It was an exciting day of challenge and fun for Fire Tenders this Friday! As we met at Wrangler, the Fire Tenders were eager to explore, play, and imagine among patches of thick forest. A game of Foxtails started and quickly morphed into a hilarious spectacle called Weasels in a Bucket. After much play, we met together to sing, rejoice, and share our gratitude before spreading out on the land.
The oldest clan went on a quest to the beach, journeying down the steep, cliff-like edges of The Rock, searching for viable firewood along the way. Where do you find dry wood when it’s been wet for so long? And on such a steep hillside? How do you recognize parts of the forest at a distance where you might find huge caches of dead, dry, perfect kindling? If you wonder these things, ask those oldest Fire Tenders, those who have had many challenges thrust upon them over the years, in the oddest of places. This week, their challenge was to build a group fire, in the rain, on the beach, and working in pairs. But those pairs were special, reflecting this group’s experience in fire making. One person was blindfolded and could touch the wood. The other person could see and speak, but could not touch the wood. Hemlock and fir were twisted and piled and lumped and fell and re-piled and so much hilarity surrounded the industrious group. Matches were struck, tinder was lit! After success and failure, and a great harvesting of lessons from the trial, a great fire was had. And some couldn’t help it – they wanted to be blindfolded on the whole hike back up the steep hill.
Hawks clan had a day filled with teamwork , connection , and laughter. We took a trail down to the beach spotting a kill site, a chanterelle mushroom, and some other interesting tracks and trails along the way down. When we got to the beach we talked about our challenges and then set intentions for ourselves. We did this by picking up rocks and throwing them into the ocean with intentions of releasing something that is holding us back and taking on something that will help us become more fully ourselves. This was a powerful way to signify our experience as a clan and as firetenders. On the way up we played sink and fade to work on our hiding and sneaking skills. We had a small incident where one of our clan members took a fall (she ended up being okay) but this turned into an action packed rescue mission and we ended up finding an awesome secret spot for us to revisit in the future. Overall our clan is building connection and we are excited to step into our gifts and face challenges.
Annika announced to her clan, “You’re only safe if you’re touching a huckleberry leaf!” Thankfully, everyone was safe. Safety then went on to depend on touching witch’s butter, a hemlock cone, touching hairy cat’s ear then clover, all standing on a stump together, making a giant deer together with their bodies, and all manner of things that popped into her head. After a brief break for lunch, all were blindfolded and sent into the woods on a crazy route guided only by a silken thread. Over roots, under tables, through dense shrubs they plowed, feeling their way through the world. They celebrated with a dance parade, each body moving to its own innate rhythm and style. There was only way to follow this crazy day – turn everyone into Poop. Oh, No! I’m Poop! Rang out from the forest, as deer ran from coyote, coyote ate deer and pooped them out. The rains came, and with it sprouting seeds and new growth. Fresh greens for the deer to eat, feeding the herd and allowing them to multiply anew.
Ari’s clan set off on an adventure in a blindfolded line. As students moved slowly, their other senses were pushed forward. Where were the other clans on the landscape? Ws that an airplane flying overhead? Did we just walk in a circle? As the clan removed their blindfolds they found themselves staring down a steep trail. To some, the path ahead looked daunting, but others were filled with glee. We began down slowly as first, gaining confidence as we went. Only a few yards down, the clan made a discovery: a large tree stump that was hallowed away at the center into a hole that was big enough to fit a person inside. A few of the Fire Tenders decided it would be fun to be lowered in and try to climb out and many were successful! We charged on and found a place to rest, bedded in the forest and surrounded by ferns. The youngest clan members became oriented to the end of the year challenge. They were asked to think of a challenge for themselves, whether it be improving on shelters, wild edibles, or tracking and spread out into Sit Spot to connect and think on this for a bit. In the forest, we continued to have fun. We ate, brainstormed, imagined, explored, wondered, looked closely, trusted our bodies to guide us, and spent the end of our day in a powerful exercise called Solo Walk. In it, clan members spread out on the trail and were given a chance to walk on their own, with no other instructors or Fire Tenders in sight. Many shared that this experience was challenging, grounding, and inspiring!
What challenge did your Fire Tender face this week? What are they hoping to work on over the rest of the year? We are so excited for another week and thankful for the passion and imagination your Fire Tenders bring.