this post was written in response to a prompt for a writing 200 class at George Fox University.
My fourth grade teacher was a birdwatcher.
I don’t remember much from that year of school, but the day he placed his bird-identification book on the document camera was one that exists vividly in my memories. His careful fingers as he thumbed through the pages, the obvious delight he found in showing us his favorite birds — perhaps the reason it is burned into my memory is because it was the first time I saw him so obviously passionate.
The problem was that us fourth-graders, growing into our imagined wisdom and perceived maturity, thought that birdwatching was decidedly not cool. Our response to his sharing held enough disinterest to rival a crowd of teenagers responding to… well, anything. Even up until recently, that memory did nothing but make me laugh.
But today, I saw a book at Chapters with a proud bird emblazoned across the cover and it reminded me of Mr B. I hope he still ventures into forests in search of warblers and wrens, carefully penning each sighting down into his journal. I hope he keeps sharing his loves with classes of pre-teens too afraid to look anything but unimpressed.
The reason I have these hopes for him is because I have the same ones for myself. No, I don’t love birds, and no, I’m not going to pick up birdwatching anytime soon. But I hope that one day, twenty years down the road, I won’t look back and see a trail of discarded passions and littered dreams. I hope that I keep chasing the things that feel like magic, no matter how many snickering nine year olds think I’m lame. I hope I am unashamed of my loves, just like my fourth-grade teacher and his birds.
so here’s to embracing our dreams,