Binoculars / by Chris Maynard

male & female red-tail black cockatoo tail feathers

male & female red-tail black cockatoo tail feathers

I watched my first acorn woodpeckers a few miles up a mountain trail. Exciting! Down at the trail-head were a number of serious birders with binoculars, cameras, and spotting scopes looking for a rare bird in the area. When I mentioned to a couple of them that I saw acorn woodpeckers, they essentially said, “Ho-hum.”

Familiarity often seems to diminish wonder. Why?

I only have a partial and situational answer and it has to do with my view of life: the creatures I notice around me are beings, not things. I am curious about their experiences as beings equal in stature to me, but very different. For example, when I accidentally dropped a tiny piece of chocolate in the kitchen. I noticed tiny ants nearby. Instead of reacting to the ants by trying to get rid of them, I carefully and for a long time observed them roaming around to see what they would do with the chocolate. This sort of thing keeps me curious and translates into my art, because I consider myself successful when my art takes the ho-hum factor away. So I ask you. What keeps your world fresh?