Friday, October 29, 2010

Nature Adventure Class - Week 4

As most of you know, my MooseBoots journey is bleassed with the company of Wendy and the girls.  Sometimes, in spite of the fact that I know how amazing they all are, I am surprised.  They are incredible and teach me more often than I say.

We attended our weekly nature adventure class.  It was a beautiful fall day ... clear and warm.  We started by making puppets.  It is often a good idea to start by focusing the kids on a craft activity.  The task was to draw, and color, a character on a piece of paper.  The kids drew and colored ... and drew and colored some more.  Where is the nature adventure, you ask?  We were outside.  Of course, we all lead by example ... so, here's my friendly White Tiger companion.

Our new friends, and we, then went out into the woods.  There was a puppet sized debris hut all prepared for the "bad weather" that had been predicted (in spite of the blazing blue sky).  We were shown how it was built and then bidden to create one for our very fragile, thin companions.  There was a torrential rain coming quickly from the west, east, north, or south depending on the location, relative to the nearby stream, of the applicable shelter.  Little Fire Faery and I worked together, our friends huddling together for warmth.  We built the shell and overlaid the ribs with bark from a nearby fallen birch tree.  Then, we piled on huge quantities of leaves to keep the "rain" out and the warmth in.  Big little sister worked on her own, while Precious worked with Wendy.  No sooner had any shelter been finished and the rain began ... it was raining, in very localized patterns, buckets (or pitchers) directly on each.  After the cold night, each puppet crept out of its shelter and we assessed how they weathered the storm(s).

Afterwards, an incredible, unexplainable thing happened.  The kids, working together completely unprompted, started assembling a large shelter for themselves.  There was no fighting, crying, whining, etc. just good, old fashioned teamwork.  Did I mention that these kids are all homeschooled?  Mike, in his years of wisdom, did not want to interrupt such a spontaneous endeavor, in spite of the plan to work on debris huts next time.

Unfortunately, we had other things to do ... like more awareness games.  There on the forest floor rested a blanket neatly folded in half, hiding an assortment of natural treasures.  We quickly divided into two teams and were shown the items ... Wendy counted 15.  Then, we scattered to find the same items in the surrounding forest.  We found the beech leaf, but mistook the birch leaf for another.  We gathered fir instead of hemlock.  We found sticks, roots, fungus, and sarsasparilla.  It is amazing how litle time 30s is when trying to memorize 15 items ... certainly not enough to assign a few to each teammate.  I am pretty sure the team Wendy and I were on won ... rotten kids and their near perfect memories.

Alas, during the frantic pace, Mike "fell into the frozen stream".  We needed to light a fire and quick ... 15 minutes and he was a "Mike-sickle".  We scurried, gathering fuel for the fire.  Alas, the forest we were in (wink, wink) did not grow any birch trees.  No birch bark for the fire???  Luckily as we returned to camp, I gathered some dry goldenrod heads (thanks, Tom Brown, for the story).  The kids had built a wonderful tee-pee fire into which they stuffed the goldenrod.  Little Fire Faery (how appropriate) was assigned the fire lighting again, obviously because her success the last time.  With two minutes to spare, Mike was saved.  Whew!

Sometimes, it is good to remember to have fun along the way.  We adults tend to overthink and over-analyze.  The kids ... not so much.  It was a great moment to savor on my MooseBoots path.  Image what a tiny shift in priority can do!  No, really, imagine.  Enjoy!


  1. I think John Lennon said it best, Imagine all the people ... living for today :).

    What's amazing is just having this time to spend out in the woods ... playing! It's incredible, and really, while this program is geared specifically for kids, I think it would do a lot of adults a lot of good to be able to have this same, or similar experience. There's nothing like trying to squeeze a forty-plus year old body through a hula-hoop to humble one, while at the same time, in the spirit of the game, make one a whole lot less self-conscious.

    The best part is the wonder of discovery. It's amazing to just be awed by all of the things I miss when I'm out in the world, and how this class is teaching me to better focus on these things.

  2. Well said, Wendy (and John ;) Life is very's just the other stuff that we LET get in the way. Ultimately, we choose what we are doing, even if it seems like there is no other option. It's more convenient to place the responsibility/blame for our situations on "circumstances" or even others, but we all need to scratch the surface a bit and realize that we have the power to do whatever we want, to follow whatever paths we choose, even if there are a few inconvenient "detours" along the way.

    You guys are so lucky to have that kind of organization nearby!

  3. Julie, you might try here, to find someone local to you. Of course, you have Richard with you. I would think that he would be a great resource, too.

  4. Thanks, DEM, you're right with the info. The guy who's in Orangeville is someone Richard knew years ago...I forgot all about them. Now that you've called my bluff, so to speak, I'll have to make an effort to get out there, instead of waiting for when Richard and I can coordinate our schedules...sometimes it seems there's not enough time for everything, but maybe this winter....Richard has had to move this summer/fall and hasn't had as much time as he would like either :( Thanks again for the website! Julie

  5. Julie, I did not intend to call your bluff. I was only trying to be helpful. I found with flying that working with another instructor periodically was benefitial, but it is comforting to have the same primary teacher for the long haul.


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