Tuesday, September 8, 2009

something like the sound of a far off voice

i took these pictures in the late spring of this year at a conservation area
where i had taken my class for a day in the woods.
many of the children i teach have little or no contact with woodland
so they are initially overwhelmed
and then run wild down the trails.

you can hear them laughing and yelling from quite far away.

if the opportunity presents itself,
i take pictures of the little details of the place
so that they can look later and enjoy the magic of recognition,
or wonder that they missed it!



deep in the mountain wilderness
where nobody ever comes
only once in a great while
something like the sound of a far off voice,
the low rays of the sun
slip through the dark forest,
and gleam again on the shadowy moss.

35 comments:

Tammie Lee said...

This sounds like a wonderful thing to do with your students. Fresh air, running and taking in the natural world is the best!

Alaine said...

You would surely teach them art appreciation with these shots - is that first shot cow dung? It's great for city kids to experience the bush; we have an Outdoor Education facility up here and children come up from inner city schools to experience horse riding, white water rafting, canoeing, bush walking, etc.

I just read back a couple of posts, about cars and guess what? My Dad had an Armstrong Siddeley ute and Mum had the very posh car - her first car at the age of 49!

Rachel Fenton said...

What's brown and sticky? A stick!

Rachel Fenton said...

What's brown and sticky? A stick!

steven said...

hi alaine, the first shot is a rock. with lichen growing in it. click on it and it becomes more obvious!!! armstrong-siddeley's were pretty flashy cars in their day!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi tammie lee, nice to meet you. i try to get my classes out as much as possible. the weather is the one challenge - particularly the winter. have a lovely day and thanks for visiting. steven

steven said...

oh hi rachel!!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Steven: Your students are lucky children indeed.

steven said...

hi bonnie - thanks!!! i'll let them know that when i hand out their first homework tonight!!!! ha!!! i always let them know that i feel lucky to be a teacher. one day when i share something of my life, it will become more apparent why i say that from a practical point of view. but spiritually, i am blessed to have this opportunity in my life. i know that dan and all the other teachers out there would know exactly what that means!!!! have a lovely day bonnie. steven

Delwyn said...

Hello Steven

We have a saying in Au that "what I need is a Bex and a good lie down..."

It comes from the 50s when Bex were commonly used pain killers, like aspro...

When ever I think of the numerous times I accompanied classes on excursions which often involved noisy bus trips I always think of that saying...

However I am sure your school excursions whilst noisy and exuberant are full of learning and adventure...

Happy days

Delwyn said...

I just googled bex and found some interesting comments - the powders consumed by housewives of the 60s on a daily basis were very addictive...


http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/collection/database/?irn=340661

► Abraham Lincoln said...

What an experience that must be for some children. A complete fantasy made real. I think it would be like sleeping outside on a blanket under the stars.

Thanks for visiting and helping me to make history.
Pick a Peck of Pixels

willow said...

I've always been fascinated with roots and limbs and...well...TREES!! As ever, lovely post.

ellen abbott said...

I love the tangle of branches steven, and that's how I take photos too, the details.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love the way nature conspires to create such beautiful and intricate tapestries. You have such a great eye for these things, Steven. Beautiful!

Also LOVE the keep on truckin' dude. Oh yeah!

The Bug said...

That's it, between you and Ellen (from Stuff from Ellen's Head) I'm now going to have to go on a forest ramble this weekend.

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Your students must be exhilarated. They are lucky to have you as their teacher. I remember fondly every outing that I ever took as a student.

Kay said...

Your photos are great..I especially like the lichened rock...as you know moss and lichen are firm favourites here!! but can you see the face in it??? I drive people mad by saying this...can you see.......a sleeping ogre???..sorry but I've always done this and used to drive my father mad!!! 'help..there are faces in the curtains!!' an over active imagination...can that really be a bad thing??!! xx

hope said...

Thank heavens someone realizes that the great out of doors is a marvelous teaching tool!

The kids I work with only know bad rap videos and computer games. Outside is that place they tolerate until they can get back to their games. Last week we opened the back door and saw a Doe walking across the back field of the Center. We told them to come very quietly to the door so they could see the yearling fawns following her. They could only see the first one until I pointed out that the twin was standing behind the first one. For once I saw sheer amazement on their faces. One got a little loud and of course off Doe Mom ran, twins behind her. When one of the kids asked why her tail was straight up, I explained that White Tail Deer [which is what we have] use that to signal danger, like throwing up a white flag. When I finished, a quiet kid turned to the loud one and said,"Actually, it means you're too loud."

:) Kids...gotta love 'em. Hope you have a great year with yours!

steven said...

hi delwyn, rotten response time to your comments but i will answer them on the "better late than never" premise!!! i've got a little bottle of something prescriptive in my desk and it's probably expired but i've been amazingly fortunate to have kind of rolled along with the racket on trips. oh it get's loud - really loud - and i love that energy as long as all the other adults are good with it. i'll be nipping over to look at the link you included about all the lovely meds my mum and her friends were likely hoovering back when i was little. the first day back - today - was fun, crazy, challenging, fast - i fell asleep as soon as i got in the door for an hour. but i'm ready now for the evening. have peaceful morning by the river!!! steven

steven said...

abe - you nailed it! you shoudl be with them in the woods. it's incredible, the energy level is so high, they're so excited! they see things that any walk in the woods would reveal but to them it's pure magic - and that's part of how i remember to always see the world as pure magic. have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

willow - thanks for dropping by!!! i share your love for roots and branches and leaves and trees. i'm glad we can talk openly about it!!!! steven

steven said...

hello ellen, i love the tangles and have scads of images from this very trip of tangled sumac. maybe they'll show up some day and we can share that magic!!!! have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hey reya, thanks for that!!! i love detail because the whole is wrapped up in the part and so i feel like i connect to something bigger through those little spaces. the keep on truckin' dude came right out of something you wrote and i think i mentioned it. i first locked eyes with him in 1969 when i was a 12 year old boy wide-eyed and mind-blown with a copy of the whole-earth catalogue in my hands. jimi on the stereo, little stacks of poetry books and art books all over my room. me painting and writing poetry. the keep on truckin' dude just grabbed the whole slack, funkified, groove of the late sixties for me. so here he is! i thanks you!!! steven

steven said...

hey bug, anything that gets us into the fields, by the rivers. walking along canal paths, looking from balconies across hills - is all good!!! have a lovely evening steven

steven said...

hi richard - i had some amazing trips when i was a kid at school!!! my dream is that the experiences that i put in the way of my kids turn into art, writing, or even better, experiences that they value so much that they hand them onto their own children!!! have a peaceful evening. steven

steven said...

hi kay! lovely to see you here!!! yes i see the face . . . i see faces everywhere, limbs, bodies, birds, fish, all over the place. an over-active imagination is never a problem unless you're a parent trying to settle down a child at bedtime!!!! otherwise, it's a gift waiting to be placed behind a paintbrush or a pencil and given free reign to make the rest of our lives as magical as the imagination will permit!!! have a lovely evening. steven

steven said...

hello hope - now that's a classic story!!! i remember in my first year sticking a tree trunk in the ground outside my classroom door and telling the kids that we would move it a little bit each day and see what was calling that tree trunk "home" as the year progressed. it was an amazing journey and filled with bugs, moss, worms, fungus, you name it. my kids lived for the day we moved it and looked....... ha!!! have a lovely evening. steven

Linda said...

Steven
The middle picture looks like a house for an animal of prey like a rabbit or a badger. Your pictures are very textural. If I returned the following year would blueberries be growing in the rock moss of the top picture? I want to get out my oil paints when I see rocks like that. I might want to put a violet or some wild blueberries into the picture. Thank you for sharing.

steven said...

linda - i took another look at the first picture and "saw" those very berries in my mind. perhaps you know something that i can't answer! these three pictures (part of a much larger set) were all taken at one of our board's outdoor ed centres. this one is based in warsaw conservation area. just northeast of peterborough. thanks for visiting!!! steven

Dan Gurney said...

My student teacher last spring was/is an outdoor educator specialist. She worked at a facility that takes fifth graders from the city and suburbs and puts them out in the wilderness for a week of learning about the out-of-doors. She's training to be a classroom teacher because the pay and benefits are better in the mainstream. But I do feel her work is a high and very noble. Too bad environmental educators aren't paid A LOT more for the good work they do.

Joanna said...

Such a great idea to take the children into the woods--and then to look deeper through the photographs. Glad your day went well Steven. I used to accompany my son's classes on field trips. It was noisy and fun but I wouldn't want to do it every day.

steven said...

hi dan - it's hard to get a job as an outdoor educator nowadyas. my own board has a handful of people in that position. for the mainstream teachers it's a peripheral skill. but so worthy as you say. the changes it brings in kids are palpable and worthhwhile. have a peaceful evening out west dan. steven

steven said...

hi joanna, yes field trips are easily more exhausting and often more fulfilling even than a day in a classroom. so not an everyday thing but regular trips - on the years i've got good patient parents with a sense of humour then i do as many as i can!!! have a peaceful evening. steven

Crafty Green Poet said...

its great to take children out into the forests, in the UK we've got a Foerst School organisation that does just that. It sometimes seems that we've legislated too much and teachers are scared of taking children anywhere in case they have an accident and their parents sue the school.