As a child, I devoured books. Trixie Belden, Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and more lived in my head and heart. I followed their adventures with glee. Then in high school I fell in love with Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, D’Artagnan in The Three Muskateers, or anything by James Michner. The longer the book, the more I enjoyed being lost in this fictional world. Fiction ruled my reading world.

Nonfiction reading was for writing research papers. I didn’t really consider that “reading.” Where was the joy in facts? This reading had a purpose, meet the teacher’s request to research and spit back the information acquired.

Now I must admit, I did love reading nonfiction picture books. The combination of the pictures with the text opened my mind to an interesting natural world. They piqued my curiosity.

So that was the extent of my nonfiction reading, until I read a book by Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness. A couple of friends were reading it and their conversations intrigued me to discover this book, too. Sy Montgomery has caught me in her web of books and I can’t stop reading and thinking about her ability to draw the reader into her world of discovery.

Currently, I am reading Birdology by Sy Montgomery. The sub title is Adventures with a Pack of Hens, a Peck of Pigeons, Cantankerous Crows, Fierce Falcons, Hip Hop Parrots, Baby Hummingbirds, and One Murderously Big Living Dinosaur. Doesn’t that just make you want to know more?

I’ve always been interested in watching birds, but this book gives me a whole new perspective to consider. In the introduction she says,

“No matter where we live, birds live with us. Too many of us take them for granted. We don’t appreciate how very strange they are, how different. We don’t realize what otherworldly creatures birds are.”

All this is to say, that on my morning walk I passed a neighbor’s yard and saw this –

a yard shimmering with little spider webs. I stepped closer. There was a red dot in the first one. I looked at another one, same red dot.

I gently blew on the red dot. It scurried to the edge of the web. I was curious, I needed to know more. Probably Sy Montgomery would have a variety of protocols in place to help her learn more, however, I just used google when I got home. 🙂

According to my “research” they are probably black-tailed red sheetweavers also known as red grass spiders. They are only found in Mexico, the West Indies, and the United States. Should you want to know more about these spiders click here. During the day, the webs disappear. I will be looking tomorrow to see if they reappear.

What sparks your curiosity?

Don’t you have a story to share?


8 thoughts on “Learning

  1. mphtheatregirl says:

    I do love to learn. I am a bookworm- part of what I love to read are the classics (incredible that I love the old classics- as in 19th century and earlier)

  2. Terje says:

    Your curious mind and wonderful observations skills are obvious in your blog posts. Plus you write in an entertaining way including photos igniting curiosity in others. Sy Montgomery is a new name for me.

  3. Julie says:

    I love the way you notice things–you make me want to pay closer attention. I recently started one of Sy Montgomery’s books and found her writing beautiful.

  4. crushlevine says:

    Although you have always had an eye for details in nature, Sy Montgomery has made a regular naturalist of you! Observations accompanied by research?! Next thing you know, you will be keeping field notes!

    Her inspiration is far-reaching and has definitely enriched conversations with true friends. I love this post and I am grateful I wrote today so I could give myself permission to read it!

  5. I, too am enjoying being under Sy Montgomery’s spell! Her writing makes us (as our fellow friend says) “fall in love” with all sorts of critters. Even the ones who I ran previously may have ignored. I, as you, have longed been a nature lover and observer. It is wonderful to discover how good writing can enrich the experience even more. Exciting!🙂

  6. daughertyis@sbcglobal.net says:

    I just got Soul of an Octopus from the library yesterday. Been waiting forever! Maybe we can chat about it. I’ll let you know when I finish the current ones(!) I’m reading and start Soul next. Miss seeing you around!! Kae

    Sent from my iPhone


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