Disgruntled beginning birders were the theme at Sandy Hook Bird Observatory today; my first volunteer day since, oh… June, I guess.
Sitting behind the desk in that drafty building on the bay, on any given Sunday, promises a variety of experiences. Many days we see no one, but oftentimes we have a mix of visitors, full of questions, but hesitant to spend any money to validate our presence there.
Today, Donna and I managed to sell exactly one “Butterflies of Sandy Hook” checklist.
(Exactly sixty-four cents with tax.)
A banner sales day!
Donna, who’s a librarian by day, is used to this sort of trading of information for the sake of visitorship. She recognizes our purpose there more readily than me, probably.
Me… I feel like I haven’t earned my keep as a volunteer if I haven’t sold at least one copy of the Sibley’s guide…
The folks who came in today or called to complain… about the birds not being Here now… or the birds not being There yesterday, were expressing a frustration that I imagine many of us feel…
We want what we want from the natural world, when we want it.
If we show up… we expect Nature will be there waiting for us, with bells on.
I’ve spent the last couple weekends at Cape May or at the hawkwatch in Montclair… looking for hawks, waiting for them to show…
They never did, really, not in any spectacular way that I’ve come to expect. Instead there was a huge passing of Monarch butterflies at Cape May and Buckeyes in the hundreds of thousands…
And a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that amused me for hours while waiting for Broadwings to pass, near invisible, overhead…
Opportunities fly by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not, because of the happiness that is gone.
~Jerome K. Jerome, The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow, 1889