Unbelievably, a mother bird has chosen our porch as her maternity ward. She’s huddled her little Junco nest into the branches of a small needlepoint ivy planted in the hanging pot. We walk by it everyday, all day, and she is unflinching in her devotion to her four offspring. I can see her little home from the kitchen window and anxiously await the four peepers about to hatch. I’ve even taken to playing the soothing tone of Mozart, and like proud parents to be, camera is at the ready! 
Now this might not seem so phenomenal to a true birder because they are constantly on the lookout for occasions like this. However, that’s not me. A super strong work ethic was apparently etched into my being at a tender age, so my days are usually filled with “getting things done”. Curses! I was raised in San Francisco suburbia where the closest I came to nature were occasion spiders in the bathtub and my mom’s overreaction to them — eek eek — and occasional camping trips that seemed very very far away. Very. I’m not surprised at how hard it is to release that ethic, but I must. It just ain’t healthy.  
Jeanie Junco is helping. Starting the day with something other than “The List” has been a relief. For the past two weeks the first thing to do every morning is greet our little friend, who I’ve imagined just likes us because we’re so nice and have supplied her with Junco friendly real estate. ha. As a grown-up, I’ve had many wonderful close encounters with nature. But this one, right under my nose, provides an instant pause to the constant stream of thoughts and ideas that mix around in my head.
Connecting with nature ranks very high as a stress reducer so keeping some element of it in your life is important. So many ways to connect: watching it, listening to it, walking through it, playing in it, making love in it… eating it. We can climb a mountain or bike along river paths or kick piles of autumn leaves. Or… merely water a plant beside the computer at work. Maybe it’s the color; green is very soothing. Maybe it’s the knowing that squirrels accept us just the way we are. Or maybe we think animals have it made. After all, compared to our lives, animals basically have only two things to think about — eating and being eaten. Then there’s the mating and birthing, of course. It’s an awesome dilemma, true, but the simplicity of it all is rather compelling.
People who move to this island in the Pacific NorthWest do so because it’s nature at her finest — scenery to die for and a outdoor recreation paradise. They stay because nature becomes their priority. But I bet even these wise souls don’t have front row seats.