Some Nature Notes, with children
Spectacular morning out in the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge listening for warblers and other song birds. It’s hard getting up to beat the sunrise post Christmas-break but we did it!
-Instagram, January 2017
We are catching some glorious much-needed sunshine on the South-facing pebbly shore of the mighty Columbia today. Leaves are still falling in December and the blue water + yellow + white snow on the peak of Mt. Hood is stunning. This 37-degree weather leaves traces of snow throughout the shady bits of town and on the north-facing banks of the river- but where I sit it is dry and the sun warms our faces.
-Journal of pictures, Instagram, December 2016
I went out along the creek today with my three and seven-year-olds to look at the birds, feel the mist in the air and hear the rushing snow melt water. We saw an eagle! It alighted on top of an oak, perched for a few, and flew away. The wingspan! What a fortunate sighting. Consequently our hands became numb in the frosty weather and so we held hands to keep warm. Impromptu walks = not enough preparation! We came home with an assortment of various moss growths on twigs and appreciated our tea in a whole new way.
-January 2017, Journal of pictures, Instagram
Studying the natural world with our children is not necessarily to get them to be organic gardeners or mushroom hunters when they grow up, but to give them a firm grounding in their sense of being: to develop an understanding of the very basic fundamentals of Life: the way a tree grows, the beautiful way a flower opens up in the morning as it turns its face to the light. The way a seedling pops its head up through the soil and, with water and sunlight, goes on to grow and thrive. How can we get rooted in the natural world with children? We don’t have to live on 50 acres, or even 1, to go on a nature walk. We don’t have to live on a farm to see the stars. All we need is a sense of observation and reverence… and a pair of shoes! Even people with no yards can plant a seed, water some flowers and grow tomatoes in a pot. Place a resting chair on your city porches, in your little garden or on the balcony of your apartment. Step outside… to sit! (fancy that!)… at any given time of day to breathe, hear the birds, smell the rain falling on the sidewalk or lawn. Watch the squirrel run along your fence lines and telephone wires. Turn that daily walk with the children into a slower-paced, reflective time of picking up leaves and sticks and stones, bringing along a collection basket for the natural treasures you all find. Take them home and place them on a windowsill, a kids dresser or on a designated table. Place the flowers or winter weeds in a vase. Have the kids draw them! Let them take their broken crayons, stubby pencils or a notebook pen so they can draw their findings. Let them touch and admire their treasures throughout the week.
– Excerpt from my piece “Back to Basics”, from the regular column Root Children, Soul Gardening Journal