On July 13th, I facilitated a poetry workshop at the Writing Instrument Museum in Winneconne as the Oshkosh Poet Laureate. This quirky museum is a hidden gem, and the owners were wonderful to meet. I cannot wait until our next session on Wednesday. The attendees ranged from Lynn who could have run the workshop to a ten-year-old that had never written a poem and described herself as “a literal person.” It went well and I had a great time meeting these people. I invited them to join the Oshkosh Poet Laureate Facebook page and I hope they join. Anyone can.
One of the attendees that I might describe as an “Oshkosh Institution” asked me if growing up on a farm helped me become a poet. I never thought of it, but Shirley made a convincing case that being out in nature and observing things led to wanting to describe the world. Basically, she said she realized it from teaching some rural boys that would notice things such as how the dew was still on the grass as they herded the cattle.
This reminded me of something called Ecotherapy. Basically, it’s a word to mean being out in nature to take away anxiety and worrying.
So yes, I think growing up and being in nature did lead to me being a poet. Noticing the wonder of nature leads to a life of studying details. Studying details is a necessary part of being a poet.
I think that growing up on a farm meant that if I went for a walk to be alone with my thoughts, I would be in nature. I definitely had time to savor being outside all day on a tractor. I saw amazing things such as a baby calf being born, and an entire landscape covered by unbroken snow.
Of course, most people can not live out in the country. But we can be conscious of ecotherapy and get out into nature. Let the sky and trees soothe out senses. Even if it is a park or a backyard.