Obviously, I have been looking forward to this reunion for quite some time since it has been 72 days since I last tearfully waved goodbye to Dorian as he mounted his bike in Boston. As if on cue, a flock of hanging heron sculptures welcomed me to Tampa as I descended the escalator out of the airport. Let it go on the record that I am NOT the avid birder in this household, so I do not feel confident enough about my ID to count them on my year list! While I have not been a lifelong birder, my time with Dorian has really grown my appreciation for birds, birders, and birdwatching. It was so nice of the Tampa Airport staff to keep up on Dorian's blog to know that such a symbol upon my arrival would mean so much for our reunion.
Herons at the airport
Today has been a wonderfully relaxing day here in Clearwater Beach, FL. In keeping up with Dorian's tradition, here is a map of our movements during the today. A grand total of 5 miles walked and many beers consumed (by me). The boy needed rest, and I happen to be very skilled in that area:
Add an additional 1.4 miles along the
beach for a total of 5 miles
Beauty (left) and the beast (right)
I thought I'd take a little time to talk about what this year has been like from my perspective. When I tell people about this project, the first question is usually, "There are really people in the world that are that obsessed with birds?!" The follow up questions are usually questions about my feelings on the project, and how I'm going to handle Dorian being gone for the full year. Simply put: it is not easy. Having anyone you love be so far away for an entire year is hard. I have had a great amount of experience with this since my family is based across the country in Los Angeles, and I have many very close friends scattered around the country. So when Dorian and I first discussed his Big Year plans, of course my heart sank a little knowing the difficulties distance creates. However, like any good relationship, as one person strives to improve themselves they inadvertently impact those around them to do the same. It gave me pause to think about what I wanted out of my year. So, while I miss Dorian tremendously, I have been given an incredible opportunity to approach my year with clear intentions and focus on some other aspects of my life that are important to me: friends, family, travel and personal growth. I am very fortunate to have a job and a boss that allow me to work from anywhere which opened up my options significantly. Therefore, this year I have hit the road myself. I packed everything I needed into our 1999 Volvo and prepared to make a number of stops with friends and family throughout the country. I have already spent time with friends in Boston, Connecticut, New York City, and Long Island. I'll shortly be leaving to spend a month with a dear friend in Upstate New York and I will eventually make it out to see my family in California. In 3 months I have already learned so much about the value of travel, graciousness of friends, and importance of placing people before things. So while I am technically "homeless", my heart couldn't be more full.
On the subject of friends, Dorian and I were able to bump into a couple friends here in Clearwater, FL. I love how small the world is sometimes! Apparently there is a chain of owl sanctuaries, and there happens to be one here in Clearwater. Dorian suggested we meet our friends there. I suggested he take the night off from "birdwatching".
Thank you Bill, Maureen and Megan for a fun night!
Tomorrow will be another relaxing day. We'll spend more time at the beach, and we also plan to hit one or two of the local mini golf courses. Dorian will likely need some more recovery time since his ass will be sore after the beating he'll get on the golf course.
In other big news, Dorian got a mention on ESPN today! It's at the end of this piece about Red Sox spring training. Congrats Dorian!