Friday, January 29, 2016

Jamestown (1/28/2016)

I drove the Colonial Parkway on the way back home today and snapped this picture of Jamestown Island and the calm James River today.  The water was like glass, the sky was grey, and it was very peaceful until a van with high school students stopped who were obviously on a school project. 

Took the day off today to go to a workshop at the Jamestown Settlement today.  It was a four hour course on"Nature Journaling."  While it was not exactly what I was hoping for, I did have a lot of fun and I did learn quit a bit.

The course was put on by the Jamestown/Yorktown Foundation and was part of a special antiques native plant botany exhibit that they have.  If you are a regular reader of my blog, that's right up my alley.  Yes, I was hoping to learn some tricks of the trade that I could use here in these blog entries, and I guess maybe I will some day.  Maybe I have entered the instant electronic gratification era with my digital photographs and the blog, and am I lost (forever) from the more elegant note taking of the past.

The 4 hour course was given by Betty Gatewood.  Betty is an absolutely delightful person with an energy that is enviable.  She is an amateur naturalist/water colorist; one of those renaissance people.  If you ever have a chance to take a class of her, don't hesitate!

What did I learn?  Journaling is not a crazy hobby or a way to pass time.  It can be beautiful and the way Betty does illustrates it, in particular with her quick drawings and small water colors, it is even very nice; a keepsake for future generations.  I asked her why she does it.  Things like this are very personal, you hope your children read it, and maybe you hope to ever get it published.  I think a lot of people I know are closet authors that hope to write their book and this is one overt way.  Some do however.  Journals from Thoreau, Leopold, McPhee, Hoagland, Ehrlich among others have had a huge influence on me, or the book that resulted from their (nature) journals.  This and some of the blogs I read are journals entries in their own way.  Somehow and for some reason I put them out there for the world to read.  My lame excuse is education and information.

Nature journals reflect your personal relationships with nature, I learned today.  It also chronicles changes over millenia and can document global warming.  So yes, I had a wonderful time, and I even learned how to tie die my journal (or paper) with shaving cream and food coloring!

I do write a lot about nature.  I think half my entries relate to it in one way or another.  It's precious and we need to protect it.  Betty taught us that by journaling, writing about it or drawing it, you observe it more closely and you become one with it:

I have learned that what I have not drawn, 
I have never really seen.
(F. Franck, arts and author of Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation)

I think the same hold true when you really describe it and write about it.  But one thing is for sure, get out there and enjoy nature!

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