Thursday, October 12, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Backstreets of the West in Dubois, WY, on the way to the Tetons and Yellowstone...

Many of the Western tourist towns hold little charm or interest; this one was small, with walkable streets and a neighborhood to explore. I liked these "alley shots" of various old sheds, supplies like wood for the winter and novel decorations made by the residents.  Colors, textures and stuff, on a cloudy September day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Home From a Two Weeks Ramble, with some visual Memories...

While trying to set up camp at Gros Vente near the Teton Range, we seem to have interrupted the grazing of this Mom and Baby Moose pair. The camp sites were fairly deserted, so likely the moose were catching up on nibbling in these areas which may have been crowded with poeple all summer. They were relaxed as long as we weren't too close. Interesting to be so near these big animals.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

An Old Fashioned, Feel-Good Horse Opera: "Thunderhead" by Mary O'Hara

Photo by Barbara Besler:  Battle of Wills taken at Keeneland September Sales about 2 years ago.

Sometimes, I enjoy reading a book (fiction or not) that was written, say, 70 or 90 years ago, when the author and readers did not know there was to be a WW2, atom bomb, Vietnam War, Beatles, etc.
Mary O'Hara lived from 1885 to 1980, was married several times. She appears to be a little ahead of her time, but probably she was right in tune with her ability to use her education and talent. "Flicka" was published about 1941, "Thunderhead" in 1943.

"Thunderhead" is a sequel to the very popular novel, "My Friend Flicka" which I have not read, but movies and TV shows based on the story were everywhere during my childhood. Both stories focus on the "coming of age" of pre-teen Ken McLaughlin at his parents' financially troubled "Goose Bar Ranch". His iron-willed Dad is trying to breed and sell polo ponies during the time of the World Wide Depression of the 1930's; he's losing his shirt, and he is angry.

Thunderhead is the name that was eventually lived up to by Flicka's foal, a colt who is a throw-back to the mysterious, legendary Albino; that stallion terrorized the ranchers of Wyoming by stealing their broodmares. One of the McLaughlins' mares fell for the charms of this bronco, but eventually was found--with foal.  Thunderhead is pure white, like his great-grandsire, Albino; strong and willful.

There are several plots that thread through this story: the boy, the horse, the head-strong Dad and much from the point of view of the (pre-womens liberation) Mother, Nell; she can do nothing to help her husband till he decides to alter his business plan for the ranch.

Best: the author (who wrote the books to help save her own family's failing ranch) had a talent for getting into the head of the horses to help the reader think like a horse. She did a wonderful job of painting the Wyoming landscapes with words. Perhaps the book could have been 50-pages lighter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How Many More Butterflies Photos can I show Them?

The Butterfly Hotel will be closing it's doors for the year soon. There is one more Monarch chrysalis which will probably become a butterfly tomorrow. I have two Black Swallowtails which are either dead or else "of the second generation", meaning they should be the first flight of 2018. I have to figure out a place to stash these outdoors; I don't want them to become butterflies in January inside the house!

Probably we have sheltered about 25 Black Swallowtails and likely at least a dozen Monarchs.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

A Last Novel: The Swansong of Barbara Pym, "A Few Green Leaves"...

Photo by Barbara Besler for "A Few Green Leaves"

As a reminder, a theme of my reading is to catch up on the works of writers that I have missed over the last decades of working outside the home and raising a family. In my 30's, I tried a novel by Barbara Pym, but due to my own immaturity, was unable to finish it.

Now it is different. Probably, Barbara Pym is a literary genre all her own. Her novels seem like "cozy, British small village tales", but there is quite a sharp edge to her prose! It's all about those original on-liner observations she writes, choosing just the right words. It reminds you a bit of Jane Austin.

Barbara Pym was British, she lived from 1913 to 1980; by profession, she edited academic papers, preparing them for publication. She did not plan to support herself with her own writing, but her first few novels were published and she started out with promise. In the mid-1950's, her work began to be rejected by her own publisher and others. I think she fell victim to a fast change in "public taste" that occurred about that time in the arts, music, films, literature and clothing styles (and probably other areas as well.) She kept on writing, since it was her life time habit. She was rediscovered again the the 1970's.

Unfortunately, by that time, she had breast cancer. In those days, the disease was nearly always detected with a lump; usually the cancer had spread and most people died of the disease eventually.
(Now, with earlier detection, the results are often better.) Barbara Pym completed this novel just a few weeks before her own death--the shadow was over her as she wrote about village church grave yards, etc.

The main character in the novel, Emma Howick, is a modern, mid-30's, unmarried academic who finds direction and decisiveness in the course of the story. She's been floating on the currents of her life all these years, but hasn't learned to stand on her own ground. There is a gauntlet of village characters, two possible males she could end up with. Though no resolution is reached, Pym leaves Emma (and us) with a calm feeling that Emma is going to be alright.

I Swore I would Not View Yellowstone Through the Lense of my Camera..

However, I did take a few evocative, misty photos of some bison and early September snow at the Park.