Posted in animals, inspirational, journal prompts

Just Thoughts, Just Kidding

The holiday work is done, children content, elders enjoy their meals and grandchildren are playing with their new toys. Below is one of my orignal hand painted-woodburned ornaments created years ago.

kitty ornament

I finally have a moment to sit down and write. It’s been an amazing few weeks but I’ve missed blog writing to you my dear friends and readers. I hope you’ve had  good days and that life is treating you well.

There are times when I keep my writing private. It’s a way of working through stuff before presenting it to the world.  Usually I’m not at a loss for words, yet recently  found myself quiet. Forgive me-I hope to keep you inspired and somewhat entertained, or at least, be able to share something for you to read…or to look at.

A couple of things: here’s a shout out for all the agencies and shelters packed with volunteers and staff members dedicated to serving others. Aren’t you amazed at the power of goodness? Food banks, churches, Meals on Wheels, Boys and Girls Clubs, the Salvation Army, and so many other organizations are focused on giving people hope in this crazy world, especially during the holidays. Working from the heart center is a sure way to achieve unity and create community.

On another note entirely, here’s a tidbit inspired by  a photo I found in a box. I still love hard copy pictures-like real books-the kind you hold in your hands. Technology is great, but good old-fashioned textured and tangible objects can’t be beat.


billy goat



December creeps into January in the western mountains,
a little lady goat
frisky, yet full-bellied comes forward to look.
Don’t leave the garden gate open
too long-here she comes a trotting.
Innocent pleasure is freedom’s way of extrapolating a moment
meant to be savored
like the little goat
romping away from the barn, curious.

Journal prompt: Find a photo and write about anything that comes to you from the image. What is inspiring to you might not have meaning to the next person, but don’t be concerned with that. The benefit of impromptu bits of writing is that you can go back over what you have jotted down, and take one or two lines and use them later on to build a story, poem, song or even an article. One idea leads to another.

Discussion: Kidding is the term for goats delivering babies. It’s also said to be an American phrase indicating fooling someone or saying something in jest. How often do you hear people say “just kidding!” How about “kidding on the square?”

What does any of this mean? What does it have to do with Senator Al Franken? I’m not necessarily saying these are my personal views-just sharing some the origins of phrases. Until next time.

Posted in animals, humor, wilderness, writers

Lizzy, Horatio, and Bella

head shot copy.jpg 2

She’s back! My little friend didn’t die.

Lizzy came around yesterday to check for blueberries. If you remember,  I thought maybe  Ms Kingsnake had stalked and eaten her. Or him. I don’t know. I watch the creatures I don’t pick them up. The gender thing is a mystery.

The reptile sexual identity topic reminds me of another story, a true tale of an iguana I named Horatio. One day Horatio scampered onto the back porch and hung around by the screen door, watching.  Part of his little toes had been bitten off. But he had spunk.  And he had the prettiest bright blue patch on his throat. At first he scared me, but then we decided we liked each other.

                                               horatio close up

 Horatio became a beloved low maintenance, rather dapper outdoor  pet. He came around daily on a regular schedule. Soon, he went out and got himself a girlfriend whom I named Hortense.  They showed up together  for lunch  with Hortense always hanging back in  shyness.   After a while Horatio and Hortense stopped coming around altogether  and I feared the worst. Months later during  spring cleaning we found the two iguanas curled up together at the bottom of a terra cotta pot. They had not survived. The clay was too slick and smooth for them to crawl out.

As we settled into our lifestyle here, I survived college, started a little book business,  and Jesse’s life was saved by an expert medical team who fixed his heart. We had it goin’ on. Then one day another character showed up.

                                                                                 bella nice shot with her babies

Enter Mama Javelina, (Yayassu tajacu), or collared peccary.  I named her Bella.  Bella strutted into the back yard with her stiff legs, pointy hooves and distinct style. She grazed the perimeter of our plot which is about an acre of fenced land. When javelinas make an appearance other critters take notice. Dogs go crazy and wild pigs can do serious damage to dogs…and sometimes people. You don’t want to mess with Mama Pig, or any wild boar for that matter. Bird seed on the ground and a pan of water must have attracted her to the area behind the back porch.  She wandered in, snorting and rooting,  piggy-toed and poking. She swagged in busy and unafraid with her two little ones trying to suckle-a woman on a mission.

Then, just as boldly as she had entered, Bella strolled out of the open gate without so much as a snooty  goodbye.  With her babies in tow, down the road she sauntered in  search of  food.  Yes, javelinas are dangerous. Don’t get me wrong.  I didn’t encourage her. And before anyone goes all bacon on me, I didn’t feed them. I give the original inhabitants of the Sonoran landscape a wide berth.

                                                                  Javelina-Backyard-2 (2)

 On another note, about humans and animals…. and…reptiles too.  The collage below is one of my SoulCollage  ®   cards representing aspects of  my journey. Briefly, part of the process is to describe parts of your life with an “I am” statement. “I am one who observes with detachment and passion.” What I love about living in the country is the freedom to be among the creatures without disturbing them.

                                                                                     collage final jav and wh ma rec

Above symbolism of my collage: the detached observer is the  male side, the animus,  (man reading  ) representing the non-emotional, the scientific.  The  commanding curious and over-protective part represents the anima, (javelina) and is the female archetype. Both are observing of the other.  If all this sounds like mumbo-jumbo, it is. It’s basically Jungian psychology.

Discussion: I was going to include some personal anguish over writer’s ego in this piece. When I was writing about Horatio years ago, my blog got “scraped.” Two years of work got lifted and so did the names for some of my characters. Copying equals flattery but then it becomes plagiarism. There is nothing new. Everything has already been done. It’s all variations on a theme. But  really….pilfering names? Come on! Get your own names! Sigh.  One person in my writing group actually used the name I had picked out for my main character, along with some other phrases. The person said, “Oh I like that. I think I’ll use it.” And so she did. And ouch, I bit my tongue.

I have tons of pilfering stories, but they are being maturely pushed down into the discussion section of my little funky blog here. I came, I saw, I vented.

 I was in college during the Horatio years and, as always, journaling and taking notes. A particular instructor didn’t like people taking notes, especially women over 50.  During class the teacher sauntered back to where I had written something (privately), walked back to the front of the class and presented my exact words as his own psychology theory. Now I know better. If you like it, put a ring around the copyright symbol.

 What does that have to do with desert creatures? It’s a competitive life. I decided not to go more deeply into a personal rant because the victim role just doesn’t suit me anymore. Life goes on!

Over and out.

Happy journaling!

Copyright © 2014 by Susan E Rowland

This is a work of creative non-fiction

Posted in animals, poetry, time, Writing for healing

Let Happiness Return

Let Happiness Return Today


Journal entry from 1979

Journal entry August 8, 2014, 8:01 pm


        In the long quiet heat

        the pinto pony stands in his postage stamp corral at the end of the road

         near the mailboxes.

         Some new people have moved in.

          I  feel so sorry

           that such a lovely animal is trapped in a small space. I wonder

           who rides him

           if ever?

           There is no room for him to run, no space for kicking up heels.

   So perfect, so lovely, and so alone.

     He waits each day for fresh hay and when I go by the house I never see people around.

     Where are the children who run out to greet such a beautiful creature?

       I call it pet slavery.

       Maybe I am wrong.

        Just maybe,

       I am wrong.


Journal prompt: Go through your past journals and pick something that you’ve written that you like. Then write about what is going on in your life right now. Take a ‘snapshot’ of one feeling, one incident, and write a poem or a few brief paragraphs about it.

Posted in animals, journal prompts, journaling, wilderness

Write What You Know

stag in the road

Most authors will tell you to write what you know. In  journaling, jotting down dreams, images, and thoughts is an immediate way of connecting the human experience with daily life . The things I know most clearly are the magnificent Pacific coastal mountains and for the past decade, the desert.  Nature is the most extraordinary and uncontrollable panorama, and to me, always exciting.

Nature and the solace of the uncontrolled, non-domesticated life patterns are precious beyond measure. Each day is an unfolding chapter, often predicable, like the gathering of birds to water… and sometimes crazy.

 It’s hard to believe there are some who want to destroy the most profound, and yet undiscovered life systems by over-development for profit.

This poem is dedicated to the theme of knowing.

the deer king walks down the road


Spring 2014

You stepped out into the clearing

on the road

into the landscape of an eternity.

Born before the destruction

of eons

a gift

inside the morning,

marking time

with your presence.


looking coyote fuzzy copy


Journal prompt: Write about wild animals. Do you live in a place where you can enjoy them? How do you feel about wilderness preservation and development?

Copyright © 2014 by Susan E. Rowland

Original poetry and photography, all rights reserved