Activation: A Silent Sit Spot to Observe Growth and Change

by | May 17, 2021 | Environment, Voices

Last year when the pandemic shut down schools, businesses, and travel, I was working at an outdoor school in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Our campus closed and went silent except for birds, squirrels, and deer that shared our backyard. 

Our assistant principal encouraged us to find a spot on campus to visit daily and observe how the area transforms over the course of a month. As a person who is constantly moving from one thing to the next, I was reluctant to take time to be still each day. 

However, every morning, I would go and sit on a grassy patch hidden by tall dark green sedges in the shade from a towering pine tree. Nearby, I could hear the running of the cold creek. My sit spot was situated where a riparian ecosystem and a dry meadow meet a mixed conifer forest. I first started coming to my secret location in late March; as each day passed, the grassy patch nestled between the creek and meadow became a home. 

I would bring my journal, water, and coffee to sit without distractions as I made my observations. 

I would record the following: 

Date
Temperature
Weather
Sounds
Animals
Plants
Scents
Feelings 

Our assistant principal suggested that we go for 10 minutes. Soon my 10 minutes turned to 30 minutes and some days I would be immersed in the sounds of my surroundings for an hour. Without my phone, I dedicated my time to being acutely aware, noticing a mother turkey with a trail of baby turkeys or poults, several deer resting in the meadow, and ladybugs climbing blades of grass.

The first day at my spot it was a sunny but chilly morning. I noticed bright blue baby blue eyes blooming all around me. 

Two red tailed hawks soared above me diving in the morning chill. 

The grass was just beginning to grow, little green spears rising up from the dewy ground.

As I continued to visit the spot daily, the area transformed. Mornings grew warmer, I could visit the grassy field without several layers. The baby blue eyes died back and returned to the soil. Soon to be replaced by purple shooting stars.

I heard new sounds each time that I visited over the month. Juncos finding seeds near the brush or a goose flying low overhead. 

Even though I went to the same place it was ever changing allowing me to learn. 

After the shooting stars, tiny yellow violets replaced the purple blossoms. 

The landscape shifted before my eyes once again. 

I wondered if I would have noticed these changes if I hadn’t come to the same spot each day with the intention to be present.

As days passed, I noticed the sun getting warmer against my back as I sat, the shade began to shift as days grew longer with the nearing of Summer. Small changes that normally passed unbeknownst to me but so important for migrating birds or the blooming of wildflowers.

A few months later had passed, I had already moved off campus but I came back to my secret spot nestled between the meadow and creek bed. The scenery transformed, the flowers had gone to seed, the grass turned golden, and juicy blackberries were weighing down branches. I sat for a while in the shade, I felt like I came home. 

Observe Nature in Your Own Sit Spot

There is transformation occurring daily, we encourage you to find a spot to go to 4 days a week for a month and make observations.

What do you notice day to day? Week to week?
How does your spot transform within a week? Within a month?

Share your daily transformation with us on social media @turninggreenorg! 

 

Margaret Cooper

Margaret Cooper

Margaret is a UC Davis alumna with a degree in Environmental Science and Management and Spanish minor. She is driven by youth empowerment, environmental education, and outdoor accessibility to address climate change in her community. She loves being part of the Turning Green community to build confident future leaders and advocates for environmental sustainability.