This week marks six months of (almost) daily journaling via the most recent iteration of my Morning Pages practice. Though Morning Pages/journals are traditionally private, I’m celebrating this week by breaking the rules and sharing today’s journal entry on my blog.
JUL 15 2020
I’m sitting at the pool. Thinking maybe if I go in that will wake me up.
I rescued a toad from the pool this morning. I watched him for a long time after. His markings look like a Rorschach test. Surprisingly, he is still here.
The sun is beating down already and I am ready to go in the water. Need more coffee. No plan for the day yet. I am tired. Did mostly camping prep yesterday.
Yesterday was Colin’s & my 8 year anniversary. Feels like a lifetime. My longest friendship outside of Jen. We are celebrating with our camping trip, but did go for a walk to Axel’s for ice cream – they have gluten free cones now.
After wondering why the toad was still sitting in the sun with me, panting, I realized he might be too hot – so I moved him to the back of the pool area where the plants are, in the shade, and he hopped off right away.
I thought I’d head to the shade, too, and that’s when I started thinking how much I love the back yard, how full of life it is, ripe for observation and learning. I used to find it so dull – same yard, same stuff every year. But now, 9 years later, I am taking near daily nature walks in the yard, usually with the dog, in all seasons and at various times of day. I’ve noticed so many things I hadn’t before, or are new – like the raspberries I found growing round the ancient pine tree, back where we buried the old cats & dogs. The raspberries taste like rain & kisses. A small handful each day, backyard delicacy.
I made my way over to the rock in the back corner near the lilac bush & part of the fence the chipmunks use as a portal between the yard and woods. I thought about my time as a science educator at a popular museum, as well as all the time spent exploring nature with Colin, which has made me curious, and at least casually interested in science.
The former taught me that I can learn science if it’s presented in the right way – that through museum learning vs. traditional classrooms, even physics was accessible to me. (They never would have let me take physics in high school – my science grades were shit; though, to be fair, I didn’t have great science teachers/curricula either. Those experiences made me think I was just bad at science, which turned me off from really learning it.)
And, Colin & nature taught me science is everywhere, and relevant to all the things I love, like animals, and that learning about the environment can change the way I see the world. It’s a way of caring & loving, and informs my interest in climate justice, for example. And it can all be done through observation, coming up with a question & asking Colin for an explainer (he is a gem who seems to know something about everything) or looking it up, and applying it to the activity or situation at hand. And that deep, yet personal, engagement with the environment and its patterns informs our decisions too, like when to hunt for morels, the history of a hiking trail, where and when to fish, which way to go in the woods, or when to plant seeds in the garden. At least for me, there is a deep, beautiful, inexplicable way of knowing that comes from spending quality time in nature.
I didn’t last long in the shade – I now have a few mosquito bites. The reality is sometimes it’s hard to be outside because of my sensory issues (the noises/feeling of bugs buzzing near me, how horribly itchy sweat is and the horrid feeling of it dripping on my skin; the overwhelming experience of overheating; getting water or sand in your shoes, etc.), but I do my best to accommodate for myself so I have a good time. I guess I’m also glad for all the experiences I’ve had hiking or camping because every time we’ve gone, I’ve learned more about what I need and how to care for my sensory system when we’re outside for long periods of time. Maybe I can do a blog about that at some point.
I just love to be outside, so I’m willing to push through that when I can and take breaks when I can’t. I should apply that to other parts of my life, too…
What do you like to journal about? Any neurodivergent friends interested in ideas for coping with the sensory experiences of being outside re: hiking, camping, biking, at the beach etc.? What is something you learned from observing your immediate environment? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
Featured image for this post: An abandoned cardinal egg found in my back yard in late spring, and my journal. I love this collecting set from June & December for fragile treasures like these, found butterfly wings, and more.