March is such a funny month in regards to weather. One day it is snowy and cold, and then next day is sunny and warm with snow-melt puddles everywhere. Best of all, spring has officially arrived! I’ve been rejoicing in the tulip leaves I see poking up through the soft ground, and the tiny green buds appearing on the trees in the backyard. And we’ve been watching with interest the two wildlife couples who live in our neighborhood. Mr. & Mrs. Red Squirrel and Mr. & Mrs. Brown Bunny scamper through our yard on a frequent basis. My daughter insists that they are definitely married, and we are hoping they bring their babies around when they make their arrival.
These early spring days make me want to pull out the mud boots and gather the children for a nature walk. I have read about the Charlotte Mason-style nature walks and I think that just sounds like such a wonderful memory-making activity. I always had good intentions that we would do that on a regular basis. Now that my youngest daughter is about to graduate I thought back to all the nature walks we used to go on when the children were young. We would set out with our journals and pencils in hand and enjoy a leisurely walk through the woods observing all the minute details around us. To the best of my memory, we actually did that exactly once!
It was a muddy, warm spring day much like this one. We drove to a nearby nature trail. The children were excited to get out and run. I tried to explain what our objective was, that we were to slow down and find interesting things to draw in our journals. So they helped me search for journal-worthy objects along the trail. Our most interesting find that day was an owl pellet. We also found some small pine cones and a few tiny flowers under the leaves. But I don’t remember that we actually ended up drawing much in our journals. Which is too bad, because it seems like that would have made a nice keepsake. Except none of us are very good at drawing. So it’s probably just as well.
While that was the only time I remember setting aside the academics on a school day to have a “nature walk” it really wasn’t the only time we spent in the woods. My family enjoys camping and hiking. Every spring we are eager for the snow to melt so the camping season can begin. Our camping trips almost always involve a hike or two.
Now that the girls are older they like to take their cameras along on our hikes. With all three of us taking pictures it’s so interesting to later compare the shots we got. It’s almost like seeing through someone else’s eyes. I wonder if Charlotte Mason would count that as nature-journaling? In any case, it works for us!
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