A Day in the Life

Many nature writers have used the idea of writing about a day in the life of a place or animal. The natural progression of the day gives the writing structure. In Sierra Nevada: The Naturalist’s Companion, Verna Johnston tells of spending a day with a friend by a small pool in a mountain stream. She wrote about the birds who visited the pool throughout the day. Her observations and writing made an “ordinary day” an unforgettable day.

A classic of naturewriting, Watcher’s at the Pond by Franklin Russell, stretches the Day in the Life idea to an entire year–a year in the life of a pond. It would be fun to choose a special place away from home and visit it regularly for a year. Write about the changes from season to season.

Of course, any place, plant, animal, or experience opens up worlds of things to write about. Here are some ideas:

A Day at the Backyard Feeder–You could combine observations with research on the species that come to your bird feeder.

A Day in the Backyard–You may not have a mountain stream in your backyard, but there is still plenty to observe. Watch the weather, the insects, the plants–everything that comes your way.

A Day of Storm–You may wake up one morning to the sight of an approaching storm. Keep your pencil and small notebook handy and take notes throughout the day. When you write try to capture the feel of the storm as it approaches, the power of the storm as it rolls over you, and the ambiance that remains in its wake.