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.

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.

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.

Roadtreking & Friends

I have owned my Roadtrek since 2013. It has been an adventure like no other. My Roadtrek and I have been a friend magnet.

It all started with a blog. I know, you think it was this blog. No, it was another. After I wrote my first post on my blog, I was contacted by Mike the owner of the former Roadtrek Lifestyles blog. He asked me to become a guest reporter for that blog. Little did I know what this exposure would do for my life.

People from all over the United States and Canada followed my travel adventures via the Roadtrek Lifestyle blog. It took about a year before I started posting to meet the first fellow Roadtrekers at San Simeon State Park on the Big Sur Coast of California. Appropriately enough we met at the “Dump Station”. That is where we empty our black and gray water tanks. Although they knew me and Miss Elsie the Cat I did not know them until that moment in time.

Then it started to happen more often.

Linda & Pancho & Mary Z
  • I pulled the front-end bumper off my rig in Crescent City, Oregon. No, I don’t want to go into details. I had to go to Medford Oregon for repairs. When I mentioned it on my Facebook page, Mary Z responded that she lived in Medford. She opened her home to me for a week while the rig was in the shop. Mary and I have been friends since that week. We meet about once a year, minus the Covid years. I have been on grand adventures with her with more to come. She owns a Roadtrek.
  • Through Mary, I met Linda, who lives in Boise, Idaho. She is married with a grown son. When she is in need of Linda time, she travels solo in her Roadtrek. The three of us were hiking in the desert when I fell and broke my ankle. Ah, yes the adventure continues. Linda and I have been friends ever since that desert meetup. I stayed with her in Bosie. I have spent a summer in her mountain cabin, staying remote during Covid 2020. It is a great place in the mountains with nearby lakes. I have pet sat for her and she pet sat for Elsie the Cat.
  • I am currently house and cat sitting for Mandy. Guess what? She owns a Roadtrek. We met at a rally and camped together with Ann (she owns an RT too) after the rally was complete.
Sunset Over Puget Sound
  • Sandy and Jim used to own a Roadtrek. Today they own a high clearance B class RV. They own a home on Whidbey Island, Washington. I house-sat for them last year and am returning in about nine days for a second round of house sitting this summer. They are a lovely couple and have a prime spot looking west over Puget Sound. It is fun to turn a virtual friendship into a real one.
  • I met Pat and George and their two Basenjis at a parking lot on the Oregon Coast. We had lunch and have shared stories and time together.
  • In the winters I head to the desert. For two seasons I have met Jim and Rhonda and Cricket at the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV resort. Yep, they own an RT.
  • Mary B and I met in southern New Mexico. She was traveling with Frank the Cat and Roxie the Dog. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Mary had to sell her RT and move to Apache Junction outside of Phoenix. Frank has passed on to kitty heaven. Mary’s two new kitties, Boo and Buddy, and Roxie the dog remain good friends.
Phoebe the Cat
  • Campskunk & Sharon are so well known in the Roadtreking community. They live full-time in their rig along with Miss Phoebe the Cat. They spend their winters in Florida, start to head west at the end of winter, and finally reach the Oregon coast in July. Campskunk has helped me with my rig. He knows a lot about the workings of these machines. Thanks to him, my latest adventure was fixing leaks in my side windows. Thanks, Campskunk for the suggestion of Captain Tolley’s Creeping Crack Cure the leaks are gone.
  • Pat, Mary, Linda, Dorothy, Jim and Cindy, Helen & David & Percy, Lela, Cory, MaryEllen & Sue and so many more. These are not just passing acquaintances. Most of these relationships have turned into friendships. We plan meet-ups. I house and pet sit for some. Others took care of Elsie the Cat when I ventured further afield, Alaska comes to mind.

A week ago Sandy and Pat from Cool, CA came to Salinas for a visit. We usually meet in the desert but this year we kept missing each other. It has been over two years since I have seen them. They own a Roadtrek. When they arrived they took over the driveway in their home on wheels. They came in and out of the house as needed. It was fun to cook with them in Mandy’s great kitchen. When I was busy they took off hiking. When I was not busy we headed for Elkhorn Slough for some kayaking time. We were completely amazed at the plethora of wildlife on the Slough. Pat had to wait patiently while Sandy and I stopped to take frequent photos. It was so much fun to have them come and visit for five days. It was good to catch up and expand and grow our strong friendship. I am so honored to know them.

If I haven’t mentioned all of you who I have met through Roadtreking and RVing, you know who you are, and please know you have enriched my life in so many ways.

I no longer blog for Mike. His direction has changed and so has mine. It has been several years since I last posted on his RV blog. The Roadtrek Lifestyle blog, my blog, and a few other events have drawn me into a strong and wonderful community of fellow travelers and friends. I never cease to feel blessed to know such wonderful and kind people.

Today I am thankful for my Roadtreking friends who have loved and supported me, no matter what.

Today I am thankful for my cute little Roadtrek and the lifestyle it has introduced me to. Today I am thankful for friends.

Cricket the Dog Comes for a Visit

Hi, I am Cricket the dog. Guess what? I was Janet’s first overnight visitor in her Roadtrek. Yep, my people had to go somewhere and they were concerned about me because it was going to be hot. The next thing you know I went next door to Janet’s rig. Then my food bowl arrived, and my bed and most importantly, my treats.

I really like people. I really like people who pet me and put me at the center of their world. My peeps do this routinely. I expect no less. Janet did the same thing. I like that. She took me for long walks in the desert and around the Fountain of Youth Spa and RV Resort. I love walks. I love walking far. I don’t even mind being on a leash. I like sniffing and exploring and prancing along.

When Janet and I were in her RV I got to lay on the bed with her. I also got to thoroughly sniff her house on wheels. Crumbs on the floor are always of interest to me. They don’t remain there for very long. Hmm, I wonder where those food scraps go. 🐶

While Janet prepared dinner I got to sit on the front passenger seat and watch her chop and chop. There was a very interesting smell of meat. I stayed alert just in case she dropped something or offered me a tidbit. That tidbit was good. Lipsmacking good.

At night I slept curled up next to her on the bed. I like being next to humans. I am just a small dog and sometimes I get cold so I like sleeping close to humans. It keeps me warm. And I like being loved by peeps.

After a day, only one of my people returned. I am not sure where the other one went but Jim promised me I would see her again. To make sure I slept on her pillow when I returned to my own house on wheels. Jim is good, really good, but Rhonda is the best there is. She spoils me, a lot.

When you see this post I will be on my way east with Jim. We are going to meet up with Rhonda somewhere in Texas, whatever that means. It is just important to see Rhonda again.

Cricket & Rhonda

I am a little dog that goes on some very big adventures, really big. I love seeing so many new things and smelling new smells. Us dogs really have good sniffers.

I loved being a part of Janet’s life for twentyfour hours. I now find I am comfrotable to bound into her rig whenever I want. I have another home. How about that?

Finally, Into the Desert

What to do between dental appointments. There are so many choices. I guess I could have stayed in San Diego yet I am a traveler and a nomad.

How can a desert lover resist the pull of the desert? I chose to go to Salinas and the Monterey area in February when I would usually be out in the desert for the winter. It was time to change it up. I swear I could hear the desert questioning why I wasn’t there. It lures you in and the hold is strong.

Last Friday early, I climbed into my rig and headed to eastern California to kayak in the desert. Yep, you heard me right, kayak in the desert. It is a strange thing to think of water in a desolate and dry land and yet there it is.

The Colorado River begins high in the Rocky Mountains. It meanders its way southwest, through Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and then rides along the border of California and Arizona before it would empty into the Sea of Cortez. It is the lifeblood of the west. Water is like gold. It is fought over and protected in a land that is often dry and forbidding.

Since it supplies water to such areas as Phoenix and Southern California the Colorado water is managed. Dams have created a playground in Southern California and Arizona right in the heart of the desert. Where one would not expect lakes, they are plentiful.

I met a friend of mine, Cori, at Squaw Lake, and on a perfectly sunny, not too warm day we took off to explore the lake and a small section of the Colorado River, where the currents can be surprisingly strong and sneaky. We kayaked for close to 4 hours in this unique land. Cori and I talked and weaved our way through “The Nile” and eventually made it to the river. It was a perfect day, perfect company, and a perfect kayak.

Swinging in the Salton Sea

We have both moved north to the Salton Sea, a dead accidental sea in the middle of the southern California desert. Not much lives in it as it is extremely salty. On the east side of the Salton Sea, there are hot springs. The Fountain of Youth RV Resort & Spa is a winter attraction for those who live in the northern United States and Canada. It is warm and pleasant in the winter. The days warm into the 80’s Fahrenheit and down to the ’40s at night.

I have friends from Michigan and New Mexico staying here for the winter. After a Covid year off it is good to meet up with everyone again. We all own Roadtreks. Owning one of these RVs has certainly added to my life in my ways. I have met and become friends with so many good people.

I have been walking and soaking in the pools and hot springs. This morning I went to Yoga. I spend much of my time alone so it is nice to visit with such good and dear friends. After almost two Covid years I have to practice being social again.

I am here for another week and a half before the dentist once again lures me back to San Diego. Sigh. The good news is I am almost done with the dentist.

What’s Next? I have no idea. Plans will take shape as spring emerges. Meanwhile, I am enjoying my brief time in the desert this year. I am enjoying my friends.

Today I am thankful, for the desert, for tried and true friends, and that I can take my kayak almost anywhere and find water to launch it.

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.