I was looking online at an amazing sounding poetry and nature course. It was really energising and inspiring and I was nearly at the point of signing up when I remembered that I don’t keep up well with that sort of thing… I can do the reading mostly but it’s the thinking and having enough energy to be creative and poetic that I know I would struggle with. And that then gets into a vicious circle which ends in me being sad.
So, I have decided, from September, I shall be following my own, self guided version. I have various books I want to read, talks I want to listen to, exercises I want to try and things I want to ponder.
To narrow down the focus a bit, I am thinking local for my “assignments” and global for my reading.
I am hoping to challenge my own ideas and find new ways of thinking and I know that this is going to be the hard part. As such, if you have any articles, comments, questions, books etc that you feel may be relevant, please pass them my way. The internet is wonderful but it does have a tendency to be an echo chamber.
Alongside my own planned stuff (which is still very vague), there are a few one day courses locally which I want to do and some free online courses which complement my current direction. In particular, I’m thinking Learn About Weather and William Wordsworth: Poetry, People and Place.
I am also pulling together a list of day trips ranging from nature reserves to local natural history museums. I want to get to know not just the area as it is today but how it has been shaped and transformed and changed by time, by climate and by humanity. I hope to be able to identify more birds, more animals and more plants by the end of this project. Right now I don’t know how long I’m thinking this’ll be. But it ties into some bits of work I’ve already been doing since I retired. 2016 was the year I focused on trees in my art, this year is butterflies. I have written my animal and plant posts and reflected on what fog has to teach me. And I have pondered ways of bringing nature into my life despite the wheelchair/sometimes housebound thing.
I’m hoping to use my blog to help me unravel ideas and thoughts and opinions and to share resources and articles and my writing.
Whilst I’m trying to not throw myself in too fast and too this month (August is busy by my standards), there are a few bits and pieces I want to share. I haven’t read the articles critically but I have bookmarked them to return to.
- Speaking of Nature by Robin Kimmerer. I’ve linked to this before but I felt it was so relevant here that I wanted to share it again.
- Rob MacFarlane’s twitter feed is a great place for collecting words.
- Miles Richardson’s blog has some interesting things to say about nature and health and wellbeing.
- Why the Passenger Pigeon Went Extinct. One of the things I hope to explore is why we write about nature and so far, for me, one of the key reasons is about connecting with it and how doing so changes how we value it. Extinction is obviously a part of this conversation, along with conservation and climate change.
In terms of books, I’m trying to start with those I already have (but I do love an excuse to buy books…) which includes:
- World Enough and Time by Christian McEwen
- Landmarks by Robert MacFarlane
- If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie
- The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd
- Speaking With Nature by
- Whispers From the Earth by Taz Thornton
- The English Year by Steve Roud (about local traditions)
- The Seasons: A Celebration of the English Year by Nick Groom
And there are some youtube videos that give a glimpse into some of what I want to dig deeper into (all except the first are less than ten mins).
I would love to hear any ideas anyone has for exercises or things to read or watch or do. I am hoping to return soon with a post which narrows down my focus a bit more, or at least provides a jumping off point.