Look for the Beauty


This is day 36. I am hanging in there, gaining a bit of endurance, and trying to pay attention when my body needs rest. I’m also trying to pay attention to the beauty that I encounter.

It’s the time of year when we put the winter flowers in. I didn’t participate this time, but watched a bit of the work. The gardener had daughter and her fiance, as well as our pet sitter and her boyfriend to help. It took them a few hours to plant all the flowers. The nursery ran out of white snapdragons, rust and variegated marigolds, and many other flowers. The gardener suspects it is because the summer was so darn hot.

An hour and a half after everyone finished and left, look who showed up in our backyard.

That’s right: a gorgeous Arizona bobcat. If you enlarge the photo, you can see his beautiful black and white ears. The area where he is trudging is actually a steep section above a pony wall. Below the ponywall is a sidewalk and then our house.  This long and narrow space is a bit dangerous as we could get trapped back there by the bobcat. They tend not to attack humans unless they have rabies, but who knows? And, yes, they eat house cats (and small dogs). This is one of several reasons my cats are kept indoors all the time.

Since I haven’t been able to write, but would like to prep a bit for writing in the future, I decided to study a subject I have long been interested in: archetypes. I first encountered them years ago in a class taught by an English professor who was very into Jung and Jungian theory. Archetypes really resonate with me–being a poet I find myself exhuming them frequently. Later, I studied Freud for my work with literary theory, but I never felt in sync with Freud the way I did with Jung. In fact, to me, Freud’s thinking is kind of creepy, whereas Jung’s is more expansive and important.

An archetype can be described many ways, but a short definition might be something like this: a recurrent motif in psychology and art and the culture at large. Many say they can be found throughout all cultures. I worked quite a bit with The Mother archetype in grad school, but this time I wanted to get more in depth with more archetypes. So as a “sorry you’re sick” gift to myself 😉 I purchased this beautiful box containing a tarot deck of 78 archetypes.

After reading the book that comes with the deck and meditating a bit on the whole situation, I pulled one “random” card from the deck with the intention of working very thoroughly with it. And what did I select?

Why, the card that makes the most sense in this year of 2020, the year where so much of life as I have known it has been toppled and erased. I pulled out the card of THE DESTROYER. I kid you not. I don’t want to write now about what I am learning as I explore this archetype because I don’t want to short-circuit my work.

I hope that this exploration will lead to poetry writing when I am up to it.

By the way, this is Dia De Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead. Although I did not grow up with this tradition, I find in it much to admire. Taking a day to remember and pray for loved ones who have passed seems like a very good way to harness our feelings of grief. It prevents us from tamping down our feelings and thoughts about those we have lost, but gives us one day where we can really focus on loved ones. If we celebrate, we serve food that they loved. We create an altar and put their photos on it. Next year, I think I will prepare ahead for Dia De Los Muertos. Yesterday I cried remembering my maternal grandmother, so I think she is waiting to be recognized in this way.

Stay safe and remember you are loved.

77 Comments

Filed under #amwriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Flora, Garden, and Landscape, Inspiration, Liminality, Poetry, Writing, Writing Talk, Writing Tips and Habits

77 responses to “Look for the Beauty

  1. My first thought when I read that you were interested in archetypes was the Tarot. I agree with you about Freud, and Jung remains interesting. So much mystery to unravel. The bobcat capture is amazing. Enjoyed your post.

  2. What a fascinating post, Luanne. Bobcats and archetypes!
    And the Destroyer. Yikes!

    You certainly tackle some heavy-duty stuff while you’re not up to writing!

    And Day of the Dead–maybe that is why I’m thinking so much about my dead loved ones. Like you, I think I will have to make an effort to do that consciously next year on this date.

    • Some of this, like the archetypes, is more keeping it in mind but not really doing much as I have more mental energy now, but not the physical. But at least it keeps my brain engaged. For next year, I plan to make a shadow box for Day of the Dead. I’m excited to do it but probably won’t start until summer.

  3. Amy

    Glad to hear you are doing a bit better. And wow, that bobcat!! Good thing your cats are indoors. (Ours are also—lost too many to cars.)

    And winter flowers!! What a gift! They look beautiful.

    Keep healing!

    • That is one thing about Arizona–we might have Valley Fever haha, but it is never gray here. There is always color.
      There are NO cats outside in my neighborhood. Any that were outside were killed years ago by coyotes or bobcats. That is not true of every Phoenix neighborhood, but we are next to a wash so there is a lot of wildlife here. My friend’s neighborhood that is more built up has a disturbing number of stray cats, but no bobcats.

  4. Considering you are not up to writing, you sure do a great post. I love all cats, including bobcats. So beautiful. I have a lot of words for 2020 and Destroyer fits right in. Your winter flowers are beautiful. Our winter scape is more desolate. In a dry year it shades of gray and in a wet year, it’s snowy. Both have their own beauty but it wears thin quickly and I yearn for the beauty of summer color.

    • The bobcat was back today! Made me a little nervous, but WOW. Yes, I understand about the great since I lived in Michigan until I was 35. 😦

  5. Hope the destroyer gets to work on the virus that’s holding you back. I bet there are many positives to that archetype!

  6. May you soon not be counting the days. That bobcat is some visitor

  7. Of course, you pulled the destroyer. Seems right. I loved the wildcat photo. To have something that beautiful roaming around is a blessing. Still praying for your recovery. I’ll bet the flowers are beautiful.

  8. So much to think about here. I’m glad you’re resting and taking care—sometimes that’s the hardest part. Love the flowers and visitor! I’d love to see more photos of your garden.
    What a great photo of the bobcat!
    I’m also interested in Jung and archetypes. Are you familiar with The Book of Symbols: Reflections on Archetypal Images? It is one of my favorite books. It’s compiled by ARAS (the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism). It’s a whopper of a book and just beautiful! I keep it beside my reading chair and read one short entry a day. Beautiful art, illustrations, photos.
    That deck looks cool! I bought my daughters the Wild Unknown Tarot cards by the same author/creator. They’re really beautiful and unique.
    The Day of the Dead is such a great way to honor our ancestors and friends. I incorporated it into my yoga practice today. I set aside some time to specifically remember and honor the women who have gone before me that helped shape me into the woman I am today.
    Keep taking care and getting better! 💚

    • These are the Wild Unknown tarot cards! And now I can’t find my regular tarot cards, so annoying.
      I LOVE what you did in your yoga practice for Day of the Dead!!!! WOW! Very cool.
      I don’t know that archetypes book. It sounds gorgeous.
      Guess who was back today? The bobcat, yes. Amazing and little scary that he’s becoming a regular.
      Thanks, Cheryl!

  9. It sounds as if you are emerging, little by little, from the pall of VF. It’s a process, I imagine, that will eventually bring you back to yourself as you would like to be.
    I’m all for “looking for the beauty.” I loved the beauty of your yard, the bobcat, and your new tarot deck. Your writing inspired me to pick up my own tarot deck — so old the rubber band that held its box together has rotted and dropped off. I, too, chose a card: 10 of cups, upright.
    Be well….

    • It is a process–and I hope it all goes in one direction :).
      What a wonderful card to choose! I love that. My regular tarot deck is missing. The box is red around the sides–I can picture it perfectly. But. Funny about the rubber band. That takes about 3 months to happen in ARizona!

  10. One of your best, Luanne – I love the Archetypes Guidebook, too. You are my modern day version of a sojourner always available to explore new truths. You are on a mission, and I wish you well in your travels.
    P.S. The bobcat scared me to death. Gorgeous, though, as were the breathtaking flowers. My compliments to the worker bees.

    • Sheila, I can’t tell you how much I love “modern day version of a sojourner always available to explore new truths.” I sure hope so. Thank you for your well wishes for me and your compliments to the bees haha. The bobcat was back this afternoon, so that was a bit exhilarating and scary at the same time.

  11. Amazing that you got the picture of the bobcat. Do you have a game trail camera set up or were you lucky enough to be Johnny-on-the-spot? That’s kind of scary for your house cats! I hope you’ll be feeling much better soon.

  12. I’m glad to see you’re feeling better and that you’re being cautious with how much you do. The study of archtypes sounds fascinating. It’s not anything I’ve ever thought of, but now I’m intrigued. I want to say it’s cool that you saw a bobcat going by your house, but I wince at the idea of wildlife roaming around populated areas. I’m afraid for them and the cats and dogs that get left outside, not for the people. I hope we see more photos of your beautiful garden 🙂

    • he was back today! The bobcat walked the way path, but in the opposite direction. I was nervous. I asked the gardener if he wanted us to go make noise, and he said no. I said what if our granddog is here, and he said we’ll keep her in the front yard (bobcat is in back). All very nerve-wracking. But he has so little. Humans have taken it all from them. Archetypes are super fascinating. I think especially for writers and for some artists. Think of how powerful trees are. The tree of life is a big archetype. I need to go lie down in a minute. Thank you for reminding me, Marie!

  13. So glad to see your writing and photos! A bobcat – surely that is a good omen. A powerful omen, at the very least. And I loved the additional roadrunner picture you posted – Roadrunner is my favorite Warner Bros. cartoon character. I had a Roadrunner lunchbox when I was a kid.
    Keep feeling better, and enjoy the tarot cards! ❤

  14. Wow, that bobcat is stunning. Glad you are resting and recovering. Your garden looks amazing!

    • The bobcat was back this afternoon! He’s getting a little too familiar, I think eeks. I am trying to rest. It gets hard when there is so much that has to be done, even just stuff around the house. Lots of dust in Arizona and lots of cat fur. 😦 Hope you and D are well and staying safe!!!

  15. That bobcat was unexpected! I’m glad to hear you’re feeling a bit better. I’ll be very interested in seeing where the archetypes lead your writing. (My dad was very interested in Jung. He and I had many late-night conversations about what he was reading.)

  16. Very interesting and detailed post for someone not up to writing! Glad you are having some good days. Love the bobcat shot. My last cat almost became bobcat lunch one day, but hubby and his employee were at the house and saw the impending pounce and warded it off.

    I’ve not studied Jung, and do not go for Freud at all – yes, ick. I also haven’t looked much into Archetypes, but have looked at mythology and the Hero’s Journey. I look forward to seeing where this study leads your poetry.

    Enjoy the beautiful flowers! (How nice to not have to plant them yourself!😊)

    • Oh, I’m so glad you rescued your cat! What a terrifying experience. Mr. Bobcat was back today by the way. The gardener was reluctant to scare him away, but I think I might do so next time I see him. I worry about my granddog when she visits. Haha re the flowers: be sick more often, you mean? 😉 Yes, archetypes are very much part of/related to the Hero’s Journey, etc. Thank you for saying ick to Freud ;)!!!

  17. Oh my goodness, Luanne!!! Your post had so much good stuff here and then the bobcat!! I am so glad you are resting and letting others carry the load for the time being. Hard to do, I know. If you want to send your crew my way, I would love the help. 😉 I’m not sure where in Arizona you are but I never saw a bobcat when I lived there.

    • The bobcat was back today, Marlene! Maybe he’s getting too comfortable here! This is in the Phoenix metro area!!! Haha, I wish I could send my “crew” your way. They are a pretty good crew.
      Well, I am trying to take your advice and rest, but a lot gets in the way. Lots of dust and all that. But when I dust I wear a mask and then I lie down for a little while :). Stay safe, my dear!

      • Dust just comes back. I’ve learned to only clean with advance warning. from company coming. I don’t get much these days. I might clean and dust for Christmas. Who is going to know? I need a lot of rest too and really don’t want to but like you, it’s required. Ir’s hard for me to let things go as well. I have no choice anymore. I have to ask for help with what I can no longer do. We have to go with the flow. At least you know it’s short term and you will get better. Get well but take your time and enjoy the journey.

        • Help is hard to come by in the pandemic, isn’t it? Seriously, the dust here is getting very thick and it’s not good for my breathing with this stupid VF, so it’s kind of a dilemma. The gardener is trying to help hahaha. And I am not going nuts about it. I hear you on not having any choice. You can only do what you can do, right?!

      • By the way. Be darn careful of that bobcat. I know the Phoenix area. My son is in Show Low on the mountain. I used to live first in Phoenix and then in Pinetop. We had lots of wildlife up there. YOU stay safe!

        • Yes, I am going to try to scare him away if i see him any time soon. My DIL’s parents have a cabin in pinetop (they grew up in Tempe) and are there a LOT. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Show Low but LOVE the story of how it got its name!

  18. I also meant to comment on your Day of the Dead thoughts. I think I would like to do something for that in future years, too. I had an odd coincidence earlier this month. I was labeling my old photos and thought to ask my high school friend if I’d ever sent her these pictures from when she and her parents moved away. (We had not been in touch much). She hadn’t and I sent her these pictures of her mother and she responded that it would have been her mother’s 90th birthday that very day. I had no idea.

    • I love when stuff like that happens with family history related events. It’s really wonderful. Yes Day of the Dead is perfect for you, too, I think.

    • In fact, in a few months I would like to post about on my genealogy blog because I think a lot of people interested in family history might love the idea.

  19. Oh My!! They eat us smaller felines? I’ve heard tale that they are the bullies of the cat world, but now I know. Geez, hope he doesn’t come back to your yard again. Hope you start feeling better soon.

  20. That bobcat is something! Your garden must be enchanting; all kinds of creatures want to visit. It does look beautiful! You are so right about searching for beauty…I think a garden is a very healing place. Wishing you well, and wishing you love, light, and peaceful moments in the garden.

  21. Its lovely to read about beauty, great start to my day!

  22. I suspect the Destroyer will have something in common with the Death card in Tarot – a scary sounding card that actually clears the way for new things to happen. Hope you continue to recover and get your strength back. And what an amazing visitor!

    • And your suspicions are correct! But that can be awful and painful, sadly. The bobcat came back today. I think I need to scare him away to protect my cats. I hate to do it, BUT. They have no idea he is out there! Thank you so much, Andrea, for your well wishes.

  23. Such an interesting post, Luanne. Beautiful flowers. A bobcat roaming around. Archetypes. You feeling better (so happy for you) and a super inspiring title. ❤

  24. WOW, that bobcat! Seems so surreal to me, that you can see these beautiful wild animals where you live. Where I am, wildest I’ve seen is a skunk and a groundhog! 😀
    Love those archetype cards! That ‘Destroyer’ one is sure apt.

    • I am a little worried because the bobcat came back again, but I will keep watching in case I have to try to have him relocated (I sure hope not). Groundhogs are adorable. Have you seen that youtube (I think) video of the man who planted a second garden for the groundhogs on his property? Hehe.

  25. Beautiful, heartfelt post. And that bobcat- wow!