Getting Ready-Heading South

After so many months it seems a bit strange to say I am “getting ready to roll”. Yes, the owners are returning to their lovely home on Whidbey Island. My time is up and I am heading south. I am ready for a bit less rain and warmer temperatures. It has been raining a lot lately. One week it rained for almost a whole week straight before the blessed sun returned to the sky and everything dried out.

I have enjoyed my stationary time. Well mostly stationary. I have made a few excursions to the Oregon coast to meet up with friends. After a week away I returned to Whidbey and the house. I also have been to the Olympic Peninsula twice. I love exploring our national parks.

I have lived full time, well mostly, in my tiny RV for more than five years. Staying in one place has been a new experience for me. I have had plenty of time to explore. I have experienced the changing of seasons in the Pacific Northwest. I arrived at the beginning of spring and am leaving halfway through the fall.

For the first time in years, I have experienced changing of the seasons. It started rainy and blustery. As the spring progressed the rain stopped and everything came alive. I discovered when the rain stops in the spring everything greens up and flower season begins. After living in southern California for almost thirty years I thrived on the green here. There are so many tall trees. Walking in the woods smells wonderful. It really helps when that walk often ends at a beach.

This year I got to watch the progression of flower seasons. When I first arrived Daffodils and Tulips were everywhere. I was able to meet up with a good friend and enjoy tulip season in the Skagit Valley. It was breathtaking.

Tulip season folded into Rhododendron season. There was color everywhere. I discover private and public gardens to explore on my walks and bike rides. The east coast lilacs I grew up with competed for attention with the Rhodies. I love lilacs and it was a joy to have them in vases in the house. I would walk downstairs in the morning and smell the lilacs as I entered the living space. What a wonderful smell.

As the season rolled into summer the flowers faded, replaced by green, sunny, warm days. I got my fair share of kayaking, walking, and cycling in. Except for a few days, the temperatures were mild. It was good to be outside.

The flowers made a reappearance this fall when the Dahlias stepped forward to fill the flower void. Oh my, there were dahlias everywhere. They were on display at roadside stands, farms, yards, and even my front yard. I love dahlias. 

I have also seen a progression of birds as the season’s change. Hummingbirds were here and then they were gone, while they raised their young, and then they reappeared. Recently the crows who have been around all summer have disappeared. Where have they gone? I have seen eagles, osprey, sparrows (golden-crowned, song, white-crowned), finches, and flickers. My joy this summer was seeing Harlequin and Pintail Ducks for the first time. I have treasured the birds and the time I have to enjoy them. 

And then, of course, there is my special little brown birdy, who has made me feel so important, special, and unique. I see him every few days. He always acknowledges me. I enjoyed the times that he seems particularly thrilled to see me, flying over to visit and sitting on my foot or leg. I will miss him. I also know he is OK out there in his birdy world. 

I have made friends on Whidbey. One of them, Lela is going to join me for part of the trek south. She owns a Roadtrek RV as well. My neighbors, Robyn and Tom have been such a great resource and a delight. I am glad to have met them. 

All in all, it has been a very good way to spend another Covid summer.

Thank you Jim and Sandy for loaning me your beautiful home with the drop-dead gorgeous sunsets. I will always be grateful for this opportunity. 

Now the days are shorter. It gets dark early in the afternoon and stays dark later in the morning. I find I am longing for the sun and the warmth. It is time to go.

Today I am feeling thankful for the opportunities that present themselves to me. Today I am thankful I can recognize them. Today I am thankful for life.

 

The Magic of Friendship

I love nature. There is nothing more soothing to me than venturing out into the forests, beaches or deserts. I love nature. I am a birder and love watching all the wonderful birds I see when I am out with or without my camera. I love watching animals big and small. And, Oh the flowers. Nature keeps me happy and whole even when I don’t feel one hundred percent.

There are many different types of birds in Washington where I am currently residing. I have seen Black-Headed Grosbeaks, Western Tanagers, Rufous Hummingbirds, Northern Pintails (ducks), Gadwalls and so much more.

I failed to mention Eagles, because they are everywhere. I see them almost daily, in flight, on the beach, and in the trees. I even met one up close when I was looking at that tiny little spot way out in the water. I almost walked into it as it was sitting on the beach directly in front of me. Birding is fun here. Birding is fun everywhere.

Young Eagle

There are moments in my life, in your life, when magic happens in nature. If it is large enough we see it and delight in it. Some magic moments are more frightening and overwhelming. If we live through it, we will grow and become more confident and strong. Some moments are quiet and small with great impact.

Approximately two weeks ago I was sitting on the deck when I heard the most beautiful bird song. I pulled out my bird app and was finally able to deduce that it was a song sparrow. On my app, there is a section that lets one hear how the bird sounds. I played it and sure enough, it was a song sparrow. When this little guy heard the sound he flew to the deck and warbled away.

I have ceased playing the sounds yet he comes and finds me several times a day and sings his tune. If I am inside he stands on the back of the deck chairs and looks in and sings. If I move to the other side of the yard he finds me. He has sat on my feet and knees and arms, shoulders and head. I think he is in serious like with me.

I have learned a bit about song sparrows. They can sing at least twenty-four different songs and produce variations of the songs. They often will learn songs of neighboring birds. Unlike other songbirds, they tend to repeat their song several times before moving onto another variation. They are mostly ground birds bouncing in and out of the nearby bushes. One time He was sitting on a pole that is supporting deer fencing. He quickly looked down, flew to the fence and just like that he nabbed a moth. I did not even see the moth until he picked it up and swallowed it.

When I go out and visit with him I sit quietly and talk softly with him. It has been interesting to watch his progress in identifying where it is safe for him to go. When he first decided to try my arm he would fly onto the arm and immediately pop off again. Each time he tried he stayed longer. If I did a sudden movement he would immediately go to a nearby fence. He did this same type of testing with my knees, shoulders and now head. Although he still does this when I first go outside the time has shortened.

This behavior is no different than when people meet other people or move into a new environment. Don’t we often test people? Or I should say, wouldn’t this be a good idea? As children grow they test the world around them all the time. This is how we learned some basics of life, such as not to touch a hot stove burner. Hopefully we have all learned this. It is through testing out the options that we find our friends and our true family. It is often why some friendships are short and others last the test of time.

I am pleased to have met this little fellow. I feel honored that he has picked me for a friendship, although I do tell him he needs to go meet other girl sparrows.

He has reminded me to practice patience. It takes time to welcome others into my life. I take time each day to sit quietly with him. I use this time to sit and observe nature in my immediate surroundings, listen to the birds and watch what is going on out on the Sound. And I breath. Always I breath.

He has certainly added a bit of joy to my stay on Whidbey Island.

Today I am thankful for magic, trust and nature and one little brown bird.

A Change in Attitude

Monday I went in search for rhubarb. Did you know that Washington State is a prime producer of rhubarb? I did not know this but as I drive or bike around the island I have noticed the Rhubarb for Sale signs at the end of driveways. I love rhubarb. This rhubarb search started because of a recipe published in the New York Times for Vanilla Bean Rhubarb Cobbler. There is rhubarb growing where I am house sitting but not enough.

I have been feeling a bit lonely and out of sorts for the past few days. I have been feeling sorry for myself. I find it hard to be solo in a society that favors couples and relationships. This is not my world. I am not sure what my world should be. Covid has made me even more confused and lost. This was my mood as I ventured off to find rhubarb.

My day changed. My attitude shifted.

My first stop was a farm stand with a coffee stand, produce and plants for the garden. The two women behind the coffee cart helped me weigh out the rhubarb. We chatted and laughed. I ordered a cup of coffee and then discovered this was a brand new enterprise, having only been open for two days. We talked about living in an RV and house sitting. They were so kind and helpful and my attitude shifted with this momentary conversation and feeling of worthiness. Happily with rhubarb in hand, I departed.

My mini-aventure in happiness and self worth continued.

I am having a major issue with my refrigerator door. It kind of fell off because of broken plastic parts that have worn with time. Buying a new door is expensive. I am a do it myself kind of woman and I have decided that I want to try to fix it. I have been studying this door and thinking. Today since I was near Home Depot I thought I would walk in with my door in hand and ask some of the experts.

I was standing in the aisle with all the nuts and bolts and doing the Home Depot stare. The stare was something I learned from Jim and I often notice it on people, especially men in these kind of stores. Now I do it too.

This man in an orange top was walking down the aisle. I assumed he was an employee. I stopped him and started to ask for his help. He said he was busy and left. A few minutes later he returned and asks me about the door. I showed it to him and explained the problem. I need to figure out some way to secure the door and replace or fix the broken parts. He looked at it for a few minutes and came up with a suggestion. The first idea didn’t pan out so we started talking it through again and he came up with a great idea and even better, one I can do myself.

I took a close look at him and realized he was not wearing a Home Depot employee vest or work uniform. He had an orange safety vest on. I said to him “you don’t work here do you?”. He smiled and said no. He works contract for the military in Oak Harbor. He said that people often mistake him for a employee of Home Depot as he frequents the store as part of his job. Sean and I had a great conversation and he figured out a solution to the issue at hand. He made my day. I was so surprised that he came back to help me. The smallest interactions sometimes offer the greatest rewards.

I now have a plan and hopefully the door will be fixed within the week.

Since I was in Oak Harbor and had not really visited this part of the Island I looked at a map and figured out how to take the backroads close to the west side of the Island on my return Greenbank. I discovered Joseph Whidbey State Park. Every State Park I have been to in Washington is very pretty. This park did not disappoint. I hiked a short trail to the beach and started to stroll up the beach. As I walked by a family, two adults and two children, the woman got up, with mask in place and asked me if I was looking for agates. They proceeded to show me all the agates they had found and told me it was a hobby that everyone enjoyed. She guaranteed that I would find some. Well she was wrong, however, I was given the gift of another momentary interaction that made me feel unique and worthy.

Searching for Agates

I have my rhubarb and a plan of action for my refrigerator door repair. I certainly have a much better attitude and outlook than when I left home this morning. Sometimes the smallest interactions are the mightiest. I came home feeling happy after a fun-filled day of small interactions with other people. My self worth had increased and I currently find no traces of my morning attitude. It helped to be out in nature for part of the day. I saw some new birds which is always exciting. I have also discovered another park that I would like to go back and explore more. Maybe I will find an agate.

Today I am thankful for the unseen guidance that puts me in the right place to receive what I need at this moment in time. Today I am grateful for all the tiny moments given to me by others to brighten my day and my awareness. Today I am Thankful.

The Adventure of It All

Northwest Sunset

I enjoy an adventure. I like to read about others’ adventures. I like to watch documentaries of adventure. I am a closet big wave surfer and high altitude climber. I like to be in the middle of adventure.

On March 16th I left San Diego to adventure north. After spending time in Oxnard, California, and Point Mugu, getting the last of the rig repairs completed I headed north. Destination, Whidbey Island, Washington. On an adventure, I seldom go right to the beginning of the new experience. I decided to give myself time to wander through California, Oregon and finally Washington.

Oceano Dunes

The Oceano Sand Dunes are located south of Pismo Beach. The Dunes area is recognized by scientists, conservationists, government agencies, and the public as the finest, most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California. The Preserve offers rare opportunities for on-the-sand activities—you can camp on the beach and in the open dune area, go horseback riding, and drive right on the beach. In fact, it’s the only California State Park that allows vehicles to do so (four- or all-wheel drive recommended). I did not camp on the beach. The fee to be towed if one gets stuck in the sand is quite a bit. I camped in a private campground that allowed direct access into the dunes.

This is my third visit to the dunes. I know I will return again and again. There is something special about standing in the middle of these rolling dunes and seeing no one except the little animal tracks at my feet. These dunes are what I expected every desert to look like when I was a child.

The Dunes

Being close to Hollywood, several movies have been filmed here. The most noted one is “The Ten Commandments”. When filming was complete, rather than dismantling the set, it was coved with sand and left. According to an article in the LA Times, “Hollywood discovered Guadalupe Dunes decades ago“, pieces of this set continue to be found by amateur and professional sleuths.

I found the dunes attractive for the opportunity to take photos in the ever-changing light. The light was shifting moment by moment. It would have been easy to take a photo of one object again and again. the light changed before my eyes.

This is a place I know I will return to again and again. And if you are wondering….The dunes are packed hard so walking is easy in most places. Be ready for that soft spot though.

I pushed myself north a bit faster than I would have liked but I knew there was an empty house in need of attention at my final destination.

Mary Making Bagels

I did take a few days off to visit with two close friends, Mary & Wanda, who have created their bubble. All three of us have been vaccinated. It felt safe to visit. What does one do when there is no room in the house to sleep? I slept in my rig on a quiet street in Medford, Oregon. Oh but I had access to a bathroom to shower. Sweet.

It has been almost a year since I have visited anyone closely except Ward and Cynthia, part of my bubble. It was good to see other people who I knew were consciously taking care of themselves. Mary introduced me to her new E-bike. Oh my goodness I could do some damage with that. It was fun to ride. For now I will stick with my road bike.

Since I left the bay area it had been rainy and gray. When I got on the ferry to Whidbey it was gray and a short time later I drove off the ferry into the sun. About forty-five minutes later I arrived at my temporary home for the next two months.

It has not remained sunny. On Sunday the weather changed, a cold front came through. There was hail. There was the wind. The temperature dropped. Then Monday arrived and the sun has been out ever since. I was told that I have seen the worst of the weather.

I am beginning my adventure on Whidbey Island. I will be here until mid-June. I have been exploring beaches and taking photos-lots of photos. I will add a link to the photos with my next blog post. I am adjusting to being solo again. It gets pretty quiet without anyone to talk to. It is life and I am slowly settling in. The view and the outdoors are helping assuage the quiet.

My Current Home

My adventure on Whidbey Island is just beginning. I hope you will come along for the ride, walk, hike,…

Today I am thankful for people who entrust me to care for their home. Today I am thankful for a cozy home with an amazing view. Today I am thankful for the opportunities that are offered to me. Today I am thankful for recognizing opportunities.