Week 6: Words from the Wild 10.02.21

Words inspired by the full moon, snow and snowshoe hares!
(This is an online creative writing class produced for St Nicks Ecotherapy programme in York. Anyone is welcome to join in on line. At present we are using inspiration from the St Nicks book club to create the writing tasks. If you are local to York and would like to find out more about how to get involved in person please click here.)

Hi Everyone,
This week William and I chose another chapter from 50 Words for Snow as inspiration from our creative writing tasks. This week we looked at chapter 7 which describes the Anishinaabeg people and their words for the moon which are linked directly to the natural seasons throughout the calendar year. For example in different phases of the year the moon might be referred to as the ‘Hard Crust on the Snow Moon’ or the ‘Broken Snowshoe Moon’ reflecting the change in season and how snow settles.

The chapter also discusses how this language would have helped the people to navigate the land and to understand the conditions to expect. This would have been especially useful on hunting trips or long journeys navigating a snow covered landscape where glimpses of wild animals such as the hare would be found fleetingly on their journey.

The following tasks are inspired by the chapter:

Task 1: (5mins) Night foraging:TheSnowshoe hare is nocturnal and feeds at night on grass, shrubs and lower branches in the forest. Imagine venturing out in a wintery woodland at night. Describe foraging in snow. How easy do you him think it would be to find food?

Task 2: (10 mins) The full moon. The literature we looked at this week describes different names for the moon depending on a season. Can you think of a favourite landscape or garden. Can you imagine it blanketed under thick snow and lit up by the moon? Describe what you see. Imagine how the pale glow highlights particular features. What would you name this special effect on your favourite landscape?

Task 3: (5 mins) Snowshoe Hares. Hares have developed large feet that work brilliantly to travel across the snow acting as a natural snow shoe, a design that we have copied to help us walk safely across drifts of snow. If you could develop one aspect of yourself inspired by nature what would it be? Perhaps you would be colourful in Spring, or you would develop super large feet in winter to help walk on snow, or gills to enable you to swim under water!! Have some fun taking inspiration from the natural world to tell me what attribute you would like!

Task 4 (5 mins): During Spring we experience Spring and neap tides , when the tides are unusually high and low. This is caused by the angles of the sun and moon. Tell me about a walk or a view of a beach under moonlight. You can write from a true memory or from your imagination, if you can, include a neap or spring tide in your writing.

I hope that you enjoyed the tasks today. It was too irresistible not to investigate snow a little further!

See you next week.

Best wishes,


Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge (www.yorksj.ac.uk/converge) and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York (www.stnicks.org.uk) for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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