Tufted Titmouse (with a snack)
It was a revelation for me to discover that both my gardening and new-found birdwatching hobbies had affected a kind of internal transformation. It is now my belief that the wild creatures—you might call them the “least” among us—show us who we are. That, at the end of the day, we treat ourselves only as well as we treat them. And that spending time observing and learning about nature—even if it’s just what (or who) lives in our own backyards—can bring some of those core attitudes to light, can give us insight into how we treat ourselves and those around us.
Of course, I’ve only just realized this within the past week or so. Had I known what I was doing at the time, I would have written it all down. Like a journal or a set of field notes. I would have recorded my reactions to certain creatures: those who scare me, those who I, perhaps, over-empathize with, want to “save” or “rescue,” those about whom I make value judgments, as in this creature is “good” or “bad,” and if “bad,” deserves to live or doesn’t deserve to live, whether it’s a threat to me or not, etc. I think this kind of exercise would be tantamount to shadow work. It would give me a real glimpse into my underlying attitudes and most importantly, I think, it would demonstrate for me some of the narratives that dictate my behavior.
Also, I would have started caring for the wild creatures long before I did. They kind of force you to approach them in a non-interfering way, which, to my mind, is an invaluable aspect of self-care. Learning how to allow ourselves to be. And also for respecting the autonomy and individuality of those with whom we form relationships. Nurturing without attempting to dominate or control, etc.
Anyway. The rest of this post is really just an excuse to share some nature photos from my backyard, or thereabouts. Most are birds (in addition to the bird photos I’ve already posted). But there are some other critters and plants in the mix, too. I hope you enjoy them.