The Birds

the birdsI like work. When I’m not working, I’m generally on a tight schedule of double-booked stuff to do, which is harder than working. Therefore, it’s with some surprise that I discover I’m getting really good at doing nothing. It’s a skill, although I’m not sure how useful it is, or whether it’s irreversible. The days are full, but of what, I’m not sure. I mainly watch things happen, and time passes.

I never understood bird-watching before I came to Costa Rica. I still wouldn’t go out looking for birds, but I like it when I’m lying in a hammock, and they come by. This kind of bird-watching is more along the lines of people-watching – something you do when your book gets boring. I can drift in and out of dreams, and look up to see pelicans in formation, or dive-bombing off the rocks; scarlet macaws feeding, the crab hunter hawks circling, crested guan walking up the hill, the osprey fishing in the shallows, hummingbirds and scarlet-rumped tanagers. Obviously it helps that everything is either big, or superbly flashy, or shaped like a pterodactyl.

This will be the last bit from Thoreau for a while, but he not only submitted to the same thing, he justified it: ‘There were times when I could not afford to sacrifice the bloom of the present moment to any work. . . I love a broad margin to my life. Sometimes in a summer morning, having taken my accustomed bath, I sat in my sunny doorway from sunrise till noon, rapt in a revery, amidst the pines and hickories and sumachs, in undisturbed solitude and stillness, while the birds sang around or flitted noiselessly through the house, until by the sun falling at my west window, or the noise of some traveler’s wagon on the distant highway, I was reminded of the lapse of time. I grew in those seasons like the corn in the night, and they were far better than any work of the hands could have been.’

‘Far better’. There we go. Lazy is good.

Song of the day: The Sun by The Naked and Famous

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