Over the past few days, as I thought about what I’d write for this blog I mainly thought about Spring, and this seemingly everlasting Winter that is keeping us forever in its grip. I thought about the typical birds I have in my yard at this time of year, and that perhaps I’d focus on them. I thought about the new ‘Lifers’ I picked up recently in Roatan, Honduras, and how maybe they’d make a good blog about a Snowbirder’s birds.
What never crossed my mind, was to think about the Boston Marathon, and bombs blasting in Copley Square. I didn’t think about this senseless act of violence, about how it impacts not just people who were there, but people everywhere. How it stops you cold in your tracks, as your mind tries to digest the words it’s hearing. And then the shock and horror starts. Again. For those of us who recall 9/11, it’s a moment in time that introduced the word terror into our daily vocabulary. For the most part of the last decade, high alerts were in force everywhere. And then slowly, surely, things started to relax. We got our lives back, normal became normal again.
Until today. And now, I’d rather be birding.
When I’m outside, away from all the petty concerns, or not so petty as the case may be, I concentrate simply on being aware. On being in the moment. Watching the skyline, the river’s edge, the tips of the trees, scanning for a feathered miracle that can transport me from here. That engages all of my senses as I watch and listen, more alert than I ever am behind a desk or in front of a computer. A bird that can take my imagination along with it as it lifts off into the breeze, free and unfettered.
When I’m by myself in the woods, or standing in a meadow, or in the midst of a raging surge of wind and rain, on a beach, at the edge of a cliff…wherever I am, if I’m birding, I feel peaceful. Connected. Inspired. Excited. Alive. Fulfilled. That’s how it is for me, and I suspect, for many serious birders.
Maybe THAT’s the lesson that needs to be taught to wayward, drifting souls who take solace in harming others so that they feel something akin to, but not remotely the same as, peace.
I’d rather be birding. And because it is mid April, and Winter’s grip is slowly letting go. I share these shots of my reasons to smile here in the Ottawa Valley, on the edge of tomorrow. Pax.