Even though his birthday isn't until August, I gave Kevin his gift yesterday. Binoculars and some bird guides. Trudging up towards Everest Base Camp in March, we crossed paths with a park ranger from England who was there primarily to birdwatch and let us peer through his binoculars at the Himalayan Monal, Nepal's strikingly beautiful national bird that boasts rainbow hues on a pheasant's body. He excitedly told us about how he has cataloged sightings of over 3,000 birds, but that the Emperor Penguin in Antarctica would be his crown jewel.
Having already seen this bird, and noting the man's enthusiasm, I knew this was a hobby that Kevin could really dig his teeth into. And as he started to in full force a few weeks ago, I realized that if I didn't get him those binocs now, I'd have to think of a different present, because he would get them himself.
So here we are, visiting family in the Carolinas, and the evenings now consist of biking to a nearby pond where I sit and draw while Kevin wades through marshy thickets to get a closer look at the Eastern Kingbird he just spotted, or the Northern Mockingbird flitting above, or the Green Heron that appears to have just caught a frog. Then we pedal slowly back side by side, holding hands, enjoying the lightning bugs.