Conversations with the birds and the bees

Conversations with the birds and the bees

Hello friend,

I can hardly believe that we’re just a few days away from the summer solstice. I love the long days and how they allow for us to linger outside earlier and later. I've been spending a lot of time in conversation with the birds and the bees. (This is not to be confused with conversations about the birds and the bees, which I've also been having given the stage in parenting that I'm in… but I digress.)

I love spring and summer. I've been in the garden, and I've been in my bees. And I spend a lot of time in conversation with the plants and the birds and the bees and the trees. A lot of our conversation is nonverbal as you would expect. However, we both have our verbal ways of communicating with each other as well. I've been much more aware how much noticing we don't do as a human species. We spend a lot of time in our own heads NOT noticing all the things that the natural world is telling us all the time.

I shared with you in an earlier blog post that I've lost some of my vision over the last couple of years. The longer I live with a visual impairment, the more I learn to rely on my other senses. As an artist and a naturalist this has been blessing in disguise. I'm re-attuning to so many ways of communicating that our ancestors knew and that we've forgotten. The birds let us know when they're feeling safe, when there's danger nearby, or when we are getting too close. The bees tell us when they're getting too crowded, when there's a surplus of nectar, or when someone nearby has sprayed an herbicide. The plants tell us when they need more water, when they're under attack, or when the sun's too hot. The forest tells us when it has the wisdom of elder trees, or when it is a stand of orphans confused about which species are allies and which are foes.

Nature speaks to us in quiet languages that are somewhere deep within our knowing.

It can take a bit of practice to access it again, but when you do, it's so natural it doesn't take much effort really. It's like hearing a language that you've known your whole life, but rarely speak. It feels like coming home. It’s the comfort of a lullaby sung by your great, great grandmother. And I love it.

And this is where the inspiration has come for my 2024 wall calendar. This year's calendar is all about birds and bird migration. I’m fascinated with the way birds connect the planet. They not only communicate with different parts of the planet at different times of the year, but they also connect us in a global cycling of nutrients on which we all depend. Birds are the universal communicators. I love the idea that I can have a conversation with a bird that may converse someone else on the other side of the world. It's the ultimate game of telephone.

If this sort of conversation is the kind of thing that you get excited about, I'd love for you or your kids to join me in one of my classes. We explore these sorts of ideas of connection to each other and the natural world through creativity and play. I still have spaces available in the last week of our nature art camp this summer. And I'll be doing many classes with Tokki Art Supply this fall. I hope you can join me!

Until then get outside and notice. Join in the conversation!

With love and gratitude.

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