Forests and Trees

I’m always confused when I hear the idiom “you can’t see the forest for the trees” or “through the trees” or whatever it is. Apparently it has something to do with focusing on the wrong thing, but even the descriptions of the phrase leave me wondering what I’m supposed to be looking for or at. Nonetheless, the last few days of work I’ve had a pretty cool opportunity to spend some time with my sister and her family and not only did we see the forest, we saw the trees too.

We also heard a ton of birds, and found most of them. Adding numbers 303-307 (red-breasted nuthatch, calliope hummingbird, red crossbill, pygmy nuthatch, and least flycatcher) to the life list, I’m noticing a trend. Not flying to Amsterdam and Paris, and not having 24 hour layovers regardless of location, my birding stats have taken a huge hit. Perhaps it was the errant hipster in me that when COVID came and everyone became a birder I took a break. Either way, we’re back at it. And with some longer layovers in my schedules, I’m looking forward to more.

Those not familiar with birding, it is likely one of the nerdiest things you can do when you’re outside. Standing still for tens of minutes at a time scanning tall trees for birds who are apparently pre-programmed to hide themselves at the mere sight of a human can test the patience of the non-birder likely hiking with you. Thankfully, my sister doesn’t mind the hunt, and has grown an ear for bird sounds. And Colton…well, he will count the fallen trees and throw rocks into any body of water. But when there’s something winged sitting still enough for him to see it, he’ll see the forest for the trees. Or trees through the forest. Or whatever it’s supposed to be.