A BIRD’S-EYE VIEW
Field Notes From an Unintentional Birder by Julia Zarankin (Sept. 12) Toronto writer Julia Zarankin was auditioning hobbies when she landed on birdwatching. The last thing she expected was to join the flock, but she explains how, at a crossroads in her academic career and newly divorced, she found solace – and ultimately love – through her new obsession. Her first trip out, she didn’t even have binoculars; in July, she reviewed field glasses for Cottage Life magazine.
Zarankin traces her journey from her birthplace in the former Soviet Union – her parents, both concert pianists, are Russian Jews – to Canada, and finds a parallel between her flight path and those of birds. Ultimately, she decides she is a migratory species, too: she was raised in Vancouver and Toronto, lived in Paris and worked as a professor of Russian literature in the U.S.
From personal crisis to finding meaning in mid-life, Zarankin’s current aspirations say it all: “To sport the hairdo of a cedar waxwing, acquire the wardrobe of a Northern flicker and develop the confidence of a Ross’s goose.” —Kim Honey