[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 19
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]


Let's Go Outside | Commentary by Evelyne Vandersande
| Thursday, Jan 3, 2013

evelynevandersande_mugA teacher asked her class to list the seven wonders of the world. There were a few differences, but most votes went to the Egyptian pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Grand Canyon, the wall of China and so forth. While she was collecting the papers, the teacher noticed that one student had not handed in her paper.

She asked the young girl if the assignment was too difficult. The girl answered, “Yes, a little; there are so many.” Trying to help, the teacher said, “Maybe you could tell us a few and we can help you decide?” The girl replied: “I think the seven wonders of the world are see, hear, touch, taste, smell, laugh, love.”

The classroom grew still. Those are so simple and ordinary, we forget how wonderful they are.

I have found that the people who truly know how to enjoy their senses are people who have had a brush with death – people who had a serious illness but recovered. It is a hard way to learn, but they live day by day, enjoying each day as much as possible.

That is a bit sad, because this happiness is within everyone’s reach, but we forget to grab it. Being surrounded by nature makes the enjoyment of your senses easy – but here again, we have to learn a few key steps.

I do many interviews for the Rattler, the newsletter from the Placerita Canyon Nature Center. I always ask this question early in the interview: “How did your love of nature start?” People warm up right away.

Childhood memories tumble out: working in the garden with a grandparent, going hiking or looking under stones, going to the Sierras every summer with family. Sometimes it takes a little help to learn how to really see and enjoy the nature around you.

I do not pretend I can take you by the hand and go for a little hike, but we can review a few things together that can make using our senses more pleasurable.

Photos: Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates

Photos: Placerita Canyon Nature Center Associates

See: That is an easy one. We are surrounded by beautiful mountains that change with the light at different times of the day. Trees are everywhere in this valley. Usually the sky is clear, and we can enjoy it freely. Do you notice that once we go over the Newhall Pass, the sky is quite often cloudy?

ev010312aHear: This one is dear to me. If you go hiking at full speed, or if you are listening to your iPod, you are going to miss something special. We have an exercise we do on the trail with the children. We ask everyone to stop, be still for 10 seconds and tell us what they hear. You will be surprised – really surprised – if you do that, to find how many birds you can hear. You also hear branches creaking, the sound of the wind, all kinds of little sounds you would have never noticed before. At this time of year, walking in dry leaves and hearing all of that crackling brings a lot of satisfaction.

ev010312fTouch: One of our trails that is wheelchair friendly was planted with plants that make a lasting impression if you touch them: sharp leaves like the yucca that was used as needle by native Americans, soft leaves of the Yerba Santa that feel like velvet. All of this fresh, green grass is calling me to remove my shoes and take a few steps in it. The moss is growing on the rocks like a soft mat, and it feels good to brush my hand over it. Hug a tree? Why not? At least feel the rough bark on a tree like the coastal live oak and compare it with the smooth bark of a sycamore that peels off under your fingers.

ev010312kTaste: Hmm. I have a problem with this one because I am not supposed to tell you to eat anything in the park, since people can have allergies to many plants. I took a photo of the mint in my backyard, and you know how refreshing it is to chew on a mint leaf. There are other plants like this in the park, but I will keep quiet. One source of food I can tell you about is the acorn, which was the most important food source for native Americans in our area, the Tataviam. They did not live in Placerita; they were located in Newhall but would come to gather acorns in Placerita when the crop was ready. Acorns need to be ground, leached carefully because they contain tannic acid, then made into mush or meal. Whole acorns were stored for winter food. I have eaten pancakes made with acorn meal a few times, and they are nutty and delicious, but the preparation of the acorn meal takes time.

ev010312dSmell: That is a delicious one In our everyday life, it is common to see a flower and put our nose into it to get a nice smell. In nature you often have to smell with your hands. There are many flowers but their scent is light. If we want to have a strong perfume, we rub our hands in sage brush and black sage and all the smell of the chaparral will envelop us, it is so intense. White sage is still burned by native Americans and used in purification ceremonies.

Sagebrush was called “cowboy cologne” and it is a powerful one. The cowboy would brush against it on his horse and the sage bush would perfume him for days. Every season brings us different smells. How can I describe the cold and crisp morning air, while the ground is wet and mushrooms pop out in a single night? After one night of frost, the air smells different – a little sharper.

To return to the beginning of my story, this young girl mentioned “laugh” and “love” as wonders of the world. In the spirit of this exploration of our senses in this New Year, go take a walk with a friend on the trail, and maybe you will share a laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

All my best wishes to you for the whole year around.

 

 

Evelyne Vandersande has been a docent at Placerita Canyon Nature Center for 27 years. She lives in Newhall.

 

ev010312b ev010312c ev010312e ev010312g ev010312i ev010312j ev010312l ev010312m ev010312n ev010312o ev010312p

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
The Trump budget proposes decreasing funding to the Department of the Interior by $1.5 billion. Trump is calling for more drilling in national parks and monuments. He plans to open BLM land to drilling and fracking.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
We are quickly approaching the culmination of the year-long celebration of our city’s 30th anniversary. It is truly a time to celebrate all the hard work, dedication, perseverance and passion that took our City from being a tiny portion of Los Angeles County to the thriving third largest city in the county.
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This month marks an exciting milestone for the premier arts and entertainment district in Santa Clarita.
Friday, Sep 29, 2017
Kaepernick has never spoken of personally experiencing any negative interactions with the police. Appearances are he had a pretty nice life provided by people with white skin while living in a country that presented him with obvious, mind-boggling opportunities.
Thursday, Sep 28, 2017
Despite its close proximity to the city of Barstow, Rainbow Basin remains virtually undiscovered. It is well worth a visit. Visitors to the area can find scenic opportunities for hiking, rock scrambling, camping, photography, sightseeing and horseback riding.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The fall 2017 Star Party at College of the Canyons' Canyon Country campus on Friday, Oct. 27 will focus on the pathways to space exploration that exist for star-gazers who are captivated by the many mysteries of the universe.
Oct. 27: Star Party at COC Canyon Country Campus
Determined to transform the deeply troubled Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday voted unanimously to consider an independent entity that would provide guidance, oversight and accountability.
Supes Consider Entity for Probation Reform Guidance, Oversight, Accountability
Alexia Cina of Canyon Country was arrested Wednesday in connection with the death of a mother of six children in a head-on crash on Golden Valley Road on October 6.
Woman Charged with Manslaughter, DUI in Death of Mother of 6
The 22nd annual Santa Clarita Marathon is scheduled for Sunday, November 5, 2017, following the Santa Clarita Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday.
Nov. 4-5: 22nd Annual Santa Clarita Marathon Events
The Los Angeles Dodgers jumped to a 3-0 lead in the best of seven series following Tuesday night’s 6-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs in Game 3 of the NLCS at Wrigley Field.
Dodgers Out to Sweep Cubs in NLCS Game 4
The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department's 2017 Medal of Valor Awards were held Tuesday in Los Angeles, and SCV Sheriff's Station Deputy Dmitry Barkon was recognized for his bravery and heroic actions.
SCV Sheriff’s Deputy Dmitry Barkon Earns Medal of Valor
Now is the time for all good college-bound high school seniors to join the 'Race to Submit' applications for FAFSA and CADAA grants to help cover college expenses.
High School Seniors: ‘Race to Submit’ is on for 2018 College Financial Aid
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies interrupted a smash-and-grab burglary on The Old Road early Friday morning, arresting one suspect and seeking two alleged accomplices still at large.
SCV Deputies Catch Window-Smash Burglars in the Act
Pukúu Cultural Community Services, founded in 1971 by members of the local Fernandeno-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, will host its 13th Annual scholarship gala fundraiser, "Night with the Stars," in Sunland on Saturday, November 4 starting at 6 p.m.
Nov. 4: Local Tribe Honors 3, Celebrates Native American Heritage Month
California's Attorney General today filed a motion to compel the federal government to follow the law and pay the subsidies that millions of Americans rely on to lower the out-of-pocket costs in their insurance plans.
California AG Fights to Keep ACA Cost-Sharing Subsidies
Santa Clarita business owners are encouraged to take the city's broadband feasibility study online survey and participate in the next phase of the study -- in-person focus groups scheduled for October 30.
Oct. 30: Focus Groups in Next Phase of City Broadband Study
The $17 billion "California WaterFix" project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach in favor of a less expensive, scaled-back version.
Silicon Valley Water Board Wants Delta Tunnels Downsized
Maryama, a band led by CalArts alumna Maryama Mirbagheri (Music MFA 17), was recently nominated for a 2017 Hollywood Music in Media Award in the World Music category.
Maryama Nominated for Hollywood Music in Media Award
The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, in response to President Trump’s recent decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has declared Oct. 16-20 "DACA Advocacy Week."
California Community Colleges Ramp Up DACA Advocacy
COC and the Hart District will host the 2017 College & Career Fair in the college’s Honor Grove on Saturday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Oct. 21: 2017 College and Career Fair at COC
The College of the Canyons Art Gallery will showcase the work of Los Angeles-based painter Sheldon Figoten in a one-person exhibition of new paintings, “Light Fields,” opening Saturday, Oct. 28.
Oct. 28: Sheldon Figoten ‘Light Fields’ at COC Art Gallery
The Santa Clarita Artists Association held its 28th Annual Art Classic fine arts competition at William S. Hart Park's Hart Hall in Newhall on October 14.
Santa Clarita Artists Association Names Winners in 2017 Art Classic
Here is the Castaic-Val Verde Crime Information & Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for September 25 through October 1.
Crime Blotter: Arson, Burglary, Theft in Castaic-Val Verde
California and New Mexico launched a fresh challenge Tuesday against the Trump administration’s repeal of higher royalty payments to states for oil, gas and coal leases on public lands.
California, New Mexico Challenge White House Favors to Oil, Gas, Coal
Here is the Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) Crime Information & Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of October 2 to October 8.
Crime Blotter: Burglary, Petty Theft in Stevenson Ranch
Here is the Canyon Country East (Zone 8) Crime Information and Public Safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for September 24 through October 8, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Vehicle Theft, Burglary in Canyon Country East
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]
CalArts Center for New Performance (CNP), the professional producing arm of California Institute of the Arts, opens Fantômas: Revenge of the Image at Wuzhen Theatre Festival in Wuzhen, China, on Oct. 19.
Oct. 19: CalArts’ Fantomas: Revenge of the Image Premieres in China
The CSUN women's golf team fired rounds of 306-309 and is in fourth place, just eight shots off the pace at the Pat Lesser Harbottle Seattle University Invitational at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club in Tacoma, WA.
CSUN Just Eight Shots Off Pace At Washington Invitational
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, Recreation, Community Services, Arts and Open Spaces Director Rick Gould announces retirement. Plus, the Board of Supervisors approve mental health care improvements. Check out these stories and more tonight on SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Tuesday, October 17, 2017
The Advanced Technology Presentation about "Careers in the Making...Design, Engineering, Fabrication and More..." in celebration of National Manufacturing Day was a huge success.
SCV Students Gain Knowledge, Advice at National Manufacturing Day
A local company is expanding its footprint in the Santa Clarita Valley to accommodate business growth and another is relocating a division of its company from Sylmar.
Accurate Freight Systems Expands, Leases Space at IAC Commerce Center
The Domestic Violence Center (DVC) of Santa Clarita Valley is accepting applications for Adopt-a-Family 2017.
DVC of SCV Currently Accepting Adopt-a-Family 2017 Applications
Major Impact Theater, founded by Jill Garson and Shawnda Davis in 2014, is a non-profit theater group that specially adapts plays for performance by adults with disabilities in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Nov. 4: Major Impact Theater Presents Blunderland
California State University, Northridge will make history on Thursday, Oct. 26, by becoming the first California State University with a Sustainability Center.
Oct. 26: CSUN to Open Sustainability Center
Registration for the Purple Walk of Strength is now open.
Oct. 21: Purple Walk of Strength to Benefit Domestic Violence Center
Raising a child is a demanding job for any parent, especially when supportive resources seem to be elusive or nonexistent.
Oct. 22: CSUN Hosts Special Needs Resource Fair
College of the Canyons dominated its match vs. Bakersfield College from start to finish on Friday night, resulting in a 5-1 victory over the Renegades for the Cougars' first conference win of the season.
COC Gets First Conference Win of Season Against Bakersfield College
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Following a two-week layoff, College of the Canyons cross country was back in competition on Saturday, running with a mix of community college and Division I programs at the Sixth Annual UC Riverside Highlander Invitational.
COC Cross Country Back in Competition After Two Week Layoff