Friends, Flowers, and Fowl

Ordinarily, I live an uncolorful life. In the desert, I see mostly brown and gray. On the trip up to the northwest, I saw mostly green and gray. The glimpses I had of the ocean were blue and gray. And all of a sudden, as I was driving along, I realized I was starved for color. Well, when a couple of friends took me to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in Portland, I was able to feast my eyes and bathe my soul in riotous color.

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I’ve spent the past couple of hours going through all the photos I took of the garden and discovered an interesting problem. How does a person choose between one perfect photo after another? If you add a good eye for form and content to a place where every single thing you looked at offered a perfect opportunity for artistic expression, you have a hundred fabulous images. Admittedly, many of the images have a sameness to them because, of course, this was a garden with but two theme — flowers and waterfowl — and we were there at the perfect time for both. The flowers were stunning, and the ducks and geese were carefully strutting their stuff while watching over their families. Oh, my. Such a surfeit of beauty!

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From shimmers of flowers in the pond

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to reflections of foliage in the water,

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from waterfalls of petals

to fowl families,

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the three of us had a fabulous time. Although obviously, some of the photos were staged — the flowers preened or the ducks and geese blossomed — a few shots were totally candid, such as this amusing photo of the women I went to the garden with. I saw them standing there, and had to capture that truly awesome sight.

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Although I still crave color, I am no longer starving for rainbow hues. The day was truly a treat.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Unfinished, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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Falls and Follies

Ever since the death of my life mate/soul mate, I’ve made an effort to do new things, especially things I would not have had an opportunity to experience if he were alive. (It helps me make sense of his being gone. If I continued to do only what we would have done together, I’d feel as if I were wasting his death.) Now I am continuing that effort, not just to honor his death, but to help me survive a stressful family situation. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I just want to have fun!

My two most recent experiences were a trip to Palm Springs

Marilyn Monroe Palm Springs

to see the Palm Springs Follies, a Las Vegas-style production

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where all the gorgeous showgirls were over 55, some even over 75! We weren’t allowed to take photos during the show, of course, so I hope they don’t mind my using their photo:

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And then today I went on a hike with the Sierra Club to a lovely riparian area in the middle of the desert. (Riparian means relating to the banks of a natural course of water.) At the base of this looming rock formation

is a lovely grotto, like a natural shower stall, with water cascading down the walls (I’ve been told that when the area isn’t on drought alert, there is so much water, it is very much like a shower, and perhaps the local tribes once used it for such a purpose.)

Arastre Falls

I have other trips planned — I’ve been invited on a walking tour of secret stairways, and I have tickets to Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, an all male dance troupe that is supposedly as funny as they are accomplished. I am also planning to plan even more trips, maybe take myself on a date since I’m not having any luck finding anyone on the online dating sites, perhaps even go away for a weekend by myself.  I’ll keep you posted.

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Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.