Gentle Assist

Let’s go for a walk! I want to see trees, and chipmunks, and bunnies!

At times it’s the young who urge the old to get outside and find a change of scenery. Or sometimes, the mature follow an inner urge — leftover from youth?

A few miles from my home — and within a short distance of many homes — is a public space with a paved trail, informative signs, and forest. It’s a nice little change-of-pace place.

At the end of a long, hard day — or week — or month — this particular path of less than a mile offers a place to banish some of those worries and cares. And at the end of this month featuring benches and other public seating, my body appreciates the multiple arms of this model.

A good sturdy aid to stand gets more appealing each year. Guess it’s a good sign that I can still hike/walk from one bench to the next — sometimes I even skip one or two.

Do you enjoy reading about people living an active lifestyle? Try the clean & wholesome romance MORNING TRYST to follow a photographer in Missouri State Parks. Hint: she finds more than beautiful sunrises. Kindle:


Dreamers Welcome

Perhaps it was where I spent my childhood. Or maybe some of my early reading influences the tendency. Whatever the source, the result is that my imagination slips into a faster gear when I’m in the woods.

The forest does not need to be large. Each year I prefer the path less rugged. But there is something about sunlight filtering through leaves which prompts the brain cells.

Let the thoughts of Peter Rabbit and Alice in Wonderland run free as you sit and soak in the atmosphere at this corner of the English Woodland Garden — inside Missouri Botanical Garden.

I imagine two friends having a serious conversation in a private/public space. Or a pair of writers brainstorming the next novel. Enough shade to give respite on a hot day. Birds and perhaps a small mammal or two darting from one place to another. Listen–leaves swish, conversation of other visitors is muted.

The increasing tempo of the world — the scramble for more money, more work, more prestige — fades into the background while the quiet well is refilled.

The Garden is a gem for all of the St. Louis area and likely visited by all the characters in my St. Louis based clean & wholesome romances at one time or another. Why don’t you try a visit with them — Janet and Rich, a couple who grabbed the second chance, invite you to begin with COMFORT ZONE.



Rainy Day Seating

How’s your weather? Have you experienced any rainy, fall days? You know the sort — cloudy, cool, and rain heavy enough to make a person think of fireplaces, hot drinks, and books.

A little cool, wet weather doesn’t mean you need to hibernate. (As lovely as it may sound.) Cities and towns have many interesting attractions which are entirely, or primarily, indoors. Have you been to a museum lately?

One of the gems in St. Louis is the history museum. Located within the jewel of the city named Forest Park, the museum features both permanent and rotating exhibits.

The History Museum features a rather modern, and soft, resting spot. You may be drawn to this definitely indoor seating between touring the exhibit rooms. A good place to gather with your group and decide on the next activity — another room? Lunch? Gift shop?

Perhaps the couple in the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, spend a pleasant afternoon refreshing their knowledge of St. Louis history within these walls. For more information on the book – click here:


Visiting the Farm

Shall we drive to the farm? A good question, and proposal for an afternoon, for an urban or suburban family.

Don’t have relatives or family friends that are farmers?

No problem — at least if you live in St. Louis.

I may be best to check the website and find out if anything special is happening. Then, off you go for a relatively short drive to the southwest.

Your bench awaits your arrival outside the Event Center. Are you here to watch dogs? The large, modern building behind this view is where our canine friends are often judged for obedience, agility, and conformation.

Interested in a more traditional farm?

Walk down the hill to a complex of barns and visit the horse, cows, pigs, and sheep.

Love cats? They have their own quarters, complete with clever places to hide.

Yes, children of all ages — including those of us old enough to be as interested in the benches for resting as the walking and looking — can find enjoyment at Purina Farms.

Think for a moment. A pair of young professionals sitting and talking at the above bench. What’s the topic? If it’s the detective and the surgeon from STARE DOWN I’m thinking dogs are under discussion. Perhaps they are comparing the aspects and personalities of different breeds — before they get serious about a pet.

For more information or to purchase STARE DOWN on Kindle, click here:


Traveler’s Rest

Everyone’s seen them. Blue-and-white signs announce them on the interstate highway system. Other roads use brown-and-white or other methods to notify drivers of a spot ahead to pull off the road and take a break.

Almost all offer a safe place to stop, open your car doors, change drivers, stretch your legs, and dispose of trash. Many include one or more picnic tables. The ones on the interstate include a building with flush toilets and drinking fountain. Some have vending machines and tourist information. A few have playgrounds so children can burn off some energy. Be sure to take Fido for a walk in the pet area but keep the horse in the trailer.

This inviting bench offers a place to sit, tie your shoe, or do a stretch or two outside the restrooms.

When Serena Carter is driving to her new job in the sweet romance, MORNING TRYST, she pulled her motorhome into areas like this to take a break. Perhaps she made a phone call to her family — or received one from Zack.



Mind your Posture

Sit up straight. No slouching.

This advice, mostly given when I was a child, plays in my mind most often when I’m sprawled – or slouched – while watching TV.

Some seats encourage better posture than others. My nice, soft, worn sofa invites me to lean back, prop up my legs, and ignore correct posture. Other chairs in my house entice me to keep my feet on the floor and back upright.

Whether it’s the material or the crisp angles, this bench at the St Louis Zoo brings to mind all those admonitions to sit up straight and mind your manners. Actually, I tested this bench, and it’s really rather comfortable — at least for the first few minutes.

Seating in public spaces is often designed into the building, park, or attraction from the very beginning. A bench like the one above, can serve as a meeting place as well as a resting spot for elderly bodies getting exercise. No worry about tipping this one over. And employees can clean off the spilled ice cream with a hose.

In the sweet romance, COMFORT ZONE, one of the couple’s first “dates” is at the zoo. Do you think they tested this bench?



Back to Back to Back?

The triplets sat back-to-back-to-back on the bench.

Wait! How? It’s a bench. Wouldn’t they be side-by-side?

I think it depends on the bench. On this circular model, you can sit with your back to others on the bench and all enjoy the tree’s shade. (Okay, considering the size of the trunk, the tree may not produce a lot of shade — yet. Return in five years.)

You can choose your view. Small lake with ducks and fishermen? Walkers starting or ending a circuit of the lake? Parking lot to catalog new arrivals?

Located in suburban St. Louis, this would be a great place for the characters in COMFORT ZONE to enjoy a walk and casual conversation. Kindle:


Big Trees & Many Birds

In the Southeast corner of Missouri, along the Mississippi River, the land lies low and fertile. At times called “Swampeast” a swatch of forest rises over the flat fields of corn and soybeans.

Preserved as a state park, the area is known for large trees — champion sized oak and large cypress — and birdwatching. More than 150 bird species have been observed in this lowland.

So when planning a trip to Big Oak Tree State Park, check two things — flood conditions and bird guide.

Keep your feet mud free by confining your hike — and bench time — to the elevated metal boardwalk. Behind this inviting bench stands a large, screened structure for an excellent view of birds at the edge of the forest.

MORNING TRYST, a sweet romance, features a photographer who would have visited this park in each season. Kindle:


Need a Rest?

Long-time readers of this blog — or people who know me in person — are aware I enjoy zoos.

Recently I visited a New-to-me location.

While smaller than the local zoo (St. Louis is rated world class) this medium-sized facility presented a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles in both people and animal friendly displays.

Perhaps I’m getting older. One of the things which caught my attention was not an animal at all — a bench with a clever design.

A smooth, simple place to sit and watch the animals — and people. Slide to the end for a stylish arm to assist standing.

Do you admire benches in public places? Want to see more? Click here for a link to my Pinterest collection.


Bear Pair

Some things are better in pairs. Shoes. Mittens. Cookies.

Bears? Yikes! One thing worse than looking out your window and seeing a bear — seeing a pair.

However, a few bears are good to see in pairs. The duo which appears on the Missouri State Seal — and state flag — come to mind. They also are the inspiration for this charming park bench.

Don’t dispair if the pair of bears is a work of art.

However — if they are wearing fur and lumbering toward you on all fours — exit — stage left, right, or center.