Beauty in Birding: Andrea








Photos and writings by Andrea Kring

I have always been an observer of nature, curious about the things around me.  One year ago, this month, my best friend passed away and I was completely heart broken. Shortly after that, I was searching for comfort in poetry and nature. I heard a poem by an Englishman named David Whyte who is a poet/essayist.  His first job in his young life was as a nature guide in the Galapagos. The poem was called “Make a Nesting Now” about making a place for the birds to come. There were some lines that spoke to me.

“Make a nesting now, a place to which the birds can come…
and be the one, looking out from this place
who warms interior forms into light.

Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.”

I was in a place where I didn’t want to talk about my loss.  I realized that watching birds and being quiet in my small back yard brought me joy and it made me feel better in the midst of grief.  Birds are a great example of how life goes on. They are delicate creatures that face the extremes of life and they continue to sing a beautiful song with every sunrise and sunset. It became a meditative and healing hobby for me. It brought me much needed joy during a very sad part of my life.

Finding a hobby that truly makes you happy and heals you at the same time is a gift.

Andrea’s Bird Watching Tips:

  • Sit, be still, breathe, wait for something wonderful right in front of you. I typically see something wonderful and get a wonderful shot when I quiet myself to see it.
  • Pay attention to repetitive behaviors in birds, those repetitive moments provide good photo opportunities.
  • Look up a bird you see on Google, note the region, the color, the size, etc. It won’t take long to find out something new about the species you see in your own yard.
  • I believe it isn’t so much the type of camera you have that makes good photos, it is knowing the camera you have and to keep trying to get the best shot you can with that camera. My current camera is a Panasonic Lumix Superzoom pocket camera that I bought at Costco for about $280.
  • Pay attention to light and get very still to capture the clearest photos.
  • Any good nature photographer knows that you have to take many, many photographs to get that one that makes your heart leap a little. Take a lot of photos and don’t be afraid to delete the ones that are not good.  I try to be very “Marie Kondo” with my photos and only keep ones that “spark joy”.  This is not easy, but it is worth it. A really good photo elicits an emotional response. I take hundreds of photos searching for that one good moment that makes me smile over and over again. Try to get that one shot that brings you joy for a long time, THAT is the goal. It is good for the soul.


Read David’s Story Here

Considering a Standing Desk? Read This First

Benefits of standing desk

For most of us, being productive at work means being at a desk.

However, sitting for too long can cause back, neck, and shoulder pain, along with tightened hip flexors and increased lethargy. Some workers mitigate this by taking regular standing and walking breaks. But another solution that has gained traction lately is the introduction of a new contraption: the sit-stand desk.

How Do Sit-Stand Desks Work?

The nice thing about sit-stand desks is that you’re not stuck in any one position. Using either a motor or a manual hydraulic system, the desk can be raised and lowered to accommodate both standing and sitting.

Researchers agree that the best way to stay healthy at work is by incorporating a mix of sitting, standing, and moving. Sit-stand desks allow you to work however you are most comfortable at that moment.

What Can You Expect from a Sit-Stand Desk?

Traffic Coordinator Andrea Kring is among the agency’s first sit-stand adoptees.

“Because I have a spinal condition, my doctor recommended I try to avoid sitting in the same position all day,” Andrea said.  “I’ve noticed having more energy from being able to stand and stretch out, and my back pain has lessened.”

Andrea notes that she prefers standing and working when she first arrives at the office. She likes to alternate throughout the day, depending on the kind of work she’s doing.

“I really can’t think of a downside of being able to choose sitting or standing while you work,” Andrea said.

Andrea prefers the VARIDESK brand for its reputation for well-designed products. She offered the following advice for those interested in purchasing a sit-stand desk:

“Make sure it has proper hydraulics. Yenae shared with me that she had one at her old job that she had to hoist up and down, and it was a lot of hassle at times. Mechanical risers do cost less and do not make noise to reposition, but you may want to consider the possible additional noise that comes with a motorized version. This is something to consider if you work in a cubicle environment.”

Considering Investing?

Standing desks were once bulky and expensive. We now enjoy an abundance of well-priced options for sit-stand risers.

SAM complies with federal regulations in accommodating employees with ADA-registered disabilities. If you do not meet this criterion, you can still browse the selection of affordable sit-stand desks available from retailers like Amazon. There are many quality products available for under $150.

After reviewing the benefits, you may just feel it is worth the investment!