Nature Sketching

When a Gift is More than a Gift

Each Christmas UK department store John Lewis puts out an ad for the season. The story it tells is usually a good tug on the heart strings and this year’s is no exception:

This is really a 'we all need someone to believe in us' ad. John Lewis the store is optional. But still, what a beautiful ad.

The Making of a Naturalist

The ad immediately made me think of naturalist and nature journaler John Muir Laws' story.

By his own admission he was a child so fidgety and distracted he annoyed even himself. Laws did not succeed or read or think in a way that gibed with the normal but his mom saw him pay all his 7-year-old attention to Miss Neila Watley as she drew wildflowers one day. He and his parents were with Watley for the day and Laws told me that he followed her like a little duckling as she demonstrated her nature drawing ideas, peering over her shoulder, captivated by her every mark.

Laws’ mom later asked Miss Watley every single item in her nature drawing kit, bought each one, and presented them to her son. He took off. Drawing was his refuge. And he's gone on to write, publish, teach and inspire thousands to follow in his footsteps.

Miss Neila Wately now attends John Muir Laws' classes in her wheelchair.

The Gift of Paying Attention to Another

John Muir Laws’ mom had the patience and insight to unlock her particular child's secret inner lock.

It inspires me to keep going and not give up, teaching teens nature journaling and continuing to educate my own still-at-home brood.

What gift can you give to inspire the latent talents of those around you?