Flowers-Nature’s Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Exploring Without & Within

Wow, I have been on the Island for close to a month. Where does the time go? What have I been doing?

I have been enjoying my time here. The place I am staying is definitely a home. I have felt welcomed and comfortable. I keep thinking I will get tired of the sunsets, yet each time I see one, I am amazed again. Almost everywhere I wander I meet up with eagles. They still thrill me when I see them.

I have been told by my neighbors and the locals that this past week has been highly unusual for Whidbey Island. It has been sunny, warm and beautiful. I have had ample time to find hiking trails and beaches to walk on. I have finally gotten my bicycle out and took a hilly ride near where I live. And today it is raining, a soft quiet female rain.

Although I have been completely vaccinated I have been trying to figure out what is next. I am very wary of being around people. I am concerned about interacting at a close range with others. A few days ago there was an article in the New York Times “The U.S. Is Opening Up. For the Anxious, That Comes With a Cost”. It was an interesting article Parts of it rang true for me.

When does necessity become a habit? If it is a habit and it is not quite as necessary to be so strict, how do I break this habit or at least loosen up my lifestyle a bit? I really don’t know what the answers are to these questions. I think I will need to continue to take baby steps. I have moved into a loose bubble with my neighbors Robyn & Tom. We have all been vaccinated. I enjoy their company. They are more comfortable with moving back towards a new normal. Sometimes they take me along.

I have now been out to dinner once in an inside restaurant with a great view of the Port Townsend Ferry. The tables were socially distanced, and had high backs. Everyone was wearing their masks appropriately. It felt safe and it was fun to be out and about. Would I do this very often? No, I prefer outside dining or takeout.

Friday night I went to the movies with these same neighbors. There is a small old theater in the town of Langley. The Clyde theater has been owned by the same family for years and everyone knows each other. To encourage people to return to their movie theater, they have been careful. Every other row was roped off. If you were in a party of three or more you had a row to yourselves. There were less than thirty people in the theater. It was fun and felt like an adventure. They now have a Saturday matinee for fully vaccinated people. Would I do this type of activity often? No, yet it was a step in the right direction for me. The movie was Nomadland.

Company has been arriving on my doorstep. My friend Melissa who lives in Seattle is taking full advantage of our close proximity. On the first visit, we introduced our germs to each other, sitting on the deck, sans mask, and walking the beaches. At the end of the day, she returned to Seattle. Since then we have enjoyed each other’s company in my current home twice more. We have known each other since the mid-seventies and we have a lot of catching up to do. What makes it even more fun is that she is active and we have been hiking and kayaking together. I am enjoying her company.

Pat, another northwestern US friend has also come for a visit. She lives on San Juan Island so we are not too far apart. I met her at the Mt Vernon Tulip Festival and had a marvelous time. Then she returned to my house for a few nights. We spent one whole day sitting on the back deck, talking, bird watching and definitely catching up on our lives. I have written about Pat before. She diverted her trip in November 2019 to come and give me support after my sweet Elsie the Cat disappeared. A true friend indeed.

This coming month I am planning to adventure out a little more. It is time to explore further than the island boundaries. I am hoping to spend a few nights on the Olympic Peninsula. It is time to spread my wings. It is time to remind myself to trust science, to trust the vaccines I have received. It is time to dip my toe in the water realistically and practically. It is time to enjoy each day, be grateful for life and maybe reach a little beyond my current comfort range.