Getting into a back-country, isolated spot is always a peaceful, reflective experience, none more so than last weekend's trip to Mirror Lake, high in the Uinta Mountains. Right at the treeline, this calm lake sits at the base of Bald Mountain and features a fine path completely around the lake, great for birding. Granted, the wind was up a bit when we visited which meant the birds were down, but we got great looks at mountain chickadees and saw a passing flock of gray jays - a new lifer for me. But what's more, along the shores of a lake named for reflection, we had a chance to reflect on ourselves.
There is a lot of hate in today's society, whether in small degrees or large reserves, and immersion in it has kept me from birding for far too long as I deal with the consequences and make attempts to mend fences that are not only broken, but battered, shattered, and abused. There is far too much to love instead - the brilliant warbler-yellow trees in autumn, the gentle yet solid feeling of a well-worn path beneath your feet, the liquid chattering of chickadees overhead, the richness of decadent brownies given by a friend - and we're done with hating. Are there people we hate? Absolutely, and that won't go away, not by a long stretch. They know who they are, and despite what they may have deluded themselves and convinced others to believe, I can only hope they also know what they've done. When a hand is reached out only to be slapped away with lies and accusations, don't expect it to be reached out again.
May you find time to reflect this autumn, whether along the shores of a solitary lake, under the foliage of a colorful tree, or in the warmth and comfort of your own home. Reflect, let go, and let live. Then, go birding.