Find Your Green A Zine by Grace Safford
Find Your Green BY GRACE SAFFORD
Contents Intro: Connect With Nature Again Step One: Talk With Yourself Step Two: Find Your Local Green Step Three: Analyze Your Warmth Step Four: Take Small Steps
ConnectÂ With Nature Again I am an artist, and like many artists, I find myself looking at the world around me for inspiration. In the summer of 2017, I lived close enough to my job that I could walk to work in ten minutes. It was on that walkâ€”lined with trees and flower beds, bird nests and clover between the cracks in the sidewalkâ€”where I realized just how many stories there are in nature. Every tree and flower seemed like it had something to tell me. When I got to work in the morning, I asked if I could reserve a half hour right at the start of my day so I could write down all of the stories and ideas I had in that ten minute walk. That walk made me think: If I could get that many ideas in just ten minutes looking at the nature around me, why wasn't I looking at nature more often? I realized that as a creative, part of my daily process should be finding ways to connect with nature, a part of my life that felt pushed aside in the wake of the phone in my hand and the laptop stored beside my nightstand. Since then, I have been finding ways to insert nature into my life an accessible way. Even though I live in an urban area, I still find green and find ways to engage with it every day. Because of that green, my mind feels awake and energized. This zine is designed to help you find that same green and same mindset no matter where you live or your experience with the natural world. Everyone can connect with nature, and through that connection, maybe you can find some new inspiration, meaning, direction, or calm in yourself.
Step One: Talk With Yourself Recognizing where you are and what you need To connect more with nature, the first step is to realize what your beginning is. How connected or removed from nature are you right now? Why do you want to reconnect with nature? By analyzing where you are, what you need, and how you want to grow or feel, you can better understand what kind of green inspiration you are looking for. When I engage with nature, I do it to inspire my writing. What do you want to inspire? Think about why you are listening to the birds or walking in the trees.
Questions to Ask When Checking In: Why do I want nature in my life? What do I think more nature could do for me? What is my current relationship with nature? How can I get my relationship to grow? How can I incorporate nature into my existing routine? What nature is near me? What is accessible to me?
Step Two: Find Your Local Green Accessible ways to introduce nature into your life
Connecting with nature is about you, so the nature you find should be what works best for you and your lifestyle. Not everyone lives in the countryside, can start their own organic farm in their backyard, or climb the Appalachian trailâ€”and that's fine. Even looking at one flower a day can be a bridge between you and nature. Look for what is best for you, closest to you, and most realistic. Easy local placesÂ and things to try: Walking in your local park Volunteering at a community garden Visiting a shoreline board walk Hiking along river or brook Starting a window garden in your home Buying a bouquet of flowers every week for your table Pressing leaves between your books Searching for grasses, weeds, clovers, and flowers on your trip to work Visiting a gardening center to smell the roses Leaning out a window in the mornings to listen for birds
How to Start a Window Garden 1. Find a window in your home with lots of room. This can either be a ledge or a table. For a day, watch how the sun moves through that window. Does it have sun all day? Only part of the day? Does it have direct sunlight or indirect sunlight? Document your findings. 2. Based on the sunlight you have, research indoor plants that thrive in your sun type. If you're new to gardening, succulents and air plants are great starter plants. Select two to four plants to start. Make sure to research how big your plants get so you know how big of a pot each plant will need. PS: A spider plant is one of the hardest plants to kill.
3. Once you have your plants, order them on your sill. Find ways to personalize your garden. Maybe order your plants from tallest to smallest. Maybe alternate small and tall. Decorate the spaces in between your plants with rocks, shells, and driftwood. 4.Â Spend the next two to four weeks testing how much water each plant needs based on research and your own watering. Once you know your plants, create a weekly schedule for your plants on a piece of paper. Tape it up next to your plants to make your little green space complete.
Bonus: If you can, put your garden near where you create or work. Take breaks between your work and find peace and energy in the green.
How to Flower Meditate (With any flower wherever you can find it)
Find a flower with a color that makes your creative brain wake up. Tune out all other senses and just engage in looking at your flower. Breathe. Look at the flower from stem to flower then flower to stem. Look for patterns and imperfections. While looking, think about the history of the flowerâ€”how it grew and how it gained its nooks and crannies. Imagine its progression. Breathe. Allow your mind to wander creatively. Use this moment of focus to relax your body and wake up your mind. When you're ready, walk away from the flower and look at all of the green around you. Find inspiration. Breathe.
Step Three: Analyze Your Warmth Seek the nature type that makes you happy EveryoneÂ has different interest, which means we find joy in different kinds of nature. You might find joy in the green of a flower stem, or you might find joy in they red pigments of clay, or the deep blue of the ocean. To connect with nature, we must analyze how we react to different kinds of nature so we can seek out what makes us most happy.Â On the start of your nature journey, take a month to explore different types of nature in your local areas. Document your feelings in each setting. After a month, return to the nature type that makes your heart thrum, and seek it out whenever you can.
WhatÂ makes you most happy?
Seek what makes your brain feel awake. Earth, water, flora, fauna.
Step Four: Take Small Steps Slowly but surely What's most important to remember is that we all have a different pace. We don't have to climb a mountain this afternoon to be called nature enthusiast. As you start finding ways to reconnect with nature, start with small, manageable moments you know will fit into the schedule of your day. Maybe you decide to take a walk by a field of flowers. Maybe you pick clovers on your way home from work. Maybe you take the time to watch the starts before you sleep. Small conscious steps can lead to a green life just as well as hiking a whole mountain can. When you finishing reading this zine, pull out a sheet of paper, and make a list of one small thing you can do each day to build a relationship with something green. Take your time and smell the roses. Make it a routine. Once you start your list, don't stop. Keep going and keep connecting with nature. Want to start out small? StartÂ your nature journey with a bit of reading... The Pocket Scavenger by Keri Smith The Nature Fix by Florence Williams Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard The Unseen Forest by David George Haskell The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv Upstream by Mary Oliver In the Future: Write on Trees, a manuscript in progress by Grace Safford
Start small by asking yourself what inspires you most in nature?Â As a small activity, go out and find those things. Document it, take pictures of it, draw it, write about it, sing about it. Slowly start involving yourself in the nature by seeking what you know you already love.Â
Dream about me
Start Small With Nature Tracing A small way to start engaging more with nature is by bringing it into your home through art you make by tracing leaves, flower, grasses, branches, and stones on pages. Select pieces of paper that you find visually appealing like colored paper, newspaper, or book pages. Gather small natural things with varied shapes. Trace the outline of your natural bits and bobs on your pages. Collect your tracings into art for your walls or a little book to look at whenever you need something natural.
Start Small With a Nature Photo Album Once a day, use your phone to document any nature you find visually inspiring, like the shadow of a weed on the sidewalk, the cluster of bushes behind your house, or the sunset between the leaves in your favorite tree. Start a nature photo album on your phone and scroll through your photos at the end of every week to relive the memories of the nature you saw. If you can, print out your photos and tape them to your walls along with pressed leaves and flowers so you can always be surrounded by green.
Ready to start your nature journey? By accepting nature into our lives, who knows what positive things could happen to our creativity, energy, or passion. Keep taking your small steps until those steps become natural paths in your life. Find joy in the nature you encounter, whether it's the biggest tree or the smallest blade of grass. Do what feels right to you, and find your green.
Want more? Check out Grace's Instagram, Twitter, and website for more green content.