These Mexican Bird of Paradise speak for themselves.
These Mexican Bird of Paradise speak for themselves.
Several weeks ago, the tail of my favorite horse, Miracle, disappeared. When she died from colic after giving birth several years ago, one young lady at the vets took hairs from her tail, made a braid, and gave it to me. Since then, it had hung in the hallway next to Dad’s spurs and a photo of the family farm above Dad’s parade saddle. Suddenly, it disappeared. Where could it have gone? No one had recently been to the house except Martina, my Italian exchange student, and me. My daughter and grandson had stopped by, but no one else. Nothing else had disappeared. It was a mystery like the time I found a handful of dry dog food under the saddle. I never solved that one and had given up on solving this one. I had even considered looking for something else to hang in its place.
On my birthday yesterday, the principal walked to my room with a bouquet of flowers and a package. The bouquet was from my grandson. I opened the package. Much to my astonishment, there was Miracle’s tail, the top of the braid carefully and colorfully wrapped, a thin copper wire winding through it, and and then wrapped around the bottom. My daughter had managed to take it without my seeing her do so, took it home, and had wrapped it so it would not come apart. When I originally told her about it, she and my grandson commented how strange it was and made note of the dog food incident as if some mystery lurked in that particular place in my house.
My grandson had picked out each individual flower. He obviously knows my favorite color is orange.
Then to top off the day my son also sent flowers. It dropped 50 degrees from yesterday afternoon to late last night, the wind shrieks, clouds loom dark and ominous. It is a good day for bright flowers.
Barbara Lewis Duke, pretty petite, blue-eyed and blond, my mother, one fearless, controlling woman. Long after Mother’s death, Dad said, “Barbara was afraid of absolutely no one and nothing.” They married late: 34 and 38. He adored her unconditionally. She filled my life with horses, music, love, cornfields, hay rides, books, ambition. Whatever she felt she had missed, I was going to possess: piano lessons, a college education. Her father, who died long before I was born, loved fancy, fast horses. So did she. During my preschool, croupy years, she quieted my hysterical night coughing with stories of run aways horses pulling her in a wagon. With less than one hundred pounds and lots of determination, she stopped them, a tiny Barbie Doll flying across the Missouri River Bottom, strong, willful, free.
Note: this poem is in my book “On the Rim of Wonder” and was also recently published in “Inside and Out”, a collection of writings by women. It is available on Amazon and published by the Story Circle Network.
Addendum: My mother loved horses and flowers. When I look at the flowers around my house I think of my mother. And, yes, I have horses. The following photos are dedicated to my mother’s memory.
My mother’s mother and father.
Final flowers before frost
A last hurrah of beauty
After feeding the horses, completing chores, a late afternoon walk to look for the last of the wild flowers took my fancy. Here in the canyon country of the Panhandle of Texas, the majority of wildflowers are three colors: yellow, white, purple.
Butterflies feeding in the gay feather.
At first I thought this might be bitterweed but now, not sure.
Although this one and the last one may resemble each other, they are different.
Looked up, the sun decided to shine–at my place four inches of rain in the last week and more than seven inches ahead of normal.
Black foot daisies and prairie zinnias bloom from early spring almost until frost.
Athena among the flowers.
Prickly pear can grow almost anywhere.
I almost missed this one hidden among the grass.
All the beautiful flowers I see today, Mother’s Day 2017, make me think of my mother. She loved flowers, especially roses, horses, music, beauty. When I think of her, I also think of unconditional love. Even when young and I sometimes thought she expected too much of me, I still knew she loved me no matter what the circumstances and always would. For this I feel unending gratitude. As a teacher, it has become very clear to me that many children do not experience the kind of love my mother gave me. She died suddenly many years ago. Her love will never leave me. Thank you, Mom, wherever you are!!
I decided the best way I should share my reverence and love for nature and this precious planet on which we live is to share photos from various countries, states, and my own little piece of wonder.
The three photos above were taken at Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas about ten minutes from where I live.
Above and below the Rio Grande looking into Mexico.
Four photos above — Big Bend National Park.
Between Marfa and Alpine, Texas.
The Rio Grande north of Albuquerque on the Santa Ana Pueblo Nation.
The above four photos taken in Simien Mountain National Park, Ethiopia. The animals are gelada–the only surviving grass eating primates found solely in Ethiopia. They actually “talk” to each other.
Menelik’s Window, Ethiopia
Awash Falls, Ethiopia
Where the Blue Nile begins draining from Lake Tana, Ethiopia
The photos above were taken at various places in Costa Rica.
Northern New Mexico
Grand Canyon North Rim
The Missouri River running full.
California dropping down from Sequoia National Monument
Near Lake Marvin, Texas
The above photos were all taken within the last year on my little rim of wonder.
And finally below, my favorite animal.
This past week was my birthday. The wonder started a week ago when my friends came for dinner and my friend’s father, visiting from Mexico. brought me red roses. I had not seen my friends in a long time and it was fun. Then on Sunday, Roberto, the father, and I went hiking in Palo Duro Canyon on a new trail. I never saw a name for it.
We found this trail by starting at Chinaberry (for those who go to the Canyon), taking Comanche Trail up to this new trail. When they intersect, we went north rather than south on Comanche.
If you read the previous blog in December about hiking Comanche, you saw this peak but from the center and to the south. This is a view from the north looking south.
Eventually, after hiking up and down across an arroyo, you end up above the river which looks tiny here, but when a big rain comes, it can rise many feet in a few hours. It was very sunny, I had a hard time focusing so occasionally a finger got in the way.
Roberto has a funny sense of humor. He could not resist pretending to hold up one of the many giant boulders along the trail.
This is not a difficult walk and not too long if you only have a few hours. We came across a group of wild turkeys, but they moved so much, I was unable to get a good photo so gave up.
Wednesday was my birthday. It began with my first period class–I teach senior high school English. They showered the room with confetti, brought me a giant chocolate muffin with a candle in the middle, lit the candle and sang me Happy Birthday. Then during second period, two of my students arrived with two bouquets of flowers. The room smelled wonderful for three days. I brought the flowers home yesterday in a big box.
My grandson told the florist to make me a giant bouquet with exotic flowers. This is one side of it. Orchids, roses, hydrangeas, and some really unusual flowers which I cannot identify.
This is the other side of the same bouquet.
This bouquet is from my son. He knows my favorite color is orange and that I have a lot of that color in my house so….
I am seriously nerdy and asked for an atlas for my birthday. My daughter outdid herself and bought this one full of all sorts of information I never expected and maps. I love maps. When I read a book from Latin America, Africa, etc., I look up the places on maps.
Last night I sang songs, using the poems of Octavio Paz and Pablo Neruda among others, with the Amarillo Master Chorale in a church with perfect acoustics for choral music. Tonight I will see friends at an opera party. What a wonderful week!!
Today was day one in Big Bend National Park. This place is huge. We drove down to the Rio Grande, took a hike up a big hill/cliff above it, and later drove off on a gravel road which became a bit daunting at times–four wheel drive only. We saw people riding horses across the desert, others canoeing down the river, all sorts of mountains, cactus in bloom, ruined corrals from a extinct ranch, and passed a border control check point–nothing new really. Used to get checked all the time down near the border. Here are photos I took along the way.
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