It’s morning and you wake up to the sound of the birds chirping. You don’t really need to set an alarm… nature’s got your back! You make yourself a cup of coffee and sit at your porch, silently admiring the beauty around you. Soon, you head for an hour-long yoga session in the lap of nature. And in the evening, you set out on a stroll at the nearest park, letting the fresh air get to you. Throughout the day, you found a million things to appreciate… from buzzing bees to rustling leaves!
What if we told you there’s a way to curate an inventory of all that’s happening around you… a way to feel connected with nature? It lies in the practice of writing, drawing, or both, in response to everything you see around yourself. Yes, we’re referring to nature journaling!
Let’s Get Started
The process of storytelling with pictures and words is easy. You need not be an artist or a writer to engage in this experience. Here’s all you need!
- Tools: Nature journaling doesn’t require a lot of materials to get started. A notebook, some tools to draw, and some tools to write! You can make your drawings using whatever you like – chalk, coloured pencils, graphite, ink, marker, pens, crayons, charcoal, or even paints like acrylic paint, watercolours, gouache, or oil paints! Words can be written in the form of poetry, listicles, short sentences, paragraphs… or in any style you’d like to invent!
- Steps: The process is simple! Observe, be curious and ask questions. Jot down your thoughts. You can even take cues from the interesting prompts put up on social media and websites for people around the world to follow, with themes like numbers, tree shapes, your favourite place, and more.
- Resources: If you ever feel stuck, worry not, because several resources like guidebooks, blogs, and videos on nature journaling are out there, waiting to be found! They help by giving you tips so you don’t give up on your precious journal!
- Find your spot and an inspiration: Any animal, plant, or a sight can be your inspiration to journal. The activity isn’t exclusive to outdoors and there’s no particular place that you need to scout to. It can be done from a park, a garden, the balcony, or even your very own living room! You can also indulge in memory journaling, which means sketching and writing as you recall an experience from the past.
What Should I Add In My Journal?
- Anything! Your observations can be recorded through words, sketches or both!
- It’s always helpful to mention the location, habitat type, and date to your journal entry, if you ever want to revisit it.
- Write what you see, write what you feel. Senses, thoughts, and mood liven up words. Your musings could be about that slippery rock due to the growth of lichen on it, or the fragrance of a flower, or a rejuvenated feeling upon watching the sunset… you get the gist.
- If you have photographs of the subject, go ahead and attach a print of it to your journal!
- Nature journaling can also be about a collection of items such as dry leaves and fallen flowers, stray feathers, twigs or seeds. It is, however, essential to follow the ethics of nature, and ensure no living being is harmed in the process.
- Personal experiences are the essence of your entry. You can add the circumstances that led you to the particular encounter.
- Scientific facts are fun! Go ahead and add them, even if that involves a quick research from a guidebook or the internet.
Does Journaling Help?
- A sunset, a flower, a tiny critter or even an elephant… Nature journaling helps you connect and build a relationship with the natural world!
- The practice subconsciously makes you a naturalist, as you gradually learn to identify new animals and plants.
- You nurture an appreciation for the natural world, and understand better the importance of living beings and the threats they’re facing.
- It calms your mind, and gives you mental peace. Journaling is an excellent way to meditate and relax in the otherwise busy lives that we all live.
- It makes you more aware of your surroundings, and over time, channels your thoughts better.
- Nature journaling can hone your creative skills. It can increase your attention to detail and refine your memory.
In the words of ecological thinker John Muir, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”
Earth’s myriad life forms are full of infinite beauty that is waiting to be discovered. Nature is everywhere – from national parks to your own backyard! It’s not restricted and specific to any age group or individuals. Simply put, nature journaling is observing and recording.
Remember to not feel any pressure to maintain a journal; it’s a way for you to explore the world and express yourself. The journal promises to benefit you in endless ways. What’s most important is the process… So, this Nature Journaling Week, gear up, unpack the mysteries of nature, and bring the outdoors onto your pages!