After a restless 30-degree night, I woke up in Orange County, CA to see a palm tree against a blue sky out of my car window. I guess there are worse things. The duck that I stuck around this city-mess for, she left town days ago apparently, didn’t bother to tell me. I guess there are worse things.

The man there who told me this, Jim, is a beginning birder whose enthusiasm left me almost as fulfilled as if I had seen the lady duck herself… despite his story about how he contributed to the decline of the burrowing owl by spraying rodent poison back in the day. So be it.

I sit here now on the beach in Oceanside eating tomatoes and swiss chard. A western gull takes a few steps toward me every few minutes. Yeah, I wish I had potato chips too. I forget how easily positive energy can flow when you smile, and how stifled it can be otherwise. The only interaction I can recall having yesterday was when I grouched about how long my food was taking. How embarrassing (that I would eat out, yes!) that I would spread negativity for such an insignificant reason. It’s that LA traffic! No, there’s no excuse. I’m lucky to come across friendly folks who remind me just how dazzling a golden-crowned sparrow is and how wonderful it is to be on the road, even if it means sleeping in parking lots and eating plain mushrooms for dinner…!


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