Those of you who share my interest in making backyards and other suburban spaces wildlife-friendly will enjoy this photo series from the New York Times, Species Close to Home. Times readers from around the world sent in photos of interesting or unusual animals they saw in their backyards. Some photos are wonderful photography and all share a love of animals and nature.
It’s hard to know what to write here. One month ago, I thought I was slowing down the number of posts on Wrenaissance for a while. I thought I was going to the Midwest Birding Symposium as an official blogger. I thought I had an overly busy and heavily scheduled life.
One of my favorite quotes is “Life is what happens while you’re making plans.” Life happened. Out of nowhere, the sudden illness and death of an immediate family member has set us reeling.
I’ve had a longer break from blogging than I expected. I missed going to the MBS, let alone blogging it. My schedule is in tatters, and obligations are unmet.
So I sit here, and for a change I have no plan for blogging, for birding, or for the rest of my life’s affairs.
I don’t know how often I’ll be posting here, or what my content will be. For a time, I need to stop thinking, stop planning, and let life happen.
Updated January 8, 2012
Thank you to those who sent private comments or emails while I’ve been off line. Your kind words and encouragement are much appreciated, and they have helped more than you know.
I’m going to continue in a low-maintenance mode for the foreseeable future, including moving back to blogger (wrenaissance.blogspot.com) and sharing primarily through less involved platforms such as Google plus. We’ll see where that leads.
It’s been great doing this. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve gotten to know some terrific people. I hope I’ll still see you out and about in cyberspace.
Wind moving through the grass or the trees has long been a metaphor for change.
When I started my website, long before it was a blog, I thought I’d be sharing information about backyard wildlife habitats, and that my enthusiasm would be contagious. In those long-ago days, the internet was lightly populated compared to today. Now there are many sites from large, reputable organizations with high visibility which fill the information niche and promote habitats and other conservation practices.
As a birder and naturalist, I’m a perpetual beginner. I appreciate the beautiful and the interesting, but I don’t need to be an expert. There are numerous blogs from professional and amateur naturalists that share rich, detailed information about plants and animals culled from years of study or days of intense research. My contribution to this conversation is one of many, and in some ways superficial.
Given this, and with new professional responsibilities that take more of my time, I considered closing the blog. Writing is slow and cumbersome for me. One of the reasons I began blogging was to develop my writing skills, but that development is only possible with regular writing. Being realistic about the time I have to devote to blogging, it’s unlikely that I’ll practice enough writing to improve it. I could make time, but that I don’t says something as well.
Nonetheless, I don’t want to give up blogging. Over time, the blogosphere has become more about community and less about content for me, and I want to continue to be part of that community. I’ll continue here with more photos and less writing, posting less often. Following Klaus’s untimely passing, the Skywatch team has decided to continue that meme, and I’ll be taking more of a role there. Most of this has already happened. It’s my desire for closure that motivates this post, not the need to give notice of change.
Welcome to the new Wrenaissance. Thank you for reading and for your comments. You are my community.
In less than a month, the Midwest Birding Symposium will be underway at Lakeside, Ohio.
In early 2009, if you had asked me about going to a birding festival, I would have laughed. Me, in the middle of all those people who really know birds? No way! How could I possible keep up? I’d feel stupid. No one will want to go birding with someone as unskilled and unknowledgeable as me. I won’t know anyone. It will all be over my head anyway.
Lucky for me, I went to the New River Birding and Nature Festival despite my doubts. I found out I couldn’t have been more wrong about all of the above concerns. I met great people who also happened to be great birders. They really knew birds, and they were more than willing to share what they knew. They were delighted to go birding with me and a few dozen other people who knew, and didn’t know, birds. I wasn’t allowed to feel stupid. I effortlessly learned a lot just from being there, and with a little effort and question-asking, learned a lot more. And I made a lot of new friends.
Since then I’ve gone to Potholes & Prairies which was a similar great experience and now I’m going to the Midwest Birding Symposium. A lot of the same people are involved in all three efforts, so I’m confident that MBS going to be another winner. So much so that I want to share it with you. Won’t you join me there? Here’s the registration link:
Midwest Birding Symposium Registration
Still not convinced? Go read Ten Reasons to Attend the Midwest Birding Symposium! by Bill Thompson III. It will give you an idea of how funny this guy is. He’s also one of the nicest people you’ll meet, and he can’t wait to show you birds.
A slightly more serious take comes from Julie Zickefoose (Midwest Birding Symposium-Come With Me!). Writer, artist, and NPR commentator, she’s another too-nice-to-be-true person who’s a super birder and who couldn’t be more open, welcome, friendly, and willing to share what she knows.
There’s not enough time to list everyone who’ll be there and make the experience, but the symposium website can tell you more. And for great fun with and without binoculars, there’s a fantastic group of bird bloggers headed there as well. Check the links to the right, and go read the posts about the flock that I linked above to get an idea of the wonderful people you can meet and become friends with in just one weekend.
It’s time to plan to be at the Midwest Birding Symposium. It’s time to register. You know you want to.
See you there!
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)
5 of them, to be precise. Not planned, but given my love of reading mysteries, starting the year with a murder bodes well.
I haven’t posted here as much as I would like. I am temporarily concentrating on some changes over at the Nature Blog Network, but will have more equilibrium when that settles down.
Until then, thanks for stopping here on your travels around the ‘net.
PS Don’t forget to check out the NBN’s new projects, and volunteer.