Way back in 1976 I was in college and while I was beyond Big Bird, ....(little did I know that I would have daughters of my own who loved that bird!) , I was into Mark 'The Bird" Fidrych who was a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. As a kid myself, the Tigers were my baseball team as we lived in the NW and Seattle didn't have a baseball team until 1977. Fidrych was an unusual character as he would 'talk to the ball', get on his knees and smooth the ground of the mound, and he actually resembled Big Bird of Sesame Street. That is where the nickname came from. So.....I guess this is where my love with birds first happened, right? Sure I remember my mom telling me about Robins as they returned in the spring, but not until as an adult did I really start to enjoy the beauty of nature..... The Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Green Peace etc.
The other day I was out birding, ...and really, does it matter where? You see I travel the country, just because.....and I bird wherever I am (Have binoculars, will travel). Well here I was in a place called Santa Gertrudis Lane and ran cross some expert birders. These three guys put me to shame but I never think of myself as anything but an average birder who just happens to stumble upon them. But there are some birds that I take a liking to, for they provide me with the presence of a 'home', wherever I might be in this glorious country. Juncos..... Chickadees and a Yellow Warbler; my rendition of Big Bird.
When I see any of these birds, I know I am home. On this trip to SE Arizona there were no Junco's or Chickadees but only my old familiar catch of pure yellow nestled into the shades of green. There we were, together. And it was at this moment for of all things, I thought of Big Bird. Then I thought of 'The Bird', ....then I thought of the Detroit Tigers, and then I thought of 1976, and then I thought of growing up on the farm. There I was as a kid with the world open to me and no idea of where it might take me. There I was with my dad and mom, still young and alive with energy in their eyes..... wraaastling I was, with my brothers and wishing for girls to look my way.
Fast forward now...... how many years is that? A good portion of a lifetime has gone by since those times. But here I am in Arizona as a 'senior now', and looking up at a Yellow Warbler. Time flies....and yet while time flies it replaces the memories of yesterday with events of today. Right before I left the east coast to start a few weeks of western life, the last bird I saw was a Yellow Warbler. And I saw that bird with one of my Grandsons who is 6 years old. It was at his house in Haddon Heights. Then we went inside and waited a few minutes before dinner. In those moments he showed me a program on his kindle. Guess what? It was a program that had Big Bird in it.
Wow...life just keeps hitting me.....I love life.