Sunday, March 30, 2008

Of Happiness


Robb and I spent Saturday at a wonderful letterboxing gathering in San Francisco. We weren't even sure if we were going to attend, because Robb has been having such a rough time. As it turned out, he had enough energy and we met loads of new people, and got to see some old friends.

Today, we went down to the Hayward shoreline portion of the Bay Trail to check up on a letterbox of Robb's that we thought was long-gone, but that some of the more tenacious local letterboxers had managed to find. Heck, I couldn't even find this thing, last time we looked.

The wind was so strong as to make cycling a really miserable experience, so I asked if we could pack it in, and go elsewhere. The ride back to the car was a painful slog, directly into the wind. Robb reminded me about the time came down to the Hayward shoreline, before we had his trike. He hooked his cane onto the seat-post of my bicycle, and I dragged his wheelchair behind me. We were pretty much out of control, and the whole thing was more crazy than actually fun.

We headed further into Hayward to Garin Park, which we had not previously visited. As we were cycling, I told Robb, "I want to see bluebirds." Robb couldn't remember having seen bluebirds in California, and I think he was pretty dubious about the whole idea. As we were closing in on the park's letterbox, we saw an astonishing, electric flash of blue. Western Bluebirds!

As if attracting birds by sheer force of will weren't delightful enough, we also conjured up several bands of roving Mariachi musicians (those California hikers sure carry strange gear -- stand-up basses, guitars and amplifiers, snare drums, and accordions!). To top it off, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who was carrying a snazzy camera (my famous technique for finding the best birds), and it turns out that he and I "know" each other through each other's bird photos on Flickr.

A strange and wonderful afternoon, to be sure!

The bird at the top is the male Western Bluebird, and the paler one below him is the female. You cannot imagine how blue he is when he flies!

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