I'm sitting by an open window on a beautiful sunny day. I'm breathing the fresh smell of pine, the breezes are making a soft whooshing sound through the needles, and the birds are singing like crazy, the original Twitter. I feel a little like Snow White with the bluebirds singing and fluttering above her head. Maybe I shouldn't be telling you I feel like Snow White. Normally, this all blends into the background as I type away on the keys or surf from one website to the next. I'm aware but unaware. It only registers on a level somewhere between subconsciousness and perception. I find myself in a good mood, humming to myself but unaware why. It's no different than petting a dog, we inherently feel calmer and happier. Or spotting a magnificent Elk with it's grand array of antlers in an Alpine meadow. We feel a rush of adrenaline as a signal from our ancient brain reminds us of our hunter ancestry and we feel primal and in tune with nature. The simple rising and setting of the sun is another daily occurrence that effects our mood, desires, needs, wants and internal clock without even realizing it. These things happen typically just below the level of perception unless something makes us aware. Reading about an upcoming event on the US Forest Service website did that for me, made me aware of the smells and the sounds of the breeze and the birds and why I was humming.
It was the type of event that happens frequently in the Sierras in the Summer, in the campgrounds and visitor centers that try to draw us out of the modern world of concrete and electronics with the IPods, IPhones and IPads back to the IEarth. These modern day distractions, while wonderful and amazing, only dull our ability to listen to the more basic natural vibrations around us. We need to be jerked back once in a while from our modern world trance. When I was a kid, growing up in the suburbs of the Bay Area, my family would go camping at Fallen Leaf Lake every year. Some evenings there would be a huge campfire, and the Forest Ranger would talk and educate us about the surrounding forests and mountains as we ate blackened marshmallows. Once in a while we were patient enough to make them golden brown but mostly not. Other evenings we would gather in the campground hall to watch movies of desert creatures and plants, or lizards, bears and wildflowers of the High Sierra. Without realizing it at the time, this was pulling by brain out of the city and teaching me to be aware of the natural world around me. I really appreciate that gift my parents gave me. It stuck with me even though I need a "jump" once in awhile.
By now you must be thinking this event is some life changing, once in a lifetime experience. It's not. It's just an example of many things you can do in the Tahoe-Truckee area to refresh and revitalize your soul. Think of it more as a jump start to get your brain back on track. The article I was reading when all of a sudden I "heard" the chorus of birds around me (kind of reminded me of my favorite place at Disneyland, the Tiki Room) is the Lake Tahoe Bird Festival. Here's the info:
The U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) invite residents and visitors to attend the third annual Lake Tahoe Bird Festival on Saturday, June 2, 2012, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The event is free and takes place at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center, located three miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89.
The event includes guided bird walks every hour from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. along the Rainbow Trail, information on bird feeding and landscaping, a talk on binocular and spotting scope use, a discussion of migration by Will Richardson and an exciting presentation by Master Falconer Marie Gaspari Crawford that includes live birds of prey.
Additional sponsors include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California State Parks, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District and more. For more information about TINS, visit tinsweb.org.
Schedule of Events
10 a.m. - Welcome
10:30 a.m. - Bird Walk (45 minutes)
11 a.m. - Master Falconer Marie Gaspari Crawford (45 minutes)
11:30 a.m. - Bird Walk (45 minutes)
Noon - Bird Feeding and Landscaping
12:30 p.m. - Bird Walk (45 minutes)
1 p.m. - Binocular and Spotting Scope Use presented by Cabela's
1:30 p.m. - Bird Walk (45 minutes)
2:30 p.m. - Migration Talk by Will Richardson
3 p.m. - Master Falconer Marie Gaspari Crawford (45 minutes)
4 p.m. - Wrap up
Take advantage of this event from the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit and the Tahoe Institute for Natural Science (TINS) along with all the other programs in the area to learn about and become more aware of the natural environment that surrounds us here in Olympic Valley and the Tahoe-Truckee area. There are lots of people trying to relax, reduce stress and find happiness with everything from anti-depressants to Yoga. Maybe the answer is sitting just above our heads in that tree. Tune in to the song and you just may find yourself humming along.