High Overhead at Rose Villa!  
No, I'm not talking about administrative expenses at Rose Villa. Expenses here are very reasonable, especially considering the high quality of service we enjoy here.

I am talking about the birds high overhead that I see and hear while living on this twenty-two acre campus. On Thursday, as I walked out of the Rose Villa center into the bright, sunny afternoon my eyes were drawn to the white head and broad wings of an American Bald Eagle headed south, about 300 feet overhead. In no great hurry, he seemed to be enjoying the afternoon, just as I was. But wait! Maybe he was lazing along to allow a second Bald Eagle a quarter mile behind him to catch up. I just watched and smiled as the two flew on south toward Oregon City.

This was at the second Bald Eagle sighting for me this week. Five days before, while taking a walk along the Willamette River in the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge – a ten minute drive away - Kathiann and I saw a Bald Eagle flying just at tree height, headed down stream toward Portland. Oregon Field Guide, the OPB weekly program about the beauties of the State of Oregon, this week touted Klamath Lake as the place to see eagles and geese. We are seeing them here nearly every day!

Oh yes! The geese - “The Canadian Air Force” some call them. I hear the geese before I see them. I don't know if they are announcing their presence or just commenting on the cars confined to streets and right angle turns, crawling along below them. The geese, sometimes by the dozen, sometimes by the hundreds - lines and lines of geese like basting stitches through the sky - forming and reforming overhead, calling, calling, calling. Maybe Tennessee Ernie Ford knew what the wild goose knows; I don't. I do know that, as with Wordsworth and his rainbows, "my heart leaps up" when I watch the geese high overhead.I can't really claim to be a devoted a bird watcher. Thankfully, they just grab my attention here! There are other residents at Rose Villa who have been enjoying the birds here for years.

Helen Bennett has kept a record of the birds she has seen on the Rose Villa campus since moving here seventeen years ago. She showed me her list of sixty-eight different kinds birds she has seen at Rose Villa during her time here. She describes her association with birds as a "joyful experience." Margaret Hamilton, who moved here this year about the same time we did, carries her small binoculars with her as she strolls through the campus and around the community garden. Margaret worked for the Audubon Society, but her passion for birds and wildlife environments pre-dates her employment with that wonderful organization. She speaks of her admiration for the defenders of wildlife she came to know when she was a graduate student at the University of Michigan from 1968-'74. She says that preserving habitat for wildlife is a long term, moral commitment. "The magnitude of climate disruption is daunting, but small changes do add up”. She heeds Gandhi’s dictum to "Be the change you want to see."

Retirement at Rose Villa! It can be for the birds. And I mean that in the best possible way.