Give Me a Minute

I’m thinking.

Do you ever have a day when you want the world to slow down, back off, and stop pressing for instant response?

Thinking is work. It takes time to get it right. Depending upon the topic it can be combined with other tasks – walking for example. Do be selective as to the when and where — not recommended for crossing intersections or on rough trail.

Another option is to strike a classic pose that tells the world you’re using brain, not brawn at the moment.

Shhhhh. Brain at Work.
Brain at Work.

Summer Search

This summer the children, and the adults, have a new game in St. Louis.

Find the Cakes!

In celebration of the 250th birthday of the city. It started as a site for a trading post. It seemed like a good idea to trade for furs and other items in demand in 1764 on the west side of the Mississippi. It was a bonus to be only a few miles downstream from both the Missouri and Illinois Rivers.

The cakes show up at popular, historic, or unusual sites. I’ve only found a dozen or so. But the summer is young. And they hang out in groups. One popular shopping and nightspot district boasts four within a few blocks. Each one wears a unique decoration, suitable for the location.

So far I’m going to vote this as my favorite.

Central Library This cake wears books.
Central Library
This cake wears books.

Searching for books to go with your cake?

Starr Tree Farm and Hiding Places are available as ebook or paperback.




Bright, Shiny Object Ahead

Blink. Blink.

Is that a mirror ahead? The sun is winking at me from over my shoulder. (Not literally. I have plenty of ego — but not that much.)

Today’s walk is in a sculpture park and anything can happen. A few minutes ago, while following a trail in the woods, another hiker told her sons, and then me, to look up. An unexpected pleasure looked back from a tree branch. This one was named — owl — barred, I think.

Signs give credit to the artists and short explanations of the work. Most of these are too large for buildings and best enjoyed during a circuitous walk to view all sides. A few are shy, blending in with the surrounding of forest or lawn. Others are bold, demanding attention. All are free to park visitors and still enough for photography practice.

Me! Me! Look at Me!
Me! Me! Look at Me!

Growing Season

The exuberant rush of spring has come and gone.

The apple tree in the neighborhood has blossomed, set fruit, and produced leaves. Now the real work begins. Sunshine, seasonal temperatures, and occasional rain keep the nutrients flowing up through the roots. The marvel of photosynthesis filters a constantly changing stream of air weaving between the leaves.

Don’t touch. Let them grow. Soon enough these snacks will reach mature size and blush as they ripen into sweet, crunchy fruit.

Growing in Peace
Growing in Peace

Calm and Still

The shaded bench beside the cottonwood tree beckoned. Come. Sit. Rest a moment.

It felt good here. A pleasant change from the sunny walks of other portions of the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The stream gurgled across rocks. A turtle marched across the path and into hiding among the ground cover. The pair of ducks sat still as a statue.

Wait! They are a statue. I think I’ll name the one on the left “Calm” and the standing partner “Still”. Have you alternate names in mind?

Residents of the English Woodland Garden
Residents of the English Woodland Garden

Balloon Bouquet

These balloons don’t hang out at the party shop. They are neither mylar nor latex nor another form of imitation rubber. And they stick to a basic shape – no cartoon characters, sports mascots, or birthday numbers available.

They last longer. With a little care they’ll return every spring, reach for the sky, and blow a perfect balloon in white or blue in early summer.

It’s a flower — a balloon flower.

A few years ago I misread the label — thought I was buying an annual. What a pleasant surprise the next spring. I have a tall variety, about waist high, with bright green stems and leaves. At the moment mine appear to be blowing bubbles at the tip as the flower swells and matures.

I found these in a professional garden blooming ahead of mine due to better soil and water conditions.

Blue  balloon bouquet
Blue balloon bouquet

Hiding Places is now available in paperback from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


An Invitation to Children

School’s out! Yipee!

I’m bored. When can I see my friends?

Does that sound familiar? I’ve said and heard both of the above.

So what to do? Books can transport you, or your children, anywhere. Think of them as an old-fashioned time machine. Knights & ladies. Galaxies far, far away. Talking animals exploring a new neighborhood.

Okay — you want to get outside. It’s good to move around. Healthy to get a little sunshine and exercise.

No reason not to combine activities. This happy character with welcome arms can prompt play in the nearby water plaza and a story on the trip home. Cost to see him up close and personal? In St. Louis you can visit for the cost of a trip to his home downtown. Do you have some of his friends in your city?

As Big as Imagination
As Big as Imagination

Crystal Springs doesn’t have much for public sculpture. What it does have is stories. Check out Starr Tree Farm and Hiding Places to visit a fictional Wisconsin town.

Available now. As easy as A…B…or C.


Barnes & Noble:

Crimson Romance:



Life. Fortune. Honor.

When in the Course of human Events…

Have you identified the source of the quote? Today you may hear this document read in a public setting. While the beginning of the second paragraph collects more quotes in the press than the first — the beginning sets the stage and states the purpose.

Now for some facts filled with numbers. Fifty-six men signed this document. It was read aloud in public two days prior to the date currently celebrated. Educated men wrote in a different style two hundred and thirty-eight years ago. The first paragraph contains four commas and seventy-one words. The rules of capitalization have changed. (I see a German influence with their capitalization of nouns)

Kudos to readers that identified The Declaration of Independence from the first seven words. I do believe you paid attention in American History class.

Sincere thanks to the brave men who voted to adopt and signed this declaration. They were risking their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. By their example others joined them in the struggles for Independence and Establishment of a new nation. A nation that in subsequent decades (and centuries) became a haven and destination for peoples from all portions of the globe.

Long May She Wave
Long May She Wave

View from the Top

Engineers and construction workers have combined to make the way sturdy and even. The builders of this structure would have climbed a narrow, twisted path or steps constructed of dirt with perhaps a little wood added.

After all, construction a thousand years ago proceeded at a slower pace. A large rectangular mound for ceremonies was not  built in a year, or even one generation. Like the great cathedrals of Europe, the Native Americans took their time and left imposing structures with the materials provided by nature.

This is not the first long set of outdoor steps I’ve climbed. My first impression of the large, public buildings in Washington, DC as a young child was steps. I attended a university where ninety-nine steps connected the dorms and dining hall of upper campus with the classrooms, labs, and library of lower campus. Once, and only once, I followed the trail which included some concrete steps to the crest of Diamond Head. This happens to be the most recent climb I’ve made.

Evidence of a Climb
Evidence of a Climb