Walks along the river in May were filled with vibrant greens, dancing birds, caterpillars inching along to their next meal, wild geraniums and coreopsis blooming, and people, enjoying the warm spring days. Ever since I was a child, the forest is where I feel surrounded by friends. Some are quiet, strong, and supportive. We call them by different names like sycamore, river birch, ironwood, and dozens more that call these habitats home. Some of my friends were smaller, shinier, like the little beetles hustling to and fro, or the whirlygigs twirling around on top of the water. And the water too, was my friend, with its glistening ripples and playful splashes as it bumped around rocks. Still to this day, if I’m feeling disconnected or even a little lonely, I know that I can get outside and find some friends along the river to remind me that I am not alone. There is so much life all around us, you just gotta poke around!

I invite you to try out this simple connection exercise this month to feel how connected you are to the natural world around you. 


 Find a forested place along a creek, river, or lake to visit for around 30 min-1 hour. If you aren’t able to get outdoors, find a spot near your window and practice the same exercise. When you arrive, take the first 5 minutes to simply walk around, quietly. Breathing in and out. Check in with how you’re feeling today and set aside any worries, so that you can be present. Then let yourself be drawn to a spot that looks inviting to you. Find a comfortable seat and just start writing down all the things around you that are alive! Picking one of those things, dig a little deeper. What does it look like? How are you and it connected? How does it interact with other beings? Does it live alone, with others? If it could talk and it had just one thing to tell you, what might it say? Just have fun with getting to know this other living being! 

Interested in learning more about our streamside forests? Visit www.jamesriverbuffers.org