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It’s been a wonder-full year for getting outdoors and learning about the natural world around Flandrum Hill.  Keeping a nature journal certainly made me more aware of the seasonal changes that take place throughout the year.  Writing about the plants and wild creatures I saw encouraged me to look deeper into field guides in an effort to learn more.  It’s been quite an adventure in discovery.

I wrote about all kinds of things.  As long as it had to do with nature in my neck of the woods in Nova Scotia, it was game.  Some posts received more views than others.  Two in particular, October’s Complementary Palette and December’s Days of Enchantment topped the list, as they were featured on WordPress.com’s homepage

A few others posts were found over and over again by students doing research for projects and essays, or people wanting to find out more about an odd subject, such as whether or not it’s safe to eat slugs: 

My favorite posts were those that expressed how I feel, more so than what I know about nature…

Or that gave everyone something to smile about…

A Midsummer’s Scavenger Hunt produced a great deal of excitement as readers engaged in finding images in their part of the world that interpreted nature’s shapes and elements.  Posts from the beginning to the end of this hunt can be found here. 

The best part of blogging in 2009 was connecting with others both locally and around the world, and sharing the excitement of discovering something new in nature that I hadn’t seen before. 

With all best wishes for peace and happy trails in 2010 to everyone, and regular readers especially.

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photos

This week marks a year of living vicariouly… through Nature.  What she’s experienced, I’ve experienced.  Her springtime has meant hope and wonder, delight and new discoveries for me.  Her fall has brought colour to my life in ways I barely noticed or thought possible before.

drawings

This is what happens when you keep a nature journal.  Although you might experience the same natural events year after year, you see everything in a clearer light when you take the time to reflect on what you’ve seen.  Once you learn the name of a common weed, it becomes more difficult to ignore it the next time you see it in bloom on the lawn.  You think twice about mowing it down. 

floral

Over the past year I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors and taken more photographs than at at any other time in my life.  Field guides have become regular reading material and I’ve drawn numerous images of wildlife in an effort to illustrate what I couldn’t capture in a photograph.

salt marsh strip

My favorite posts are those that surrounded the theme of shapes in nature and the natural elements during our Midsummer Scavenger Hunt.  Thank you again to everyone who participated.  The whole was definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

The Midsummer Scavenger Hunt Series

final

Despite all the page views I received last week while on WordPress’ front page (just under a thousand in one day!) it’s the feedback from regular visitors from around the world through comments and email that make the process all the more worthwhile.  My goal has not just been to share what beauty is here in my neck of the woods, but to encourage readers to take a closer look at the wonders waiting to be discovered in your own backyard.  Living vicariously through Nature is a way of life that’s all the more enjoyable when it’s shared.

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How can there be so much that you don’t know?

~ from Disney’s Pocahontas

Before the area was ‘colonised’ by Europeans in the 1700s, my neck of the woods in Cow Bay was considered a prime hunting and fishing spot by the Mi’kmaq tribe during summer months. It must have been an incredibly beautiful place back then: sparkling waters, sandy beaches and an abundance of wild berries growing in the open spaces overlooking the ocean. I often wonder about the people who walked the trails in this forest centuries before my home was built here.  What did they feel and think as they listened to the wind in the trees and the rain falling on the waters in the bog?

Disney’s movie Pocahontas attempts to contrast the attitude of Native People with that of Europeans upon their arrival in the New World. It also carries the message of our connection to one another and the earth in a song called the ‘Colors of the Wind.’  I hadn’t watched it in years, but when I saw it again recently, I was reminded of what a masterpiece it is.

Pocahontas’ real name was Matoaka.  She was a member of the Powhatan tribe, who were rightly angered in the late 1990s by the way Disney exploited her story and distorted history for entertainment’s sake.  However, Disney did correctly portray her as a bridge builder between the cultures that began to clash in North America in the 1600s with the arrival of European colonists.  She was a risk-taker who was willing to see past surface differences in order to connect with others at a deeper, common level, for the benefit of all.

As unique as we may think we are, with our different habits and origins, we are all more alike than not.  Perhaps the greatest thing that we don’t know, is how much we are all the same.

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