Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Week 13: The Eyes of My Eyes are Opened

Sherri's nephew catching falling leaves.
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” John Muir.

Those of us lucky enough to live in the Georgian Triangle are getting treated this week to an utterly spectacular display of summer. As the province begins to open up to Phase 3, the tendency is to rush back to business as usual as quickly as we can, and to forget the progress we’ve made (albeit forced upon us) by months of staying at home and occupying ourselves.

The natural beauty of this area is unmatched. So is the diversity. Within a few minutes, we can go from seaside, to mountainside, to forest. Year round, we are blessed with amazing views and a plethora of options to get out in nature however it suits us.

We have so many options for local foods and drinks, all produced right in our own backyard. Our farmers and growers are putting in long hours to provide us with fresh, seasonal items, picked within hours of eating.

This week, we’re going to give you a challenge to NOT do anything. No research. No documentaries. No calling MPs. If you need it, consider it a free pass on yard work, and a way to put your feet up and be amazed at what you see.

Challenge 13a: Find a moment to be awed by nature this week.

We don’t mean just go for a run in the woods. When being in nature is a means to an end, we miss the point. We want you to really see what’s out there. Turn off your music, and silence your phone. Look at the forest, the trees. Look at the diversity. Consider the incredible journey from being a tiny seed to a huge tree. Smell the earth and the leaves. Listen to the birds, and to the quietness of life going on in harmony with itself. Or visit the Bay, and watch the waves. Watch the stars. Connect with your senses. Quiet your busy mind. Be present.

There are hundreds of ways to do this, so pick one that appeals to you most. You don’t need money. You don’t need much of anything, except two feet, maybe some binoculars, and a little curiosity.

Children already have the innate ability to be awed by nature. Anyone who’s ever gone for a walk with a toddler knows that every object is a treasure worth examining and exploring. Follow your child’s lead. Find the beauty in those treasures. See through their eyes, and rediscover what you’ve forgotten. There is a magical calm that happens when we really tune in.
 

Challenge 13b: Naturalize your yard.

While you’re taking in nature, maybe consider that expansive lawn you have. How much time and energy goes into manicuring it? Let’s take a little break from that. If you own property is there some part that you can naturalize? Just leave it alone, and let it restore its natural balance. You’ll end up with wildflowers and tall grasses. You can even sprinkle some wildflower seeds and see what comes up. Naturalizing creates a habitat for birds, butterflies, insects and wildlife. It supports pollinators, who desperately need some refuge. In the winter, it provides much needed food and shelter for creatures. It helps sequester carbon, saves water, and encourages natural diversity. You can even add shelters, like bricks, or buy bird feeders, bat houses and bird houses to encourage beneficial visitors. If you have children, let them be part of this process. They will have terrific ideas about how it should be!

Just like most of our tips, you’ll save money and time along with restoring balance. It will buy you back a few hours a week to be awed by nature, right in your own backyard!

e.e. Cummings said, “the eyes of my eyes are opened”. So, venture out this week, and open your eyes. Once we see, we can’t unsee. And seeing leads to awareness, which leads to change. You’ll see what we’re all fighting to protect, and just how awesome it really is.
 
Yours in sustainability,
Sherri Jackson & Laurel Hood


52 Weeks of Climate Action was created by Sherri Jackson and Laurel Hood. Sherri is a writer, speaker and musician. She is the candidate of record and communications coordinator for the Simcoe-Grey Greens. Laurel Hood, is a retired secondary teacher, transportation lead for the Collingwood Climate Action Team, and volunteer coordinator for the Simcoe-Grey Greens. Visit our blog or sign up at www.52weeksofclimateaction.com.

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