Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Some Surprises Amid Carolina Coldness

As the massive winter storm marched on coastal Carolina yesterday afternoon, the temperature plummeted from the 70s to the 30s in a matter of hours. And of course the March winds blew it all in and were still blowing today, yielding wind chills in the teens. All that was toasty compared to what folks in in Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast were dealing with, I know. but it threw we Southerners back in our own survivalist mindset.

This morning, I wore my old Redskins coat from the long-ago glory days over my newer Cardinals 2011 World Champions jersey to ward off the bitter cold while making the rounds to refill the bird feeders. I was startled by a bright yellow Hooded Warbler that seemingly was waiting for me on the big feeder and was not inclined to move until I was inches away. As soon as I had poured out the sunflower seeds, fruit, and nuts, it flew right back on the feeding perch, without regard to my being so close. Such a bright, gorgeous, ray-of-sunshine bird. With a little coaxing, I wonder if it might eat right from my hand.

Once back inside, I had visions of sipping coffee for a couple of hours while watching all the varied hungry birds on a very cold morning -- not just warblers, but sparrows, doves, cardinals, chickadees, blackbirds, and others needing careful identification. But ol' Superdawg had other ideas, and soon began barking at me for her morning walk -- and to heck with any Arctic air mass. I layered-up again while Sadie seemed good to go with her golden-retriever natural coat. We managed one of our regular routes, which she wanted to multiply by 2 or 3. Finally, I was able to coax her back home. I am glad she can still be so spry at her advanced age. The cold weather seems to rejuvenate her.

The quickened pace and abrupt changes seems so typical of the first quarter of a year. I used to wonder how it would be just to be lazy in retirement, and still I wonder, in my semi-retirement. Between appointments, meetings, taxes, grandkids' sports games, and continued free-lance writing, it seems that idle hours are rare.

 Yesterday, in making my visits of hospitalized heart patients as a Mended Hearts volunteer, I did get a compliment to warm my own heart. A gentleman just beginning his recovery from heart surgery wanted to know about mine, which occurred nine years ago. After I told him in some detail about my complicated surgery and my busy life now, his wife exclaimed, "You are a walking advertisement for life after heart surgery!" As flattering as that comment was, I hope it means this couple gained some hope and motivation for moving ahead through recovery, rehabilitation, and return to a full and rewarding life. There is so much to savor here on God's green Earth.

                                                          © Robert G. Holland

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