Monday, November 2, 2020

Savannah Sparrow

Our son, Andrew, is a mushroom aficionado. His interest in mushrooms started in a botany class in college, was whetted on our 14er hiking trips to Colorado, and has blossomed into a big part of his life, which otherwise focuses on art. He is a member of a mycological society and has found mushrooms in Central Park in New York City that no one has ever found there before. His interest extends to cooking mushrooms which dovetails nicely with my interest in eating them. 

Our son, Sam, who continued to hike with me in the peaks of Colorado once Andrew's interest in mushrooms kept him near the trailheads, turned into quite a mountaineer and rock climber. His skill set evolved dramatically above my own and he got to be comfortable on class 5 rock and hiking without ropes on class 4 rock. Sam's first interest was geology, which with his writing skill, created some thought provoking posts about geology and life. Sam eventually turned to tree trimming to use his skill with ropes as an occupation, and as he did so, his interest also turned to trees. He is now studying to be an arborist. We recently visited Redwoods and Sequoia NPs at his behest and I find myself having a greater interest in trees. Yesterday I was taking a photo of a hawk on a palm tree. Judy was walking along with me and didn't see the hawk. She thought all those photos I was taking were of a palm tree. That shows you how much I've changed. 

Our daughter, Rachael, went to law school, then moved to Japan and became a cook. What else is a law degree good for? Rachael started to develop recipes and blogged about them, involving her children in that process. I've always been interested in food and sometimes I even enjoy reading about it. Rachael's blog got Judy doing a blog, then I got caught up in the wake, taking pictures of my own food at restaurants, and cooking my own exotic meats. Now I've been blogging about 12 years. 

My wife, Judy, started a blog well before I did and she focused on family. Eventually as our traveling picked up she focused her blog on that. Now as we travel, Judy and I think about our blogs as we do so and it influences the photos we take and where we visit. Judy's notes and photos from a trip are usually quite different than my photos and notes. There is some overlap in our blogging, but not a lot. 

So what does all of that have to do with Savannah sparrows? Well, everything. My family's interests have impacted my own. Andrew got my granddaughter, Squirrel, on iNaturalist. I was visiting Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake with two of my granddaughters and Squirrel got on iNaturalist to identify spiders we were seeing. I don't recall ever taking spider photos before, but I did that day. Andrew suggested I get on iNaturalist and I did because he and Squirrel were on it. iNaturalist is a place to show and identify birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders, plants, trees, fish, etc. I'm now taking photos of bugs and trees, in addition to birds, mammals and reptiles, food (thanks to my food blogger daughter, but not for iNaturalist), and occasionally other things. 

A year ago I would not be taking photos of sparrows. With COVID, I relish my time in our canyon. Judy walks with me for exercise. I walk with my camera to look for birds, bugs, plants, trees and spiders. Yes, we've photographed two tarantulas on our walks, beetles, ants and a scorpion on the side of our garage. I post them on iNaturalist and I'm thrilled when I get some new species, like my savannah sparrow yesterday morning. 
I appreciate the impact my family has had upon me. I appreciate a COVID-defying outlet I have to walk in the canyon and take photos and learn more about the wild, and I appreciate a COVID companion who is willing to walk with me even as I slow her down with my photos. 
Isn't that sparrow gorgeous! Did you know I actually saw a peregrine falcon in our canyon! I think of a song the youth sing in our church which I want sung at my funeral. "Whenever I hear the song of a bird, Or look at the blue, blue sky; Whenever I feel the rain on my face or the wind as it rushes by; Whenever I touch a velvet rose, or walk by our lilac tree; I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world Heavenly Father created for me."  

1 comment:

  1. Love this post! I always thought we would be able to mold and shape our children into mini versions of ourselves. Ha, that was naive, wasn't it? If anything, we are remaking ourselves to be more like them! It's been a wonderful journey. We are fortunate to have children with such interesting interests. (And yes, that sparrow is truly beautiful.)