“when the world is puddle-wonderful…” e.e. cummings*
Have no idea why, but this lovely line of poetry floated into my head the other morning, just as I was waking up. It was doubly intriguing because outside my window there was a brisk, beautiful snowfall falling. Truly, a winter wonderland! The snow was coming down when I took a morning walk and later, it began in earnest, mantling everything in wedding-dress white – lovely!
Puddles and snowflakes. They started me thinking about how nourishing it can be for us as writers to appreciate and experience the nature around us as directly as we can as much as we can whenever we can. Consider, for a few moments, the gifts that nature gives us:
Nature reminds us that there’s a world beyond our doorstep and digital life that is mysterious and powerful and which we can’t control. Its beauty and bounty and even its brutality are beyond our poor ability to add or subtract. This is more than humbling – it’s also helpful. When we infuse our work with nature, we tap its strengths.
Nature offers us the chance to refresh and enliven our senses. Just walking outside during a snowfall is so engulfing – all your senses are alive. You taste the fresh, crisp air and the drifting snowflakes, feel the wind on your face, hear tree branches tapping in hushed tones. Walking in the rain or on a breezy day offers different sensory pleasures. And when we’re alive to our own senses, we can bring sensory aliveness to the page. When our characters see, touch, and hear their world, they become more real — both to us as their creators and to readers.
Nature invites us to play and to remember the deep and simple joys of childhood. When we take a walk in the snow and then have hot chocolate, when we crunch through a pile of leaves, or stroll in a park and watch kids play, we rekindle a connection that we often lose in our daily life, filled as it is with errands, responsibilities, and ephemeral digital data.
It’s fun and energizing to think of easy, creative ways to bring more nature into our lives and workplaces. Flowers and plants, daily walks, gardening and planting vegetables, wearing flowered shirts and shoes – all these can remind us of the beauty and power of nature. Even photos of flowing water, forested screensavers, or seaside Facebook banners can be enlisted to remind us that there’s a big, beautiful world out there waiting to be discovered and shared with our readers. Write on!
*Check out the next KWD post for the full poem – fantastic!