Sometimes, you know, I struggle with headaches. Migraine-type affairs, with headrushes and blurred vision. But usually I can manage them with plenty of rest and fluids and ibuprofen. Anyway, today was one of those days. So I went back to bed for a bit. And then I tried to mow the back lawn, but the mower broke halfway through. I came in and took some more ibuprofen and put together a power poitn presentation on a linguistics paper from last term which I am meant to present next week.
And then I had had enough.
I went to the hill with my camera and my water bottle, and I decided to walk very slowly and breathe very deeply and just watch and listen.
There was only one other car when I arrived, a very enthusiastic birder. He went one way, so I went the other.
I stopped often. I walked as quietly as I could.
Flowers the size of ladybird heads blossomed into tiny pink stars.
Everything was humming, buzzing, twittering, calling, all loud and alive. Crickets, grasshoppers, bees, flies, dragonflies, meadowlarks, robins, sparrows-- more birds than I could hope to identify. As I walked into the maple forest, I heard a nest of woodpecker babies incessently calling. It took me a long time to figure out what the noise was.
At first I thought it was an alarm call or someone telling me just what they thought of me. But eventually, I traced the sound to hole far up in a wild cherry tree, where a mama came and went every five minutes or so.
I always find it amazing how much there is to find when I slow down and take the time just to settle in and be in a place.
It was funny, you know, walking along. There are certain bends and twists that remind me so of Michiru. My heart leaps. I found myslef weighing the pros and cons of walking in the African bush and an Oregon trail. It is true that I do not keep an eye out for hyenas, snakes or baboon troupes here. I do however, keep a sharp eye on all of that poison oak and stinging nettle. And at the end of the day, I can honestly say I have never suffered at the hands (or what-have-you) af the African wildlife, but I currently have a bottle of calydryl on my bedside table due to an unfortunate run-in with poison oak (I've no idea when, where or how) last weekend.
I must also confess to a strange occurance. As I was leaving, half a dozen cars arrived. Each person emerged carrying a large camera (some with tripods) and asked me if I had seen the Western Tanagers. Had I managed a photo? I must have been a bit slow in responding, baffled as I was. Eventually I recalled that yes, I had seen them, and yes I had gotten a photo as well (it's the second bird, if you're interested).
It did make me unspeakably grateful to have arrived that much earlier and to have seen so very much more besides.
My headache never did beat a full retreat, but somehow it hasn't mattered all that much.