Memories of family and friends contain hilarious, touching, and painful moments, and we often try to recall such scenes from our past with precision — who said what, what happened next, how it all turned out. But our memories of nature can be more encompassing and impressionistic — the feeling of an ocean breeze, the sense of awe when viewing a grandiose landscape, the stillness and peace of mind that comes when walking through the forrest.
This spring, Badgerdog had the pleasure of working with AGE of Central Texas to provide nature-inspired writing activities for a group experiencing early memory loss. While participants sometimes struggle to recall what happened earlier in the week, or bring to mind important life events, their experiences in the natural world left powerful, lasting sensations in the memories of their souls. These writers drew on those deep memories to tell stories from their past. We’re very excited to share them with you now, and to participate in the memories they’ve now captured permanently here.
We left for the pine trees, looking for the beauty of the tall trees in the mountains. Sometimes, the trees swayed into the breeze; other times they were silently still. As I smelled the fragrant smells, I could hardly wait to touch them as we stood near the creek water that fed those high trees and their branches. I loved to see the stream pushing itself and moving along. Pine needles were falling and swaying. The trees swayed as I took great sniffs of the pines, the water running and gleaming as though it were ice glimmering with mirrors.
I was swimming in the Bahamas in July. The water was cool and the current pushed you around. The water was so clear you could see several hundred feet below.
We then swam out to the reef, and you could see and feel the surf pushing against you. When you swam over the edge, the ocean floor dropped hundreds of feet. Bubbles rose from our air tanks as we kicked hard with our fins to take us down deep into the water. The deeper we went, the colder it got. There were hundreds of fish of different colors. As we sank down into the water, we had to pop our ears to allow us to swim deeper.
Air bubbles soared to the surface, and it got progressively colder as we swam down the edge of the coral reef. The water got colder and colder and colder.
Beach Day in Galveston
When I was a young boy, my family lived in Texas City near the Texas Gulf Coast. There were three boys in my family. We all loved to go to Galveston and spend the day on the beach — lots of sand, wind, sun, and water! We would put up our tent once dad picked a spot. We would spend the night, build a fire, swim, and be full of joy at the beach. Somehow, we got sleep and were ready to begin the day all over again the next morning.
I’m on the beach in Hawaii.
The sand is white and warm.
The wind is blowing cool and soft.
The sandy beach is full of people in swim suits.
Kids are making a sandcastle.
Old people are lying on a towels drinking cool drinks.
The girls are putting on sunscreen.
I was walking on the seashore and viewed a round, flat object. Upon closer examination, I discovered that it was a seashell. Probably old, like maybe a century or so. One could imagine many different kinds of ecosystems it inhabited.
Getting My Driver’s License with Bobbie
Bobbie and I chose Saturday morning as a good time to renew my driver’s license. It had been a three-hour wait the time before. How glad I was that Bobbie had come along this time. We created some games with great input from Bobbie. Bobbie was always creative and the driver’s license was completed in short order. Bobbie had a great morning. However, a speeding car extinguished her life afterwards. Poor Bobbie.
I’m walking on the beach in the Bahamas and spot a shell that’s larger than the others I’ve collected. I’m wondering if it is a conch shell, having eaten conch at a restaurant. I think about what lived inside the shell and how far it travelled to end up on this table in front of me. This shell is beautiful, pink inside, and still has some sand in it. Isn’t it wonderful how this shell can live forever on a shelf?
was washed up on the sand last night.
It wasn’t there yesterday –
the gradual movement of the water
had moved that shell over many years
with the help of Mother Nature
to a space for me to enjoy.
The rain must have helped
clean off the sand.
While I was looking at the shell,
it floated this way and that,
depending which way the current moved.
I may have been dreaming, but I swear
I was walking in the dark
and the sea pushed the shell to me.