If I had to tell you my favourite bird I think it'd have to be the Song Thrush. At this time of year, their multi-layered, harmonious warbling lights up any park, garden or wood. It feels like they have such personality, vigour and a dash of eccentricity. What's not to love about them? Now it seems they are also good teachers too.
Last week, there I was, just a few feet from a Song Thrush straining every sinew on a misty, cold morning. My first reaction was to reach for the smart phone, a desire to digitise this memory forever, to carry his song with me always.
So out came the phone, I pointed it at the bird...
Immediately it stopped singing and it stared down at me, muted.
After a while, frustrated, I turned and moved away.
Just a few steps down the path and out poured the warbling, rippling song, again. So I turned, walked back, stood in front of the bird...
and out came the phone...
The same thing happened a third and a fourth time until finally I came to stand before the bird without phone, without anything in-between us. The next few minutes were transfixing, it gave the concert of its life (or at least that's how I perceived it) before it flew off.
I'm glad I can't share a digital version of that experience with you. I'm thankful to that Song Thrush for a very timely reminder of presence and focus and the importance of appreciating something with all my being and all my heart, not my phone.
Next time, my phone stays at home.
You can check out a less shy Song Thrush here.
If you have had any screen time lessons you'd like to share - send them our way!
I am Director of The Wild Network and dad to 4 year old and 3 month old wild things. Striving for ways to deliver on our mission of reconnecting children with nature whilst finding ways to deepen my connection to my own wild side. You can get hold of me on firstname.lastname@example.org or track me down in the woods.