After this afternoon's crash course, Leona could confidently point out the cranium, cervical vertibrae, scapular, tibia, fibula, and furcula (though she may opt for "wish bone"), carpals, metacarpals and phalanges. It is equally possible that she might perform a taste test on this diagram, and then drool in an adorable way. The important thing here is that, in absorbing the knowledge in a deep enough fashion to share it with another, I am more likely to retain it myself. Have I now MASTERED the field of Avian Anatomy? Absolutely not. As dabblers, we are free to explore without the pressure to master. Likewise, we are at liberty to veer off our initial path to follow our curiosities as they unfold - which is what landed me atop the Times Square Building in the previous post.
For the sake of demonstration purposes, I have kept this particular dabbling journey relatively short - just offering an example of what may happen when we turn our dabbling attentions toward a topic of interest, or an activity, or a new skill. If I were to stay with this subject, I might:
1. go birdwatching
2. build a bird skeleton out of toothpicks
3. consider how their internal organs relate to their food choices, flight, song, etc.
4. research the mechanics of flight, and drift off into learning more about Amelia Earhart and Nellie Bly
5. visit a nearby farm and hang out with the chickens
6. challenge people to wishbone duels until I win and get my wish
7. go hang-gliding (ok, that might be my wish...)
8. get sidetracked by the passing thought of cuckoos and cuckoo clocks and the Black Forest of Germany and (... sorry, I'm back. Just spent some time chasing links related to the original cuckoo clocks and the fact that "The mechanism to produce the cuckoo call was installed in almost every kind of cuckoo clock since the middle of the 18th century and has remained almost without variation, until the present." (Wikipedia.) (Huh.)
9. interview someone who actually knows about avian anatomy (most experts LOVE to talk about what they LOVE.)
10. learn about the kinds of birds who live right near me, and find out what kind of food/housing support would be most beneficial to them.
11. read a book on John James Audubon.
In fact, I may go do one of those things now. How about you?