D. Pat Thomas

Writer, Yoga Teacher, Lover of Things Outdoors


Sand Hill Cranes

Posted by Pat on May 2, 2022 at 1:15 PM

The Sand Hill Cranes have come back for summer, and what a delight. They migrate here in early spring and stay until fall, parading the golf course twice a day on the same route. Our neighbor puts out bird seed (not sure if that's kosher), so they typically stop for a snack right out the back. They mate for life, travel as a couple and dance. Yes. One lifts the left leg, then the mate copies. Put that leg down and spread the right wing. Ditto. Now the rght let, left wing and so on. Absolutely adorable. Their squawk is prehistoric, like from another planet. When it comes time to fly, they need a long, long runway to take off with such a big body. They've started laying eggs, so hopefully, we'll get to see little ones wobbling along on those impossibly long legs.


Posted by Pat on April 2, 2022 at 3:30 PM

My husband is a captain, and recently took a catamaran from Panama to Galapagos, heading out today for French Polynesia. He suggested I join him in the Galapagos, and, well. who could say 'no' to that? My favorite was the sea lions, swimming like torpedoes but so funny on land, wobbling along on flippers. The own the island of San Cristobol, lounging on each and every boat in the harbour, taking up space on the benches meant for the ferry travellers and taking over the beach at sunset for a loud, honking celebration. They have much to teach about attitude.

Another fun animal is the Galapagos tortoise. Get this: when two males fight, they hiss in each other's faces, and the one with the longest neck wins.

It's been super to visit this place. We did some scuba diving, with white tip and black tip and Galapagos sharks, not to mention the hammarheads. The turtles swim right up to you, and the starfish are exotic. Unfortunately, my diving photos just would not upload into the blog here, but you can find them in the Gallery.


Posted by Pat on November 30, 2021 at 1:10 PM

Yes, the view from the porch was amazing at my first writers' retreat. The Salt City Genre Writers Chapter of LUW (League of Utah Writers) gathered in an enormous house for a long November weekend, and filled the kitchen with M & Ms, chocolate covered expresso beans, an impressive array of liquor and enough food to stay for weeks. During the days, folks found a corner and madly wrote as much as possible. Many were participating in NaNoWriMo, an annual November effort by participating members to set a writing goal (like 50,000 words) and then work like crazy to meet it. It was wondrous to have a whole cadre of experienced writers to ask questions like, how do I access a Thesaurus with Scriviner, or what is another word for indigestion? At night we played board games, went to the hot tub, or just hung out. It was a magical mix of fun, inspriation and hard work. This will definitely not be my last retreat.

Elk Herd

Posted by Pat on October 16, 2021 at 4:55 PM

This Elk Herd lives in the vicinity; it's always such a joy to see them. Notice the Big Guy on the left? Yep, I think he runs the group. And yep, we got hit by that big snow storm. It's melted now, and we are patiently waiting for snow. 

Quills 2021

Posted by Pat on September 10, 2021 at 4:00 PM

Quills is the annual conference of the League of Utah Writers. And what a delight it was to reunite, inspire and motivate each other, and listen to advice from those with more experience. The array of subjects covered was vast and eclectic: science fiction, weaponry, independent publishing, travel & eavesdropping, romantic sizzle, branding and comedy, for example.

It is a fundamental truth that writers work alone. No one can share a keyboard or mouse when a scene is being drafted. We have beta readers and critique groups to comment and help, but at the end of the day each gesture of a character, every word chosen, when and how it is written – only the writer working alone can decide these things. This is why Quills has a quiet room for the introvert who gets overwhelmed by busy corridors and rising human voices. That said, there can be too much of a good thing, and many of us had an overload of isolation coming into Quills this year. The joy of being able to chat and laugh and listen was deep and healing.

Writers predictably take notes when attending a conference. When I reviewed mine, one comment stuck out: “The reason to write is allow the reader to process emotions.” Let’s think about that. It is not unusual for a writer to create characters or scenes to process his or her own emotions, to get it out, let it go. In sharing the human experience, the writer evokes in the reader parallel emotional reactions. The feelings, like the ringing of a tuning fork, vibrate in the reader as well. It is a shared experience, a bond. If nothing else, we learned during quarantine that the need to share the human experience is not only deep; it is at the core of who and what we are. Appreciating this truth and its resonance between and among us, made Quills 2021 a towering canyon where the echoes amongst us crystallized and could be clearly heard. Many thanks to all who worked so hard to make this conference the success that it was.