Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Ten-Year-Old Good Memory

If someone asked me to share something good about the year 2004, I’d probably spit on the ground.  Or, if I chose to mimic how Paul (of The Apostle fame) might answer, I’d probably take my shoes off and bang them together, shaking off their dust with the imagery of disdain for that year.

But if I think really hard about it, I can come up with two good things that happened in 2004.  Thing number One:  I didn’t die.

Thing number Two:  I began birding with a 400mm lens in hand and binoculars around neck.  

I didn’t know much about birding those ten years ago.  But family will tell you that I've loved watching birds since I was a little thing. I certainly didn't know the name of many birds; and ten years ago, I couldn’t venture very far from home base.

But I surely found a thirst for life when I began focusing on my feathered friends, on short day trips, out and about my Upper Gulf Coast backyard.

I don’t trip-down-memory-lane too often, or at least not in ways that I admit to others. But last week’s two-days of birding Galveston Island State Park brought back the best of a ten-year-old good memory.

Ten years ago this fall found me just able to put on rubber boots and explore the bay side of Galveston Island State Park.  I started shooting photos of every feathered object in my view.  And one November day ten years ago, I stumbled on my first unknown warbler.  I was taking photos of a Snowy Egret when I turned around and found this little guy watching me:

I had no idea what I was looking at; a warbler wasn’t what came to mind.  I thought I was looking at a Mocking Bird that had plopped his rear end in Easter-chick yellow paint!

But that night, I got out field guides, studied multiple photos, and added my first exciting new lifer to my life-list of Upper Gulf Coast local residents.  I had sighted a Palm Warbler!

And so that really good ten-year-old memory came back to me as I watched a small group of Palm Warblers move about trees and brush during this past week’s visit to GISP.  I didn’t get any award-winning views.  But I did get a really good sense of building on the good I found in life, some ten years ago. 

And today, on learning my RV should arrive next week, I found a great deal of joy in developing these last-week photos of the One that gave me a new beginning:  The Palm Warbler.

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