I often find that I get a greater appreciation of nature when I am silent. Of course this is certainly not always (in fact almost never) possible when you have children, who are full of the joys of being outside, with you. I have found great joy when out on a walk on my own.
I think the ‘great joy’ is so, because it is a rare treat. I am sure that if every nature walk was by myself I would miss the richness of sharing in my daughters’ discovery and wonder. As the writer in Ecclesiastes said, ‘There is a time for all things under Heaven.’
I thought that although our walk was to have the aim of being silent, I would never the less give the girls some direction in the form of a Winter Scavenger Hunt. This turned out to be quite a hit. Not only did it encourage them to be more purposeful in their observance of nature, but I added the pre-request that they were to pause at the place of their find and listen to what was going on around them.
As we collected the things on the list, we noted the sound of many birds trilling in the branches overhead. We noticed the sound of the babbling brook and admired a piece of history – this very old water lock. We wondered why it was there and what it was for. We noticed that it was made of wood – unlike the more modern lock gates which have fancy metal panels, all of which work differently in order for a smooth transference of water!
We agreed that we were able to appreciate the beauty of the countryside a little more as we rested our mouths and just drank in the beauty before our eyes.
Some of the finds on our Scavenger Hunt sheet…
A branch with two or three different types of moss or lichen, and
And some fungi nestled on the Woodland floor.
Some seeds still hanging on a tree. Another great find were skeleton leaves. We found quite a few among the dropped leaves on the woodland floor. So delicate – so beautiful! This image is not my own (thank you google images for this wonderful picture of a skeleton leaf) – I’m afraid my camera just couldn’t seem to pick up the delicate intricacies of the leaf. It sure is pretty isn’t it?
So with temperatures dropping and most of the ‘treasures’ found, we returned home to have a cup of hot chocolate to warm up and admire our finds ;o)