We woke up to snow yesterday. Lots of snow. Many of our bushes were buried and more snow was falling. But the real surprise was that rescuing them led to the first nature journal page I’ve made in weeks.

April 16, 2020. What happened to spring?

The hour I spent shaking limbs and trying to push snow off branches was physically exhausting but also meditative. As I worked, I noticed odd things, like the way the snow stuck in balls to leafy branches, exactly like it does to a dog’s coat. It was too cold to draw outside, but I promised myself I would note down all my observations when I got indoors.

Nature journal page by Kit Dunsmore.
Some of the bushes I rescued, before I shook the snow off and a day later (after it snowed some more).

While it’s mostly text, it was wonderful to get back into my nature journal and take a few minutes to just write about the things I was thinking while I worked. I was also relieved to discover that I actually remembered where I had seen illustrations of people on tiptoe.

The Humbug and the Spelling Bee from The Phantom Tollbooth. Illustration by Jules Feiffer.

The pandemic has not been good for my productivity I’ve struggled to keep up with writing, I’ve stopped drawing. Even birding has faded away. Being indoors all the time has kept me from nature, and winter weather when it’s supposed to be spring isn’t helping any. (It was 20 F when I woke up this morning.)

So I’m extra proud of myself for turning what was basically a chore into fodder for my nature journal. It reminded me of how much pleasure I get in recording what I notice and that I want to be doing it more.

But more nature journaling means taking circumstances into account. I’m not getting outside much right now, so I have to do what I can indoors. Fortunately, this week’s episode of the Nature Journaling Show by Marley Peifer is ideas for ways to nature journal at home. It’s just twelve minutes long and full of great ideas.

Some of the tips are for journaling about things right in your house or yard and some are about using the internet. The one I’m looking forward to trying is using live webcams from zoos and aquariums. It will be a great opportunity to draw and to study things I might not otherwise get to see, all without leaving my own home.

Are you finding it hard to do the things you love right now? How have you adapted your creative interests to the limitations of social distancing and stay-at-home?

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