Spreading our Wings
Some see retirement a glass-half-full, half-empty proposition.
I see mine overflowing with possibilities.
Having just ended a long career in corporate communications, I am now looking forward to spreading my wings and exploring new horizons.
Speaking of spreading my wings, let’s start with my new-found interest in the outdoors.
This former “if-it’s outdoors-I-haven’t-been-there” bookworm is venturing outside, nature journal in hand, to record my discoveries of the wonderful things that have been going on outdoors since time immemorial and that I have managed to miss.
One of these recent ventures involved attending a 3-day “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” program sponsored by the Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, GA.
I got to climb a willow oak tree, learned to ID Georgia’s trees, studied the night skies, and dabbled in outdoor survival skills.
I also learned about bird banding from Heather Pitman, a volunteer at Georgia’s Jekyll Island Banding Station.
I got to watch her carefully—make that, lovingly—weigh, measure, ID, log, and band about 12 birds we had trapped in mist nets that same morning. Her work and that of other professional and volunteer bird lovers at various stations in Georgia help track migratory bird patterns.
Her work is much too delicate for rookies like us to have tried. But, after she was done with each bird, she let one of us hold it for a moment and then experience the indescribable feeling of releasing a recently captured bird back to freedom.
Outdoors photographer Jenn Joh was able to capture that moment beautifully:
The dazed and probably scared Tufted Titmouse flying off my hands.
Her wings spread mirroring my own fingers.
And both of us feeling free.