Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Released from an obligation

Confession time. After 46 years of sending my natural history records into various societies and organisations, I'm getting fed up with it. Bored. Cannot be arsed.

Sounds bad doesn't it? You would think that after playing the game for all of these years and doing the right thing that I would still be up for making sure that my valuable data would be sent to a safe place so that it can be added to the historical record and be used in years to come for research purposes or just entertainment value. I used to religiously send off my paper records to various recorders, and, when the records became computerised, started to visit BirdTrack to upload data, safe in the knowledge that it would get to the right person in good time.

But recently there has been a change. A change in me. I am moving further away from my time in the field being somehow all tied up with harvesting data. It's now more personal to me than that. It isn't about number, or identification for that matter, although it really is - confused? How do you think I feel?

My enjoyment in birding, or looking at plants, moths, butterflies or anything else living for that matter has not waned. It is as strong as ever. It's just that I'm going through a phase of not wanting to analyse it. My notebook still comes out with me but it might not get opened. The pen remains in my pocket. How many Redwings did I see this evening? I could give you a rough estimate, but I was watching the few swirling flocks coming into roost with a happy detachment - not of the birds, I was watching them intently - but a detachment from some perverse duty to record them. Last week I avidly counted the thrushes and submitted them to the notebook. Today? Nah, I just watched and was entranced. Took in the dying of the light. Listened to the Tawny Owl. Felt free. Released from an obligation that I took on board as a teenager back in 1974.

Will I come back to normality - whatever normality is? Why am I bothering committing these thoughts to this post? As I've written before, and will no doubt do so again in the future, blogging is a very cheap form of therapy...

4 comments:

Gavin Haig said...

Welcome to my world... 😊

Ric said...

Steve, it's about time you wrote and have published your own book. A blog is one thing, but it's just reporting on observations and recordings.

Why not? you've spent a fortune buying and extolling the works of others. You need to get your name on something tangible. Contemplation goes only so far.

I mean, from a layman's point of view on natural history, you do appear to know everything. That's quite a calling card. Go for it.

Stewart said...

You could try a different approach to the notebook Steve. Instead of just noting and counting a list of noteworthy species you come across, you could write something more contemplative about your sightings as they occur. About what is happening, your thoughts on it etc, a bit like you do in the blog.

Id buy a book you had written...

Cheers Stewart

Steve Gale said...

Gav. Tell me more...

Ric - food for thought there. I appreciate your faith in me!

Stewart - if it ever gets published I’ll send you a copy