Life moves pretty fast.

The rains and soil burst with so much growth it is mind-boggling every year to me. I returned recently from the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. A lovely place indeed, but it makes me appreciate how different a landscape can be based on the rain we get.

As we transition from spring mind towards summer mind (and clothes), it is a rich time to slow down and take in nature more fully. — Hub Knott

Your May Nature Mission: Awaken Your Senses.

Go outside somewhere that feels natural—behind your house, favorite trail, etc. Pretend for a second that you just arrived here on earth, and this landscape is all new to you. Stand and look around in every direction, including up and down. Move slowly around and just take this earth all in.

Use your hands to touch the texture of leaves, bark, soil, etc.—soft, rough, smooth… Smell the springtime air, smell a flower, a leaf, even the wondrous soil that supports our life. Listen to the moment, the birds, the breeze or flowing water, the sounds both near and far. Look with your eyes, near and far, at the palette of green colors. See it in the spirit of awe and gratitude. Look at the land with a fresh viewpoint—look at all the layers, structures of trees, plants, clouds, etc.

purple flowers hanging off a vine

This is a core routine of LES where we activate our senses to explore the land, and our place within it. Remember—take all this in as if it is the first time. Be wide open like a child, discovering this wondrous place that is home to us, yet we often take for granted.

Mentoring Moment: Eagle’s Eye View

One evening years ago at overnight summer camp, we were gathering with the kids around the main central fire that they have come to call Grandma. There were about 40 of us. Snow Bear (our beloved camp elder) and others were drumming, the fire was blazing to build coals for ash cakes (naan-like bread cooked on hot coals). You could feel the excitement in the air, you could see it in the kids’ body language. Some danced around the fire to the drums.

Soon the coals were ready, the kids made their ash cakes, and placed them on the fire. Other kids were crushing up charcoal to put on their faces for the night’s big event—a sneaking game after dark. Kids were laughing with each other. You could see the childlike excitement, deep happiness, and natural fun.

I pulled a few staff back and had them look at the situation from the outside. “Look at the work we created together. Look at the fun the kids are having”.

It was a great example of the importance of standing back and looking at what we create in the world. Are we on target? Does anything need to be adjusted? We all too often get stuck in the activity at hand and don’t stand back and look at what we helped create.

Sometimes we need to make an adjustment (the how of that is part of the art of mentoring). Sometimes we just need to not screw up a good thing that is going on. Regardless, it is important as a mentor, parent, or friend to step back and look at what is really happening.

Images from our recent staff and board of directors gathering

Thanks to Sarah from Two Fire Table for the delicious meal!