It was wonderful to see so many of you in Alamogordo during last month’s RMOWP conference. We were delighted to meet new member Steve Cochrane and his wife Megan, and spend time with twenty-two RMOWP friends. For me, it was a true joy just to feel a sense of cautious normalcy as we reunited in camaraderie and shared interests.
One of David’s and my evening rituals includes sitting on our deck, enjoying the antics of our many bird friends. It is a quiet and simple time for us. It is a time of decompression from the day and whatever challenges may have come with it.
Springtime in Texas is a wonderful sight. Enormous clusters of wildflowers bloom along roadsides, in pastures, and in our yards. Like most Texans, David and I enjoy taking an annual pilgrimage to view this amazing array of colors.
The freeze was record shattering. Just before Valentine’s Day, South Texas received over four inches of snow. It stayed on the ground nearly a week. Winter storm temperatures plummeted and stayed below freezing for three days in a row.
Texas hasn’t recorded this kind of weather since 1893. Everything froze… plants, roadways, and, especially, water pipes. In many respects the resulting impact was much like a very cold hurricane. The aftermath included the same kind of power outages and water damage. This time, however, the water came from broken pipes inside homes rather than from rain and flooding outside.
Well, that was one crazy experience! I’m certain I’m not the only one who is excited that we finally made it past 2020. We all deserve kudos just for surviving it. I’m anxious to start a new year with new adventures, connections, and possibilities, including exciting things for RMOWP.
In our last newsletter, I extended a gentle challenge to each of you, asking for photos or articles to let us know what you’ve been up to during the pandemic lockdown. The ink was barely dry on that article when David and I loaded the camper on the truck and took a six-week road trip. We had planned to return to Alaska this summer, but with the Canadian border closed, we chose Idaho and its cooler climes instead. Over those wonderful six weeks, we drove over 8,100 miles, dodged fires and cities, and found hundreds of wild horses to photograph.
One of our fountains is losing water. At first we thought we had a crack in the concrete. Curiously, however, some days the water level stayed the same. Other days, the level dropped two to three inches overnight. It was time for some detective work. We set up the game camera and quickly discovered the problem. Our rather large, resident raccoon had quadruplets this spring. The kits are old enough to forage with their mother now. They find the fountain irresistible.
With heavy hearts and a unanimous decision, RMOWP’s Board of Directors, Conference Committee, and staff have voted to cancel our 2020 conference scheduled in Alamogordo, New Mexico, from October 5-8. RMOWP has held annual conferences since 1974. This is the first time we have cancelled. Due to COVID-19 concerns, however, we face tremendous uncertainty about our ability to provide a safe and positive experience for participants. Your health and safety are our utmost concern.
The time has come. David and I have begun culling through 45 years of slides and photos. We began with our thirty carousels of slides. Each carousel holds 100, making 3,000 slides total. And that’s just the slides in the carousels. I admit that the process feels overwhelming.