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Saturday, October 10 • 8:30am - 8:45am

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Join John Muir Laws each morning of the conference for a greeting, a poem, and that days' Nature Journal Challenge! Complete your challenge and post a scan or good photo (cropped) of your page on the Nature Journal Club on Facebook and be sure to tag it #wildwonderchallenge and #wildwonderconference.

We’re going to be time traveling. What you do today in your journal changes who you are. The idea of neuroplasticity is that our brain changes depending on what we do. Even though it’s a challenge to get out and put something in my journal today, it sets up the habits for tomorrow. Tomorrow, it’s going to be that much easier. The effort you put in today, you reap the benefits of tomorrow. Habits are hard to start, but once you get into that routine, beautiful things happen.
Name the voice of your fixed mindset and your inner critic. Put a face on it and a name on it. When it shows up, recognize it and politely ask it to step aside and tell it that it is not welcome here at this time.
Create a love letter of celebration of nature, of the world and your place in it, using words, pictures, and numbers to find something in nature that your heart is celebrating. Take some time that is going out into the object, then take some time that is going in. Write a letter to your future self. Fold that page in your journal over, tape it, date it, and open it a year from now to read it. If it’s too personal to share on the Nature Journal page, write some text telling what it is about.

Forgetfulness, by Billy Collins (click here to listen to the author read it)

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember,
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue
or even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall

well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.


This Much I Do Remember, by Billy Collins

It was after dinner.
You were talking to me across the table
about something or other,
a greyhound you had seen that day
or a song you liked,
and I was looking past you
over your bare shoulder
at the three oranges lying
on the kitchen counter
next to the small electric bean grinder,
which was also orange,
and the orange and white cruets for vinegar and oil.
Alll of which converged
into a random still life,
so fastened together by the hasp of color,
and so fixed behind the animated
foreground of your
talking and smiling,
gesturing and pouring wine,
and the camber of you shoulders
that I could feel it being painted within me,
brushed on the wall of my skull,
while the tone of your voice
lifted and fell in its flight,
and the three oranges
remained fixed on the counter
the way that stars are said
to be fixed in the universe.
Then all of the moments of the past
began to line up behind that moment
and all of the moments to come
assembled in front of it in a long row,
giving me reason to believe
that this was a moment I had rescued
from millions that rush out of sight
into a darkness behind the eyes.
Even after I have forgotten what year it is,
my middle name,
and the meaning of money,
I will still carry in my pocket
the small coin of that moment,
minted in the kingdom
that we pace through every day.
- Billy Collins

avatar for John Muir Laws

John Muir Laws

Naturalist, Artist, and Educator, Nature Stewardship through Science, Education, and Art
John Muir Laws (aka Jack) is a principal leader and innovator of the worldwide nature journaling movement. As a scientist, educator, and author, Jack helps people forge a deeper and more personal connection with nature through keeping illustrated nature journals and understanding... Read More →

Saturday October 10, 2020 8:30am - 8:45am PDT
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