Panda's First Smile

Panda's First Smile
PandaPig's First Smile!

Sunday, April 1, 2012


Outside was a marsh with beavers, many species of ducks,
the rare Virginia rail, songbirds, red-winged blackbirds,
titmice, chickadee-dee-dees, a bald eagle's nest high up
in a cottonwood tree, geese, swans in winter from the
arctic tundra, bats at night, swallows, barred owls, just
to name a few. Deer and their fawns strolled beneath our
windows and we slept in the living room for ten years to
wake up and fall asleep to the sounds of the pond, the 
woods, the fragrance of rain before storms moved in from the North Cascades, Sea, or Frasier River Valley in  Canada, plaintive cries of coyotes after dusk, barred owls, and rustling of beavers and
raccoons through tall marsh grasses and cattails in summer.
Numerous trails you could walk or bike in summer then
snowshoe or XC ski in winter led to salmon streams, a
small fishing pond for families, crashing glacial-fed waterfalls sporting an historic, stone bridge built by the CCC back in the 1930's and a meditation bench upon which to sit with eyes closed and just listen in silence to the language of nature.
At dusk I would walk the Bengal cat in his harness to visit his fawns before the raccoons inherited the boardwalks. We often heard sounds of animals or  birds we  never recognized. I'd call Jerry, forgetting it was 4 a.m. Atlanta time and demand to know:
He usually didn't pick up the phone but I would still record it. Usually the sound of owls mating. The barred owls sounded like howler monkeys I remembered from Woodland Park Zoo.
Tibetan Monks came a month after I moved in for a week to create a sand mandala which they then poured into the tragic waters of grief following an oil pipeline explosion that had occurred less than one month before moving here. It was to heal the waters who had seen loss, death, not only to three boys but all wildlife...residents thought the volcano had erupted but it was a man-made tragedy.
Instead of cutting down the burnt trees, we planted more and restored the park, leaving what remained in  honor of the two little boys and fishing teenager who perished in the pipeline explosion.
Mostly, I felt peace here until falling on the unmaintained wooden, plank boardwalk...slippery, slimy moss had accumulated on it for thirty years, October leaves had just dropped on it during a pouring windstorm, there was a ramp downwards and slippery, I was just walking Chai: Badda-Bing! Badda-Boom! I woke up to find
people around asking if I was all right but all I cared about was Chai the Bengal cat who sat and kept watch over me, terror in his eyes. How long I had not moved was anybody's guess. Six weeks later, a seizure at my Seattle doctor's office, I fell on exactly the same place on my head - on concrete, possibly covered with a thin layer of carpet, not sure: just that that was that! The owner from whom I rented put the unitmup for sale, this new building was beautiful and for handicapped, disabled, and healthy people, a mixed-use building...and we adjusted by watching Molly the Barn Owl and making new friends as I was bereft to be without my
animal and bird friends, Chai had to move back to Seattle
where Edwin could walk him so I had my owl through my
laptop and it was a perfect first clutch. As abilities narrow, life  becomes simpler and, in  many ways, that really isn't such a bad thing after all. A resident bald eagle circles downtown with a number of other raptors, including a merlin, because we are on the
water...and the merchants are so friendly they do all the thinking for me, we here are an odd lot and not only know it but are proud to be so. We are friendly, kind, it's easy to sit down in a favorite cafe, meet someone you have never seen before in your life,
know you will never see again, and have a meaningful,
thought-provoking conversation for three hours over
lattes and gluten-free, vegan muffins.

I love life.
The guinea pigs do, too.
It has changed a lot since Jan. 1, 2012.

But it's beautiful for all the friends who make it so.

Thank you, friends.

Chana, YumYum, Vinny-Guinea, and Bhindi

Why so many blog posts? Double-shot too late in the day.
Life is simple.
Don't drink a double-shot later than noon.

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  1. Mercy Me Little Woman! A double shot after noon! Say it isn't so. Well, what am I talking about? I had some yummy dark chocolate at about 10pm (not much, but enough to give me a little buzzzzz for about 4 hours).

    I loved your place nestled in nature. In the days when we both could walk with relative ease (you only brought along your walking poles), I came to visit and we took a lovely walk along the marsh. 'Twas beautiful AND we met some fantastic dogs along the way. Of course Mr. Very Shy Dommy Dom wasn't all that pleased about the other dogs but that's another story. Anyway, the memory of that sunny winter day on our walk will carry me for many many moons!

  2. Oh! That looks so bright and summery :)