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Catching Up With Old Friends

Northern Mockingbird - Mimus polyglottos
Suburban birds in Thatcher Arizona, in the Gila River Valley.

I met my friend Linda in 1978 while I was living in Missoula Montana. Without going into too many details, it was one of the most interesting periods in my life. Music occupied a huge part of my daily existence and I had a lot of fun playing with friends there. Music was a means of connecting to the community in an organic and joyful way. Missoula in 1978 was a small town of 32,000 citizens (now it’s 74,000+), with a university of about 8,000 students. Paper and lumber production employed many of its residents. I remember the town as being culturally diverse. Working class and rebels seemed to get along without killing each other.

I met Linda through mutual friends who knew we both played music. They kept telling me “you have to meet Linda”. I believe they told Linda the same thing. Turns out these friends were right. We became best friends, with music and harmony our bond. In the winter of 1980 we both left Missoula and headed to California where our family roots were. I met her family and felt treated like a member. They were good people. Later I started a business in Southern California and Linda earned a degree and began a career as a tribal archaeologist near Prescott Arizona. I lost track of her after she moved to Arizona.

Then somewhere near Salinas, I let her slip away … (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!).

I didn’t know how to reach her until one day a couple of years ago I found her name and email on a university web page. I wasn’t sure if it was her until I got a reply a few days later. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get on the road, after preparing my house for sale. One of the *must do* items on my Arizona punch list was to connect with my old friend. Linda still plays music, but I let my skills atrophy. It is one of my regrets to have lost this creative outlet, but I guess I had to put it aside so I could develop in other ways. It would be nice if I could get back to playing again, but for now its a source of great frustration when I make the attempt.

While Linda is still working (teaching at a local JC), I spent a couple of mornings observing the neighborhood avifauna. Some of the birds I saw or heard were White Winged Dove, Mourning Dove, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-Billed Thrasher, Bewick’s Wren, House Finch, Say’s Phoebe, Verdin, Gila Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eurasian Collared Dove, Great-Tailed Grackle, Cooper’s Hawk, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Orange-Crowned Warbler, White-Crowned Sparrow, Common Raven (some *might* have been Chihuahuan Ravens), and Northern Cardinal.

Below are some of the birds that let me capture their images.

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