Seeking normalcy. Just what does that mean? Normal is being free of anxiety. Normal is proceeding through your day without worrying about the future, about the safety of friends or family, about being able to laugh, about being free of despair. Normal is NOT crying at the drop of a hat. For several weeks now, I have not been “normal”. And I fear that I may never be normal again. This is a sad comment from a woman who has been around the sun seventy times. I’ve never before experienced this anguish post-election. My candidates have lost in the past and life went on. But this time the loss affected me differently. Not because my candidate lost, but because someone like him won….This is how I feel about my America right now.
Seeking normalcy has sent me back to some of the things in my life that give me peace, make me feel happy and fulfill the purpose of grounding me in my life. One of those is birding and art. I enrolled in a Sparrow Identification Class and for a few weeks, I am attempting to learn how to identify different sparrows in the field. In the beginning, they were all “LBJ’s” or “little brown jobs”, but now they are slowly looking slightly different although I still need much assistance in the field identifying them. As is my custom, if I draw and paint them then I am more inclined to remember in the future. So the printout given to us by our instructor is now covered in sparrow drawings painted with watercolors and inked to help me learn their field marks.
On Saturdays following our Wednesday classes, we venture out to different birding venues in the Austin area to practice our “searching” and “identifying” skills. Last Saturday we marched through native grasses 2-4 feet in height in a restored prairie habitat at Commons Ford. Little Blue Stem, Oat Grass, Indian grass and other species have been reintroduced to this prairie habitat and judiciously nurtured to help create a habitat for the birds that thrive on these grasses. And thrive they do. House wrens, Hermit Thrush, Sedge Wrens, White throated, Vesper, Song, Rufous-crowned, Fox, Field, Lincoln, Grasshopper, Chipping, white-crowned, black-throated, lark sparrows and Spotted Towhee abound in the Austin area at this time of the year. We spent a large amount of time trying to corral a Le Conte sparrow and this part of our adventure would have been hilarious to anyone witnessing it. A dozen or so adults running back and forth in high grasses trying to surround a tiny sparrow so we could get a good look at the little fellow only to have him effortlessly fly up and away each time we were close. The little guy won and some very tired humans gave up the chase.
Yellow bellied sapsucker, Pyrrhuloxia, American Kestrel, Belted Kingfisher, Chicakadees, Titmice, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, Western Meadowlark and a mated pair of soaring Red Tailed Hawks made for some fantastic birding on our field adventures. Combined with beautiful crisp, cold weather and sunny skies, a true recipe for returning to normal.
I am trying to regain some normalcy in my life but that does not mean I will ever be able to accept a much flawed candidate as President-elect to the highest office in our land. He will never be….My President. And I will continue to post, continue to fight against racism, bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia whenever and wherever I encounter it.
Wishing normalcy for everyone! Happy bird searching!!!