Wilderness — A Meditation

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

How to Make The Most Out of 2014

 10 Quotes chosen by The Huffington Post 
30 December 2013

1. "It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that." J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

2. "The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive." John Green, Looking for Alaska

3. "There's only one rule you need to remember: laugh at everything and forget everybody else! It sound egotistical, but it's actually the only cure for those suffering from self-pity." Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank

4. "Tell the truth, or someone will tell it for you." Stephanie Klein, Straight Up and Dirty: A Memoir

5. "There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor." Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

6. "My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully, and yell for help if you need it." Judy Blume

7. "...[I]f you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be." Roald Dahl, My Uncle Oswald

8. "If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?" Tina Fey, Bossypants

9. "You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh 

10. "The point is not to pay back kindness but to pass it on." Julia Alvarez

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Modern Myth - A Sneak Peak

Blue skies metamorphosed into afternoon thunderstorms. The weather somersaulted across the highest peaks in the lower forty-eight states. Lying in the back bedroom of our cabin snuggled in the cleavage between Sierra Nevada peaks, we listened to rain pounding on the roof and watched small rivulets swarming off huge granite outcrops in the avalanche chute behind the cabin.

Friday, December 27, 2013


"Curiously enough, nostalgia refers to 'the returns,' the various attempts of the surviving Greek soldiers to return home after the war against Troy. What the old stories, the new myth are telling us is that there is something fathoms deep in the Western soul that is not at home in the world, or is always striving to find a second home."
Once and Future Myths: The Power of Myth in the Modern World

Monday, December 23, 2013

Thoreau on Writing...

And generally, I have missed the moment.  In the heat of an idea, I most often allow a cooling period so as not to burn the tongue.  Perhaps I should alter my process and consider the outcomes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas in Queensland

A wallaby..small kangaroo..poses for the camera before raiding Lorraine's veggie patch.  lovely little critturs whose Christmas celebration includes tender young shoots of parsley, spinach, basil, and clover.  Isn't he darling?  More marsupial stories to come in A Modern Myth: Where Yesterday and Tomorrow Collide.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Long-term traveling can teach you more than almost anything else

If you have the opportunity to pack your bags and go, do it. Go alone if you have to.

Don’t do it for vacation. Don’t do it for luxury. Don’t do it to take pictures for your Instagram account. Do it because it will make you a better person. And here’s why:
1. Learn to be alone.
Have lunch with yourself. Sit with your thoughts and be okay with them, whatever they are. Love yourself whole-heartedly, especially in times of solitude. And when you think you can’t sit alone any longer, order coffee and a dessert.
2. Rely on the kindness of strangers.
Foreignness does not prevent random acts of kindness. Accept them. Give them. Appreciate them.

3. Learn to live with less.
This does not mean claiming hardship. Let this manifest in small ways. Recognize your fortunes. Be humbled.

4. Learn that plans change and you will have to adapt.
Itineraries are guidelines, not rigid measurements of experience. The best experiences are often not scheduled or anticipated. Expect the unexpected and learn to love it.

5. Enjoying the moment.
Forget the missed bus and enjoy the culture that can be experienced in one hour waiting at a bus stop. Stay in the present.

6. Forces you out of your comfort zone.
Practice speaking that language you learned. Try the cow tongue. Make new friends.

7. Learn to be patient.
Don’t rush through the museum. Don’t rush through your meal. Don’t bounce your leg up and down or roll your eyes. Don’t yell at anyone for reading the map wrong and getting lost. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.

8. Learn you can’t assume. 
Try looking at things a different way. Ask questions. Let this open up a new realm of thought and possibility.

9. Miss home.
Appreciate family, friends, and loved ones. Appreciate the comfort of mundane routines. Find a new found respect for the life you often wish to escape.

10. Goodbye is not forever, life has endless possibilities. 
Family becomes more than just blood. Never say goodbye to the people you meet and the places you see. Cherish the new families and homes you’ve gained. Keep in touch and look back with fond memories from time to time.

Canada's Language Gifts

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Wishes for a Joyous Holiday Season

I'm about to make some major changes in the appearance of this blog.  Kind of like moving the furniture around just before the New Year's Party, ya know?  The cloud wall paper has been around since back in the day.  The side row of pictures minus any adverts have not changed in a very long time.

On top of all that, I am about to self publish on Smashwords.  A Modern Myth: Where Yesterday and Tomorrow Collide has had a number of titles in its six year of existence.  You probably don't remember any of them, but it pleases me to remember them as I finally put them all away for the last time:

Watarrka Sunrise—my favorite
Sunrise at Watarrka
Antipodean Time Travel
Veteran Abecedarian
Sunrise Over the Equator
Shelter From Wilderness
Midnight Across the Equator
Immodest Exposure
Collision of Two Hemispheres
Bogs of Misunderstanding - High Terrains of Pleasure

I have a review of my manuscript, the one entitled A Modern Myth: Where Yesterday and Tomorrow Collide from a well know reviewing agency.  In order to use that review, I must keep the title under which it was written.  Decision made.

So, for those of you who stop in occasionally to visit, I'm wanting to warn you of changes in process. Wouldn't want you to trip over the new settee on the wrong side of the room.

As the New Year approaches, I'm also looking for ways to say thank you for your continued support.  It has been good to know that you stop in every now and again to check out the scene.

Here's wishes for a jolly fine Christmas and as safe and thrilling New Years celebration. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dakota Sun Dogs

In our very cold little corner of paradise (-15 degrees F) the sun's rays often reflect off of the ice crystals in the atmosphere around us.
Sun Dogs Delight.
courtesy of Joanne Ellis, Lignite, North Dakota

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

Uluru In the Monsoon

A Woman's Place
Uluru - The Heart of Australia's Red Centre
--> After breakfast, I followed a trail around the base of Ayers Rock. Waterfalls and quiet pools clustered amongst Kalnypa Grevillea and Kurkara Oaks providing glades of serenity. Park signs identified the flora as well as areas sacred to women or mens work.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

12 Quotes from Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela, who died yesterday at age 95, was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary who served as President of South Africa from 1994-1999.

During the 1950's, while working as an anti-apartheid lawyer, Mandela was repeatedly arrested for 'seditious activities' and 'treason.' In 1963 he was convicted of sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government, and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27 years in prison before an international lobbying campaign finally won his release in 1990.

In 1994, Mandela was elected President and formed a Government of National Unity in an attempt to diffuse ethnic tensions. As President, he established a new constitution and initiated the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate past human rights abuses and to uncover the truth about crimes of the South African government, using amnesty as a mechanism.

Nelson Mandela was a powerful and inspirational leader who eloquently and forcefully spoke truth to power. As tributes are published over the coming days, the corporate media will paint a sanitized portrait of Mandela that leaves out much of who he was. We expect to see 'safe' Mandela quotes such as "education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world" or "after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb."

We wanted to share some Nelson Mandela quotes which we don't expect to read in the corporate media's obituaries:
  1. "A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens."
  2. "If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don't care for human beings."
  3. "The current world financial crisis also starkly reminds us that many of the concepts that guided our sense of how the world and its affairs are best ordered, have suddenly been shown to be wanting.”
  4. "Gandhi rejects the Adam Smith notion of human nature as motivated by self-interest and brute needs and returns us to our spiritual dimension with its impulses for nonviolence, justice and equality. He exposes the fallacy of the claim that everyone can be rich and successful provided they work hard. He points to the millions who work themselves to the bone and still remain hungry."
  5. "There is no doubt that the United States now feels that they are the only superpower in the world and they can do what they like."
  6. “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”
  7. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.”
  8. “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
  9. “No single person can liberate a country. You can only liberate a country if you act as a collective.”
  10. "If the United States of America or Britain is having elections, they don't ask for observers from Africa or from Asia. But when we have elections, they want observers."
  11. “When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
  12. On Gandhi: "From his understanding of wealth and poverty came his understanding of labor and capital, which led him to the solution of trusteeship based on the belief that there is no private ownership of capital; it is given in trust for redistribution and equalization. Similarly, while recognizing differential aptitudes and talents, he holds that these are gifts from God to be used for the collective good."

Friday, December 06, 2013

Prairie Life at 70

Yesterday, when she came to a stop on her mountain bike, it was on the front lawn, up close and in her face. She fell.  There was enough time between her awareness that she was falling and her actual connection with the ground to swivel her knee; her hip hit first and she rolled onto her back beyond where the bike landed. 

Today she felt confident as she pushed the bicycle out of the garage onto the pavement.  A five mile ride sounded perfect.  She pushed off with her left foot on the pedal and swung her right leg over the middle bar.  Alarm! Her balance was off; the pocket of her jacket caught on the point of the bike seat.

Almost panic - she dropped her foot, stopped and released the fabric.  Looking around to see if there had been an audience, she sighed.  Alone on the road.  Nothing new about that.  In this little prairie town of eighty, it was unusual to run into someone on a late Saturday afternoon; no school bus full of tykes waving as they rounded the corner on their way home.

Try again.  She zipped the pocket closed, pushed off, swung her leg and pedalled off towards the farm.  Two and a half miles closer to Canada than her prairie house in the town of Flaxton, the farmstead was closed down for the season.  Her friends had fled the oncoming blustery winter to soak up the sun in a warmer border zone – Arizona.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

The Quintessential Aussie Bloke

Americans have a stereotypical picture of THE Australian male.  Most often, even if he is an Olympic swimmer whose long arms and huge hands reach the finish line ahead of everyone else in the competition, he is seen as a bit of a larrikin.  Although he is expected to play by the rules, the Aussie is known for his practical jokes and for being a savvy traveler who may well tuck his size twelves in Blundstones, R.M. Williams or thongs.  He is not Steve Irwin, Peter Brock, Rupert Murdoch, nor Paul Hogan. He is more like Rod Laver, winning without fanfare.  He gives his mates credit for all that they have contributed to whatever success he has. Although he may be a team player, more often than not he travels the globe in pairs.  He is young, courageous, a backpacker whose hair always needs a good comb; he is golden and broad shouldered, and walks with just a slight swagger.  He scrubs up well, has a flat belly, and loves his cricket.  He carries self-sufficiency and a playful mood in his swag.  He is smart, understated and witty.  He loves to take the 'piss' out of the arrogant.  The jokes of the Aussie male tell the story

Introduction to Chapter 2, Women Travel Memoirs: A Journey Within 

22 Writing Tips from Colin Falconer's Blog

 Somebody else directed me to Falconer's Blog - address below - and I am delighted with the list he has assembled in this particular entry.  I thought you all might enjoy several of the items yourselves.  My favorite, however, is Faulkner's. 

The artist’s only responsibility is his art.  He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one…. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate:  The “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.  ~William Faulkner.