A Naturalist’s Free Time
It appears that I’ve been a bit more absent than usual from my blog over the past week. Where have I been? Well, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary last week, and seeing that he was off from work the last half of that week, we’ve spent the past 5 days together taking care of household issues, and celebrating our anniversary over the weekend.
One of our tasks was to get a new (to us) car. An annoying and challenging process that took several days, which I’m happy to report is now over, and we have a cute little red Volvo wagon sitting in our driveway (replacing our older and ailing Volvo wagon).
My in-laws took our boys for the weekend, so once the car thing was straightened out, we were free to enjoy some time off. My main goal was to visit someplace new. Saturday we spent traveling (in the new car) to the seacoast of New Hampshire where we visited the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge. We did some trail walking and birding in grassland, forested and wetland habitats and had a picnic lunch. What a beautiful and accessible place to visit! The trails aren’t overly difficult, and you get some spectacular surrounds for very little effort (if you like grasslands, forests and wetlands…)
Some of our bird sightings (often done by ear) included:
Great Blue Heron
…along with a few others.p>
I found a cute little critter that I’ll share for tomorrow’s Windows on Wildlife, but our best sighting of the day was a fisher. We were walking along a raised trail through a mixed forest when my husband spotted it darting under the trail just ahead of us. It loped on and I got a few quick glimpses through my binoculars of its dark and sinewy body moving gracefully over the forest floor. I know they’re fierce predators, but I was so taken with its beauty and grace that it was hard to reconcile what I know of its habits with the soft and elegant creature I was witnessing.
I spent some time while at the refuge reflecting on the fact that as a naturalist, I spend what free time I can immersing myself in the natural world – the very thing I work hard to teach others to understand, respect and hopefully love. I wondered whether educators in other subjects ever do this. My husband is a history and psychology teacher; he does occasionally spend some free time reading on these subjects, but not much on the whole. A good friend of mine is a 6th grade English teacher, and I know she reads quite a bit of Young Adult fiction in determining what to have her classes read. But I also know that she’s a voracious reader, and would probably read these books even if she taught another subject or grade. Relative to the amount of free time I spend in the outdoors, absorbing and learning about the world around me, it doesn’t quite compare.
Are there other professions that people are passionate enough about to spend their free time learning more about it? How do you spend your free time? Is it ever related to what you do for work? I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this in the comments.