Basking in Beauty: Past, Present and Future

Gayle_CactusForest_nearLakePleasantThis post by Gayle M. Irwin

The past several days I’ve spent in the sunny southwest. The desert is alive with color and since spring was just last week, I found the timing of my visit very appropriate. While in Phoenix, I saw roses and multiple other types of flowers. Traveling to Tucson, cactus flowers, primrose and other colorful vegetation greeted my friend and I as we walked the trails of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. I took endless photos and basked in the beauty that welcomed us.

Cacti Garden_AZ Desert MuseumBeauty was not just in the plant life, but in the animals we saw: captive ones to educate the public about the fauna of the region, and wild ones, like lizards and songbirds, that make the desert their home. I was excited to see otters, herons, and desert bighorn that could not be released in the wild due to injuries but that could still educate people living in and not living in Arizona about their habits and habitats, and I was even more excited to see the wild ones that just “appeared” to reflect their adaptations to the environment. I love seeing and learning about the flora and fauna of a region I visit – there is beauty in nature and in learning about it.

Dougs MustangThere is also beauty in the relationships we share with others. My friends Doug and his family gave me their time, gas, and food as we shared about three days together. We reflected upon the past – the years we’ve known one another, their years of marriage, their kids’ education; upon the present – what we’re all doing now, our concerns and our joys, and the connection we maintain; and about the future – what their kids want to become as adults, my friends’ future vacation and retirement plans, our aging parents and our aging selves. Nature and friendship – two of the most beautiful things we experience in life!

As writers we can create beauty as well. Our characters have relationships with other characters (past, present, future) and sometimes writers weave nature into stories, showcasing the beauty (and sometimes danger) our characters experience. In Sage’s Big Adventure, blind dog Sage becomes lost in the woods (something that actually happened to my real blind dog Sage). The dog’s strong relationship with her people help her return home to them. I’ve seen that and read about that – some pets return home months, even years later, their connection to their humans such a beautiful and strong component to get them home (think of the movie ‘Homeward Bound’ – I cry at the end EVERY time!).

How do you create your characters’ relationships? Do you think about past, present, and future of your characters? Do you bring nature into your stories, and if so, do you showcase beauty or danger, or both?

Gayle_Old Tucson Creek BackdropAs this post goes live, I’ll be returning to Wyoming after four days in Arizona and three days in Las Vegas. In Vegas, I’ll have met up with another long-time friend, a woman who lives in California but who has ties (including the start of our friendship 20 years ago) in Montana; I also planned to have lunch with fellow Writing Wrangler Mike Staton. I’m very excited to see Kari and share my birthday with her with dinner and a show, and to meet and visit with Mike. There’s past, present, and future in these friendships, too – what a beautiful thing!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Blue Heron

Gayle & Mary outsideGayle M. Irwin is writer, author and speaker. She is the author of several inspiring dog books for children and adults, including Sage’s Big Adventure, Walking in Trust: Lessons Learned with My Blind Dog, and two dog devotion books: Devotions for Dog Lovers: Paws-ing for Time with God and Devotions for Dog Lovers 2: Sage Advice. She is also a contributing writer to five editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul, including The Dog Did What?, released August 2014. She’s also authored a guidebook for owners of blind dogs, available on Kindle. She has a passion for pets and volunteers for and donates a percentage of her writing revenues to several animal welfare organizations. Her speaking engagements include presentations for children and adults about the lessons people can learn from pets. Visit her website at


SageBigAdventureFront-small   SageLearnsShareFront-small   Blind Dog Ebook Cover_updatedMay2014   Dog Devotion Book_Cover_Final   Dog Devotions 2 Book Cover Sage Advice Cover


17 thoughts on “Basking in Beauty: Past, Present and Future

  1. Beautiful post Gayle. I have been through the desert many times when it’s in bloom and there’s nothing like it. Your description and pictures draw the reader in and I felt like I was there with you. Enjoy the rest of your trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Linda — thanks for stopping by and commenting. I arrived home today and yes, I truly enjoyed my trip! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the beauty of friendship and the weaving of our life stories with others as well as the beauty of nature and how that, too, can intersect with our lives and the time we share with friends. All of which are important to me. I appreciate your comments and kind words!


  2. Sounds like a great time and isn’t the warm weather a treat? Envy you getting to meet up with Mike. Am so glad you had this vacation and the desert apparently dressed up for you. Enjoyed your post and hope to hear more when we get together again. And knowing a character’s past, present and future is really necessary when writing a book I think,


    1. Mike, I’m so glad we had the opportunity to meet and share lunch! Please tell Sharon hello for me and I thank you both for sharing time with Kari and me. I hope you get lots of great photos — I’d love to see them!


  3. Sounds wonderful. The desert holds a different kind of beauty. I think when we see color among the dark sand, and dull views, it’s very exciting. As writers, we do have to weave beauty into our work. We were thinking about our vacation in FL and decided to move there, so that is in our near future. If any of you need a place to vacation–Who-Ah, we’ll have fun together. Cher’ley


    1. I certainly enjoyed my vacation this week and I do love the desert (at least in the winter months!) I enjoy the different plant and animal life, and I certainly enjoy visiting my friends and sharing adventures with them. Best to you as you make plans to relocate — I have another friend, who now lives in New Mexico, who is planning to move to Florida (retire to Florida, I should say) this year (her husband retires from his 30-year career next month). Now I’ll have another reason to visit Florida! Thanks for your comments, Cher’ley!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The connections we make with people and the world around us help to not only get through the days, but ground us in what’s important. So happy you had such a great trip and connected with friends old and new. Phoenix area has some beautiful country around. Vegas also. Doris


    1. Hi, Doris — I thoroughly enjoyed the vacation! And, I’m very grateful for the beauty of both friendship and of nature. Thanks for your comments and for your friendship — so glad we’ve been able to connect in person, too!


  5. A lovely visit, Gayle. It sounds so lovely and warm and welcoming. It reminds me that I ahve a lot of former connection sI need to get in touch with this year and physically meet up if possible.


    1. I am grateful for both my online and in-person connections and for the beauty I get to experience, either locally or through vacations. Relationships are important, at least the positive ones, and we can experience the beauty in people and in nature, and for that I am thankful. I appreciate you stopping by and commenting, Nancy! Now, to do the same for you this morning! 🙂


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