Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge

“What kind of camera is that?”

“A Nikon.”

“What are you doing?”

“Taking pictures of the birds. Do you like birds?”

“Yes. Which ones?”

Our inquisitor is no more than five, a tiny boy in blue windbreaker, jeans and running shoes. He climbs atop a wooden bench to get a better look.

“Whoa, there are a lot of birds out there!”

We’ve come to Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge in Corpus Christi. We tried to visit on the weekend but the parking lots were full. Today is midweek, and still a fair number of people are mulling about. This little fellow is here with his mother, a younger sibling and grandparents.

“How old are you?” I ask.

“Three!” he answers proudly, jumping up and down.

“No way! You’re too smart for three.”

His mother asks if we are from the area and when we tell her we are from Ontario, she says she used to live in Michigan, not far from the border. A conversation ensues and she invites us to a concert on Saturday, where she’ll be performing. She also tells us about a local Farmers’ Market, held only on Wednesday nights.

It is late afternoon as we talk, and the sun already dipping low in the sky. It doesn’t make for many good pictures, but it isn’t the scenery that has warmed our hearts today anyway.

Reddish Egret

Hans & Pat Suter Wildlife Refuge is set along Oso Bay. There is 800 feet of boardwalk along the water, or a mile long walking trail. We have chosen to do the boardwalk, and know we will need to come back.

As we slowly make our way back to the car, the rapid bounding of little feet on planks alerts us that our inquisitor is back.

“Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” he calls out to us before running back to his family.

“Merry Christmas to you too!”

I stop to take another picture and he is back.

“Why are taking so many pictures?”

“Well, I like to take pictures of the birds and then when I go home, I like to draw and paint them.”

He tilts his head to the side, considering this information.

“No way!’

Seems we have surprised one another.

On the way home, we see the Farmers’ Market, and stop in. Too tired to linger Ric buys some fresh biscuits and I find some gluten-free brownies.

When we get home, we FaceTime with the grandchildren.

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Permission to write, paint, and imagine are the gifts I gave myself when chronic illness hit - a fair exchange: being for doing. Relevance is an attitude. Humour essential.

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