I slip out of the house into the cool, pre-dawn darkness and walk to the end of our gravel driveway with a cup of coffee in one hand and a pair of binoculars in the other. The waning moon shines bright and beautiful hanging up there in the velvet sky, and I never tire of watching it, but I am not standing here in this chill half-light just to stargaze.
I sip my coffee and wait. It doesn’t take long before I hear it: the soft cadence of early-spring birdsong slowly awakening all around me.
I’ve found myself doing this most mornings recently as winter is shrugged off and the once-whispered promise of spring gradually becomes a welcome reality. I drink my coffee outside, watch the stars and listen to the neighborhood wildlife talking to each other, all while dreaming of autumn and dogs and birds and crisp mornings afield as the sky slowly brightens above me.
Photograph by Marissa Jensen
Eventually the tugs of responsibility and life intrude, and I reluctantly go back inside and slip once again into the daily grind of life; work, family, kids, while also trying to pretend that what we are all going through right now is normal.
The term “social distancing” first entered my lexicon a few days ago, right along with everyone else’s, and even now, as my family and I struggle with this new and hopefully short-lived reality, I cannot help but marvel at the tragicomic irony of the term itself, and the reality that perhaps our single greatest shared experience as a nation at this unique moment in history, is one of self-isolation.
However, although we may be isolated, we are far from alone. “We’re all in this together” is an oft used and sometimes trite expression that’s damn easy to ridicule, or simply ignore. But right now, perhaps more than any time in modern memory, we truly are all in this together, linked by our communal concerns, our communal bonds, and, yes, our communal fears.
No one knows how long it will be before things go back to normal; before social distancing becomes just a historic artifact of a singular point in time, before kids go back to school, parents go back to work, and yes, before toilet paper reappears on the shelves and feelings of fear and uncertainty are replaced by feelings of hope and optimism and bird season and dogs and memories yet to be made.
Until then, I’m sure there are those who would scoff at the notion that listening to a bunch of birds whistle at each other is a form of mental health, and that what I need to do is keep my eyes glued to the endless stream of information being churned out about our current situation.
Thanks, but I’ll stick to the birds. And when I do turn back to the computer screen, the phone, or the television, yes, I’ll glean as much official information as I need to in order to make safe, informed decisions about my family’s and my community’s health and well-being, but I’ll also do what I’m sure all of you will be doing for the next few weeks, or months, or however long it takes to weather this storm: scrolling the internet and social media channels looking for glimmers of good news.
Let’s face it: For many of us things are gonna get a little weird and unprecedented in the next few weeks, and we’re all going to need some kind of balm to see us through to the other side. And for quail hunters, that balm is talking, reading, and listening to all things quail.
And to that end, we at Quail Forever are here to help you out as much as possible. Yes, we’re stuck in our homes just like all of you, but rest assured, we’re still working, still committed to our conservation mission, and still committed to bringing you the best quail-related content out there.
So when you need a respite from what’s going on in the world and a temporary escape to remind you of the good times to come, remember: We’ll be here providing it to you, through the Quail Forever website and all our social channels from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter.
Because everyone could use some good news and a smile right now. We promise you’ll keep finding it here.
Below are links to just a few examples of what you can look forward to in the coming weeks. But first please read PF/QF President and CEO Howard Vincent on Quail Forever’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic
- Read Pheasants Forever Editor Tom Carpenter’s lyric memoir of a childhood spent with quail here.
- Learn how author Curtis Niedermier overcomes barriers to bobwhites here.
- And finally, take a trip from the mountain (quail) to the valley (quail) with a few tips from author Matt Hardinge.
So sit back, grab another self-isolation snack, and enjoy. Quail season will be here before you know it, and probably before you use up that TP stash in your basement…
Chad Love is editor of Quail Forever Journal
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