My Mooseboots path has been so enriched by our weekly Nature Adventure Class. In addition to learning new skills and getting a chance to spend some quality time with my family, it serves to reinforce the skills that I already have. There is really no need for a complex lesson plan and break neck speed. Sometimes, it is just fun to play. We were also pleasantly surprised to run into an old family friend, who had been attending with her kids on the Tuesday group.
We started out by playing a game. We picked a "coyote" whose job it was to call out and catch (tag) the other animals as they ran across the field. Animals caught became trees and helped catch the remaining animals. The game is fun enough on its own merits, but add a dog who wants to play and take the field boundary markers and you've got a blast. The kids were laughing. The adults were laughing, too. I am not sure who had more fun. After a few rounds of this quick energy burning game, we went into the woods.
We began by working with our "owl eyes". We stood in a circle, held our arms out wide to our sides, and wiggled our fingers. Then, each of us has to tell the other what we could see at the limits of our peripheral vision. When we were all in the correct frame of mind, we played another game. This time each person was a squirrel who had to move his acorns from one hoop to another. Sounds easy, right? Now, add one "hawk" to catch the squirrels. Any squirrel caught becomes another hawk ... after a while it is pretty scary being a squirrel. We all had a great time, again.
It was time to shift into reinforcement mode. We were all blindfolded and put into a single line. We were to follow the person in front of us. One person was chosen to remain un-blindfolded and direct the group to a specific place. We needed to use our foxwalking skills to keep us safely on the move without anyone getting injured. It is a bit unnerving following a bunch of kids around blindfolded, but it was an amazing experience. I really became aware of the extent to which I use my sight ... I guess we all do. I certainly recommend taking a partner into the woods and trying this.
Next, we gathered and split into three teams. We were all given 15 seconds to look at some objects and their placement on a blanket. Then, each team had a few minutes to gather the objects and place them in the same orientation as the original. Of course, Wendy and I, teamed up with a six year old, and had a blast guide him along.
Afterwards, the natives (anyone under the age of 13) were getting restless. So, we played a game of "storytelling hide the treasure". Each of the two teams was given a bandanna and told to hide it. Then, we reconvened and told a story of how to find our "treasure". It is interesting to complete the mind shift from a written/recording society mindset to one of an oral tradition. I have been working on learning some local native legends to start telling them to the girls. I think this is an important part of reconnecting with the universe and each other.
After the treasures were gathered, we took quick walk to some cattails. Mike explained that many parts of the plant were edible and showed us several of the parts. Tom Brown has claimed that there are four plants that are required to survive in most of North America. That is to say if you know these plants, you can gather enough food to survive. Cattail is one of the four. Most of the younger kids, however, were done at this point, so the teenagers and above got a bit of additional teaching. I also collected a stalk to dry and try as a hand drill.
On the way back out of the woods, we gathered firewood for our weekly fire. When we got back to the fire pit, the kids built the fire, but did not light it. I held the one match and was going to light it, but I noticed an interesting exchange going on. Wendy gave Mike a magnesium fire starter. He had never used one and so, was trying it out. Wendy then took out her bow drill. So, each worked to get the fire going. I decided to wait. Not long after, Wendy succeeded with her bow drill and got a fire going. Mike said he needed some time with the fire starter.
It may not have been the most educational class, but it was fun and helped to reinforce many of the things I already knew. This MooseBoots journey, as in any process of learning, requires both of these - fun and reinforcement. I have been blessed by the universe. I hope to be able to help guide us, as a society and a world, back into harmony and alignment as a part of nature.