Just One Thing

Every late afternoon as I go on a two-mile trek around my neighborhood, I think. I’m big on thinking, but this allows for a rather clutter-free venue for doing it. Except that there are plenty of stimulating distractions as I walk without a cell phone, i-pod or any other electronic device.

I can’t speak for almost every driver that I pass with their eyes gazing down, one hand on the steering wheel, one hidden, sometimes both hidden, but mostly all with eyes down. I suspect they are all looking at devices.

People that I pass who are walking also often have something in their ear or in their hand. Sometimes they rip a plug out of an ear when they see me smile and my lips start moving. “What!”, they ask. “Hello”, I repeat.

There is one man I often cross paths with and we’ve gotten to stopping for a brief “what movie are you watching tonight” conversation. He lives alone too and asks me if I get lonely? “No, I don’t”, I respond. He says he does a little. He has two leads, one in each hand, no devices as he walks “his girls” around. They are both very old as he and I are too. They walk very slowly, I very fast so we often cross twice. I love to see his doggie’s butts in front of me as I come upon them. They are all so happy, out walking together. One of the dogs is always off stretching the lead to sniff; the other stays on the straight and narrow.

There is another lady whose yard I go by and it has chickens in it; five or six beautiful things. Once in awhile she is outside and we stop to chat too. Her name is Francie and I made myself remember it by thinking of the Gidget movies. She had forgotten mine and apologized. She commended me for walking and complained that she does not. I always invite her to walk with me. She hasn’t taken me up on it yet.

A little farther up, I make a special whistle for Jewel to recognize that it is me that is coming and that she doesn’t need to bark if she doesn’t want to. She has a special conversation for me anyway, not really barking, “Arr, arr, arr, arrrrrr!”. Her mother was out yesterday with a friend at her gate and she looked up to tell me, “She’s talking to you!”. I shared my special whistle so Jewel’s mother knows that I make sure to talk back to Jewel each time I pass by. I always tell Jewel how pretty she is. She’s a black and white, very fit boxer-pit mix of some kind I think. “Hi Jewel. You’re so pretty”, I say. I want to tell her mother that if she ever needs a home…

Sometimes I run across a homeless man who makes his two beautiful hounds, (one probably the mother and the other one of her babies), traipse around the neighborhood with him everywhere he goes. Sometimes he is on foot, other times riding a bike. The dogs have to keep up with him, strapped to whatever he has with him collecting junk; a cart or a bike with a cart. I try to divert my path if I see him ahead as it breaks my heart the way he treats them. It’s all I can do to not chastise him. I have heard from a friend who lives near him that he gets mad and pounds on them. Oh, my heart aches for animals that are not treated right.

Today on my trek it was snowing broom seeds everywhere I went. Desert Broom is everywhere here and most people think of it as a nuisance; an invasive species.

Of course, I think they are beautiful and that whatever will be should be. There are a couple in my yards.

I ended up the proud owner of a very nice pair of lops because a friend wanted me to take out broom plants that were interfering with people getting up her long and winding driveway. She can’t do it herself anymore so donated the lops to me so that I can do hers for her once in awhile. I have only done them once. I love the lops. Lucky me.

Desert broom is a vertical, evergreen, densely-branched shrub usually 3 to 6 feet tall, occasionally up to 10 feet tall. Its many fine twigs are green; the tiny, linear leaves are deciduous during dry periods. The plants are dioecious (that is, each individual plant bears only “male”or “female” flowers) and blooms in the fall. The wind – dispersed, white-tasseled seeds are produced by the female plants in such abundance that the plants and nearby ground appear to be snow-covered.

Desert broom grows in the desert, desert grasslands, and chaparral from 500 to 5,000 feet elevation in Arizona, California, Sonora, and Baja California.

In the winter the cottony mounds crowning the female plant are composed of countless individual fruits. Each seed is attached to many silken, white hairs called pappus. The pappus, serving as parachutes, carry by the wind, the seeds which drift to the ground, collecting everywhere!

Desert Broom is relatively short-lived. It is rarely browsed by mammals, but its strong shade fosters the growth of other plants. Desert Broom is most prominent in the higher areas of our Arizona stream beds.


Lizards are brumating at this time of year. I ran across this little baby while doing some cleanup work today. It was moved to a safer location. It was between some door skins that needed to be moved so that compost could be transferred. First do no harm.

There is just one simple little thing that any person can do to make this a better world. First do no harm. After that, all other things can fall into place.

Just one thing. First do no harm.

Imagine if we all just did that. Imagine.

The Waterfall Event

On my neighborhood walk this evening, I went down an alley where the back part of a lot has a fountain with water cascading down two tiers. It made me recall being nine years old and going on a Girl Scout trip; actually I was probably still a Brownie at the time.

Mr. and Mrs. Acker were the leaders and just a lovely, kind couple. My best friend at the time, Patty Hoyt, was there too. She was the youngest and I recall her being picked up and put on the shoulder of Mr. Acker for me to take a picture with the camera my mother gave me to take along. I remember it looking something like this:

It was hanging around my neck as we all went off on a hike. I remember there being quite a few of us marching along a mountain trail with the leaders ahead of us. We came upon a waterfall and I became so enamored with it that I just had to get a picture and started jumping from rock to rock in its stream to try to get closer. I remember thinking they all seemed to be getting a little too far ahead, but of being even more determined to get that shot then worried about their leaving. Some saw me doing it but marched on.

The memory includes the camera banging around on things as those stepping stone rocks were navigated and then a feeling of exhilaration of getting the shot.

When I got back out from the stream and waterfall, no one was within proximity enough for me to hear them. A tiny bit of fear crept in as it was getting dark, but there was an overwhelming sense of confidence that it would all be okay and that I would catch up.

Well, I didn’t catch up until, by some miracle, I found my way back to the lodge where we were staying; I had climbed out of the wilderness and found a paved road that I was following. By the time I made camp, everyone was fully engaged in getting their beds set up and had no idea whatsoever that I was ever missing.

That was my first recollection of feeling invisible and of realizing just how alone we really are in life. That image of the waterfall is still in a box somewhere; black and white and very poor, but a wild accomplishment logged in the book of my life. Maybe even the bigger accomplishment being that I didn’t lose my head when it finally dawned on me that they had left me behind and didn’t have a clue.

I read a quote lately, “The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.” Not sure who said it originally and it’s kind of stating the obvious.

That day as a little nine year old Brownie, I felt like I had been somewhere no one else wanted to bother with. I remember feeling all the elements fully and enjoying the experience as I went through it. Even knowing that it was risky, it felt inevitable; something I had to do and I did it. I remember feeling challenged to get close enough but striving and not giving up. I have a vague recollection of thinking I wouldn’t get close enough to take a good shot but I took one anyway, as close as I could get to it, not willing to risk going any farther or making any longer delay in catching up with the crowd.

Of course in those days, there wasn’t the instant gratification of seeing a digital image. No telling how long the wait was for that film to be developed. I do remember being so happy to see that picture though. Things were very special because of that fact then; slow living.

Wild accomplishments are available at any age. I think of waterfall events as being things that you may have only dreamed about for a very long time but finally manage to scale the obstacles and eventually get to, even if you feel left behind most of the time getting there.

There are always streams to navigate and rocks to climb. There is a waterfall in front of me most of the time as I go through life; a thing I want to get to. Sometimes things can feel a little hopeless, but most times the feelings of enamor, determination and accomplishment overcome any reluctance to keep at it.

My young friend, whom I refer to as my Bohemian Fairy Daughter, brought me the latest issue of Where Women Create yesterday. Scouring the pages is so, so inspiring. It puts a flame anew in my soul to not give up and I’m always so grateful to her for making sure I get to see it. Thank you Sammie.

The waterfall event in front of me now is to finally get out in the studio, where this woman creates, and get creating.

lipstick roses

Lipstick Roses; handbag in the queue


Do you have a waterfall event in front of you?

What is it?