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Posts Tagged ‘staying active’

A Red-Winged Blackbird: On of the first birds I painted after taking up birdwatching. — Art by Pat Bean

As you age, it’s ridiculous how fast bird-watching creeps up on you. You spend your whole life being 100 percent indifferent to birds, and then one day you’re like “damn is that a yellow-rumped warble?”

My good friend Kim from Utah, who is visiting me this week in Tucson, told me this as a joke, and I laughed until I almost peed myself. The comment describes me perfectly. I didn’t take up bird-watching until I was 60. Before then, even though I’ve always been a nature lover, I never noticed all the birds around me as part of my daily life. Now I can’t not see them.

And while bird populations have seriously declined world-wide since I was born, I’m seeing more at 83 than ever before.

Actually, I hope my neighbors don’t think I’m a peeping tom because I can often be seen wearing binoculars around my neck when I walk my dog – which by the way I’m finally back up to doing, although I use a rollator walker these days because my balance is a bit precarious.

A few years ago, I would have rebelled at being seen using such a thing. But I’ve now gotten into the mindset that anything that lets me keep moving is a good thing regardless of what people think.

I’ve even learned to maneuver the 16-pound contraption in and out of my car myself. And one of the best things about it – because I can walk more comfortably than just standing still – it has a convenient seat. I’ve used it several times now while waiting in a check-out line.

I’m also planning on using my new purple rollator, a gift from a caring daughter, to do more bird-watching, so I can see more birds than just the ones that catch my attention when I’m not bird-watching.

I really did think my friend’s comment was funny, but maybe you would have to have become a birder late in life, like me, to truly agree. If you are, I hope you feel as blessed as I am that you caught the addiction at a time when life is taking slower turns.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days learning to age gracefully.

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