New Year, New Perspective


The first day of 2017 was cold, with a bitter north wind coming off of the lake. All I wanted to do was pull the covers over my head and stay in my warm bed. Instead, I forced myself to get up and out for a First Day Hike and bird walk with people I didn’t know. It was a chance for a fresh start in a new year; I would get some exercise, socialize, learn something new, and get to practice my photography. My kids were visiting over their winter break from college, and reluctantly agreed to join me.

Here are my takeaways from my First Day Hike:

Strangers can be extremely kind and giving. We showed up not quite prepared for the bitter cold weather. A woman I didn’t know offered me hand and toe warmers. Another woman provided my daughter with gloves since she had forgotten hers at home. Since the local Audubon Society sponsored this walk, the group had extra binoculars, which they gave to my son to use. If you take the chance to put yourself out there and meet new people, you will often be pleasantly surprised.


Every day is an opportunity to learn something new.
For instance, the nuthatch forages upside down. While I have enjoyed photographing birds for some time now, there is much I don’t know about them. Hiking with the Audubon Society provided me the chance to learn how to identify specific overwintering birds, as well as their calls, their habits, and their habitats. I was able to use the scopes the members had brought to see all of the birds up close so that in the future I can better identify birds I photograph. This got me thinking about other learning goals I have this year. I would like to relearn Spanish, which I haven’t spoken or read in depth since I was in college, and I hope to visit places I have never been in order to step out of my comfort zone to learn even more.


Photography is becoming a passion. I have been exploring how to use a camera to capture what matters to me for less than a year. However, each day I find that I am looking at my surroundings with a different, more creative perspective, and oftentimes throughout the day I find myself saying, “I wish I had my camera.” So this year I would like to carry my camera with me, improve my skills, and see what I can do with the images I capture.


Perhaps I can do it all. If you read my last post, you know I was struggling with what I believed to be an either/or dilemma. Do I stay and put down roots, or do I go and explore? As I walked the trails on New Year’s Day, my perspective began to shift. This lake, this place and space, will always be my home. It has grounded me since I was three years old. I can put down roots here. But I can also wander and have adventures elsewhere, knowing that I can always come back home.


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