About JanetA

I am a nomad and adventurer. I used to travel for work now I travel for curiosity and fun. I started this blog when my husband of 21 years, Jim died of cancer on his 60th birthday. I started it because I wanted to have an easy way for my friends and family to follow me as I started a new adventure living in a small B class RV. I have a delightful little Roadtrek that I live in full time. It continues to be quite an adventure.

Limping Into my Seventies

For over thirty years I have been a dancer. Scottish Country Dancing-Check. English Morris Dancing-Check. New England Contradancing, English Country Dancing, Irish Dancing, International Folk Dancing, Ballroom Dancing, Ballet-Check. I love to dance. It makes me feel alive in a way not much else does.

I have also been a backpacker, hiker, walker, and more. I have trekked the Himalayas and visited one of the fourteeners in Southern Colorado. I have hiked in Southeast Asia, the Andes, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands. Hiking is a part of my life here in the United States and Canada. I love to hike.

For the past two-plus years I have been dealing with foot issues. First, my left ankle became swollen and sore. The side of my ankle blew up and, for a while, I could not find my ankle bone. Finally with the help of Chiropractics, Physical Therapy, Active Release Technique, Acupuncture, and Myofascial Release I discovered my ankle bone again. The swelling and intermittent pain never went away and remains today.

A year later my right heel developed swelling in a funny area. I continued with all the above treatments and it made it better but it did not go away. On bad days I put it in a boot. Everything made it better but the underlying issue never went away.

When I returned to San Diego in November I decided it was time to talk to my internist. I decided to get western medicine involved. After a set of foot and ankle x-rays, I have a diagnosis. It appears I have chronic Tendonosis from over-use. Well yeah! They also found a type of bone spur called Haglund’s Deformity. It is an abnormality of the foot bone and soft tissues. An enlargement of the bony section of the heel triggers this condition. It frequently can cause bursitis of the soft tissue and swelling of the Achilles tendon insertion point. The doctor told me that it may be genetic and often starts as a bone spur.

How do they treat it? Well, it is something that I will most likely have to live with for the rest of my life. The main treatment is to treat the symptoms.

  • Wear Orthotics
  • Use Heel Lifts
  • Ice it once a day
  • Perform stretching exercises daily
  • If it is really sore stay off of it
  • I walk with hiking poles all the time now. It helps redistribute the weight and I am able to still get exercise.

What happens if all this fails? Surgery. Each heel would take about a year to heal. Sigh.

Here is what I do know. I will most likely never dance again. It will irritate the condition and make it worse. Oh, Huge Giant Sigh. I am able to walk but not distance like I used to and I am slower. When my ankle or ankles act up I take a day off and give them a rest.

I know that many of you may wonder why I am writing about this. I have been going through grief for the loss of a lifestyle. Yes, I do know there are many who are worse off than me. I get that and I understand. But this is about me and it is a focus of my life at the moment and I am worried and concerned. And I am sad. Things are changing and it is going to take me time to adapt.

I need to allow myself to grieve and hopefully, my friends are able to understand this is normal and support me in this process. I don’t need to be told that I am strong and will adjust. I don’t want my friends to blow this off as something minor. I don’t need people reminding me of how I used to be. Telling me that I used to be such a good hiker does not help me now. For me, at the moment in time, this is a major event in my life. And I am adjusting to change.

What can my friends do to help?

  • Love me just the way I am.
  • When friends and I go for a three-mile hike (with poles) know that you might have to hike slower and not go as far. Save your hard hike for another time and let’s enjoy each other’s company.
  • Don’t remind me of what I used to be able to do, I am fully aware of this.
  • Informing me that I will adapt, does not help.
  • Please don’t tell me the horror stories of others. Positivity is a plus.
  • Know that I am on it as far as deciding what will work and what will not work for me.
  • Be patient and be kind.

This is a good reminder for me to be gentle and loving with others. None of us know fully what others are going through unless we have the inside story and even then we may not know the extent of emotions that are running through another persons life. My feet are reminding me once again to be patient and kind and to listen, really listen to my friends and to others.

I am limping into my 70’s, literally. I am still a full and functioning human being with much to be thankful for. The limping could certainly go away and I would be so appreciative if it did. I am working on it and still moving forward. I mean what else can I do? Staying frozen in time has never worked for anyone. Even if it is with a limp, I will continue to move forward to whatever door opens next.

Today I am thankful. I am thankful for all those years of dancing and the joy it brings to me. I am thankful for hiking and at the moment I am really thankful for hiking poles. I am thankful for the doctors that can help me diagnose my lovely feet and ankles. Today I am thankful for acknowledging grief and being with it so I can move through this phase and move on to my next adventure in life.

Adventures Heading South

Sunset in San Diego

Every year in November I return to San Diego to get my annual medical and dental appointments done. I come south to visit friends and escape winter. I usually don’t travel directly to the city. I meander my way from wherever I have been.

I find it hard to be in large cities. Since I bought my Roadtrek and went full-time RV’ing, I have embraced rural and small-town living. I like the slower pace. I like the quick access to the outdoors. I would rather walk, kayak, or cycle than take too much time to get to my starting point. I like the sense of community that small towns and the rural countryside offers. People look out for each other. We help each other out. I don’t have to be alone unless I choose that option.

I have to prepare myself for the entrance into the city. This year after I left The North Rim of the Grand Canyon, White Pocket and southern Utah I headed south to Phoenix. If I want to practice being in a larger metropolitan area this city is a good one to approach. Phoenix is the fifth largest metropolitan area in the United States. I have two good friends that live in towns on either side of Phoenix.

Superstition Mts. from my Campsite

Apache Junction and Mary are on the east side of Phoenix. The Superstition Mountains and the Lower Salt River are within twenty minutes of Mary’s doorstep. I camped at the Lost Dutchman State Park. This park sits at the foot of Flat Iron Peak. It is a popular hike for the locals.

At Mary’s suggestion, one morning I launched my Oru Kayak on the Lower Salt River and paddled downriver. Since I wasn’t sure how far I wanted to go, Mary and Roxie, her dog, would meet me at each pullout or launching site to see how I was doing. Happily, I made it the full ten miles. It was a beautiful and scenic ride down the river. The next time I am taking Mary with me.

I paddled by wild horses feasting on the eelgrass in the river. The Salt River wild horses roam the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. According to historical records, the horses have been living on the Salt River reservation before the National Forest was created in the early 1900s. The wild horses are watched over by the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. They are protected and number approximately five hundred.

After three days of catching up with Mary and her animal menagerie, I drove to Goodyear to visit Yvonne. Goodyear is on the west side of Phoenix. Yvonne lives in a 55 and up community. This stay was more community-minded as Yvonne is very involved with the community where she lives. While I was there we went to a block party, a beer-tasting event, and more. The best part of visiting Yvonne is sitting in her hot tub every morning talking and planning the day. It is a good way to start the day.

After Phoenix, I decided I need to go rural for a few days before I arrived in San Diego. I spent two nights on the lower Colorado River, kayaking on Squaw Lake and the mighty river. It is quiet out in the desert right now. The Snowbirds are just starting to arrive. There were a handful of campers at the campsite. There were at least three Roadtreks there. After a day of kayaking, it was nice to sit outside with my neighbors and watch the sunset over the lake.

Currently, I am in San Diego. I have already been to a few appointments and visited with friends. It is nice to be back on familiar terrain. I am able to see what has changed in the last nine months. I know where to find my favorite Coffeehouses. The one thing I like about San Diego is camping on Mission Bay. Even though I am in a large city, I still have easy access to biking trails and the boat launch is only a short distance from my campsite. Well, that is convenient.

My winter plans are taking shape. I always know to expect the unexpected. I remember to breathe my way through my appointments and wait to find out the results of tests. There is a part of me that feels I have to wait to make plans until all the medical and dental appointments are complete and the results are in. Sometimes I get thrown a curve. I wait.

Today I am thankful for so many wonderful friends. Today I am thankful for my soft adventures. Today I am thankful for my health. I am truly thankful for a good first dental appointment. Today I am thankful for rain-it is raining in San Diego. (not a frequent occurence)

Today I am thankful.

A Birthday Party

October sixteenth is my birthday. Since Jim’s death, he died the day after my birthday, this has become an interesting time of year. Sometimes I want to be alone and find peace, other times it feels better to be with other people and friends.

This year, on my birthday, I was visiting with very long-time friends in southern Utah. I have known Sharon since I was a girl. We have remained friends over the years. Friends are marvelous to have. Long-time friends are to be cherished and celebrated.

When Sharon found out that I was celebrating my seventieth birthday while I was visiting, she insisted on making me a cake and a birthday dinner. Not only did she make me a cake but she made my favorite, a Red Velvet Cake with Buttercream Icing. We, her son Michael, Sharon, and I had a wonderful birthday dinner followed by the yummiest cake.

I felt like a kid. I know it was not a birthday party but it felt like it was. Joy bubbled up inside me. I felt young and happy and oh did I feel loved. As I went about my day I giggled to know someone was making me a birthday cake. I kept saying to myself that we were having a party.

It has been many years since someone made me a cake and made me feel important on my birthday. I used to make a chocolate birthday cake for Jim’s birthday each year. He was a Chocoholic. Because his birthday was seven days prior to mine often we were still eating his cake when my day rolled around. He always did special things for me throughout the year and we always acknowledged each other birthdays. Prior to our lives together it had been many years since I had celebrated my birthday.

It takes so little to bring joy into another person’s life. We don’t always know what will trigger that joy. It can be the smallest or grandest of things. Big or small it really doesn’t matter. What does matter, is the recognition by others that you are important enough to be noticed and remembered. Each little thing can make a world of difference in someone’s life. A Birthday Cake made a difference in my life this year.

Today I am thankful for joyfulness. Today I am thankful for Sharon, such a good and dear friend. Today I am thankful for a Red Velvet Birthday Cake.

Ten Years

Jim

Ten years ago on October 17, my partner, husband, best friend and so much more, died. He had just turned sixty and just like that his life on this planet was over.

it amazes me that it is ten years. There are times it feels like yesterday. Then I look at the ten-year mark and am amazed. Where did this time go? How can it be ten years? Wasn’t it just last year that I dove headfirst into grief? And how can it be ten years and I still miss him so?

I will continue to make a commitment to his memory and my grief and loss at this time of year. It helps me acknowledge one of the highlights of my life on this planet. It allows the grief that is often floating somewhere deep below the surface to be acknowledged and loved as a part of who I am as a whole person.

Jim was a unique and special part of my life. He showed up at thirty-eight years of age, at a time when I was sure I was going to remain single for my whole life. He turned that one around. We were a team. I never thought I would meet someone who I was so compatible with.

It is not that we didn’t have relationship issues from time to time, we were both stubborn. We wanted to make this relationship work and we knew that it was of value to both of us. It was more than of value to me. He saw me in a way that no other has ever seen me.

  • I was a person of value.
  • For the first time, someone thought I was beautiful and sexy. (ooh it is still hard to say or type that last word)
  • What I said mattered.
  • He encouraged my art and although I have changed art forms since his death, his encouragement has continued to push me forward to explore new mediums.
  • Jim allowed me to see that the whole world was open to me. I could do so much when I had his support and love.
Jim & Janet

Since his death, I have realized that our relationship was unique and special. There were not the struggles that many describe when they speak of their relationships. We laughed together, tackled the hard stuff together, and when we hit a roadblock (otherwise known as stubbornness) we sought counseling and support so we could grow and move on. And we grew so much together. As Jim often said, “We’re a team”.

Jim was a supporter of higher education. He devoted his whole working life to helping students achieve. To honor this part of him I started the Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship. He believed that all could excel in college and there was no better honor that I could give to him than a scholarship that was inclusive of most students. The scholarship changes per each annual semester, one semester it is applied to the Arts and Humanities and the next semester it is applied to the Social Sciences.

If you would like to donate to the Scholarship, no donation is too small, please click below and you can help another student realize their dream.

The Jim Fenningham Memorial Scholarship

I am blessed and honored to have been a team with Jim. I miss him still and I acknowledge how much richer my life is because of him.

As I manage my way through another October, I know that I have the loving support of so many. For each of you, I am so grateful for your ongoing presence in my life.Thank you.

A Fall Adventure in the American Southwest

I gave up my Roadtrek for 2 weeks and went camping, tent and sleeping bag in hand. 

Every few years friends of mine, Linda and Mary meet up for a trip into the backcountry of Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. This year we added a fourth person, Pam to the mix. 

Where have we been? We started remote on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, making our way to three different points, high clearance and 4 X 4 travel only. One point I could have driven into with my Roadtrek but why chance it? I have a new tent and a comfy sleeping bag and I am ready to remember the days when I did this all the time. 

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon was amazing. It was remote and a bit rugged. While we were there the sunsets were sublime and awe-striking. The sunrises were just as amazing. It would be sad to be on the rim and not witness both the sunrises and sunsets. There was weather; rain and thunderstorms. When there is rain at the Grand Canyon, either rim, often flash flooding follows. We were able to witness the amazing flash floods coming off the South Rim ending in waterfalls falling into the Colorado River. 

Once we were done oohing and ahhing over the Grand Canyon we moved on to the Vermillion Cliffs in northern Arizona. There are magical places in the backcountry of Utah and Arizona. It takes some effort to get into these places. Deep sand, rocks, and ruts make a high clearance 4X4 necessary. Anything less may make one dig deep in their pockets for rescue. 

We went to White Pocket. 

White Pocket is made up of layered sandstone made millions of years ago. Through time, wind, sand, and water compressed and hardened the minerals into rock. The different colors are due to various mineral deposits built up over geologic time. Much of the top layer is white, therefore its name. 

We camped for two nights so we could experience sunrise and sunset in the formations. We were fortunate this time to have water added to the mix. The Arizona monsoons have continued into the fall. 

I am now back in my rig and on my own. Although it was fun to camp out, I was happy to see my little house on wheels and sleep in my own bed again. I am always ready for new adventures yet it is good to be back to the familiar again.

Today I am thankful for the ability to get out and explore with friends. I am thankful to see things that not everyone gets to see. I am thankful for nature.

On the Move

On Monday I said a fond farewell to my doggy duo and with a bit of melancholy, I climbed in my rig and departed Whidbey Island, Washington for another year. When I travel frequently it is not too hard to say goodbye. After an extended stay and making friends it becomes a bit harder for me to get behind the wheel and leave.

But, leave I must. The daylight hours are shortening here and the smell of fall is in the air. Last week it was cloudy for most of the week and it reminds me that the weather will be changing. And…I have plans.

I am heading south and east. There are plans, good plans ahead for me and three other strong women. In a week, we will meet in Kanab, Utah. I will be leaving my rig behind in safe keeping with friends. The four of us will be heading in high clearance vehicles to camp remote on the north rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. And then we will be going to some other unique places in northern Arizona.

I love my rig and I will miss sleeping in it. I also like to camp and get into places that others often don’t choose to reach. It makes it special for those of us who push forward and do the unique and different.

Mary is the leader of the group. She has been to most of these places before. I have been to one of the places that we are going to explore. The country in southern Utah and Arizona is amazing and I love exploring it.

After leaving my friend, Lela’s home and saying a fond farewell to Ellie and Ace the dogs, I drove south to the Clinton/Mukilteo ferry for one last ride for the year. I love ferry travel. I traveled about three hours east and am staying at The Patch, thanks to my membership in Harvest Hosts. Although many know this organization for the wineries where we can camp, tonight I am camping at a Pumpkin farm near Ellensburg, Washington. It is quiet, well except for a few cows and a Great Horned Owl calling nearby.

The Patch is getting ready for their you-pick season this coming Saturday. They are busy and come the weekend the pumpkins will find good homes. I took a moment to walk around the Patch and look at the Pumpkins. I love pumpkins. They have a petting zoo and different games. Tomorrow morning they will open early for me so I can have coffee before I leave. I love finding these places.

Today I will get on the road early-ish and head to Boise where I will meet up with Linda a good friend and fellow adventurer. We will caravan south to meet up with the others in Southern Utah.

I am so grateful for all the opportunities that are offered to me. I am glad to have friends to share them with. I am ready for my next adventure.

Summer is Winding Down & New Adventures are on the Horizon

Two days ago my house-sitting gig on Whidbey Island came to an end. I have fallen in love with the little house on the bluff. I will miss it. I will miss the sunsets. I will miss Birdy Boy. I will miss my neighbors, Tom and Robyn. I will miss the comfort of my temporary home.

And, I am ready to move back into my RV and get on the road.

But not so fast. On Monday of this week, I moved up Island to the charming town of Coupeville where I am house and dog sitting for a week. Yes, the animal and house-sitting adventures continue.

Lela’s Place

One of the things I like about owning a Roadtrek is the true friends I have made since I bought EmmyLou.

Lela had a Roadtrek that she sold about a year ago. We met when I first came to Whidbey Island in 2021. She lives on this island. We have been friends since. We kayak together, meet for outings and music festivals, eat dinner together, talk, and have fun.

Lela has two dogs, well she had three, Abbe went to Doggie Heaven a few days before my arrival. Ellie and Ace are still here and going strong. They are my charges for the week. Are they cute and personable? Yes! Can they be whiney? Yes. They are dogs.

I now have two dogs that sleep with me at night and follow me around the house during the day. They are cute. I love how they look at me like I am the best person in the world. They get me out and walking a couple of times a day. They love their walks. I have become a dog poopy bag carrier.

I also continue to have the most amazing sunset views. I love looking west.

After my week here I am changing it up. I am joining three other adventurous women and we are heading for the backcountry of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon for a few weeks. These trips make my soul sing. I will share more of this adventure as it unfolds.

I am moving south. Fall has arrived here, even though it is still summer. Right after Labor Day, the weather shifted and I could smell fall in the air. The days are growing shorter and it is cooler now. Today I woke up to heavy fog over the Sound and the house but not me. I still have to take those doggies for a walk.

I will miss many things about island living, the ferries, the sunsets, my friends, being so close to nature, kayaking, and the quiet and solitude I often experienced here. My nomadic life has not come to an end, though I admit I look at the real estate ads from time to time.

I feel blessed and honored to be asked to take care of people’s homes and pets. I have been able to experience parts of this country more in-depth than just spending a week or two in each place. I have made friends. I have seen so many lovely places. Now I am ready to see some more.

Sandy’s & Jim’s Home

Today I am thankful for Sandy & Jim who have let me live in and caretake their home for two wonderful summers in the Northwest. Maybe I will be back again. I am thankful for the friends I have met and kept. I am thankful I discovered a lifestyle that complements me especially when I was feeling lost after Jim’s death.

Today I am thankful.

Now, it is time to take the dogs for a walk.

Where Oh Where is Birdy Boy

Birdy Boy Visiting in a nearby bush.

When I returned to Whidbey Island, the land of amazing sunsets from my holiday on the Oregon Coast,there was no lovely little brown bird to greet me. Where was my friend of more than a year, the charming and enchanting Song Sparrow, Birdy Boy?

Around this time last year, a lot of the small birds disappeared from the feeders. They were gone, into the bushes and trees to complete their molt. I knew this would happen again, yet I felt sad. I missed my little bird friend.

About twenty-four hours after I returned, there he was. And….he was not alone. He and another sparrow, I am assuming the female, were in the bushes by the feeders and they were feeding other sparrows. OMG, he has a family. There were two or three young ones all pleading to be provided for. He greeted me with a short song and then the whole family disappeared into the shrubbery on the hillside.

I did not see them again for a week. Again, I worried, what if he is not coming back? What if our friendship is over? What if? What if? What if? Oh, the turmoil I put myself through. It is hard to see things leave, that one holds dear.

Sunday the family arrived at the house early. They fed at the feeders and on the ground. Birdy Boy took some time out to sing and talk to me in a nearby bush. As it was last year, he is now more distant. There is no more sitting on my legs or arms yet he comes close and chats and sings to me. Once again my heart is glad.

I know house sitting is a temporary affair. I am not sure where I will be next summer, but when I am here in Greenbank, WA I hope that my little friend will return and we will once again chat and visit like good friends do and I will feel joy.

Going on a Holiday From My Holiday

Canon Beach on the Oregon Coast

A week ago I returned To Washington from a week on the Oregon Coast. I took a holiday from my holiday.

Last summer a group of us who own Roadtreks decided it would be fun to meet up on the Oregon coast. It started with the three of us, Mary, Linda and me. We have been friends for years. We rented a group campsite at a state park near Florence, Oregon. As we began to plan, we started to think of others. Campskunk and Sharon spend their summer on the Oregon coast so let’s ask them. What about Pat, who lives on San Juan Island? She was invited. Oh, let’s ask Dorothy, and she came.

Six Roadtreks came and seven people. We had such a good time we decided to do it again this summer. This year we met at Cape Perpetua, another group campsite. Some of the original group could not make it this year so we invited others. Those who could not make it were missed.

Pat and I left three days early so we could meander our way to Oregon. Both of us are less inclined to drive for hours on end. We had shorter driving days and more time to explore. And our campgrounds were good, some were really good.

Our View Willapa Bay
  • Bruceport County Park is located on the south side of Willapa Bay. There always seems to be a spot to camp. This time we got the best site. It had an unlimited view of Willapa Bay.
  • The Blue Heron Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon is a free Harvest Hosts site. It is surrounded by farmland and open to many RVs that come for the night. For those who can indulge, shopping for the wonderful cheeses in the store is a plus.
  • Beverley Beach State Park is further down the coast and is one of the many State Parks on the coast. A short walk will end at the beach. The Oregon Coast is so pretty.

I would like to say that it is easy to get ready to travel, yet it takes a bit of planning to get my RT ready. That means getting EmmyLou, my rig ready for the trip. Two days before departure the refrigerator is turned on. She got a bath and I did some minor detailing. And just as I think everything is ready to go my engine battery died. Thank goodness for Roadside assistance. She now has a new battery, the DEF fluid was added and she was purring and ready to roll.

It was a delight to meet up with my friends again. This year there were three dogs and one kitty that joined the menagerie. We camped, and talked and caught up on each other’s lives. I got some precious kitty time with Phoebe the Cat. On our one full day, a subgroup of us hiked to Thor’s Well, a natural phenomenon on the coast. We shared stories, food, and more, and then, just like that it was over and we all departed for separate destinations.

All friendships are special. I like how friends can meet once a year and it is like we have seen each other yesterday. The company is good. The stories are great. And especially in the past few years, it is wonderful to physically meet up with others, see their precious faces, and hear their tales.

The Roadtreking friends’ adventure was not quite over for me. I returned to Washington, stopping before I left Oregon, for a morning kayak north of Waldport, and then returned to Tillamook for another free camping night. After one more night of camping, I joined my friends, Jean and Jim (they own a Roadtrek too) at their lovely home on the Salish Sea, in Washington. I slept in the driveway and enjoyed the view from their home above the water. This part of the Sound faces east and south. In the far distance, one can see the skyline of Seattle. I arrived in time to witness Jean giving Jim a haircut. It bought back memories of Jim, my husband. I used to cut his hair as well. Jean and I talked our way through the afternoon and evening.

And then, just like that my adventure was over and I returned to Whidbey Island and the land of the amazing sunsets.

Buying my Roadtrek RV has been a game changer in my life. I bought it on a whim. It has seen me through so much. It helped me drive through the initial grief of the loss of my husband. I have seen some marvelous places and met good and kind people. Mostly though, it has been a friend magnet. I continue to meet such wonderful people. We become more than people passing on the road. We become friends. How wonderful is that?

Today I am thankful for my Roadtrek, EmmyLou, and the amazing people that are now my circle of friends.

Ah Yes, Today I am Thankful.

My Ongoing Friendship With Birdy Boy

Birdy Boy at his Best

If you have read my blog since the spring of 2021 you may recall the unique friendship I developed with a male song sparrow in the spring. Unique friendships are to be treasured.

Here is a link to the posts from last year. The Magic of Friendship and The Continuuing Saga of the Little Brown Bird.

Upon my arrival on Whidbey Island in June of 2022, Birdy Boy was there to greet me. At first, he was distant and curious. He would hop all around me and keep his distance. By the end of the second day, there he was, sitting on my legs, arms, and shoulders singing away. This year he has only progressed to my head once.

Since breeding season is over he has shown up with a female song sparrow. She is quiet (they don’t sing) and sits a distance away. I wonder if she is trying to figure out about this odd friendship Birdy Boy and I have developed.

You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Our close friendship continued until this month. When mating season is over things change. Until yesterday the feeders were quiet. Many of the small birds were gone or infrequently visiting the yard. Last year when this happened I grieved for the loss of my birdy friend. I thought he had migrated. After five days he and many of the other small birds reappeared. They had gone to the bushes to molt. All these little birds lose all or most of their feathers one to two times per year.

I believe that Birdy Boy is once again preparing to molt. He is looking a bit disheveled. His feathers are out of sorts. He has a small bald spot on the top of his head. He spends more time in the shrubs. The little birds go there to molt. It creates a safe place for the birds while they are in a more vulnerable state.

Some days he does not show up. At times he comes but keeps his distance. The closeness of spring is gone. This happened last August as well. With the end of the spring and early summer, his habits change.

I reminded myself that this would happen again this year. Even knowing this I miss his presence. He is a central part of my Whidbey Island Experience. I think often about what brings me joy. This little song sparrow brings me joy right to the core of my heart.

Yesterday he appeared early in the day. I was excited to see him. He came to the deck and stood on the chair back and sang away. During the day when I would be outside, he returned. One time he came to my knee and settled in. I love when he quiets down and just hangs out with me. There is no singing, no chitting, we just sit there like long-time friends enjoying the silence and the view out over Puget Sound. After about twenty minutes he flew off into the bushes and that was it for the day. I was pleased he stayed as long as he did. He brings me comfort.

Friendships come in all sizes, shapes and species. I value this friendship as I do all of my friendships. I continue to learn a lot from this little bird. In the quiet of the moments with him, my heart opens up. It is OK to be patient and soft and quiet. It is also OK to be joyous and sing my song and it is fun to share that song with others. Friendships require trust and commitment. I am glad to have shared this with this sweet little brown bird.

Today I am thankful for friendships, trust, quiet, and my friendship with Birdy Boy.