The past couple of years have been so upside down, with health issues that threw my “normal” into a tailspin. So today, when my morning started off with a wake-up call for a pigeon rescue, I knew this birthday was going to be auspicious not for how special it was, but for how ordinary it would have been in my old life, in any other year … and how extraordinary that seems now, especially in the context of this pear-shaped 2020 we’ve all been through together.

This image shows the first little face I saw this morning, a pigeon Hugh found grounded and battered in a dew-soaked field, probably struck by a hawk. Hugh has a tracker’s eye for injured birds, so I know what it means if I get a call from him when he’s out for an early walk.

Injured and Rescued Pigeon

After we delivered the pigeon to [the always incredible] Wildcare, where s/he is in great hands, we found a place to be alone with the chatter of blackbirds and gallinules, and were then graced by a visit from a family of river otters playing in the ponds. So, these two sweet faces below frame a birthday that, in the past, I would have cherished for its positivity, but which today felt like paradise for its normalcy.

River Otter Swimming