Using Nature As the Ultimate Accommodation

by Hishu Wea McGrady, Collaborator 
Some people look at North Dakota prairies and valleys and say no, that’s boring and lackluster. The White Earth valley was anything but. Springtime brought rich fertile land with patches of wild tiger lilies and pasque flowers, prairie roses, bluebells and prairie turnips, baby livestock and wildlife, bees, flowering berry trees and flocks of singing birds. In the summertime it teamed with sweet grasses, prairie grasses, buffalo berry trees, sage, rose hips and meadowlarks, June berries, chokecherries, gooseberries and strawberries. When the wind blew, you smelled earth. By the time I was 6 I began 1st grade, my mother as my teacher in our ranch house. Homeschooling was really the only option for a country kid like me at the time and I was more than obliged since I was very much attached to mom. I only vaguely recall learning ABC’s, 123’s, and, the toughest, reading. I did begin to read at an early age however, because I was determined to read the Sunday comics and Veronica and Archie, along with my older adoptive brother and sister. I do recall learning itself, tedious. I really found it so hard to sit still and concentrate when outside the windows, nature awaited. I’m certain my mom saw that at every turn she tried to apply the days lessons. I just could not sit still and concentrate. So, instead of fighting against it, her instinct was to allow me multiple recesses.
Her instincts were right. With every recess I ran around everywhere, with all my imaginary friends, voiding my brain of overload and stress. Every single time, I would come back refreshed and ready to learn and it’s one of the reasons reading came to me earlier than some children. Every recess, she would give me a task like find new berries of the spring, find animal tracks, what kind of feathers did I find, what tree bark did I find, what kind of berries, did I find a nest, what kind of nest, what kind of tree…..and so I would zoom around and look and talk with my imaginary friends. I was learning so many things about nature at such a young age, all as a means to motivate my learning and to rest and reload my brain and body for a comprehensive and thoughtful class. This repetition became a normal every day thing for us until I moved to a town and began my first year of public school. Sadly, all of that intriguing stimuli came to an end, and I struggled, barely passing each year.
Being a part of nature and learning to identify it’s parts and pieces not only saved my brain and body from damaging eruptions, I became akin and unafraid of nature. My love for Mother Earth has not waned since. When I need to calm my brain and body, I retreat to nature and breath her in, smile at all her creatures and absorb all of her medicine, knowing she is never boring nor lackluster.

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