Good Morning

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last spring’s pancake breakfast

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.

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Woods and Winter

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fire from last spring at Historic Deerfield

My coat smelled strongly of woodsmoke this morning when I put it on and headed out to the park to look at some birds.

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young Red-tailed Hawk, Prospect Park

There were lots of birds. And, true to reputation, the birds in New York City were right up in your face, unlike the birds of Western Massachusetts who were quite reticent. I did see a beautiful Golden-crowned Kinglet twice in the center cemetery this week, a bird I had never seen before here or there who is tiny and wonderful.

This fall I picked a permanent roost hole.  It makes me feel at home to know the hawks are my neighbors, and downy woodpeckers, the ruddy ducks (seasonally) and the jays and all the other wild creatures who live in the city.

November the First Notes

What a year. It is hygge season once more, which for me means writing and reading by candlelight as well as organizing my expanding range of additional indoor hobbies. Kate K. tipped me off to English Paper Piecing which is the quilting equivalent of a really hard crossword puzzle. I’m trying to resist the urge to buy a hexagonal paper punch. Exciting stuff!

This morning I am surrounded by empty and full boxes, mid move, basking in the glow of my first mortgage. I have my pussy hat on, to show Caper that I am part of the resistance. My blog persists, after I discarded social media and my smart phone, Typing my thoughts in here serves as a lighthearted counterweight to the serious writing I do at work and a long form project I am writing out by hand.

Off to the city- enjoy the changing light of All Saints’ Day.