I lived in Pennsylvania for a few years when I was a kid.
I don’t remember much about the neighbourhoods we lived in, but there was always nature nearby, and I spent a lot of amount of time outside un(der?)supervised.
So I have a lot of fond memories of running around grassy fields, rolling down hills, hiding in bushes, collecting pebbles, and trying to catch rabbits and chipmunks under a box propped up by a stick with a carrot underneath. Clearly I’ve always endeavoured to be some kind of cartoon character.
There are a few things that always remind me of my time in Pennsylvania: snow, daffodils, chickadees, and robins.
Pennsylvania is the only place I’ve lived where it snows regularly. As an adult, though I often miss the idea of snow, I’m also glad I don’t have to deal with driving through it, shoveling it, or otherwise dealing with it in a significant way. It snows in Washington, but though it accumulates in the mountains and some suburbs, it rarely sticks in downtown Seattle. At most, there will be an inch of it on my balcony for a day or two before it’s gone.
It snows quite a lot more in PA, but as a kid, I didn’t have to deal with any of the bad parts, so all my memories are positive. The snow was often taller than I was then; I tunneled through the giant mounds of snow on the sides of streets after the snowplows came through (this was probably really dangerous, lol, whoops); I slid down hills on trash can lids. And of course, there were snow days. There’s really no downside to snow when you’re seven or whatever.
In the spring, daffodils are common garden flowers, and I always liked their shape. There’s not much to elaborate on here, but I still think daffodils are pretty neat, and they’re nostalgic to me.
Chickadees and robins are the birds I remember the most from PA. Chickadees, because they have one of the most memorable calls. Robins, because I saw them absolutely everywhere.
Once, the day after some rain, while I was hunting for worms on the sidewalks and around the yard, I saw a robin pull a huge worm out of the ground. It was probably the biggest worm I’d ever seen and had to have been like six inches long and super fat. I really wanted that worm.
So I ran forward to scared the robin away. The worm was way too big for it to carry with it, so the robin dropped it to the ground.
I don’t really remember what I did with that worm or the rest of the worms in my bucket. I probably put them all back in the ground or dumped them in someone’s garden? Who knows. There’s no point to this story except I distinctly remember the robin’s split second hesitation before flying off, abandoning the biggest worm ever to some dumb kid who wouldn’t even eat it. Poor robin.
I know there are robins (and chickadees!) in Washington.
There are lots of really cool birds here, actually. Unfortunately, living in the middle of the city, I don’t see a large variety of them. It’s mostly pigeons and seagulls (extremely loud, shrieking seagulls that like to start sounding off around 4am each morning). To be fair, I’m not as attentive a bird watcher as I could be. Most of the time when I’m out just walking around, I’m preoccupied by Pokemon Go (yes, still). But sometimes, in the parks, I’ll see some Stellar’s jays or sparrows or maybe even some hummingbirds.
I’ve never heard a chickadee here though, and I only just saw a robin for the first time here the other day. It zoomed by pretty fast, but it was definitely a robin.
Anyway, I’ve wanted to add the (American) robin to my Birds With Words series for a few years now, and just never knew what words to pair with one until now. (The European robin was added pretty early on, as was the chickadee.)
I miss seeing robins around, even if this mostly just means I should go explore the parks more. There’s a lot of great hiking in Washington that I’ve somehow yet taken advantage of in my time here, but I fully intend to rectify this soon. But yeah, these words are topical for the while, too. Hope everyone’s doing well in isolation and that we can all hang out again soon. 🌱