is for Waverly Fitzgerald
I’ve long been a fan of author, researcher, publisher, teacher, and deep engager of the natural world, Waverly Fitzgerald. Like me, she is an advocate of working in seasonal cycles and slow time, and in fact she has a website called Living in Season and has published a book called Slow Time.
But the connection to this abecedarium and my musings on all things Flora is her work My Year in Flowers.
She offers this as an online course, and I participated several years ago when she first offered it. It was such a rich learning experience – inviting deep observation and exploration of one’s own habitat across the course of a year.
If you click through on the link above you can see the topics covered. It’s extensive and, as Waverly’s work often does, lead me down a number of rabbit holes. It’s exactly the kind of curriculum that you can return to again and again and explore further.
I kept a field book note journal during that year – popping in photos and notes and little sketches and it really helped me fall in love with the idea of field journals. Of course, as is usually true for me, I added other bits than just what we were covering – so I’ve got planting info from garden catalogs, poetry, and musings about a tiny garden medicine wheel/altar I made that year.
I thought perhaps I’d start another field journal this year because it was so much fun, but as per usual the amount of projects that excite and call to me far outnumber the time and energy I have available to devote to them. Still, though, that particular call is strong, and now I’m thinking perhaps I’ll do an autumn leaves field journal. Does anyone else have fond memories of grade school collections of leaves that had been ironed into wax paper and then mounted on construction paper?
Of course these days so much of our life is digital, and there is in fact a fabulous online resource Nature’s Notebook which is a project of the USA National Phenology Network. Phenology is the study of timing of biological events in plants and animals, especially in relation to changes in season and climate. With Nature’s Notebook you’re encouraged to observe and report not only for your own discovery and enjoyment, but also to join specific projects which are following particular plants and animals and then report your findings online.
While I haven’t been keeping track of a year of flowers in 2017, I have been keeping track of a summer of flowers. My local CSA starting offering flower shares this year, so with my regular delivery of local organic fruits and veggies, I’m getting a bouquet of field-fresh local flowers. Makes my heart happy!
So tell me, do you keep field journals? Keep track of any particular plant or animal? Enjoying summer’s abundance of flowers? Do tell – you know I love to hear.