Background Switcher (Hidden)

New England Sojourn, Bonus Bird Messengers

Saturday, December 31, 2016

My trip through New England, December 1-10, was a beautiful getaway. I got to meet amazing new friends and hang out with old friends and family. 

Avian veterinarian extraordinaire Robert Giddings, DVM, 
Charlie Macaw's vet and my dear friend.
 He drove more than 2 hours to see me, 2 hours back. So grateful!

Me and Leo Kulinski, deerstalker/photographer/woodsman at White Memorial Conservation Center. 
I spread the Baby Birds gospel to to a several hundred people in three talks in Litchfield, CT, Westerly, RI and Salem, MA.

It was so beautiful to be in Litchfield again. I was gobsmacked by the simple majesty of the white New England churches. Their window glass all wavy, they've been there forever, monuments to faith and love and caring of the parishoners.

Of course, I looked in the windows to see the pews, and got totally distracted by the reflection of the trees and homes, and the sky holes of the windows on the opposite side, and the clouds, then the apparent holes in the fabric of the Universe. And I don't drink or smoke or take anything...looking is more than enough.

While I was preparing for my talk in the empty Carriage House at White Memorial Conservation Center, two ravens flew by, honking sonorously. My head snapped up; I did the mental calculation of how long it would take me to race outside to see them; knew they'd be long gone. I became still and simply savored their honks, a halloo from Great North, a "You go girl!" from these higher beings of humor, intelligence, mystery and magic.

The talk went great. The ravens had sprinkled their fairy dust over the Carriage House and everyone assembled there.
We filled the Carriage House at White Memorial Conservation Center on a Saturday afternoon! What a thrill!
I was delighted to find a new friend in the dynamic, articulate and impossibly talented Gerri Griswold, Director of Administration and Development for White Memorial Conservation Center. She moves so fast I had to scrounge a picture of her, and now she's in Iceland for the 46th time, leading a tour for her company, Krummi Travel. Krummi is Icelandic for "raven."

Nice mount there GG. You like taxidermy?

We hit it off so well we started talking about going to Iceland together. Maybe taking a small group along. And as if to reinforce a great idea, three medium-sized particolored Arctic birds fluttered up from practically underfoot as we made our way along the path to White Memorial's headquarters.  One paused briefly on the most Icelandic-looking boulder it could find.

Gerri and I looked at each other, and we just knew it was a sign that we should do this.

I got these shots of my first snow bunting of 2016 with my iPhone!! I didn't bring my big rig on this trip because I had literally no room in the art and book-crammed car for it. And I kicked myself about a dozen times. I'll never come back to New England without it. Place is lousy with great birds. I'll carry it on my lap if I have to.

Perhaps I'll find myself in Iceland, if the Little People who sent these beautiful messengers have anything to say about it. Pretty neat trick, that, a cosmic nudge.

Speaking of messengers, this is Gerri's darling Lab mix Bradley, with his toy, Corn. 

Those of you who know Liam know that his familiar when he was a baby was also named Corn. Oh my gosh! I flashed back, bigtime. Oh I miss that sometimes sweet, sometimes tart, roundish baby boy.

Corn was a gray and faded shadow of his former self by the time Liam lost him. Thank God Corn was there for that first haircut in Gene's Barber Shop and Rumor Parlor down on Third Street. 

 Corn is long gone, lost, and no one knows where. Liam turned up without his takealong famililar one afternoon and when we asked where Corn was he pointed and answered, "Behind you."
We never figured out what that meant, and Liam didn't either. We offered New Corn and Corn III as backup, but they didn't smell funky and they just weren't right, and that was the end of the relationship. 

Bradley, on the other hand, knows where his toys are, knows all his toys by name, and will go get them for you. And he does not tear them to smithereens, the way Chet Baker does.

I met several noble, hard-working and excellent dogs on this trip, and Bradley was one of them. We connected! What a shiny beautiful gem he is, and he saves his mamma Gerri every day, just like Chet Baker saves me.

 Looking back on this year and all it's held, I'm proud to have ended it with a bang. Twenty-two Baby Birds talks delivered,  one major show of the original artwork at the Museum of American Bird Art, two pop-up shows of the art in this last New England swing, and around a thousand copies of Baby Birds sold out of my studio mailroom. I did not sit on my hands in 2016. Nor do I plan to in 2017. 

I went through my iCalendar the other day and made a list of the significant events in the year. It's a good exercise, to review it all, to see what you accomplished (Baby Birds published and promoted, two great trips to New England, a transformational trip to Sedona with Shila, ten days guiding in Costa Rica and 14 in South Africa, Liam driving, Phoebe in San Diego and Panama)  and what you simply survived (four root canals, four crowns,  cooking for 60, Chet's deafness, Ellen's murder, oil and gas decimation of a beloved forest...I could go on) And you realize that you're pretty tough; that you never once sat down to do nothing; that you used every moment and sought out the sunrises and sunsets, star conjunctions and moonrises, and plunged into it all with a wide open heart, breasting the waves even as some rolled you under.

Coming soon: Another fabulous dog who crossed my path and worked his way into my heart. 
Happy New Year, y'all. I hope yours is filled with the people you love, and the delicious anticipation of new potential in 2017.


An Iceland trip with both Gerri Griswold & Julie - sounds like fun! Never have taken a trip with Gerri though she helped arrange our family trip a few years ago. Julies trips sound great too.

Thank you Julie! Happy New Year!

OMG, I am part of a JZ blog post. I am not worthy. Thank you for coming to White Memorial Julie. What a wonderful talk and we got to hear you sing to boot. Happy New Year. Love,Leo

You embody Carpe Diem my's to the next year and many more. Cheers and love to you and yours

Happy New Year Julie!! It's going to be fantastic!
Love you!!

I hope you and yours had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and are looking forward to a very HAPPY NEW YEAR. May we display your header on our new site directory? As it is now, the site title (linked back to its home page) is listed, and we think displaying the header will attract more attention. In any event, we hope you will come by and see what is going on at

That photo of Liam and his corn cob...oh my!! I want to hug him through the photo---yanking at my little toddler mom heart.

Happy New Year! Can't wait to see what adventures you turn up for 2017.

Happy new year and thanks for the lab results.
Bradley is a handsome boy!
Also congrats on not sitting on your hands, a solid year for Z.

I am a sucker for labs...and for your blog Julie Zickefoose. Quite an amazing year! Happy 2017 to you and yours:)

[Back to Top]