Yesterday, I experienced first hand the power of observing animals to understand them. First, I noticed that the cows sensed their masters (?) leaving. As the two boys rode their tricycle and left, the cows started mooing as if to say, “Don’t leave us.” I’ve never seen this behavior in cows and I think I have been around them enough. But probably the most interesting thing I saw was the coming of the group of birds which I have yet to identify. They are not blue herons, although I first thought they were, because they have short legs. They do look like that bird I have yet to identify, which I keep on seeing in the fields. These birds came around five minutes after the boys left on their tricycle. They first soared around the pond as if to survey. A few of them left the group but about two stayed and perched on the fishpond’s fences. That was when I realized they were actually looking for fishes. I want to believe that their coming at the exact moment when the boys left is a sign of intelligence. First, they knew that there are fishes in this pond. This implies that they may have frequented this place a lot of time. They know where to go but “when” to go was even more interesting. It is possible that these birds have been watching on the branches of trees for the boys to leave, which itself is still sign of intelligence. But it is also possible that they only come in the evening, when they ‘re sure that no human is manning the pond. I will try to test my hypothesis and go there again later afternoon but I will be a little earlier so I can observe more of nature. What amazed me, however, was the joy of the experience of observing. I have done observations of myself and of other people but I haven’t really done so intentionally in nature particularly on animals. Usually when I am in nature I just wait for the spark of interestingness to come. Yesterday, I allowed the system 2 mode of my mind to take over and it taught me mindfulness. This nature trips will be a staple of my creative process. But, I also want to use it to learn practical and useful knowledge.

Skills and projects

  • Develop identification skills
  • Learn to track wildlife
  • Observe animals in their natural habitat
  • Develop edible and medicinal plant knowledge
  • Develop listening to the language of birds
  • Seek deep awareness
  • Read the land
  • Learn landscape history