Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Putting Feet to Ideas

Yesterday Cuppa offered the following observation in Giving and Receiving. She is a wise woman, and I can't help but feel that this is a vital concept that requires me to explore a little more on my own.

"Something that started out as our little Christmas gift for the birds has turned into and absolutely fabulous gift to us instead. We give the wee birds apples and peanut butter, and they give us their trust and cheery little greetings in return. What a priceless gift from these fluffy, feathered wonders."

What Cuppa did was to act on an idea. The idea was to decorate an outdoor tree for Christmas. Given our temporary location here in the country, far from the indoor decorations that we have accumulated over the years, it seemed like an attractive alternative. We could still have a decorated tree of sorts, and it would also serve as a kind of special Christmas feast for the birds.

So it was that while I was otherwise occupied, she spent much time stringing garlands of popcorn and cranberries. They looked great! Not what I had pictured at all — not lonely pieces of popcorn sparsely strung along a string with gaps in between kernels. What she produced was a garland worthy of any indoor tree. (Click here if you remain unconvinced or have not followed our blogs in the past.)

At the time, we had no notion that we would soon be enthralled by wild birds feeding from our hands. One event simply led to another. When the chickadees descended on the tree, I began to take pictures. In the photos, we noticed a different bird, not a chickadee.

Bird manuals befuddle me completely. Both Cuppa and I thumbed through a whole book without spotting the bird in the photo. Of course, it was there, but when you are perusing photos of many hundreds of birds, it's pretty darn easy to overlook the specific object of your search.

So it was that I sent not the first email of this type to a birder friend. It was she who easily identified the red-breasted nuthatch, and it was she who planted the idea of inviting the birds to our hands by mentioning that a similar nuthatch had been known to visit and land on her sister's hand.

And, of course, that led to our experiments and to my excited posting of many photos. When Butterfly and The Boy visited, we were eager to share the thrill with them, and they too were enthralled by the feathered wonders. In fact, Butterfly had hardly been home for ten minutes before she posted pictures on her own blog.

Here's the point, that I make. I would not have thought of it in precisely this way had Cuppa not mentioned it first.

We all have ideas. Some have more and better ideas than others, but we all have them.

Much of the time, we find reasons to withhold action, and the ideas vanish into the ether. They might as well never been conceived in the first instance.

When we take the trouble to implement an idea, we probably have not the foggiest notion what will come of it. Perhaps nothing will eventuate; perhaps something will result that is quite beyond our original expectations.

In this little example, Cuppa had an idea and implemented it. Then it took its own course. Inadvertently, we learned that nuthatches had been known to land on at least one person's hand. We tried it; it worked; we were delighted; and, we have shared this delight with others, including (at least via photos and descriptions) bloggers from the western USA to western Europe.

The key to all of this is that Cuppa "put feet to her thoughts." She went to the considerable effort of turning her idea into effect. She took action. She could not have predicted the results, but had she not "put feet to her thoughts," none of this would have transpired.

We all of us have ideas. True: some have more and better ideas than others. Regardless: we all have them, and many if not most of us of are guilty of doing nothing to implement them. That is our loss, and, just perhaps, the loss of many others as well.

We're none of us too old or too young to learn from this little example. As I have noted in previous blogs, there are principles, like this one, that we all already know, but we need to be reminded of them. Once reminded, we need to take heed. What idea do you have that you have that remains buried at the back of the forgotten and dusty upper shelf? What might happen if you were to take that idea down from the shelf, dust it off, and do something with it?

You never know until you try. As in this case, it may result in something other than what you expected. It may, in fact, be well beyond your anticipations. Even if your idea doesn't bear immediate or even visible fruit, who knows what sort of chain of events that it might begin and what may be the end result? You may not even link some future event with some little decision that you make today, but the link may exist nonetheless.

Thanks for the idea Cuppa: both for the birds and the blog.

While I'm blogging anyway, I trust you don't mind terribly much if I post yet another chickadee photo.



Iona said...

And yet another great picture!
Have you ever considered posting your pictures on the Wunderground website? It's a website where amateur photographers from all over the world post their (weather related) images. There are also a lot of bird pictures there. Some are SO close and sharp!

Anyway, your images will then be rated by viewers and you can even post comments. I've been a 'Wunderground Photographer' for quite some time now and not only do you see wonderful pictures, you also get ideas and instant feedback from the ratings. (It's easy to spot the good images from the not so good)

Here's the link to the image gallery in case you're interested;
(top right of the page has a link to become a Wunderground Photographer)

Loner said...

First - the chickadees are phenomenal. How many wonders people miss when they do not take risks and slow down long enough to see the beauty that encompasses them.
Second - I have really appreciated your comments of late on my rambligns to clear my head - so I thought I'd stop by to visit. Seems we have a lot in common - so I'll have to come by another day to read some more. Thanks!

Anvilcloud said...

Hi Loner

Welcome to Raindrops.

karla said...

I thought Cuppa’s analogy about taking a leap off of those branches in our lives, and taking a chance and exploring new things quite amazing. Very clever analogy!

I especially like that almost every post Cuppa writes ends with inspiring words of wisdom. I can see how she would need a database to maintain all those quotes!