November 13, 1997

Dearest Friends, When you've been married to someone for more than three decades, a single word can just about tell you what his mood is as soon as you hear it. So, today when I heard "come look!!!", I knew it was something special. And when that was followed by "quick!!!", I knew it was something REALLY special. And it was. My husband, Jack, had spotted his very first Painted Bunting on our balcony. I watched him as he looked at that bird ... and talked about it as though he were a child at Christmas. An avid birder, he has seen every bird imaginable. And because we live on a mountain and at the ocean, with birds of every species known to man practically, that is a lot of birds. But this Painted Bunting coming to our very own third floor "nest" seemed to excite him more than any of our fine-feathered friends recently. While I "guarded" the Painted Bunting, he looked for the camera! Found it! Dead battery. A few expletives. Then the camcorder. Found it. Dead battery .... BUT another one was being charged. So hurriedly, the new battery found its way into the camcorder and to the balcony my husband flew ....... the Painted Bunting had gotten its fill of blended and sunflower seeds and had flown away. Down the elevator my husband went to find him again. He did. How, I don't know ... but he chattered excitedly all afternoon about this rare and beautiful creature. The very first thing he did was to notify his "bird loop" of this treasure .... and then out came all the bird books and picture after picture of Painted Buntings. "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity!" Henry David Thoreau This little story is just an example of how simple our lives have become. Once traveling in the fast lane ... rushing through life ...busy with jobs and children and travel .... we have settled down to living. Truly living. And it is HARD. For me especially. It has taken a lot of work for me to learn to be simple. Particularly mentally simple. I don't mean stupidly simple .... I mean to try not to dwell on "details, details, details." I find myself wanting the "bottom line" these days. The "big picture." Everything is that way. Simplicity personified. In foods. In clothes. In furnishings. In just about everything I do. I've always been that way to an extent. I remember going to Europe once for two or three weeks with just a satchel. I had learned a lesson on my first trip with four huge suitcases and a hanging bag. Simple is definitely better .... and lots more fun. "Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough." Charles Dudley Warner And so it goes ..... from the simply beautiful Painted Bunting that can cause a grown man to become ecstatic. To Europe with a large handbag. A simple life. Just baggage enough. Dear God, Help me to Kiss It! Keep it simply simple. (I didn't think I should call God, sweetie) :-)

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