Waking up to the World

Nature is all around us whether we live in a remote cabin in the wilderness or in the most metropolitan of urban centres.  Most of us just don’t really notice it; the trees along the sidewalk, the weeds growing up through the cracks in the pavement, the birds chirping through your bedroom window in the morning or the spider that found its way into your bathroom. Nature’s little details have faded into the background of our lives, supplanted by cell phones and i-pods, cars and computers whipping us through our lives without leaving much time to stop and smell the proverbial roses. When was the last time you considered a leaf or wondered where that squirrel was headed as it runs through the park?  When was the last time you noticed the smell of fresh grass after the rain? I hope that most of you can say you’ve done it at least once, but for many people, the answer is probably never.

Believe it or not, it’s my job to notice these things. I’m a professional naturalist. I’m the woman in the funny hat, carrying a walking stick who leads you out into the forest, field, marsh or whatever pointing at random things and saying ‘Look at this! Isn’t that cool?’ I do it because when you stop and really look at things, nature is pretty darned amazing. The devil is in the details they say and I tend to believe them. After sharing those details with hundreds of people for over a decade, I’m of the mind that once you start noticing the little things that make up the world around you, it makes the big picture so much more interesting.

So, if you’ll let me, I’d like to share some of those details with you, sort of in the tradition of the old-school naturalists who combed the countryside armed with magnifying glasses and sketchbooks, collecting rocks and bugs and plants and pondering the inner workings of the world around them. Like those field scholars of old, I just happen to be an artist and since I can’t take you for a walk myself, I will try and let the artistry of nature help you discover the beauty of what many of us consider mundane.

If anything, I hope this blog encourages you, regardless of whether you are in Midtown, Manhattan or in the middle of the Great White North (where I live), to stop, look, listen and discover just who you are sharing your world with.