relationships · soul · thought of the day

Never Not Birding #NNB #heartsoulmindbody

Tee and I went birding with The Naturalist in Rock Creek Park a few weekends ago.

I’ve missed Rock Creek Park!  It’s one of my faves.  I love how you can be in the middle of the park and forget that you’re even in DC.

However, when looking forward to this outing, I wrongly expected to have an experience similar to my previous RCP adventures – usually a long hike while talking with friends about everyday life.

This is not how it works when you are with birders.

We drove down and met the Naturalist in the parking lot, and she and Tee instantly began identifying bird calls, bird songs, and birds themselves.  I awkwardly had to get REAL direct about my need to find a place to pop a squat, because I know these two well; a chitchat about the birds within a thirty-yard radius of where they’re standing can last twenty minutes.

Additionally, each time one of us started to tell a story about something non-bird-related, we would experience three to five interruptions due to one of the others spotting a pair of Carolina wrens or a red-breasted woodpecker or a dove sitting on its nest.  (All true stories.)

This happens on my evening walks with Tee as well.  We like to take a walk on the NCR Trail after dinner every evening, but we have to stop every five steps to peer through her binoculars at chickadees and woodpeckers.  This prompted our new hashtag – #NeverNotBirding – meant to encompass all the avian discoveries made while doing all the other things we enjoy doing outdoors.

Anyway – I’m still totally hooked on this birding thing.  Tee, the Naturalist, and I all got to perch and watching a dozen frolicking goldfinches flitting around in a cluster of trees in RCP. a332caa30eb2cfb8e372ba425046395d I love that this whole birding endeavor is such a balanced activity – being physically active, learning something new, communing with nature, and being with friends.  Love, love, love.  Such good balance!

At our old house, I used to see a bluebird frequently as I entered our driveway.  Now that I’ve started joining in on Tee’s birding excursions, I’ve been dying to see a bluebird again.  The adoption wait has been really overwhelming and stressful lately, and I think I associate bluebirds with hope.  (See my bluebird post here!)

I finally saw a bluebird (an Eastern Bluebird, to be exact) on one of my runs last weekend.  Fingers crossed that bluebirds really are a symbol of happiness and cheer to come!

balance · relationships

For The Birds #heartsoulmindbodyspirit

Tee loves nature.  She and our friend, The Naturalist, can spend hours talking about butterflies, trees, and wildflowers.

Of course, I love nature, too; it’s a love Tee and I share.  We both relish spending time outdoors – camping, hiking, just general frolicking.

However, while I thoroughly enjoy spending time in nature, I don’t have the same level of enthusiasm as Tee and The Naturalist when it comes to discussing the science of nature.  When they start to identify various species of caterpillars or talk about which pair of binoculars Tee should purchase, I tune out and start playing the first disc of the Hamilton soundtrack in my head.  (I could just start singing out loud; knowing Tee and The Naturalist, they would stbirdingart singing with me and the science talk would be temporarily suspended.  They would be – ahem – helpless.)

Lately, Tee has a new nature lover’s habit that I am really enjoying – birding!

Tee’s parents have several bird feeders right outside their window in their North Carolina home.  They can sit at their kitchen table eating dinner and watching chickadees and cardinals flock to the feeders for birdseed.

It’s super cute.

The Naturalist got Tee super-interested in birding, and Tee got binoculars for Christmas.  THEN, for Valentine’s Day, I went to our local Amish market and got a bird feeder for Tee, which she set up just outside the window by our kitchen table.  Now, our evening walk down the NCR Trail is all about spotting woodpeckers, wrens, robins, and sparrows and learning their songs.  And our mealtimes include time for looking through Tee’s birding books to teach me the names of the birds we can see chowing down outside the window.

I can’t even handle how dorky and senior-citizen-esque this all sounds.

I have no aspirations of making it all sound cool.

BUT – it is cool!  I love learning new things, but I can’t really retain information and facts unless I am actively engaging in an activity.  (I’m a kinesthetic learner – I learn way better when I’m engaged in a physical activity rather than listening to information or watching someone else demonstrate something.)  I get really excited when I’m able to remember what different birds look like and sound like, and Tee gets really excited to stalk this one particular tree in which we once saw a woodpecker.

BONUS: This might be my first-ever post that addresses all my balance categories – heart, soul, mind, body, spirit – with just one topic!  #balanced