Though the wind is whipping up tonight and the temperature is dropping from 71 yesterday to 31 as I write this, the daffodils are up with their bright yellow blooms. Proof that Spring has arrived!
We have endured a cold winter with icey commutes to school. And just at the right time the weather gave us a small break and elevated our worn spirit. Yesterday our Middle School students brought the baby goats to visit. Laughter and moments of pure awe are a given when any baby animal makes an appearance in our community. The children met them eye to eye and watched them explore our gardens looking for shoots to eat and gamboling as only baby goats can.
Nature is our guide now. Good teaching draws on the mystery and magnificence of natural phenomenon. To simply walk out on a blustery day provides endless experience to absorb and ponder. In fact we all need to slow the pace, still our minds and simply observe our natural world. The clouds become sculptures of ice, mist rain and snow. They reflect the light and cast stunning color palates across the sky which change and flow constantly providing endless spectacle to view whenever we choose to. But, are we looking? Are we drinking in this simple beauty?
Can we pledge to stop and observe with our children? Appreciation comes from experience. To truly experience nature we must be able to still our mind and direct our senses to it. In the quiet our mind can drink in color, form, temperature, smells, movement and relationship to our self. Do we need to travel to a beach and spend a week away from home and friends to reach a catharsis of nature? No, truly not. Any day outdoors is an opportunity to become drawn in entirely to the vastness and wonder of our planet.
Easy to say but not always easy to do in a world that can interrupt us at any moment with a cell phone or email message. When we take the call, answer the email…the moment shifts. This spring it may be worth experimenting by turning off all of the screens to allow for some mindful time with family. Don’t try to capture the moment with a photograph. Capture it in memory and in the heart. Capture it without words perhaps by sitting quietly watching birds, near water or looking up at the clouds. Observing is personal and doesn’t require analysis or even conversation. Allow time to settle into a moment without projecting what is next to do or see. Nature can change quickly or very slowly. The awe is sometimes in the time itself.
Our children are evolving and changing. They themselves are miracles of nature yet are often unaware that they are Earthlings pure and simple. But now, the weather is agreeable and wonders abound which children will awaken too given the opportunity and the right conditions. The conditions are simple: earth, air, water and gentle guidance to look and see. Point out the beauty, show them the fragility and the power of it and then, care for a small patch. Look after some little piece of it and nurture it thoroughly. Make every day Earth Day in this way. Appreciation for all parts of this star we call home begins the moment we are born and is our privilege and responsibility to pay forward. What a truly pleasant job!