Monday, February 24, 2020

Virtual Nature Walk: The Coast in Winter

One of my favorite things I did when my kids were younger was go on nature walks. It might be just to our backyard or the nearby park, but we'd look for leaf miners (those interesting bugs that make leaves transparent), mushrooms, the new growth on pine trees, to name a few. It taught us all to notice things.
My son's drawing of our hermit crab molting from '09.

And now, even though they are in their teens, they are still noticing things. My 15 year old likes to call that being a detailist. :)

As writers, isn't that our job too? In my first writing class, we had to keep a journal of details from daily life--interactions with people, descriptions of nature. Doing so teaches you to pay attention.

Here is my online nature journal of our recent trip to the Oregon Coast. The coast itself wasn't very hospitable, so we had to settle for enjoying God's creation at the aquarium. They were having a sea punk exhibit. Combining sea creatures with steam punk. I call that brilliant.

Barnacled log from the one moment we made it onto the beach before the waves attacked.

The Oregon Coast in winter

A porthole of clownfish

Sea nettles


A puffin in winter. Fun fact: They don't get their famous plumage till mating season.

All these creatures are native to the West Coast of the United States except for two. Can you guess which?


  1. Clownfish and puffins?
    Aquariums are always cool to explore.

  2. Love the pictures. Yes, we do have to pay attention to the details.

  3. Oh, the misty coasts of Oregon! So beautiful. Indeed, paying attention is essential to the writer's life and then I realized that just like we are what we eat, we become what we pay attention to...must go ponder it some more. I hope your son is still drawing--it really improves those powers of observation.

  4. Love this: detailist. I'm taking it with me, with your son's permission :)
    Who is it that said, G-d's in the details? Good writers are great observers.

  5. I hope to visit the Oregon coast some day - maybe not in the winter... One of my favorite parts of being a writer is the "paying attention" bit, which I think I do naturally (okay, I'm nosy). Researching, always researching:)

  6. I love that photo of the wintry coast. The others are lovely too. Glad you made the most of your trip.

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  8. Well... I'm not thrilled about following that Unknown post! But wanted to say I love your photos, Jenni! I was on the Oregon coast only briefly in 2017. Love that your son calls it being a detailist. Details are SO important. With each revision of my novel in verse I've added more and more details. It really brings the novel to life!