A Different Kind of December
Looking out the window in front of me right now it is hard to believe that it is Winter. A life of Decembers has taught me to expect frigid temperatures, winter coats, and a snow covered land this time of year. What I see right now is different. The trees are nearly bare, the ground is turning brown under the remaining piles of leaves, and the birds still twitter unphased by cold temperatures. December looks different this year.
Interestingly, while looking through our copy of The Nature Connection and planning for our December nature walk, I was more struck by the things that are similar. Our weather might not be the harsh, cold that you would find up north right now, but it is still December. It is still a time of ending. The days are short. The nights are long and seemingly darker. The world is coming to a point of rest to prepare for the next stages in the cycle.
Our guide is certainly based in the Northern Hemisphere. For those heading to the beach in Australia, pin this in your files for July. But for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, December has a remarkable number of similarities wherever you might be. Here are some things we noticed this year and last:
*Darker Evenings We took our nature walk this month in the afternoon. By 4:00 it was already growing dark. The moon was visible and the lights from nearby homes shone brightly.
*Green Evergreen Trees With the majority of trees bare this time of year, the greeness of the Evergreen and Oak trees was notable. We also had fun spotting them in the windows we passed on the way to the pond.
*Birds With our neighborhood pond and the warmer temperatures, I think we saw more birds this year than last. However, the white snow made the birds more evident last year. Around this time last year we spotted our first cardinal in the tree out back. This year we spotted cardinals again in our Mississippi backyard as well as geese and ducks on our pond.
*Busy Squirrels Our tree filled neighborhood is always full of squirrels, but they seem especially busy this time of year. Talk to your child about what the squirrels are hurrying around preparing for right now.
Whatever your December looks like, take some time to walk outside and notice our ever changing world.
Weather Appropriate Clothes
*Draw pictures or make notes about the birds you see. Look up more details in books or online when you get home.
*Take a Winter Lights Walk or a Flashlight Walk.
*Take advantage of the darkness to use the light table more. This is one of our favorite light table activities.
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