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.

Pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park 1June2018

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.

Pronghorn buck at Yellowstone National Park 1June2018

“I don’t know how…”

“Wrong!” His nostrils flared. “You do, but you’ve got to work at it.”

“Yeah, but…”

“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.

Siobhan Sullivan in her natural habitat 1July2018

Siobhan Sullivan in her natural habitat

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, where I volunteer. 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.

Tomato Soup in the making 26June2018Then 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.

Bluejay in watercolor by Siobhan Sullivan 2015

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.

Bobcat head drawing by Siobhan Sullivan 2015

Stay tuned by following me. Thanks!

Siobhan Sullivan

44 thoughts on “About

    • Thanks so much for the nomination but I value thoughtful comments and occasional likes more than awards on this site. Nice blog you have there!

  1. Pingback: New About page on Bend Branches - bend branches

  2. I am excited by your new direction! I look forward to seeing more of your photos and astute writing about nature.

  3. Siobhan, I LOVED your Seeing Double response on Lens-Artists but there’s no ability to comment on it 😢. The owl shot is fabulous!! Glad it forced me here to let u know Now I know a lot more about you too!!

  4. Aha, so now I know your name! Nice to officially meet you Siobhan! Great Irish name! I lived in Beaverton for 2 years as a kid, from San Diego, then back. Although I’m a Cali native, hubby and I are retiring to Spokane by the end of this year! I will be so happy to be back in the PNW near our families.

    • Nice to meet you too, Terri. Hope you enjoy living in Spokane. Good luck with your move and [early] welcome back to the PNW. 😁

  5. Pingback: Rocky start to photography: LAPC - bend branches

  6. Lovely to meet you Siobhan 🙂 We visited Bend briefly many years ago (mid 1990s) on a road trip around Oregon, and I remember loving the High Desert Museum – what a great place to volunteer! I love the way you tell this story. Yes, it’s true that the subjects that bored us in school sometimes resurface later as an interest, perhaps when we’re ready for them or when the right person sparks our enthusiasm. In my case that is history which bored me at school but which I now find fascinating wherever we travel 🙂 I’m looking forward to following more of your posts!

    • Thanks for visiting my site, Sarah! I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Museum. They just a recieved a $6 million dollar grant so there will be more to come. Yes, history was presented in a “boring” way to me when I was in school. Glad you also find it interesting now.!

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