Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Irony of Nature Writing

We experience nature outside.

We write inside.

In the presence of nature, we dwell in our senses.

Writing is about thinking.

To most fully experience nature, we focus outward with no internal judgment or dialogue.

To write well or deeply, we ask why, speculate, calculate, look for patterns, and try to find connections.

Sometimes when we are in nature, we ask why, but mostly we just collect and store sensory stimuli, and the why comes later.  If the why happens outside, it is in a primitive way, somehow attached to survival.  Later, we may write it down in a way that makes sense.  Or it doesn't make sense in a satisfying way.

When you are reading words about nature, you are usually inside, or if not inside a building, inside your head.  This is especially true if you are reading electronic writing - blogs.

When I write to tell you to go outside and experience nature, I am writing inside and you are reading inside and neither of us is outside experiencing nature.

When I  present to you good paragraphs and photographs, are you satisfied and decide to not go outside? Or, did you stop reading this post 5 paragraphs ago and currently, you are outside experiencing nature with no thoughts in your head?  I am going to stop writing now so you can go outside.

What type of bird is this?  It is the big, bright white with chocolate blocks, flies in circles over the barn every afternoon, raaaaaaaahhh bird.  If you want a name for it, ask me when I am inside.


  1. Fabulous, Cindy you write inside and I attempt to use my remedial raptor identification skills inside.
    Cooper, tails seems wrong. Sharp-shinned, breast makings don’t match. Juvenile Red-tail is closest to me.
    Yet no matter, time to go outside and see. DT

  2. More on this:

  3. I think of nature writing as a way to share my own love, enthusiasm, and wonder about the time I spend outside. I hope that I can inspire others to get outside, recognizing that we all spend time inside anyway.

    I've enjoyed your blog, so I'm glad you make the time to write and share photos. You live in a beautiful place!

  4. DT: I think it is a rtj too, mostly by the dark belly band for rt and the constant crying for juvenile (feedme, feedme, I'm almost full-grown and have gotten really loud, but I still want mom and dad to feed me, raah-raahhh-rahh). I've been meaning to pour over my bird books again, but haven't. Check out this list of bird reference books, wow, that's some library:


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