Writing to Connect

For those who may not know of him, Aldo Leopold was a very famous environmentalist at the turn of the last century. His collection of essays entitled A Sand County Almanac has sold over 2 million copies. This work helped define so many things about how man should steward nature that it is considered a must-read for those who care about the environment. He was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and Wisconsin is very pleased to lay claim to him … even if he was born a flatlander. -Smile-

Among his many claims to fame were the nature journals Mr Leopold was famous for writing. His observations of nature tied him to the land in a way that goes beyond words. It is something that any of us can replicate if we have a mind to try. Keeping a journal in this way develops the habit of observation of the world around us. It is something I have been meaning to do for quite a while and I have decided that now is the time. If any of you want to join me, the concept is fairly simple …

The Wisconsin History site has a worksheet for people to use, but I think it boils down to a few key questions. I plan on noting the temperature and the weather. Then, as I write my observations, I will try to finish these sentences:

  • Today, I saw …
  • Today, I heard …
  • Today, I touched …
  • Today, I smelled …

Following Aldo Leopold’s format makes sense to me, so I plan on trying to sketch some of the things I see. If you are following along and feel that you aren’t an artist, know that it doesn’t matter. The point is to observe, and to connect with what you see. Drawing is a way to have an intimate connection with your environment. Just attempting to draw what you see is a way of reaching out to it with your mind.

I plan on going for at least 30 days. You know what they say: 3 weeks is a habit. If I can do this for more than 3 weeks, I think I will have developed a very practical method to help me deepen and enrich the connection to nature that is so important to me. If any of you decide to join me, I’d love to hear your take on the process!


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