Suffering for Art

I’ve never been one to believe in suffering for my art. Not that “my art” is actually art — it’s more in the line of pretty photos I’ve taken to memorialize some flowers I’ve grown. And if art isn’t worth suffering for, then pretty photos — no matter how attractive — definitely are not worth suffering for.

Actually, there wasn’t much pain or suffering involved, and it was a silly thing anyway that’s not much to talk about. And yet, here it is . . .

Last evening, when I got home from work, I noticed this bright orange zinnia, and wanted a photo.

It was a couple of feet into the garden, so I used my walking stick for balance as I leaned over to get a photo, and the walking stick slipped on the foliage, making me lose my balance, and I went down. Sort of ironic, really — if I hadn’t been using the stick for balance, I wouldn’t have fallen. Luckily, I wasn’t hurt except for a small scratch on my arm. Even more luckily, I was able to get up without any trouble.

So that’s a good thing, I suppose — not the fall but learning that I can still get up. I’ve been wondering about that, but I’ve been hesitant to sit on the ground to test myself in case I couldn’t get back on my feet. So I passed the impromptu test and got up with very little trouble. Whew!

It’s been a while — years, maybe — since I’ve fallen, and hopefully it will be a long while before I fall again. I am very careful about such things because I’ve known too many older people whose lives as they knew them came to an end after a fall. (Not because of the fall itself, of course, but because of the injuries the fall caused.)

If ever I need another photo in a hard-to-reach place, I won’t try to balance myself as I lean over to get a close up — I’ll just step right into the garden, and the heck with any damage. One footstep would for sure cause a lot less damage to the garden than an entire falling body. Or I could simply pull out the plants that are in my way. (That’s why the reach was so great to get the photo — the garden had grown out of its bounds.)

I won’t have that same problem next year — that particular garden spot might be mostly empty. Although it’s on the north side of the house, it turns out the be the sunniest (and hottest) place on the property, which is probably why my cool-season grass browned out along there, so it will be the perfect place to plant the desert wildflower seeds I received yesterday. Because it might take a year for the plants to germinate, it’s possible there will be only dirt (and weeds, of course) in that spot.

But for now, there are still some pretty flowers for me to photograph.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

I Spy With My Little Eye

I spy with my little eye something beginning with the letter “B.” Not just one thing, actually. Lately I’ve been spying a lot of things beginning with “B.”

Blossoms of course. Although I don’t have many flowers, there are enough to add splotches of color to my yard. These African daisies certainly are cheerful!

Butterflies. Not “of course,” because I seldom see any butterflies, but yesterday, a bunch of yellowish white butterflies (cabbage butterflies, probably) descended on my yard. The adults are not harmful, and the larvae are only harmful if you are growing things like cabbages and Brussel sprouts. These butterflies are migratory, which could be why there are so many so suddenly.

Surprisingly, while I was watching these small butterflies, a monarch — looking ever inch the king among its smaller subjects — stopped by to dine, too.

Bees. Bumblebees. I used to see these big black and yellow furry bees only sporadically, but I see them quite frequently now. They seem to really like my zinnias.

Beetles. I don’t pay attention to beetles so I don’t know how ubiquitous they are around here, though I imagine there are many species mucking around in my dirt, but I’ve never seen a beetle as big as the one I saw late yesterday — it was pure black and must have been an inch and a half to two inches in length. Before I could get my camera, it disappeared beneath the ornamental rock, which is fine — I’m not really that interested in coming across such a monstrosity in my image folder.

Oddly, I haven’t been seeing many birds lately, just a few migrating vultures, though there must be plenty of birds in the area because those who keep their feeders full are always having to top them off.

Your turn. What did you spy today?


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times

The Moral of the Story . . .

I’m feeling a bit disgruntled this morning and fed up with people who don’t show up to work when they say they will, and who don’t even call to cancel. The mechanic was supposed to come get my car and fix the brakes today, but I can’t get hold of him. I did have a hunch that he wouldn’t be here because his shop was closed yesterday. He and his family have been having problems with both The Bob and the vaccine, so that could be the problem. Though I’m only guessing. I’ll call next week and find out what’s going on and make a new appointment. And the worker who was supposed to be here this week to continue the various jobs that have been scheduled has been on again and off again — mostly off. I texted him a little while ago to see what’s going on but haven’t heard back.

Even more disgruntling, the heat is keeping me from working off my frustration, either by walking or working outside. All I did today was water a few things that seem to be desiccating in the heat and take a few photos.

One special pleasure is my friend the toad was basking in the shade today. I startled him yesterday and didn’t want to disturb him by taking a photo, so I was pleased to see him again today. Although he turned his back on me, he did hold still while I took his picture.

I’m especially delighted with the honeysuckle blossom. I planted the seedling last fall, and not only did it survive the winter, but it seems to be thriving.

The hollyhocks are really starting to pop.

The trumpet vines are doing well. They always do, though they die back in the summer and begin anew each spring. If there is a need for full disclosure, I have to admit that I photoshopped out the ants. For some reason they love these blossoms, though I don’t see that they do any damage

I enjoyed seeing the striped gazanias when I was in California, but the only gazania I could find that was suitable for this area was a plain yellow one. Still, it’s cheerful, and even better, it’s a perennial, so it will be interesting to see what it does in the coming months and years.

Another plant that is flowering, even though I bought the starter plant a mere two weeks ago is this dark purple osteospermum. I’d never heard of it before, but the color intrigued me. Oddly, both the gazania and the osteospermum are called “African daisies,” though they are different genera.

I am disappointed at the brief flowering cycle of the prickly pear cactus, but since I didn’t plant them for the flowers, I am grateful for the blossoms that I do have.

This virtual tour of my flowers has helped with the frustration, though it did not help get the jobs done. Luckily, there is always next week. Or the week after.

I suppose the moral of this story, assuming there is a moral, is to enjoy the things that come my way and try not to be frustrated by workers who don’t come my way.


What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.