Day 3: Elf
- R. R. Tolkien thought that part of the uniqueness of humans is our role as subcreators—we are created with the ability to create. This idea is inspired by Biblical ideas such as “tend the garden and keep it”, and also by the beauty of gardens and nature-informed living spaces. The person who experiences nature as something to be encouraged and nurtured by us deliberately includes natural history awareness in our homes and communities, attempting to repair what is damaged and cultivate healthy environments. Gardening, animal husbandry, ecologically minded architecture, and urban planning, waste cleanup, and ecological restoration of native species and communities are all associated with this sort of nature experience.
Four videos will demonstrate how people have brought an eye for harmonious cultivation to their experience of nature.
Video: “Growing A Jungle In My New York Apartment (Summer Rayne Oakes)” (4:37)
Video: “Ohio Native Plant Gardening Like a Pro (The Adolphs)” (11:52)
Video: “What Is Ecological Restoration?” (3:42)
Video: “50 Years Ago This Was a Wasteland – He Changed Everything” (8:17)
Look around at the interface between humanity and nature when you conduct your observations today. What do you find positive and negative about that relationship? Is there damage that needs healing, an ecosystem that needs restoration, or a greater awareness or harmony with nature that could be brought into the management of the area you’re observing? One place to begin observing and thinking about this would be our own window ledges, backyards, and local parks. Perhaps observe and name some of the cultivated plants in your area. Also learn some of the harmful invasive species.
~When you go out to observe, leave your earbuds home, stay off social media, and ignore human distractions~
At the bottom of my garden
There’s a hedgehog and a frog
And a lot of creepy-crawlies
Living underneath a log,
There’s a baby daddy long legs
And an easy-going snail
And a family of woodlice,
All are on my nature trail.
There are caterpillars waiting
For their time to come to fly,
There are worms turning the earth over
As ladybirds fly by,
Birds will visit, cats will visit
But they always chose their time
And I’ve even seen a fox visit
This wild garden of mine.
Squirrels come to nick my nuts
And busy bees come buzzing
And when the night time comes
Sometimes some dragonflies come humming,
My garden mice are very shy
And I’ve seen bats that growl
And in my garden I have seen
A very wise old owl.
My garden is a lively place
There’s always something happening,
There’s this constant search for food
And then there’s all that flowering,
When you have a garden
You will never be alone
And I believe we all deserve
A garden of our own.
-Benjamin Zephaniah (b.1958)
[read aloud quickly, with a strong rhythm]