Over the years, I have observed that there are two kinds of people who spend time in the wild...Nature Lovers and Nature Learners. Now, all Nature Learners are nature lovers, but not all Nature Lovers are Nature Learners.
I was a nature lover for more than the first half of my life. I loved to go hiking, camping and I admired the "sexy" mega-fauna like wolves, eagles and bears, etc. I guess I liked the feeling that nature gave to me...the delight of seeing something beautiful...the calm a green forest and blue sky impart...and the quietness, if I could find a place of solitude within a park. These are beautiful and wonderful things and I wish more people would partake.
But it wasn't until my mid-forties, when I went back to school to earn a degree in Natural History, that I began to actually learn about the rocks, trees, water, plants and animals that had given me so much over the years. Up until then I had only "taken" from nature. It had been like spending time with a very kind and accepting friend...one that would listen to you, be with you, even take on your problems...but then never showing any interest in them. Eventually this quest for knowledge opened up an even greater appreciation for and depth of love for the cosmos.
During retreats at Prairie Pond Woods, my desire is to help people become Nature Learners, as well as Nature Lovers. Our walks are full of discoveries, questions, and as many answers as I can give about what and who is going on around us. Like the row of "green" we are walking next to in Kavanah Field is so much more than that...it is sassafras, dogwood, maple and tulip trees. Participants are then given helpful field marks that help them identify the trees and how important this "edge" is.
They learn that in the spring, birds forage the maple buds and bees drink nectar from the tulip tree flowers there. In the fall, birds and squirrels pluck the various fruits and seeds. It is a shelter, where Tiger Swallowtails and giant silkmoths lay their eggs on dogwood leaves. It is so much more than just " green trees." It is Life...germinating, growing and reproducing. It is Life-giving...feeding, hiding and hosting many insects and animals we live with. It is Life-affirming...delighting us, calming us and giving us a purpose in learning from it and protecting it.
This is why on September 12-14, Heart by Nature Retreats will facilitate Wild Words: a Writing Retreat. It is an opportunity, not only to discover and learn about nature, but to use that knowledge, and the discipline of observation, as a way to enhance your writing...whether it's fiction, creative non-fiction or personal journaling. You can find out more about the retreat and even register online HERE.
Please join us for a weekend immersed in nature, creativity and Spirit. Come meet some new friends...human and otherwise!