting back to my meager eyes to joy of the day that has passed. I have watched the stars burst through the dark sky like a million flaming diamonds. Yet none of it prepared me for the explosion of celestial light within your eyes the first time I saw you smile.” ~Gwren

This week marked the Summer Solstice which we celebrated with a family gathering and feast on the BBQ. Surrounded by brothers, sisters, children, and grand-children. It was lovely. This shot of Stonehenge was taken in the spring but to me Stonehenge will always hold a special place in my Litha celebrations. Accordingly, I watch the sunrise over Stonehenge on youtube (I’m such a rebel).

 

Sunrise over the ocean on Kauai. This is one of my favorite shots for summer even though it wasn’t summer when I took the picture. The golden sky and reflection on the ocean just speaks to me of the power of the sun.

Another of those golden sunrises, I adore the flame red of the sun’s reflection on the water.

Sunset in Virgin, UT one wonderful solstice. Striking sunsets are rare in the desert, as are the clouds that create the textured feel of the picture.

Chimney Rock, Nebraska at dusk. Located at the “south edge of the North Platte River Valley, Chimney Rock is a natural geologic formation, a remnant of the erosion of the bluffs at the edge of the North Platte Valley. A slender spire rises 325 feet from a conical base. The imposing formation, composed of layers of volcanic ash and brule clay dating back to the Oligocene Age (34 million to 23 million years ago), towers 480 feet above the North Platte River Valley.” source

And finally, sunset at 30,000 ft. over Kentucky. From my seat on the plane as we approached Cincinnati on our recent trip. A wonderful way to start a trip.

That’s about it from here at Chez Spoons, have a great and safe week mes amies.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Through the Lady’s Eyes – a Crimson Creative Challenge

our photo prompt from Crispina Kemp

For Crimson’s Creative Challenge

From Crater Lake Oregon

Through the Lady’s Eyes

Everywhere I go I seem
to find
the Lady’s spirit watching me
Look now, can you not see
the Lady’s face within the tree
or the
feminine forms etched in stone
nature’s hidden ghosts
abiding grace of form
now
look through her eyes
and you just might see
all this world was meant to be

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills — Blessed be the wild things

For Sunday Stills – celebrating kids and pets

“The time has come,” I thought today
“to ponder many things
like kids and pets and photographs
and why the wild bird sings”

I find myself in a bewilderment. Kids and pets … hmmm, I have no pets, and I generally don’t post pictures of kids (even my own). So that leaves me with those beautiful souls with whom we share this little blue world. I love the feeling of awe when I encounter animals in their natural habitat. I say a little prayer of thanks and treasure the places where the wild things are.

Above, a juvenile big horn sheep in Zion National Park, Utah. They sometimes come down from the higher elevations to feed and pose for tourists.

Here American Buffalo at Custer State Park in South Dakota. You don’t realize how truly huge they are until you experience them up close.

One harried momma duck with a passel of ducklings in Christ Church, NZ. We watched them cross the path heading for the pond, and laughed and laughed and laughed at Momma scolding and herding the brood. Yes, the comedy of motherhood is universal.

My precious little puff balls – Great Horned Owlets in our big pine in South Dakota. I think these count as both pets and kids. We watched them all summer grow from tiny bits of fluff to the day they stretched their wings and set out on their own. They were no longer cute little babies but full grown, gasp inspiring, raptors.

The Three Amigos in the Marlborough District of NZ. In a field full of spring lambs, these little guys found themselves a hill to defend. 🙂

Til next time ~Meet me where the wild things are ~JP

Yard Decorations – a Crimson Creative Challenge

For Crimson’s Creative Challenge # 127 a toast to unusual yard decorations.

This is so cool, I really want to meet these people. They just need a sign that says “caution, I am licensed to stab people with sharp objects” lol

My kind of yard decorations in Colac Bay, NZ

When I am old, I will wear purple and put up weird yard decorations instead of rose bushes; if you ask about me, my children will remark “oh crap, what’s the old bat up to now?” 🙂 ~JP

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Sunday Stills — Emerging in Spring

Marsha at Always Write is hosting Sunday Stills this week, where our prompt is “Emerging.” So appropriate for Spring. Here in the Black Hills, we are still waiting for Spring patiently, ummm… with hopeful hearts … oh c’mon already. So here’s a little emerging tale from my archives and a few current shots as well.

Through the silent winter
the world deeply slumbers
emerging in the spring I find
everything is different
and yet
everything’s the same

Spring is slowly emerging from the frozen Winter, here annuals beginning to pop up in the flower beds, ready to start a new season.

Things bloom late in this part of the country but when they do, oh my. The world quickly become a cacophony of sight and scent as the flowers compete for attention.

Here a shot from the high deserts of Utah, as succulents wriggle their way out of a crack in the stones. A classic example of “bloom where you are planted.”

And finally, a tiny sand crab emerging from his hidey hole on the beach in Kapaa, Hawaii

That’s it for this week, here at Chez Spoons, we wait for Spring to emerge from Winter’s cold embrace.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, Love and Covid – Weekend Coffee Share

Greetings fellow Spoonies and other sentient beings to my contribution for Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Natalie. I got my second Covid vaccine injection last week. Wiped me out for a few days but, all in all, I think it’s worth it, especially now that I’m feeling human again.

If we were having coffee, I’d brag that we started Spring cleaning, clearing out the last (hopefully) remnants of Winter.

Above a shot of the back of our media cabinet. You can see several inches of frost along the top and corner. Those 10+ days below zero did a number on our little home. That’s one of the things about being a full-time RVing Spoonie, you’ve got to pick your battles. We do everything we can think of to keep our place warm (skirts around the base, plastic overlay on the windows, etc.) but honestly, RV’s are just not designed for extreme weather. We did fine, no busted pipes or anything but there was a good deal of set up and crisis management involved, such as several days without water due to the heated water hose freezing up.

And, of course, I’d have to tell you about the weather. The cold has departed, being replaced by the winds that are common here in the Black Hills leaving the skies bright blue with little wispy clouds. My personal harbinger of Spring.

The grass is greening, the snow is gone, Spring has sprung.

Flowering annuals are poping up, campers are arriving and it looks like it’s going to be a wild ride this summer.

On the health front the dyshidrotic eczema blisters on my feet are improving enough that I’ve gotten out for short walks most days and my yoga routine adaptations (to not use feet) are coming along nicely. Spring vegetables are slowly showing up in our local coop and the farmers market should be opening soon. The local produce is still of the “hoop house” variety as we will likely have more snow sometime this month, but we are hoping for the best. I did get a bunch of gorgeous radishes and asparagus which I must say are definitely at their peak right now. Hoop house, hothouse, or ITG (In The Ground), they taste great after a winter of mostly frozen produce.

I’d talk about next week, which includes 4 medical appointments and one maintenance appointment to get new tires on the car, total of 5 appointments in 5 days. Yep, that is what it means to be a Spoonie, the “human pincushion” thing. I’d share that BIL #1 (the one with Covid) developed pneumonia and got an infusion of antibodies. He is doing much better, thank goodness.

I would undoubtedly whine a bit about the looming tax deadline and kids and grandkids who still expect me to have the answers to anything tax related. But then, I’d wax rhapsodic about the simple joy of watching the robins and rabbits in the yard. Come Spring, and welcome, bring your light to gently wake us from Winter’s slumber.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

 

Crimson’s Creative Challenge # 124 — If Steps Could Talk

For Crimson’s Creative Challenge brought to us through the lens of Crispina Kemp, where we are invited to respond with whatever moves us. 🙂

My very thorough response in photo, poem, and music *tehehehe*

Steps to Kurama-dera temple – Kyoto, Japan

If Stairs Could Talk

Up, up, up we go
it matters not
whether fast or slow
when you reach the top
what sights you’ll see
come along and follow me

 

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement – Life, Love and Covid — weekend coffee share

Laundry building, covered with icicles.

Natalie is our host for weekend coffee share where we all gather for a virtual cuppa and chat about our week.

If we were having coffee today, we’d be having it inside. Looking out the window at the sunshine, and the graupel (tiny snow pellets) falling right through the sunshine. The remains of our last snow storm have pretty well melted in the warm sunny days this week, we started off with lots of icicles from the slow thaws freezing again over night.

Snow covered bush that began to thaw and froze into icicles overnight

Inevitably, talk would turn to Covid. I got my second vaccination this week and I must say it’s hit me harder than the first one. I took the Pfizer (2 doses 3 weeks apart) vaccine and should be clear in another 10 days +- as it takes 2 weeks for maximum effectiveness. I have no illusions, I know it may well not prevent me from contracting the Covid-19 virus. It should, however, dramatically reduce my odds of hospitalization or death so I figure it’s worth the annoyance of symptoms for a few days.

Since we’re talking about Covid, I’ll mention the domino effect of exposure. My dear brother-in-law has contracted the virus. Talked to him on the phone and he sounds dreadful, first domino tips. Brother-in-law # 2 has been diagnosed with cancer and was scheduled for surgery this week. Due to potential exposure from a close relative, they have postponed his surgery for 3 weeks, there goes second domino. We had a trip planned for mid-April, but since BIL #1 will be recovering, BIL #2 will be in post-surgical quarantine, we’ve decided to postpone the trip for a few more weeks. Third domino …. splattt.

Dusk here at Hart Ranch, snow mostly gone (for now).

Life goes on much as it has this past year, groceries are bought on-line or sometimes in-store. We deal with chronic illness, and we carry on. I try to spend some time each day, looking for the beauty of the day. This morning the sun was shining prettily so Superhubs and I took off for town, picked up a few items at our local health food coop, got lunch at a drive thru and went to the park for lunch. It’s cool and windy enough that we ate in the car, but it was still awesome to get out of the house. You see, there is beauty to be found in even the dullest of days so look for it. And if you don’t see anything beautiful, look again. And if you still don’t see it, look harder.

A potted plant, with a tiny bloom, and a wee bitty butterfly outside a factory in Taichung, Taiwan. Sometimes you have to really look to see it.

What I’m listening to

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP