I was looking forward to this trip more than almost any other this year. My daughter was joining me in Bar Harbor to go birding with me for the first time during my ABA Big Year. We were going to see Atlantic Puffins together. It was a fairytale in the making.
We were coming from different cities and had a whole itinerary laid out. I had even delayed going to Nome, Alaska after news of the Pied Wheatear!! A bird that had NEVER been seen in the… Western Hemisphere, until now.
I wanted to share Puffins with my daughter.
Well, life is seldom a fairytale. Bad weather made a mess of Friday evening flights from both Atlanta and Washington D.C., the two cities from which we were departing. Her flights got cancelled, mine delayed into the wee hours.
My new “habitat” of airport Concourses feeling like a noose.
My friend Greg Miller had recently warned me about the emotional fortitude required for the second half of a Big Year. Only a few days into the second half, tears were streaming down my face at Reagan National as I realized that Ashley wouldn’t be able to join me.
I arrived in Bangor at 1:30 a.m. to find all the car rental counters empty. My prepaid car non-existent. The cleaning crew getting busy as the lights were dimmed. My hotel room in Bar Harbor a long way away. I was close to breaking down.
One of the reasons that I decided to have a blog was for my own recollection of events as I experienced them. Emotionally, this year has been a rollercoaster ride with the highest highs and lowest lows. I have bared my bird-loving soul for all to see. It isn’t always pretty.
I know that I have the mental toughness and composure to continue this journey. Right now, I’m very disappointed but I will lift myself up and get back on task. I have several targets in Maine and all is not lost. I leave for Nome on Monday so I have some time to bird here in Maine and I will work hard to make the best of it.
As my daughter so succinctly put it in a text “Sorry mama, the Puffins will help.”
Yes, indeed they will.