Only One

Only One
Only One

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Only One

Note:  While on one of my early morning walks, while camping in the desert, I found myself in the presence of a lone Palo Verde tree.  The moment I stood before Her an entire story had played out in my head all based on one branch that had grown quite goofy!  
Of course, I had to write it down.
I believe trees have Souls.  
I stop to touch them often when I feel the need.
If you believe "stories" can be channeled from a tree to a person, this is what this story is made of.
I hope you enjoy.  

It was only one Palo Verde tree
In a vast expanse of Arizona desert

She was so very tired 
Her solitary life had been long, hot and lonely
She tried; she really tried to keep Herself together
But there were parts of Her that just couldn’t go on
Piece after weary piece slowly withered and fell away

As massive chunks of Her Self were released
She expected Her Life to end
And there was loss
After loss
After loss …

But Her roots remained intact and …
One day something stirred deep within Her belly
A warmth spread from Her base to Her crown
From Her woody womb sprang a vibrant sprig of green
Eagerly seeking life giving sunlight
But its growth was erratic and out of control
Soon the delicate sprig became a wayward branch
Lacking support from its Source

As it grew far beyond its Mother’s grasp
The spreading distance created a weakness
Soon the unsupported reckless branch would snap
And join the pile of dead and decaying pieces of the past

The Mother quietly spoke, “I’m still here, just reach for Me”
The scared weakening branch replied, “I can’t!  It’s too far!  It’s too late!”
Mother persisted, “My dear Child, distance and time are only illusions  I’m right beside You  Reach for me”

The struggling wayward branch took one last painful breath
A slight tremor began at its base
Producing a tiny Sprout conceived by Hope
The delicate Sprout swiftly grew
It mightily stretched to reach the crook of its Mother’s strongest arm
Now the Sprout fueled by Hope grew confident
Because fear no longer ruled
It locked arms with the Source of its strength
The union was complete
Mother smiled

More branches sprang from this union of strength and hope
Until the new growth began to overtake the size of the dead and decaying pieces that had fallen away

It’s only one Palo Verde tree in a vast expanse of Arizona desert

If you find Her in the early morning hours, as She stretches toward the still sleepy, yet to spread warmth sun, stop and pay Her a visit.
Everyone’s welcome to sit beneath her growing shade and rest a spell.

Perhaps you’ll feel the Hope flowing from her
Perhaps you won’t
But it’s there
Oh Yes, it’s certainly there …
If you choose to feel it

Friday, October 12, 2018

Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self

My niece has an amazing blog and she recently did a "Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self" post ( and it was so thought provoking that I stole the idea for myself .  Thanks Dani!  ;-) 

June 18, 1972

Dear recent high school graduate and 15-day-newlywed Becky,

Happy Birthday and congrats! 

You’re now old enough to vote but not old enough to legally drink alcohol!  Actually, that may be a bonus!  ;-)    

I know that even though your woman-child Soul yearns to join the hippy train and hit the road in one of those funky psychedelic Volkswagen vans, the overpowering midwest elder peer pressure machine that insists young women marry young (to someone local of course) immediately start a family, keep opinions to herself and her ass in the kitchen is too powerful for your fragile self-esteem to challenge.  You feel powerless because you have caved in to their judgmental definition of “normal” and chosen the path of least resistance.  Well, get over it because your DNA is made of much stronger stuff.  You’ll learn to rise above those who have made it their mission to hold you down.

It seems as though your closest high school friends have abandon you, please know it’s nothing personal.  You’re an old married woman now and that puts you in the same category as their moms.  Chill out, those whom you’ve bonded with, some as far back as kindergarten, are floundering just like you, trying to find their way also.  You’ll eventually reconnect with them as they too become wives, moms and yes even grandmothers, thanks to a technology that’s in its infancy right now.

Your vision of going to college was not supported by your parents or a lazy high school guidance counselor but don’t lose hope.  You don’t need their support because the know-how to make it happen is already within you.  I know it’s hard to imagine now but perhaps when you’re much older, and a little wiser, you’ll graduate from college with honors and maybe … even become a local college’s spokesperson in radio and newspaper ads encouraging non-traditional students, like yourself, to “just do it” and get a college education.  (wink, wink..)

Your parent’s extreme dysfunctions are not your fault or yours to own or fix.  You don’t have to become the martyr your mother seems to be and remember there are always two sides to every story. 

Your lifelong dream of being an archeologist and traveling the world in search of untold stories is not dead.  Your travels will be magnificent and you will share your adventures with the world.

The voice you struggle to find and master is there and you will find it.  The Spoken Word will become your closest ally.

Most important of all, KEEP WRITING! 
Continue on with your poetry and journaling! 
Don’t EVER stop satisfying your Spirit on paper! 
Your thoughts and words do count and never ever believe otherwise.
You’re a good writer and you’ll get better. 
It will sustain you when absolutely nothing else will! 
Believe it or not, someday others will pay you for your words. 
The day you stand before others and read those words out loud in your newly found Spoken Word Voice will be the day of your true birth, regardless of your Earth Age.

You have your mom’s tenacity, your dad’s wit and thanks to your ancestors, a fierce determination to overcome and survive.

And you will … overcome and survive, many times over.  
Sometimes with grace and sometimes not so much but that’s all part of your journey.

Be Brave, Carry On & Love You Mighty!

Your Much Older (and still learning) Self

Saturday, September 1, 2018

“…an ordinary moment in an extraordinary life”

The RV lifestyle we’ve chosen this time around is a simple one. 

We seldom choose to pay for the extreme convenience of a sewer hook-up so we’re usually on the lookout for a free dump station, and in most cases we find one.

Some campgrounds in our chosen price range offer the luxuries of electricity and water but just as many don’t so we depend on our small generator and holding tanks to supply the few “modern” conveniences we desire. 

This means watching our small TV is a rare occurrence and reading occupies most of our evening hours. 

And now I’m going to shamelessly plug one of those books…

A friend of mine suggested a book called, “Driving Miss Norma” written by Miss Norma’s son Tim Bauerschmidt and daughter-in-law Ramie Liddle, who are full-time RVers.  

The book tells the tale of a 90 year-old woman (Miss Norma) who immediately after losing her husband of almost 70 years is diagnosed with uterine cancer, which at her age is likely terminal.  Instead of putting herself through surgery, chemo and radiation treatments the 90 year-old, “says YES to living” and chooses to go on one final road trip adventure with Tim, Ramie and their dog Ringo when they offer to include her in their full-time RV travels.  

Miss Norma is a meek, soft-spoken little old lady (a whopping 5’ tall) typical of her generation, who dutifully chose to serve her country during WWII, married, had children, raised those children, suffered through the illness and loss of her only daughter but quietly continued to take care of everyone else’s needs before hers, as she was taught a good wife and mother does. 

Now, she’s given the option to choose how to die and she makes that choice like a warrior without blinking an eye and she chooses to go on the most epic journey of her life.  Well done Miss Norma! 

You’ll have to read the book yourself to get the details of Miss Norma’s final adventures but I will tell you that this meek, soft-spoken little old lady had a from-the-gut courage that has you cheering for her page after page after page. 

In fact, for the most part, her cancer symptoms disappeared. 

How can this be, you ask?!

Perhaps just offering a choice created and given with the purest form of love has the power to heal.

Perhaps just choosing to accept an offer created and given in the purest form of love has the power to heal.

Perhaps the combination of both is a gift we all receive everyday but are too busy to recognize.

If I were given the same diagnosis as Miss Norma would I choose to head to the nearest pharmacy/ cancer treatment center or choose to pull out the road map, fill up the gas tank and seek out those places and people that make life worthwhile?

What would you choose?

I don’t think we truly know the answer to that until the moment comes crashing into our lives.

In the meantime, live each day knowing that life is so very, very fragile, ridiculously short and you ALWAYS have the power of choice.

Most importantly of all, don’t ever underestimate the power of “saying YES to living” and never, ever, ever underestimate those among us who “appear” meek and soft-spoken. 

“We would sit outside on the porch until the sun set behind the mountains and enjoy an ordinary moment in an extraordinary life”
-Driving Miss Norma written by Tim Bauerschmidt & Ramie Liddle

Sunday, June 24, 2018

I can't...

It’s been almost 7 weeks since we left Arizona, and over 4 months since we left our rental home in Wyoming.

What can I possibly say about what life has been like since launching into this epic late in life adventure?


I feel like an out of control hoarder buried under thousands of miles of landscapes, centuries of American history and endless echoes of conversations shared with locals and fellow travelers. 

I’ve woken up to -9 degrees in the parking lot of a small casino in Wyoming, watched the sailboats skim the surface of the Pacific Ocean on a perfect Southern California afternoon, marveled at how comfortably cool it is at a lake in Southern Arizona, only a few miles from the Mexican border, and then the next thing I know, I’m standing on the Eastern-most coastline of Maine looking at New Brunswick in the distance .

It’s intoxicating, invigorating, addictive, exhausting and I want more!

I can’t take enough pictures. 

I can’t ever get weary of Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium that still resonates with the energies of the music legends who graced Her stage.

I can’t look away from houses centuries old or taverns where the American Revolution was surely discussed as feverishly and violently as political issues are today.

I can’t spend enough time in Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, or the staggering number of Smithsonian buildings bursting with a Twilight-Zone-like amount of artifacts ranging from Captain Kangaroo’s jacket to the original Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.

I can’t stop the pain in my heart or the lump in my throat as I walk through the battlefields of Gettysburg or Arlington National Cemetery.

I can’t imagine what it was like to see Babe Ruth point to where his next home run was going to fly, and then witness it come true, as I gaze upon his uniform in the Cooperstown, New York Baseball Hall of Fame.

I can’t look long enough or hear the crash of the Atlantic Ocean too much.

I can’t hug the family and friends I’ve visited along the way enough or tell them I love them too many times.

My brain buzzes as every emotion our humanness blesses and curses us with is stimulated to the point of utter exhaustion and then stretches to accommodate the overdose as I go back for more.

And I do … go back for more

Because I Can

Friday, March 30, 2018

It Ain't a Lesson for Sissies

Surrounded by desert for as far as the eye can see brings one back to Self like no other landscape.

An ocean brings peaceful contemplation through the constant rhythm and vibration of waves.

A forest seems to wrap its soothing canopy around you, much like a pine scented quilt and the sound of wind through towering treetops hypnotize the senses into a state of serenity. 

The wide open plains bring a balancing perspective to the eye that the mind may have forgotten.

Rugged mountaintop retreats have a way of lifting you above and beyond the reach of everyday burdens.

But the desert is an entirely different story.  One must seek out comfort here.  The surface showcases an unwelcoming menagerie of thorny bushes and prickly cacti and on a windy day the dust sticks to the backside of your throat so you can actually taste its gritty essence right before it throws you into a choking fit. 

Cacti are anything but comforting and a ‘no touch’ policy is the only way to treat these magnificent warriors that not only survive but flourish in heat that fries a human brain.  More than once an innocent looking cholla cactus has seemingly leapt through thin air and fastened itself to my unprotected ankle or pant leg. 

Yet, birds build beautiful finely-constructed nests and raise their families within the heart of these brutal looking desert plants and pay no never mind to what we see as an undesirable, unlivable frightening ghetto. 

You find towering saguaros filled with carefully carved openings made by these same crafty winged creatures, again used as neighborhoods for raising their young and perches upon which to safely set and sing their joyful melodies. They learned long ago that the thorns and stickers keep predators at bay, a genius strategy that allows them to thrive.  

Everything from cottontail rabbits, gangly-eared long-legged desert hares, fast-as-lightening lizards, crafty coyotes, plump breasted quail and yes, Dave even saw a fox a few days ago, call this dusty, dry, vastly barren land home. (I won’t even get into the snakes, tarantulas, tortoises, fire ants and the like.)

Survival of the fittest isn’t just a catch-phrase in the desert, it’s reality with a capital R!  You must create your own ‘safe place’ here, where bullies are too cowardly to roam, you outsmart that which tries to invade and destroy your livelihood and family and then you find a pulpit where you can stand tall and sing out your victory songs!

Yes, the desert brings one back to Self like no other landscape and reminds us that the only true lasing balance in life comes from taking care of Your-Self.  Survival is seeking out and finding ways to be Self-Sufficient even when surrounded by elements that seem to want to choke the life right out of you. 

Go to the oceans, forests, open plains and mountains to seek out peaceful affirmations of serenity and comfort

Then if you’re ready to take on the gut wrenching challenge of seeking balance through Self-Thought, Self-Intent and Self-Action, head to the desert my friends. 

Be very still and watch what transpires there like a hawk, yes they’re here too along with the vultures to clean up the rotting flesh of those that died trying. 

It ain’t a lesson for sissies…..

But then  … neither is Life. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Ghosts among the Happy Trails

Such a dry, sandy, scorched place but what a storied past it holds. 

Pioneertown, California was created in 1947 by Roy Rodgers and the Sons of The Pioneers as a movie/TV set.  Its streets teemed with Hollywood cowboys that gave a post WWII audience all the glitz, glitter and ‘the good guys always win’ stories they craved after living through a war that brought the entire world to its knees.

Today its shine has dulled significantly, reminding me of a flickering florescent bulb, not dead yet but the moments of darkness are becoming more frequent and last a bit longer each time.

Folks still travel here to walk the dusty streets, peer into vacant replicas of old west shops, take photos while posing beside decaying old-west style wagons and browse through a few refurbished stores offering leather ware, pottery, snacks and souvenirs.  I fear in a not so distant future only a Wikipedia page with a few dated pictures will remain to tell people of a town called Pioneertown, California that was built by Hollywood cowboys in 1947 as a stage from which to entertain a generation that is also beginning to return to dust. 

Me?  I love the place!  

When I walk the empty Mane Street (no, I didn’t misspell it) as the sun is just beginning to think about peeking over the horizon, before others arrive and locals awaken, I see the Pioneertown ghosts and gladly walk among them.  I hear the cowboy ballads being sung by Roy and the Sons of The Pioneers and the steady clip-clop of the horses they ride.  I feel the excitement of creativity being put into motion by the directors, producers, make-up artists, costume designers, camera and sound crews and I can even smell the meals being made in the on-set kitchen. 

It’s all still here and always will be. 

Just because something isn’t seen all the time, in the manner we’re ‘taught’ it ‘should’ be seen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

HA!  As I type this, I hear a coyote’s howl!  A fitting “yes, we’re still here” message don’t you think?

Happy Trails to You!

Monday, January 1, 2018

A Place

Of all the places I have been
(And would gladly visit there again)
There is a place that’s little known
To which I’ve truly grown

It’s a place where peace rules supreme
No bitter words or violent scenes
There is no slander, deceit or lies
No hateful words nor hurtful snide

A Greater Good shines true and bright
There is no fear to dim ones sight
The air is clean and water pure
Waste not, want not is the cure
For all

No one is ever hungry, sick or cold
Respect is given to young and old
Differences are treated as food for thought
An opportunity to be taught

Alas, it can’t be reached by land or air
Not just anyone can get from here, to there
You see, it’s only in my dreams
That these peaceful scenes

But from dreams grow mighty things
I only hope someday it brings
This place into the light of day
So others can find their way
To peace

blt  12/31/2017