a special encounter

You guys, I got to see otters!! It was so exciting! I walked down to the dock and lifted my binoculars to my eyes and in that very moment, in their frame, were two otters swimming. It was truly unbelievable, that instant. They swam and played and ate fish – crunch, crunch, crunch – while I watched for a full 15 minutes before they turned a bend in the river out of sight. I saw them climb out onto fallen trees a few times. It was magical. It was one of the best things that has happened to me on this trip.

(I’m sorry, no pictures. What the binoculars catch the iPhone absolutely does not.)

All this, on a very fine day. I started early in the morning with speaker-phone remote yoga with a dear friend back in Texas, who was once my yoga teacher. I had a quiet day working, and then the otters at dusk. I had good conversations with both my dad and my good buddy Liz, and in the dark there were fireflies and also fireworks out my front door (don’t ask me why). It was a lovely time, aside from Hops’s fireworks-related trauma.

But lest you count your chickens: that night there was rain, and Foxy started dripping more water than usual and from more places, and there I was at 1 and 2 AM crawling around in the rain in the dark with a tiny folding screwdriver on my multitool, trying to take the van apart to see where the water was coming in. That was a dark time, counterpoint to the day.

Next day, in dry and light, I was able to take my van-dismantling a step or two further, see how she’s put together a little better than before, and put some parts back and discard others. I still don’t know where the water comes in, but I have a plan for the next effort. And I observe that problems look very different in the dark versus in the light. There’s a powerful metaphor at work here. At 2 AM, I despaired. At 4 PM, I felt again like Foxy and Hops and I will take on anything: slowly and limping, maybe, but moving on down the road.

In lieu of otters, please enjoy these scenes from the last day or two.

Post-script: I also just ID’d my first bird from its birdsong alone. It’s a brown-headed cowbird. I had been noticing this distinctive, two-note, liquid burble. I just Googled “liquid birdsong” and came up with a few offerings; the cowbird was unmistakable. I checked its range map, just to be sure (thank you as usual to Cornell), and have added it to my list!

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