Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ecce Diem... Autumn

"I have no special talents, I am only passionately curious." Albert Einstein by Walter Isaacson

If I accomplish anything in parenting, I hope it is that I encourage and help my children develop a strong curiosity about the world outside their own small, tidy little boxes. In our ever-changing, technology-filled world, we have all the information we could ever want right at our fingertips. We don't have to look very far. But what really makes our life journey worthwhile?

"How many people spend their entire lives striving for something with their nose to the grindstone only to wake up one day to realize they haven't really lived at all. You can never surf the same wave twice; you only get one shot at it. Yesterday is not coming back." The Road to Sparta by Dean Karnazes

My first phenology wheel—a daily wedge of nature.

I serve as her guide, but my daughter does her own thing.

I'm no artist and neither is my daughter, yet we thoroughly enjoy finding something each day that causes us to ponder, wonder, explore, and record. I'm opening up our nature journals to your (hopefully not too) critical eyes because I passionately want to provide some encouragement about embracing nature and studying something of beauty each day; examining something uniquely intriguing that is right there on your path.

"The question is not what you look at but what you see." Henry David Thoreau

She enjoys combining and blending colors.

Mary's interpretation of dogwood leaves.

We spend some time each day developing our powers of observation and also our journaling skills. We experiment with different mediums and techniques; always being aware of the gift of individuality; always remembering that we are daily growing and finding our expressive voices.

"Everyone has a sprout of talent. Developing that sprout into a wonderful ability depends on how it is cultivated." Ability Development from Age Zero by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Experimenting with word placement.
Oil pastels

We try to capture the mood of the day and change how we look at our specimens. 

We hammered wildflowers and came up with this.
She felt that the leaf was glowing.
Adding some poetry.

Nature journaling has opened up my world; more specifically, my appreciation—my daily awe and fascination. It allows me to literally stop and smell the roses. But it has also opened up a path for me to guide my children down, one that they will hopefully continue to travel on throughout their lives.

"I have to learn the habits of adoration intentionally—to get out of my head and stop to notice the colors in my daughter's eyes or the sound of rain on our back porch." Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren

Mimicking nature is no small task.

Playing with the background.

"Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better." Albert Einstein

Over the years, I have learned that making an effort to appreciate the natural world each and every day and to marvel at something beautiful makes life's journey much more gratifying and interesting. Journaling has underscored the fact that so much of life—creation—is unknown and possibly even unknowable. Explore the shadows.

"I can't do anything about the state of the world, but I can put my own life in order.
Liturgy of the Ordinary

We're working on shadowing.

My biggest inspiration has come from the book Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth. "Simply put, nature journaling is the regular recording of observations, perceptions, and feelings about the natural world around you. That is the essence of the process... Don't judge your drawing. You are not an artist yet." Aww... that takes the pressure off and brings me back to remembering the purpose of this habit.

I'm finding that I like to tell a story when I journal. It helps me remember.

This season, my life is full of changes. I have a new, precious granddaughter. I have a struggling adult son. I have a teenage daughter adjusting to her first year in public school. And, as of last week, I no longer have any children homeschooling. Change is good but often unsettling.

"And so you have a life that you are living only now, now and now and now, gone before you can speak of it, and you must be thankful for living day by day, moment by moment in this presence." Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

Ecce diem—Behold the day.