It's hard to believe that not only is November already here, but that it's well advanced. This year is especially poignant for me, what with different family, work, and school issues that have arisen in the past months, and it has me questioning whether or not I can still fly.
Fly, that is, as a birder. In all the year, I've only gotten two new lifers, and the most recent was more than four months ago. My schedule is such that there are too many demands on what little time I have, and I rarely get out into the field at all. On a recent trip when I did manage some time with my field equipment, my
binocular harness felt strange and my binns didn't seem to fit in my
hand any longer. I still greatly enjoy my backyard birds and have marveled at a few brief fall visitors different from my normal guests, yet even refilling feeders, cleaning the bird bath, or organizing my store of birdseed seems too daunting a task for the rare minutes I have.
But how many minutes must be spent with wing and feathers to truly be a birder? I'm fortunate that my career leads me along internet connections and through published pages to all corners of the globe, spending a great deal of time with many birds in spirit. I long to see them in person, to spread my own wings even as I watch them spread theirs.
Obligations - work, family, home, school, community - are heavy weights for me to carry, and a burden that few share to help me lift higher. I can lift them, and I do, but what burdens one carries often keep them anchored to what they never wanted. Some I want, some I never realized I wanted, some I just plain never wanted. But how to choose between them? How do birds find their way?
It may be prophetic that these thoughts come to me in fall, a time of migration when I long to migrate myself, in more ways than one.