It's been a week of bird sightings and activity.
I found a nest in the yard the other day. It was after a few days of strong winds ... winds that must have released it from its perch.
This morning we walked through the park and saw a group of people (a gaggle, or maybe it was a congregation) grouped together, all facing the same direction, looking up at a pine tree.
They were mesmerized by the great horned owl perched high above, with her two owlets(!) all fuzzy and huddled close together. In other words, a parliament of owls. Amazing.
And then there was the paddling of ducks down at the pond.
What's gathering in your neck of the woods?
- a convocation of eagles?
- a stand of flamingos?
- an ostentation of peacocks?
- a wake of buzzards?
- a peep of chickens?
- a muster of storks?
- a host of sparrows?
- an exaltation of larks?
- a colony of penguins?
- a wedge of swans?
- a party of jays?
I made this collage from old maps and a cancelled stamp. It occurred to me that when we look at a map, it's like looking at the world with a bird's eye view. I think we'll always need paper maps ... after all, what if there's no wifi?
New work brings new perspective
I was struggling with how to write and present an idea about maps for the April Playbook. Nothing was working and I was beginning to feel lost and frustrated.
So I decided to go in a different direction. To combine my collage work and hand lettering and present it in a long scroll.
When I finished, it occurred to me that we're all navigating new territory. Trying to find our way.
There's no map to tell us which way is the shortest, best solution to get us from here to there.
But maps can still guide us:
Cartography and the coronavirus
Map terminology as it applies to the challenges of staying home:
It's your internal guidance. If you pay attention to how you feel, you'll find your way. Getting tired? Maybe it's time to take a break. Frustrated? Take a left. Or right. Abandon course and do something different.
This is where you map your survival strategy. Maybe it's creating a routine: getting up at a reasonable hour, getting dressed, and saving your comfy clothes for later in the day.
Exercise. Because it helps. But does it fit better in the morning or afternoon?
Work. Begin and end when you normally would, if you can.
Meals. Keep it simple most days. But once in a while, make something different or special. Plan a three-course meal. Or a special dessert.
You've got a lifetime of experience, knowledge, and know-how. Make a list and run through things you've done, things you want to try, and things you miss.
You may not be able to go hiking, but you could plan hikes for the future. Explore documentaries about hiking. Journal or tell stories about the hikes you've completed. What do you remember? Waterfalls, wild animals, blisters ... the heat?
Not a hiker? Replace the word hiker with whatever suits you.
I resisted the urge to try something different. It took three attempts at failed experiments before I convinced myself to go with hand lettering for the illustrated article. It took more effort than I initially wanted to commit to, and I stumbled more than once along the way. But I'm glad I did it.
The project kept me occupied for quite some time and while I was doing it, that's all I thought about. (What a relief.) It's done, I've accomplished something, and that feels good.
I hope you're able to find things that bring a sense of calm and comfort. To stretch yourself when you don't want to. And I hope this helps.
p.s. The map article is part of the April Playbook: This State of Mine. It's an experiment. I'm not sure how well it's working, but I figure the only way I'll know is to try.
p.p.s. When it comes to maps, one thing is clear. Maine has maps:
At Garmin's Yarmouth, Maine, location, Eartha, the world's largest revolving and rotating globe gives visitors an up-close, topographical look at the earth.
Garmin also publishes the Delorme Atlas & Gazetteers that cover highways and byways in cities and back-country destinations all across the country. In all 50 states.
And the Osher Map Library in Portland, Maine, has a stunning collection of maps swimming with sea creatures and serpents, a rare collection of globes, and 3D views of the collection available online.
Where words and paper come together