What a fantastic week of play and exploration. There was no day this week that did not end with, “Oh My Gosh! They are so cute!”.. And us dive into the sweet things the Forest Caterpillars said, did or things we watched them accomplish.. It is hard to tell you how much we did and saw in those four short days. (They go by so fast)
Earthsong never fails to show up in exactly the way we most need it to. Forest Caterpillars need to see things, touch things, turn things over, smell things, laugh at things, and chase one another. Forest Caterpillars need to giggle, play, and be listened to deeply. They need to splash, climb rocks, jump over the crevices between rocks and find their balance when the rock is just a little more slippery than they were planning for (or not planning for).
After our parents leave us for the day we begin our day with a wander into the forest to a small clearing where we joined in a somewhat circle and had snacks. Each morning during our circle time we share something we are grateful for and we had a story for the day. After our morning circle we would wander back out to the power line very slowly taking our time along the trail turning over logs, discovering mushrooms, spiders, beetles, caterpillars, moths, all the small things we could find. (Our goal was to try to find all the nature names. We didn’t find them all, but we did find a lot of them).
We played several games, Towhee Towhee, Eagle Eye, Hemlock Tea, and others. We met minnows, tadpoles, toads, snails, a black snake, a banded water snake – who unfortunately was eaten by something on the river after we left it, but the importu anatomy lesson it provided the next day was so cool. It turned out the snake was female and she had not yet laid her 26 eggs! We found oak galls, mushrooms, moths, trees, learned what poison ivy looks like, and that holly leaves are way too prickly. So many little things!
We listened to the birds sing. We watched as a blue heron left its nest while fussing at us for disturbing the work of keeping the eggs warm. We watched cardinals dash to and from over the river. One day there was a funny looking crow gathering supplies for its nest on one side of the river and carrying it to the other side of the river. In a moment of truly quiet pause we were able to catch a story from a box turtle by taking some deep breaths and calming ourselves so it would feel safe enough to give us a few moments of its time. The discovery was endless.
And, the play.. The play is boundless. The rocks on the river were infinitely filled with exploration and imagination. We were kings and queens of the mountain. We were architects building bridges. We were fearless looking under rocks for treasure. We made boats, floated leaves down the river, gathered shells, built moats and dams in the sand. We got all of our clothes wet. We got dirty. We splashed. We slid down rocks and occasionally busted a knee or two. Most importantly we laughed as we played. The river is a special place.
We want to thank the community of Earthsong for allowing us to use it for our camps. Thank you to all the wild things that make space for us while we wander the land. Thank you to our volunteers for showing up every day and exploring with us. Most importantly, we want to thank our parents for trusting us with your children. We know it is no small thing when you leave your Forest Caterpillars with us and we are grateful. Your children brighten our lives and we learn more from them than they probably learn from us.
Have a great summer and we will see you in the fall!
Bernard, Soleil, Sarah, and Shannon