I’m at my parent’s house for Christmas and am trying to get back to work. And not really succeeding all that well. I’m having several frustrations and fear blocking my way. So I’m doing something at least: writing this.

The weather is nasty outside- Sleet/rain. And I took a picture: 

The red circle is the most obvious bird at the bird feeder. As I sit here, cardinals, blue jays and other birds are constantly coming and feeding despite the rain/sleet/snow. 

They’re goal of course is to survive and they’re going for the most obvious food source, the bird feeder my Dad fills up constantly. It’s an impressive example of perseverance despite tough conditions. 

I stepped outside to take the picture, but other than that, I’m a total wimp. I’m not out there going for a run in this. I’m trying to get my work done and am feeling blocked…do birds ever feel that way? I doubt it. If I’m using myself as an example, it’s amazing humans do survive and thrive (it is also possible that we’ve lost that ability in some ways). And yes, I know that there are plenty of people who are survivors, hustlers and otherwise doing amazing things- or just doing things. My brain isn’t convinced I’m among them. 

I’m not doing nothing exactly, I learned something new about photoshop to place that circle there that I hadn’t known before. And I am about to dive into a data analysis problem I’ve been working through for weeks, make a figure or two, possibly do some reading and do a review of my 2012 and plan some goals for 2013. 

Watching the birds outside is also a reminder to stay in the present moment and not get anxious about the past and future, one of which is immutable, the other unknown. Here’s to the new year and to finishing the last bit of this one strong,

PS- My Aunt took this, far superior picture of a cardinal under similar conditions in the Midwest today. Birds are hardy creatures. That can fly. Maybe I should take my inspiration for 2013 from those facts. 


Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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