I know a guy named Rick who can tell a female wolf’s status in a pack just from the way she urinates. He can identify individual wolves with a scope from more than a mile away by the way they walk or turn their head. Rick is tuned in. I know another guy named Dan who can spot a pika in a field of rocks from inside a car traveling 40mph. Dan spends most of his days searching (and usually finding) secretive owl species. He takes detailed notes of where they decide to nest from year to year. Dan is tuned in.
Rick and Dan did not just happen upon these skills one morning. They have spent a lifetime observing the forests in their own back yard. Practice observing and exploring your back yard this week. Look up into the trees every now and then. Spend time taking notes of animals and plants in your own Dragon Creek. There are benefits to tuning in. Here are some things you may notice:
- Beech trees hold tight to their leaves long after maples and oaks are naked.
- Opossums and skunks sometimes use the same shelter.
- Spring peepers can also be found in the fall.
- Bluejays will sound the “alarm” at anything out of the ordinary.
- That “eye” that you see on the ground is actually an insect.
- Something may be watching you.
- Lots of different species pollinate the same plant species.
- Some spiders wear armor.
Becoming aware of your surroundings can open up doors into nature that you never knew existed. Slow down and take the time.