Red sky at night, sailors delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailors heed warning.
I think this was the first thing I learned to read as a child. The photo above is from the early dawn this week. So far, the saying has been true, on most days.
As we drive along in the car, wondering about the weather, the boys translate what they have learned about cloud formations to read the weather outside of the car. They can see the heat rising, wind moving, cold air hovering. They can time the speed of a squall coming to shore, anticipate a waterspout, and time the rain breaks to run out to the car.
They can narrate the story of the rains. Weaving in tales of the high water lines in the river, lake, estuary and beach. They investigate the debris to tell what has happened in the mountains and out at sea.
They can predict the spring fruit with how early we see buds on the trees. How the crops will grow based on early buds and spring freezes. They can see the spring come as the Robins and Varied Thrush.
They can anticipate this morning’s weather based on the sounds of the birds in the trees above our home in the morning. Or know of the storm at sea based on the gulls on our side of the lake.
They investigate the tide pools and agate beds to see what has washed ashore. Did it come from sea or mountain? Flood or creation? Years of erosion? Volcanoes?
Their new reading skill has come in the tide pools with creatures. Seeing the signs of what is there tells us what tide zone we are witnessing. Finding a large amount of one species in decay may show us of a low tide zone freeze or a predator or illness.
We follow the gull and the pelican to the deep outside waters to locate the whales and the sharks.
You may have young boys in your home, who are not quite ready to read a field guide or a Burgess book on their own. But you can start laying a foundation of tools before them. Teach them observation. Each season. As the weather and earth changes, more questions will develop. They will observe enough information to come up with answers based on experience, and not a book. They may find themselves writing to the ‘experts’ in the area with observations that go against what has been written by someone else. Who, like them, have only observational science to direct their writing.
My favorite part about our trip to California happened in the car and along the shores. Listening to my two boys answer questions about the Ocean, Tide pools, Rocks, Birds, Plants. Listening to their exclamations as they read the earth and sky.
Is it worth it? Those 15 minutes a week outside intentionally observing the little things?
Yes. A resounding trumpet filled full gospel choir Yes.
Beautifully written and so true! My boys are not the best “readers” but they are amazing at reading our natural environment. They amaze me with their observations.