Friday, February 3, 2012

Family Field Days

Those who somewhat know me would comfortably exclude the gift of hospitality from their description of my character.  They would mostly be right.  I’m not big on gatherings of people that focus on food or sofa-sitting as the method of visiting.  I don’t enjoy days of cooking followed by hours of clean-up when the “main event”—the breaking of bread, lasts an hour together at best.  Utilizing the analogy of the famous first-century sisters known simply as Martha and Mary, I’d rather be with Mary, listening to the conversations of those gathered; I wouldn’t volunteer to be with Martha, working tirelessly in the kitchen to feed the masses.  No one is perfect.

Don’t get me wrong.  No one enjoys good food more than I do; and I certainly treasure an evening with family or friends to embrace our epicurean pleasures and partake in the intimacy of good conversation.  But housing and feeding folk, as the primary agenda for a gathering of people, is not my cup of tea.

Those who know me well would comfortably include the gift of hospitality in their description of my character.  I’d like to think that they are right, assuming hospitality need not be limited to the housing and feeding of folk.  The logistic preparations and supplies required to equip loved ones with a day in the field are my preferred method of sharing hospitality. 

A day with the community of family or friends, wandering around Mother Nature’s backyard and focusing conversation on the wonders of planet earth is a treasured gift; and it seems a rare gem in today’s world of busyness and geographic distance between community members.

I could be self-centered, and say I’m blessed with an accommodating family that seems to enjoy my planned outings.  Or I could be relationally-centered, and say my passion for days in the field is likely a product of multi-generations of family that worked the land and faithfully gathered these last fifty-plus years for reunions in outdoor venues.  I come from a family that considers “visiting” to be a bi-product of camping, birding, fishing, or simply sitting outside in circled lawn chairs, enjoying a cool summer breeze in the shade of Texas Loblolly Pine trees, while catching up on a year’s worth of living.

This past weekend brought three family members to our RGV winter home, with our time together focused on birding two state parks in two days.  Both Bentsen State Park and Estero Llano Grande State Park are World Birding Center sites providing easy strolls and fantastic birding:

 And while we three hue-mawns focused on birds, my four-legged nephew, Mr. Rudy, readily spotted a rabbit:

And Mother Nature assisted my hospitality efforts--it's not every day that family can gather to view a Common Pauraque:

Although the womenfolk of my family don’t find the kitchen to be the best hangout for caring for our menfolk, we can always be counted on to provide a helping hand for bird identification--whether requested or not:

A day in the field with family?  Priceless!

Special thanks to the rick-man for the photos!


  1. A day with family is priceless! I love the photos. Great job Rick! Hmmm, it would seem the four-legged member of the family suits you. ( :

  2. On your penultimate photo: that's one tired-looking guy; he looks like he's ready for a nap.

    Oh, and the dog too.


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