Relationships – with God and with our dear neighbors – transform our hearts, our thoughts, and our actions. So it is with nature, too.
One way that Sister Jan Franklin cultivates a relationship with nature is through nature journaling, which she describes as “in many ways, like prayer.”
“All you have to do is be present, be open,” Sister Jan explains, to get started. Nature journaling can happen anywhere – on a walk through your neighborhood, your front porch, the bus stop, or a local park – any place where you can observe what’s going on. “You have to really just be still and quiet and then things will come out to you,” she shares. “Then you get curious about what you see.”
You might ask yourself about the origin of a tree or flower, why it’s a particular color, how many leaves it has, or why it might be in that unique place. You might notice an insect or bird, and pause to think about how it sees the world, or take the time to draw a sketch. As your focus on the intricacies and connections in nature grow, so too will your sense of wonderment at the Creator’s loving hand.
Sister Jan has been learning about nature journaling from naturalist John Muir Laws, who uses the prompts: “I notice,” “I wonder,” and “this reminds me of” to cultivate “conscious attention.” Nature journaling, he teaches, is less about “pretty pictures” than “attention, curiosity and questioning” as you observe your surroundings.
As your focus on the intricacies and connections in nature grow, so too will your sense of wonderment at the Creator’s loving hand.
Learn more about nature journaling and other ways that Sister Jan and other Sisters serving on the Sustainability Committee are fostering an awareness of the gifts of Creation and how we might better preserve them with our dear neighbors – today, and for generations to come.