CPAWS Southern Alberta Blog

Okay. Now. Here. Find your sit spot.

By Sheri Tarrington

Well, hey there, cerulean sky with Rocky Mountains fading on until forever… 

Long time, no see. 

After four weeks and 9,135.6 kilometers of adventure and reunion – geographical, fanciful and familial, daybreak is first to greet me. Like the deep rest only afforded by one’s own bed, its reception is genuine and sincere… 

I am getting closer… 

Only 412 steps to go. 

Just 14 minutes beyond my front door, and I am here: 

In my element. In my Sheri space. In my sit spot. 

Immediately, everything is familiar. At the same time, everything is completely changed.  

Immediately, everything is familiar. At the same time, everything is completely changed.  

Photo: Sheri Tarrington

July’s pink, purple and blue blooms are now September’s sienna, crimson and fuchsia fruit and seed. Robust rose hips threaten rupture. Meadowlarks, Ravens, and Jays parent and clammer with purpose. Butterflies and moths dance and land haphazardly all over. Coyote clues – from tracks to scat – abound. And, while there is no sign of the gracious gait of my Great blue heron, a peripheral, soil-spewed, sunlight flicker alerts me that a Pocket gopher is closing shop for the night. 

With eyes closed, I can feel the distance between the sun and my skin growing larger. On the threshold of trading mild-mannered green secret identities for gilded gold alter egos, aspen leaves wrestle more loudly with westerly winds. The scent of decomposition’s dance underway is unmistakable.  

Alright. Yep, almost there… 

As a place of resolve and dissolve, my sit spot lies nestled in the sandstone folds of a Foothill’s coulee, less than 1,400 heartbeats from my own backyard. It is a place where nature surrounds, secludes, and soothes. A place where – as nature – I reconvene to relish, relinquish and replenish.  

Photo: Sheri Tarrington

All poetry aside, a sit spot is simply a space outdoors, where you, your senses and nature can intermingle.

In its essence, it is a place outside all your own. For some, a sit spot may be a sheltered seat below a silent spruce; for others, a sun-warmed rock beside a conversational creek. In the end, all that really matters is that your sit spot is yours – close, comfy, and constant. 

With words honouring gifted years of Indigenous teachings, Jon Young, renown nature educator and coauthor of Coyote’s Guide, advises that a sit spot’s lessons unlock as you “know it by day; know it by night; know it in the rain and in the snow, in the depth of winter and in the heat of summer. Know the stars and where the four directions are there; know the birds that live there, know the trees they live in. Get to know these things as if they were your relatives, for, in time, you will come to know that they are.” Connection and calm come with time, as you recognize the acquainted, anticipate the unknown and find yourself – as both seasoned inhabitant AND wide-eyed tourist – craving it all! 

In my sit spot, I am an observer and a participant – part dreamer, part citizen scientist. Here the circles of the sun and the seasons are known and experienced – and hold up and explain everything else that’s going on in my life. Birds, butterflies, and beetles arrive and depart. Life recants and renews. Climate shifts and unfolds and invites me in as a marker.  

And it invites you too. Because this place is not far, ever. It can be the steps of your front porch, or the view from your balcony. And the only promise you need to make to unleash it’s magic and mindfulness is your presence.  

Indeed, it is undeniable. 

After four weeks and 9,135.6 kilometers of away… 

Okay. Now. Here. In my sit spot… 

I am home. 

Together with her teammates, Sheri facilitates the CPAWS Wild Wellness environmental education experience that aims to inspire others to connect with nature as part of a healthy life. The program is offered in-person or virtually to teachers, administrators and whole-school communities as professional development; to classrooms from K-12, and to other interested youth or adult organizations.