Tracking, Reading the Landscape


I was walking to my car when I noticed these tracks, somewhat fresher than the squirrel tracks that ran in the same direction . The fox circled a tree trying to find a meal before running across the lawn back into the forest. I searched for an object in my pocket that would help show the size of the track, and found this card.  When I put it down next to the fox track, I was reminded of how often I’ve taught children to track  words when they are beginning readers.

I thought of how we can learn so much about our environment when we learn how to read it better.  One of those techniques is tracking. In the North Quabbin area I’ve learned tracking from Paul Rezendes and David Brown, and going out into the woods with them is a delightful experience. Both kinds of reading give me shivers of delight.  There’s nothing better than a good book, unless its going into the woods, or following a stream, and finding evidence of those that share our environment, be it squirrel, bear, or moose.

I work with Louise Doud of the  Literacy Volunteers in the North Quabbin area. The Literacy Volunteers of Orange/Athol  is dusting off and is set to grow. There’s a search on for both kinds of volunteers, the volunteers who will be trained to help people learn to read, and the people who want to learn to read. The office space in the Athol library, and will serve the greater area. Reading literacy, whether it be in the forest and field, or using a book, or learning to fill out paperwork,  is an important way to improve our lives in many practical ways.  It can also add to our creativity and imagination to enrich our lives.


More information on tracking programs with David Brown can be found at


a href=””>Variations on a Theme</a

<a href=””>Variations on a Theme</a>

About elainereardon

Poet, writer, gardener, herbalist, pottery, painting—bumping into magic, peeking around new corners.
This entry was posted in, Poems, tracking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.