Yesterday morning as I walked up to the Hawk Watch Platform, my heart swelled with deep gratitude that I've had the privilege of being a official counter for ten years now. I owe a huge thank you to my awesome hubby for providing for me so well, that I have been able to spend so much time doing what I so deeply and passionately love. I thank my group leader Judy for trusting my abilities. This past week I spent a lot of time up at the watch, savoring each and every precious moment. I am truly sad that the season is over. Yesterday the birds were few and far between, I had good company, so it was a wonderful last day. Only 21 migrating birds were counted, and our final bird was a Sharp-shinned hawk, nice and close. He reminded us all, why we do what we do. As I walked down the platform for the last time, I turned and took it all in, and a few tears rolled down my face, I will miss the birds and my Hawk Watch friends. Until next year...... :-)
As is my tradition, on my last day up at the watch, I always gather nature items from around the platform for my Solstice decorations. Early morning during my sift, I walked down one of the paths next to the watch to see if there were pine cones under the trees, and I found something that startled me. A brand new grave marker with artificial flowers. At first I thought it was a dogs grave, and then I read the Name and the dates of birth and death. The person's name was Evelyn, she was born August 2, 1940 and died on November 4, 2013. Only 12 short days ago. It struck me really hard, as my mind has not stopped thinking about my sons friend who died. Thoughts of that friend are at the forefront of my mind 24/7 right now. I can barely keep from crying, the tears are ready to flow. His life cut short. His friends and family left devastated and wondering why they couldn't help him overcome his demons. I hope Evelyn had a happy life, she certainly has a beautiful forever resting place.