Date: 10/26/19 6:30 am
From: <t4c1x...>
Subject: [obol] a perspective on bird lists

In the years before I married, my parents and I used to take several trips a year to eastern Oregon. On those trips I kept a list of the birds we saw. Whenever I was driving, which was often, my mother would keep the list. I would tell her what birds I saw and she would write them down. But her lists were different from mine. I kept a neatly printed list of birds in consecutive order. Mom added commentary of her own. I never knew until the end of the day what irrelevant additions such as "antelope" or "pretty rainbow" might be lurking between Red-winged Blackbird and American Robin. These additions irritated me, because they took away from the orderliness of my own notes. As my mother aged, her handwriting became less legible, and my irritation increased -until one day I saw those scrawled additions for what they really were: a labor of love which added color, interest and love to what was otherwise a sterile list. My mother has been gone to glory for over a quarter of a century, but I now consider those notes in her scrawled handwriting among my prize possessions. And I am blessed that my wife, Laura, without any prompting from me, adds the same kind of irrelevant comments to the bird list, when I am driving.


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