Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Elliot's bird

  Several months ago, when the trees were bare and the cold weather kept the small creatures and birds huddling for warmth, Elliot attended a nature photography class.  Since that time, he has been anticipating the moment when he could capture a picture of a bird.
     His fascination with birds prompted a day's hike in the woods where we participated in the National Audobon Society's Big Back Yard Bird count.  On that day, near the end of February, we hiked around the lake.  It took us nine hours because we were pausing occasionally to identify birds.  By the end of the day, we saw over three hundred birds of various species, including a stately Great Blue Heron, who stood quietly on a stump like an old man while we walked by.  On that special day which stands out in our memory, we took lots of pictures.  But not one of them turned out the way we hoped.  Since then, I've purchased a better camera.
    So yesterday, after a math lesson, Elliot looked out of his bedroom window to see a small bird perched very close.  The bird seemed to be hanging on for dear life as high winds blew the branches.  Elliot whispered for me to get the camera.  I then watched while he shot picture after picture of this little bird. On the first shot, he was shaking with delight and excitement.  Richard said it must have been like having a version of "deer fever", a rush experienced by hunters.  Whatever it was, the moment was important because it reminded me how learning comes naturally and spontaneously.  I could not have planned a lesson that would have had the same effect.

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