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Naturalist Notebook

Adopt the Pace of Nature

lady journaling outside in a notebook

 “Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

This quote brings me comfort during this unsettling time and it is a gentle reminder that nothing is permanent and that this too shall pass. Just take a look at nature. She has been asleep, resting and waiting these past months knowing that there will be a time to wake. For nature, that time is now. She is slowly awakening. Not in a rush or a mad dash to full bloom, but a slow trickle. Each day a minute longer. Each morning a few more birds raise their voice in song. Trees begin their slow process of pushing the energy stored in their roots over winter up to their branches, in time producing flowers and leaves.  We all know that soon she will be back in full bloom and we eventually will be too.

As we are forced to slow down and adopt a different pace, embrace the opportunity to develop a sense of wonder and observe the beauty found in the every day.

“To go into solitude, a man needs to retire as much from his chamber as from society. I am not solitary whilst I read and write, though nobody is with me. But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature)

Take this time to watch, observe and embrace the natural world around you. I will be doing the same and as you can probably imagine, my journal will be my companion. Here’s why:

  1. A journal allows one to record the daily changes occurring around us. The pages then tell a story and reveal the often missed magic that is always there if we look.
  2. Writing and drawing help us remember the details and our days are richer because of all those unique facets.
  3. A journal is a safe space to explore connections and feelings. Mental health professionals often use journaling as a therapeutic tool and they have been found to reduce stress and increase focus.

Even if you don’t want to keep one for yourself. You might want to think about creating one with your child. All the benefits an adult can receive from journaling applies to children as well. If you are searching for ways in which to keep them entertained and learning all at the same time, a journal will do just that.

Watching a tree branch leaf out or a tulip poke its head up through the earth. Recording the size of the buds, drawing pictures of what they look like. That’s science and art. Calculating the difference in size of the buds from week to week. That’s math. Writing a poem or paragraph about what they feel or see when they look at the branch or flower. That’s language arts. A journal is a tool that can check the box for every subject matter taught in school and all you need is some paper and a pencil. Keeping a journal creates an environment of learning without even realizing it. So, explore together and embrace the opportunity to create lasting memories. Who knows, maybe you will enjoy aspects of this new period so much you won’t want to go totally back to the way it was before all of this? (Of course, kids going back to school, won’t be one of them. That still has to happen.) Stay well and happy journaling.

Quick tip: Have brown paper lunch bags lying around? Take 2 or 3 and fold them in half. Staple or poke holes and tie with yarn or string along folded side to make a quick journal with built-in pockets.