One of the most important things I did while in Connecticut was to visit my birding mentor, Trudy. She lives down along the Connecticut coastline and I was 16 years old when I first met her and she gave me my first field guide, Golden’s Birds of North America.
I already loved birds before this time, but meeting Trudy helped hone my interest. I went with her to Camp Berea in New Hampshire where Trudy led nature walks and told the children how God loved them as well as the birds. Trudy is a licensed bird bander and I watched, mesmerized as she set up her mist nets. I tensed with excitement when she put a trembling red-eyed vireo in my hands after banding it. She let me hold it briefly before it was released, but she had to encourage me to relax my grip just a bit! While at the Bible camp in New Hampshire I climbed Mount Washington with her at least once or twice. She attended my wedding in 1977 when I was 20 years old, and I thought she was old then! Now I am close to the age she was, when I first met her.
Trudy has been my friend through all the 31 years of my marriage. No matter where I have lived, we have always written to each other. I think it was 2004 when we finally started to email each other. At 98 years old, her eyesight is just perfect. When she and her sweet husband, Earl took me out for lunch, I had to get my glasses out to read the menu, but she could read hers just fine. I think that is because her vision has compensated for another lose she has. You see, when Trudy was very young, she lost her hearing. She has been deaf ever since and so never gets to hear the songs of the birds she so loves.
I don’t know what my life will be like when my Trudy passes on, but I know my current life is richer and fuller because of her and I will love and remember her always for her kind heart, her love of the birds and her steadfast faith in God. Inscribed in the front of my bird guide is her favorite Bible verse which she recites to just about everyone she meets:
“How many are your works, O Lord! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.” (Psalm 104:24)