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.

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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.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 6 - Puffins On A Rock - Doodlewash

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30 thoughts on “Like A Puffin On A Rock

  1. I love puffins so I am so glad you chose to paint a portrait of them. I find them to be so adorable and am so bummed that I have only ever seen wild ones at a distance. I also love them because my mother often brain farts and calls them muffins.

  2. I think you’re correct about doing nothing. Modern man tends to scorn the idea but with the exception of a few critturs like the hummingbird and the shark, nearly every animal alive spends a great deal of time doing nothing, as do those few tribes left living an older lifestyle. I suspect by doing nothing, they are really doing something very important – being one with their surroundings. Love your puffins. Love all puffins but your are something special!

  3. These two dudes are quite handsome. You stare at puffins – I stare at meerkats. As for worrying about Punxsutawney Phil – I live in Southern California and really don’t care about that oversized rat unless he wants to visit and bring some rain with him. 😀

  4. Love those puffins and perfect for your cold weather I can’t believe the way winter has hit so hard these past few days. Well winter in the north and I won’t say a word about being a lucky snowbird. 😄😄

  5. I enjoyed your writing today, Charlie… Yes, some days it is good to do nothing at all. I think it recharges my brain more than trying to run on a hamster wheel to get everything done! 😉 I enjoy watching documentaries on animals especially but don’t do it enough… thanks for the nudge to do so! I learn so much from birds and animals! 🐧🐤

  6. I am quite hooked on live cams and have frittered away many an hour watching puffins and bears and elephants, oh my! 😁 I think it’s a good thing taking a brain break. As restorative as a nap. Your puffins are the perfect advertising for such a break.

  7. In Pittsburgh they have an Eagle Cam aimed at the bald eagles’ nest
    for 24 hour coverage from the time the egg appears in the nest (usually 2 eggs)
    until it hatches and the fledglings take flight. I have spent many hours in bits
    and pieces watching the inactivity and feeling perfectly blissful, just as I feel
    when I look at those puffins and read the article. Thank you!

  8. The sitting for 15 minutes watching puffins doing nothing is exactly what I missed when I quit smoking. The cigarette break. I didn’t miss the cigarettes, just the 15 minutes outside doing nothing except waiting for the timer to burn out. Hearing about the peace that you found in the 15 minutes of zenning out with the birds, brought a whole new meaning to going out for a puff(in).

  9. Two years ago we visited Bay Bulls, Newfoundland and went on a boat tour to an island that literally has 1/2 million puffins come in each year to nest. It was an amazing sight to see! Your beautiful piece of art reminds me of all those lovely little puffins. I’m smiling now.

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