Wendy De la Garza
“With my head up in the clouds”
Updated: Apr 7
Being in nature is very meditative. Even the steam from a sunny day can remind me to take a breath and sit. While you’re at it, look up. Count to ten and search for a shape in the clouds. Believe it or not, I spotted these bunnies at Easter! Looking up can be very grounding and connecting, because I sat peacefully for 20 minutes!
After Easter find:
When I go out into a natural space with my kids, we start with our 5 senses, asking: “ What do you smell?” “What do you hear?” “What do you see?” “What do you feel?” and “What do you taste.” A nature journal is nice to bring to document your observations—drawings, or words. When you answer these questions, you are more connected to yourself in that moment, and to the environment you are in. (Please note here that you should not encourage tasting and touching of everything, as some plants and animals are harmful. )
A favorite activity to test the senses is to tie an extra long string onto a tree in the yard, and have the string make a safe pathway around the house. The kids then put on a blindfold and carefully follow the string. Without your sense of sight, what can you smell, hear, feel, taste? You can place objects along the path if you’d like, or ask them to stop at certain places that are interesting. Maybe the herb garden for tasting, or the tree bark for touching?
When you use your 5 senses in an estuary, for example, you can see a Manatee, touch Sea grasses in or floating on the water, hear Manatee coming up for air—from water that tastes salty, feel the sunshine on your face, and smell the mud by the mangrove trees. You have just connected to your senses, and discovered a habitat!
I do not miss a chance now to check what we can do in our own home to protect the Manatees home! Definitely on the list is to use less fertilizer that pollutes the water, pick up litter that can blow into the bay, remind all of our boating friends to not scar the Seagrass beds with their boat motors, and to watch out not to hit manatees.