I have just ended a five day birding spree with friends from all over. My 2014 Year List has grown from 86 species on January 19th to 131 species by January 27! I awoke this morning knowing that the end is near. In four more days I will be gone. Though I have delayed this reality as long as possible, it is time to take the feeders down and wash them so they can be packed all together. I want to be able to find them and hang them as soon as I arrive in Maine.
The yard has been fairly quiet lately with the same 8 species returning on a daily basis: Rock Pigeon, Mourning Dove, Anna’s Hummingbird, Gila Woodpecker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, House Finch, Lesser Goldfinch, and House Sparrow. Sporadically I see Cooper’s Hawk, Costa’s Hummingbirds, Common Raven, Say’s Phoebe, and Verdin. Once in awhile I hear a distant Cactus Wren or a Curve-billed Thrasher. Sometimes I see a Red-tailed Hawk circling overhead, but that is all for now, and I will be gone before it gets exciting once again.
I am trying not to think about what this move means to my life, for I know it will change. The birds and the habitat change are obvious, but the change in relationships is what I am finding hard. I will not have my little grandson running downstairs every morning calling out “meme!” in a joyful voice, arms open wide. I will miss him asking me, “meme, can I help you?” when he sees me baking in the kitchen or filling bird feeders in the backyard. It will be a long time before he snuggles with me in a rocking chair at night while we watch nature shows together. And before long, he will be too old to snuggle.
I will not be here to greet my dear friend, Celeste each time she returns. I will miss Earl Grey tea and bird watching on the patio with her.
I will miss the daily interaction with my son, his sense of humor and his insights about life and people, and the most obvious person I will miss I can barely talk about. What will I do without Chris?
Chris Rohrer in Empire Gulch 9-16-12
When I first met him 18 months ago I knew he would be a friend, but I could not have predicted this kind of friendship. I try to relate it to another relationship in my own life and all I can compare it to is my birding mentor, Trudy. She not only taught me about the birds, but she taught me about Life and she loved me unconditionally. Wherever I moved in the United States she stayed in contact with me; first through letters, and then through email. When she was in her late 90’s and I started my Sycamore Canyon Blog she was thrilled. She followed my birding escapades with longing and she would write me long and enthusiastic emails encouraging me to get out and see the world as much as I could and while I still could. To her dying day she loved birds and nature and longed to be outside immersed in it all. I tease Chris that one day I will be the old lady birder and he will have to call me and tell me all his birding stories and adventures and as I grow older he will have to come and get me and take me on birding walks and I will always love him.
I know this trip across the country with Gus will be different. We will not be stopping to watch birds like I did with Kathryn 18 months ago. This time it will be all about the weather and trying to beat the storms or drive around them! But once I get to Maine, watch out birds, because Kathie’s Birds is coming and I am going to count you all! I do look forward to living near the ocean. It will be a new life experience for me and I am ready to embrace it and all there is to see.
- A Parting of the Ways- Celeste’s Post
Shorebirds in Maine 8-7-2012