“There is one over there under the small redbud tree,” I said, finger extended.
Several steps further down the path I said in a low voice, “Another is over there. See it, surrounded by the May apples?”
I was leading a small group of volunteers and a couple of staff down a trail at one of the nature centers where I used to work.
“I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it,” Barbara whispered.
Lauren replied, “I told you she could do it!”
You may be wondering what we were looking for and what I was pointing out. Fawns! They were right along the trails where nearly a hundred people walked right by them on a daily basis and no one ever saw them. The volunteers and staff were astounded!
That day, and many others, I walked them along the trails and pointed out many fawns resting in broad daylight right under everyone’s nose. We’d watch as all of the public would walk right by them, never noticing.
“Most people do not see them because they haven’t trained their eyes to see them,” I shared. “You have to train your eye to ‘see’ the red, cinnamon-brown color of fawns.
I remember when I first began working at that particular nature center and there was an older forester who worked in the building with us. He was a great guy, and I loved talking with him. He would always tell me that June and July were his favorite months because that is when the does would bring their fawns out to show them off. He is right. I still first see the new fawns in June, and early July. And, I love taking walks in the woods to see if I still have it in me to “see” fawns hiding here and there where others might walk right by them.
Nature lore is something that you can teach yourself, but it requires spending a lot of time in the woods, prairies and streams. It seems to be a lot more enjoyable if you have the opportunity to experience nature with someone else, especially if that someone is a bit more versed in nature that you.
If you’ve read my column before, then you might know that I tried to raise my three children with a love and appreciation for nature. While none of them went into the field (so to speak) as every parent might hope, nature did take hold of each of their hearts. All three of them are raising their children to be outdoor-nature kids.
It hit home when I was visiting three of my grandchildren and helping them weed their vegetable garden. Three-year-old Sam was looking at a tomato blossom up close right when a small wasp landed in it.
Sam looked at me, then looked at the wasp – mouth open, eyes staring. Finally, Sam questioned, “Is that a pollinator, Nana?”
Yes, it’s much, more fun to have someone with you when outdoors!
Reach Lynn Youngblood at TheGreenSpace@sbcglobal.net.