It has been a crazy few weeks, but it would be crazier still if our lives never took left turns, if we never stretched our wings to try anything that might ruffle our feathers. To that end, I’ve spent the past weeks taking advantage of a fair and engaging opportunity, one I’ve considered for some time but that had never been just right for the trying. Just right – or as right as could be expected – finally arrived, and I felt compelled to lift my wings into the wind.
Without choice, I had to fly quickly, adapting to unfamiliar routines in such a way that demonstrated professionalism, confidence, and expertise. I did so to the best of my ability, though every day was different and new challenges hatched at the most inopportune times. Yet like a baby bird first discovering its world, I discovered many things.
- I can rise to the occasion, in some ways better than those with greater experience.
- There are both good and not-so-good sides of each challenge, task, and duty.
- The opportunity has changed dramatically from when I first tested the wind 20 years ago.
- There are bits I love, bits I like, bits I’m indifferent toward, and bits I’m happiest without.
- There are unpleasant petty politics in every setting, which can spoil the most natural of joys.
Ultimately, I do and don’t have to make a choice about continuing the opportunity. It likely will be available, though not in the most supportive or encouraging of ways, owing to the petty politics (not of the governmental variety) that infuse all of life. Yet it will likely be there – but that doesn’t mean it is best for me.
My life today is vastly different than my life of 20 years ago. Speculation about what might have been is largely irrelevant, yet it is part of the discussion all the same, and I can only surmise that had my flight been different so long ago, my life and choices today might also be much different. But as my choices stand in today’s reality, there is no choice – not for the moment. I must consider all of life, not just the immediacy of this one opportunity, and in that consideration, I have to land back at my desk, in my office, amidst the birds, books, and writing I have become.
What This Means for Be Your Own Birder
As my days finally level out to some extent, Be Your Own Birder will return to its familiar patterns of featured birds, monthly giveaways, photoshop fails, bird name pronunciations, and other topics of interest. Email communication will resume with more vigor, including the free bird identification service. More book reviews will be added to the Birder’s Bookshelf, and social media interactions will increase as more birders are welcomed to the flock. As always, I am forever open to feedback, suggestions, and comments – the entire point of this site is to engage with birders as they wish, not to force an agenda or a specific type of birding on anyone. Be YOUR own birder, no matter what that means to you.
I will not forget the opportunity I’ve had, the wonderful connections I’ve made, and the options I’ve entertained. Will I return to some variation of the opportunity in the future? Perhaps, as conditions and considerations continue to evolve. But for now, Be Your Own Birder is ready to soar once again, right where I belong.