You’ve looked at the old photo a thousand times. It’s of a deer with big, inquisitive eyes peeking at you from behind a tree in a North Shore nature preserve.
You snapped the shot years ago, and it’s been hanging in your office since then. You glance at it while daydreaming about something to write, and it gives you a flicker of amusement. Was the deer really trying to hide behind that skinny tree? And you wonder: why do we stay interested in these same old things? Why do we do something a thousand times? Recently you saw a hawk atop a light pole on Sheridan Road.
You pulled over, got the binoculars, and looked. The hawk looked back with challenging eyes as though saying: “What are you lookin’ at?” It should have been saying “What are you still lookin’ at’?”
Because you’ve seen a thousand hawks. The novelty is gone. But the interest isn’t.
Maybe someday you’ll stop looking at the same things. Stop doing the same things. Stop writing stuff like this. Ah, probably not. After all, what’s better than doing something a thousand times?
Doing it a thousand and one times.
This column was adapted by Mike Lubow from his book: Wild Notes: Observations over time about birds and other fleeting things. Available on amazon.com.