Lady Justice, Lady Power

Lady Justice rises above the skyline along the freeway. You might notice her as you are making your way north out of Houston, just as you pass the Aquarium. You might glance to your right and see her mighty stance, her afro, the blindfold across her eyes, scales of justice in one hand and a sword in the other. She looks over Congress Plaza, and she reminds us of systematic racial injustice. She is an inspiration designed to make you think and feel, to reflect on women’s ability to affect social change. And on this warm June afternoon, we have an occasion to come visit her, to pay her homage by trying to capture her in digital form.
As we stood on the street corner to get the best view, a unique piece of architecture across the street caught our eye. It was a narrow white building with red and green trim and a green spire. A patio area stretched out in the back and seemed to go on for a city block. We wandered in and found a beautiful green and flowered wall. Words in neon pink spelled out “Las mujeres no lloran, las mujeres facturan”, which translated means roughly, “Women don’t cry anymore, women monetize”. It’s a line from a recent Shakira song. Essentially it means, women don’t spent time crying over lost love, they make money off of their pain. It speaks to the sense of a woman’s self-worth, that she will rise above those who want to hurt her and find the advantage in her position.

On the way back to our car, Leilani told us stories of helping others get to the Family Law Center. It reminded her of one of her idols, a powerful woman named Poppy who was an advocate for personal freedom. This woman started out working at NASA in the early years, even earning a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work on Apollo 13. She felt a call to leave that career behind to become a lawyer who held domestic abusers accountable and looked after young people who needed help. She helped women stand up for their right to determine their own choices, to give them access to opportunities and resources, and grant them the power to control their own lives.

Found on the wall in Hardy & Nance Studios “Coyote Woman”

After this, we headed to the main event: a Portraits in June art exhibit at Hardy & Nance Studios. Our first studio stop was for drinks, but our second stop led us to Kiki Neumann. Kiki is a folk artist who makes art out of recycled materials, mostly license plates these days. She found her way to artistic expression almost thirty years ago. She was feeling lost after losing a corporate job, and was encouraged to pick up a hammer and make something. And then she did, thereby taking ownership of her own life. This first product, a bench, gave her a sense of accomplishment and energized her to do more. Her art provided her a way to make something beautiful out of the outcasts of human life. She was eager to greet her fans and encourage them to like and share her work, and even blessed us with a sign encouraging people to vote. Her actions remind us that art can be a powerful way to connect and relate to others.

A Portrait of Kiki

On our way into the rest of the exhibits, we continued to connect with each other and even strangers by placing two of our hands on a particular structure and hold hands to form an electric circuit. I took photographs of one of our friends walking through the painted hallway, marveling at how her appearance seemed to be matched and enhanced by the colors. We wandered through the art exhibits for a little over an hour, looking for pictures of naked girls for one of us to decorate her bathroom with. When women experience their body viewed through the eyes of an artist, it can lead them to a place of acceptance and help them to see their true beauty, the way our friend felt when she viewed the photos we took of her in the hallway.

True Beauty

As we reached the main gallery, a woman approached us to ask if we were all together. She explained that she had really wanted to participate in the portrait activity, where you paint a portrait of another, but you had to be paired up to do the activity and she was here solo. This was a woman who was not afraid to advocate for what she wanted, even to total strangers. I offered to pair up with her, despite having very little experience with painting. The paintings had to completed in fifteen minutes, so there was no time to worry about getting it exactly right. I sat in front of the easel, not even being quite sure where to start. She asked if I was a painter, and I told her “No, I am a poet”. Interesting choice, choosing to define myself in this way. The experience of creating this portrait allowed me to see how a stranger viewed and depicted me, and my expression helped me understand how I viewed myself. Through the experience of completing a task outside my comfort zone, I felt more confident and powerful.

The Stranger Painter and I

After this, we made our way out and over to Saint Arnold Brewing Company. There was a Summer Solstice Festival going on, hosted by a company called Thorn and Moon Apothecary. After we secured a table in the shade under the shelter of the roof on the patio, we ordered beer and food and made merry. One of my friends and I stepped out to check out the vendor booths. When we reached the booth for Thorn and Moon, someone called out my name. I realized it was a friend of mine from school, Jessica, who I had hired to be our wedding photographer 11 years ago. She was an entrepreneur now, the proprietor of her own business and organizer of festivals such as this. I remembered there had been a fire at the place of her business, years ago, and I had thought that it had a negative impact on her business. In fact, it had done the opposite, and allowed her to grow even stronger. There lies real power in owning and growing your own dreams, in creating your own destiny, forming your own empire. She is now well-known in the metaphysical shop world in this city, and in fact even a new friend of mine from across town recognized her from the photo I posted and knew her as the shop owner.


I reflect on the connection of all these powerful women: Lady Justice, Shakira, Poppy, Kiki, Jessica, even the stranger painter and these three beautiful women I surrounded myself with this night, even myself. We are all emblems of strength and beacons of light. We show each other and other women how to be strong, to value ourselves, help each other stand up against injustice, how to create our own paths, how to be brave and try new things, to step off into the void and walk away from the fire knowing we will rebuild even stronger than before. These women, they are all powerful, and they are all astounding in their own way.

Found on the wall in Hardy & Nance Studios – Coyote Woman Affirmations by Allison Currie


There’s a particular phenomenon that occurs during the waxing crescent moon, where the light of Earth reflects back on the moon’s surface, illuminating the dark spaces and allowing us to see the entire circle. The sliver of the crescent shines brightly while the darker side of the Moon lays exposed to our eyes. Sometimes this is referred to as “the old moon in the new moon’s arms”.

It was under such a moon that I walked alongside a friend and a young couple, feet touching the cool gulf waters along a recovering Fort Myers Beach. We were digesting both our dinner and the events of the day. We had spent an afternoon together at a spiritual festival in Punta Gorda, about an hour north of where we were now. My friend had a booth there, and both this young couple and I had joined her there. The young woman was my friend’s daughter, and she and her boyfriend had recently come into town to start a new chapter of their lives, direction unknown.

I also felt that I was starting a new chapter. Something new had been awakening, or perhaps it was something old that was reawakening. An old moon in a new moon’s arms.

There was something inside me that I had put aside for a while, and now I was pulling it back out and re-igniting the flame. I am not sure if I had put it aside when I let go of some parts of my past, or when I had embraced another future. The past dozen years I had spent nurturing my career, marriage, children, friendships, political activism, outdoor pursuits- all these things had come before developing my craft and getting in touch with the creative aspects of my inner self. My inner self wanted to shine brightly at this time, and cast the rest of the lot into the darker shadows of the whole sphere of me.

I had some questions, though, going off into this foray into my Self, and I had come to the festival with a specific objective: to get some clarity through a reading from a medium. It turned out that my friend Vikki’s booth was right across from the booth of an empathic tarot card reader named Sarah, so shortly after my arrival, I found myself sitting down with her for a reading. She had me release energy while she shuffled the cards, then she asked me to shuffle and then cut the deck. Then she laid down the cards, starting with the Four of Pentacles and ending with the Nine of Cups. In between laid the Seven of Wands, an Inverted Fool, the King of Pentacles, The Stars and the Seven of Swords.

Essentially, her message was that I had potential within me, but something was holding me back. “You’ve done the work to get here, what’s holding you back?” She said that I needed to work on setting effective boundaries, which is something I am working on in therapy. She also warned me to stop giving, giving, giving and keep something back for myself. I needed to sit and be still, meditate more often. Also, she mentioned that there was someone working against me, bad-mouthing me in the background, someone I would not expect. Ultimately, though, I would be successful and my cups were going to run over, but I needed to take the steps now to manifest this future.

All of these messages were very similar to what I was told at another reading that I had gotten at the Lighthouse about two months prior. I know I should focus on the positive aspects of this reading, but I found myself preoccupied with the darker portion. Who WAS this person that was working against me? If this was someone I would not expect this from, were all my friends suspect? Is this someone who is jealous, vengeful, wants my talent for themselves, wants to ruin my name and my game? I ask Vikki, I text my friends, I ask my husband – who do you think this is?, all the whole knowing that we are just guessing , and the truth is still hidden in the shadows right now.

The rest of the afternoon unfolded after this reading. I got food for Vikki and I, but then went to listen to a speaker who used sound baths for healing and talked in a “light language”. The young couple (Kathy and Josh) had arrived, and soon after Vikki’s partner Chris. Chris had brought with him supplies to customize a necklace to a customer’s specifications. Vikki had started the work, but then Kathy had taken over and saw it to completion.

Vikki and I stepped out of the convention center for a mental break, eyes blinking in the hot sun. We sat in Chris’s truck for a few minutes listening to Deep Purple. I felt like I was suddenly back in the seventies with her, and I was HERE for it. Then we had a chance to cruise around the other booths together.

The festival was a living, breathing four dimensional experience. There was a constant ringing of sound baths in the background, the occasional trilling of a bell, the “uhms” of meditating monks, a slow drumming that occasionally sped up in a rising climax, a rise in action that caused one to feel a compulsion to buy something. There was a smell of incense, patchouli, scented candles, perfumed oils, hand crafted soaps and body butters. I applied some of the samples, feeling like I was getting buttered up for a sale. I put some of the cream on my feet and they got so soft I nearly tripped on my flip-flop. Several styles of mediums sat at booths and looked right into your eyes as you walked by, some asking, “are you ready for a reading?” I kept having to turn away to keep them from scanning into my soul. I needed to keep somethings to myself, like my money at this moment.

I did want something small, though, something that might spark joy or make a good reflective piece for my meditation area and prayer altar. I let the spirit move me, and finally ended up selecting three items. The first was a small crescent moon charm lined with blue lace agate with stars and a crystal hanging below. Blue lace agate is a stone of expression and tranquility, and this seemed to fit with my desire to meditate more often to tap into my creative expression. The second was a blue lace agate wand, topped with a little miniature terrarium, a tiny world in a bowl. This is said to help with public speaking. I have a plan to start reading and sharing some of my work, and this will help me in my journey. The third was a heart of Labradorite. This will provide clarity and insight on my transformational journey. I hadn’t carried a purse, so now I was weighted down pockets full of stones and phones.

Vikki also was letting the spirit move her, and she ended up being very attracted to some singing bowls. The particular bowl she wanted was for opening up the throat chakra. Interestingly the blue lace agate I had chosen was also suited for opening up that same chakra. I wondered if there was some significance to us both feeling that particular need.

As she worked with the vendor to learn how to work the bowl, I noticed that something was familiar about their merchandise. I picked up the card at their booth, and realized that this was the very same shop that had featured so prominently in our trip last month to St Petersburg. Pegah had been attracted to the very same bowls that day, and had debated on buying one. Now, on this day, Vikki bright Chris over and they ended up making that purchase that Pegah had stalled out on back in May. There was an invitation to come by the shop for a singing bowl experience, something Vikki wondered if we might do together in the future. You never know, we seem to be moving in bigger and bigger spiritual circles together.

Soon it was time for the festival to close down. It seemed that Vikki had not made the sales she wanted, but we were full of ideas on how she could improve the booth in the future. We parted ways for a bit. They needed to pack up and I needed to recharge my batteries.

We met up again a couple hours later at a diner near the shore. Afterwards, we made our way to the beach as the sun was starting to set. The sand was soft and cool under my bare feet. A dark pink color settled above the pier and lit up the gentle waves that lapped along the shore. We walked for a ways, looking for something sparkly under our feet, something I thought we didn’t find until I looked closely at the photos Vikki took of me there, noticing pools of phosphorescence in front of my toes. Finally, I suggested we head back, as the night was getting late and I had to get up for work early the next morning.

Once back at my hotel, I reconstructed the days events in my head. I reflected on one of the last cards the medium had shared with me, a Greek Goddess to reflect on during this next chapter: Demeter. Demeter was the mother of Persephone, and is thought of in an agricultural sense. She is a reminder to plant and nurture the seeds, and also to remind us to set boundaries. She helps us remember who we are, or the light and power inside ourselves and shows us a path to growth.

The waxing crescent moon is an auspicious time to consider this growth, as it is a time when hope and optimism is high. It is also a time when creative energy is flowing. It is a time of new beginnings and fresh starts. I think of that young couple, ready to start a new chapter, and about my own current spiritual and creative journey. Demeter would appreciate that it is also the time to plant seeds and set intentions. My intention is to focus on developing my light, and allow it to illuminate all the surfaces around me, to help me see the entire picture of this circle. In my quest for cosmic understanding, I’m gonna need a little earthshine in my life.

Treasure Island

You ever wonder why you choose to connect with a particular person? A chance conversation, initiation of future plans? This is how one of my childhood best friends and I ended up taking a 24 hour adventure with a semi-stranger to St Petersburg.

The lead-up to this adventure was a loose plan to collect seashells on a certain distant beach, then a boat ride that got rescheduled (and then never materialized), and the exchange of a business card regarding a shop of a spiritual nature. These forces collided into a fully formed plan that started and ended in a Cracker Barrel parking lot in Fort Myers, Florida. This plan led us first to St Pete’s, and then resulted in a troubled night on Treasure Island.

My childhood friend ( who I will call Peggy) was tagging along on a business trip of mine to this area on this weekend. A few months prior, I had formed a friendship with a woman I briefly worked with who lived somewhat nearby, who I will refer to as Mickey. Her spiritually has drawn me to her, and we had spent some time together bonding over our connection to the natural world over the past couple of months. Her niche was rocks, gems and nature-based crafts and jewelry. Mine was outdoor adventures, nature and logistics. Sometimes those interests, along with the spiritual aspects of those activities overlapped. We inspired each other through our conversations.

A couple months ago on a trip to this area, I had booked a sunset boat cruise in St Petersburg as an activity to do with my mother and my brother’s girlfriend. We had been compelled to cancel those plans due to discovery that great hordes of people would be mingling in that exact area during the time of our booking. I had rebooked the boat tour for the next time I had scheduled to return, and now that weekend had arrived. I had three tickets for the boat ride, so I had invited Mickey to join us on this overnight to St Pete’s.

We started the journey with a drawing of one tarot card each, to set the intention of the trip. Mine spoke about accessing one’s creative side as a way to nurture spirituality, which seemed rather fitting, and tied into our next stop.

We had been compelled to come into St Pete’s early due to the allure of a business card handed to Peggy a month before with the address of a particular shop in this town and random advice to go check this place out. We had arrived at the specified address, and made our first in a series of arguably poor decisions in deciding to get a latte at a coffee shop first. At the time, it seemed like a great idea, but potentially it lead to some consequences later that derailed our plans, for better or worse.

After this pit stop, we happily entered the store on the address of that card, which seemed to fit the description of our destination if one wasn’t reading too carefully. There was magic and temptation in there. Also, Mickey began telling me of a spiritual festival the following month where she would be selling her wares that would happen to coincide with my next work trip. A half-baked plan began to form in my head to spend time with her at this festival. We also quickly realized that we were not in the right place (or were we?) and that our actual destination was around the corner. Once in the right shop, I was drawn to a book of poetry, while Peggy was being tempted heavily by singing bowls, and dealing with the ramifications of singing bowels, likely the result of the latte.

As Peggy was running back and forth between the bathroom and weighing purchasing decisions, Mickey and I began a discussion of the spiritual significance of the number 14. Some synchronicities had recently aligned in my life that connected to that number. She told me this number represents going on a spiritual journey, a journey of which a psychic just revealed to me last month that I was at the beginning of, but that was going to get more intense as time went on. I believe now that Mickey is somehow a part of this spiritual journey, although I haven’t yet figured out her role….unless it is simply what I illustrated prior in this story.

After this, we made the second in a series of arguably poor decisions by deciding to check into our hotel next. This hotel had not been our first, or even our second choice, but ultimately had been decided on by Peggy due to cost and availability. It was also almost a half hour away.We spent valuable time on getting to and considerable money on booking what turned out to be a somewhat sketchy hotel room. Our third bad decision was taking way too long to tear ourselves away from an emotional story that Mickey was telling us to get ourselves to the boat slip at the appointed time.

If we all had been a little bit more cautious and controlled, we would have easily made it on time, as we had rolled into town a good 2.5 hours before the boat left harbor. But what can I say, the three of us were valuing emotional energy over physical energy at these critical moments.I realized too late that we needed to leave, and then another poor decision was made. Or, poor timing of a gastric situation that slowed our exit (no names will be mentioned here).

And then ultimately a parking situation derailed the whole damn plan. We had no idea that our destination was in an area that everyone else in town decided they wanted to be on a Saturday night. Any available parking spots were light years away from the boat with the blue banners at Pier 23 that we were desperately trying to reach. I dropped the other two off and made a valiant effort to find a place for the car before our ship sailed, but alas, we failed in this quest and the Tampa Bay Discovery Eco-Tour left the harbor without us.

No dolphins would be seen by us, and also neither the mystical mysterious Aurora Borealis that everyone on our social media seemed to be seeing in our absence.

We did see some incredible banyan trees draped in twinkling lights in the nearby park, though, where a harpist played a tune heard only perhaps by the man laying on a blanket in front of her – an audience of one for likely the loveliest melody that couldn’t be heard. A “tacos and tequila” festival raged on at another nearby park. Boats rocked in gentle waves in the marina.Patrons flocked to nearby bars and dined at outdoor tables at swanky restaurants. Pretty girls walked by, maybe on first dates or with friends, a night out on the town. On the way back to our sketchy hotel room, Mickey filled our heads with tales of catching fairies on camera in the woods, of seeing shapes in the clouds, of potentially other-worldly energy sending her messages of peace and goodwill.

We got back to our place in Treasure Island, and set off on foot for the highest rated restaurant in town, where we dined on shrimp, fish, pizza, drank a little and listened to some live music while we watched the people around us. Bellies full, we wobbled like penguins back to our shit-show hotel, where a toilet issue plagued us into the night. We ended up calling the manager late, late into the evening to come help us. He was a bit lippy about it and made a comment that sent us all into “fierce mode”, but finally showed up with a young man who deftly fixed the problem while the older manager putzed around playing the hero.

Our feet were nearly black with grim from walking barefoot on the disgusting floors. I had to wash my feet and then scoot along with my clean feet on a hand towel to get to my bed without getting my feet dirty again. There was some kind of moisture retention bag in the closet that was filled past the appropriate level, which had us all feeling a bit icky about the air quality.

We all wanted to crash at this point, but began imagining issues in the room beyond the obvious. Peggy went down a rabbit hole of mold research and slept with a hand towel over her face, scratching at imaginary bedbugs. I slept next to her in a full bed (not a queen as we expected), closer than we have ever been before, on low-budget low thread count sheets for a full five hours with my CPAP humming quietly. Mickey laid awake for hours, silently freaking out with I think excitement and anxiety about the condition of the room. By the time she finally went to sleep, I was waking up with gastric issues and worried of waking up my dear Peggy with snoring in our abnormally close bed positions.

I watched the sun come up slowly over the marina behind us, until it’s rays shined so brightly through the window that we all woke up with a start, thinking someone had turned on a light switch.

With great effort and sudden readiness, we left the room in pursuit of this hyped-up seashell situation. We listened to the anthem I chose for this trip, “Florida” by Taylor Swift, from her brand new album The Tortured Poet’s Department that I had been listening to steadily the entire week of my work trip here, as we drove south along the beach resort town to Pass-A-Grille Beach. I had read on the Internet that the best shells could be found here, even better than legendary Sanibel.

It turns out that either the Internet had false ideas, or we had been beaten out by close locals or over-eager tourists. Or maybe it was not a lucky day for shells, much like Peggy and I’s experience yesterday on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Peggy sat quietly on the beach, looking at her phone while Mickey and I combed the surf and picked through the layers of cockleshells looking for a real gem, like a welk or some other beautiful spiral shaped things. All we picked up were a few specimens of a regular variety with perhaps a nice touch here and there, nothing terribly spectacular.

It reminded me of interviewing and hiring staff members at my workplace this past week, so many casts, reel in only to throw back out again, looking for that special something.We tried again at some other beach on the way back, with less luck but a slightly more enjoyable feel. After this, we returned to our room to wash up, eat cold pizza leftovers and pack. There was a situation involving a two dollar gip and a display of fierceness from Mickey, some tension with the hotel management that Peggy had to smooth over during our exit. The two dollars and good faith was restored, and Peggy gave us lessons in diplomacy as we drove away shower-less from our rat-trap motel on Treasure Island, vowing in our hearts to never return there again.

We returned to the Cracker Barrel and briefly waded through the huge after-church Mother’s Day crowd to take a quick opportunity at a restroom. We briefly took one last short drive together to check out some nature at a nearby preserve before Peggy and I needed to make our way to the airport. We made one quick stop at Raceway to share the sweet experience of gas station fro-yo. We then ate club sandwiches at the airport, making it to boarding just in the nick of time.

As we wrapped up this journey, we discussed the reasons why Mickey had become a part of my life, and what lessons she brought to both Peggy and I during this trip. All of us walked away feeling like we had a great adventure, despite not achieving any of our specific missions. This trip was not in vain, despite the fact that we missed our on the boat ride, the good shells, and on discovering the reason why our road led us to that particular shop. It might be months or even years for us to see how this part of our journey affected the way we think and perceive the world, but somehow this was meant to be a part of our path.

We are thrown around in this life by the winds of Chaos, ever so often hitting up against each other to polish our edges and bring out our inner shine. This night on Treasure Island was somehow a part of this shaping. Our paths will continue to collide and the end result we can only ponder as we make our way to our next grand adventures, treasuring the memory and the lessons we gave each other along the way.

Animal Attraction

Definition: The power to pull/attract animals towards oneself.

First Saturday of the new year, and I am once again driving through the fog and feeling like I am risking life and limb to follow through on my intention to go birding more this year than previous years. This day, I am heading southeast towards Seabrook, to Pine Gully Park, where the Houston Audubon hosts a bird walk on a monthly basis. I have invited two friends there, two ladies that I met in the fall that I suddenly have been spending a lot of time with. Lisa is a friend of a friend who I met at a hippie bar and discovered we shared a love of the outdoors, and Katie is a woman from my book club that turns out lived just a few doors down from me the first few years, including those COVID years when I would have loved to have a friend that I could have met outdoors for walks six feet apart or something, a time where I was really missing time spent with friends. We each made our own separate way through the fog and met up with the group in the parking lot.

Our group set off with the bird walk leader Stennie, who demonstrated a technique called “pishing”, where you make a specific sound to attract the birds. This “pishing” was very effective towards the end of the walk at attracting a Ruby Crowned Kinglet who spent quite a bit of time in the trees close to us, visible to the naked eye. She also took the time to show us particular birds in her field guide and describe their field marks for us.

We had a group of 8-10 of us, and one person in the group was making use of “playback – use of an app, probably Merlin, to play calls on occasion to try to lure the birds out. At one point, a Red Bellied Woodpecker was so attracted to the call that he came flying right towards us, and then stayed in the area for a bit, going from tree to tree trying to figure us out. The use of an app to draw out birds is controversial, but I ask, what is the difference between using technology and using old-fashioned “pishing”?

Our time on the walk was coming to an end, and to tell you the truth, I was looking forward to being done because I was restless to move on to the next thing (going to Maas Nursery and then lunch), but when we walked past the cemetery, we saw a couple of beautiful birds that we had not yet seen. We waved Stennie over and she identified them as Eastern Bluebirds (which I have seen before, but for some reason did not recognize today = probably because I I am rusty in my birding skills).

Easter Bluebird, viewed from Katie’s binoculars

In the end, we had logged 18 species and felt like we had learned a lot. After this, we headed over to Maas Nursery, where there was so much to see that it was almost bewildering to make choices. We do want to come back in the spring, but perhaps on a weekday, but it is notoriously crowded come spring time. Several interesting feasts for the eyes and inspiration for garden dreams. I am not a person who is normally interested in plants, because I am no good at caring for them, but I would be willing to take a day off work to go here again in the spring, because I would in fact like to invest in creating a space for pollinators and birds in my backyard.

Later, I contemplated these methods of attracting birds and how I felt about them personally. When we as a society got to the point where we were ready to loosen COVID restrictions, I had found myself in deep need of new female friendships. When I struck up new friendships, I would try to pay attention to what that woman liked, and then offer this activity to attract this new friend out to spend time with me. I am pretty open-minded and have a wide range of interests, so it is not like I am faking interest in an activity to get them to feel more connected to me (a mistake I made with my first husband), but sometimes the things they like aren’t exactly the first things I would think about when trying to find an activity to do, such as going to a drag brunch or Thursday night karoake. But I look for these opportunities and then invite them to them, in a way that reminds me of Stennie pishing at the bushes, hoping to intice this new friend to come out and show herself, and spend time doing something she likes, in order to get to a place in our friendship where I feel secure.

Because I do this myself, I don’t have an issue doing this with the birds, but it also depends on the situation and what the risks are to the animal. In this case, winter time, just drawing them out a little seems harmless, but once breeding season begins, it can be unfair because it is confusing and could be stressful. Without the use of this tool on this bird walk, we likely would have only seen probably half the birds that we saw, and it might have felt like a waste of gas and time to drive so far out there for birds we probably could have seen closer to our house. I did get to spend quality time deepening my relationship with these two women, though, so for me, it would have been worth the drive.