Sonoma County, California
I sat on a bench in silence looking at this view, this afternoon. Well, I was quiet, the birds were singing, and gathering around the narrow running creek a few feet from my spot.
As I sat quietly listening to the bluebirds, admiring the flashes of blue wings coloring the dark tree branches above me, I thought about camping. And how beautiful and inviting the camping spots are up here on this mountain so close to my home base. Driving into the park this afternoon, I noted the ring of campsites, just a few slots set up with tents, vans and camping supplies. The ranger station, the camp store serving free hot chocolate and last minute grocery items, and the easy to moderate hiking trails through-out the park left me with a sense of safety and ease.
Maybe, just maybe, I could try camping alone. I felt a bit of excitement, then the grief, guilt and sadness hit me. Can I really do this? Is it okay to think about camping, staying overnight by myself under the stars, setting up camp without Scott. I let the feelings of loss and tiny sparks of hope run through my body.
After an hour of sitting, I hiked the meadow trail to a small running creek thick with burnt trees (from one of the recent fires), blackberry bushes, poison oak, and brush. I found a rock and sat for awhile watching the birds fly away to the trees on the other side of the water, a grey squirrel barked from a distance, a pair of blue jays skipped branches above me.
Heading back to the car through the shade of trees, as the dirt path opened up to sunlight leading back to the parking lot, I heard a prehistoric scream behind me. I turned around and saw a large bird flapping his wings flying low towards my direction from the depth of the forest, he landed a few trees away calling again, soaring back to flight he landed in a second tree hidden from view at the creek, within moments he took flight again landing right onto the tree next to me off the trail.
I looked up into the tree less than six feet away from me, there was the Pileated Woodpecker, the Woody Woodpecker of woodpeckers, one of Scott\’s favorites. He gave me a knowing look from above, hopped down to the middle of the thick trunk where I could clearly see him, and started hammering away at the bark. I stood there watching him for a long while until he gradually made his way up the tree limbs disappearing into the bright rays of sunlight.
I felt his message call to my spirit \”get to work\”.
When I got home, I grabbed my notebook and started a list. On the top of the paper I wrote Camping Supplies.