“I’ve been doing this for years”

Last week, I went on a lovely little birding jaunt with the Toledo Naturalists’ Association. We walked around Swan Creek Metropark just before sunset; sadly, I had to depart before I was able to observe the remarkable feats of the woodcocks that mate there. The woods was alive with all of my favorite springtime singers, and it wasn’t too awfully cold.

In the group was a fellow named Nate who seemed to be an experienced and enthusiastic birder. He spotted lots of birds for us, identified many by ear, and was excited about the upcoming North Coast Open, a local birding competition. I listened intently as he related a story of a very cooperative woodcock following his family along their walk, 6 or 7 years ago.

The remarkable thing about this was that Nate was only about 13 years old.

I have an immense respect for not only Nate, but any young person with a passion and a drive to follow that passion wherever it leads them. Think about it: if Nate is 13 and remembers identifying a bird 6 or 7 years ago, it means he’s been birding for half his life. I know several older formidable birders who can’t make that claim! This passion will follow him throughout his formative years and adulthood, molding a passionate naturalist and advocate for nature. With the alarming prevalence of “NDD” and kids who have never seen a chipmunk, it’s these young nature-lovers who bear the weight of hope for the future of our planet.

So my hat’s off to all the young whippersnappers out there who nurture an intense love of anything – especially nature. It’s something I never experienced as a child, and I have really struggled to come into my own and find hobbies and passions as a young adult. Any youngster with the passion and motivation to pursue a hobby, a sport, or anything else long enough to say “I’ve been doing this for years” has my admiration.

They’re always there.

Good morning, people reading!

I hesitate to use the word “readers” because I realize that I haven’t exactly been doing my duty in producing enough readables to keep readers reading. But hopefully there are still a couple of you out there, bearing with me, or at least being pre-programmed to do so thanks to the magic of subscriptions.

Life ebbs and flows, falls and rises, sometimes seeming to follow the pull of the tides themselves. We spend periods of time creating, and then sometimes spend periods of time digesting things that others have created. I’ve been in such a “digestive” period of late: reading, watching, observing.

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I could also blame my absence on Kimmy Schmidt. But I’ll stick with the more noble explanation.

As the tides changed, I remembered that I started this blog for a reason, and that it simply won’t do to just abandon it. I paid for the domain name, after all, and I gotta get my money’s worth! So here I am again. Not much has changed… say, wait, did you rearrange the couches? Huh.

Despite what yesterday’s snow may have you thinking and have me cursing silently under my breath… spring is upon us! Every day, a new voice joins the chorus: the titmice, the cedar waxwings, the blackbirds. The chorale is slowly but surely reassembling, its sopranos and its tenors making their ways back whence they were scattered to the four winds. What a joyous noise they make!

Last weekend I had a great experience at Toledo Rowing Club’s “Rowing Fitness plus Yoga” program – led by none other than my partner Kristina, who kicked my butt from here to Biggest Week in the best way possible. (Revelation: I am not by any means fit.) The workout was good, and the proceeding yoga was an excellent follow-up. Our wonderful yogi Sandy was playing some typical dreamy, soothing yogalicious music as we moved through some great stretches and flows.

Toward the end of the practice, at a quiet moment, it seemed that all of us at once heard that beautiful, beautiful birdsong drifting in from outside the building. It was a gray, drizzly, chilly morning, but the birds were there, just like they always are. They had a job to do, and they weren’t about to quit for any freezing rain, no sir.

I drank in that tinkling, twinkling song, and so did my fellow yogers. Sandy turned down the volume on her music so that we could hear the birds even more clearly. There’s nothing like the sound of nature, the sound of beautiful, delicate beings returning after a winter apart, to help clear the mind and ground the body. It was the perfect accompaniment to our yoga flow.

Despite my efforts of meditation, the thought drifted quietly across my consciousness: I should write a blog post. I’ve been away for awhile, but what does it matter? I can always come back, just like those sweet songsters. No matter how long they’ve been away, they’re there again – they’re always there.

Carry this thought with you today, readers, as you travel your path. No matter how long you’ve been away from something – be it blogging, birding, banjo-ing, or anything else – you can always return. You can always choose to be there.