Weekend exhale slowdown….

In America, an industrial action in which employees still perform their duties and responsibilities but seriously reduce productivity often as prelude to a strike, is called a slowdown. The deliberate performance disruption is also called a go-slow in other parts of the world.

It wouldn’t be hard for me to do nothing at all for a day or two. This past week whooshed by me at warp speed and I think I may have experienced  time travel. I may not be able to prove it, but I can clearly remember being in two places at once–it’s the third demand that I haven’t quite mastered.

I’m reclaiming my calm…and I’m here to formally state my slowdown has begun.

My work stoppage includes plenty of outdoor time. I’m hoping to possibly spy one or more of the beautiful small migratory birds passing through. We know our locals very well, but this time of year we welcome orioles and other colorful visitors. We’ve caught a few flashes of crimson or bright orange tentatively hanging around the bird feeder. So far, though, they’ve proven to be camera-shy.

I never showed you the photos from the Heron and Cormorant Rookery in Morro Bay, did I? Since I’m thinking about spring birds and migratory patterns…

The photos aren’t very pretty, but there was a lot of action in those dead trees. Portions of Morro Bay are designated as a state and national bird sanctuary.

Great Blue Herons and Great and Snowy Egrets, as well as other magnificent birds roost all year at this coastal rookery. During our March visit Cormorants were nesting by the thousands. The Eucalyptus trees, virtually dead from years of suffocating guano, were teeming with activity as mothers cared for their young.

The smell was a little strong, but I could have watched for hours.

And so maybe that’s what I’ll do today at home. I could easily sit and “watch” for hours.

We have had such high summer temperatures it’s sometimes hard to believe it’s only spring, but the birds have a different internal clock–they don’t seem to be affected by the weather. They have things to do!

This Black Phoebe couple has been scouting for nesting privacy up under the eaves of our house. He sits on the fence as look-out, and she hovers around the eaves. So far I can’t determine that they’ve officially moved in.

But I can hear little “cheeps and peeps” coming from another section of the attic eaves. There are multiple nests in one area of the roofline, and I like to think it’s the same bird family returning year after year. They’ve chosen us!

These baby doves aren’t as gloriously plumaged as Snowy Egrets or even the rookery Cormorants, but they are sweet and fascinating in their own way. They stayed very close together, exhibiting a bonding I don’t always see in backyard birding.

My slowdown won’t be idle. Just quiet. And s-l-o-w.

This is my chance to just BE. Poet Mary Oliver says it best, “To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work.”

I can get onboard with that thought.

If you’ve been going at warp speed, too, it’s time for our weekend exhale.  Please join me, won’t you? All together now…”Ahhhhh.”

40 thoughts on “Weekend exhale slowdown….

  1. Bishop Decker

    Well said and well done. I love the Morro Bay Area and I plan to visit my mother in Los Osos in May. I may try to rent a kayak and photograph the birds and others from the water. You have inspired me!!!! thanks

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, BD. I must say that I fell in love with the beauty of Los Osos last month. I’ve lived in the Pasadena area my whole life, traveled up the coast probably hundreds of times, and just discovered Los Osos for the first time! I’m still kicking myself that I had never shown the curiosity before. What a wonderful and beautiful place. We’re going back in June, and I want to see the Elfin Forest, more of Montaña De Oro, and the Oak Reserves. I can easily see how you must enjoy yourself in the whole Morro Bay area when you go up and visit. We were talking about the kayaks, too. We’re going back for a family reunion and many of the younger and a bit more fit members of the family are definitely going to be looking into that past time. Thank you so much for sharing your interests. 🙂

  2. Debra, I am sitting in your back garden with you in spirit, watching the birds and flowers. The last Rotary fundraiser of my Presidential year was last night, and we did not get to bed until after 2am. BIG EXHALE for me this weekend. 🙂 I think I’ll skip slowdown and move straight to stop.

    Herons are such interesting birds to watch in the wild. They are so much bigger in person than I expect them to be.

    1. I hope you’re able to get your exhale, Andra. I haven’t been over to read yet, so I don’t know if you’ve shared about last night’s fundraiser, but I hope it went very well. Your Rotary commitment is no small venture in time! This is the perfect opportunity to exhale…hope you can do that tomorrow, too! 🙂

  3. I love all the bird pictures, the doves especially, so sweet together. It is wonderful this time of year out in nature. Saw baby rabbits on our walk this morning, and the scrub jays are quite annoyed when we walk by their junipers, the quail are busy with their young, but haven’t brought them out yet.

    1. Oh I would just love to see the quail, Inger. Last month in Morrow Bay I saw just the one I shared on the blog. I was so thrilled to see it. You must have some wonderful animals and birds out in the desert. For a time my mother-in-law lived in rural Arizona and she would tell us the most remarkable stories of the roadrunners, quails and rabbits. I was always so interested! I am always surprised at what we can see even in our very compact neighborhood. The birds and animals are here, I just have to stop long enough to notice them and fully appreciate. 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying your weekend, my friend.

  4. We used to indulge in ‘Work-to-Rule’ actions at the start of an industrial dispute – It definitely slows things down as various requirements such as checking the tyre pressures on the van before taking to the streets are carried out diligently (normally a quick scan to make sure there are 4 wheels would suffice).

    I was sitting in my office a couple of weeks back on our morning conference call, looking out over the back garden when I exclaimed my surprise at something I saw. Steve, my manager asks “what’s up?”, to which I replied – “A Heron has just flown through my back garden – Any lower and it would’ve hit the fence!” They are very large birds and I’ve never seen one so low in our area before. No idea why it was flying that low but it bugged the hell out of the Pigeons and the smaller birds 🙂

    1. That’s amazing about the heron, Martin! Don’t you wonder what he was after? We had one in our backyard just once, and I was so fortunate to see it. We had fish in our pond, and that amazing bird somehow found them. I sputtered and ran around in circles not sure whether to grab the camera or just watch as he waded into the pond, took a couple of fish gulps, and flew off. I’d never before seen anything like, and I’m unlikely to again. We live in an urban residential area! Just one of those little gifts from nature that keep us on our toes to observe even more closely, don’t you think? I hope your weekend has been a delight so far, my friend! Thanks for stopping in with a wonderful story. I love talking to people who really know what a gift it is to enjoy birds and animals. 🙂

    1. Oh my, Claire. I do understand those times when no matter what we do we just can’t slow down. I hope that means things are going well, and that you’re just busy with good pursuits! Maybe next weekend you can put it on cruise control! 🙂 I hope so, at least soon. ox

  5. Aaaah… I feel more relaxed just reading your post. 🙂 Cormorants are so funny. We used to see them a lot when we went whale-watching. When they swim in the ocean their bodies are submerged, and only their necks and heads stick up like little beaked periscopes.

    Have you ever been to the Channel Islands? A company out of Ventura gives short wildlife cruises around two of the islands. (The cruis is short, not the wildlife. Although, I guess the wildlife is, too.) Anacapa Island is a wildlife sancuary. A naturlaist told us that every brown pelican along the Pacfic coast between British Columbia and Mexico is born on Anacapa, because a huge section of it is a dedicated brown pelican rookery. Even park personnel aren’t allowed there.

    1. I’m so glad to receive your encouragement to look into the Channel Island tours, Janine. I have done a minimal amount of research and we’ve talked about looking into one of the tours with more active goals in mind! I know they are just amazing when it comes being a haven for pelicans. I would really enjoy one of the tours, so I appreciate the reminder. Every time we go up the coast for another purpose we take a look at the beautiful islands and say the same thing, “We’ve got to take a tour…” hahaha! So many things I have yet to do! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend, too, my friend. ox

      1. Island Packers is a good company to look into. I haven’t set foot on the islands yet, but one day I will entice someone to join me.

  6. Glad you can slow down this weekend… I still have too much to do in the garden, so with time travel in mind I might just fast forward to next weekend instead! 😉

    1. I love it, Cathy! I know the pull between wanting to have well-loved projects underway and the delight when we make that progress. For some reason, I simply hit a wall this weekend. I’ll be out there pulling weeds next weekend. I had to walk right on by a front bed that could really have used my attention. LOL! Enjoy your spring garden, my friend. ox

  7. It would be so wonderful to have a couple of days where we just do nothing. I’m sure that’s how we all used to live a generation or so ago. I think our generation has lost the art of knowing how to relax and I’m sure it’s doing us no good at all xx

  8. I was out and about today and had a couple of thoughts of “I need to get done” and felt the automatic gear of “rush” starting to turn. Twice I told my self to relax. There’s no hurry on these days. 🙂 Loved this.

  9. A Sunday morning news program is on, in the background, and the segment is about birds of Spring. I’m taking that, and this blog post, as signs that I should get out of the house. Thanks, Debra, Max and I are going for long walk. Have a great day!

    1. I hope you and Max enjoyed a nice spring day yesterday, John. I would have enjoyed the news segment you referenced, I’m sure. I wish I knew the names of more birds, but I can at least identify the birds that are just passing through as visitors, even if I can’t call them by name!

    1. I don’t have a chance to see herons very often, Jim. Amazingly I did have one come into our yard on a day when I was there to witness it! I was at my kitchen sink and looked out the window in time to see him swoop down and eat a fish out of our pond. I was just speechless. We don’t live in an area where this should be at all expected. I will probably never see anything like this again, but it was quite special and reminds me that these fabulous birds and other animals are probably more present than we know, but our crowded urban neighborhoods are encroaching on their territory.

  10. Exquisite pictures, Debra, and suh a wonderful way to slow down. I have had a similar kind of week to you. Mad. And yet life still goes on while we wage our campaigns and live our lives, as your beautiful birds illustrate so perfectly.

    1. I hope the weekend gave you a little sense of rest from a crazy week, Kate. Sometimes I think if I had just a little bit more time I could sit down and have a good chat with myself, and then figure out how it is I fill up every square inch of my life. LOL! But I don’t have time for that level of introspection. 🙂 So I’m going to try to schedule the occasional work stoppage to help me recalibrate. If you figure it out, I hope you’ll share the secret. ox

  11. Love your philosophy of your self imposed ‘work stoppage’! brilliant! i am on a intense work program to finish up things till the end of the year and then i am declaring my self imposed ‘work stoppage’ by spending more time outdoors too. I am so looking forward to serenity and tranquility. Hope you have a great week! ~Thea

  12. I slowed down so much I missed this post, Debra. Ah well, enjoying it now just the same. I can watch birds endlessly and would love to see those rookeries. All those amazing nests in one tree! I’m always amazed by the intricate ways birds weave their nests, each nest specific to each type of bird. I’m a bit worried here, however, as there aren’t as many nests and nesting activity going on as there usually is. I’m hoping it is just the late start to spring here. Hope you had a good weekend, Debra.

    1. I had never seen anything like the heron rookery before, Penny. These were cormorants in April, but when we go back next month I’m going to check out the area. It may be too late for any nesting, but I am curious. They were absolutely noisy and smelly and yet just exciting. I wonder about the nesting in your area, Penny. It would just have to be the late spring, don’t you think? I have a thousand questions, of course…where did they go? LOL! I picture them in a neighboring state waiting for their homes to get ready. They’ll show up when the bed and breakfast is ready for them. 🙂

  13. Slow down….and listen to the birds. 🙂 …such lovely music in our yard the past few weeks! We don’t seem to have much variety of birds in our yard…mostly finches, hummingbirds, blue jays and a few wild turkey… listening to those finches is such a treat! Love those doves on your fence! Happy slowdown….
    (now that I think about it…we have chickadees and juncos, too…and probably many more, too)

    1. I really did enjoy birds, Kathy. We don’t have a huge variety in the backyard, but they are plentiful–as long as we keep the feeders full! But it was a nice focus, and I think I need to be more intentional in that direction much more often! 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by. ox

  14. Coming late to this, Debra, as I’ve been other wise occupied. 🙂 I do hope you did manage to have a slow quiet weekend, especially as it’s already so hot for you. Those bird photos are gorgeous!

  15. Kay T

    I stayed at the hotel there in Morro Bay several times for work related events. I wish I could have captured the wonder and amazement of finding my room looking out on this nesting site! You are right, it is hard to get a good picture. We were there when the egrets were nesting, so amazing.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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