What is a sit spot anyway?
One way to build awareness and connection to place is establishing a sit spot. This is a way to observe nature, settle down, quiet your mind, an anchor of awareness in life, and be present in the moment. Noticing patterns within the environment is the goal. Animals live in cities and in the woods. Have you ever noticed the Sharp-Shinned Hawk or Kestrel that lives in your neighborhood? Going to a sit spot develops a relationship with your environment.
Sharped Shined Hawk American Kestrel
Often times people spend a lot of time looking for a perfect sit spot that is next to a flowing creek with a view of a snow capped mountain. It is more important to find a place that you pass by often. Many people have their sit spot right outside or in an alley behind their house. If you have to drive half an hour to get to your sit spot, how often do you think you will go? Make sure it is convenient to get to. Ideally you’ll set a trap for yourself by having your sit spot be in a place that you see and pass by often.
Photo: Clark Patton
Local parks are great. Preferably your sit spot is not more than a five to ten-minute walk from home. Sitting right outside your house is also effective. If you like a spot by your school or work, go there. You’ve established a sit spot, what now? Creating a template journal or field inventory to record notes after you have a sit builds awareness faster. Frankly, it is not necessary to journal but it will help your growth and understanding of the natural world exponentially. Taking notes after your sit is the best way to be present in the moment and expand your awareness. Having to remember details will encourage growth in awareness. Make the sit spot a routine in your life.
What to include in a sit spot journal:
-Wind direction -Time of day
-Moon phase -Map of the area
-Bird language -Tracks
-What you notice in yourself -Tone of the sit
Grey’s sit spot map from his house in Oregon
Why would anyone want to practice sitting still? The deeper you dive into connection to nature the hungrier you get for knowledge. Thinking about sit spot time as practice for hunting, photography or nature observation can create the need to sit still. Humans, birds, and animal’s eyes are drawn to movement. The goal for some people is to observe animals more closely. If you are interested in animal photography, you’ll need to know how to sit still. It’s unlikely to see anything if you are stomping around the woods. You’ll have better luck if you are sitting still upwind from animals. Sitting still is hard. If it was easy everyone would be doing it!
Creating a map of the area seen from the vantage point of your sit spot will help you to notice patterns. Do you see the same type of bird every day in the same tree? What kind of bird is it? After going to your sit spot for a few weeks you’ll notice patterns in birds and other animals. Creating different maps of your sit spot is also a good way to become more aware of patterns.
Types of maps:
- Where your sit spot is in relation to your home
- What weather patterns are
- Water patterns
- Map of trees and plants
- Where you’ve seen animals
- Human and animal trail maps in the area