This week I’m grappling with settling on a writing project that combines my daily interests with enough passion to enliven and finish the thing. Reading Birding Without Borders by Noah Strycker, I imagined a counterpoint- a big year within one park, demonstrating that I don’t have to leave home to have an epic quest. I like the idea, but it needs more teeth.
I enjoyed reading This is Where You Belong by Melody Warnick, she covers the literature and statistics on American restlessness while telling her own story about choosing a permanent place to live. And I learned about unpopular but fascinating common wildlife from urban naturalist Nathanael Johnson in Unseen City. A few weeks ago I met Heather Wolf who wrote Birding at the Bridge on her free November bird walk at Brooklyn Bridge Park- I saw some great birds and was ecstatic to be practically inside the book I enjoyed so much.
All four of these books are surprisingly gentle first person tales that do not get political. It’s hard to know if that is an editorial choice, a philosophical approach, or a marketing decision. Each author (as I recall their work) focuses on an individual’s power to see things differently, with the hope that that will improve the life of the individual and that will inspire and expand to others. As I enjoyed these, I’ve been desiring a similar subtle self improvement quest. It is related to the endless reading on pilgrimages I’ve done in years past.
Maybe part of creating a home is becoming part of a collective action instead of a solo pilgrimage. Are there books about that? I’ll look.
Heather’s work is wonderfully both, she documented her own quest but she shares what she’s learned for free through her walks and lectures and she works for the great ebird.org to support the worldwide citizen science project.