Speechless…Almost: First and Second Wonder Walks

So, I must confess, it is not until this moment that I realized how much I rely on my art to record and make sense of the natural world around me.

While on the one hand it is very liberating to enjoy the natural world with my natural eye, rather than through the lens of a camera—or touch the edge of an interesting leaf rather than drawing it in my sketchbook; I found myself desperate for SOMETHING–ANYTHING to record the fleeting moments, rather than enjoying and engaging them with my senses.

I have now taken two Wonder Walks. I could not have asked for a better, more artistically-inspiring start to my weekly wonder walks!

The first of my walks was a longer walk–on a sunny, relatively warm afternoon around Town Lake in Austin, Texas. What a beautiful day! The birds were EVERYWHERE, singing the beauty of the day. Now, if you’ve ever been to Austin, you know that when I say they were everywhere, I literally mean that there were more birds than leaves in the trees. My favorite moment of this wonder walk happened as I was crossing the river “lake.” I could smell fish, mixed with that smell of tires and humidity (one of my favorite smells, oddly enough). As I looked across the water, I saw a tree over flowing with small black birds. On of of the branches, in direct contrast to its surroundings sat this lovely, graceful white crane.

Such a gorgeous mental image.

DSCN0558

(Note: This photograph is NOT from my Wonder Walk…just meant to provide an image to go with my writing…)

My second wonder walk occurred yesterday. My husband and I spent in his family’s cabin–which we had to hike to, as my little Toyota isn’t the biggest fan of snow or ice. Despite the negative degree temperatures, we decided to venture outside to explore our frozen surroundings. Although my husband DID bring his camera, I stuck to my Wonder Walk rules. The beautiful forest terrain had been transformed into the winter’s version of the desert! The Wyoming winds had blown the frozen sand  snow, creating beautiful patterns and ridges. As I walked, my feet pressed into the surface of the frozen snow, forcing large circular patterns to break through the surface of the snow. Although it was cold, I enjoyed touching the snow and listening to the crunches and cracks as I walked through the forest!

Another lovely experience.

Now…what can I do with these experiences? How can I still conduct Artful Explorations once removed from those moments? Well, that is the challenge that I leave you with for this week!

Beginning with this week’s Wonder Walk, I plan to use my research journal as a place to react to my observations and interactions—write words or sentences in response to your explorations; draw pictures. Then, if you feel so inspired, create a work of art based on your explorations or reactions. I was so inspired by my first two walks…I look forward to exploring where those experiences will take me artistically!

‘Til later…happy explorations!

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9 thoughts on “Speechless…Almost: First and Second Wonder Walks

  1. I absolutely loved your reflections on the two walks. You “painted” pictures in my mind which became the “canvas” for your words. I honestly didn’t need the picture of the crane…the image of the contrast with the black birds was awesome and already etched in my mind’s eye.

    Thanks for taking me with you!

    • Thanks! Both were such inspiring walks. I’m definitely working towards “painting” visual images through words as a form of artful explorations, so I’m glad you found my first attempts to be successful! I’d love to hear about your wonder walks, too! 🙂

  2. Love the wonder walks and the description of the birds in the trees. My mom lives about an hour outside of Austin. The sight of all those bats streaming out from under the bridge in Austin is a sight I’ll never forget!

    • Thanks, Robin! It’s been so nice to get out there and just EXPERIENCE things without a camera or sketchbook! I’ve been amazed at the things that I’ve noticed! Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  3. I love your exciting idea of Wonder Walks! I have borrowed the idea and have set up a Wonder Walk on Saturday, for a small group of people here.. I shall introduce them to your blog, and will let you know how we progress! My hands are already itching to grab hold of a camera or pencil, and I have not yet left the house. How will I manage? Thanks for the inspiration Tara.

    • Thanks! Let me know how your Wonder Walks progress! I have definitely been chomping at the bit to get out my sketchbook or camera for my walks, but have been really enjoying the extra little details that I’ve noticed while walking with only my senses to capture the beauty! Wonderful to hear from you! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Wonder-walking at Heddon’s Mouth | THROUGHSTONES

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