Monday, 29 August 2011

Pivo: birthday love to her boo

About two years ago, my partner started watching birds. To some people, that probably sounds like a supremely boring thing for someone under 40 to spend their time doing. At first, I might have agreed although I have always relished trips out to the countryside for a spot of foraging.

Over the past two years though, I've started to really love it. It's meant spending even more time together outdoors, a lot of which has been in urban wilderness. I've discovered lots of foraging spots much closer to home. I've seen how happy my partner gets when he spots something new and even more so when he manages to get a good photograph. 

But I think my favorite part has been the exposure to other urban birders and the realization that these are absolutely my people. We met this woman and her partner at a wildlife refuge on a reclaimed water treatment site in Walthamstow. She asked for our help identifying a waterfowl baby and we all speculated, consulted books and even smart phones before we figured out that we were all hopeless amateurs since it was a common as hell moorhen. 

It wasn't the first time we'd gone bird watching and had good conversations with strangers, shared ideas and even binoculars. 

Some people might look at this and think it's poking fun at a frumpy middle aged woman and saying she should hide herself. It's the special few who will know that "hide" is the birdwatcher's term for the shelter that you sit in to look at birds so they can't see you. She and I are on a level.

Something about being in that place where human intervention was being slowly erased by nature and around the few other people who were there on a warm summer Saturday to do nothing more ambitious than just sit and enjoy it felt very radical. No doubt at that exact moment there were probably hoards of people out in central London consuming useless shit or sitting at home alone glued to electrical screens. 

We were there communing not only with nature but with some interesting fellow humans, even if it was just for an hour or so. We were there because my partner's hobby has become part of my life and for that I'm very grateful. This will become full size street art but right now it's been painted just for the birthday boy.

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