I’m going back directly to the book that started this journal journey. How to Teach Nature Journaling by John Muir Laws and Emilie Lygren is epic in scope and content. Seriously good stuff. Right in the middle is Poetry of Place and Moment. This lesson was perfect for my needs today.
The weekend came and went for me without even attempting a walk and journaling. It’s Tuesday and I still couldn’t get myself prepared for a big thing, but wanted to do something. It’s gray and cold here. The news is awful. But something short, I could do, so when I flipped to this one, I knew I hit the perfect opportunity.
Using the powerful exploration phrases of “I notice”, “I wonder”, and “This reminds me”, I could write something that depicts my Now that's right on my patio. The setting need not be fancy. With luck, I could take the next step and connect how I’m feeling inside with that outside.
I donned my coat and took my journal out. I sat for a while without doing anything. I needed to enter the space and that takes time.
My poem simply lists that process. I didn’t worry about it at all. It could benefit greatly from revisions. I could add, delete, edit, tweak. Pfft. It’s content, errors, and weaknesses fit my mood- my Now.
Last week I spent significant time on my visuals. This week, all I got was a shadow of an American goldfinch. And to me, that’s fitting, too. It’s both physically and mentally dark, obscured, and basic in today’s Now. I didn’t add any details to the goldfinch’s posting except its scientific name. I did take a photo of dried blackeyed Susan seed heads as a reminder that perhaps that will be a food source.
Remember: journaling is never wrong. We are recording our place and moment as best we can.
If done in a class, journalers can share their work in pairs or whole-group but it’s important to give everyone the space they need. Sharing should always be a choice and expectations for audience reactions and feedback must be in place ahead of time.
Poetry is an especially personal journey. It links one's inside with the outside and that exposes the core.
I added a picture of the dry Norway maple leaves and still-green alpine strawberry leaves that were at my feet. The green is a reminder to me that there’s still tenderness and life out there in our Now.
The work is in becoming aware of it and acknowledging it.
Then, we can step forward to a new moment and place.