Wintery walks

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“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same fields, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

By Nora

On Tuesday afternoon HE, AB, EB, AD, and I went to a sunset walk around the block. I told them that we would be looking for things that we thought were beautiful that we wanted to share with the world. I brought our camera along to capture the things that we wanted to share with the world (via the blog). Before we took off for our walk we agreed on a code word, “wolf!” that anyone could say if they saw something photo worthy. This would signal to the group to stop walking and take a photo break. I always find going for walks a good reminder of different peoples paces in the world and the ways we can value all ways and speeds that we move. It is often my instinct to get frustrated when things take much longer than they could. But when I take kids for a walk I do my best to value the pace that they want to go (unless of course it’s about to get too dark to be outside and we need to rush back!) This walk was an extra test of my patience in that regard because every few steps someone had something new they wanted to photograph.

In the beginning of our walk they had me hold the leaves, flowers, and sticks that they wanted to take pictures of while they experimented with pressing the silver button to take a photo. It turns out it takes a lot of patience and persistence to figure out the exact amount of time and pressure of their finger on the button. It took a similar amount of patience and persistence on my part to figure out how to explain the camera to them! Our observation stops were 90% figuring out how to press the silver button on the camera and 10% finding something beautiful to take a picture of.

Eventually, a few things shifted during our walk. For one, they stopped relying on me to hold the things they wanted to photograph. They began to see each other as resources and gently asked each other to help with holding things. The answer was almost always yes because it gave someone who wasn’t being a photographer a chance to be involved in the process. I also noticed that about halfway through our walk instead of saying “I want to take a picture of this leaf!” they would say “I have never seen this leaf before!”, equating beauty with something new and fresh to the eye. I loved this shift! It made me think about how important it is to try to see something in a new way each time, even if it’s something like a leaf that you have seen millions of times. When we take the time to deeply observe our environment and treat each interaction with nature as a new experience, there is so much beauty to find. I loved that the children naturally began to look for things they had never noticed before and that that was what they felt was worth capturing in a photo.

There is such a beautiful connection between these two ideas. Taking the time to embrace a slower pace of life creates more opportunities to see things as they have never been seen before. It is hard to do, but leave it to the 3 and 4 year olds to remind us all that it can be done!

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