Sunday, November 5, 2023

Nature Journaling

This weekend has been a pretty one. Sunny leaves all a rainbow of crisp fall colors. A little warmer than normal for the first weekend of November. Downright idyllic.

For our house, we have a big playoff ahead and will be spending the day outdoors. Couldn't have asked for a better day for it.

While I'll be knee deep rooting for the home team, others will be taking advantage of the beautiful day in other ways. Some will be meandering in downtowns, weaving in and out of cute shops. Some will be hitting up apple, pumpkin, or other fall festivals. Still others might be hiking about in the woods, watching squirrels frolic in the leaves or searching for nuts.

And others might be following in Eriko Kobayashi's footsteps. Encouraging others to grab paper and pens and bond with nature in another way. Eriko Kobayashi is Japan's sole nature journaling instructor. She encourages folks (largely those who busily live in the city) to get outside and connect with both themselves and nature by guiding them to journal and take notice of what surrounds them in the great outdoors. 

The practice of nature journaling started in the United States, and gained popularity during the pandemic. Not only was it a way to create space outdoors during social distancing times of Covid, but it is also a great way to decompress--an outdoor meditation time with surrounding nature sounds. Additionally, it stimulates your brain through observation and concentration, while also adding a hands-on component with the journaling.

Nature journaling is credited to Clare Walker Leslie, a self-taught naturalist from the United States. "Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You," one of the nearly dozen books written by Clare Walker Leslie (this one in 2003). Over the years, nature journaling clubs have gained momentum world-wide. Kobayashi has stated that there are more than 140 that span the glob.

To read more about Eriko Kobayashi's nature leadership through journalling, check out this article in The Japan Times: "How a Notebook and Some Pens Can 'Connect Yourself to Nature' by Niko Nojima. Likewise, check out Clare Walker Leslie's website.

To find a Nature Journaling Club, check out these links:

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