Earlier this week, Baby-girl, my eldest son and I went on a coastal bird-watching tour, complete with guides and lots of wound up children who, being kids, chose to ignore the fact that birds are generally most scared of people when said people are loud.
Thus, there werenâ€™t many actual birds on our bird-watching tour. I was heartbroken about this in an entirely nonexistent sort of way; long ago, I wrote about my experience-based fear of the aviary species and about the time I was stalked by a pelican. I was there to spend time with the small people and because I love the natural world of our island, excepting, of course, the birds when theyâ€™re overhead. There were, however, two points where we did see feathered creatures.
The first point was when we stood on shore looking out on a small island in the sound, where the birds were geographically protected from our cacophonous mayhem.
Iâ€™m not sure what disturbed their rest, but one moment they were all sitting nearly still, and the next moment there was a flurry of activity as they all became airborne. It was beautiful to watch, all the more so because my little nemeses were not, happily, overhead at the time.
The second point where birds actually made an appearance, albeit also from afar, was when we were standing out on a pavilion overlooking the salt marsh. The guides passed out several pairs of binoculars to the children and pointed out species as one or more flew across the marsh. Baby-girl and a friend, well-schooled in the buddy system from years of, well, preschool, instantly partnered up and shared a pair of binoculars for the duration. My son had a pair of the coveted binoculars all to himself, so I walked over to him at one point and asked if I could use them. He obliged, and so I looked through the binoculars, starting at one side of the marsh and moving slowly toward the other side.
And then, something caught my eye. Iâ€™m sorry to report that it was not a bird. It was a house. And this house had friends, nice-looking ones, too. The thought occurred to me that if I stood there with the binoculars fixed on the salt marsh, no one would be the wiser if I, instead of watching birds, looked at houses.
So I did.
I donâ€™t think it would be an exaggeration to say I had my own internal version of HGTVâ€™s House Hunters on that marsh, complete with interior monologue where I compared the architectural details of each house and deliberated over the possible existence of pools behind the spartina grass at the marshâ€™s edge.
I suppose that I may have looked, to any eyes save my own, like a hard-core birder, a card-carrying ABA member even, so intent was I on my house hunting. Had Baby-girl slipped between the rails and landed in the pluff mud below us, itâ€™s entirely possible that I wouldnâ€™t have noticed.
What can I say? They were really nice houses, yâ€™all.