Here in Bakersfield, California, I don’t base my Winter or Spring going and coming on a ground hog, I base it on the bloom of one of my favorite trees: the tulip magnolia. It was several years ago I fell in love with the women naturalists of the nineteenth century. Reading about their lives brought my into a love affair with nature all around me. Spillover to my children was a no brainer.
When we feed ducks, we don’t feed ducks. We feed mallards, wood ducks, muskovey ducks, coot and the occasional exotic duck that flies over our park. They can scream “Get that Canadian Goose away from me,” and recognize him from the other Geese who like to honk and hiss at humans when we don’t immediately turn over all our tastiest bird seed.
We moved onto trees and plants next.
My dad took us all on a hike in Northern Arizona and soon we knew many of the wildflowers in Flagstaff. I wrote them all down, dutifully and with enthusiasm.
When we drive, I will announce with glee the trees we are passing or wonder what tree we are passing if I don’t recognize it. Soon it will be time for the plum trees and the peach trees and all the flowering trees in the orchards near our home to start blossoming. Some of my friends don’t like it when this happens because of their allergies.
I love it because there are so many chances for exceptionally cool photos, sketches, writing in my nature journal and walks with my children and any assorted others who are willing to listen to me blather on and sigh deeply.
Spring is definitely coming.
I could say my son and I did a scientific investigation before school today.
Instead I’ll say this: we had five extra minutes to drop him off for school, so I drove a couple blocks away to see if one of our favorite Tulip Magnolia was blossoming yet. I noticed the tree that lives in the yard of the people two doors up from us has been covered with fuzzy but not yet opened blossoms, at least two days ago when I last paid attention.
We got to the older home that is ironically on Magnolia Street before eight a.m. “Look, Samuel, Look!” I said. “Do you see the pink blossoms coming out way up there?”
This Tulip Magnolia tree is especially large and dense, unlike the more common small or medium trees. It stretched over two stories of house to pierce the sky. As I got out of my car there was a woman with a very unlikely looking and adorable mutt. I explained, “I am just here, admiring the tree!” since I never know if the people who own the homes appreciate someone else appreciating their tree.
They might think I am odd.
Well, I will give them that, but I will not give up my write to appreciate, study and photograph the tree in their yard in order to learn about nature and in order to teach my son about nature. And my daughters. And anyone else who shares the briefest glimmer of an interest.
I do know my children remember this about me. They giggle about it but they listen and take note. They can tell you which bird in our neighborhood is which and get sort of close to the sounds they make. Most importantly, they know one doesn’t have to go deep into a forest or marsh or glen to find nature.
When you are ready to receive it, nature will find you wherever you happen to be.
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Julie Jordan Scott is a Creative Life Coach, a Poet Performer, a Writer and a Mommy Extraordinaire. Stay in touch with her via twitter or facebook or you may always call or text her at 661.444.2735 to arrange a complimentary coaching session.Follow me on Twitter: @JulieJordanScot
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© 2013 by Julie Jordan Scott