I’ve been feeling myself slipping into a funk. Anxiety is high and though the center is holding, so much around me seems to be falling away. I get reminders all the time about impermanence. It both comforts and terrifies me. I feel like there is a pendulum swinging all the time and I am waiting for the wild swings to calm and lie quietly in the center. In the middle. In the here. In the now. I know better than to not reach out. This will have to do for today.
Roadtrips for me are like medicine, or at the very least, like vitamins. Hitting the road with a good book to listen to, my heart absolutely soars. Imagine my frustration on Monday, a long drive ahead of me, when my Android Auto app failed to connect in my car. I pull over a mile from home and fuss with it for 30 minutes until I can get my book to play over my car audio. No GPS though, so I’ll have to drive from memory rather than instruction.
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After what amounts to nearly three hours in my car, I finally arrive at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge. At RNWR you have an option of an auto tour. You stay within the confines of your car and experience the wildlife with open windows and a good zoom lense. They suggest a single driving loop would take 45 minutes or so, I usually take twice that long.
There is a lot of wildlife and I hum along slowly eyeballing every silhoutte in the distance. Nutria, otters, eagles and hawks. Wrens, herons, swans, sparrows and deer. It’s a lovely day and as it nears the noon hour the sun peeks out and the light is stunning. Rounding the last curve on my second trip I spot a kestral “kiting” and for once I can get some good shots of this beautiful bird with wings out and a steely gaze toward the field. Ahhh bliss.
Of course I’ll make a third loop.
I pull down the gravel road past the kiosk and spot the American Bittern again in the reeds. In pattern and color they are made to blend well, but a slow, careful scan reveals movement and I spot him. I snap a few shots and then it happens. My camera shutter button stops working and my zoom lense alternates between its full and least extensions. Nothing in between. It’s happened before and it required repair, leaving me without a camera for three weeks. I try every troubleshooting fix I can find online but it’s the part that has failed. Again. Can you say lemon? I expected so much better from Nikon.
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I finish my book and begin another as I drive home. Wish You Were Here was fabulous. I found it engaging, provacative and surprising. About halfway through I was 98% certain I knew how the book would end. (Not the story, I knew that wouldn’t be neatly wrapped up, but I was sure of the book ending. And I was wrong. If you’ve read this book, message me. I have an alternate ending to run by you … I’m going to share it in an email to Jodi Picoult later)
I miss the mad dash of traffic on the way home. A small, good thing. When I arrive home, Kelly has stew simmering on the stove and the house smells great. Another small, good thing. I walk Yoda, then sit down to view my photos. I decide to upload them straight from One Drive to my blog to preserve the richness and clarity. WordPress has other ideas and gives me fits as I try to upload media.
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As I’m reviewing photos I get a pop-up on my computer saying I am running out of storage in my cloud account. What?? It doesn’t prevent me from looking but it is threatening a future problem if I try to sync more photos.
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I don’t know what to think today. I never know what column these things belong in.
Inevitable malfunctions ?
A sign that my life focus is off?
A nudge away from technology?
I open One Drive and click on the tab that says FREE UP SPACE. What comes up is a hundred videos I have stored. A hundred. I think how exhausted and frustrated I am in this moment. I have already had an earlier tantrum about how much I hate technology. But then I start clicking to find what I can delete. I find this instead:
I watch the American bittern in the pond by the barns at Nisqually, catching a little minnow.
I watch Yoda blazing a trail through the brush toward the river at Flaming Geyser park.
I watch my hike along the Mount Fremont trail at Mt Rainier on my very favorite day ever at the mountain.
I watch the sunrise from Sunrise.
I watch my family, back when the most important thing was each other, as we celebrated Christmas a few years ago.
I watch Gus getting a blow-dry and a comb-out. I watch him noodle around my Christmas ornaments on the table, and then sit squarely in the middle of my ink and paint and artwork on my desk.
I watch Gus drink water from my glass, chase a mouse toy around his scratching post and play with Natalie as he snuggled next to her on the couch.
I watch sunrise and listen to the birds at Three of Earth Farm.
I watch my parents answer questions about their lives and how they met.
I watch Dorothy in conversation with someone behind the veil of this reality, in the last week of her life.
I watch myself walking the trails at Mt Rainier, Mt St Helens, Noble Knob and Skyline Divide.
I go to bed late, but happy.
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It feels good to win.
It feels good to share it.
Thanks for being here 💚
I love this post. It’s the little things that drive us crazy, and the little things that keep us sane.
Yes, thank you. You’re exactly right. A delicate balance and I think this reads like “an ode to little things”.
Ah, technology. There would have been no videos without it, there’s that. When it works, it’s life changing; when it doesn’t it makes me want to go all Little House on the Prairie. (But, what ho, have I finally gotten WordPress to keep me logged in after I change my pw yesterday?) As for “Wish You Were Here,” I thought the end was perfect. Would love to hear your alternate.
Ahh yes, a true love/hate with technology. It often feels very feast or famine. It was going to take a lot to pull me out of my frustration of the day but those video moments did the trick. I’ll message you my “alternate ending” of the book just in case someone who is still reading it sees this.
I’ve followed your blog for a couple of years, but finally got up the courage to leave a comment. 🙂 I’m glad you were able to turn around a day filled with frustrations and find some good. I live in the Portland area and also visit Ridgefield to photograph the birds (maybe we’ve seen each other’s cars there and didn’t know it!). I enjoy your writing and also appreciate your great photography, especially of the birds. I’m a fellow blogger who has seen many of my favorite blogs fade away, so I’m glad you are still posting. Keep up the great work!
Thank you so much for being here! I hope to explore more in the Portland area this year. Ridgefield has been so reliable the past couple years for birding, I just love it. Thank you for the kind words. I just checked out your blog and I love, love, love your hiking wrap-up post. Would love to meet up with you down there sometime!
I’d love to meet up for a hike or bird photo session. Drop me an email when you’re going to heading my way and let’s make it happen! 🙂
I’ll do it!
Ahhh, you are the winner! 🙂 I love these multicoloured images, exactly the weapon to fight the funk. Since yesterday I’ve been in one myself. Must have been a worldwide phenomenon. And I’ve beaten it too, by a short but sweet grocery shopping trip with amore full of laughs and jokes. Something so little. And then he told me what he learned buying cigarettes: That in our little town there are 15 infected, which is about 10%, and in all towns around there are many more. Suddenly staying at home didn’t sound bad at all.
My town isn’t terribly small but cases are surging. I just armed myself with Kn95 masks IF I need to be in public. I think you’re right about yesterday being a funk kind of day. You know what they say, misery loves company. Hope everyone found joy like I did!
That was not the ending I had predicted, and I’m glad for it. Hope you find some easy tech solutions. I know that frustration and I know those tantrums.
Nice to know I’m not the only one who understands tantrums. Sigh. Technology befuddles me more often than not. Is it spring yet and hiking??
WAIT, you’re the winter lover, don’t start waiting on spring.
I’m definitely a techno-tantrum gal. Love technology and hate it. It will be interesting to hike without a camera. Bring a notebook and use your words….
Love that idea. I will bring my notebook for sure. I do love winter but my opportunities seem so diminished this year. I may actually snowshoe this month though!
Memories bring joy into the funk! Yay!
Yes. Those videos had me laughing and crying and longing. Technology helps heal me in this way.
Some days, the best waits til day is nearly done. Glad you found your rainbow…*
Thanks, Mare. Exactly right 💚