Leaving at 5:00 a.m. It’s 50 degrees out. From my stone wall I can hear a PHOEBE, ROBIN, COMMON YELLOWTHROAT, HOUSE WREN, CHICKADEE, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, and BLUE JAY. Near Blood’s I hear a trill that sounds like a CHIPPING SPARROW (but I’m not sure), and a LOUISIANA WATERTHRUSH, OVENBIRD, WINTER WREN, and NUTHATCH. Near the Big Bend I hear a BLACK-THROATED GREEN, HERMIT THRUSH, and BLACK-THROATED BLUE. Got to the Nature Center parking lot at 5:35 and heard a BROWN CREEPER, BLUE-HEADED VIREO, and CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLER. Got to the Lookout at 5:50 a.m. It’s a gray day, and I’m feeling a bit gray. Even the HERMIT THRUSH that’s singing here isn’t cheering me up. I find myself wondering why I can’t focus on and prioritize my own life, my own work, my own interests? Why do I spend so much time being mad at the Museum and the people who are running it these days? There’s nothing I can do about anything that’s going on there, and I need to just let it all be. Can I MAKE myself focus on my own life? We’ll see. Maybe I should begin by spending some time TODAY posting my notes on my morning walks to my NATURALIST’S JOURNAL….

At 6:03 a.m., all of a sudden it’s raining! The wind is coming up and the temperature is dropping. Time to move on. En route to Lichen Rock I heard a HERMIT THRUSH singing a loud song close to the trail. Is he singing for me? I’ll pretend he is and try to feel more cheerful. There’s a BLACKBURNIAN singing along this trail too. How can I stay depressed amidst such beautiful songs? Just picked up the chick-boing of a SCARLET TANAGER in the distance, so now I’ve got three of my favorite birds rooting for me….

Got to Lichen Rock at 6:20. It’s stopped raining, but it’s still cold and gray. No sun to stand in this morning. No winter wren. Just this huge, strong, moss-covered rock, which at least gives me a solid foundation to stand on. The woods are messy here — lots of wind-thrown and down trees — but none of it bothers me. I can still remember the historic turning-point moment over 30 years ago when I suddenly saw the messy, chaotic beaver-pond-in-the-making as beautiful just as it was — and let go of my silly human desire to clean it up and make it a tidy, orderly, manicured pond. From that moment on, the natural world — just as it is — has been my comfort zone. Will I ever be able to let go of my frustrating and exhausting desire to make the human world a better place? If I could manage to let everything be, maybe I could make more space for myself, my deeper self, which doesn’t get much time and attention these days. I’m still at Lichen Rock at 6:30 a.m. The SCARLET TANAGER just sang me a supportive song. How can I care about anything except birds at this time of year? Back to the road at 6:45 a.m. Heard a PARULA WARBLER singing near the entrance to the lower Brook Trail. Also heard a DOWNY WOODPECKER (I think) working on a roadside tree. Home at 7:00 a.m.

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