The Green Diaries // A Southern Love Affair

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Nurtured By Nature

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”  – Mary Oliver

These images being made from 2007 – Currently ongoing.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

Roland Barthes wrote an essay called “Toys” about a child’s creativity  being unleashed by non-representational objects, especially natural ones like wood. He said that pre-conceived toys caused kids to only want to imitate adult behavior thus limiting them from envisioning a new kind of life. What I’m documenting with this project, is children using natural, mostly non-representational objects to mimic, process and make sense of an adult world in which they find themselves. I have to contend with Mr. Barthes and say I’m not sure there is any way around learning through mimicry. That process seems to arise naturally from children. A child would pretend a piece of wood is a domestic object if they are ‘trying out’ domestic life. If they want to ‘try out’ caring for something a piece of wood could be a doll or pretend animal as much as a store-bought stuffed animal stands in for the real thing.

My possible conclusion is that our human minds want to make meaning/narrative/story. No matter what landscape or setting a child finds themselves in or objects they have access to, they will get busy making meaning out of them. I’m sure that what meaning is made and what story gets told is affected by place and object. In the case of these two girls, there is a direct connection between their immersion in nature and how curious, philosophical, thinking-in- relationships, creative, inspired and inquisitive they are. I would say: being nurtured-by-nature helps play become the work of learning.

I’ve continued this project on Instagram. The collection can be seen at my hashtag: #nurturedbynaturescc 

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.”  – Mary Oliver

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