Saturday, April 7, 2012

Nature on the Inside

As I think I’ve probably mentioned before, I am a life-long couch potato.  Not that I’m particularly proud of that fact, but the truth is I’m a fairly sedentary person by nature.  I’d rather read a book or watch TV than be working in a garden or taking a bike ride. 

The downside of that, though, is that I’m actually sort of fascinated by nature.  I like to see plants and animals doing the things that plants and animals do, and that’s hard to do from a couch.  Or, it used to be, until the Internet came along. 

Now, thanks to the wonder that is the WWW, anyone with a camera and a data connection can share their view of nature with the world.  I think that’s a great thing.  Pictures and videos abound out in the ether, and I love to see them.  Partly because I’m a couch potato, and watching nature unfold on a computer screen is easier than going out and finding it, well, naturally.  But, partly because there are things I wouldn’t see otherwise, and I feel blessed to share the experience, even virtually. 

The streaming feed I’m obsessed with lately is actually pretty local—happening in a town just up the road from me—but it’s still pretty neat.  A family has a great horned owl nesting in a planter on their balcony, and they have been kind enough not only to leave the bird alone to do bird things, but also to set up a camera so the rest of us can watch, too.  I appreciate both those things.

Many years ago, I had a cardinal nest just outside one of the windows of my home, and it was great fun to check on it every day, waiting for eggs to hatch, watching mama feed and care for the babies, and, finally—and a little sadly—seeing the babies grow up and the family move away.  If things like live streaming had existed back then, I would’ve been hooking up a camera, guaranteed, and that was just cardinals, not owls.  (Nothing against cardinals, of course; they’re lovely birds.  But owls are really cool.)

Anyway, the point is, I think maybe sometimes being inside gets a bad rap, and I know the Internet does.  But, as with most things, they’re not inherently bad; it’s just a matter of how they get used and to what extent.  Which means sometimes—like when you get to see a little bit of nature brought right into your living room—it’s a good thing.  A very good thing.

If you agree, and you’d like to take a peek at mama and baby owl, go here.  I think you’ll be glad you did.