I have a friend who went to ornithology camp.
Do you know what they do at bird camp?
They set up great big nets in the sky, between tall, sturdy trees, nets like immense spiders’ webs; strong but gentle, and catch birds. They do that so that they can tag the birds, count, measure and weigh them.
They use used (well, used up) toilet paper rolls and paper towel rolls to hold the birds – the nuthatches and swallows and the occasional indigo bunting – to keep them still and calm and immobilized. Very science.
And did you know, though, what they use to hold the big birds? The hawks and harriers and the occasional owl? Bird nerds need to bind the big birds, those big birds, too.
Imagine that. And also the places they had go.
Imagine, (see it now), bird nerds descending on Costco or Walmart or 7-11 or Shoppers to buy Pringles – sour cream and onion, salt and vinegar, barbeque – and eating the chips or not eating the chips just to have someplace to put a wayward falcon.
Imagine wayward falcons.
I sometimes wonder what that’s like: to love something, not someone, that much. To make that extra effort, just to see it through.
To let something define you, if not wholly, but indelibly somehow, so that it sticks with you even as you go on with the rest of your life. And then you tell someone else about it.
Can you imagine that? I’d like to think I can.
I’d like to think I can.