This morning we broke routine and set out to hold morning circle in a new location. The new route took us past a beautiful field with horses grazing in pasture. We settled in our circle nearby with the view of the peaceful horses in the background. I told a story of “practicing camping” in anticipation of the upcoming Forest Floor overnight. In this story, Stalking Wolf takes Tom and Rick to “practice camping” as a sly means of introducing them to a skill much more profound than that. Each boy goes into the forest alone, finds a special spot and enjoys getting know the wonders of the surrounding woods and the wildlife that inhabit the land.
It was now the Red-tailed Hawks' turn to “practice camping”. Each child headed into the forest, in search of a special spot that would be just for them: a place to return to and get to know the details of that place, just as Tom and Rick in the story had. A comfy tree to lean against, a mossy rock. Once a spot has been picked, the practice consists of sitting quietly and observing your surroundings until called back in. The practice is also called “sit spot.” Sit spot is one of the core routines of the 8-Sheilds approach to nature connection and a key component to developing a quiet, focused mind and internal sense of peace and ease.
Upon returning, we circled up once more and shared what we had observed: A blue jay, a nest up in a tree, deer tracks, the soft sound of leaves falling to the ground, cardinal, crow calls, a nest made of leaves, a dark-eye junco, small brown puffballs emitting clouds of spores and more.
Once again, the day was sunny and warm. We ran about in shirtsleeves. The creek offered a delightful sand bed to play and build in. Many amazing structures were created and enjoyed. Beach creatures and tunnels in the sand. We put the natural resources of the land to use in adornment and play, camouflaging in dried grasses and charcoal, and weaving crowns from vines. Two more snake sightings enlivened our sleepier moments.
Later in the afternoon, we worked long and hard cracking more hickory nuts and gathering wood for a fire. Our goal: hickory nut milk, that most delectable (and nutritious) of wild beverages. Our combined efforts resulted in a large pot of nuts bubbling and boiling over a warm, crackling fire. When the milk was done, we strained out the chunks of shell and sipped away. Delicious!! The warm hickory nut milk offered up a smooth creamy taste and heavenly aroma; maybe you got to try some at pick up time.
The day ended with the feeling of completion and satisfaction I think we all felt after a job well done and enjoying the fruition of our labors.
Thank you for being such awesome families and joining us in celebrating the harvest season!
I will be sad to miss the overnight campout this weekend (a previously planned trip conflicted for me) but look forward to hearing about the overnight adventures from the kids when I get back