Nature, a Blog, and Me
By Ferida Wolff
I never expected to write a blog. Yet a while back, when I started writing a book of nature-based essays and came to a place where I ran out of steam, I needed something to spur me on. A friend suggested I blog on the subjects about which I was writing. So, hoping it would keep me on track and organize my thinking, I decided to do it. The plan was that once a week I would write about some aspect of nature that I saw around me. I called it Ferida’s Backyard. I figured that should make it easy. All I had to do was look out my kitchen window to find a subject. But, as happens with most things that seem simple, it soon became apparent that there was more to this than I had expected.After the first few months of taking advantage of what was closest at hand I realized that I would quickly run out of material if I stayed in my literal backyard. I needed a larger sense of "yard," a more inclusive concept. So I began to pay attention to what was interesting, nature-wise, in my neighborhood. I started taking my camera with me all the time because I never knew when something would suddenly pop up and yell, “Look at this!” I encouraged my husband to take his camera along whenever we were together. He is the better photographer — I point and he shoots. Most of the blog photos are his but occasionally I’m on my own, like the time I didn’t want to lose the moment when the ducks were reflected on a local pond’s frozen water. The sight caught my breath and the ducks ended up as that week’s post.
As the seasons pass and I continue with my blog, the more aware I become. For instance, here we are in the middle of autumn with the beautiful colors bursting from the trees and while I am excited by all that, I also am noticing the trees themselves, unadorned, branching in very individual ways. How had I not noticed their hidden inner beauty all these years?
And the more aware I become, the more I examine what nature has to teach me. Like with the weeds. Yes, I get annoyed by their presence in what I prefer to be a grassy lawn, but as I pluck them out I become conscious of their survival techniques. They are persistent; pull out clover today and it’ll be there for you tomorrow. They are creative; who can resist blowing the dandelion’s seeds even knowing the consequences? They know how to network, too. It is intriguing to follow the path of the wild strawberries — they go under, over, around, and through the garden. What might be a frustrating weeding experience can also be a keen lesson in adaptation. I have to admire that and if weeds can do all of that, surely I should be able to as well.
My understanding of neighborhood is growing bigger, too, as I become more open to the unity involved in nature. Why shouldn’t my backyard include wherever I find myself? Why block myself in with boundaries when there is so much to appreciate?
That focus has opened me to an even more fascinating world than I had been aware of before. Nothing is ordinary now — not plants or squirrels or clouds or people. I look for the unique quality in everything and it is always there.
As for my essay book, no, I have not finished it, not in written form that is, though the ideas are once again flourishing. One reason for starting the book was to share what I was seeing. Now I have so much more to share and it is drawing in others. People have been commenting on my posts to tell me their stories, to ask questions, to give advice. What fun! One day the book will be finished but for now I have discovered more than I imagined and I am entranced with the new perspective.
- Ferida Wolff's Backyard: Daffodils and Spring; Squirrels - Enough Already!
- When the Spirit Moves You: From Wealth to Worry
- Scout Report: Romantic Circles, Ice and Sky Science, Easter Uprising, Locating Forests and Learning Piano Online
- Buzz Polinator Endanged: Rusty Patched Bumble Bee Could Be Lost Due to Habitat Loss and Degradation
- Ferida's Backyard: Holidays and the New Year; A Hawk Sighting
- Ferida Wolff's Backyard: The Supermoon, a Skunk Scare and Groundhog Haven (and Groundhog Day Movie Trivia)
- Here and Now: A History of Trips That Yield the Most Various Experiences in the Smallest Locales
- The Bosky Dell: "Mid Beechy Umbrage, Bosky Dell 'Tis There the Ringdove Loves to Dwell"*
- Wild Bees, a Critical Piece of the Pollination Puzzle
- Ferida's Wolff's Backyard: Home Farm Produce; Hibiscus Beauty and Wouldn't That Be Peachy?