Posts Tagged ‘nature’

Monthly Theme: Nature

Weekly Content: Photography

Photo by Ami Vitale.

Copyright photo courtesy of Ami Vitale. http://www.amivitale.com

For Baby…

This was the first photo my son and I approached on a recent visit to Cooper-Hewitt’s exhibit, “Design for a Living World.” (By the way, this will definitely be the culminating event for this week as the museum is also hosting a Fall event for families this weekend.) “Flowers?” my son asked. “Idaho?” I replied. I guess I was just struck by the natural beauty of this state that, frankly, I know nothing about. After I got over my initial shock, my little one and I talked about the tall mountains in the background as well as the pretty blue sky, white clouds, and purple flowers. After staring at this photo with baby, you may feel like jumping in and running through the tall grass!

For Mommy…

Ami Vitale’s work has taught me a lot about the power of photojournalism. It may sound obvious, but what I’ve discovered is that the work of the photojournalist is to literally take the viewer on a journey. What an incredibly difficult task this must be using only one still image! The above photo captures the fresh, open feeling of what it must be like to stand in the middle of Lava Lake Ranch in Hailey, Idaho. Just like Monet’s water lilies, I can almost feel the breeze running through the tall grass. I can tell the clouds are quickly moving over the mountains and can almost feel the alternating warmth of the sun and chill of the shade as they make their way across the sky.  To learn more about this ranch as well as to view some more breathtaking photos, take a peek at the Nature Conservancy website.


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Monthly Theme:  Mother and Child

Weekly Content:  American Women of the 19th Century

Daily Subject:  Poetry

Our next poet was born around the same time as the other two American figures that have been included in this week’s posts. Emily Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in the year 1830.   I’m not even going suggest that Dickinson socialized with the likes of Cassatt or Alcott, well, because Dickinson just didn’t socialize. A very private, secluded individual, she was not even famous for her work during her own lifetime.  One commonality between these three famous American women, however, is that they were all surrounded by knowledge. During the 19th Century, Amherst, MA, was a hub for education.  Dickinson’s family, well-respected in the community, had connections with many famous writers of the day.  Here’s your six-degrees of separation, Dickinson’s family was friendly with Ralph Waldo Emerson, Alcott’s childhood neighbor.

Nature, the gentlest mother by Emily Dickinson

Nature, the gentlest mother,
Impatient of no child,
The feeblest or the waywardest,
Her admonition mild

In forest and the hill
By traveller is heard,
Restraining rampant squirrel
Or too impetuous bird.

How fair her conversation,
A summer afternoon,–
Her household, her assembly;
And when the sun goes down

Her voice among the aisles
Incites the timid prayer
Of the minutest cricket,
The most unworthy flower.

When all the children sleep
She turns as long away
As will suffice to light her lamps;
Then, bending from the sky

With infinite affection
And infiniter care,
Her golden finger on her lip,
Wills silence everywhere.

For Baby…

Forget about all those fancy toys that light up and make techno sounds, your baby thrives  in nature. Whether you take baby to the park or are lucky enough to have your own backyard, baby learns best in a natural environment.  When reading this poem to your baby, use your voice to emphasize the nature words in the poem – “squirrel,” “bird,” “sun,” “flower,” “sky.” The most authentic experience would be to read the poem in the park or backyard, so that you can point out the words with baby.  If you don’t have this option, act out the words the best way you know how!

For Mommy…

Of course, it makes sense to compare nature to motherhood. We are all familiar with the concept of “mother nature.” At first reading, though, I felt that Dickinson’s choice of words such as “gentlest” and “mild” portrayed mothers as passive and weak.  It wasn’t until my second or third reading that I realized what I interpret as the true meaning of the poem. We can only appreciate the peacefulness and serenity of nature because we know the power of its strength. How are the acts we do as mothers simultaneously gentle and powerful?

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