Monday, November 30, 2020
Hey, You …
The scene was out of a bad sci-fi movie following a nomad tribe struggling to survive after an apocalyptic event.
We were actually in the middle of Laurel, Maryland, less than a mile from a major highway, and across the street from a strip mall.
My new birding friends invited me out to a semi-abandoned construction site occupied only by Red-Tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, Bald Eagles, and Short-Eared Owls. We were there to see owls. Hopefully.
I stood on the side of a gravel “road’ wondering if the birds thought the space was rich only because it was barren of humans.
I’ve written to you before about wondering if my beloved birds human-watch me. Do they record my movements and whisper to each other, in amazement, about what I did and didn’t do?
Surely not. Because they don’t allow themselves to be distracted from their fundamental, instinctual mission, to survive. And, I don’t advance the effort with my camera and binoculars. And my awe. And my social media sharing. And my oohs and aahs.
It is really difficult for me to fully express my love of birds. But what I can do is tell you the main reason I am completely gripped by them … freedom.
Oh, to be free to fly away.
What would it be like if the only factor of time I really had to worry about is when the sun rises and sets.
What would it be like if the only people I had to worry about harming me were … no one.
What if I were an apex predator and had no natural predators. I may have enemies, but they can’t even try it. I’m too strong. I’m too fast. I’m too smart. I’m too much.
What if people lined up, waiting for me to ride a thermal current past their monster lenses to capture just seconds of my presence.
What if I were great.
What if I am great.
And, what if I told myself this, every day.
What if you told yourself this, every day.
What if you told someone who needed to hear it. Every day.
I saw three Short-Eared Owls that night. Of course, the birds were wholly unimpressed I was there, waiting for them. They were too busy being fully engrossed in being magnificent.
And, in so doing, reminding me to tell myself … I am, too.