Under the Open Sky: Humility — I Was Wrong (and It Won’t Be the Last Time)

By Kimberly Mason / For The Chronicle
Last week I told you about the joys of Swofford Pond and talked about eagles chasing blackbirds.

I was wrong, flat out wrong.

I had it backwards; I saw red-winged blackbirds chasing an eagle, not the other way around. (I must have been tired from all those hours on the pond in laborious research.)

I am often humbled through my work.

I mix up names and misspell them. Facts get fumbled or forgotten as they move from my reporter’s notebook through my keyboard and into my stories.

I am also humbled by the grandeur of the mountains that often stand before me as I ply the waters below.

I am humbled by the nest-building labors of the marsh wren male as he flits along the shoreline gathering cattail fluff to line the many nests he builds to lure a harem-full of ladies to his lairs. (Yes, that’s a mouthful of words to describe a buzzy little brown bird. But this fellow is said to have a repertoire of 100 songs or more and builds a dozen or more nests — many of which may be destroyed by a spring storm, forcing him to start over — in the hopes of catching the eye of a beloved.)

There are a lot of little guys out there, fighting to make their way in the world and having to fight the big guys or Mother Nature to do it.

As I stood alongside young fishing derbyman Gavin Iverson Saturday morning, I heard Gavin whisper to his dad that he wondered if anyone was going to catch a fish bigger than his.

His young dad answered wisely, I thought, as he smiled, shrugged and patted his son’s shoulder.

“No matter how good you are, there will always be someone better,” he said, “but that’s OK.”

Gavin caught a great fish, a humbling fish, a fish that — even though it “only” garnered a second-place win — was a bigger trout than I had ever caught and bigger than most that stood on that bank had ever caught, I imagine.

Five-year-old Gavin ended the day feeling pretty proud of himself as he took home a new rod and reel, his second-place prize.

I ended the day feeling pretty humble and very happy.

The best part of my job is getting to get out and watch people having a great time.

I still grumble to myself as I’m assigned another parade or festival to attend. How many parades can one see? How many small town community festivals or farmer’s markets can one reporter attend and still find a new way to look at the same ol’ thing?

A year ago I would have probably said “only a dozen, no more.”

Now? A million.

Every day that I have the opportunity as a reporter to watch people doing what they love in a place they love to live I find myself humbled by it. My spirit is nourished and awakened to the beauty that surrounds us all each and every time I walk out my door and into another Lewis County event.

But mainly, I’m humbled.

No matter how good I am, there’s always someone better. But that’s okay.