Every Tuesday, the writing community of Two Writing Teachers hosts Slice of Life. All are welcome to participate by linking up posts or commenting on other participants.
At a recent writing workshop, one of the presenters took us outside. She had us find a place to sit and just pay attention. Pay attention to the sounds, the smells, the tiny changes and the tiny creatures. Just pay attention.
For several years, I have worked on a middle grade fiction novel, and the primary setting is in a backyard garden between April 1st and June 21st. Therefore, I have worked hard to pay close attention to the garden over the last few weeks. I had tried to sit on one of the slate steps every day and pay attention.
Some of my noticings over the last few days:
- There are a lot of birds making different noises. My grandfather used to know all of the different birdcalls, and he even used to be able to imitate them. I wish I had spent more time learning those from him. The only one I really know is the cardinal’s call.
- The azaleas are losing their luster. The cool weather kept them vibrant for longer than usual, but the flowers are beginning to crinkle and drop.
- The allium look like giant purple lollipops, rising up behind the irises. How do those stalks holdup those oversized spheres?
- The clematis are out--large purple stars with golden centers. Each day they come out a little more.
- Canopies of leaves in all shapes and colors
- Grass that won’t stop growing
- Peonies that keep almost getting up their courage to open up, but clamp up tight when the temperature stays cold and the rains come. I’m glad about this since I don’t want their heavy blooms to be knocked down by the rains we’re expecting. Peonies always make me think of my husband’s mother who had spectacular hedges of these pom-pom like flowers.
I could keep going--sharing the noticings of the garden that I’ve committed to for the eight weeks. I could also recommend making this a practice for yourself or with your students. My husband says it reminds him of Monet and his haystack. There’s something really beautiful about noticing and paying attention to the subtle changes that happen to the same place over a period of time.