One of the things I love most about Sanibel Island is the diversity of wildlife. The birds amaze me. This morning a Great Egret performed a majestic stroll through our yard. On the beach varieties of sandpipers, gulls, pelicans, ibis and snowy egrets entertain us each morning and evening. Used to cardinals and sparrows in my yard this time of year, exotic birds are a new treat. Of course nothing’s quite reached the excitement of spotting a bald eagle across the street this week, perched high in a dead tree looking for breakfast. My first bald eagle. A Christmas treasure to be savored.
This time of year we think so much about gifts. With a laid back Christmas rolling out before me, I’ve had time to concentrate more on the gifts around me, and less on gifts that come from stores. Being away from home has given me a new perspective on shopping. Instead of buying themed food gifts for agent and editors this year, in their names I bought a bookshelf for a child development center in Sri Lanka through Child Fund International, in hopes that a new generation of children will learn to appreciate reading as much as all of us did. For my children, simpler presents or help with airfare so they can come and visit us. Not shopping as much, or baking in the iffy oven of our rental house, has freed up time to write cards designed by one of my sons to friends far and near, and to enjoy the experience.
I love all the Christmas trappings, but this year? I confess it’s nice to have fewer and to concentrate more on enjoying the holiday and its message of hope. Next year? Who knows. Maybe we won’t have to travel so far from home to have a simpler Christmas. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll take away from this holiday on Sanibel. But surely, I will always remember my bald eagle friend, posing for this photo, and be joyful.