Sunday Stills – As Spring Emerges

For Terri’s Sunday Stills where our prompt is “Emerging”

If we were having coffee at Natalie’s weekend coffee share, I’d tell you that we’re spending May emerging from our winter hibernation mode into a much more active Spring mode. Lots of yard work to be done as I recover from a rather nasty autoimmune flare. 😉 Then we’d spend some time reminiscing about Springs past and I’d share some photos and memories. Let’s take a walk around Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota and see what emerges.

Waiting for the Cliff Swallows to emerge from their nests. They build mud nests under eaves and cliff faces. Here a couple of nests under the eaves at the Wildlife Loop Visitor Center in Custer State Park, Custer South Dakota.

Two humans emerging from a wooded trail are treated to a new perspective of fire damage. In December 2017, 50 mph wind gusts knocked over a telephone pole which sparked and started the Legion Lake Fire. Before it could be contained the fire burned over 54,000 acres of our beloved Custer State Park and sparked several minor fires in the area. This overlook above the once lush valley brought tears to the eye. But the forest will recover, as forests always do bringing more life and restoring balance.

An outstanding reminder that life will always find a way, tiny wild violets emerge from a crack in a huge boulder on Sylvan Lake, Custer, South Dakota.

As we prepare to depart Custer, a wee bitty bunny emerges from the cover of the shrubbery near the parking lot, another reminder that Spring is the season of birth and renewal.

Returning home, I came across this Allium just emerging from it’s bud ready to burst forth in welcome with it’s spectacular purple bloom.

Of course, we couldn’t really emerge from winter into spring without one of these spectacular South Dakota sunrises, taken at Hart Ranch, Rapid City, SD.

That’s it from Castle Serenity this week, til next time

~May the wind be always at your back ~JP

Spring Flowers – Everywhere

For Terri’s Sunday Stills – Fabulous Florals. Spring is in the air, and everywhere she is breaking out the sparkle.

Little Johnny Jump-ups (Violas) brighten any day.

“Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.”
~Rainier Maria Rilke

Tiny Lantana begin to burst forth.

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly,
the whole world would change.”
~Buddha

“Feed me Seymour” ~ Audrey – Little Shop of Horrors

Spooky pitcher plants lurking in the shadows, waiting for … lunch.

“Where flowers bloom, so does hope” ~ Lady Bird Johnson

Many varieties of Rhododendron thrill the eye and delight the spirit.

“It’s always spring and everyone’s in love and flowers pick themselves.” ~E.E. Cummings

Wild Hibiscus, a marvelous nature walk find.

Flowers floating to the ground
petals falling, make no sound
pink snow flying fills the air
petals falling everywhere
flowers in my hair
the scent of spring
fills the air. ~JP

If we were having coffee this week, I’d tell you April has been a mixed bag of a month. It started with a mad dash to South Dakota that was more exhausting than exciting. Then to a nasty virus (not COVID) that led to a Sarcie Flare, which led to a 14-day round of steroid therapy, which led to visits with my pulmo and cardio doctors, and is now ending with me wearing a heart monitor (don’t worry, it’s nothing serious). So maybe it hasn’t been quite the fun month I was hoping for but I got lots of yard work done and the front and back areas are beginning to come together. Come Spring and Welcome.

Til next time ~ Stay Trippy Hippies ~JP

Weird Kind of Week Needs a Fresh Perspective

Cardinal in our tree getting a fresh perspective
Dinky Dinos go into business as “towel handlers” yeah, waaaaay too much time on our hands
February Sunset beautiful fresh air – what more can I say

The sun begins to pinken the sky
like an artist’s languid brush stroke
lazily drawn across the canvas
from triangle I breathe into crescent

ducks fly by in quiet formation
they gently land sending ripples
stretching across the lake
my body moves slowly with intention

I glide from plank into cobra
as I breathe in the beauty of
chantilly clouds tinted fragile rose
against the lightening sky

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you it’s been a weird kind of week and I need a fresh perspective. A rollercoaster of emotions ranging from a new diagnosis of secondary raynaud’s phenomenon, probably just part of the sarcoidosis (OK, that’s good right?), to learning that a beloved little brother is homeless, to a son becoming the victim of a road rage shooting (he’s fine, bullets didn’t penetrate the inner door of the truck). Like I said, good, but … weird. So, pass the decaf Lady Grey (a decaf black/lavender blend), with milk please, no sugar let’s take a bit of fresh air. Hope y’all are having great weeks, and on to a fabulous March!

Linking up to Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share and Cellpic Sunday with Johnbo. and Sunday Stills at Terri Webster’s. Do come on in and join the fun and pick up a fresh perspective.

Til next time ~ Stay Calm and pass the decaf ~JP

Something Wild — PPAC # 36 and Weekend Coffee Share

Shared with Marsha’s PPAC#36 at alwayswrite Wild Animals in Public, I can do that! Let’s dig into the archives and see what kind of public art I can come up with.

The extinct Moa bird in Queenstown, NZ

Greetings at TaoYuan Airport, Taipei Taiwan

Wood carving from Deadwood, South Dakota

Dragon waterspout at Kurama-dera Kyoto Japan

Tribute to the Omarama Rams and their beautiful merino wool.

Also shared at Natalie the Explorer’s weekend coffee share

If we were having coffee this weekend, I’d tell you that it feels kind of odd to not be traveling. It’s been years since I’ve done much international travel. I’m making the transition from “world wanderer” to “retirement living” it’s wonderfully relaxing, albiet sometimes a little on the tame side. But I’ve taken up new activities including new on-line classes and art projects, reviving my yoga practice. I’d ask about your world and what’s new in the blogosphere. 🙂

til next time ~Peace ~JP

Sunday Stills and Weekend Coffee Share in the July heat

Welcome fellow Spoonies and various other sentient beings! Come in, grab your favorite cuppa and let’s visit a bit with Natalie at the Weekend Coffee Share and Terri at Sunday Stills. Our Sunday Stills prompt is “angle” and I found oh so many on our recent adventures.

Last week, we visited Mountain Home, Idaho and took a mini tour of Penny Alley which is a local alleyway that has been dedicated to dozens of urban murals in this tiny rural town. According to the local brochure “in 2016 a group of local artists came together to transform a nearly 320 foot stretch of alleyway in the city’s downtown into an outdoor art gallery featuring a collage of different works of art painted on the walls of local businesses.” We spent a sunny (yeah read that HOT!!!) morning walking the alley, snapping pics, and eating outdoors.

It’s business hours so a lot of this collage is blocked but still sooo worth the look. I can totally dig the wild angles in the dream catcher. Dude!

Adventure is out there!!! LOOK at all the angles in the mural, each sun ray had it’s own design. Plus, it’s purple … and pink! 🙂

I considered cropping this shot but wanted to keep the “OMG this is the alley of actual working businesses” feel. I like the lines of the bricks through the murals and the way the angles are broken up with curves and blending of the individual pictures in the mural.

I particularly love this. Maybe it’s the quote, I am a John Muir fan, or maybe it’s the scene, or maybe it’s the style. This shot is not pixelated, the rough “texture” is intentional. Up close it rather resembles one of those photos transferred to canvas texture. However it was done the result is much in keeping with the alley-feel. I shot this from a straight-on angle with my hinney squeezed up against the far alley wall, stupid camera phone. ;-p

After a long stroll we made our way back to the car through a little craft fair. It was fun to see the offerings. We returned to our hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, splashing, relaxing and practicing that wonderous vacation ritual of napping. So many great angles in the rock water feature.

Hope you’re staying cool in your part of the world. We’re enduring another round of record breaking heat here in the west and midwest USA. To read a bit more about Spoonies and summer, check out Magical Mundanities Episode 3 –Summer Spoons.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

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

Magical Mundanities — Episode 2 – Losing My Muchness

Linking up with Weekend Coffee Share

Approaching the Cincinnati Airport (this is just the outskirts of the area)

We are traveling right now. It’s lovely and also challenging. This is the first time I’ve been away from my tiny home in over 18 months. We spent the first few days visiting family including sister, brother, daughter & grand-daughters, son and grand-sons, grand-daughter and great-grandkids. It was great fun but also exhausting. I was mostly fine those days, got up, did my abbreviated magic morning routine and went from there. It’s very overwhelming for me to be surrounded by cities.

Jungle Jim’s grocery store — half groceries, half amusement park

Then we moved across the river to Ohio for the final training of our replacements. So many people, so many different energies, it’s very draining for a magical introvert. Now there is an office to be at, people to deal with, goodbyes to be said. Now it is a business trip, get up, get dressed, have breakfast meeting, tour factories, have lunch meetings, work with factory, have dinner with managers, discuss days findings, finally get back to hotel, collapse. Get up next morning and do it all over again. I am physically exhausted, emotionally spent and spiritually bankrupt. There is no magic morning ritual to ground me and more and more days are ending in pain and tears.

Barbed wire fencing suits the mood around here ** stay away — stay away**

I lived in this part of the country for over 25 years, I have relatives galore here and yet it has never been my “home.” I am much … less here. To borrow from “Alice in Wonderland” I have lost my muchness. I am hiding my magic. As a result, I have abandoned all of the practices and rituals that are so much a part of who I am. Here I am not “JP” or even “Pahriza.” I am in short, not myself. I have reached the point when I have to ask myself that important question “am I a human being trying to live a spiritual experience; or am I a spiritual being trying to life a human experience?” Time is a finite resource and I can no longer afford to allow the mundane to take precedence over the magic of life. It is time to take a step back, break out the candles and incense, do a cleansing and relax. How terrible would it be if my children and grandchildren knew me for all that I really am? After all, sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Magical Mundanities Episode 1 – magic in shades of gray

Floribunda rose in black and white, Westfir, Oregon

It’s easy to love a sunrise. The promise of a new day, bright, vibrant colors transform ordinary clouds into enchanting abstract patterns. Yes, it’s easy to love bright colors. It takes a special kind of soul though to love a lead-gray sky. I do because I see. I see the divine in a tiny bit of clear quartz among the gravel bed. I see the promise of eternity in the monochrome grayness of a cloudy day. I spend my days trying to be open to everyday epiphanies, the magical mundanities, of an ordinary life.

In nature I find gray everywhere, perhaps because it makes such a perfect backdrop. Perhaps because it’s everywhere. Perhaps because it is the middle of the road, half way between black and white, like the color of my hair, old enough to know better, but still willing to take a bash at it.

For Sunday Stills where our color challenge is Gray

Here gray concrete paving stones provide a backdrop for a young black swallowtail with brilliant wing stripes in Jiujiang, China

A white-faced Heron stalks his shadow in New Zealand

Gray mist hangs over the pavilion at Lulin Lake on Lushan Mountain, China

Vast gray depths and composition of a cloud formation in Rapid City, SD, USA

“Tall buildings no bigger than blocks on the floor
Wellington afloat on the harbour haze:
You think of how most men spend their days
In offices as cramped as elevators…”

Well weathered words of wisdom on faded gray planks of Wellington NZ waterfront.

If we were having coffee this week, I’d confide in hushed tones that I’ve never liked the color black for a wardrobe choice *insert shocked gasp*. Black is technically the absence of color and frankly, it washes out my already pale complexion. Then, I discovered all the infinite possibilities of gray. It has become a staple neutral of my wardrobe.

Ah well, I’m off to ponder the questions of the universe including the antics of the gray dove outside my window.

Til next time ~Stay Wild Moonchild ~JP

Spoonie Retirement — Life Love and Temperature Intolerance

Welcome fellow spoonies and other sentient beings to another edition of

Spoonie Retirement. The week has gone by, as weeks tend to do. After the hub-bub of the last few weeks it’s been nice to relax a bit.

Above buttermilk skies in the morning, here at the Ranch

If we were having coffee this week, I’d wish you a happy Beltane, then I’d brag that all of our de-winterizing is done on the RV and we’re ready for Spring. Hang on just a minute … this is summer weather! We seem to have by-passed spring this year. Two weeks ago we had snow, this week we have highs in the 80’s. Summer craziness has already begun here at the RV park. Sections of the park that have been closed all winter are open once again and are fully occupied, as people come out to celebrate the good weather. Humpffff, good weather in deed, too hot for my liking.

Trees bursting with buds

As Spoonies, Superhubs and I both suffer from temperature intolerance, and it changes. In the winter I find 59-60f perfect indoor temps, in the summer I’m freezing at 68, sweating at 78. Yeah, I have a teeny tiny thermal comfort zone. So while two weeks ago I was putting on extra sweaters to keep warm, I am now stripping off layers and wandering about in shorts. Symptom management requires constant adjustment. Regrettably, I also loathe air conditioning which complicates things a bit more. Don’t misunderstand me, I still USE the A/C, I just don’t LIKE it.

Lilacs are already in leaf, blooms can’t be far behind.

Like a lot of Spoonies, a sunny day can wreak all kinds of havoc with my immune system, triggering flares from my feet to my eyes. This is the time when simple, easy meal plans involving little to no cooking become essential to our well-being. Big batch oat porridge, prebaked frittata cups and fruit with or without yogurt are breakfast basics. Lunches are salads and wraps. Dinners are mostly foil wraps, outdoor grill or “slow cooker” meals.

With heat intolerance, the main problem we face is afternoon fatigue, so we plan around it. Chores, exercise, and activities take place in the mornings. Once 3:00 pm hits, that heavy, can’t breathe, can’t move, OMG-I’d-die-but-it-would-take-too-much-energy fatigue just crushes the life out of you. A cool shower in the afternoon will revive enough spoons for a light supper, movie, and bed. On the menu tonight, greek chicken casserole. This low carb version is “baked” in the slow cooker with side salads or microwaved vegetables from our local organic coop. Hope you’re having a wonderful week, do come join us at the weekend coffee share hosted by Natalie for sips, quips, shots and talks.

Stuff I’m watching and doing today

til next time ~Have a Blessed Beltane ~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