On June first, I was toying with the idea of giving myself a nature journaling challenge for the month, like I did last July. Three different families of Canada geese have been feeding in our yard and while I’ve been watching them closely, I hadn’t gotten out my journal to record my observations. When I did, I discovered that the most recent entry was from late March.

While I’d been thinking about nature journaling all spring, my health problems, made worse by chronic insomnia, made the simplest of actions feel impossible. Fortunately, my sleep is starting to improve and I’m feeling a little better. For the first time in months, I was looking around me with interest, eager to actively engage with the world again.

Spending more time with my nature journal appealed to me. But I remembered one of the lessons I learned from my Nature Journal July experiment was that trying to do something every day didn’t work. I read through the blog posts I wrote in August and saw that my memory was correct. I had learned some important lessons, like “less is more”, and that daily wasn’t a realistic goal for me.

While I have ideas of how I might reframe my goals (shoot for a certain number of pages or a certain number of minutes for the month), the most important thing I found in my notes was something I wrote in my post about becoming a nature journaler.

To become a nature journaler, be a nature journaler. Do what you can, when you can, and give yourself credit for everything you do.

Kit Dunsmore

At the same time I found this, I also discovered that June 1 through June 7 is International Nature Journaling Week. It seemed like the perfect time to get back to my nature journal. That day, after some drawing practice, I did a sit spot session in my back yard. I was excited to be nature journaling again.

I still haven’t decided if I want to give myself a challenge for June or not. My energy level on any given day is wildly unpredictable. But even on a bad day, I can find five minutes of time to write down that the Canada geese that visit our yard have started to loose their primary feathers as part of their usual summer time molt and that the babies are now half the size of the adults.

The next day, I was less enthusiastic, and much less energetic. Instead of half an hour in the backyard, I did five minutes through the kitchen window. And the whole time I reminded myself that this counted. This was nature journaling. Just because it didn’t look the way I wanted it to didn’t mean it wasn’t the real thing.

I can nature journal. I just have to let myself do it imperfectly.

Do you struggle to start something because of your expectations? How do you get started?

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