By: Debbie Luican

No matter what the year brings, what busyness we experience, December is a time of joy. It is a time to slow down and appreciate. As the stress of long to-do lists morphs into the desire to not miss a single moment of celebration, December calls us to take a time-out of our routine.

With family and friends we prolong the gratitude of Thanksgiving well into the New Year. Regardless of the holidays we celebrate, the opportunity to feel and express love and gratitude prevail. We all, in some way, celebrate December.

Friends gathering at Big Oak Canyon

Appreciating Nature in December

For those of us who seek nature in good times and bad, the change of season only serves to entice us outdoors. Whether hiking Big Oak Canyon to observe the majesty of the trees in winter, or heading to the beach to watch the enormous winter swells along the coast, winter in California is as much a wonderland as summer – if not moreso.

Winter days are short and nights are long. People, like plants, often tuck in, rest, become dormant, and do less. Additionally, it can be a quiet time when the song birds sleep. It is a time for reflection, seeking shelter and warmth, and hope for wet days ahead. 

Having fun by the creek at Big Oak Canyon

Nature Connection in Winter

Undoubtedly, December nature connection means chilled wind in our face, fresh air in our lungs, and holds the promise of a New Year looming before us. December also reminds us of our connection to nature and the constant potential of life itself. It reminds us of what and who we have to be grateful for. Furthermore, it reminds us of who we are.

At Big Oak seeing the bright red toyon berries against the green leaves reminds us of holidays past. The sagebrush becomes green again in December, a signal that the wet season has arrived. Moreover, if there is rain, the creek begins to flow, the land is wet, and we can sit around a fire with friends. 

toyon berries
toyon berries

At Earthroots, we try to keep that December joy with us throughout the year. When focused on nature, and our connection to it, every day offers an opportunity to celebrate. That December joy was never really meant for just December. It is ours for the taking every day of the year.

Jodi Levine and her native plant wreath from our 2021 class

What in nature signals December for you? What is your December joy? If it’s been a while since you’ve connected with nature in the winter…it might be time to arrange a visit to Big Oak Canyon. 

Another part of our year-round joy is you! Thank you for being part of our community! Finally, thank you for your continued presence and support of our shared vision of nature connection for all! 

May your December be filled with joy!