Get down and dirty in the garden
Spring is officially here. As the snows melt and the earth warms up, the natural world comes to life… green shoots poke through the damp ground, birds sing joyfully in the sunshine, and the heady scent of fruit tree blossoms fills the air. It’s time to go outside and soak in the beauty and the bustle! This is my favorite season for keeping a nature journal, a place to record what I’m seeing, hearing, smelling, and tasting in the world around me, as well as how these observations make me feel. Want to join in?
Keeping a seasonal nature journal can deepen your connection to both nature and self. Through prose and poetry, drawings and photos, collected nature items, and creative elements, a nature journal provides a place to explore the role nature plays in your life, and to safely express your creativity. In turn, it fosters mindfulness, gratitude and a heightened sense of place.
Here are a few ideas from my self-paced nature journaling eCourse, A Sense of Place ~ Spring, to help you get started on your own nature journaling journey!
Connect to Nature
Look for signs of spring. Use all your senses to observe your natural environment – what do you see, smell, hear, taste and feel? Keep your journal with you and record your observations with short notes and simple sketches.
You may include:
• the rising temperature outside
• the return of migrant birds at a backyard feeder
• emerging buds on bare tree branches
• the smell of damp earth
• the bustle of critters and creatures waking & mating
• lingering snowfall or heavy rains
• the sound of a lawn mower in the distance
Later, select one observation from your journal to think about more closely. Consider how it relates to the overall environment, the season and to you. Make connections by asking basic questions, such as: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
Connect to Self
Look for natural moments to record in your journal that evoke an emotion, or inspire an insight. They might include: baby blue eggs in a perfectly formed nest; rain falling outside your window; a warm, moist breeze on bare skin; digging in damp dirt to plant a garden.
When recording these moments, consider and note:
• Did you have a role in this moment?
• How did it make you feel?
• Did it change your perspective on the day, or the object/event being observed?
• What memories were ignited?
• How might it impact your future?
Pick one moment and write about it in depth. Describe it from your unique perspective. Include which of your senses were engaged, what connections you made to the natural world and what connections you made to yourself.
As you spend more time with your journal, you’ll begin to see your place in nature through new eyes, noticing objects, events, and patterns you’d not seen before, and connecting the to the rhythm of the seasons in new, meaningful ways!
For more seasonal journaling prompts, creative exercises, and nature journaling guidance and inspiration, check out A Sense of Place ~ Spring, a comprehensive, self-paced nature journaling eCourse at Natural Nester.
Photos by Elizabeth Sniegocki
Elizabeth Sniegocki is a writer, naturalist, suburban homesteader and mother in Sarasota, Florida. She writes on seasonal and sustainable living, wholesome cooking, community building, conscious parenting and more for various print and online publications. Elizabeth also offers self-paced eCourses and family eGuides to help others create a natural and mindful environment around them, and within. Learn more about her work at Natural Nester.