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.

Friends in the Desert

A majority of the time I travel alone in my Roadtrek. I hike alone. I bike alone. I have gotten used to my own company, quirks and all.

On January 6, I left San Diego for the desert, Borrego Springs and the Salton Sea (all part of the California Desert). I love to visit the desert to breathe the air, hear the quiet and contemplate. The gentlest of breezes catch my attention. It is my time to renew, refresh and think things through.

The past two years have been different. I meet friends, travel with them, hike with them and more. Most of them I only see once a year, in the desert, in the winter. They arrive from Washington, Oregon, California and further. They come for a few days, a week, or the season.

I feel like I have been a social butterfly.

Peggy and Roger greeted me as I arrived. Peggy and I met traveling in our small B class RVs. Peggy has moved up to a larger rig since she met Roger. Usually, they are here for the winter season. This year they changed it up as they are heading east to take a cruise out of Miami in February.  I had about a week and a half with them before they started the meander east. It’s always fun to meet up with Peggy, she likes to play Bananagram.😁We talk and chat our way through hikes, catching up on everything.

Upon my arrival, Cori was here for a night in her Roadtrek Zion. Cori, like me full times in her little rig. Although our visit was brief we were able to get an evening hike in before dinner and a visit. The following day she pulled out for Quartzite, AZ.

Hiking with Sandy & Pat

On Jan 21 I had to leave for San Diego for a few days. Dr appointments waited. Three days later I arrived back at my free campground to meet up with Sandy and Pat. They own an older Roadtrek and travel each winter. I love these people. Last winter when we met up I had a hard time keeping up with them on the trail. They used to be ultra-marathoners. This year it was much easier. I am in better shape and have been hiking or biking most days since I arrived here.

I never know where I will meet up with Sandy & Pat. One July they were traveling from Britsh Columbia back to the United States and they found me in northern Montana camped next to a lake. We celebrated the Fourth of July together, got some kayaking in, hiked, and had a good steak dinner, then we were on our way in different directions once again. I have met them in Idaho, Montana, Arizona, and California.

Forster’s Tern

Salton Sea

 

Sora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After they left I headed for the Salton Sea. I love birds, all kinds of birds. At this time of year, the Sea is full of migratory and stationary birds. This winter, I have been there three times. It has yet to disappoint. I went for a day with Peggy & Roger (see paragraph 3), once on my own and this time to visit Rhonda and Jim at the Fountain of Youth RV Resort & Spa. Michigan is harsh in the winter so these folks head south in their Roadtrek for a few months every winter. A benefit of the Fountain of Youth are the mineral hot springs that are available when one lodge’s there. They are delightful people and I am glad to have met and become friends with them. I also like that they are up for any adventure. While we visited and caught up, we hiked to palm groves with thousands of palm trees, known as the Dos Palmas and Adreas Grove.

Jim, Janet, Rhonda & Cricket

We also had time to explore the eclectic and funky town of Bombay Beach, and have dinner at the American Legion (the lowest one in altitude in the United States).

I also had serious conversations on this visit with them. I miss Jim, my husband who died from cancer seven years ago, I miss having someone to hash things out with. I am glad my friends are willing to come forward and fill that role when I need someone to talk to. They asked the right questions and hopefully, I found the right answers.

Another day we bird watched along the marshes of the Salton Sea always ending with a visit to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge to see the resident burrowing owls. Beyond cute! While I was visiting there Gary, another full-time RV’er came in the night before I left to say hi and visit for a couple days. Gary gave me his knee scooter when I broke my ankle five years ago. He and Penny have been on my radar ever since.

Karen & Larry

I left The Fountain of Youth and drove up the street about twenty miles to meet up with Karen and Larry. I met them through my friend, Zee, who is in Mexico for the winter. I first met them on a river trip in Northern Montana on the North Fork of the Flathead River. This is my second year of meeting them in the desert. They are from Oregon and travel in the winter months. The added attraction of my meet-up this year is they have two kitties that travel with them. I needed a kitty fix.

Solei

They followed me back to Borrego Springs and we have been hiking and four-wheeling and of course, talking. There are marvelous things to explore everywhere I go. It is often much more fun to share it with someone else.

The flow of people in and out of my life is something I miss when I am traveling solo. This winter has more than made up for the social side of myself. On days I when I want some solo time I am able to say “I am going biking today” and I get that alone time I need in the desert. It is also nice to retreat to my Roadtrek and close the door when I need to. We all seem very respectful of the time we spend alone and together. Friends do that for each other.

Friday I am returning to San Diego. I am camping posh at an RV resort in Chula Vista for a few nights and then will be camping in another friend’s driveway for several days as I finish with the treatment for thyroid cancer.

I have family that I love and care for and hopefully, they feel the same for me. Yet, I have a true family of friends all over the country and Canada. I am grateful that they include me in their adventures, great and small. I am thankful they open their arms in greeting. I am thankful that they accept me in whatever shape I am at the moment.

Today I am thankful for true and good friends. Today I am thankful.