When I was a small kid, I was fascinated with mud. It was great to play after the rains in the mud. We made caves and decorated them with sea-shells glass pieces and flowers. It was fun playing in the open, running, screaming, laughing and touching the earth.
One of my loveliest memories of childhood is holding the hand of my grandfather and going for a walk at night. He would tell me stories of his childhood how he would walk through a patch of woods to go to school, how he met a hyena one day and how he climbed a tree to escape. We would come back home and on winter nights, grandmother would have hot chocolate waiting for us. As we drank the delicious chocolate we would smile as our affection spoke silently.
I wanted my daughter to experience the beauty of togetherness with nature. When she was a toddler, we chased butterflies together. When she turned six, we started a nature journal practice. It is lovely to go for walks and collect twigs and leaves. We observe trees, the sky, seasons, animals, insects and birds. We make notes. It is fun to paste these notes, draw, paint and sketch with the date and time.
Last year, we discovered a tiny nest on the top of a tree next to our terrace. In this nest, small babies waited for their mother to come.
A lone woodpecker used to visit a leafless tree near our house. We used to wait for the bird (our Woody) to visit. Every morning we observed Woody religiously visiting the tree.
However, that tree was cut down, and we lost our Woody forever. I could teach an important lesson to my daughter. We need to accept the change as only change is constant. Friends may come and friends may go, but life goes on.
I want my daughter to discover relationships beyond SMS, emails, social media or the Internet. Today an overdose of digital media and 24×7 connectivity is making us isolated ‘islands’ existing in a zone to become a zombie.
I want my daughter to experience the sunrise and sunset, to feel the difference between a breeze and a wind, to sit under the canopy of star and have conversations in person not on a mobile.
I want her to know that nip in the air announcing the winter and observe the slanted rays of the sun telling us that the days are getting shorter. Our nature journal consists of lovely notes of all these occurrences.
Nature journal practice has bonded well. It has also made us revere and respect nature in an amazing way.
Life changes literally and figuratively. These lovely moments of togetherness keep you grounded and become an anchor later in life.