Learning Every Moment (II): Slowing Down When in the Company of the Sea, Sand and Star Fishes

by Rashmie on February 19, 2013 · 5 comments

in Creative Play,Nature Learning,Nurture & Culture

slow living natural learning

Learning was the last thing on our minds when donning our swimming costumes we made a dash for the silvery sands of the Varca beach, in Goa. We never set out with any remotest agenda that we might learn about the sea creatures; about how to brave the rising and crashing waves; about the saltiness of the water and whether that makes swimming easy or difficult compared to fresh water.

And yet, in the middle of all the energetic playing and bathing and jumping in the waves, the amount of observation and conversation that ensued makes me wonder at the magic of natural, unplanned, unscheduled learning. The same kind of learning that I wrote about in Part 1 of the “Learning Every Moment” series: Learning on the Railway Platform.

In this post, I’m capturing some deep and tender learning moments from the silvery Varca beach of Goa.

Connecting With Star Fishes on the Beach

While jumping up and down in the waves and trying to find our foot-hold, we could have missed those beautiful, tender creatures on the ocean floor. But, one glimpse at the lone and lovely star fish made us stop and stoop – to get a closer look. The waves came flooding over the star fish, hindering the view. That made me run at once to a little boy on the shore who was sitting next to his beach play-kit. I requested him and his mother to lend me a strainer for a few minutes and I ran back to where the star fish was.

star fish India Varca Beach Goa

I gently scooped the star fish onto the strainer with an inch of water in it.

Now, it was easier to touch it, get a good long look and admire its tenderness; brood over its vulnerability and reflect on its forlorn, defenseless status…

Pari touched it in the kindest sort of way so as not to hurt it; all the while wondering if she might unknowingly step on some star fish in the waves below, on the sand.

learning every moment

We placed the star fish on the shore and spent some more time looking at it to notice any visible signs of movement – it was so still.

star fish Goa Varca beach

interacting with the star fish

The previous evening when we first came on the beach, Pari was quite scared of the wildness of it. She wouldn’t let go of Avie’s hand. But this time, she was much more relaxed and was soon playing on her own and insisted that we do not hold or support her. I think that spending the first 30 minutes in shallow water with the star fish, made her comfortable and relaxed. The ferocious image of the sea, in her mind, was replaced by the gentle and delicate interaction with the star fish.

varca beach goa

In the next couple of hours on the sand and in the water, a number of questions and discussions transpired. From why our eyes burnt when sea water sprayed to how the salty water affects swimming vis-a-vis fresh water to why we balance better when sitting with our back to the waves…

The observation was intense. Watching the colours of the horizon change from sky blue to mustard to orange and then scarlet and finally deep purple was a live tutorial in art.

horizon art

Spending so much time looking below at the star fish also made her acutely aware of the pattered floor of the sea and how it soothed and massaged the soles of her feet.

The tiny weeny shells with gorgeous ridges was the most beautiful sight of the evening for me. Beauty indeed lies in detail. I collected a bunch of those to embellish a mirror or a picture frame.

sea shells

In my previous ‘Learning Every Moment’ story, I shared that being receptive to our curious instinct and sense of wonder is the key to natural learning. Also, being humble and accepting that what we know is just a tip of the iceberg; that learning never stops – will lead to a lifetime love for learning.

Through this story, I observed that natural learning will flourish when we slow down to soak up the beauty around us. Living at the pace we do in our urban dwellings, we never have the time to connect with ourselves, let alone with our environment and surroundings. Even when we go holidaying, we pack a dozen places to see in a limited span of time. All we want is full bang for the buck. The ‘bang’ we do get but it’s akin to battering of the soul.

So, let’s slow down. Take a deep breath. Look around. Soak in. Revel in our sense of wonder. We’re all life-time learners.

Are you not?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Srishti@ProlificCooking February 19, 2013 at 9:36 am

Feel like going there right now :). Ah, Verca beach…reminds me of good old post wedding days! Want to go there with Sarah now, as soon as possible. Just wondering how interesting it will be if Pari and Sarah are together there! I completely agree with you, we need to slow down, observe and absorb. Rushing through things will never let us learn. Infact, it will close down the doors of curiosity. Even in our day to day life, I sometimes start rushing through things and ask my little one to do that. In the course, I forget that she needs time to enjoy, to observe, to absorb. Then these small reminders through your blog bring me back to the right path :)
Srishti@ProlificCooking’s recent fabulous post..Healthy Whole Wheat Choco Orange Muffins To Compliment The Christmas Season

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Rashmie February 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Srishti, dear, thank you for sharing your thoughts and affirmation. Yes, Varca beach is so pristine and almost private, isn’t it?! You guys are going there in June on route to Sagara, aren’t you?
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Learning Every Moment (Part 3): Visiting Grandpa’s Farm and Reliving the Stories

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mirela February 20, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Your post reflects the way I see things too…In simple things we find beauty and learning opportunities. I love your blog, so insightful and well written;I have been following you for a while now and even found inspiration for some of my activities. Greetings from Greece
mirela’s recent fabulous post..DIY board game or how to survive the flu season

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Rashmie February 23, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I’m so pleased, Mirela, to hear from you all the way from Greece. It’s one of my facourite countries. I dream of visiting your country one day. Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to connect. Like you said, the simplest of things are the hardest and yet the most joyful. I try to remind myself of this truth every once in a while and whenever I tend to rush my kid….
Rashmie’s recent fabulous post..Learning Every Moment (Part 3): Visiting Grandpa’s Farm and Reliving the Stories

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Ann March 6, 2013 at 7:23 am

Just an absolutely magical post and a great reminder! Love the sunset as an art tutorial!

We had a jam packed trip to Florida recently. We ended up staying an extra day to sqeeze in a beach day! So glad we did : )

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