This is without a doubt the hardest blog entry I've ever had to write, and that is because it's my last.
I've been blogging now since March 2007, and when it comes time to put fingertips to keyboard I do sometimes struggle for inspiration.
Sometimes I pore over the lyrics to some of my favourite songs. Other times I'll delve into obscure poetry. Heck, you'll even recall that I had to dig some Jack Kerouac recently to get the old grey matter flowing, and I'm not sure I've completely got over the experience.
Yep, it's hard work - partly because in recent times I've looked to produce something a bit leftfield, atypical from the stuff you normally see on these kind of sites. And when I've managed to achieve that, it has been very rewarding. The comments and feedback I've had over the last three or so years, positive and negative, have been much appreciated.
If I've made you laugh, cry, sympathise, get angry, or get out there birding, butterflying or mothing, then I suppose I have achieved my goal. If I have failed to provoke a reaction of any sort, then I have indeed bogged it up good and proper.
Musical genius and legendary berserker Mike Oldfield once said that he likes to shed his skin every few years, and I have a tendency to do the same. I'm not hanging up the binoculars or mothballing the moth trap just yet, and I fully expect to continue enjoying the outdoors and wildlife for many a good year to come, but I definitely think that Eye To The Telescope has reached a natural conclusion and it is time to lay it to rest.
I had planned to continue until the end of the year, but why prolong the inevitable? For the sake of my own sanity, I think now is the right time to call it a day.
I recently saw an amazing, young musician at the Glee Club in Birmingham. His name is Ben Howard. I'd never heard of him before, but as soon as he started playing his guitar and singing, I knew I was in the presence of genius.
I leave you with some of his lyrics, taken from the song These Waters. Being the sentimental old fool that I am, I like to associate music with events from my life, and I think this tune will be a fitting reminder to me of the many happy hours I have spent writing about my time in the field. A massive thank you to everyone who has dropped in and shared my experiences over the past few years. Until we meet again, happy birding.
These Waters - Ben Howard
And through it all,
I stood and stumbled, waded through my thoughts and heart
Yeah through it all,
I fooled and fumbled, lost to the poet's frown.
I fought the wolves of patience just to let it lie down
And what we found
Down these coves of limestone and cockle shells,
What we found
Down these roads that wander as lost as the heart,
Is a chance to breathe again, a chance for a fresh start