One Sabbath afternoon we joined the S.O.N.G (Southside Online Naturalist Group) for a Nature Journaling class. We met in Oak Park on the shores of Kerr Lake, and I thought we would be journaling about the lake, or some aquatic life, but I was surprised by the nature gem that our teacher, Victoria Sondecker, took us to discover.
First, our teacher told us about her experiences with nature journaling and how she has developed skill and new techniques over time. She explained why journaling is helpful to a naturalist and that many naturalists such as Audubon, Lewis & Clark, and many others have used it to hone their observation skills and keep records to refer back to later.
This beautiful Beech tree was hidden, in plain sight, in a little strip of forest by the road. Barely distinguishable from the other trees of the forest, until you step under it's canopy. I'm glad I learned to journal because my camera can't even show the lemon lime glory of the newly erupted leaves.
As I was looking at the brilliant glow of new life (from above), I wondered how many times had this tree experienced this rebirth from winter. It reminded me of the Christian's life, once saved and daily reborn; each time adding a ring of new growth, deeper roots, more strength, and more influence over the ground in which it has been planted.
Victoria had us listen, smell, ask questions, share observations and sketch what we observed. I wasn't sure that I could even draw a tree, but it was surprising how easy it was and how differently each person's impression of the tree turned out from the others.
My kids loved the last portion when we got to add color to our sketches. It made for a very serene, yet focused afternoon that we have chatted about many times since. I'm grateful to our local naturalist group, S.O.N.G., for the programs they put on and the information they post on social media. That's how I found them, Facebook Groups. Search your local Facebook Groups for "naturalist" and see what you can become a part of in your local "ecosystem."
God bless and don't forget the new life God sends from above!