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Sharing My Environment

I am very aware that I am sharing my environment with nature. Everywhere I look nature abounds. This morning there were three deer just laying out in the lawn when I came downstairs. They did not seem to notice me at all.

Then, as I sat on the couch two squirrels were chasing each other up and down the tree out back.

The birds continue to visit my feeders, adding some additional species. I watch the birds when I eat my meals since the feeders are on the porch just outside the kitchen door. My ritual is to put feeders out about 6 a.m. and take them in again about 6 p.m. Although I have not seen any bear, I know they are around so that is a protective measure.

Our anniversary would have been this week. As I look back at our pictures, I can see how really happy we were. Just being together meant a lot. We did not need to do anything special. The time together was special.

When COVID hit we were sequestered at home for the most part. We continued to get groceries and keep doctor appointments, but other than that we stayed home. What a blessing it was that we had each other. That is where I see the Lord’s hand. He knit us together to be able to just enjoy home time.

Sometimes we would take a ride. One of the most pleasant rides we took was to the back of Kinzua Dam. Don helped to build that and related some of his experiences. I learned about the construction of one of our most famous attractions. I actually have a set of slides put together by my mother and step-father during the construction of the dam. They visited weekly and took a lot of photos.

Before COVID we ate out quite a bit, but it was nothing fancy. We ate mostly at New Beginnings and Bob Evans. If we met after my volunteer duties we were at Bob Evans. If we were just going out, we might go to New Beginnings, Jackson Valley, or Blueberry Hill Golf Course.

Post COVID we once again enjoyed eating out.

After completing blood work that I had to fast for, I stopped at Bob Evans since I had other errands to run. It took a long time to get my food I noticed. When I was with Don, we never worried about how long it took because we visited. Being on your own is a lot different.

In my reading this week I found something that hit home. It said, “We spend so much time eyeing other people and wishing we could do what they do that we don’t realize that we’re not doing what God made us to do.” (Blueberry Beach by Jessie Gussman)

That is the point that I am at now – wondering what God has for me to do. I do not spend time envying others who still have their spouses. I am happy for them. When I lost my first husband, I met a lady at Chautauqua who was very bitter. She was my roommate – she did not want a roommate. I tried to stay out of her way. She did not know her way around Chautauqua since she was from New York City. I tried to help her find things. In the process she asked me if I was not jealous of those who still had spouses. I told I was not; I was happy for them.

By the time the week came to a close, she and I were quite friendly. We exchanged e-mail addresses and continued to keep in touch. In the end she asked me to travel with her, but that was not to be since the destination she chose was one that I had just visited.

I found my place – helping other widows and visiting relatives and friends. I did that for the better part of seventeen years. I was happy. My grandchildren kept me busy as well not only taking care of them, but attending school functions.

Love the second time around was much different. We had few responsibilities. We were not raising children. Financially we were stable – able to do the things we wanted to. Life was easy. We had nothing to fight about. I can honestly say that Don and I never had a fight in all the years that we traveled together.

When he moved up here, he enjoyed all of the animals that were around here. We sat on the porch and listened to the birds or watched the deer. We watched nature as we ate our meals. This past year the deer really did a number on my rhododendron bushes. Frequently they were in the bed right outside of our window. When I saw them, I shooed them away, but obviously it was not soon enough. I am not sure if the big bushes will recover, but I hope so.

Yes, I will gladly share my environment with nature – it is fun to be able to watch the animals.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at hickoryheights1@verizon.net.

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