Legacy of the Storyteller 2012: Field Trip: Rio Grande Nature Center:10/2/2012

Exit 1-40 at Rio Grande (and go North) or 1-25 at Candelaria (and go West). Park on Trellis NW one block east of the RGNC.
Exit 1-40 at Rio Grande (and go North) or 1-25 at Candelaria (and go West). Park on Trellis NW one block east of the RGNC.

Directions - From Candelaria at Rio Grande Blvd. - Drive west on Candelaria the RGNC is at the end. You can park in the RGNC parking lot. There is, however, a fee, and it closes at 5:00. You may not park on Candelaria. A good option, however, is to park (free!) on Trellis NW, the last street before the RGNC. Just turn either North or South on Trellis and park. We will rendevous at the end of Candelaria and walk in using a trail that proceeds straight west from the South side of Candelaria. Please be on time. My cell phone is 573-1656, call if you have any problem finding the group or if you are detained and will arrive late.

Field session: Rio Grande Nature Center

We are exploring pathways to connecting to place, setting - so Clear your mind. Let go of time. Slow down. Let go of worries. Don't analyze, not every minute anyway, analysis is one of our strong suits as a species and as with most things we tend to over do it. Remember that nothing is commonplace, everything merits our attention. Follow your first inclinations. Don't be quick to name or judge. Ignore discomforts, be willing to accept knowledge, insight, and wisdom from humble sources
(we can learn from plants, animals, insects, even rocks.)

Bring: insect repellent, water, and if you burn, sunscreen
What we do: Meet, walk into the center, walk to the river, find a spot, do exercises.

Exercise #1: Silent Entry: Chatter is the enemy of connection with one’s surroundings. So, as we walk to the Rio Grande, make the walk in silence once we set off on the trail at the end of Candelaria.. Notice how this frees your attention. Stop at least twice on the trail (we will walk about 3/4 mile) and make notes on your experience. What you see, hear, smell, and feel. Note briefly what it's like to walk with others in silence. I will provide the other exercises an prompts in situ.

Exercise #2: Sensory Exploration: We humans are so taken with our visual capacities that we often ignore the other senses. So following instructions, form dyads and:

Option A: Work with the sensory deprivation equipment. Take turns. Blindfold first and do several things. 1) Helper leading on a walk. 2) Quiet sitting or lying. After awhile, add the earplugs and repeat what you’d done before.

Option B: Alternately, work with your partner to explore the world from different physical points of view (from a height of 4 inches, one foot, two and one-half feet, four feet, and nine or ten feet (climb a mound or a tree)

Exercise #3: Open focus: Pick out an aspect of the environment that you can isolate in your thoughts – (a plant, animal, rock or setting feature like a mound or path). Give it your full attention in any way you can. Next, consider it as embedded in the setting. Not how it connects, what it connects to directly, what it connects to indirectly and what connects to the connection points.

Final Exercise/Assignment:
1. Think of using one of the places we visited today for a setting in a story or article.
2. In at least one hundred and fifty words, describe the setting in all its detail.
3. Now reduce the setting description to a single sentence, no more than seven words.
4. Now describe the setting in as few words as it takes but no more than are necessary to evoke the place.
5. Finally, after a time gap of several hours, create the beginning of a narrative using the setting you described above.