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Mother & Child, Wild

A prompt to encourage your practice of creativity this week from Riversider and local author Larry Burns.

Women walking on the trails at Sycamore Canyon (Branda Flowers/Gazette).

Do you need a low stress way to include seven minutes of creative contemplation into your week? Consider this your helpful nudge towards a slightly more creative life. If it helps, come back every week for a quick hit of creative contemplation. Each week I’ll share a new nudge. It will include a Thing (T), a Place (P), and a Sense(S) for your focus, a TPS creative nudge.

Happy Mother's Day! Last week we bared our soles to feel the dirt between our toes. Did you find yourself in cool places or were you inspired to simplify your footwear? Today's TPS creative nudge is dedicated to celebrating the special bond between mothers and their children, as reflected in the natural world. Symbols of that nurturing and protective relationship we celebrate today are found in captivating mother-child rock formations (large rock, small rock pairings) such as the famous Balanced Rock in Joshua Tree. Glance up at Box Springs from the 215/60/91 interchange (go ahead, traffic is likely stopped) for closer-to-home examples. Another place to look is in the rich, loamy understory of a tree’s canopy.

Your creative nudge this week: place yourself in a serene natural setting, whether it's a park, garden, or wilderness area. An ideal place has plenty of rocks and trees to choose from. Sycamore Canyon has all of this, and more. Really, any window into the outdoors, even a digital screen, works great for this week’s creative nudge.

As you study the rock formations, reflect on the symbolism they represent. Think about the profound connection between mothers and their children, the strength and support they provide for each other. Consider the ways in which this protective pairing is mirrored in our own lives and relationships. How can we creatively express this bond through art or writing?

Next, shift your focus to trees and their understory plants. Observe the towering presence of the trees, reaching up and reaching out, while their understory plants thrive below, nestled in their shade. Take note of the diverse array of plants that coexist harmoniously beneath the trees' branches. The tree shelters and protects, while the understory plants offer nourishment and support.

After spending time observing these natural pairings, take a few moments to journal or reflect on your experience. Write about the emotions and thoughts that arose during your observations. How do these pairings in nature make you feel? What lessons can you take from them and apply to your own life?

To extend the creative nudge beyond observation, consider these additional activities:

  • Create a piece of artwork inspired by the mother-child formations. Use colors, textures, and shapes to capture the essence of these connections.
  • Write a heartfelt letter or poem to your mother or child, expressing gratitude for the bond.
  • Take a walk with another person, brainstorm one new way to strengthen your connection.
  • Think about how the environment created the mother-child formation – wind, water, an earthquake. Now, think about what has shaped the formation of your relationships you value today.

By embracing the beauty of mother-child pairings in nature, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the nurturing relationships in our lives. Let the lessons learned from the natural world guide us in fostering stronger connections with our loved ones in the spirit of Mother's Day.

Note: portions of this prompt created using the tool ChatGPT.