As I branch out with my reading I am beginning to discover areas of nature education I hadn’t thought about before but I feel could attribute my practice greatly. The other day I came across a book which discusses what things you can do with kids in the great outdoors to get them engaged with nature. On reading this I set myself a challenge. One of the tasks was to find a place that draws you in and feel interested in, to stay there for some time in order to experience the space, make studies of the area, what you see, smell, hear and even taste. It seemed like a straight forward thing to do however I discovered it is much harder than it looks. I found my spot and sat, I had made sure I had everything I needed so had no excuses to leave the space too soon. For a little while I just pushed around thoughts in my head, sad ones that you only let scull to the surface when alone but then I realised how much I could hear. That moment I began paying attention, my footsteps are normally the main noise I focus on, but by sitting still  I could hear so much, crackles and whistles, chirrups and caws, what I believe to be a frustrated group of squirrels which were all then silenced by a cough and chug of a chainsaw being started and once it roared into life I couldn’t hear half of what I could before. The chainsaw had interrupted our conversation. So I started drawing, doodling, looking about, watching and photographing the changing light through the trees. For about twenty minutes I had forgotten the world, our world of high paced society, cultural demands and the pressures of everyday life and was totally entranced by this tiny little cone I found next to my seat, then the tiny tiny bug that ran repeated circles across a fallen ivy leaf. I was a little bit in love at that moment. Then as I heard a chap shout and whistle his dog it was like being brought back out of the present moment. I say back out of the present because for that moment I was in it, no time frame, no needs, wants, desires, just play. After so, I became aware again that maybe I should be elsewhere, things to do, what would people be thinking, I should be racing about doing something. I began to fidget and stir and eventually I got up stiff with cold and moved on. The weird thing I noticed about that little experiment is that whilst I was there, in that space I didn’t feel alone; I felt alone the moment I heard a human presence.

 

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