Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Carles E. Roth is a wonderful book for so many reasons. It's filled with techniques and suggestions on how to go about starting a journal, drawing exercises that help first time journal writers get their feet wet, activities that encourage focus and awareness, exquisite illustrations and thoughtful poignant prose.
But it is also filled with something equally if not more important. Something that is impossible to put to page, and so, exists in between the lines of text... this book is filled with the spirit of an explorer.
The authors of Keeping a Nature Journal are the first to tell you that this practice is not new. It is something we as humans have done ever since we found one material that would leave a mark on another. It's been our way of understanding experiences and cataloging the wonders and mysteries we encounter... and it's also a way of making the world our own.
By documenting nature like this, every detail is worth noting with curiosity - the birds in the trees, the ladybug on a park bench, the way two people on the street move through a crowd (yes.. people are part of the natural world too!) - and that curiosity is what makes even a walk to the park an exhilarating adventure.
With a simple pen and a small notebook, everyday activities become new frontiers to experience, and every page an expanding, ever-changing chronicle of childhood... through they eyes of a child. We should all keep such magical books...
Tools for the everyday explorer: