Bring more nature into your everyday life
The other morning my Mom shared with me a moment she took from her day to watch the Northern flickers at the Kestrel box that sits outside our house right outside some tinted windows upstairs that makes viewing fairly easy without them reacting to us. We had a pair looking it over. She said the male looked the entire box over, tapping at it, looking inside and out, up and down. The female sat in a tree nearby. Then there was a drumming from another male not far away. At that, the two of them flew off in the direction of the drumming.
Just a small moment in the day, but it’s moments like this that become meditation in a way – clearing your mind for a bit by simply focusing on the spring activity around. This is often how I find a way to calm the chaos that inevitably arises from the day just being the day. It’s one reason why I love the bird feeders we have. It’s calming to take a moment to watch the Brown creepers circle their way up a tree trunk or branch, then dive back down to the bottom and check again in case they missed a small morsel of a bug. Or watch the deer walking by – do the boys still all have their antlers?
But rather than just allowing the moment to pass, I capture it in a sentence in my phenology journal. Another tiny story that builds into a collection. This is one of the practices I have in my life.
WHAT IS A PHENOLOGY JOURNAL?
A phenology journal is simply a calendar – a place where you write down seasonal observations. Small things like the first Red-winged blackbird you see (saw my First Of Year Red-winged blackbird on March 14 just outside of Coumbus, MT – but need to get out to watch for them here in Cody).
Because it’s a perpetual calendar, all I have to do is turn the page to today’s date and start. If I’ve missed a few observations, that’s ok. No harsh reprimand to myself, just start again. It’s not unlike how your mind wanders when meditating. You just gently bring yourself back to your breath. For me, my phenology journal is that centering breath. This phenology habit/hobby is also a way to bring more delight into my life – it’s just flat out fun to watch for the changes – knowing when you saw them last year or the year before – and then to find them. It’s a type of treasure hunt that never ends because there are always more treasures to find.
Nature surrounds us all the time, if only we choose to see it.
So I invite you to join me in bringing more nature into this life while also keeping the rest of it moving along. I’ll share more about the way I keep my phenology journal or field journal right now. Journaling is an ever evolving process of finding what delights my heart.