Monday, June 17, 2013

Outdoorsy? Not So Much.

I'm not outdoorsy, but I love being outside on my screened in porch. I'd like to tell you I'm much more productive, but that would be a lie.  I get so distracted by the birds flitting about and the trees moving in the wind, the sunlight sprinkling the meadow and the farm traffic that passes, I lose all sense of time some days.

This afternoon, I realized that, though I have very little experience with and understanding of ornithology, I love watching these birds.  From the glowing crimson of the cardinal to the bright blue of the jay; from the hooting of the owls in the wood to the hammering of the woodpecker, from the sweet and too numerous to count sparrows (thank goodness God does that and not me) to the robins who show up every spring as well as the glorious goldfinches and fluttering hummingbirds, I have a beautiful bird's sanctuary outside these screened windows.

TB can hardly wait for me to open the main door in the morning. If I don't do it as soon as I come out of the bathroom, he follows me around, meowing until it happens.  Then, if I don't make my way out to the porch with the laptop and my coffee which means I open the screen doors for him to roam around; he comes back in to find me and remind me that I need to breathe fresh air and see the sun shine.

When we were growing up, we spent much more time outside than I do now. I loved camping with Dad and I do realize that Mom probably ensured we loved being outside so that she could relax inside with a good book.  In junior high we moved to Sigourney with a community pool and during the summer, we took off on our bikes to be there when it opened.

Without Dad around, though, I've turned into a lousy camper. I finally realized that it just wasn't as much fun now because he loved it so much, he made it easy for all of us to have a good time.  He spent months preparing for camping trips, making lists of all the things he would need, ensuring that everything was in good shape for a trip and packing so we could take things and never be without.  When we were very young, he worked with a tent maker and designed the perfect tent for our family. It is heavy as hell, but still works and is in great shape.  That was always the first thing he would pack into the van and I loved helping him set it up once we arrived at our destination.

Notice I said that I loved helping him set it up.  As I grew older, I realized quickly that he had done all of the work and allowed me to place stakes for him, even though I didn't do all that much.

We traveled to South Dakota one year and met my brother and his family up there for a short vacation. Jim thought it would be a great idea for us to all go tent-camping one night rather than spend money on hotel rooms.  I agreed, remembering all the fun we'd had as kids.

Well, that night torrential rains poured down. Max and I huddled in the tent trying to avoid the water streaming underneath us and doing our best to not touch any part of the tent so we didn't get dripping water.  We failed completely and I tried to sleep that night, laying on top of a rock, wondering why in the hell I had made such a strange choice.  Because of the weather, there was no bonfire and no laughing together as a family. We were soaked and miserable the next morning as we met for breakfast and quickly made the choice to not repeat that event another night.  Since then, I have set aside all thoughts of being an outdoorswoman and choose to stay where there are bathrooms within the same structure where I sleep and screens to stand between me and nature while I relax.

That being said, I love watching the leaves glitter in the sunlight and hearing the multiple bird songs, smelling the scents on the breezes that float past, cooling me in their wake.  God has created an amazing world and even though I sometimes like a little separation between me and its glory, I still love it.

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