This morning I attended an event my employer sponsored and I helped organize. It was a hike and write event that was geared towards those who were interested in honing their writing craft, using nature as inspiration. Since our group was small, I participated as well.
I know that nature inspires me to take photographs. I have thousands of photographs of sunrises, sunsets, and iconic places, as well as flowers, butterflies, and trees. My range in landscape photography includes vistas as well as minute details one might find in a clump of moss or fungi growing on a tree or event the scales on the wing of a Monarch. Being a detail oriented person, these small observations of life do not go unnoticed by me. In reality, sometimes, I wish I noticed less with regards to the environment or those with whom I spend time.
Nature also inspires another hobby of mine: jewelry making. I like to use semi-precious stones like Jasper, Agate, Howlite, Lapis Lazuli, Solidite, and Chalcedonies in my creations. The colors and variegated patterns of the stones attract my eye and my imagination, both.
Of course, nature has been the inspiration for my lessons or curriculum in environmental education. But, those, while creative from the standpoint of putting together interesting topics and activities that educate, engage, and empower youth, they are are more focused at addressing certain standards, topics or developmental stages.
Poetry. Nature definitely inspires my poetry. Scenes from our local environment, colors, and wildlife all have played parts in various haiku and free verse poems. Most of my writing is what is known as stream of consciousness. Today, we practiced Free Writing, which I equate with stream of consciousness with a time limit. It is harder than it sounds.
When we stopped to make observations, I noted stems, stones, and a gnarly tree. Using all five of our senses we took notes on what we observed. The participants were instructed to observe the details in nature, not the vistas. This might have been a difficult task for our area, since we have beautiful vistas. And, on mild Spring day, walking along a path that was buttressed by blufflands springing to life, it might have been impossible for some.
But, it seemed everyone was successful with completing the writing tasks that were given to us this morning. It might have been that we had such a small group, there was less likelihood of someone experiencing trouble. All of the participants already seemed to have a handle on the craft of writing to larger extent than one would expect in a writer’s workshop on a Saturday morning. Our guest instructor-author even verified this.
I am anxious to return to my free writing piece started this morning on stones. It was an unexpected topic for me, and one that was prompted by a visual observation and attention to smaller details instead of the loud flash of color or movement that usually stirs my imagination. Maybe, I’ll share it on my blog when it is done.