I woke up in total denial that I had to go look for a job
and I was just in no mood for it. I sipped at my coffee, leaving
the curtains closed, not wanting to face the world, New Year,
new possible beginnings or not.
I finally rolled up the curtains to let in the day, in the
very next moment, a red-tailed hawk flew by and landed right
on top of the trailer parked next to me. I had never seen
one in such civilized surroundings, and I watched him for
several moments as he just sat up there and seemed to be staring
right at me. I even had time to go get my camera to get a
couple of shots of this regal bird before he flew off.
nothing else, this gave me the excuse to procrastinate some
more, so I went to consult the American Indian book I have
about animals and the messages and lessons they have for us.
It said that Hawk is the messenger and is asking me to be
observant, that life is sending me signals and I should look
at my surroundings and observe the obvious in everything I
do. The only thing obvious to me at that point was that I
just didn't want to get dressed and go look for work that
I didn't want to do.
further, it said if it seems solutions to my problems are
hard to find, it's because I have lost the broader vision
of hawk. It warned that if I shut down my powers of observation
because something in my life has become too painful to feel,
too dark to see, it is time to circle over my life and examine
it from a higher perspective. A broader view may give me a
better ability to discern the hazards which bar me from freedom
pondering this, I know that part of the reason I am so resistant
to looking for a job in the legal field as usual is that I
simply don't want to support myself that way anymore. My fondest
dream since I started traveling has been to find a way to
make the money I need from writing (my first love) and travel
(my true passion). I've got more ideas than I do money, so
I just haven't totally figured out how to do that yet. But
I just keep making myself take at least one baby step a day
toward what I want to do, even if I don't know if it will
work for sure or not.
6, 2005 - I'm published??!!
the editor of the Good Sam magazine "Highways" emailed
me to say the Alaska article they bought from me will be published
in the March issue, barring any unforeseen "space constraints."
That lifted my spirits, and I promptly added "no space
constraints, please " to my list of nightly prayers...
don't know how, but I just think it's bound to help in my
future writing endeavors to have had even a small article
published in such a widely read magazine. Every baby step
counts toward the goal, right?
21, 2005 - My first customers!
the campground owner where I'm staying agreed to barter a
month's rent for the website I designed for them - I think
a great deal for both of us! When I was doing research on
this area, I read about Holiday
RV Park in the camping guides, but they didn't have a
website at the time. I like to at least look at pictures of
the parks before I commit to staying for a month, so wouldn't
make a reservation sight unseen. When I got here, it was obvious
this campground was the best choice for me exploring this
area. Once I met the friendly owner, Joyce, I talked to her
about my doing a site for them. She didn't seem too enthusiastic
at first, but I went ahead and drafted a design of a couple
of pages so she could see what I had in mind. I guess it paid
off, because she finally agreed to become my first website
first was when I was throwing out ideas to my friend and neighbor,
Hank, about some of the services I could offer RVers. I said
I could take pictures of them and their RVs and create a personalized
"business" card that they could hand out to other
wandering friends they meet and want to keep in contact with.
He promptly became my first contact card customer!
first speaking engagement!
of my best cyber-buddies, a fellow Escapee, has been elected
organizer of the "Graduating Class of 2005" - so far
a group of about 65 couples and a few singles who are starting
their fulltime RVing lifestyle sometime this year. They're all
meeting at the big RV rally in Quartzite next January.
Tab first wrote me, he said "I wish I could express
fully how much you have an influence on our journey with your
fearless adventure to overcome things and do it by yourself.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart! I eagerly await each
update you send and your trip to Yellowstone immediately prompted
us to make it a must see. Your
pictures are sooooo beautiful and you certainly have a way
of writing that captures your attention. You never cease to
he first asked where I would be next January, I laughed and
said I try never to plan that far ahead. The more I thought
about it, though, and the more I read from the "class"
I thought of it as an honor to be asked, so I happily agreed.
I'm sure people like Tab who I've never met, but who have
"met" me through my journal don't realize how much
it means to me to hear from them and how much encouragement
I get from their taking the time to let me know I have impacted
their lives positively in some way.
said he thought everyone would want to hear about my trip through
Alaska, as it seems that is the Mecca destination for all RVers.
I told him I'd probably be more nervous about speaking before
the group than I was in the "wilds" of the tundra,
but I'd tell them anything they wanted to know.
23, 2004 - A broader perspective
I visited with a fantastic couple who own a wonderful RV park
near Crater Lake - Prospect
RV Park. They showed me beauty in that area that I had not
even imagined existed. They talked to me of possibilities to
support my travel habit in ways I had never even conceived of
before. On the way home, as I drove along the gorgeous Rogue
River, out of the corner of my eye as I crossed a bridge, I
saw a movement across the sky. I broke out in a big grin at
the sight of a red-tailed hawk and thanked him for the reminder.
I'll try not to forget to lift my attention and look at events
in my life from a higher perspective and with an open, receptive
heart. I'll try to understand that even when the skies may be
cloudy, the sun is just waiting to shine and will always find
its way. So no matter if I have to work a bit longer in the
legal field or not - I know that all efforts made toward following
my dream will be rewarded if I don't give up. And days like
today and the reminders I get from people of like spirit and
from nature itself make it all worthwhile.
I received an email from a descendant of John James Audubon who had
come across this page from an RV forum. She wrote to share with me
a passage from his journal describing his walk in search of a Broad-Winged
Hawk. She agreed to let me share it here. She begins her message to
story about the Red-tailed Hawk brought to mind my 4th great
grandfather's paintings (John James Audubon), so I looked
up his drawing of the Red-tailed Hawk ... described in Vol.
1 of the text (scientific journals--published 1840) that accompanies
his masterpiece of watercolors, 'The Birds of America.'
painting is of the male red-tail attacking possibly a female
that has a rabbit in its talons. The next hawk he describes
is the Broad-Winged Hawk, and some time ago I found a passage
in his journal describing his walk in search for the bird.
Back in those days there were no cameras with which to take
pictures of birds. The artist would gather his specimens to
be drawn by going into the woods or fields and finding one
he liked the looks of. Then the bird was shot, taken to his
studio, mounted a special way on a board in as natural a position
as possible, and then drawn. Audubon was the first artist
to mount birds in such a way (also the inventor of bird banding),
and that is why his paintings look realistic and not stilted.
Also in those days people were not thinking much about conservation,
and it wasn't until Audubon's later years, when even he realized
the Passenger Pigeon was going to become extinct (which it
did in 1914), that he began complaining about the over-killing
of birds and mammals. We know the rest of the story.
thought you might enjoy a few sentences of one of his days
in the field. It is interesting to know also that the texts
that accompany the paintings (in seven separate volumes) were
supposedly scientific field notes. However, because Audubon
was raised in France and learned English only after he was
twenty, his verbiage was more poetic than scientific, and
his publishers told him after Vol. 2 was published to drop
the flowerly stuff. So my quote is from the flowerly stuff
in Vol. 1:
fine May morning, when nature seemed to be enchanted at the sight
of her own great works, when the pearly dew-drops were yet hanging
at the point of each leaf, or lay nursed in the blossoms, gently
rocked, as it were, by the soft breeze of early summer, I took my
gun, and, accompanied by my excellent brother-in-law, William G.
Bakewell, Esq., at that time a youth, walked towards some lovely
groves, where many songsters attracted our attention by their joyous
melodies. The woods were all alive with the richest variety, and,
divided in choice, we kept going on without shooting at any thing,
so great was our admiration of everybird that presented itself to
they ultimately found was the Broad-Winged Hawk, and an injured
one at that. Audubon was able to capture it without injury and took
it home, posed it for drawing, and then let it go."
wrote her back to thank her and told her I prefer the poetic language
which gave me another insight into this man I have long admired.
It also cracked me up that I had emailed the Audubon society here
in Oregon with my picture attached to make sure I had identified
my visitor correctly and they promptly responded and confirmed that
it was indeed a red-tailed hawk. And then I hear from a direct descendant
with what I consider ultimate confirmation. What a blessing to hear
from such people!