Since it’s dreadfully cold outdoors, my hiking is a bit more like a virtual fantasy. I’m so ready for spring and each time the weather warms up a bit, we get hit with another shivering cold front or a bit of unexpected snow. On February 2nd, which is known as Groundhog Day in the States, Punxsutawney Phil, the country’s most famous groundhog, saw his shadow. According to lore, this means there will be six more weeks of winter. This tradition comes from ancient European lore where it was apparently a badger or sacred bear of some sort in charge of the weather. With this on my mind, how I ended up with puffins for today’s prompt of “rocks” is anyone’s guess. There’s a television in the break area at work and my creative team put on one of those live nature web cams and puffins were the main feature once a few weeks back, so perhaps it was still on my mind. I do think puffins are adorable, far better than I at dealing with colder temperatures, and I would definitely love to happen upon one on a hike.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever watched those nature web cams, but they’re perfectly fascinating. One would think simply staring at puffins standing on a rock, staring at the sea would grow boring, but it’s weirdly hypnotic. Sometimes more join, but often it’s just a couple of them staring at something interesting in the distance. Perhaps it’s their amazing focus that makes them interesting or maybe it’s just that it’s intoxicating to think life could ever be so wonderfully relaxed. Either way, I sat there for a full 15 minutes watching them do absolutely nothing much at all and was captivated. We later moved on to brown bears catching the occasional fish which was also intriguing and then on to watching pandas. Pandas are particularly entertaining as they’re perfectly lazy and appear to be made entirely of fat and fur, lacking any real bone structure. They don’t walk so much as lumber and if they can roll to grab the next leaf, they’ll choose that instead of bothering with walking at all.
Soon, though, I”m rushing back to the computer to check email and make sure projects are moving along properly. The blissful moment of nothingness is quickly opaqued by the typical business that is everyday life. There’s just too much to do in a day to take time to pause and reflect. So many things need to get done that some days feel like a race to a finish line that’s never quite reached. And yet, I feel like my time spying on these animals has given me a different perspective. A calmer and more discerning approach to life. There are always the things we have to do, but the real list of “have to’s” is far shorter than we tend make it. When you take a few steps back and pause, the world looks much less chaotic. Tasks suddenly seem far more doable and some things, yes, can simply wait until the next day. Though I dream to do incredible things and know that if I just stayed up all night doing them, they might actually get done, I’ve learned something far more important. Sometimes, I’ve found, that living a truly full life also includes times of doing a bit of nothing much at all, like a puffin on a rock.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Blue, and Payne’s Gray. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!