After morning circle, including a rainy version of "La Bamba" and a rowdy game of "Predator, Prey, Protection," we headed out to our home in the woods and specifically to the warm and dry tent. Snack were unpacked while Emma started a fire in the wood stove, allowing us to really feel good about starting the adventurous day with dry, warm nourishment. I told the classic Old Man Coyote story, "Coyote, Iktomi, and Grandfather Rock." (This story is featured in a stunning and beautiful movie called Dreamkeeper, which follows the journey of a modern-day Lakota grandfather and his teenage grandson on a road trip, and flashes back to many Native American stories, of various traditions.) Coyote and Iktomi, after hours and hours and days and days of bickering, finally decide to agree on something: It's time to find some food! We briefly detoured from the plot of the story to discuss our favorite smells. Some children offered up unique and wonderful examples—flowers, leaves, rain, cut grass—while others listed things like cake, cookies, pizza, and hot dogs!
It wasn't long before we found ourselves in the midst of Coyote trickery ourselves. Bella was spotted on the shoulders of Coyote as he ran off cackling! We packed our things and headed in the direction they were last spotted: at Grandfather Rock. Incredibly, we found a note at the rock, which gave us a clue to follow the trail to find them. We spotted a trail heading uphill and cautiously but excitedly followed it. It wasn't long before we came upon a gigantic and mysterious skull: Could this be the "zipperumpazoo" skull that we had been searching for weeks ago?! We soon came to Bella, but no sign of Coyote!
We found the older kids near the tent, planting leeks. We told them of our journey and also learned from them some wild edible identification. The sky was clearing and we began work to fix up our shelter, which led to the discovery of many small creatures under the logs, sticks, and stones that we turned. This fun work also led to some free play by the stream, which also provided some muddy shoes and feet.
We completed our candle project, wioth some kids helping to drop the balsam fir oil in the melting candle wax and others marveling at the colors and smell of the process. Around lunch, another Coyote story was told, this time a personal account of when Coyote himself appeared to me, and put a spell on me! The spell had made me feel that is was a hot, humid 90-degree day. Coyote had magically make me feel so warm that I'd be dying to jump in the cold creek. Sure enough, that's what happened! But when I jumped in, I instantly felt the chill of the water and the air and the children had to quickly make me a fire. After all this exploring and drama, we packed up our belongings and enjoyed some free play, mostly centered around Grandfather Rock. A group of FORESTERs walked by and we took advantage of that opportunity to hide and make bird sounds. Our last part of the day involved a fun walk through the forest back to the parking lot, while we chatted, sang, and debriefed the day.
—Dan, Emma, and Bella