Finding YOUR Sit Spot.
“Secret Spot”, “Sacred Place”, “Campsite”, call it what you will, this will be the place that you become at home in the outdoors. It will be a place where you will discover an endless bounty of natural mysteries, relax in the sun, observe nature, clear your mind and connect deeply with yourself and our landscape. I can tell you from personal experience that the practice of going to my sit spot routinely has taught me more about nature than any college course, book or YouTube video. So this is what we would like you to do this week. Find a spot all your own.
Tips and recommendations-
- Most important is to find a place that is convenient to get to. I would take a backyard sit spot in a town over a 15 minute drive to a nature sanctuary any day of the week. Humans are creatures of habit AND convenience, so this is the first thing to consider.
- Leave the phone at home. This is about disconnecting from the noise of modern society and reconnecting with ourselves and our natural word.
- Don’t overthink it. There is no “right or wrong” when doing this. Just go with the flow.
- Dress for the weather. Be prepared for mud, rain, cold, warmth, etc. Know your body and dress so that you can be comfortable and at ease.
- Make sure your spot is free of hazards such as poison ivy, yellow jacket nests, etc.
- Plan on spending at least 20 minutes at this spot each time you visit.
“Tools of the Trade”.
Always bring something to drink, a journal and writing tools. That is all you really need, however, cameras, snacks, a seat, binoculars and other outdoor items can make your experience all the more enjoyable. But don’t complicate it!!!
Create an “Anchor Point”
This will be the center of your study area and it is important that you make this place recognizable, comfortable and familiar. I love using a landmark tree for an anchor point. Over the years, these trees have become like family to me.
This time of the year, I find it helpful to build a “Squirrel’s Nest” for my butt. Gather up dry sticks, leaves and pine needles to give yourself some insulation from the cold, wet ground.
Find the directions.
It’s always good to get a sense of direction when finding a new place. Think of a way to remember where the 4 cardinal directions are from your sit spot. Here, I’ve made a little compass rose with rocks. As a bonus, this picture was taken at 5pm on 3/21/2020. Can anyone tell me which rock represents north?
Try to take notes on the temperature, wind, cloud cover and anything else you might notice. This will help us better understand the relationship between weather patterns and animal behavior, it’s effects on plants, etc.
Okay, so that is the basic idea for this week. Find a spot and get familiar with it. Take notes on the weather, the directions and just sit down at your spot for a bit. Walk around the anchor point just to get a feel for your little area, but don’t wander off too far yet. And don’t worry about the tracks you can’t ID, the bird songs that are unfamiliar, the plant species you are baffled by. All of this will come in time. For now, find your spot.