Sometimes just a moment of sheer bliss is enough to give us happiness over and over again when we remember it later on. I captured one of those moments with my camera about nine years ago. It’s not a great photo as quality goes, but every time I look at it I feel that happiness again and I can’t help but smile.
About two miles from our house is a marshy area that has been designated as a bird sanctuary. A friend had taken me there for a walk one morning. She brought along some birdseed in a plastic bag. Partway along the path that does a loop through the park she stopped and poured birdseed into each of my hands and into her own. Then she said to stand still with our arms out. In a very short time, chickadees and nuthatches flew down from the trees and landed on our hands, shoulders, and head, checking out the birdseed in our hands. They took bits and bites of the seeds and flew away to crack them open against the bark of a nearby fir tree. Sunflower seeds seemed to be their favourites. I was so tickled by this experience; literally tickled by the tiny bird feet on my palms, but also tickled with happiness.
Some days later, my in-laws came to visit and I thought this might be a wonderful experience to share with them. It was a raw morning when we drove to the sanctuary and parked the truck at the trailhead. My father-in-law was 86 that year and couldn’t walk very fast, so he told my mother-in-law and me to go on ahead. I gave him some birdseed and said we wouldn’t be long. I didn’t hear or see a single bird and was disappointed that we might not be able to feed any birds.
It was quiet in the woods as we two women walked along the trail. Not a bird in sight. I kept saying, “I feel so bad that we haven’t seen any birds. I really wanted you to feel them landing on your hands to eat the seeds.”
“Oh, that’s all right,” my mother-in-law said. “It’s nice just to get out for a walk.”
We stood in the same spot as my friend and I had done a few days earlier, but no luck. Then we heard a shout cut through the cold misty air.
“ANNELI!” My father-in-law sounded panicked. I told my mother-in-law to take her time walking back. I would run and see what was wrong. And did I run! I was sure he had fallen and broken a leg or his hip.
I pounded down the path, and all out of breath, arrived back at the trailhead. My father-in-law was standing, so I was relieved to see that he hadn’t fallen and hurt himself. “What’s wrong? What happened?” I panted.
“They’re right here!” he said. And his face glowed as if he’d seen angels.
My father-in-law died five years later and when I see this photo, I’m always happy that my little outing that morning gave him so much joy, if only for a moment.