What I’ve Been Doing Lately

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that I have definitely slacked in the weeks since classes ended, but in my defense I was quite busy with finals. As a writing and linguistics major (with an English minor) I had at least one essay to write/revise for all but one of my classes! AND I went out of town the weekend before finals week because—as you may recall—my cousin, Ally, graduated from Shorter University and I couldn’t miss that! I haven’t been doing all that much, mostly relaxing since I start school again tomorrow. Wednesday I went to the Center for Wildlife Education that we have here on the Georgia Southern University campus, with my wonderful husband. We spent a few hours there looking for the various animals that apply to our respective interests. He loves snakes and turtles, and lizards/“dragons.” I have fairly recently—i.e. within the past month—taken a real interest in birds. I know, it seems kinda lame, but it’s fairly cheap (much more so than herpetology!), and it’s potential is pretty much limitless. You can find birds damn near everywhere! Just the other day I noticed a rather huge gathering of (or “a banditry of chickadees”) what I believe to be Carolina Chickadees, living in the rafters of the outdoor portion of my local Lowe’s home improvement store! At first I thought they were House Sparrows or Black-Capped Chickadees, but I came home and did a bit of research before finally settling on Carolina Chickadees. Not that you probably care too much about all that, but it really is so exciting. Birding has made me pay closer attention to my surroundings. I hear birds all over the place and if I’m not familiar with that song, I’ll try to find the bird singing it so I can try to identify it later with the help of one or more birding websites. So simple, but really satisfying when you correctly identify a bird without looking it up. I’m not very good just yet, but I hope that I’ll find the time to improve. With my graduation coming up in December, I’m not so sure I’ll be an expert at it this time next year, but hopefully I’ll be able to take advantage of living in a state that has such a diverse range of ecoregions before life happens and I end up somewhere else. Even then, however, I’ll always be able to pursue birding because birds are EVERYWHERE!

This new hobby of mine has really got me thinking about the future and what the hell I’m going to do with myself and my (eventually multiple) college degree(s). I really enjoy birding so far, and I have always enjoyed writing as well as photography. Every time I see a bird I wish I had a good, quality, camera to capture an image of it. One of my best friends is a photographer for a living and she has volunteered to teach me the ropes. So I considered pursuing a career in wildlife photography, but (and that is a pretty big but) I’m not sure I’d be able to handle the conditions that job may entail. I think back to every nature show I’ve ever seen and how huge the bugs were. Or I think about that show about parasites found inside of people who traveled to tropical regions (where some of the most colorful, aesthetically pleasing birds are found!). That kind of stuff scares the crap out of me. I’ve spent my entire life in Georgia and I’ve never even found a tic on me, so going places where there is a new way to die everywhere I look (more or less) doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. On the other hand it is something Troy and I could basically do together. He could go off and play with snakes while I wander off and find some birds and we’ll both be happy as a lark (pun intended). Then again, I desperately want to become a mother. It has been hard to deny myself that experience long enough to get through my undergraduate years, so a career like that wouldn’t be very practical until the (future) kids are grown. And how can we actually make a living doing this kind of work? Not to mention healthcare. It’s enough to make my head spin. For now I’m just gonna focus on school and—when I have time—learning to identify birds by sight and sound. Until next time!

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