Birding & Being

When I go birding, it isn’t just about looking at birds, strange as that may sound. Everything on this earth intrigues me. I throw my awareness into sea and sky, fill my brain with the dazzle of goldenrod along the path, or pause in a search for spring warblers to observe a spider spinning her web, or a butterfly nectaring in the jewelweed. I drop the pretense of trying to remember species names or identifying patterns of behavior, preferring to slide into their universe if only for a little while. Once a thing has a name, judgments and assignations are sure to follow. All I want is to be in the moment as my fellow creatures go about their business of survival. When I go out Birding, I really go “Being” which is why being alone can be so satisfying, for it is only then that the gates of my own guarded boundaries can swing open. The inner door can be left ajar to the sensations that wash in and out like waves upon the shore.
Years ago, when hiking alone with my dog, I used to carry a sketchbook to draw what I saw and found myself entering a different dimension entirely. A serrated leaf pushed up against a fence post, the drift of beach grass, the shadow cast by a rock in a field, became part of my awareness as I recreated their images on paper. Being artistic had nothing to do with my drawings. They were merely a port of entry into the miracle of creation. Studying what was in front of me became a meditation; putting it on paper was the prayer.

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5 Responses to Birding & Being

  1. Maria says:

    this was wonderful. being in nature can be so meditative, soothing and grounding, puts life back into perspective. it gives us the feeling of interconnectedness with all things

  2. Sparverius says:

    Sounds perfect. Sketching also has the wonderful benefit of slowing us down completely. You can't sketch on the run. It is the perfect way to let go of all other concerns for awhile.

  3. I loved your description of just 'Being'. More of us should take the time to meditate and just be, and traversing through natural habitats is a great way to slow down and appreciate all the wonder around us. Sketching is a great way to remember where we were and what we were doing and keep the feeling fresh in our memories on a cold windy day inside.

  4. Kim says:

    My favorite line: Studying what was in front of me became a meditation; putting it on paper was the prayer.

    Beautiful! And perhaps an inspiration to bring my own sketch book on my wanderings…

  5. dAwN says:

    Wonderful..I love reading your posts..your writing is so insightful! beautiful! heartfelt!

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