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Gloriously Normal

July 11, 2010

The more you look, the more you see. Every passing minute is richer, more rewarding. The more birds you see, the more birds you see. When you recognize the patterns of daily life among the birds you know, you will recognize something that breaks that pattern. … Once you have begun to understand the ordinary, you prepare the way for the exceptional. Once you have begun to savour the quiet joys of everyday birds, you have made yourself ready for the peak experiences. You are ready for that combination of the gloriously normal and the staggeringly unexpected that is the heart of the life of the bad birdwatcher, and the good. (Simon Barnes, How to be a Bad Birdwatcher)

If birdwatching is teaching me anything — and it is, even when I’m not bird watching — it’s about finding pleasure in the gloriously normal. Even crows look different now! Not to mention the Canada geese… (OK, I’m getting a little too lyrical here; I don’t understand the appeal of Canada geese, especially when they’re in a pack and running after you. Honestly, I find them a little terrifying.)

I love the term gloriously normal. Isn’t that what life is made up of? Mundane little moments that, if done carefully, bring substantial joy once they’re piled up? Isn’t that what being happy is all about — learning to appreciate the gloriously normal? I keep coming back to the connections between birding and writing and realized it’s right here, in this quote. Writing, for me, is about learning to make the normal glorious.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 19, 2010 1:46 pm

    Okay, my mother loves Canada Geese now that she lives in England. She will not stop talking about this goose family and the little goslings that live on their property and waddle around the pond. She hated Canada Geese when she lived here.

    • July 22, 2010 8:54 am

      Maybe I should move to England too, to understand the appeal of Canada Geese. They’re strange creatures, really. Why can’t the folks out in Malta/Cyprus just start killing those and treating them as delicacies? They’ve got it all wrong…

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