As a Wildlife Refuge Naturalist, I get to rove the trails at the refuge, and point out interesting things to visitors. It’s easy to recognize the eagles as they soar above. And in the rare instance that a deer has crossed my path, I have taken notice. But, I sometimes find it difficult to notice the hard-to-see gems, like mink, owls, or salamanders. And I realized, it’s because I’m usually too busy looking for four-leaf clovers.
I have something of a gift when it comes to clovers. I am really adept at finding the elusive four-leafed mutants practically everywhere. So, across the 500+ acres at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, there are bound to be at least a couple of four-leaf clovers hidden around on the trail. And I have been able to find a few in my wanderings around. I leave them where they are on the refuge. I adhere to the motto “Take only pictures, leave only footprints” while on the trail, because even if it’s “only” a clover, if everyone took a clover, there wouldn’t be any for the bunnies. And it’s the principle. The refuge should remain undisturbed. Plus, looking for the clovers keeps me intrigued. And I like to see if I can find the same patch of clovers the next time I visit.
No one ever asks what I’m looking for. Perhaps they can’t be bothered, as they are busy looking for their treasure. The refuge is a haven for all kinds of birds, from waterfowl to raptors to songbirds. But, while there is a fantastic botanist on the refuge, I get the feeling that most folks aren’t visiting for the flora. So, the extraordinary finds can get swept away by the excitement of the things that flitter, slither, or crawl.
But on our quest to the Wetlands Observation Deck during Naturalist Training, I realized the special metaphor while looking for four-leaf clovers. If you set your mind to it, you WILL find what you are looking for. Most people are amazed that I am able to find four-leaf clovers so easily. And sometimes, it amazes me too. But when folks tell me “I can never find four-leaf clovers” I ask them, how often do you look? Folks coming to the refuge looking for birds will find a plethora of birds. Those looking for an escape from the hubbub of city life will find sanctuary. I know folks who are always on the lookout for scat (well, to be honest, I am one of those people- poop is fascinating to me!).
This metaphor is relevant to our fitness journey as well. If we are looking for commitment, we will commit. If we are looking for dedication, we will devote ourselves to our fitness. And if we are looking for excuses, we will find those as well. We will find what we are looking for, if we focus on looking for what we truly want?
What are you searching for? Four-leaf clovers? Or excuses?