I have been watching the birds in my backyard a lot. In the spring, we have many bird species that only stop by the feeders for a short time before moving on to their nesting grounds. There are also birds who stop coming to the feeder in spring as they are migrating to their nesting ground. I have been paying attention to the birds for several years. I noticed that the red-winged black birds come back in early spring. I used to think of them as summer birds because they would and still do sit on tall grasses in the summer sun and heat and trill all day. After paying attention, I realized that they are very early harbinger of spring. The robins come back a little later, and for a short time, flock into yards and open spaces as large groups looking for tasty meals. I suspect they love the rainy days and the worms coming up from the deep soil. And then the dark-eyed juncos who spend the winter foraging for seed under the bird feeders hang out until all chances of snowstorms are over. I begin to pay close attention to the juncos in March and hope each morning that they will be gone. For me they are a sign that the weather is really changing for the better. I love the juncos in the winter. Their little black and white bodies bop around under the feeders remind me that it may be cold out, but I am as resilient as a little bird so I can go outside too. In the spring, I am ready for warmth and the blooming of flowers and trees.
Today I chose A Stone Sat Still because it is a poem to nature. A poem to paying attention and noticing things that seem simple and uninteresting, but are actually complex and exciting.
Title: A Stone Sat Still
Author/Illustrator: Brendan Wenzel
Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2019
A stone sat still
with the water, grass and dirt
and it was as it was
where it was in the world.
Why I believe you will love this book:
It is lyrical and has a lovely repetition.
This story is filled with discussion opportunities and doors to learning more about nature topics.
The illustrations are made with cut paper, colored pencil, oil pastels, marker and the computer. They are soft and bright, wild and gentle.
It is a story about using your senses and thinking about size. You can hear the crack of the shell, feel the warmth of the day, and understand that perception of size depends on what is is around.
I am not doing this book justice. It is best enjoyed by just enjoying it. It is a book to sit with and ponder. It is the kind of book that catches your heart and holds on as a reminder of how special our world is.
Resources and Activities:
Brendan talks about the story behind this story.
Spend time in the woods, in your yard, on a nature trail, by a river, lake stream, ocean, or at your window and just sit and watch. What do you see? Make a list, draw pictures.
What senses are you using as you watch? What senses are the animals, birds, insects using as they interact in the world?
Write a poem about what you discover.
If a rock could talk, what do you think it would say about it's life experience?
Make a collage animal.
Here's a link to loads of collage ideas.
Use found objects for your art.
Play with watercolors and use the pieces to cut up and make a new piece of art.
Participate in Citizen Science projects. I have been adding my bird data to Ebird. I also participate in the Frog Calling Survey and will be doing a training on a pollinator project. I love it because I get to be in nature and hopefully help the wildlife by keeping track of the things I see.
Recently I started a little photography project that I call, "Nine things I Noticed." I take lots of pictures with my phone when I walk my dog. I pull together nine of the cool things I love and put them together in the Instagram Layout App. Here are two that I have created.