My dragging my husband, John, to the movie 'A Big Year' last fall isn't the only reason he is on this quixotic quest. Last year, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent radiation therapy. Seems to have worked. Time will tell, but it was definitely a wake-up call.
He is also turning 70 this year. So, what, on his bucket list, could he reasonably accomplish? That adverb doesn't seem to me to fit the circumstances. There I go again, the long-suffering wife. I am not on Adak waiting to board a boat for Attu today, because I get seasick and bored on pelagics, and because it would cost that much more for me to go on all these jaunts with him. Also, I turn myself into a birddog whenever we are out together. Since John is blind in one eye and almost deaf, it gets a bit frustrating for me. I start to snap and snarl. I will relax at home, commune with friends, lead children on nature walks, visit grandchildren in Texas and Missouri and book John for tours, pelagics, flights, cars and motels.
This caper has been great for John's psyche and physique. He has lost weight, his blood pressure is down, he is visiting wonderful natural places, and meeting wonderful fellow birders. We are a nice bunch of people.
The beard. On the pelagic to the Dry Tortugas, John didn't shave and noticed that most of the other men had beards. John has looked younger than his years all his life. He is just starting to get substantial gray and is tall and lanky. He noticed that the gray hair in his new beard made him look older. Looking old and yet still trying for a big year seemed to him to add drama to his quest. Might even get him some extra help out on the trail. So he plans to keep the beard. I'll see.