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Nature Journaling

“…this our life exempt from public haunt
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in every thing.”

Shakespeare, As You Like It

Taking a walk in the woods or fields is a beautiful way to take some quiet, contemplative time for oneself, and no one did this quite as well as John Muir. Truly understanding the depth of the incredible variety of life and beauty of the landscape requires some means of recording and commenting on it. The best form for this, so far, has been the nature journal. Journaling nature, with both sketches and words, focuses our attention on the minute details of a plant, bird, or landscape. It forces us to slow down and really OBSERVE, not just look. One great resource for guiding a person through journaling is Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You.  You can either buy a blank journal or make one of your own, as this woman does.

Drawing what one sees adds to the understanding of it. A lot of people say “I can’t draw”, but an artist is not what is called for in journaling. Journals call for simple drawings, sketches, and doodles.  If you can write, you can draw because both skills are simply being able to make straight lines and curved lines.  Many people will also insert flattened leaves or flowers into their journals.

Here are some links to help with your nature journaling work and some examples of the work of others:

And as examples of nature journaling…

Cottonwood Tree Catkin

“A catbird has her nest in our grove. We cast out strips of white cotton cloth all of which she picked up and used. I saw a bird flying across the street with so long a strip of cloth, or the like, the other day, and so slowly that at first I thought it was a little boy’s kite with a long tail.”  Thoreau, 1860

Post by Ms. McCarron

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