Dear Curiosity Journal,

I notice a childlike jubilation building as I begin the annual gathering of natural materials for winter solstice crafts – evergreen wreaths, yule logs, and fairy houses. If a youngster has ever frolicked up to you and gifted you some treasure they found while exploring, you’ve seen a glimpse of this mirth. I’ve been obliged to carry countless rocks, acorns, and flowers around in my pockets while hiking with children and may have caught a bit of their curious presence, or rather remembered my own. This simple inner cheer of being fully present, not remembering back, planning ahead, ruminating, or ideating, but being aware of the wonder in this very moment, the miracle of a drying flower, a vibrant dogwood stem, the sacred geometry of a pinecone, or a piece of fallen bark. To just be, to breathe in harmony with nature, to sense the interconnection and awe of it all is a peaceful place. To bring home a bundle of plants feels natural, to gather them for art and play feels joyful.