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Our One and Only Art Teacher – Nature!

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Khalil Gibran

Nature can heal, nature can teach, nature can inspire and nature can help you connect with your peaceful, loving self.

We have been experiencing this abundantly over the last one month. And, the inspiration resulted in Forest Fiesta – which goes live tomorrow with 18 participating bloggers and some beautiful entries from my readers. 

In this post, I will share with you the different ways that we connected with nature, explored the forests and learnt more about our ecosystem.

During the recent two weeks days that we stayed in Coorg and Mysore, mostly what we did was take long nature walks, collect leaves, pine cones, twigs, seeds; spot birds and take pictures – lots of pictures.


P
ari always went around with her bag to safely keep all her 'finds' from nature walks…


Pari and my mom! 
Breathless, we flung us on a windy hill, laughed in the sun, and kissed the lovely grass. ~ Rupert Brooke

And yes, we marveled, wondered, gazed and bonded like three fun loving, fancy free kids would! So what if people might have thought what an odd group of people – a preschooler, a woman in her thirties and another in her sixties! After all, the spirit is all that matters. The daddy was missed too but we were happy internally knowing that we're taking another trip with him a few weeks down the line.


"Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” ~ George Washington Carver quotes

It was spell binding to see the greens fill not just the land but the sky as well! Pari spotted hives and nests…

One activity that enthused Pari was observing the bark, the rings and counting the rings to guess the age of the tree.

Learning about animals, their food and habitat and how secure they are on our earth…

In Mysore, we went to the famous Mysore zoo. This zoo is so lush green, it feels more like a forest with wildlife in their natural habitat rather than a zoo. 

Pari is a passionate reader and was delighted that there were so many information boards to read from. She also asked tons of questions about if a particular animal is safe or vulnerable (which she pronounces in a very cute way!) or endangered or extinct.

We have read and discussed this often and that makes her think about it a lot…

The Giraffe (along with the Elephant) is our favourite animal! Well, we love the tiger too. And, the zebra – for the art inspiration its beautiful striped body provides…! I can't say enough how much joy we derived in looking at nature and wildlife…

Some of the information boards were not just informative, they were interesting too – with lovely and funny quotes from famous nature lovers.

Watching the giraffe stretch its neck to tear the bark and nibble at it was quite a sight!

We could have gone on looking at the Zebra's artistic stripes for ever. Infact, it even acts as an optical illusion at times…!

More information boards to read from. We also talked about the difference between a Cheetah and a Leopard, a Crane and a Stork etc. 

And, the Coffee Plantations that lend Coorg its unique flavour – in nature, culture, food and people! 

We collected Coffee and Cardamom blooms with an idea to make a nature collage. 

We were intoxicated with the vibrant colours that the birds wear.
And we could not help discussing what a genius of an artist God is…


Pari and my mom – ever effervescent together – are relaxing after a LONG walk in the woods…

Friends, traveling to nature-rich places is surely one way of connecting with nature without a hurry in the world. But, it's very essential that on an everyday basis too, our kids get access to the natural world. And by natural world, I don't mean the manicured lawns in the parks and the fountains in the malls.

How do you ensure that your kid/s get access to the tress and the flora and fauna to be able to play unhindered and often? Please do share your thoughts and ideas…

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • pupli das June 14, 2011, 10:16 am

    hey rashmi,
    very very well written n described.its so impressive.Coorg is a fantastic place and Mysore has its own charm.Auntie seems to be so happy to explore with pari :) lovely fotographs dear.pari in a way is learning more abt zoology n botany :):):)
    lots n lots of lov n hugs to pari dear.

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 8:19 am

      Dear Pupli – my friend,
      Thank you for your lovely words and encouragement. You’re right, she is learning Botany, Zoology, art and interacting with her nature! This is what I love about traveling – it provides an integrated learning experience for kids. Very unlike the typical class room study where learning is compartmentalized as per the subject with no inter connection and overlap. Anyways…that’s another subject that may need more discussion.. :) May be I bring it up in an exclusive article…!

  • Ashu June 15, 2011, 5:24 am

    Rashmie…Lovely blog and it made me back to my recent trip to kerala …and return journey we had stoppage at Mysore zoo. Just wanted khwaish to experience animal kingdom beyond the books…and she thoroughly enjoyed…specially Giraffe, zebra, elephants and rhino..
    Well on my part to connect with nature. My family and me plans to go for nature visit atleast once in two months not out of station necessarily …it includes going farm around my place and experiencing different flowers and plants species .We have animal farm near to my place went there with khwaish …she likes it very much do feeding to little rabbits …and since she had seen Emus here in farm …she could easily make out same at Mysore Zoo…I guess nature bonding is lovely experience for kids as well us.As u say
    Nature can heal, nature can teach, nature can inspire and nature can help you connect with your peaceful, loving self.
    Lovely pics caputured.

    Lots of luv
    Ashu

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 8:21 am

      Dear Ashu,
      You are a lovely mom providing your daughter with artful and nature related experiences. :) Yes, I have seen your photos of the farm visit and I could sense how much fun Khwaish has when she is with the farm animals and birds and flora and fauna. She is going to learn much more in such a setting than a walled class room can ever teach!

  • Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids June 15, 2011, 12:52 pm

    Rashmie~
    I just found your blog and have completely enjoyed the writing and beautiful photography! I live in a rural part of the Midwest in the US and even though the country side is right at hand and a beautiful park; I still encourage families that I work with to take their children outside. We’ve become a culture of ‘screens’ – tv, computer, game-boy and etc. This weekend I published a post on a nature walk, you might enjoy it: http://creativeconnectionsforkids.com/2011/06/a-nature-walk/

    I so loved the pictures of your mother. As a child, I spent much time with my wonderful grandmother. She is now 97, and I cherish every memory.

    Kristi

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 8:27 am

      Kristi,
      Welcome, my friend, to Mommy Labs! I’m so glad that you liked reading and seeing the pictures. Like you said – the beautiful moments the kids spend with their grandparents are sure to remain etched in their memory.
      I loved reading your post on nature walk and the photos are lovely. I think nature is the only way to get salvation from the “screen culture” that’s becoming viral around the world and is killing innocence as well as creativity…

  • Laura@art4littlehands June 15, 2011, 12:54 pm

    We are lucky to live practically in a forest. We have a forest in our backyard with a river running below it. My kids play in the river daily. The forest is up a cliff that we have yet to try and climb, but we love watching the birds and animals that we are able to see from our yard.

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 16, 2011, 8:29 am

      Laura,
      Your words painted a picture in front of my eyes! Living practically in a forest! O my – you are always in tune with nature. I have to say I’m a tad jealous right now..!

  • jenny @ let the children play June 17, 2011, 10:31 pm

    What a beautiful, beautiful post with gorgeous images – I absolutely love the way you embrace the nature of your local area and the quote you used at the beginning is beautiful – I’m going to steal it and post it on my facebook page :)

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 22, 2011, 7:43 am

      Dear Jenny,
      Thank you for your heartfelt comment :)
      We try as much as possible to explore the greens locally as well as by traveling to other regions in the country.
      That quote by Khalil Gibran – isn’t it beautiful?! Yes, of course – go ahead and share on your FB page.
      If you like this quote, you will love his book – ‘Prophet’.

  • Eclectic Musings July 5, 2011, 4:12 pm

    What lovely photos and sentiments on the beauty of nature found only in experiencing it. We had a lovely trip to our zoo recently and I hope to post pictures next week. I am also looking forward to our trip later this summer to the ocean in Florida where we can sink our toes in the sand and collect sea shells. I love nature! I hope you enjoy your next trip with your husband! :-)

  • Laura@art4littlehands July 13, 2011, 4:07 am

    Thanks for the link back to this post. I had read it once before, but reading it again made me very jealous of that zoo. It is beautiful. It really does look like the animals are in their natural habitat. All the zoos I have been not looked that lush and beautiful. I am glad you lead me back to this post. I love seeing pictures of your family. Your daughter and mother are beautiful together.

    • Rashmie Jaaju July 13, 2011, 4:29 am

      Laura,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts once again. I did not realize you had visited this post and in fact left a comment too… :)
      And thank you once again for your kind words about my daughter and mom…

  • Michelle July 17, 2011, 3:54 pm

    Great pictures! I love them. And your daughter is gorgeous. Thanks for linking up to the “Show us Your Town Hop”. I love seeing things from all over the world! I subscribed to your blog’s emails.

  • Mama Pea Pod July 28, 2011, 3:20 am

    What a lovely post, and I just love that last picture of your daughter and your mother sharing a laugh on the bench! How sweet!

    • Rashmie Jaaju July 28, 2011, 4:52 am

      Thank you, Jane. Yeah, that moment between the grandma and granddaughter was full of chuckles and jokes! It was heartening to see them share and connect!

  • Mariann September 3, 2011, 4:19 am

    She is beautiful in her pink dress, the zoo is fantastic, its a really great post. I like it.

    Unfortunatelly we have lost my mother in july, but it’s good to see these pictures anyway…

  • Mama Pea Pod October 27, 2011, 1:49 pm

    Hi Rashmie, just wanted to let you know that the Outdoor Play linky will be back up and running again starting tomorrow (Friday). Would love to see you back sharing more of you and your daughter’s wonderful outdoor play experiences!

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 3, 2011, 7:23 am

      @Mama Pea Pod – thank you for letting me know. I will link up soon with our outdoorsy art and fun :)

  • Kelly @ Kitchen Island Cart November 6, 2011, 5:23 am

    I especially like 2 of the photos here.
    The magnificent elephant looking so calm.
    And the peacock on the tree.
    Very rare do I have a chance to see a
    big bird perch on a branch.

    • Rashmie Jaaju November 8, 2011, 5:44 am

      Kelly,
      Thank you for stopping by. Glad you liked those pics – of the elephant and the peacock.
      I LOVE these two creatures. To me, they are epitome of beauty and grace. :)

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