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A Blooming Challenge

Lone lodgepole pine in winter

Winter in Hayden Valley, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.
The tree in the image is the most common on the Yellowstone Plateaus, a Lodgepole pine. These are the dominate trees in the Yellowstone Caldera where it can tolerate the poor and sometimes shallow soil conditions found inside a volcano. Trees of any kind do not grow in most of the Hayden Valley due to the poor soils made up of sediments left behind by Ice Age lakes. There are a few isolated trees in the valley especially near the edges like this one. Lodgepole pines usually have long straight trunks with few branches near the bottom especially those that grow in the crowded Lodgepole forests. However Lodgepoles growing by themselves, like this one, often have branches all the way to the base of the trunk because sunlight can reach the whole tree. Lodgepole pines are probably my favorite tree. Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Many many many many years ago, just prior to our launch into the real world (from university life), we stayed a few transitional days with my great aunt. She’d lived long and prospered. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) She’d also traveled widely on account of her hubby’s job. She’d lived in great places. She’d lived in sucky places.

She had one simple bit of advice for us going off into the Big World: Bloom where you are planted.

I’ve had cause to reflect on her advice MANY times in the years that have passed. Because we’ve lived in some great places. We’ve lived in some blooming challenging places. I have not quite yet achieved the venerable age of my great aunt, but this photo of the hubs reminded me of her and I thought I’d share her advice and my own bit:

You can be happy anywhere because it’s not where you are that makes you happy or sad. It’s what you believe/think about where you are that makes you happy or sad.

It can be frustrating to realize we are in charge of our own blooming challenges. It is so much easier to blame external events or locations. But it really is possible to be happy despite (because of?) our blooming challenges. Trust me. I’m old. And I’ve lived long and mostly prospered. 🙂

Have you had blooming challenges? Are you going through one now? Would you like to kick me for being cheerful? Leave a comment. You won’t get to kick me, but you will be entered into my monthly AnaBanana gift basket giveaway. Winner is announced in the first blog post of the new month.

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Perilously yours,


When Pauline isn’t facing down blooming challenges, she funnels any angst into her fictional mayhem. In fact, you can probably track her challenges through her books. The more she hoses her characters, the more blooming the challenge. (grin) You can be added to her new release mail list here on this blog or over on her website at

Family Treed cover art

Can she survive dinner with the killing cousins?

Buy this short story on Amazon while it is still .99!

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