Low-Flying Hawks and the Onset of Winter

life updates

I haven't written anything along the lines of a "life update" since August, I think, so it's time to remedy that.

The truth is, I had a lot to look forward to coming into the Fall. I decided to actually go on a nice solo backpacking trip, and made a couple of plans for socially-distanced meetups with friends -- some of which actually came to fruition. But after that, at times I felt like I had little left to do but to wait out the rest of the year, and ride out the increased cold, darkness, loneliness, boredom and isolation that winter would bring. (I don't think I minced words with those adjectives.)

The truth is that the last few months have been much better than I was expecting. And no, not just because of birds.

One in the tree, one in the aire

A few years ago I realized something about myself. On the rare occasion that I was in a truly awful mood, the kind of mood where I gnashed my teeth and internally rued all of my life choices, it was by-and-large just the byproduct of a snag of sleep deprivation. Whenever I got into one of these stinks, though, it would take me a while to realize it. It's easy to focus on the negatives, the could-have-beens, or the should-have-beens. But, sometimes it's better to get some sleep.

Winter is a good season for sleeping. It's also a good season for drinking tea, reading books, and a lot of other activities.

It has also presented me with a myriad of opportunities for photographing migrating hawks.

Everywhere you look.
Not unlike specs.
Swoosh swoosh ya
Someone is a damn hog
I took all of these shots a week ago, and I wish I had been sensible enough to use the mechanical shutter rather than the electronic one on my camera, because I think they would have been a tad sharper. Oh well.

I think there are two things which have been the key to enjoying the late fall, the coming winter, and the rest of the pandemic, however long it may continue.

First off, I have at least accepted that the situation may not ever actually be "okay", but that it's okay to not be okay. That's some nonsensical-sounding mental gymnastics, but being able to accept these circumstances is important.

And secondly, I'm doing my best to take advantage of the opportunities that I do have.

At times, it does feel like every day is the same, but at other times, there are surprises. Like, the moments in which the sky is filled with birds, or getting a surprise Zoom tour of a newsroom, or seizing the opportunity on some unseasonably warm days and going hiking with friends from afar. Things were nowhere near as dire as I expected.

Even on an ordinary walk on a trail I have done a few times, I accidentally interrupted a marathon, and wandered around an old stone dam with unbelievably stinky water and had my camera batteries die. That was a blast.

So, it's not like there are "No Surprises" like I expected.

Radiohead - No Surprises
Click to load YouTube video.

I have also put a decent amount of effort into language learning, primarily focusing on BCSM. (That's Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian/Montenegrin for short.) The effect of this, is that I flounder with more agility when trying to converse. I still screw up my case endings often enough that I should probably move as close to Bulgaria as possible, but I have made some progress in this area, and that's one thing that I am very proud of.

I've also really enjoyed occasionally watching movies with some college friends over the internet. That's an activity that reminds me close enough of normal life, even though it is bereft of high-quality pizza and wings when I do it from Southeastern Pennsylvania. (Side note, the most recent pizza that my parents decided to order is among the worst I have ever had in my life, which was simply heratbreaking.)

And as ever, I am thankful for my 'rents for taking me in & keeping me company.

So, what's next for this blog?

  • Posts about a few more "attractions of Pennsylvania," which I've visited in the last month or so, sometimes even with mask-equipped friends
  • A continuation of the series on that time I was in Western Europe in 2018. I swear it has a point that I'll get to soon.
  • An eventual continuation of the series on that time (a lifetime ago, a.k.a. March 2020 & prior) where I was living in New York City
  • Maybe actually a couple of book reviews(?)
  • Moar photography
  • Some updates to the web design that will implement a few useful features.

And to bid farewell, let me tell you that winter has arrived, as

Dog statue is quite deep now.
No hunting sign on mushroomed tree, now snowy.
Dog statue is quite deep now.

That's all for now!

Thanks for reading!

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