The rain diminished to welcome visiting grandparents and elders for our annual Grandparents Day. We gathered around a fire with the Wind Gatherers and their and our visiting elders as a whole community. We received the opportunity to listen to the hearts of our elders in our Gratitude circle. Then Kwahn shared the history of the bow drill, that it is a form of firemaking that comes from the people of this land, a fire-making technology designed to work within Cascadia’s challenging climate of heavy moisture and rain. With embers kindled from Running Horse and Kwahn working their bow drills, we sang fire into life.
Stacey then related origin tales from VWP’s own heritage as a nature-immersion program. Where and who were the elders in the stories we heard of Stalking Wolf, Tom Brown Jr., and Jon Young, and what was the meaning of the turtle on the string? What roles did the elders play in the tales?
From there, we Fire Tenders broke into guilds for the day.
Kwahn’s guild went on the adventure of deepening their relationship with fire.
Together they learned about the Fire Triangle, different Fire Structures, and the different types of food Fire likes to eat. Even in the wetness of the PNW they were able to get two fires going!
Jacqui guided a group in be-friending Trees. Beginning with the blindfold activity, “Meet a Tree,” they sought a tree friend to get to know. They engaged in making bark rubbings and printing, which met with wet challenge.
Running Horse and his group made cordage, using nettle and flax, and learning about other possible materials from which one can make cordage. They learned how to splice fibers to make longer rope, and how to break nettle to remove the pith to get the fibers out.
Singing Deer led a group in learning the language of plants by way of our senses, especially of taste. What happens in our mouths and bodies and when we experience certain tastes (sour, bitter, pungent …) and what do those sensations tell us about how a plant helps or nourishes us? After browsing various plants the group prepared an amazing evergreen huckleberry-laden Forest tea.
We regrouped in community to play an epic game of Nest Robbers (also known as Jays and Songbirds/Chickadees). Much life-and-death drama followed as songbirds struggled to bring food to their nests and to protect it from Jays. A Pygmy Owl swooped in to try to catch both Jays and Chickadees before they dove into hiding. No creature was safe anywhere from Bobcat, and Beautiful Music restored life to the fallen. What happened in the final part of the game when all these creatures were present, and only bird language could be spoken? What was your child’s experience as predators were added to the game?
Our day concluded with stories from our day and a final opportunity to hear from our visiting grandparents and elders. Elders offer love, grounding, wisdom and depth, and so much more to family and community. We are deeply grateful to have shared our day with our visitors!