365 Nature – Day 57

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


Today I embarked on a new adventure. Since my daughter started preschool in the autumn, I’ve dropped her off and most often, gone home to work on my computer. However, I’ve lost a lot of valuable time driving back and forth. There was a silver lining, I was able to listen to audiobooks which was nice. I ‘read’ two books I wouldn’t have otherwise had time to read. But between my certificate program class and my writing I needed more time to write and research.

At the same time I’d been struggling to find time for exercise. Before school started we’d walk around Seward Park several times a week and at two and a half miles, I was getting a lot of walking in.

We signed my daughter up for summer school, so she’ll be doing the same routine she’s doing now, just without ten layers of clothing. Next year she’ll be going five days a week. It was time to come up with a plan for productivity. What I started today, now that the weather is warming up and becoming less rainy, is staying in the arboretum during preschool time.

And why not work outside?

There are so many nice places to sit in the park, benches are tucked away in every corner and there are many open lawn areas. I made myself a small seat blanket to keep myself dry when  benches are  wet, and I’m planning to make a larger water-resistent blanket to throw down on the ground. I got a new tablet with a keyboard and enough memory to have Word and all the apps I need for research. Notebooks are synced to the cloud as I’ve become increasingly digital.

Today I went for a walk around the arboretum after I dropped off my daughter – exercise accomplished. During that walk I observed a sizeable flock of Red-breasted Nuthatches and a rather fierce fight between Chestnut-backed Chickadees. After my walk I found a place to sit and do some work on my tablet. I could hear birds all around me, a pair of Bewick’s Wrens exchanged songs in front of me, a Spotted Towhee called a warning as people walked by and songbirds foraged above my head. I know because I could see their reflection on my screen. The air was still cool, not yet  50 degrees, but I was warmed from my walk and I dressed for the weather.

Later I ate my lunch of soup on a branch and watched crows and listened to a pair of Stellar’s Jays. After that I found a bench in the sun and finished my work.

I look forward to finding a new ‘office’ each day.

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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist, writer and photographer based in Seattle. She is the author of a book about urban nature, coming Spring 2020 from Mountaineers Books. She writes freelance articles about natural history and has bylines in Crosscut, ParentMap, National Wildlife Magazine and others. On the side she writes fiction.

Kelly holds a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon and a certificate in non-fiction writing from the University of Washington.

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