Direct Your Gaze

Early this morning, coffee in hand, I stood in front of the sliding doors that lead onto our deck and listened to the birds thronging happily around the feeder. One of the things I love most about our new house are all the different birds – who knew that moving eight miles down the road would put me in completely new ornithological territory. I’m learning to identify them now – the bright golden finch, cuddly tufted titmouse, chickadees and wrens – all scrabbling for territory on the perches.  But when the red-bellied woodpecker makes his appearance, they hover reverently on the surrounding bushes, allowing him to sup in regal splendor.

Today, something caught my eye and directed my gaze upward into the soaring branches of an oak tree. Maybe it was the shimmer of that tree’s last golden leaves, or the piercing blue of winter sky. What might have been a passing glance turned into a stare of wide-eyed wonder. For every bird gathered around my feeder, there were at least a dozen flying in and out among the branches of that tree. I had to crane my neck to see them, those flecks of gold and brown as they swooped and dived in and among the uppermost branches. It struck me at once that they lived SO high in the sky, like high rise apartment dwellers, and must be constantly looking down on my, pitying me for my groundedness. 

And I knew then that I’ve been walking through life with my head down, my eyes in the wrong place. There are entire other worlds to see if we just look up once in a while. 

Direct your gaze and see the world differently.

I know I will be doing that more often after today.

3 thoughts on “Direct Your Gaze

  1. Looking up — and looking all around. Backwards and forwards, side to side. They tell photographers that when you are out shooting, stop and turn around — it’s amazing what you will see that is so different than what you might expect!

  2. That’s a beautiful photo in your header. It looked even better when I remembered to move my mouse over it!

    It’s amazing, but sometimes even the other side of a building can make a difference in what birds we see. When Mom still was alive, she lived in the same building I do, but on the other side. I face the marina, and the water. There are some bushes, but mostly palm trees. Mom had crepe myrtles, live oak and cypress on her side of the building, and she looked onto a vacant lot filled with other trees and shrubs. I have the herons, gulls, ducks and coots, with some pigeons and sparrows thrown in. She had cardinals, chickadees, finches and titmice. Such a difference!

    But your larger point’s right on target. It’s the reason I don’t always walk with a camera. Sometimes it’s enough to look – in every direction.

  3. I love your blog posts. Have I ever told you that? I save your blog posts for last because they are always full of gems that I would miss if I were to skim over them like I do most things. Once again I was rewarded by reading this post slowly. 🙂 I try to slow down and pay attention to nature from time to time. I get so bogged down in the day to day details of living and raising adult children that I forget to “get away” from it. Actually, I do have a place near Stono River called “My Happy Place”. One of the Capri Island folks tagged this place on 4 Square and I have been going there for 3.5 years now just to get away from it all. I love to listen to the water lap up against the shore and watch the birds circling. It is a place where I can unwind and just appreciate nature. I also love to go geocaching out in the parks and forrests which puts me smack dab in the middle of nature.

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