My Mother & the Crows

October fourteenth would have been my mother’s one hundred and tenth birthday. It is hard to believe that she has been gone for thirty years. That is a long time to not have my mother here.

My mother was an amazing woman. She traveled as a single woman when it was not a common thing for an unattached woman to do. My father and she married in their late thirties. I was born, the youngest of three when she was forty-two. She managed a household of three daughters, three grandparents, my dad and numerous cats and fish. She was a “Stay at Home Mom” before the term was popular. She worked hard. She always had time for all of us. Her faith was important to her as was the several gardens she maintained. She was a kind, compassionate and fun mother.

My mom died shortly after Labor Day in her eightieth year. When I was visiting the summer before her death, she mentioned to me that the “Spirit Babies” were in the backyard. When I questioned her further, I learned there was a family of crows that she had been watching grow through the spring and into the summer. She had named them the Spirit Babies.

A few years prior my sister had given me a small painting of two crows sitting in a grove of aspen. It was called “The Spirits”. According to some Native American traditions and tales, the crow is believed to be the messenger between the seen and unseen worlds. Crow medicine is strong medicine.

Shortly after Labor Day, my mother died after a long illness. I wrote a letter to her and included one of the crow feathers from the backyard with the letter. I tucked it in her casket.

My mother was buried in northern New Jersey. As we were preparing for the drive north from Delaware, I noticed my father had laid a crow feather on top of his overcoat, lying in the back seat of the car. I asked him what he was going to do with the feather. He said he wasn’t sure, so I suggested that he put it on her casket at the graveside. And so it was.

After the graveside service, we went to lunch with friends and family. Before my sisters and my dad and I headed to “The Lake”, my dad wanted to return to the cemetery. I drove with him. When we arrived we got out of the car. There were a dozen or more crows in the trees over my mother’s grave. As we stood there the crows lifted up in the air and flew. I was in awe. My father was too. I believe this was my mother’s farewell. I like to believe that she is now one of those messengers.

Since that time I have met up with my mom on occasion. When I am struggling and I wish she was here so I could talk with her, a crow often shows up. It may sit on a light post or a fence and well, crow. It is comforting to me to feel my mother’s presence. It is comforting to know she is still supporting me.

Do I believe that those who have died can appear in other forms? Does this side of spirituality exist? Over the years I realize that the answer to these questions is not really important. What is important is for me to accept comfort and support and guidance that is offered, no matter what form that may take. If having my mother there in another form is comforting and helps ease my journey through this life, then that is enough.

Today I am thankful for the years I had with my mother. I am grateful for her ongoing presence in my world. Today I am thankful for crows.

Everyday Heros

A hero is a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. People need heroes because heroes save or improve lives by inspiring others. Heroes have the ability to turn others into heroes as well.

A few days ago while I was traveling in Oregon I met Pebble and Dick. They were standing on the jetty in Newport, Oregon bird watching with their spotting scope and binoculars. Dick had all the latest gadgets so he could take iPhone pictures on the scope. They were avid bird watchers. Did I forget to mention that Pebble and Dick were just short of their ninetieth birthday? Pebble had fallen while out birding four years ago and broke both her ankles. Yet here she was standing tall on a cold day. I also noted how they have continued to embrace and change as technology has advanced. Just because one ages, doesn’t mean they have to be stuck in the past. As with anyone they continue to grow and change and learn. 

I used to hike with the Sierra Club while living in San Diego. It was the Wednesday in the Mountains group. Most hikers were retired and moving at a pretty good pace. Paul was close to ninty and was still hiking (most often in the lead) and every year traveled to Mexico to teach ESL to students. 

Another man in this group had hiked the Grand Canyon each decade. When he was reaching his ninetieth birthday he had to cancel his hike because his son was sick and needed someone to help him out. 

Santa Fe, NM-closed sign during Covid

Many years ago I was a regular attendee of Quaker Meeting. Sitting in silent worship and waiting for the voice of God to speak through you was not always an easy task. I started attending Meeting for Worship because of a man I was dating. I stayed a long time after the relationship had disappeared. The quality I admired in most of the attendees was their call to action. They didn’t preach about what needed to be done, they were active in their beliefs. If they felt called to help refugees coming across the southern border, they were helping out. One woman spoke about her experience in Nicaragua sitting with a child whose father was kidnapped by the rebels. They thought the wife and child would be taken too. Someone stayed with the mother and child twenty-four hours a day. If they were taken while people sat with them it would then become an international incident, not just one more disappearance. 

I must not forget the nurses, doctors, firemen, policemen, teachers and other civil servants who put their lives on the line every day to help the rest of us maintain a good and positive life. 

All these people and many of my friends are my heroes. There are so many out in the world who help without being noted in the paper, on the news, or anywhere else. There are many very fine people in this world who through their actions and beliefs change my life and your life for the better. 

These everyday heroes, inspire me to do better, to be kinder, more patient, and loving towards others. 

Today I am thankful that I can recognize the everyday hero when I meet one. Today I am grateful to meet those who inspire me and help me to create good in my life. I am thankful for heroes.

Ferry Riding in the Pacific Northwest

I am waiting in line for the ferry. At least twice a week I can make this statement. This is what happens when one lives in the Northwest and wants to connect to the mainland or to other islands.

Maybe after living here long enough the ferry rides are no event but currently, well I just love the ferries. I like short rides. I like long rides. I love being in the front and once I was in the very back. I was the last vehicle on board.

Ferries are extensions of roads. When the schedule gets off, it affects a lot of people. Once I was on Vancouver Island in Canada and my ferry was canceled. I had to find a different route to get off the Island and get on another ferry to go to another island. It was messy but it worked. I understand after that event, ferries are essential for those who live on the many islands in Washington state and British Columbia.

Why am I waiting for a ferry? Where am I? Where am I going? Twice a week I travel from Whidbey Island to the mainland to see a sports medicine chiropractor. I have issues with my left Achilles and with his help, my heel is slowly improving.

One day my friends, Melissa and Will, and I took the ferry as walk-on’s to Port Townsend for the afternoon. We wandered, had lunch, and then returned late in the day. All that for $4.30. It felt like I was on a mini-vacation.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

A week ago I took the ferry on my longest ride yet. I went to San Juan Island for a week to visit Pat, a friend, and a fellow photographer. Pat has lived on this island for many years and I feel fortunate to have such a knowledgeable friend and guide. We talked and had fun and took pictures.

We traveled a lot on the island. We hiked to interesting and unusual places. One day we saw Orcas. Every late afternoon we would drive to this gravel road and wait for the foxes to come out. Yes, foxes. There are red foxes on this island and if one is fortunate you will get a chance to see them as they hunt in the fields and ditches. The first night we saw several, I really can’t remember what the count was.

After that first night, we decided to take our dinner and sit in the rig, on the dirt road and wait. There were never as many foxes as that first night. It didn’t seem to matter we were happy with what we saw.

This is the fun of being with another photographer. We share a common interest. Both of us got excited when we saw any moving thing. It didn’t matter how long we sat there and waited. When the next late afternoon would arrive we would look at each other and say “Foxes!”. And off we would go.

Mulkiteo Lighthouse

Now I am back on Whidbey Island and enjoying my short ferry rides to the mainland and back. I find the ferry rides add a bit of adventure and excitement to my day. I have to time my departure from the island to make it on time for my appointment. If I arrive on the mainland side early, I spend time exploring the port town of Mulkiteo. There is a beautiful lighthouse on the “Sound”

My time on Whidbey Island is winding down. I will be heading south at the end of October. I will miss my ferry rides. These are moments to relax, contemplate or read a book. I have learned patience and discovered a bit of joy in the wait.

Today I am grateful to have discovered island living and the fun of riding the ferries.

A view from the stern of the Ferry

The Continuing Saga of the Little Brown Bird

I left Whidbey Island in the middle of June shortly after Sandy and Jim arrived home. The night before I left I introduced them to my little song sparrow. By the end of daylight, it was sitting on Jim’s head and singing. I felt I left this bird in good hands.

Throughout the month that Sandy and Jim were home the relationship with this song sparrow continued. Sandy told me that as the time came closer to them leaving for their next campground hosting job they began to dissociate from him as they were concerned about how he would get along when the house was empty.

Robyn and Tom, the next-door neighbors, said they saw this charmer once about a week after the owners had left for their next hosting job in Yellowstone National Park. Then the bird was on his own.

I returned to Whidbey the first week of August. I arrived late in the afternoon, put my things down, and went out to the deck to see if a little brown sparrow was still about. Sure enough, just like that, there he was, singing and chitting just I like I had never left. I was so happy to see my bird. I felt like I was greeting a good friend.

Things were different between me and this sweet little bird. He no longer sat on my head and was often more comfortable sitting on the post near me and chitting rather than singing. One day I noticed he had only one tail feather. The next day both were gone. I was worried. I researched song sparrows and molting online. Sure enough, he was molting. It took very little time before the new tail feathers appeared and grew. Sparrows and most birds molt twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall.

His colors are more muted now and not the orangey-brown of springtime. He sings less often. Some days I see him once early in the day and not again. Other days, if I had been out and about I might not see him at all. Two Saturdays ago, my friend Melissa was visiting. He came into the bushes near where we were sitting and chatted to us for quite some time. When I tried to approach him he flew away. Sigh

No Tail Feathers

The next morning I went out on the deck to find him and welcome him for a visit. He was not there. It felt different. He had left. Then I noticed there were no sparrows around at all. The White-Crowned sparrows had disappeared. All the sparrows were gone. The Chickadees, Nut Hatches, Finches, and other birds were there and plentiful but not a sparrow in sight. What had happened?

Do sparrows migrate and where do they go? I put a post on Facebook to the Birders in the Northwest region and discovered sparrows migrate to Texas and southern climates for the winter. I assumed my bird friend was on his way south to stay warm and find plenty of food and maybe a mate.

Five days later he returned along with three other song sparrows. I was still in bed when I heard a familiar song out in the back and there he was along with his buddies. My heart was glad. I was immediately up and down the stairs to welcome him back. He remains a bit more distant. His singing has returned and it was a delight to welcome my sweet little birdy friend back to my Whidbey Island life. I am told that when they molt they disappear into the bushes.

The seasons are beginning to hint at change. I know he must go. I am glad that I have let him be a bird. I have not hand-fed him or encouraged him to be anything else other than a little wild bird who has welcomed me into his circle. One time I found a large dead moth and presented it to him as a gift. I have never seen him so excited. He looked down onto the bench where I had laid it. He snatched it up and disappeared into the brush to enjoy a meal.

I don’t know how long he will be here. I see less and less of him now. Often I will hear him early in the morning. I am immediately up and outside to say hello. Some days he is not here at all. When he does come it is usually early in the day.

I am glad I have had some practice at his not being here. It is a bit hard to admit that I grieved for this little bird when he disappeared for those five days. Next time I hope I will buck it up and wish him well and send him on his way. However, I have to remember if this little bird was human I would feel the grief of loss just like when a friend moves away or stops communicating.

By allowing me into the circle of his life he has become more than just another little brown bird. He has become my friend. I feel blessed to have been chosen by this little bird. I have learned a lot about myself and life through this unique and special friendship. There is an unspoken yet very recognizable responsibility when one becomes friends with another. It is important to nurture these friendships, no matter how long they may be in one’s life. The value of friendship is what makes a being unique and special in my heart.

I have spent a lot of time outside and have had time to observe and breathe nature. Many birds come to the feeders, each one is unique. I have witnessed the change of seasons from early spring into fall. The circle of seasons in the yard is special to be a part of. The birds have gone from their spring glory of color to more muted colors. They sing less now. The hummingbirds disappeared for about two weeks while nurturing their young before they returned to the feeders again. My sparrow has grown from a young bird into full maturity. Often he sings for the joy of it, but it is also a way to get the girls to notice. As these little birds come to the feeders I have allowed them to recognize and trust a safe environment. None of them except one little brown song sparrow allowed me to become more intimately involved in their natural life.

I will treasure this moment of time in my life. This wee little bird crept into my heart and opened it to experience the joy of friendship in this somewhat lonesome time. (Covid) It has been a joyous and welcome respite.

Oh yes, truly, today and every day I am so grateful for moments in time that awaken my heart. Today and all days to come I am thankful and so grateful for this sweet little Song Sparrow who happens to be my friend.

Flowers-Nature’s Show

Flowers are amazing. Have you ever taken the time to really look at a flower? It goes beyond color and shape, although these are interesting features as well. Each part of a flower has a purpose. There are common flowers we see every day. There are weeds that grow in the wild. There are flowers and then there are FLOWERS.

Since I have been on Whidbey Island in Washington State I have been enjoying flowers I have not seen in years. When I first arrived the early spring flowers were blooming. Daffodils and Tulips abound. Just at the end of that season, the Rhododendrons began to bloom. Oh my, they were beautiful. They continued to bloom week after week. in the middle of Rhododendron season, the Lilacs started to bloom. I have favorite flowers and Lilacs are pretty close to the top of the list. Their fragrance and colors are delightful. When I was in high school my father and I would drive to abandoned farmsteads and pick lilacs, fill the car and bring them home. Oh, how I love those flowers.

When I arrived back on Whidbey Island in early August there were new flowers at the roadside stands. Another favorite flower has arrived. Dahlia season is in full swing. They are so unique. Dahlias come in all shapes and sizes. They can be huge or small. Their petals are perfectly formed. The colors are wide-ranging. They are beautiful flowers. It is not uncommon on my walks or bike rides to see Dahlias in almost every yard.

Around this time of the year, I think of my Mom. My Mom loved her gardens. There was an Iris garden and a Rose garden. There were the early spring flowers in every garden. From early spring until late fall something was in bloom in our yard.

My Mother was eighty when she died, shortly after Labor Day. When my sister, Ruth, and I arrived at our family home in Delaware, we helped my Dad plan my Mother’s funeral.

When it came to choosing flowers for the casket the florist was willing to work with us. We went into the backyard to see what was in bloom. The Dahlias were in bloom. My dad took great pride in growing some of the largest Dahlias I have ever seen.

We cut Roses and other flowers in bloom in our yard. The featured flowers were the beautiful Dahlias. The display on top of my Mother’s casket was a generous and beautiful display of late summer and fall flowers from the garden. It was personal and touching. Every time I see Dahlias it brings back a special memory of my mother and our family’s tribute to her.

This spring and summer I have been enjoying the multitude of flowers that exist where there is water. I have enjoyed the long seasons of several flower groups. I like walking outside and seeing luscious colors. I especially love seeing the Dahlias in bloom. It gives my mind a chance to wander to my Mom and treasured moments in time.

Here, There & Back Again-Adventures Along the Way

The View From Whidbey

In the third week of June, I left my house-sitting job on Whidbey Island and resumed my nomadic lifestyle. I traveled to southern Utah to celebrate my dear friend, Sharon’s, ninetieth birthday. I was surrounded by family and friends. I reunited with her family, one I have known since I was a young girl. I made new friends and enjoyed all those that I do not know at all.

The following week I traveled north through Utah. I kayaked lakes and rivers, biked along the byways, and kept my hiking limited due to an ongoing ankle injury. Utah never disappoints me. There is always magic there and it draws me back time and again. I waved to Salt Lake City as I drove by. This city was my first real move away from home in 1976. Yes, I have almost always had a nomadic tendency.

I gradually made my way into Idaho. After exploring the City of Rocks National Reserve in southern Idaho I stayed in Boise with good friends for two weeks. Linda and I are like sisters. We hike and walk together and even tube the Boise River together. It is so much fun to have friends that have a sense of adventure.

When I left Boise I returned to Donnelly, ID, where I spent my 2020 Covid spring, summer, and fall. This time I was there for ten days. It was long enough to see one of my favorite chiropractors, go to the Farmers Market and kayak a section of the Payette River. It was an action-packed ten days. I would have stayed longer but I had a plan.

Linda, Mary, Phyllis, Janet

Mary Z, Linda, and I became friends back in 2016. I met them on that fateful desert trip. I ended the long weekend, breaking my ankle, delaying the sale of my home, and my imminent departure into my full-time RV life. The three of us have remained friends. Our last great adventure was traveling the White Rim in the backcountry of Canyonlands National Park. It has been a while since the three of us have been together.

A Gathering of Friends

We decided to meet up on the coast of Oregon. After some quick decision-making, we reserved a group site at one of the campgrounds near the town of Florence. With that one decision, it became a gathering of friends. We invited a few friends to join us for this group camping adventure on the coast. There were six Roadtreks(our RVs) and seven people. Two dogs and one kitty also joined the laid-back festivities.

Since I bought my Roadtrek in 2013 I have met wonderful, interesting, and unique people. I had no idea how this single purchase would change and enhance my life. I have traveled with some of these people. Others I meet in the desert during the winter months. Sometimes it is purely by fate that we meet at all. Recently while I was making my way to Boise two Roadtreks passed each other, we waved and there were my friends from Michigan. And, as with the Canyonlands trip, sometimes we leave our Roadtreks behind (safely watched over) and head to the backcountry in high clearance vehicles and camp, once again, on the ground. Almost anywhere I travel there are people who are waiting to have me join them for a day or two or more.

Linda, Mary, Pat & Pancho the Dog-Hiking during the Coastal gathering

People who RV are a welcoming, adventurous, and fun lot. I have become friends and or acquaintances with many. When I travel cross-country, I usually have people to visit, places to stay, or others to go camping with. When traveling distance it is so joyful to break up the monotony of the drive, by meeting delightful people. I have learned of unique and interesting places to explore. There is laughter and catching up to do. Sometimes serious and heartfelt conversations help relieve the stress of making major decisions on my own. I treasure my RVing friends. I treasure my friends. My Roadtrek may have been the catalyst to meet others yet several friendships have gone beyond the RV. I treasure all these friendships.

Today I am thankful to have discovered a lifestyle that has opened my world. Today I am thankful for good, good friends. Today I am thankful for by-chance meetings that create change in my life. Today I am thankful for my Roadtrek, for my friends and for a sense of adventure.

Summer & the Living is Hot & Easy

Being on the move in the summer can be fun, frustrating and hot. So far I have avoided the frustrating, but I am not able to avoid the fun and hot part.

Kolob Area of Zion National Park

The west this summer is experiencing extremely high temperatures earlier than usual. When I arrived in Southern Utah the third week of June it was already reaching the “100’s” in Fahrenheit. I was fortunate to be able to plug into shore power (using the electricity from my friend’s home). It gave me access to my air conditioner so I could be comfortable sleeping at night.

Willis Carrier

I have decided that Willis Carrier, the inventor of air conditioning really needs to be recognized and honored. God bless that man’s genius. I have been south and now am making my way back to the northwest. Everywhere I have been it has been “Hot”. Being in the low 90’s and the low 100’s has been common. And there is no rain in site.

I spent two days on Utah Lake south of Salt Lake City. It is a large, shallow fresh water lake. The state park campground is lovely. I secured a campsite next to the lake and enjoyed the beautiful sunsets each evening. I also was able to launch my kayak and kayak on the lake and up the Provo River.

Utah Lake

What do I do when it is hot? How do I maintain my sweet little home on wheels in this heat?

  • If I am active, I will either get up early or wait until later in the evening to be physical. Early morning kayaks or bike rides are a great time to see animals. This was even more important when I was traveling with Elsie.
  • Siesta time is in the middle of the day. This is my time to read or work on the business of my life (balancing the checkbook, etc).
  • I prepare my rig for the heat of summer or the cold of winter.
Reflectix
  • Reflectix is my friend. Reflectix is a reflective insulation that looks like silver bubble wrap. It’s commonly used in attics as insulation. It reflects heat. I have a Reflectix type of material for each of my windows in the van. When it is going towards hot or cold, weatherwise, Reflectix goes in each window. It is amazing how much that will keep the interior cool.
  • On hot days if I turn my Superfan on and with the windows shielded from the heat the temperature maintains at a very comfortable level.
  • My awning is opened, allowing less direct sun to reach the RV.
  • The back of the refrigerator is facing the outside of my van. I try to park the rig so the side of the van is shaded from the heat of the day. I am not always able to park it how I wish so creating a shade of awning to protect the refrigerator from the sun.
  • After the heat of the day is over, I open the windows and doors and let the cooler air in.
  • When all else fails it is time to visit friends or find a hotel room. I have never needed a hotel room. I am always thankful for my friends. They greet me with open arms and share what they can and it is always more than enough.

Now that I have the rig ready for the extremes, what do I do to enjoy the lazy days of summer? Summer is a time for fun and joy. I find it kayaking, biking, hiking and walking, and being with friends. Currently, I am in Boise, Idaho, staying with very good friends in an air-conditioned house. With the temperature above 100 degrees most days I am truly enjoying my situation. Steve tries to get Linda (his wife) and me to go for walks at all times of the day. He is not successful and has to wait until 8 pm or later to urge us out of the house.

The Greenbelt

Yesterday I took a 17.5 mile bike ride along the Greenbelt of the Boise River. I started at 8:30 am and was done by 10 am. The Greenbelt is one of my favorite bike rides. It is relatively flat and is shaded and cool in the early morning hours. The full length of the Greenbelt is 25+ miles. The majority of the ride follows the River. There are opportunities to see all kinds of wildlife, although I have only seen deer and ducks.

Continuing the trend of an active day, in the afternoon, Linda and I decided to tube the Boise River along with many, many others. After the first emersion, the water was comfortable. We drifted along the shallow river. It took us approximately three hours to float the 7.2-mile distance. There were a few tiny tiny rapids that still caused me to gasp as the water washed over us.

Biking in the cool of the day, rafting the river in the afternoon, and walking later in the evening are a few examples of how I choose to spend the warm summer days. As I continue my return to the Northwest I am sure that I will discover more ways to enjoy these warm days. Meanwhile, maybe I will pick up a good book or take a nap.

Yes, the living can be easy on these warm summer days.

Open Arms

My friend, Sharon’s birthday was a success. It was rather warm when I arrived in Rockville, Utah, 105 degrees F. Whoa, that is more than hot. I know, I know, it’s a dry heat—yet I believe anything over 90 degrees is hot.

I am always delighted to connect with this family. Tori, Sharon’s daughter, and I have not seen each other in many years. It was fun to reconnect with her. It was almost like we had never been apart. This is family. Everyone goes their own way as they grow into adulthood yet when they have reunited once again, everyone picks up where they left off. I am honored to be even a distant part of this family.

The day of the party started out hot, yet as the time for the party drew close the clouds came in, there was rain and then it was cool and lovely to be outside under a pavilion to celebrate this 90-year event. There was music and food and greetings of friends who, due to Covid, may have not seen each other in a while. A chair was set at the entrance for Sharon to sit in and greet and be greeted by the revelers. My favorite photos are of Sharon reaching out with open arms to greet each guest as they arrived.

There is delight and warmth and welcome in those open arms. These arms are not just to greet those with like minds and like ideals. These are truly the open arms of embracing community. Not all the people at Sharon’s birthday party believe like her. Not all of them voted one way. Not all of them are intimate in friendship with each other. Yet, in this small town, population of approximately 245, there is a sense of community that is often lost in larger urban settings. They know that they have to get along to some degree to make their small town work. During Covid, they knew they had to rely on each other to make their sheltering in place work. Smaller towns recognize the need for a sense of community. It is a survival mechanism.

Over the past several years I believe that we as a nation have withdrawn into our familiars. We have forgotten how to reach out to each other and embrace despite differences in religion, political beliefs, the color of one’s skin, and more. Embracing differences may be more work but the rewards are, well, more rewarding. Community can only work if we embrace everyone.

Covid, or “The Great Pause”, I believe has offered an opportunity for people to function as a richer community. People have been reaching out, helping others. I have been the recipient of others’ embraces. I was welcomed by friends to stay with them for the greater part of last year. Our friendship has strengthened and we have become family. Others have opened their homes for me. Strangers have left supplies at my door. People have phoned or emailed to make sure this solo person was doing fine.

If I take the time to reach out to those that believe or do things differently, my life will be richer and fuller. I will learn new things and expand the world that I live in. I want to know that I don’t have to be stuck. I want to know that my arms can always reach out and embrace the new, the unknown. I also want to recognize when other arms are reaching towards me. Part of healing the divide of this nation, at the moment, may be remembering to open our arms and embrace everyone.

I am slowly returning to the Northwest. I am keeping my arms wide open to embrace people and experiences and remember this valuable lesson.

Saying Farewell

After two and a half months, today, I leave Whidbey Island. I am certainly leaving with mixed emotions. For those of you who have not been here, this place is amazing. And…while many of you are suffering in heat…it has been in the low seventies and beautiful here.

Each day Puget Sound sparkles below me. The Olympic Range shows in the distance. It is so relaxing and comfortable here. The sunsets continue to be amazing. I keep telling myself I do not need to take more photos of sunsets and each evening I, once again, will be out on the deck with my camera. I have enjoyed the opportunity to walk the beaches, kayak the lakes, and Sound and bike the byways.

Every day I see Mama deer walk through the yard with their fawns wandering behind. Yesterday I found a fawn laying and hiding in a flowerbed by the rig. We kept startling each other.

The sweet little sparrow still comes around every day. He sings at the windows and doors. I have tried to alienate him a bit but he is quite persistent. I was reading recently that young birds can attach themselves to humans. As they grow they will leave this attachment behind. I keep telling him I am leaving so hopefully he picks up on this vibe.

Yesterday I was over at the neighbors house visiting and saying farewell. I had left the front door open as I had been going in and out frequently. On my return to the house guess who was in the house? You guessed it. That little bird had taken the opportunity to check out my digs or to find his buddy. He was not happy because, of course, he could not figure out how to get back out. Ay Yi Yi. He did find his way out again with a little encouragement from me.

I will miss the water life. I will return. I love the north country in the summer. It is usually too hot to stay south for too long. I do look forward to visiting with family and friends that I have put off seeing due to covid. I am looking forward to the company on the thousand-mile drive south. All of it will be fun and a wonderful adventure. Yet I will look at all my photos with longing.

I feel so blessed by the people I have come to know since Jim’s death. I had no idea that buying my Roadtrek would open me to so many new and wonderful adventures. I had no idea I would meet and become friends with so many good and kind people. I had no idea I would be house sitting on Whidbey Island.

I am grateful that I have been able to stretch and reach beyond my comfort zone to embrace and live an unusual lifestyle. It has become quite the adventure.

Enduring Friendships-Getting Ready…

Have you ever had friends for what seems like a lifetime? I have.

I first met the Hatfield family as a young girl. My two older sisters and I babysat their three children. I was around twelve when I first joined the cue of available babysitters. On longer than one day assignments I would join a sister and take on the Hatfield kids. They were wonderful and very rambunctious children and it often would take two of us to actively babysit for them.

As we grew up the Hatfield family moved away. First, they moved to downtown Wilmington, Delaware (I grew up in the suburbs), and then halfway across the country.

As we, my sisters, and I grew up we got active in our own lives, and eventually, we lost touch with the family, except for the catch-up Christmas Cards every year.

Fast forward to 1975. I became a Vista Volunteer in northwestern Wisconsin. As the only nurse in the local program, I was sent for special training for disaster emergencies. I went to Milwaukee for a two-day training session. I knew the Hatfields lived nearby in Mequon, thanks be for Christmas Cards with return addresses. On a whim, I called them, and at the end of my training, now as a young adult woman, I reestablished my friendship with them.

It has been a blessing, profound and wonderful as I established a friendship with all of them that has endured over the years. They have loved and supported me unconditionally. Sharon, the mom, has been my mentor, teacher, astrologer, friend and so much more. In many ways, she has helped me shape my life. When I think of Sharon and her family my heart is full. 

When we were still babysitting for the kids, Sharon was an early example of an independent, strong, honest, and loving woman. We thought she was cool because she worked for Planned Parenthood, played the guitar, and had all the Joan Baez and Bob Dylan albums. For a mom in the 60’s she was cool. She was outspoken and voiced her opinions and beliefs without hesitation. As I look back to this early connection I realize now that she was shaping my life, even then.

Eventually, we met up, again, in Minnesota. I lived in the Twin Cities and they lived in Marine on St Croix, east of the cities. I would go visit when I needed to talk to someone. I would go visit when I needed to feel love. I would go visit and housesit while Sharon and David (her husband) traveled the western part of the USA. David was a hospital administrator and with his help and support, I was able to get a job at St Paul Children’s Hospital. Specialty jobs were hard to come by for nurses at that moment in time.

After a few more moves around the country, Sharon and David retired to Rockville, Utah, just outside the west entrance of Zion National Park. The “kids” were grown and had established themselves in different parts of the country.

Over the years all the kids and I have stayed in touch, at least through Facebook.

So why am I telling you this? My friend Sharon is celebrating her ninetieth birthday on June 23rd. They are having a party in the park in Rockville. Friends and family are coming to celebrate this milestone. Truly I think everyone is coming because they love her. She has shaped many lives with her honest and giving nature.

When I first received an invitation to join the celebration I said no. It is a thousand-mile drive and blah, blah, blah. Then I stopped and thought if this was eight years ago and I had just bought this rig, would I hesitate to go? Well, No. I would hop in my rig and hit the road.

I changed my mind. On June Ninteenth I am on the road. I head south and east. First stop, Pendleton Oregon, where I will join David Jr and his daughter and we will convoy to southern Utah. I am as excited about this meet-up as I am about the party. David is Sharon’s oldest son. We have had our own adventures over the years, getting stuck in a blizzard in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, northern Minnesota in the middle of the winter being one of them. He helped outfit me for my first backpack and along with a friend from Vermont introduced me to hiking and camping the backcountry. I could go on but I will not.

I am telling you, this family has helped shaped my life.

We will head south in my rig and his car. His daughter Taylor Rose will ride between the two vehicles and keep everyone company. I will have time to catch up with them as we stop to rest and spend one night at a hotel. Them in a room and me in my rig.

As the time draws closer (8 days today) I am getting excited to have a new adventure to head towards. My rig is ready. My refrigerator is ready and I too am ready.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of people as I have been pretty secluded over the last year and a half. It is good to have my RV, If peopleing is too much for me I can disappear into my very own space and even shut the door. The party is set up for social distancing and I am sure the mask will come out. This is the first chance I have really taken in a long time Yet, How Could I Miss This Celebration.

Adventure awaits and I am going to embrace it. Adventure awaits and I am walking into it with my arms and heart wide open. Adventure awaits and I look forward with excitement and love to seeing Sharon and her family again.

It is Exciting. Life is An Adventure.