Nature Experiences

Keep in mind, you don’t need to choose anything at this time.

We offer this list to give you a sense of the range of possibilities available during your retreat. When we are here together we'll be able to review the list to find the activities that will best align with your personal style, questions, and goals.

Experience the Natural World

Being outdoors is a refreshing way to clear your mind, synthesize a new idea, or uncover a stuck point. When you are at Willowspring, opportunities to enjoy the natural world are literally around every corner:

  • Within our property: Explore the walking paths, sit in the hot tub, hang out on the porch, find one of the sit spots to enjoy sights and sounds, or work on the property with Nick.

  • In the forest across the street: Sit for a time at the beginning of the trail next to a lovely ferny forest or hike up to the end of the trail.

  • In our rural neighborhood: Take a walk on a gravel road in a loop through our neighborhood or get to the mid-point and turn back around. Visit with the goats and horses along the way. Wander to the school house a few doors down and sit on the porch swing to enjoy the quiet view. Visit the creek or walk to another forest trailhead on the other side of the valley.

  • In the surrounding area (10-15 minute drive): Head out in one direction to hike to the ridge or down to a stunning old growth forest. Drive in the other direction to a network of trails in the local arboretum.

Expressive Art Experiences

One way to move energy through or claim a new insight is to express what you are feeling through a piece of art. If you'd like help finding a focus for your expressive art, we can assist.

  • Nature Art - use natural materials to create a mandala, natural altar, or cairn.

Divination Tools

When you want to explore a topic you can't quite wrap your mind around or you have questions weighing on your heart and mind, divination tools can provide new insights. Each tool will help you access imagery, symbols, and concepts relevant to your focus. Don't worry if you've never used these divination tools before, we'll walk you through the process and guide you as you uncover the insights they have to offer.

  • Nature’s Wisdom Deck – Based on the Seasons of Change, this deck of cards gives you access to nature metaphors that can provide hope and direction if you are navigating a time of transition in your life.

  • A collection of other tools you can choose from.

Deepen Your Connection with Nature

  • Meditations — Guided nature meditation, panoramic awareness, and others. First we'll sit together for a while, then you'll sit alone. Later, we can discuss or not, as you prefer. Learn a deep meditation skill you can use for a lifetime.

Guided Nature Experiences

  • Exploring Deep Nature — A guided, in-depth science / nature / ecology experience at Willowspring. Meet hundreds of species of birds, plants, insects, fungi, and many other life forms. Learn fascinating things about our local ecosystem and how it works. Use binoculars, special observation spots, and a microscope to extend your view. Get a deeper picture of how life works!

  • Guided Foraging / Mushroom Hunt — This activity varies by season. Best foraging is in late spring through early summer, and from mid-fall to early winter. Mushroom hunting is best in fall and early winter, with a smaller mushroom window in early to mid-spring. Results highly dependent on season and weather. Yes, we can eat what we find, including safe mushrooms.

  • Area Field Trips — Guided deep nature experiences off-site at a wildlife refuge, beach, old growth forest, or another natural place. This is not a quick tour, it is a deep exploration. We'll take time to appreciate the beauty, diversity, and relationships of the amazing species we encounter. We are blessed to be surrounded by beauty!

  • Guided Nature Walk — A leisurely stroll through any of our diverse local ecosystems, from marshes to mountaintops. Meet the species, and learn about their histories, interactions, and practical uses. Depending on season, we may see butterflies, hummingbirds, deer, frogs, salamanders, wildflowers, giant slugs, and dozens of kinds of berries, along with many other beautiful species.


Nature's Wisdom Walk

Nature provides great wisdom whether it is seeing how a plant adapts to the change of season or an animal graces you with its presence. If you'd like to connect with nature and your core focus more deeply, consider going on a Nature's Wisdom Walk. This walk is more than a casual walk where you look at the scenery. On this walk you are mindful about the details you experience. When you share your story upon your return, you and Carol will explore your story to find layers of insight in the form of metaphors, repeated themes, and patterns that give you insights about your chosen focus.

Carol will guide you each step of the way:

  • Framing your focus question

  • Helping you choose a place to walk

  • Setting a framework for a mindful walk

  • Listening to you share the story of your walk

  • Finding meaning in your experience that speaks to your focus question