Today's guest is Connection Messenger* Esther Miller. From the vantage point of a family member's porch steps, she enjoys the late afternoon and finds a connection far better than WiFi and television—a connection with nature.
Wireless connectivity is almost non-existent in this little midwestern town where we're celebrating family and history on the Fourth of July. My usual nightly check of email and Facebook—and browsing for answers to questions of the day—are nothing but an exercise in frustration.
Tired of the air conditioning and blabbering TV in the trailer, and nearly exhausted from the days of celebration, I wander over to sit on my brother-in-law's steps. A stiff breeze from the southeast is driving down the humidity and promising rain by midnight. When the breeze lets up, the lightning bugs come out of the grass and find shelter in the neighbor's flower border.
A little boy across the alley scrambles after a baby bird not yet sure about flying, and I ask him not to hurt the bird. He's startled that I've “caught” him and runs back to Grandpa's. The bird hops into the space under Jerry's ramp.
I look for Big Bun and find her munching quietly on the clover lawn under our trailer. Her half-grown babies must be hiding tonight. The neighborhood tabby comes and sniffs my toes. He tentatively rubs against my ankle. Confident I won't harm him, he climbs a couple of steps. I scratch between his ears, and he is mine.
A shrill bird chirp finally makes it through my auditory processing center and I realize Baby Bird's mother must be nearby. Whoa…very nearby…and worried about Baby. The speckled robin with tail feathers too short to sustain much flight has hopped up to the steps. Up ON the steps. Up just two steps from Tabby and me. Tabby's visual processing kicks in quickly and his whole body takes notice…ah, a nice tasty morsel.
I strongly suggest to Baby Bird that he find someplace else to explore, and at the same time, I intensify Tabby's backrub. Tabby apparently has not had much tactile attention for a long time. He goes limp all over, rolls over and begs me to continue with a belly rub. Baby Bird finds the flower border and all is well.
Clouds are thickening, bringing an early end to the long summer twilight. Heat lightning is getting closer but there is no thunder yet. Tabby continues his neighborhood patrol and the baby bunnies join Mama under the trailer. I cross the yard to the trailer, careful not to startle the bunny family, and decide that bed sounds like a really good idea.
For one night, at least, my connection with nature has definitely trumped wifi.
Esther has worked professionally in special education and mental health and has had a variety of volunteer jobs. Gardening, cooking, and ham radio are among her many interests. She married and raised her family in California, then lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for nearly 14 years. She recently returned to California to be near family.
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