I follow a blog written by a bird/nature enthusiast who lives in my city of Ottawa, Canada. It’s called The Pathless Wood and it is interesting.
I walk in the same wooded areas that she writes about, and I’m ashamed to say that I don’t notice even a quarter of the highlights she brings to the attention of her readers.
She wrote about an olive-sided flycatcher, for instance, a bird she described as “uncommon but fantastic.”
I didn’t even know such a bird existed, and I thought, “What if I was in the right place at the right time, and an olive-sided flycatcher alighted on a branch next to me? I wouldn’t appreciate it at all. I wouldn’t know that it was uncommon but fantastic!”
I experienced that uncomfortable feeling of being blind to something important, like when a person meets a celebrity but doesn’t recognize them, and afterwards someone says, “You know who that was, right?”
On my nature walks I could be rubbing shoulders with the bird equivalent of Tom Hanks or Helen Mirren and not even know it.
I’m not sure there’s a resolution to my problem. I have enough going on in my life (too much), so I can’t add birding to the list. I will keep reading and learning though, in the hope that in future more uncommon but fantastic things will get the appreciation they deserve.