I spent a bit of time on the phone with big year birder Neil Hayward the other day (blog of his record setting 2013 efforts here). We discussed the feelings associated with the marked deceleration that necessarily accompanies the calendar rollover at the end of the a big year. He gave me some good advice as to how to manage my reintegration, which, at least at this point, I feel is going fairly well. I will say that I do feel a bit lazy as I am not pushing myself in the same way as I was last year. Sonia has been particularly helpful as she has been encouraging me to rest and enjoy the downtime. I want to stat running again, but I realize my body needs to rest. This is a crappy boat in which to be stuck. As I discussed at several points in the blog this past year, I am not at all good at relaxing; I always have to be doing something productive. Were the birding and weather around here a bit better, I might be out and about a bit more than I am currently. However, my mom's feeder array seems to be the best birding in a wide radius at the moment.
I am also having a bit of a hard time readjusting to the petroleum-based world. As I am sure everyone has observed, gas prices have fallen precipitously over the last year. There in one station in Tomball, TX that is selling a gallon for $1.47 today. Certainly, most rejoice over this price drop. I, however, find it a bit worrying. With gas so cheap, it becomes so easy to drive everywhere that I fear much of the environmental gains that have been made these last few years will get left in a bigger, cheaper cloud of exhaust. For my part, I am actually having a bit of a hard time getting behind the wheel. I was hoping to go birding yesterday, but to reach anywhere worth going I'd have to drive at least 45 minutes from my family's home (it's a bit cold for bike birding right now). This was such a painful pill to swallow that I did not go anywhere. I'll be 100% honest and say that right now, birding in a car feels so easy that it's almost not worth it. I feel that I had better spend a full, 8- to 10-hour day birding in nice weather to justify burning the fuel. I also feel I need to see a decent number of birds and get some decent pictures of them. Driving a long way for only 2-3 hours of birding just seems like an incredible waste right now. For example, I would really like to go to Barnegat Lighthouse SP in New Jersey. The problem is that this location is 80 miles from here, or 160 miles round trip. I'm sure I'd have a nice time if I went, but it's really, really hard for me, at least at this time, to burn so much gas for a single day of birding after I burned zero during the 365-days of birding I did in 2014. I am not sure how I am going to deal with these feelings moving forward.