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Mid-Winter Adventures with the Fire Tenders – Story of the Day – February 1st, 2019

i Feb 8th No Comments by

Our Friday last week was chock full of wonder and wildness! We began our day down by the waters, in company with Canada Geese, Bald Eagles, and other wildfolk.

We engaged in a new game known as Scout Foxes. We divided up into teams, established our bases, and then the fun began. Running around like Coyote, being stealthy like Bobcat, we allowed our wild animals to come forth! Some of us dived into mud, while others got stuck in the very same! Adventures were had, bonds were deepened, and memories were made.

Alas, Scout Foxes was not all the fun to be had! Some of us remained with the fire, stoking the hearth of our home away from home. Nature drawings were born, cordage was woven, and some us deepened our knowledge as tenders of fire.

As the day came to a close, we wandered down to the shores, met and saved a Starfish, gathered and molded clay, and some of us were even brave enough to dip our lower legs into the icy cold sea!

Ah but there’s more! An animal funeral was held in the morning; drenches, islands & structures were carved into the sand pit. All this and so many other creaturely tales!

I wonder what stories your FireTender could tell of our wild adventures?

Shelters with Wind Gatherers – Story of the Day January 11th, 2019

i Jan 15th No Comments by
We began our day with a story about shelters. I shared with the group my first  experience making a shelter and sleeping in it over night with many a group of my class mates. How we worked all day like squirrels, learned tons, and kept our spirits up and the fire burning all night, as the ground froze and jack frost came to sparkle up the forest. How wonderfully fun it would be to build our own shelter for us all to sit under in these winter months, however we learned that shelters need A LOT of insulation to keep the rain and weather out, and the best way to make insulation is with the leaves fallen from maple trees. There are a lot of them and they can be pilled high and weighed down by larger branches to make a very effective roof 🙂 Alas we spend most of our time amongst the gentle evergreen giants, and so the children had the opportunity to build shelters for small creatures, like faeries and bugs and fir cone people.  I am always in awe of what they create…little works of art, I couldn’t dream up if I tried!
 
Wishes for delightful surprises, curious nature mysteries, and much connection with all of the living world.

Fire Secrets and Mysterious Skulls with Forest Trackers – Story of the Day – January 12th, 2019

i Jan 14th No Comments by

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!

12/2/2018 – Story of the Day – Staying Warm with the Fire Tenders

i Dec 15th No Comments by
Last Friday, the rain surprisingly took a break for us which was both unexpected and greatly appreciated. The day in many ways revolved around ways to stay warm both with and without a fire. A great day for this, there were many insights upon this subject.
Exercise, shelter, friction, huddling, were just a few mentioned amongst the groups. Fittingly, these conversations led into ideas of insulation and its benefits. Everybody then in teams created head shelters designed more or less to keep your head dry when water is poured over the shelter with your head in it.  Needless to say, there was a lot at stake here. Funny enough, the only shelter that leaked was the one I put my head under….hmmmm. hahahaha.
We then ventured to find different spots that would promote a successful large shelter building project. Many of the different qualities of a good spot were discussed and explored. Some of them were more interested in their bow drill kits and a coal was even produced during that practice session by a particularly inspired individual.
The next step was to surprise all of the kids with the opportunity to turn the instructors into scarecrows by stuffing leaves in their clothes as insulation in preparation for a scarecrow beauty contest.  It was quite a show considering the exceptional beauty exhibited as leaves and debris oozed from all of our seams. Next, the veggie off took quite a momentum when two people at a time are required to act out a vegetable that is equipped with an adjective.
The walk back up the hill for the story of the day left everyone nice and beat. We shared stories and meandered back to a place of warmth for the night. A day filled with not much more than magnificence to reflect on for the night and potentially many years to come.