Advice from a desert sage
He walked up the sagebrush-covered slope, gazing at me with large inquisitive eyes. Black forked horns framed his tawny head and dark muzzle. The white patch on his hindquarters reflected the desert sun.
The pronghorn strode towards me with intent, like he wanted to tell me something. I kept backing away; he kept stepping forward. I had to listen.
“Siobhan, tell our stories!” he said.
I stumbled backwards and stared at him in disbelief. “What! What did you say?”
“I told you to tell our stories. Paint portraits with words, artwork, and photographs.” He snorted, lowered his head, and pawed at the ground.
“I don’t know how…”
“Wrong!” His nostrils flared. “You do, but you’ve got to work at it.”
“No ‘yeah buts’. You’re 13 years old already. Get busy!” He glanced over his shoulder and bounded away.
So that’s why I’m here now. The pronghorn made me do it. So did the hot spring, the desert blossom, the robin I met years ago, and other wild things I’ve encountered. These kinds of encounters happen to me all the time so I’m here to tell their tales.
So now you know why I’m here, but what’s the blog about?
There are lots of places to visit and things to do near Bend, Oregon, where I live. Nature shines here in a frame gilded with history. Art is tucked into Bend’s nooks and crannies. See a small sampling below and on my post Tour of Bend. The Bend Branches blog shares unique stories with an overall positive tone.
I bend branches out of the way to reveal special places, residents, and events. Pictures, prose, and poetry highlight the details. The posts branch out to cover other favorite places of mine in western North America. For example, here are posts related to the Yellowstone tag on my blog.
I interweave my scientific and creative sides into the stories on this blog. Fact-filled posts may come from one of the High Desert Museum’s newsletters. Other posts may include characters from my desert home that will be featured in future books. The pronghorn was right; I am a storyteller.
Putting my nose to the grindstone–with mixed results
So how did I get here? After meeting the pronghorn, I got more serious about school. I tried things on for size along the way. Art, photography, horticulture–nope, dropped out of all those classes in high school. History class was B-O-R-I-N-G. I kept looking.
Then I found science. Yes, that was interesting. I took every class available. Fellow students nicknamed me “Miss. Science.” I earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in environmental science. It was a struggle financially. At one point I was so poor, I made “soup” from ketchup packets and hot water. Eventually I found work as a wildlife biologist.
Finding the rest of me
And those things I turned away from years ago? They’re now an essential part of me. I had roommates that studied photography, and they rekindled my interest in taking pictures. Doodles in the margins of my notes evolved into wildlife art pieces. Some are featured in publications. Plants I selected for my high desert garden thrived and blossomed. History surrounded and inspired me. Things meant to be often come back to you.
I hope you’ll visit Bend Branches often. This blog covers many topics and you never know what you’ll learn when you stop by. Sometimes it may be just the emotion of a place; other times there may be more to the story.
Stay tuned by following me. Thanks!