It was cold and windy Saturday. Very windy. Windy enough to knock over 40 pound wooden chairs that were set up in my backyard. As soon as I stepped out of my truck at Wadsworth Falls State Park, I was blasted in the face by a cloud of dirt with a little gravel mixed in just to make sure it got my attention. I asked myself, "Is this really going to be worth it?" As I looked up into an increasingly cloudy sky, I saw a Common Raven, four Turkey Vultures, and a Sharp-shinned Hawk all taking advantage of the wind to dip and glide to their hearts content. I was anticipating that most of the other birds would be avoiding the wind today. That seemed like a good idea to me. I'll head into the woods to find out where they're hiding and find a little shelter at the same time. The birds and I were on the same page this morning. It's an important part of life to have a real awareness of what surrounds you. Both man and animal have that ability, but sometimes I think that we as human beings lose sight of this. We use are natural instincts to survive which is necessary. We have the ability to solve problems and achieve goals as well. My question is "Do we make life too complicated for ourselves?" We create droves of red tape, paper works, regulations, and social rules to the point that we sometimes become trapped in our own minds. We have to be on guard as to what we say or do at all times or we will become a victim of our own self imposed rules. Social interaction in society and our workplace can be complicated. Income tax, healthcare, and our legal justice system have become a complicated mess. Having to deal with these things can make us prisoners of our own minds at times. In order to have awareness of ourselves and the environment around us, we need to keep our minds clear of unproductive thoughts. That's tough to do these days. Fortunately, there are still places like the beautiful Wadsworth Park that make it much easier to reach a healthy state of mind. Sorry for the rant, but it's been a challenging week. I guess we all have those sometimes, don't we? The trees pictured above were loaded full of Golden-crowned Kinglets and Dark-eyed Juncos. There were also a couple of Red-breasted Nuthatches and Brown Creepers to round things off.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
A Greater Awareness
As I expected, the birds were hiding pretty well. I could hear the trees crackling, knocking, scraping, and creaking as they were being blown in every direction. Nature has its own language. We probably ignore this language much of the time because we are geared as humans to go from Point A to Point B. We move on before we've had the chance to absorb the moment. It seems so natural to listen the trickle of a stream or the sound of the leaves crunching underneath our feet. It feels wonderful to take a slow breath of cool air as it settles deep into our lungs. Look at the waterfall above. There's barely a trickle of water running down now. I wonder how many years it took for the rocks to be etched out to the natural steps that they have become?
The trails at Wadsworth are well worn and easy to follow. They take you past Mountain Laurel groves, streams, old stone walls, tall deciduous and evergreen trees. This park tells a unique story to each person who walks its trails. I can tell you that there is no shortage of woodpeckers in this park. I saw Downy Woodpeckers , Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Flickers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and even Pileated Woodpeckers. Unfortunately, it turned its back on me when I asked it if I could take a picture. These giant cousins of the Ivory-billed hammer so hard that it almost sounds like someones hitting a tree with a bat. Their call is like something that came straight out of a jungle. These are great birds. We should appreciate them while we can.
Does this Red-bellied Woodpecker look a little lazy to you? Maybe its just taking a break. In addition to the woodpeckers, I also came across a secret society of Black-capped Chickadees and Tufted Titmice hiding in deep, sheltered area of the woods.