Forest School At Home // Northwest: Awe & Reverence

May 2, 2020

The Northwest is a time for awe and reverence. The experience of being “awestruck” translates into being humbled by something bigger than yourself. The Northwest is a time in the present to show gratitude for the knowledge from those that came before us and of the generations after us. Over time, this gratitude evolves into a spiritual acceptance of our responsibility now for the health of the children and their environment two hundred years in the future. In the West, we took care of our community in the here and now. In the Northwest, we take care of our community across time. 

Awe is found in the small details in nature that give us pause – the graceful way a hawk floats on the wind, the cloud formations after a thunderstorm, and even the first firefly of the summer! Reverence is both the feeling of respect for nature that springs from that awe and the quiet understanding that our elders have much to share. 

Activity: Art in Nature

This week we will return to our Sit Spots with art supplies in hand to notice and then draw some of those awe inspiring moments that happen right in our backyard. Have you been watching a new plant sprout? Have you seen a spider building her web? Now is the time to sit quietly and watch, gathering in all the colors and textures, and then record what we see in our journals. Spring is a wonderful time to draw our observations because things change so quickly. One warm, sunny day in spring can change a a seed to a seedling! If you visit your spot again later on the week, you might see an entirely new scene.

Age: All ages

Time: Open- ended

Material: A nature journal – it can be any type of paper but I often use watercolor paper because it’s a little thicker and can handle a bit of water that happens when we are outside. Feel free to staple a few sheets together to offer this activity again and keep observations together. Bring paints, Kwik Stix, colored pencils, markers, or make your own paint from what you have found in your yard. Whatever inspires you!

Skills: Quiet Mind, Listening, Expanding our Senses, Animal Forms, Observation, Creativity, Fine motor skills, Wondering, Problem Solving

How To:

  • Inspire

Look at something and then draw it, then look back to check on the things you weren’t sure of – how that ear comes off the doe’s head or how that leaf attaches to the stem. Can you feel your visual imagination wake up? Coloring a tree green then looking twice, shading the green, and adding the brown, activates a flurry of synaptic connections. The sketcher enters a lively image-questioning sequence with the things observed. Because it fires up the brain’s visual imagination, drawing imprints images in the mind’s eye library.

  • Tips-

Date sketches and include captions and comments that describe your landscape.

  • Story of the Day-

Gather and share, monitor and report. What did you notice this time that you hadn’t noticed before? What has changed in size since the last time you were there? Is there anything new or missing from the landscape?

  • Why It’s Great-

The real purpose of journaling is to train the mind to pay attention. It’s important to keep a journal regularly. Kept up consistently, it will become a living field guide to your yard. Include sketches of things you know as well as things to look up later. 

During our ZOOM call on Tuesday 5/12, we’ll create another Sharing Circle, pass around our imaginary talking stick and will each have a chance to showcase our sketches and nature journal.

As always, these activities are mere suggestions to help you and your little’s connect more with yourself, each other and with nature. They are by no means, prescribed, as nothing in Forest School ever will be. Like nature, we are here to support you, as you nourish you and your family’s mind, body and soul.

You’ve got this and we’ve got this!