The Greatest Adventure

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I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from the blog. Mostly because my lens on the world has temporarily narrowed focus. I spend my days and nights with Dylan and I’m absolutely loving it. But I didn’t start this blog to bore people with the minutiae of caring for an infant. I started it to help myself feel less restless now that I travel less, to find adventure in the commonplace and to see new things in the places I return to day in and day out.

Having a baby qualifies, in many ways, as the ultimate adventure. And finding the wonder in repetition, when your child wants the same book read seven times a night, or when you’re changing yet another dirty diaper, can be a challenge, or so I’m told. Perfect for this blog’s mission. But right now I’m filled with constant wonder and emotion. Every yawn, every smile, every hour spent watching his sleeping face feels like a miracle. Just singing him a lullaby, one of the ones my parents sang to me, gets me choked up. And I think it’s newsworthy to report each inch grown or pound gained. (He’s nearly 14 pounds now. See?)

So I have no perspective. Or rather, I have only this one very narrow perspective. So I’m holding back until I reach more equilibrium.

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To that end, though, I do have a couple of bird sightings to report. When it’s warmer than about 20 degrees outside (today doesn’t qualify) I can take Dylan out into the woods. And sometimes I am able to tear myself away from the baby and head into the woods alone with Oliver. The reservoir we walk around is frozen over but there’s still some activity. A hundred or so ducks have been hanging around in the swamp. Their annoyed honking when Ollie gets too close and forces them into the air is worth heading outside for. And the other day I spotted the resident kingfisher perched on the limb of a dead tree. I didn’t realize kingfishers hung around for the winter.

We have a tree next to our house that sprouts bright red berries that last through the winter. I think it’s a hawthorn tree. When we moved in, our neighbors, who actually built the house, told us that once a year a flock of cedar waxwings descends on the tree and strips it bare. It’s so much fun to catch the invasion and this year it happened last week. The waxwings were joined by a gang of robins and together the two groups had all the berries devoured in 36 hours.

And, finally, there have been more snowy owl sightings this year, all up and down the eastern seaboard. One owl has been hanging out at the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison, about twenty or thirty minutes from our house. It seems like everyone I know has gotten a glimpse of this specimen, except me. Adrian and I shoved Oliver and Dylan in the car last week to go have a look but the owl wasn’t in residence. But on Friday I was passing through the area and detoured over to Dead Creek and there it was! There were five or six other cars stopped, and some photographers with very long lenses. I didn’t even have my good camera with me so I just watched it for a while. Magnificent.

This is the tree it was in, right by the road, and conveniently next to the snow goose viewing area, so the cars have a place to park. This bird must like the limelight. Though I wonder if all the attention scares away its prey. I suppose it could always move if it wanted.

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So there you have it, the extent of my adventures in nature. Now I have to go. It’s been an hour since I peeked in on Dylan, and gazed at him sleeping in his bassinet. Practically an eternity.

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4 Responses to The Greatest Adventure

  1. Bill Martin says:

    JL, There are often two owls at Dead Creek. They seem to be in trees almost a mile apart. Last week the larger one was on it’s favorite tree and the other about 3/4 mile West on a utility pole.

  2. I relish the opportunity to have a single focus–watching my 6 month old granddaughter grow. Infant development has been well-researched since your generation was born. So, I enjoy every moment of seeing it unfold for Ela. She has the same blue sleeper with the bear feet. She’s beginning to use her index finger and thumb to pick up and hold and explore things. But there is one cloth crab that she keeps tossing out. It’s so funny! She explores every inch of a toy and probably knows more about it than the manufacturer, certainly how it tastes! I have no guilt about marveling in her being.

  3. woodstalker says:

    Ok, so now you’ve got me teary-eyed, no kidding, to be brought back to that time when your heart is so full it almost hurts, with each delicate and delicious moment, I totally get what you are saying. I never found a moment of it boring, not one second, I, too, had had so many travels and experiences under my belt and so I found no longing to do anything but see my baby(s) grow, not that I stopped having adventures, but now they included another, a small person which changed but it many ways enhanced my perspective. So I get it, and while your blog has changed, it is still a joy to read, to see the look of love in your eyes, to see his tiny fingers and soft skin, and remember when I breathed in my sons’ smells like they were some intoxicating perfumes…and to see Oliver’s expressions. When it is consistently warmer you will be outside again, wearing your child and sharing with him the time of rebirth in spring. Now my dogs fill that role, it is strange to feel some of that pure selfless love with goofy canines.

    Jane Schlossberg

  4. PS MacMurray says:

    Dylan is quite fashionable! I do not have children, but it must be so mesmerizing to literally see them change and grow… Ho, and thank you for this: “…find adventure in the commonplace and to see new things in the places I return to day in and day out.”

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