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the natural heart in the natural world

The moon and the morning star adorned today's sunrise. One blackbird on a neighbour's roof sang to the ocean, calling its long white tides to release the sun. Looking out, I thought, as Mary Oliver does in her new book"Softest of mornings, hello. And what will you do today, I wonder, to my heart?"

Yesterday I spent a little while in a crowded store and, upon getting home, had to wrap myself in a shawl and rest. This is what society can do to the introvert. But later on I remembered fallen petals and riverside blossoms, so I went out between thunderstorms for a small and quiet adventure on my own. The flowers were gentler company than shoppers, and I felt restored.

This morning, I read a quote by Thomas Berry: "Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives." The semantics of this actually made me sad, because if we teach children about the natural world we are treating them as separate from it. We are making shoppers not gardeners.

Rather, I think, let's teach children within the natural world, and raise them in a paradigm that they are as much a part of it as the singing birds and the early stars and the slow bright fall of a petal. Let's have, instead of a lesson, simply a way of being. This is why I love Waldorf education, despite its various flaws. It brings children up, and opens them out, as natural beings within the natural world.

(I miss my connections with Waldorf education. Maybe one of these days ... well, who knows? A book? A website? A teacher certificate? A playgroup in my home?)

May the day do magic to your heart.


  1. I've known two people who've had Waldorf education, and they both seemed different from the rest of us. More sure of themselves, more willing to try new things. Their spirit wilder, not as tame and burdened, perhaps.

    Some of the most precious memories of my childhood have to do with nature. I was lucky, I had the forest and hills right outside my door. A stream singing outside my bedroom window. My dad had the forest in him, and we would go for long walks as a family. I always feel closer to the divine when in nature. So yes, feels very important that children love nature :)

    And I know what you mean about being tired after spending time at a crowded store. I generally dread going shopping, unless I know it's an interesting, quiet place, or a book shop. So lovely how you felt restored by being near flowers.

  2. my heavens, yes. children must grow up as part of, enmeshed within, nature...for their health, for others' sake, for the sake of nature as a whole. without that firm base in knowing ourselves as part of nature, we are rootless plants that struggle through life in all sorts of ways...

    entering a waldorf care room or classroom is as different from entering a conventional modern classroom as chalk from cheese! it is the educational philosophy that appeals most strongly to me, certainly. i have this funny little dream of running a waldorf-based daycare for small children, although i lack most of the characteristics and abilities necessary to starting and running any business endeavor. it's how i raised my own daughter, and i wish that gentle, serene sort of environment and rhythms based in the natural world would be available to all children...

    oh, and i do understand about the needing to cocoon after being out at the shops. :)

  3. I agree Sarah. Children and nature are so at one with one another, it is only as we grow we detach ourselves from that natural rhythm and everything becomes a frantic striving. That is why I love Waldorf too. I have often thought of training to become a waldorf teacher.


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