How Blogging is Like Birdwatching


When I first met D, one of the first activities we took up together was birdwatching. I remember so vividly the first time we took a bird walk in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The guide led us through parts of the park I’d been to many times before, but this time it was like we were exploring a brand new world.

We were walking slowly, stopping to watch for movement in brushes, listening intently. And as a result we were seeing things I’d never seen before. Red bellied woodpeckers with their brilliant red hoods and bold striped backs, hopping up the sides of trunks, handsome cardinals calling from every shrub, outrageously adorable titmice and nuthatches. It was the same city, but it was as if we’d stepped through the looking glass. I’d discovered a parallel universe.

Blogging, for me, has been a similar experience. For the past year I’ve been somewhat homebound. The first part of the year I was on bed rest at the end of a difficult twin pregnancy. After the twins were born, getting two infants out of my third-floor walk-up didn’t make leaving the house much easier. Needless to say there hasn’t been much birdwatching in my life lately (a gang of starlings landed on the windowsill this morning, and plenty of gulls drift overhead, which I do appreciate).

Then came blogging. I started this blog on a whim, at someone’s suggestion. I like drawing and writing. But it’s happened again. Suddenly here I am in a conversation with a writer and mother of twins in Tipperary, Ireland, and with a woman who does it all with twins, a toddler, and two dogs in Toronto. I thought about Christmas traditions with the most likable mom ever in Colorado, vicariously cleaned out my house with a photographer of pure, perfectly-titled photographs in Derbyshire.

And then there’s the man who loves painting oils of the old west, and a French woman raising a daughter in Brazil, the family living off the grid in Oregon, and even people here in New York City drawing beautiful pictures of animals, painting their claw foot tubs pink just a few miles away in their own universe/apartments. Every time someone “liked” a post it was a ticket into some new universe I never knew existed. The world keeps getting bigger. It’s a good feeling.


11 thoughts on “How Blogging is Like Birdwatching

  1. Oh this is lovely! You put it so nicely. I didn’t realise you we’re on the 3rd you have an elevator? I didn’t get out much at the beginning after a c-section as I couldn’t drive, and we live on a narrow country road that’s too dangerous for walking with a double buggy.

    • Yes third floor with no elevator. It isn’t ideal, to say the least. (The background on this blog is actually the view of the apartments across the street out my window.) I love imagining where we all live.

      • The background is a cool idea. On my old theme, I had a picture of what looks just like a skyline, but my kids were in the middle, hidden from view..
        I live in the countryside, although we’re only ten mins from the nearest town which has a whopping population of… 9000 people!

      • Ha–that sounds so nice and peaceful to me. That is one nice thing about the winter around here, though, it’s much quieter since people aren’t outside as much making noise 🙂

  2. This was very much my experience with blogging. I hear from people who talk about monetizing their blogs, and I feel silly, because I started my tumblr to make friends. Which I did!

    I’ve also wanted to get into birdwatching for ages. I went on a mushroom walk a few years ago, and even that very basic knowledge and practice looking changed the way I experience the woods.

    • A mushroom walk sounds really fun. There is an edible plants walk of Prospect Park that I’d also love to do. Is monetizing blogs real? It sounds like a “get rich quick” scheme to me. For me it’s good motivation to keep me writing and drawing. I didn’t even realize I’d be meeting so many interesting people! 🙂

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