Winter sunshine welcomed us back to Camp Sealth to a day in which we explored Fire! With the tinder bundle and fire structure set up by Forest Trackers, we came together to share gratitude and to sing our fire to life. Singing Deer shared a story about a youth who traveled into the high mountains to learn the secrets of fire making from the masters who lived there. What were some of the secrets that the youth discovered about making the fire structure? And what were some of the ways in which fire is more than a source of heat, cooking food, or other tool? In what ways does Fire speak to our spirit, to who we are in community, to mystery? How does Fire speak to you? And what is it about the Silence that can grow around fire?
From there we separated into clans to explore fire secrets further. But, wait! In two separate instances, instructors found themselves plunged into icy waters, and their clans were against a ticking clock to get a fire going lest their beloved instructors perish from hypothermia! Kwahn’s clan made use of a piece of chaga mushroom to transport a coal and feed it from the still-burning central fire, while the clan quickly prepared a tinder bundle and fire structure for it. Similarly, in Running Horse’s clan, students discovered how to work together to provide what was needed for a fire and a structure for it, attempt to use a bow drill, and ultimately get their fire going. Whew! Both Kwahn and Running Horse were saved, and, in the warmth of unity, teamwork, and the fire of a good story, miraculously were restored to well-being and utterly dry clothes!
Jacqui’s clan headed out on a big downhill wander, where they paused to have their own fire-focused adventure: that of actually sparking a flame, working with matches — a new skill for several of the students — and flint-and-steel. After their exploration and experimentation, this clan continued on their journey, ending up at the beach! — and then, making the more arduous journey back up with a will and a way!
After experimenting with different plant materials in the fire (how did the different twigs, leaves, mosses burn? Which might be best for a tinder bundle or early part of the fire, which might be best saved for later) Singing Deer’s clan headed out on a trail-blazing adventure. In the mysterious reaches beyond the logging road, they discovered a still-live fallen Western hemlock that made for great climbing and exploration. Then as they sought a way back, they discovered a large bird skeleton, complete with feathers (dark, with light marks, and some quite long), large curved talons, and the skull with large eye sockets, a sharp beak, and — unusual for birds (as Kwahn pointed out later) — ear drums placed lower in the skull than typical birds, and offset from each other. What do those ear drums tell us about the bird’s abilities? Can your child figure out what bird it might be?
We can write about many other amazing things that happened during the day, such as a card walk Kwahn’s clan experienced that had instructions along the lines of: “Listen to the land. What story does it tell you?” but at this point this story is plenty long already! To find out more, ask your child a question or two, and follow the trail of their answers to discover their own story of the day and the special magic they experienced — a magic that reflects their own.
See you next month!