“For children, nature comes in many forms. A newborn calf; a pet that lives and dies; a worn path through the woods; a fort nested in stinging nettles; a damp, mysterious edge of a vacant lot- whatever shape nature takes, it offers each child an older, larger world… nature does not steal time; it amplifies it.” -Richard Louv
this week i welcome guest blogger kim of mothering with mindfulness. kim is mama of reece, a holistic nutritionist, and author of raising happy healthy babies. she has inspired me in many ways, especially her writings about the amazing nature-based community she has found and helped develop. enjoy, i hope you are inspired by her beautiful words as well!
Finding My Community through Nature Connection by Kim Corrigan-Oliver
It took time and a few things lining up serendipitously for it to all come together but finally it did and I couldn’t be happier.
In January of this year I opened an email from a friend inviting me to a gathering called Oaks and Acorns. It was a nature connection group for baby’s birth to age 5 with their caregivers. This was right up my alley and without a second thought Reece and I headed up the next day to check it out. Have you ever had those moments when you know right away that something is good, really good? That is exactly how I felt. Oaks and Acorns is lead by three mamas with babes. For two hours on Friday mornings we gather, sing a few welcome songs, follow the kids through the woods as they venture into parts unknown and finish with a few more songs and moments of gratitude. I left this first gathering with a happy heart and a spring in my step. I knew from the first welcome song that I had found what so many people had talked about; I had found community...like minded mamas wanting to develop a love of nature in their children. I felt at home, finally.
We continued to meet on Friday mornings, and each week the strength of the community grew and the adventures the children lead us on were amazing. We found porcupines sleeping in trees, and then we searched for quills on the ground. We have built fires, sitting around then in the snow enjoying our snacks. We have discovered parts of the forest we never would have ventured into if the children hadn’t lead the way. It has been a truly amazing experience.
This community has hosted a few community potlucks which have allowed us to grow a deeper connection to each other and to nature. Our potlucks are held in nature, we hike, we explore, we pick dandelions and fry them up, we play games, we talk, we laugh, we share good food and we have become a community.
At one of these potlucks I had the honour of winning a lovely book called The Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature. I had no idea what I was in for when I won this book, but to say it has changed my connection with nature would be an understatement, it has deepened my connection and taken it to a new level. This book is about nature connection, but it is about so much more as well. There are thirteen core routines that help me, as an individual develop a deeper, more authentic connection to nature, and at the same time helps me as a parent/mentor to guide my little man to connect on a deeper level with nature. I am only skimming the surface of what this book involves, and really only touching lightly on what it has meant to me. It has had a profound influence on how I look at and live my life. Pretty amazing!
This book and the privilege of listening to a wonderful speaker in April, Mark Morey, has lead me to heading up a Coyote Guide Club. This club is for adults interested in deepening their connection with nature. We meet once a week and explore the thirteen core principles of the Coyote’s Guide. We share nature stories, we play games (yes adults can play games to, and actually part of the Coyote’s Guide is channeling your inner child to deepen your nature connection), we walk our own edge and each week take ourselves to a new level of understanding and connection with nature. It is a very inspiring evening each week and while I am new to the Coyote’s way and still learning and growing on this journey I am on, I enjoy sharing what I am learning with others and watching as they learn and grow along with me.
Mother Nature continues to amaze me every day. I offer gratitude to this earth each morning when I awake. I try to live lightly on this earth, showing her respect and love for all that she offers. I want to strengthen my connection with her and understand her ways. I want to help guide Reece to a deeper understanding of nature and its strength, although more than once it has been him who has guided me.
This community I have found, these like minded families that also want to strengthen their connection with nature, has offered me so much, and has allowed me to create a nature awareness that deepens every day.
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.”
thank you kim for sharing a bit of your amazing journey into nature!