Andrea Lani
Mother ~ Nature ~ Writer
Hope is the thing with feathers  
That perches in the soul,  
And sings the tune without the words,  
And never stops at all,  
~Emily Dickinson
Spring is finally unfolding into summer here in Maine. The gray tree frogs fill the air with their trills, while the spring peepers have settled down to quieter pursuits. The last of the trees have unfurled their leaves, apple blossoms have snowed into the breeze, and the lilacs are nearing the end of their fragrant reign. This time of year I usually start to panic, because it all happens so fast and winter is right around the corner. I am determined to appreciate each phase while it lasts.

I've been bird-watching more than ever this spring, going out almost every day for a at least one stroll with the binoculars. It's been a thrill to see which birds find their way to our 15 acres. We had a gloomy, gray Mother's Day, so after my family took me out to brunch and we watched my favorite movie (The Gods Must Be Crazy, on VHS), I spent the day filling in The Sibley Birder's Life List they gave me, going back through all of my old journals in search of any record of the first time I saw a bird.

I loved how each record brought back the moment of discovery—when my friend Matt took me bird-watching in college and I learned how to psh chickadees down from the trees. The summer I spent in Idaho, counting bites of fish ospreys fed to their babies, while watching all the other birds between mealtimes. The time I joined a Breeding Bird Survey in Southwestern Colorado, and learned that birders are the nicest people. The Christmas Bird Counts I've been on, including the one where Curry, my parents, and I were assigned a single species (northern shoveler) to count as we walked along a river, and more recent counts, driving around town with our kids in the backseat.

Finding the names and dates of the bird-sightings in my journals reminded me of what a valuable process nature journaling is, for both record-keeping and memory-making. It confirmed what I told a recent bird-journaling workshop: the best way to learn to identify and remember a bird is to draw it and take notes, both while you're watching it and later, using a field guide for reference.

Many people have been wondering how to bridge the divides in our polarized society. While I was teaching the workshop, it occurred to me that bird-watching is a good place to begin. If we can come together on the common ground of the natural world, listen to the cardinal sing, sketch a common loon, then maybe we can find ways to listen to each other's songs.
Upcoming Workshops
June 17: Summer Nature Journaling ~
Wildflowers, Hidden Valley Nature Center 
July 22: Summer Nature Journaling ~
Bugs and Blooms, Viles Arboretum, Augusta 
Oct. 28: Fall Nature Journaling ~
Event Mapping, Viles Arboretum, Augusta 

Plan a custom workshop
Recent Publications
No Fun” The Manifest Station
“The Big Night” Coffee + Crumbs
Five Hundred Miles” Mothers Always Write
Writing and Editing

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Enjoy the great unfolding, friends, and keep your ears on the birds. 
~ Andrea
Copyright © 2017 Andrea Lani, All rights reserved.

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