“We all have our losses. There is a part of birdwatching that for me is always associated with those losses, and with the hunt for something irretrievable. When I started seeing birds for the first time – really seeing them, with binoculars and proper names – I felt a special elation that was tinged with an ache of longing for… what? I’m still not wholly sure, but it was partly the sensation of finding something and in finding it realizing that it was lost without your having known it and then recognizing that other things are missing, too, and that this bird is just a tiny piece of what you want. Every bird I see feels like the fulfillment of something that simultaneously stirs a longing for more – deeper knowledge, more contact, stranger sights. Somehow, I associate this feeling with the sensation I’ve had dreaming of my father after his death – I wake up feeling I have made contact, but that contact fills me with a larger sense of loss, not entirely unpleasant because so emotionally rich, but never wholly satisfying either.”

~ Jonathan Rosen, “The Life of the Skies”