Chirping birds are the first sign of spring. Many of us have lost track of dates, times, and entire seasons, but as soon as we see the Canadian geese come home, we know it’s time to throw off our fuzzy slippers, chuck the remote, and head outdoors.
However. The thought of putting on a mask (and let’s face it, a pair of pants) to distantly socialize 6 feet away from our nearest and dearest…seems like a huge ask.
Many of us would rather roll over and sink our teeth into yet another juicy read. But even our usual romcoms and mysteries are losing their glow. Let’s face it – we are all exhausted. And with good reason. So many of us have worked the front lines, lost loved ones, and/or suffered from serious mental, emotional, and financial struggles. And my heart goes out to all of you – please accept this warm hug on behalf of all of us at Finding Your Bliss.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic pill to offer (except the vaccine – but that’s a post for another day)! What I can do is share something that has given me a few hours of bliss, and I hope that it does the same for you.
Here’s my secret: read about birds (or anything else outside your comfort zone). For example, if you’re a whodunit type, try biographies. And if you’ve always read the classics, mix it up with a graphic novel.
I happen to have a soft spot for complex relationship stories, so this spring, I’m reading about birds. My first recommendation to you is Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl, by Jonathan C. Slaght. To be clear, before reading this, I knew nothing about owls and had never even glanced at the National Geographic network.
But this true account of searching for Eastern Ice Owls was blissful!
Slaght is a crystal-clear writer. He instantly transports you to the backroads of Russia, where he lives for a few months each year looking for this particular kind of owl. I became instantly invested in the owl pairs and whether or not the author would be able to track them down. He also describes the food (gross) and the smells (even grosser). If this is the furthest thing from your interest – I highly recommend it.
When I finished the book, I thought – maybe I am a bird person after all?
So, I picked up Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder by Julia Zarankin. I fell in love with this book when I saw the cover. It’s understated and beautiful, just like the essays in the book. The best part though, is Zarankin’s ability to laugh at herself and explain just how little she knew about birding when she started off on this quest. I felt like she was talking directly to me, which is not exactly the same as having coffee or drinks with a real live friend, but hey – baby steps. If you want to slowly dip your toes into a different kind of read, this is a great place to start.
In conclusion, I have to admit that I’m not investing in bird-watching binoculars any time soon. However, the opportunity to virtually tag along on nature adventures has been a blissful balm for my zoom fatigue. And right now, whatever it takes for us to recover from 15 months of curtailed activity, restricted socializing, and the stress of a pandemic, works!