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Showing posts from November, 2012

Anticipation and hope

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Whatever our pursuit, deep down we all thrive on uncertainty of outcome. Anticipation and hope are the drivers that push us forward, into action. If everything was certain at the level of two plus two equals four it would hardly be worth getting out of bed each morning. We actually do not want arithmetic certainty, but instead an exploration of levels of probabilities and possibilities. Why watch a football match if you knew the result already? One settles down to watch a match with a sense of anticipation, hoping for a memorable experience, a good result....but one never knows for sure what will happen. When I take people out birding in Extremadura, we set out with hopes and a sense of anticipation, but I cannot be totally sure what we species we will see, or how well we will see them. Nor can any nature guide. I could visit the same spot everyday and each visit would be different and there would always be something unexpected. I often wonder what it is like for a cultural guide tak…

What a beautiful autumn!

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As a nature guide, there are many things I have absolutely no control over. I cannot guarantee that I will find every bird that my clients ask for - although everyday, without fail, has its rewards and surprises. And I cannot control the weather. Out with a wonderful group for a week, we had just endured our second day of heavy and quite persistent rain. We were seeing great birds and the folk were in high spirits, but always as a guide I want to do my very best and the weather was creating a tough challenge for me. We popped into a favourite bar of mine for a break and as the group enjoyed the excellent coffee that these little village bars unfailingly provide, I chatted to the owner of the bar. "Lots of rain" I said and she replied: "Yes, and doesn't the countryside look wonderful!". She was absolutely right. In my concerns about making the most of our days in the field, I had blinkered myself to the fact that all of us who live here had been praying for rai…