#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller


Headed Back to the Ranch

It will be good to get home and doubly good to see the dogs and cats. I’ve missed my four-legged housemates something fierce. (Missed the horses, too, of course, but it will be dark when I arrive, so the equine reunion will have to wait until morning.)

I do love San Francisco. I travel a lot, and I’ve been everywhere, man, as the song goes, but the City by the Bay is definitely special. I love the downtown area, anyway–don’t know all that much about the outlying areas. Chinatown is a five minute walk from here, and there’s a very good art supply store on New Montgomery Street, near the Art Academy. If I lived here, I would definitely be taking classes at that college. I’d consider a condo, but—where would I put my horses? :) And while Sadie-beagle is the most adaptable dog on the planet, Bernicie would be terrified by all the noises and the crowds. The cats? Forget it. They’re not good travelers, although when I become a snowbird, they’re going, too.

So I’ll stick with my original plan, which is to get a winter place in or near Cave Creek, AZ, my old stompin’ grounds. I don’t miss the AZ summers one bit, but the winters are heaven on earth. And I’ve noticed that those spectacular sunsets are turning up in my art journals. (I use individual sheets of 6×6 watercolor paper, which I sign and date and will eventually keep in a decorated box.) Of course I continue to journal in the usual pen-to-paper way–that is vital to my psychological and spiritual welfare–but I find the painting process very revealing. The subconscious mind thinks in pictures, after all, not words. For this reason, I’ve done several that convey positive reminders. I like to tack these up on one of the cupboards in my kitchen for a few days and let the message sink in. Currently, for instance, my focus is on being willing to ‘fail’ at art until I can succeed. (I was raised to believe that the only real failure is giving up.)

I’m thinking of a phrase I’ve heard–‘tall poppies’. In certain other countries, if someone is a ‘tall poppy’–ie, if they think too well of themselves–the shorter poppies feel duty-bound to cut them down. I’m certainly not advocating arrogance or conceit, but here’s another of the 10 million plus things I love about America. It’s OKAY to be a tall poppy here. It’s even encouraged! And if somebody cuts you down, well, heck, you can just grow again–taller this time.

So wherever you happen to be planted, send those roots down deep and hold on. Don’t be afraid to grow TALL.

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Around 1541, the present state of Texas was called Tejas, a Spanish version of the Caddo word meaning “allies.”

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