Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Upcoming Workshops ~ Story Mapping

It's been a long while since I last gave a nature journaling workshop (thanks, pandemic), but now I've got two coming up, one in August and one in September, bot on the theme of story mapping.

A story map is a visual representation of a journey that may include:

  • a map depicting the route followed (which may be highly stylized and need not be to scale)
  • locations on the map where interesting things were sighted or took place
  • illustrations of scenery, flora and fauna seen along the way, and companions, among other things
  • lists of birds, wildflowers, or other elements of nature
  • anything else the story cartographer wants to use
Story maps can be made both while on the journey or after the fact.

Last summer, when all of my adventures took place close to home, I had a lot of fun making story maps of  kayak trips on local ponds and lakes. Mapping these trips deepened both my observation skills and my enjoyment while on the water. Even though I may not remember a lot about any of these trips, I only have to look at my maps and all of the details come flooding back to me.

I'm super excited to share this journaling technique with two groups this summer and fall.

The first workshop will take place on Saturday, August 7, at Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson from 1-4 p.m. We'll be walking the Crossbill Loop and journaling as we go. Register here.

The second will be part of the Nature Journaling in Acadia conference that will be held at the Schoodic Institute September 19-21, a three-day extravaganza of nature journaling workshops and activities that is going to be positively amazing. Register here.

I'd love to see you at one of these workshops!

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Book Stack ~ June 2021

A monthly post about my progress toward finishing a very large stack of books. Past months' posts:

The theme for June's reading was mystery and suspense, mostly because I wanted something scary to read in the tent when we went camping over Memorial Day weekend, so I bought the bottom three books in the photo. I don't know why I thought I'd have time to read three books. As it turned out, I only read a couple of pages of two of them. It also turned out that none of them was all that scary, but they were good.

The Whispering House, by Elizabeth Brooks, is a modern gothic with innocent heroine, big scary house, mysterious male. Even though it wasn't that scary, it had a nice amount of suspense. I have to admit to being a little bothered by the bad boyfriend element to the suspense, but I suppose that's what Heathcliff and Mr. Rochester were as well, and maybe Max de Winter also, so I guess it's part of the Gothic tradition.

The Unquiet Grave, by Sharyn McCrumb, a fictionalization of a historic murder of a young woman. I used to read a lot of Sharyn McCrumb, but it's been a while, and I forgot what a master storyteller she is. She weaves history and local color into a fascinating tale.

Careless in Red, by Elizabeth George, picks up after Inspector Linley's wife is killed and he goes on a long hike on the Cornish coast to try to numb his pain. Despite the lurid red cover, this one wasn't too scary, either, and there wasn't much about the hike (I was really hoping for a tent-based nail-biter to read while in the tent). But Elizabeth George is also a brilliant story teller, so it was a page-turner even without the chills. I'm discovering that I'm not a huge fan of the multiple-point-of-view novel, but this one is very well done, with each character drawn uniquely and with a distinct narrative voice, so that it's not confusing about who is who and why they're in the story--you just trust that their purpose will become clear in time.

Unspeakable Things, by Jess Lourey, I ordered after a crime conference I "attended" remotely, Lourey being one of the presenters. In it the young narrator tries to solve the mystery of who is kidnapping and molesting boys in her neighborhood while also living in fear of being hurt herself. It was good and suspenseful if not downright creepy.

Not one of these books counts toward diminishing my book stack, since I purchased them all, my resolution to buy no fiction this year having flown completely out the window.

What have you been reading lately?

P.S. If you're wondering what's going on with my book, I'll be sending out an update in my newsletter this Friday. To be one of the first in the know, sign up here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Island Time

The last weekend of May we returned to Hermit Island, where we've gone every May since the twins were toddlers, missing only two years (last year, because of the pandemic, and the year before, because I had to work). Now that my kids are so old, I'm cognizant that every time we do something together as a family, it could very well be the last time. So nothing was going to prevent me from making this trip happen, not work, not weather.

And, oh, did the weather try (as did work). True to form, we had a cold, rainy weekend, despite this having been the driest, sunniest, most beautiful spring and early summer I've ever witnessed in Maine. (We're willing to rent ourselves out to go camping in any drought-stricken locale to bring on the rain.) Sunday night it downright poured, though most of the heavy rain kindly contained itself to times we were in the tent. And you know what? It didn't matter. We've done the drill a million times--keeping everything inside the tent or car, packing extra clothes and blankets, huddling around the fire to stay warm.

The weather didn't dampen the fun, although we didn't do a lot--we didn't hike to the head of the island or bike along the lagoon. I did a bit of lazy birdwatching. We sat on the beach and watched the waves. We cooked and ate--a lot. As much as I wanted to get all nostalgic for those camping trips past (you can see a photo progression of them here), and those freaking adorable little campers, I decided that camping with big kids is even more awesome.The boys had a friend and their bikes, and they careened off to the beach whenever they felt like it. Zephyr made beef stew and Emmet fixed cocktails for the mamas. They split wood and set up their own tents and hauled water (complainingly, as always) and finally learned how to wash camping dishes.

I recently was posed the question: when was the last time you tried something new? I racked my brain for a long, long time before I came up with something (sailing lessons, two years ago). I suppose a pandemic isn't a time to try new things, so I'll use that as my excuse. And now that the worst is over, and we're all finally vaccinated, it's probably time for me to get out there and try new things (or at least leave the county). But there's also something to be said for revisiting the same thing from a new perspective, and with taller kids.

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