Mary Beth Writes

This is how far we drove going to and coming back from New Mexico.

  • Home to Keokuk, Iowa – 309 Miles
  • Keokuk to Oklahoma City – 580 Miles
  • OK City to Santa Fe, NM – 534 Miles
  • Santa Fe to Alamogordo, NM – 218 Miles
  • Alamogordo to Dalhart, TX – 375 Miles
  • Dalhart, TX – Topeka, KS – 466 Miles
  • Topeka – Home – 614 Miles

Which is the backstory of three fables I have written.  We were usually driving 60 MPH on 2-lane highways because that’s how we roll. We drove through grasslands and deserts and on long straight highways bordered by windmills, cows, and grain elevators. We never got bored of flat topography, blue mesas, endless sky. There was time to imagine.

It felt as though the plants and land and clouds and dry desert scents had their own stories to tell. So even though none of this makes tit-for-tat sense, here is my first fable. There will be one tomorrow and Sunday, too.  Hope you like them.

.....

Ocotillo is a desert cactus with tall green stems. Other names for this plant that I have heard or read are slim wood and candlewood. Ocotillo cactuses are common in the Sonoran and Chihuahua deserts of southern Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California, as well as in northern Mexico.

Ocotillo is more closely related to tea and blueberries than to cactuses! For much of the year, the plant looks like a desiccated collection of spiny dead sticks. Then, with rainfall the barren stems of become plump with moisture, leaves appear, and bright crimson flowers bloom. The plant may grow to a height of 30 feet. The flowers are pollinated by hummingbirds and native carpenter bees.

The word Ocotillo is an Americanism of a Mexican-Spanish word related to ocote - the Nahuatl word for pine. Ocotillo is four cultures in one word.

Tilly was a plain child in a beautiful and popular family. All her siblings were a little taller and had more lustrous hair and quicker smiles. They earned high-B averages in school and were far more successful on sports teams than Tilly.

Sometimes people would sigh at her.

“Tilly, did you just trip over the cat again? Stop reading while you walk.”

“No, Tilly, you cannot wear red pants and a red dress, with red shoes and red socks all at once. You look like a fire hydrant.”

“Why are always you so quiet? Speak up! Where is your homework? Why did you hand in a report on desert plants when the assignment was Modern Inventions of Modern America?

When Tilly became an adult she took a job as a caregiver and she was very good at this. The people she worked for had challenges or illnesses or were frail so they were not in need of tall people who knew jokes and could ski competitively. Because their lives were somewhat limited, Tilly could help make it bigger. All her clients thought she was wonderful.

Being appreciated made her more confident about herself. She began to laugh more. She had good ideas to make people lives more satisfying, such as she often made cookies with her clients, which made everyone slightly chubbier and a great deal happier.

One day an older lady asked Tilly to help her sort out her jewelry and hair things collected over her whole life.

“Tilly, I’m not going to live another 87 years. Could I give you some of these things?”

She gave Tilly some chipped fake garnet rings and red sequined necklaces and small ruby-looking barrettes and Tilly laughed as she put them all on over her mousy brown hair and pale green scrubs.

Right then the woman’s young grandson walked in the front door. He stopped, his mouth agape at the beautiful woman with fluffy hair and eyes that sparked like raindrops and bits of red flashing all over her.

Just about everyone is waiting to bloom.

 

Comments

Ohhhh. I like this! Love the punchline “just about everyone is waiting to bloom”.

OH! Yes! Patricia

Add new comment

CAPTCHA

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

The Badlands

4/29/2022

The Lakota call this land "mako sica" which translates into "badlands." They and many other wanderers and settlers named it this because it is so hard to travel through.

Wade in the Waters

4/28/2022

This is a small announcement that could be a lot of fun for some of you.

For the past two years Len has been a volunteer Wisconsin stream monitor. Once per summer month Len and another guy (with whom he has become friends) check water quality and stream-bed life at a few local sites. Before they started, they received clear but uncomplicated training in order to understand what is being looked for and how the testing equipment works. And they received hip waders!

Who's in the Mirror? Representation Matters

4/19/2022

Who’s in the Mirror? Representation Matters

Old story, I’ve probably mentioned it before: In 1977 I was visiting a friend in Ohio for a weekend. We went to her United Methodist Church on Sunday which is in itself amazing since we were two single 20-something women who had been out drinking the night before.

In just spring

4/13/2022

We know what the “Signs of Spring” are, probably because we did so many "Signs of Spring" art projects in grammar school. We know what to notice. Green shoots. Birds singing. Kids playing outside with kites, jump ropes, and jacks.

Why do we celebrate Signs of Spring but not Signs of Winter? Hmmm? Maybe Winter ought to look into this and make a complaint?

Meantime, Karen K sent these photos. Look at these lovely pale-but-not-boring colors and hues.

The Day I Moved Into Chicago

4/8/2022

Franc and I had a conversation about men who won’t or don’t explore their feelings over in yesterday’s comments section. If you want to chime in that topic is still wide open like a swanky whale swimming through swales and swells, swilling for krill. (I don’t know where that came from either. Follow the muse.)

Also, I suggested that if you have photos of Spring where you live to send them to me and I will post them. David sent this from Raleigh, NC. Drying puddle. Yellow aura of pollen. Yup, it’s Spring.

Tag Cloud

9/11 17 minutes 500 Words AARPtaxes AAUW abortion Acadia accident Accountable Advent anniversary antlers apples appointments Arrows Ashland August Augustine baby Badlands balance Baldwin Barkskins Beauty Becky Becoming Esther Berry birthday bistro BLM BookReport books boy scout Bread BrokenDays BuyAngry Cabeza de Vaca Cahokia calendars Canada cat romance cats cello Chicago China Choosing Christmas cilantro Cinnabuns circus clouds Clowns clutter Colonialism comet ComfortZone CommonSense community consumerism Cops Corvid-19 Courage Covid-19 Crazy creditreport creosote CrimeShows death Debate December DecisionFatigue decluttering democracy depression Destination Today Detroit Didion disasterprep dogs dollhouse Dreams Duty Easter eBay Eclipse EmilyDickinson Esquipulas exit polls eyes Fable FairTrade family farmer firealarm Fitness Five Flexible flu Fort de Chartres frame Franc FrancGarcia friends frugal Frugality frustration Ft.Ticonderoga Gannets Garden GarfieldParkConservatory Gaspe genius geode GeorgeFloyd ghosts gifts girls gorgons GovernorThompsonStatePark granola groceries Guatemala gum guns happiness HaveYouEver? hawks healthcare Healthinsurance heart HelleKBerry heroes hike History home HomeRepair Honduras Hope hurricane impeachment Innkeeper integrity InternetPrivacy Interview InviteMe2Speak James Baldwin Janus JoyceAndrews Judy JulianofNorwich justice Karen Lamb LangstonHuges LaphamPeak laundry LeeLeeMcKnight lemming Len Light Lincoln Little Women LockedOut Loki loneliness Love Ludington Macaw macho Manitoulin MargaretFuller Maria Hamilton Marquette marriage Marsden Hartley masks Mayan MayaWorks meme Memories men Middlemarch MilesWallyDiego MindfulChickens Mistakes MLK moon Mother MothersDay mouser movies museums must-haves Mustapha Nancy Drew New Mexico New York City Nomadland Ocotillo OnaJudge OscarRomero osprey Outside oximeter Parade mayhem PastorBettyRendon Paul Hessert PDQ Penny persimmon photos Pi Pies pineapples poetry Preaching privacy Protest Quern quest Questions Rabbit holes racism recipe recipes Remember RepresentationMatters Reruns responsetoKapenga Retirement rhubarb rime RitesofPassage Roses Ruth SamaritanWoman Sanctuary Sandhillcranes Santuario de Chimayo SaraRodriguez sculpture Sermon ServantsoftheQuest sewing Shepherd Shontay ShortStory shoulder sick sickness Slower snow Social Security SofritoBandito solstice South Dakota SpaceShuttle spring square feet staining stele Stereotypes StoryStarts stress Survival swim taxes teenager thankgsgiving Thanksgiving TheBridge TheMaid ThePerpetualYou ThreeBillBoards Three Things ThreeThings TidalBore TimeBeing toddler Tom tortillas Trains travel Traveler Tubing turtle Twilight Bark Tyrone Ukraine UnrelatedObservations Up North urgency vacation vaccine Valentines vanilla Vietnam VivianWokeUpDrowning vole volunteer WalkingAndSeeing Wampanaog war WarsanShire weather weaving wedding whines WhyAttendChurch Willa WillaCather Wisteria
Ad Promotion