Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pay attention



One of the great things about vacation is that it is a time to take time and pay attention to things I would have overlooked during the course of daily life.

A few years ago, T. and I became obsessed with birding. That obsession has now been somewhat overshadowed by new interests, but I'm grateful for the knowledge I've gained about the natural world through looking at and for birds. And for the reminder to pay attention.

Learning to identify birds by sight and ear requires a level of focus and attention that might surprise the non-birder, but once learned, a lot of the knowledge stays with you, even if you're not using it that much.

Here are a few of the birds that reminded me to pay attention to life, while I was on Cape Cod. The one above is a willet, seen at Wellfleet Wildlife Sanctuary.




These are black-backed gulls, the largest gull species, also at Wellfleet.





That is a piping plover, an endangered species, seen near Great Island.





An osprey, nesting in Nauset Marsh.



And two oystercatchers, also seen near Great Island...it's rare to get such a good view of them.

I wonder how many people walked (or drove) past those birds without a second thought. I wonder how much else I miss when I don't pay attention.

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