The leaves are changing colors, some birds are starting south, and there's an invigorating nip in the air. At morning circle, we put on our Deer Ears, opened our Owl Eyes, tuned in the rest of our senses, and paused, taking in the shift in seasons and the Earth around us. We shared what we sensed and shared our gratitude, as well.
When we got to camp, we spotted a pot filled with a tinder bundle (made with several plants and char cloth), honey, a ladle, 10 fairy stones, and a note from the fairies with instructions for making hemlock tea. Ink-dipped footprints were scattered across the page! The kids spoke earnestly and magically to each other about the fairies visiting the house they built last week, what their tracks look like, what they prefer for bedding, and other important and beautiful questions and ideas that we hope they carry with them, in some way, forever.
A fire was in order, but before fire must come food. Over snack, we heard the story of Rainbow Crow and how she brought fire down to earth on the branch of a cedar tree, but through this unselfish act her feathers were scorched black, and were no longer rainbows. In the end, she realizes that being black and iridescent and selfless, she is even more beautiful than before, and now her friends will stay warm through the winter months.
We got to work learning the structural necessities, sizes of sticks, and types of tinder necessary to building a healthy fire. We learned rules for feeding it and staying safe and we worked hard hauling wood. When we were through, we took turns with a flint and steel (with many kids sparking the bundle into quick bursts of flames), and sung the fire ablaze!
We split into groups and used clippers to gather hemlock for tea, but not before asking kindly the tree's permission and waiting for an answer. We set the tea on the fire to boil, and while it cooked we played, found millipedes under logs, worked more on fairy houses, used quartz and flint to sharpen sticks into points for a project, and began our project: building a wattle-and-daub wall or structure!
Together, we used rocks to pound sharpened posts into the Earth, and then began weaving malleable saplings around them to begin our wall. We will continue working on the wattle all fall and hopefully, daub in the spring. Most likely, it will be as big or small as the amount of right-sized saplings we can sustainably take from this land, and from land at home.
We closed the day with our tea and sharing around the fire.
—Theresa and Julie, September 30, 2016