Change of Plans

Pardon me while I indulge in a little whining.

Mike and I took off for a much-needed vacation, heading east, our favorite direction in May for pine forests and warm weather.  Not wanting to go far from home due to my tooth pain and the possibility of needing to come back for dental care, and always concerned about Mom, Leavenworth was our first stop.  My legs, which have bothered me on and off, decided to push the limits of pain – walking, sitting, and the transition between the two, felt like I had nails in my knees and paralyzed calf muscles.  As the saying goes, I tried to grin and bear it, not having other options.

A weekend Bird Festival in Leavenworth and a lovely Forest Service campsite along Icicle Creek, fast-moving with spring run-off, provided pleasant diversions.  We couldn’t partake of the bird watching walks, but we attended a workshop on bird songs and an entertaining, informative talk by Thor Hanson, author of the fascinating book Feathers, The Evolution of a Natural Miracle.

Leavenworth’s faux Bavarian façade doesn’t excite me, but birds are not concerned about taste, they are looking for habitat and apparently Leavenworth, the surrounding environs, and places east, have an abundance of perfect child-rearing habitat for many bird species. 180 species of birds migrate through the Leavenworth area in May and June, many stopping to breed before heading further north. A birders paradise!

Sunday afternoon we enjoyed a concert that included a ‘chorus’ of hand bell ringers while watching swallows swoop and soar outside windows behind the musicians.  It was magical and peaceful.

Plans to head further east for warmer weather, lazy days in a campsite and perhaps some easy bird watching by a lake somewhere came to an abrupt halt when calls to Mom went unanswered. Rousing others to go check on her, it became apparent we needed to head home.  Mom was disoriented, awake at night, sleeping during the day, eating at the wrong time.  For a day and night her world had turned upside down.  And so seemingly had mine.

Mom is doing fine.  Monday she was on track with days, dates and time and back into her routines, today she was quite cheery.  Not me.  Though relieved and grateful Mom is doing well, two sleepless nights, worn down from worry,  and not happy about forfeiting our vacation on the sunny side of Washington, I started my day grumpy and went down hill from there.  I will spare you the gruesome details.

 As we pulled into our driveway this evening Mike stopped the car. “Is that a leaf or a bird?” looking out the windshield at a brown lump in front of the car.  “A bird!” I said as I got out on my stiff, wobbly legs.  A fledgling robin squatted in the dirt, barely moving.  I gently scooped it up into my cupped hands.  It was warm and soft and for one moment very still in my hand, then in a flutter, flew to a near by branch…leaving behind two hands full of poop.

All day Mike had been understanding, sympathetic, cajoling, and a few times just plain fed up with my dark mood. Nature just gave it to me straight.

After washing my hands I walked around our lush, overgrown yard, marveling how quickly everything grows this time of year. Blossoms from last week are spent, new plants in full bloom, radishes ready for munching, lettuce growing, bean and squash sprouts up. 

Yesterday Mom, with Mike’s help, filled the bird feeder that hangs outside her dining room window.  Her chickadees returned, having not been fed on Sunday.

I don’t know if the little fledgling will make it, it seemed small and young to be out and about.  I’m grateful to have felt its warm body and will remember its message – move on and leave my sh*t behind!

Tomorrow we hope to find a campsite somewhere closer to home, Mom is headed to my brother’s for the holiday weekend to celebrate my niece’s birthday.  It promises to be a sunny one….here on the wet side.




2 thoughts on “Change of Plans

  1. Sometimes Penney you just have to be the beauty. Helping your mom like you did. And your lovely garden welcomed you. Your kindness (Mike’s too) is like a beacon to others.


  2. God Bless you Penney. And Mike too.
    Maybe, just maybe, it all happened so you could come home to be God’s helping hands when you came upon the fledgling Robin. You’ll never know for sure, but you were grateful to have found it and held it, if only for a brief moment. And, Michael spotted it. I believe you two saved the little creature.


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