What would you be

I believe I was on my way for morning coffee when I pulled the truck on to the shoulder to watch the sunrise. I opened the window to improve the view and thought I might grab some muted color with the HX9V. As I composed the shot and steadied myself, I heard the unmistakable calls of Canada Geese. Silly things, for they were flying north. Perhaps they were making their way for a quick bit of breakfast in some standing corn and bean fields about a mile or so further on. If you could be another sort of animal for a day, what would it be? Given my intense fear of heights, I find my preference for being a bird for a day, somewhat surprising. But there it is. I’d like to be a bird because, first off, it might cure me of my irrational fear. But also, I’d like to be a bird because being free of the ground would be rather nice, I think. Maybe that’s why I used to enjoy SCUBA diving when I was a kid. Although flight wouldn’t provide that same sense of weightlessness that one experiences under water (unless I were to fly parabolas) it would free me from the inexorable pull and feeling of push beneath my feet. Even though I know, under the influence of gravity, I’d plummet if I were to stop beating my wings, I think I’d feel less subject to what I sometimes feel can be that oppressive force, if only I were able to soar the skies above. I’d especially like to be able to head up into the wind, on an appropriate day, and rest, motionless, turning my wings and my tail from time-to-time to adjust my attitude. I’d like to fly quite high, for just a bit, to take in the glorious view. I believe I’d spend most of my time skimming the tree tops and looking down into the woods. I would be very interested to discover, for myself, just how easy flying really is. Birds make it look so easy. To be sure, my choice of species would be an important one. For who would enjoy spending the day as a vulture? Although I like Penguins very much, they don’t fly (through the air in any case) and live in quite crowded rookeries which I would not enjoy. Birds of Paradise are the most beautiful birds I know, but their forest habitat seems close for my taste. Hummingbirds areΒ  a real fascination but I think the frenetic pace of that life would exhaust me. Species that participate in leks or live in harems are out of the question for being too socially complex. I abhor the thought of life as a nest parasite like the Cow bird. What then? An owl perhaps? I like the idea of being able to fly silently. I like the idea of being able to turn my head through such a wide range of motion. I’d like to be able to fly through the woods under cloak of darkness. I fancy the idea of using my face to channel sound to my sensitive ears. I think they’re regal. Handsome. And, truth-be-told, I like the association we make between owls and wisdom. So, there you have it, I’d like to be an owl for the day. What’s your preference?


28 thoughts on “What would you be

  1. You were clearly at the right place at the right time to catch this moment in time against that lovely morning sky. I think I am pretty content in being who I am though sometimes I would love to be a fly of the wall … if you know what I mean!

  2. Given the title of my own blog I believe I should choose choose duck, and for much the same reasons as you have. I have to admit, though, that a big part of me wants to choose Pterosaur for the simple reason that it would also justify and enable my travelling back in time for a peek around the cretaceous. I’d make a point of wearing a GoPro for the occasion, of course!

    • ! I hadn’t thought of taking along a GoPro. How, I wonder, without an opposable thumb would you, as a Pterosaur, start the thing? Oh … forgot, this was a theoretical consideration! Thanks for checking in. D

  3. As soon as I saw your picture it reminded me of the opening words from Sandy Denny’s song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”:

    “Across the morning sky all the birds are leaving
    Ah, how can they know it’s time for them to go?”

    Judy Collins recorded a great version of it.

  4. I have no idea what I would be, if I had the choice, but I love the moment you caught in the photograph.

  5. Now this is interesting. (Well, I think so, anyway πŸ™‚ ) As I read your post my first thought was – if I were a bird, then I’d choose an owl. To fly stealthily like that with fantastic vision must be amazing, so when I read your revelation I felt I was in good company. Then I asked my son, over breakfast, what he’d choose. He said owl too.

  6. I’ve not given much thought to being something else. As the “Crown of Creation” I just assumed this was it. πŸ™‚

    Given a choice, I would not choose a bird for the same reason you mentioned … severe acrophobia. Yeah, there are flightless birds. Not a reptile. Maybe one of the predator mammals. Not anything considered prey for sure. I think a tree would suit me fine. On a dense forested mountain side. Or high up atop a tall mountain. Ah, Bristlecone Pine. That’s it. πŸ™‚

    • The dripping sarcasm of your first line made me laugh. Totally get it. Totally on board. If we consider all organisms, Joanna would be in agreement with you. She too would like, very much, to be a tree or some other sort of plant. I’m not sure my undiagnosed ADD/ADHD would all me to stay in one place for so long! Turkeys are done. Our roaster (a Tom) weighed in at 35 pounds and the hens, which we parted for the freezer and for soup, came in at 24 pounds. All of these are not up to our usual megabehemoth standard but, sometimes, the smaller ones are a bit more flavorful than the larger ones. We are expecting a bit of snow today, I hope your precipitation arrives only as rain. D

      • 35 lbs ain’t tiny. We usually get a 13 pounder and eat it for days and the soup for months. Sarcastic? Moi? My other phobia is claustrophobia so being a tree might be an issue. OTOH, I am stuck inside the flabby bag of organs with little problem so I think I could handle it for a few thousand years. πŸ™‚

  7. Thought provoking post, when I was younger I would have loved to be able to fly as you describe, now being able to run really fast with power, like one of the big cats, maybe a Cheetah, but only the running part not the eating part!

    • Yes … those nature films of Cheetahs running at full-throttle are quite something. Although I am neither a physicist nor an engineer, I have always marveled at the high-speed films which show clearly that the animal, along its entire length … from tip-of-the-nose to tip-of-the-tail, acts like one big oscillator to power the animal forward in a highly efficient manner. It’s truly one of the nature’s marvels. And being able to run so effortlessly … that would indeed be a delight. Thanks for the reflection. D

    • Good morning Tim. Thanks for the response. The quality of this image isn’t where I would like it. I keep my compact SONY HX9V in the glove box of the truck for just such a situation. I’ll be driving along and see something nice … so I always like to have some capacity to capture those fleeing moments. My wife gives me such a hard time when I come home and show her the nice, but not fully high quality, image. She’ll say something like And why is it that you didn’t have your good camera with you? I take the camera pack with me on determined photo-expeditions but am afraid to have it along always for fear it will come to no good when I leave in the truck. Anyway, I’m glad you could see your way past the quality and focus on the subject! Have a great Holiday weekend. D

      • I can appreciate the concern over losing a good camera. Quality is also important as well. Some in the camera club I’m a member are talking about the new Sony mirrorless camera. They say the quality is good but the automatic focus is a bit slow. In the case of your photo it would be a big factor. I carry my DSLR with me most of the time. I just put up with the weight. Oh, well can’t satisfy everyone. Thanks for the background on the image. Good shooting to you.

  8. I like the musings of this post. Have you ever read Farley Mowat’s novels Owls in the Family? I think every grade school kid in Saskatchewan did, and we all fell in love with the owl characters.

    • I have not heard of Mowat’s work but did a quick Amazon search … and there they were. We’ve got a young friend out in Seattle who is already developing a ‘thing’ for birds … perhaps these will be appropriate … but first, she’ll need to learn to read! D

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