• Notice Nature Close Up

    Images and contemplations by Kristin Littel.

    This activity is a series of nature photographs, each paired with a contemplation. It is suggested that you take a few minutes to slowly work through each one. They are designed to anchor you in your senses, cultivate curiosity and appreciation, and promote well-being. Nurturing feelings of awe of nature is a practice that may help you in balancing the hardships in your life with gratitude for what’s good in your life. 

    Please contact us if you have a mental health or self-care issue you would like to work through with the assistance of a therapist.

    Leaf on Snow


    in, slowly, deeply. 

    Notice the golden and russet hues, the brow-black veins and the intricate edges of this battered leaf on the white snow.

    Breathe deep through the nose again. 

    The leaf on snow is a reminder of the fall gone by, of the winter that is the present and of the spring foliage soon to come. It speaks of nature in motion, always flowing with new color, shape, sound, smell and texture.

    Breathe in and out again. 

    Allow yourself to appreciate the gifts to the senses that nature offers in every season.

    Breathe in your gratitude slowly, and then release it.  

    Scan for Color


    you are walking a path through the woods, on a sunlit fall day, in woods like the ones in the photographs.

    Breathe in deeply through your nose and then breathe out.

    As you breathe, imagine the pungent leafy smell of the season.

    Now, let your eyes roam over the scene in front of you in your mind (or in the images), from your right to left field of vision. Stop walking or just move slowly enough that you can fully and safely take in your surroundings.

    You might combine your visual exploration with deep breathing, in and out as you scan the forest.

    As you move your eyes very slowly from the right, start by looking low at the dirt, grass, rocks, bushes and tree roots, and then up at the tree trunks and branches, the leaves and the sky. Notice the variety of colors and the range of hues within each color grouping. Tune into how the light and shadows create even more diversity of color.

    Using this pattern, continue breathing and scanning from right to the left till you get to the end of your field of vision.

    As you move along in the woods, keep scanning for full effect.

    What you are doing is “full-color” seeing. 

    This practice invites you to view the visual cornucopia that is much of nature, which we tend not to take the time to notice. Your senses thank you!

    Dew on Iris


    to the morning dew sparkling on the iris and its vibrant green leaves. You can almost feel the flower unwinding up to fully open in the sun’s rays.

    Breathe in deeply through the nose, and then out, 

    focusing on this visual garden delight. Notices the different hues of purple and green, and the pops of yellow.

    Breathe in deeply through the nose, and then out. 

    See the light on the flower and leaves, and the white highlights it casts on the scene. Observe the intricate veins of the iris leaves, especially near the yellow pops.

    Breathe in deeply through the nose, and then out. 

    Continue looking at the flower. Let it anchor you and your breath for a moment. Allow yourself to appreciate this gift of nature and the moments of joy it brings you. 

    Scallop Shell


    Breathe in deeply and out.

    Stop and anchor your focus on the single scallop shell in the sand. It lies on the shoreline now, flung there by the receding waves. It has been ravaged by time and years of service to its scallop. Yet it is still a beautiful thing to behold. 

    Breathe in deeply and out.

    Think of all the waves that the shell, with its matching mate, travelled with the scallop. What a journey it must have been, rolling in the sea froth, then down into the depths of the ocean, and up to the glistening sea surface again.

    Breathe in deeply and out.

    Think of the scallop, secure for a time in the matching shells’ strong armor. What was its life like? When did the shell get separated from the scallop and its shell mate? What happened?

    Breathe in deeply and out.

    Now the shell is a foreigner on a strange land, done with its life duty and immobile for a time. What will the shell’s next path be? Is it at its final resting ground? Will it return to the ocean? Or will a shell seeker spy its loveliness and add it to its community of shells?   

    Breathe in deeply and out.

    Take a moment more to appreciate the scallop shell in the present: Its familiar lines and ridges; its colors ranging from black, grey, brown, orange, pink and white; the holes that weathered it but didn’t break it; and how it contrasts with the grey/tan sand.  

    Breathe in deeply and out.