How delightful are these ornamental corn cobs? If you could pick one up and hold it in your hands, you’d get to feel the texture of the bumpy kernels, smooth and knobbly, you’d notice how glossy and bright each kernel appears, and if you looked closer, you’d see the amazing depth of color trapped beneath the surface of each membrane, the hues of red, purple, and blue. Each kernel is like a rare gem - a cob like a chest of rubies and sapphires!

As an adult I don’t take the time to soak in the details of nature like this very often. My delight in these corn cobs (and the imaginative lens to see them as gems) is a remnant from my childhood. When I was about 9 to 12, I used to become completely absorbed in studying the five or so ornamental corn cobs my mom would set out as part of the fall decor every year. I remember feeling a sense of wonder studying these corn cobs, amazed at how beautiful a vegetable could be! (Ha!)

Maria Montessori, whose philosophy of education is popular today, was a careful observer of children and how they learn, especially in nature. She noticed that when children are given time to freely explore the natural world, they often become instinctive students, natural scientists, absorbed in the details of grass, bugs, rocks and so on. And beyond showing impressive attention and observational skills, she noticed the emotional effect that this kind of time out in nature tended to have on them as well - the way they seemed to grow more fulfilled, happy, and serene.  

I think it’s fair to say it can have a similar effect on us as adults, too! This fall, whether its with your kids or your own inner kid - I hope you’ll make it outside to enjoy the sights, smells, and textures of nature.

Allison (Allie) Ramsey is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Therapist. Allie works with individuals on a broad range of issues, including anxiety, depression, relational challenges, faith integration, divorce, and aging.